Australian News

Mark Kendall wins CSL Young Florey Medal with nanopatch vaccine technology


10th Nov 2016

A Queensland scientist has been awarded one of the nation’s highest science honours for his pioneering work on needle-free vaccines.

The University of Queensland’s biomedical scientist, Professor Mark Kendall, won the CSL Young Florey Medal for his nanopatch technology.

The nanopatch took 20 years to develop and is set to revolutionise immunisation around the world, delivering vaccines through the upper layers of the skin.

“Howard Florey was an amazing individual. He made penicillin happen for the world and saved so many lives,” Professor Kendall said.

“To have a medal in his name is amazing.”

Professor Kendall first explored hypersonics to deliver vaccines, and his “gene gun” released vaccine particles at twice the speed of sound.

“But it turned out too expensive, too complicated – it was a rocket,” he said.

Professor Kendall started mapping the skin’s immune system, inventing the nanopatch that delivers vaccines by targeting immune-rich cells in the skin.

“The nanopatch is a tiny piece of silicon with 20 thousand microscopic needles on one side, coated with a dry vaccine,” he said.

“When you apply the patch to the skin, that tough outer layer of the skin is breached and the vaccine is placed to thousands of cells in the skin.

“It gets wet in the cellular environment and within just a minute the vaccine has been delivered.”

Pain-free nanopatch may relegate needle to history

Professor Kendall said the nanopatch was pain free and could relegate the 160-year-old needle and syringe to history.

Professor Kendall said the nanopatch has been tested for every class of vaccine including influenza, malaria and cervical cancer.

His team has partnered with the World Health Organisation to run a polio vaccine trial next year.

Unlike conventional vaccines, the nanopatch does not need refrigeration.

In the event of a pandemic, it can be mailed out for people to self-administer.

Currently, some vaccines like HPV can cost about $50 to deliver.

Professor Kendall hopes to produce nanopatch vaccines that cost $0.50 per dose, which would be cheap enough to use in developing countries.

“I want to make a difference and to be remembered as someone who at least contributed,” he said.




Big four banks destroy 1.6 million paper land titles in push to digital versions


4th Nov 2016

The mass destruction of paper titles and their replacement with electronic certificates has been questioned by property lawyers who fear it will compromise security and effectively outsource the 150-year-old Torrens title system to private operators.

The Law Institute of Victoria has been an outspoken critic of the electronic system, arguing it increases costs for consumers, undermines those holding titles for security against other assets, and adds complexity and legal uncertainty to a what was once a simple, safe system.

The changes were ushered in by the Registrar of Titles who declared in a notice in the Victoria Government Gazette that paper based titles will be void and of no effect from October 22, 2016.

Property owners whose paper land titles are held by major banks were not told their title documents have been destroyed.

The conversion of paper certificates of title to electronic versions was part of a national push to electronic conveyancing on the PEXA system, a spokesman for Land Victoria said.

PEXA is owned by state governments, the ANZ, CBA, NAB, Westpac, Macquarie Bank and private equity.

“If landowners wish to get a paper title when their mortgage is paid out, they can do so,” the spokesman said.

Bruce King from Kirby & Co. Solicitors said he conducted his first property transaction on the system last week and it was more expensive.

The transaction went smoothly but other lawyers encountered difficulties with banks failing to nominate a controlling entity which meant some settlements didn’t get through, he said.

PEXA chief executive Marcus Price said paper titles were cumbersome to use. “People keep losing them, including banks,” he said.

Most property fraud occurs with unencumbered paper titles being taken and used by other family members, he said.

“This is a long overdue catch-up by property to the two other big assets, shares and cash, which are exchanged electronically,” Mr Price said.

“It is ultimately a much safer system,” he said.

PEXA was set up in 2010 with federal government support after a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments urged modernisation of the antiquated system of paper-based transfers used by land titles offices and conveyancers.

The Titles Office in NSW is in the process of being privatised and South Australia is considering similar plans.





Huge gap opens between WA’s rich and poor: new economics report


22nd Oct 2016

THERE is still a huge gap between the rich and the poor, underemployment has risen and Western Australia’s gross state product growth has dropped.

According to a new Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report the poorest 20 per cent of WA households hold just 0.8 per cent of the state’s total net wealth.

Back to the Future, released on Wednesday night, examined the state’s economic trends following the post-mining boom.

It found the wealthiest 20 per cent of WA households hold almost two-thirds of the state’s total net household wealth.

BCEC director Alan Duncan said a quarter of single WA women didn’t have superannuation assets, compared to one in ten men.

“This had created a noticeable and persistent gender wealth gap,” he said.

“There are also strong signals emanating from the labour market that career pathways will be less straightforward.

“For the first time since 2006, WA’s unemployment rate has surpassed the nation’s.”

Furthermore, the report found the underemployment ratio has risen in WA more rapidly than other states and territories.

Underemployment increased to 10 per cent in 2016, it was six per cent in 2011.

“Labour demand has also been decreasing with the WA Internet Vacancy Index recently falling below the national rate,” Professor Duncan said.

“More West Australians will need to hold multiple jobs at any point in time to make up preferred work hours and multiple job turnovers and career shifts.

“Mining continues to be the primary contributor to the state’s economic output after the boom, despite the mining labour force shrinking by 20 per cent in the past three years.”

Although the employment share of the health care and social assistance industry has grown.

Health care and social services, and arts and recreation had the highest employment growth rates in 2014-15.

“After a prolonged period of economic growth driven by the resources boom, WA’s economic trajectory has returned to a ‘new normal’ which is more consistent with national economic growth rates,” Professor Duncan said.

“A key consideration is whether we have the right policy settings in place to manage the future of work which is increasingly precarious.”

Other key findings:

• WA’s gross state product growth rate dropped from 9 per cent in 2011-12 to 3.5 per cent in 2014-15, below the state’s long-term average growth rate of 4.7 per cent.

• WA’s mining workforce has shrunk from nearly 106,000 fulltime employees in mid-2013 to around 84,000 FTE by the end of 2015.

• The average inflation rate in Perth declined from 3 per cent during the resources boom to under 2 per cent during the post-boom period.

• For the first time since 2006, the WA’s unemployment rate surpassed the nation’s unemployment rate in mid-2015.

• As at August 2016, the unemployment rate in WA was over 6 per cent.

• WA’s migration numbers dipped from a net inflow of 8,898 in 2012 to a net outflow of 3,005 in 2015.





Australian nurses who spread anti-vaccination messages face prosecution

freedom of speech3

21st Oct 2016

Nurses and midwives who ignore scientific evidence by promoting anti-vaccination to patients and the public are being cracked down on in a tough new position statement from their industry regulator.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia released the vaccination standards in response to what it described as a small number of nurses and midwives promoting anti-vaccination via social media.

“The board is taking this opportunity to make its expectations about providing advice on vaccinations clear to registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives,” the statement reads.

“The board expects all registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives to use the best available evidence in making practice decisions.”

The statement also urges members of the public to report nurses or midwives promoting anti-vaccination. Promoting false, misleading or deceptive information is an offence under national law and is prosecutable by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

“The board will consider whether the nurse or midwife has breached their professional obligations and will treat these matters seriously,” the statement said.

Dr Hannah Dahlen, a professor of midwifery at the University of Western Sydney and the spokeswoman for the Australian College of Midwives, said vaccination was essential to public health and safety.

“Midwives and nurses are highly regarded and trusted members of society and people take their advice very seriously,” she said.

“I agree that they have a very serious obligation to provide the best available evidence, and it is of course concerning that some are taking to social media in order to express a position not backed by science.”

However, Dahlen added she was worried the crackdown may push people with anti-vaccination views further underground.

“The worry is the confirmation bias that can occur, because people might say: ‘There you go, this is proof that you can’t even have an alternative opinion.’ It might in fact just give people more fuel for their belief systems.”

The position statement from the industry follows the launch of a comprehensive campaign this month by the Australian Medical Association in conjunction with the health minister, Sussan Ley, and the Australian Academy of Science to promote the evidence for and benefits of immunisation.

The campaign included the release of a booklet launched by Professor Peter Doherty, winner of the 1996 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine, containing the latest science on vaccination.

The AMA president, Dr Michael Gannon, said the booklet was “the perfect response to the lies, misinformation and fear that is peddled by the anti-vaccination movement”.

“Immunisation saves lives,” he said. “That is an undeniable fact.”

Gannon said since the introduction of the government’s No Jab No Pay policy, 6,000 children whose parents were previously registered as conscientious objectors to vaccination were now fully immunised.

But he said it was concerning there were still pockets in the community, including in the Gold Coast, western Sydney and the north coast of NSW, with lower than average immunisation rates.

According to the World Health Organisation, vaccinations prevent up to three million deaths every year from diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and measles.




Gender neutral title ‘Mx’ acknowledged by Australian insurance company

could you not

6th Oct 2016

ARE you a Ms, Mr, Mrs or Mx?

Australian businesses are beginning to offer gender neutral options on their forms and other administrative material as they are forced to recognise gender diversity.

A Western Australian health insurance company has become the country’s first to list the honorific “Mx” on its forms, alongside traditional titles like Mr, Miss, Mrs, Dr and Rev.

The title is pronounced “mux” and is becoming more widely accepted as a gender neutral alternative.

The insurer will also allow customers to list their gender as “other” on forms.

The not-for-profit organisation’s offer follows changes to Australian passports, allowing Australian citizens to identify as M, F, or X when checking their gender.

This year’s national census was the first to allow trans or gender diverse participants to select a third gender category, with “other” listed alongside male and female.

In the UK, the honorific Mx is accepted in government departments, banks, universities and driving licences.

As of last year, British members of parliament are allowed to be sworn in to the House of Commons under the gender-neutral title.

HIF managing director Graeme Gibson said the insurer’s decision was made following feedback from members of the LGBTI community.




The Australian Government is recruiting for spies: do you meet the job criteria?


1st Oct 2016

THOSE who fancy themselves as a real life James Bond or ‘Agent 99’ have an opportunity to realise their dreams as the Australian Government recruits for spies.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) is an intelligence agency in the Department of Defence and is currently advertising several “covert” positions on its website.

The ASD is responsible for the collection of foreign intelligence by interception while “stopping others from doing the same to us” and protecting our government’s information and cyber security. Its mission is to “reveal their secrets — protect our own”.

The spy agency is currently seeking to recruit offensive and defensive cyber specialists to “catch Australia’s phishing foes” and “defend Australia from the dark side”.

“Do you want to do things that most people cannot? Do you like to grapple with complex and unusual problems? Can you be counted on to find innovative and clever solutions?” the advertisement reads.

“ASD operates in incredibly challenging and dynamic technical and operational environments. As such it requires a rare mix of staff with skills, adaptability and imagination.

“These abilities are needed to out-think and out-imagine some of the most testing adversaries and problems imaginable.”

But it’s no easy feat to become a government spy. The selection process can be gruelling. Applicants must be Australian citizens and undergo a “comprehensive security assessment covering your whole life”. They are asked to “be discreet discussing your application”. Those who pass background and security checks will be subjected to a psychological assessment which determines whether or not the applicant has the “professional capacity to work in a high-security environment”.

“Most people only need to know that you have applied for a job with Defence,” the advertisement reads.

“If you want to work with other smart, skilled people, consider ASD for your career. If you consider yourself one of the best, then we are interested in you.”

In Australia, there are two primary organisations responsible for intelligence services: Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the more aptly low profile Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

Both organisations work in intelligence gathering with ASIO focused on the domestic sphere while ASIS is international and based out of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

If you’re interested in spy work, there’s a trove of information available on the organisations’ websites, which is now their main recruitment portal. There are also information nights, commonly on university campuses.

The whole recruitment process can take between six months and a year with “security assessments taking some time to complete”. But the chances of success are slim. Assuming you’ve met all the initial criteria, approximately one in every 100 hundred applicants for ASIS and around one in every 50 for ASIO actually get hired.






Legal Affairs Sharia law ‘affecting court rulings’

stupid shit

5th Sept 2016

Two Sydney children have been placed into foster care and their 17-year-old brother reluctantly permitted to live with his violent father after their Lebanese-born mother cited “Islamic law” as the reason she was unable to care for them.

In the case highlighting how Australian courts are increasingly having to deal with the fallout from arrangements struck under Islamic, or sharia, law the mother argued religious law prevented her children living with her because her new husband should not be burdened with the responsibility for caring for them.

Sharia law was also invoked in a matter heard in November by the District Court of South Australia, where disagreement over an ­alleged loan was complicated by the existence of two contracts; one in English referring to a sum of $70,000 plus interest, another handwritten in Farsi that made no mention of interest.

The court heard evidence that under Islamic law lending money in return for interest was for­bidden and the second document had been drafted for “religious ­reasons” to hide the fact interest was being charged.

According to Flinders University academic Hossein Esmaeili, an expert in Islamic and Middle Eastern law, many Australian Muslims distrust the secular legal system, preferring traditional religious oversight of their personal and business affairs.

In a recent paper published in the Flinders Law Journal, Dr Esmaeili argues that there is significant evidence the broad principles of sharia are already being ­practised covertly by Muslims in Australia.

“While many Muslims in Australia do not support the introduction of sharia law … many follow certain sharia legal principles as part of their religious obser­vances,” he writes.

“These include matters which ordinarily are legal issues in Australia such as inheritance law, wills, paying special taxes, marriage and divorce, and matters relating to personal property, banking and finance.”

Dr Esmaeili says courts’ recognition of certain Islamic laws might help Muslims use Australia’s justice system more effectively and realise it can accommodate some sharia practices.

In one high-profile case heard by a NSW local court and, on ­appeal, by the Supreme Court, an Islamic prenuptial agreement struck by a Sydney couple was found to be enforceable under the principles of contract law. The court found the husband had initiated separation from his wife and therefore owed her $50,000 in compensation, a sharia dowry. The 2012 case was thought to be the first of its kind in Australia. According to the appeal judge, it raised the issue of the way agreements based on religious or cultural tradition should be dealt with in Australian society.

Dr Esmaeili told The Australian many Westerners associated sharia with harsh punishments and believed it to be incompatible with secular society. But it was, he pointed out, a broad philosophy governing most aspects of a Muslim’s life, ranging from daily rituals such as prayer through to the way they arranged business affairs.

He said aspects of sharia were “problematic”, such as the ancient doctrine of kofr, which separated Muslims and non-Muslims, but few Muslims wanted those ­applied in Australia. “Australia’s legal system is secular and 99.9 per cent of the community is happy with that, including Muslims,” he said. “It is not that courts here are applying Islamic law, more they are establishing the facts, which may reference Islamic principles.

“And this tends to apply to … the law of contracts, not criminal law, and nor should it.”

In the case of the Sydney children placed in foster care, the Family Court in Parramatta heard the nine- and 14-year-olds had effectively been abandoned by their mother, who divorced their father and later remarried.

Their father, also born in Lebanon, was deemed violent, lacking in parental authority and incapable of attending to the children’s needs. “The mother has completely abrogated her responsibilities as a parent in refusing to have the children live with her and proffering as an excuse that her new husband should not be required to care for another man’s children as it’s contrary to Islamic law,” the 2014 judgment said.

The court ordered the two youngest into state care, to have only supervised contact with ­either parent.

Dr Esmaeili questioned the mother’s interpretation of Islamic law. “She may have made the claim, but it is not based on Islamic law,” he said.



Australians embracing super-human microchip technology

they dont know

24th Aug 2016

It may sound like sci-fi, but hundreds of Australians are turning themselves into super-humans who can unlock doors, turn on lights and log into computers with a wave of the hand.

Shanti Korporaal, from Sydney, is at the centre of the phenomenon after having two implants inserted under her skin.

Now she can get into work and her car without carrying a card or keys, and says her ultimate goal is to completely do away with her wallet and cards.

“You could set up your life so you never have to worry about any password or PINs” she told

“It’s the same technology as Paypass, so I’m hoping you’ll be able to pay for things with it.

“With Opal you get a unique identification number that could be programmed into the chip. Any door with a swipe card … it could open your computer, photocopier. Loyalty cards for shops are just another thing for your wallet.”

The microchips, which are the size of a grain of rice, can act like a business card and transfer contact details to smartphones, and hold complex medical data.

Shanti has had some messages from ultra-conservative Christians on Facebook telling her she’s going to hell, but the reaction has mainly been one of intrigue.

“My nana wants one,” laughs Shanti. “I’ve had more opposition to my tattoos than I’ve ever had to the chip. My friends are jealous.”

When the 27-year-old realised just how coveted the implants were, she set up an Australian distribution service called Chip My Life with her husband, Skeeve Stevens.

It costs between $80 and $140 depending on the sophistication of the technology, and (while you can do it at home) they work with doctors who charge $150 to insert the implant.

“They do minor surgery, Botox and so on,” says Shanti. “They give you a local, an injection and a quick ultrasound to make sure it’s in place.”

The biohacking couple both have RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips in their left hands and NFC (near-field communication) chips in the right. The implant is almost impossible to spot, leaving a mark as small as a freckle.

they dont know 1


Shanti is appearing at today’s Sydney launch of cyborg-themed video game Deus Ex Mankind Divided alongside US implantable technology pioneer Amal Graafstra.

Amal considers himself a guinea-pig for human augmentation, making headlines in the US last week with a prototype of the world’s first implant-activated smart gun.

He became one of the world’s first RFID implantees in 2005, and has since founded an online store to sell the “at home” kits to people who want to “upgrade their body”. He’s written a book, spoken at TEDx and appeared in documentaries.

“On a psychological level, this is completely different to a smartphone or a Fitbit, because it goes in you,” he told

“Your kidneys are working hard but you’re not thinking about them, it’s not something you have to manage.

“It’s given me the ability to communicate with machines. It’s literally integrated into who I am.”

He is aware of the ethical and security concerns, but points out that the data is encrypted, and most of your access cards are not secure anyway. This is simply a case of “computing in the body.”

Rather than worry about people being forced to be microchipped, he’s now busy advocating for the rights of citizens who use them.

He believes the destruction of the chip could in some cases classify as assault (as with a pacemaker) and other dangers might be governments forcibly extracting implants or data from them.

“I want to make sure it’s treated as part of the body, like an organ,” he says.

One firm in Sweden has allowed employees to choose chips over a work pass, with 400 taking up the offer, but Amal says he more often hears from interested individuals who want to try it out.

“At the moment, it’s mainly access — house, computer motorcycle. But in the future there’s the potential to use it for transit, payment. You could get rid of your keys and maybe your wallet.”

Other uses might include children tapping to let parents know they are at school safely, refugees checking in at camps or women at shelters.

It can share diet, exercise and sleep information with you and your doctor, and the next generation could even release medicine as and when you need it.

For Shanti, adding an extra dimension to life is a childhood fantasy come true.

“Ever since watching movies like the Terminator, Matrix and Minority Report I wondered if we could actually live like that. I always wondered why we all weren’t living as ‘super-humans’.”





Australian Census 2016 is Big Brother Bullshit

7th Aug 2016

The Australian Census will be taken on Tuesday 9th August 2016, for the first time in 5 years. This is the first time names and details of those who partake in the Big Brother roll call will be stored for 4 years and there are penalties if you don’t comply. That’s right, they want to know who you’re sleeping with, all the people under your roof, your yearly income and your occupation and all they don’t have to get a tick on their sheet of paper for who you pray to.

Numerous articles have been splashed around social media threatening up to a $180 fine per day until it is filled out and citizens are panicking…But nowhere on the letters/requests or adverts that are playing ad nauseam on television say it is compulsory. None use the word “mandatory” in any way – just a side note.

You are not slapped with a $180 reoccurring fine the moment you refuse to comply with this outrageous breach of privacy.  Apparently, there are several reminder letters and stalking repeated visitation by field staff before legal action is finally threatened. A fine of $1800 is also a penalty for providing false or misleading information if you are caught. ((Wonder how they would know if what you wrote was true or not, who is checking these facts?))

“How ridiculous are the powers that be in this country! They want to threaten you with financial ruin and a jail term for not telling them the status of your sexual relationship?!” -Ivy Blake, TMN

By using the data from the pointless and invasive census conducted in 2011, it costs the Australian tax-payers around $440 million dollars to direct this activity.

$159 million of that is estimated to pay the salaries of ‘Census Collectors.’

The move to allow a digital option, in which each household is given a code to input before they fill out the online form, will aim at reducing these costs…

However the online versions of the census form are sent to IBM servers in data centres (supposedly situated in this country) before sent to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

—- Head of the Bureau’s census program, Duncan Young has admitted the information will not be encrypted until it leaves their computers and is sent to the ABS. —–

ibm punch card

Oh, and before we all forget, please read the following Wikipedia except regarding IBM’s role in the Holocaust.

“In the early 1880s, Herman Hollerith (1860–1929), a young employee at the U.S. Census Bureau, conceived of the idea of creating readable cards with standardized perforations, each representing specific individual traits such as gender, nationality, and occupation. The millions of punched cards created for the population counted in the national census could then be sorted on the basis of specific bits of information they contained—thereby providing a quantified portrait of the nation and its citizens.

The counting machine operation was made part of a new conglomerate called the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR).[4] Flint chose Thomas J. Watson (1874–1956), the star salesman of the National Cash Register Corporation, to head the new operation.[5] The German licensee Dehomag later became a direct subsidiary of the American corporation CTR.[6] In 1924, Watson assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of CTR and renamed the company International Business Machines (IBM).”

Hitler came to power in January 1933; on March 20 of that same year he established a concentration camp for political prisoners in the Bavarian town of Dachau, just outside the city of Munich. Repression against political opponents and the country’s substantial ethnic Jewish population began at once. By April 1933, some 60,000 had been imprisoned.[7] Business relations between IBM and the Hitler regime continued uninterrupted in the face of broad international calls for an economic boycott.”

census ballon

The reasoning behind the census is said to be concerned with the allocation of funding in the community…

When was the last time you petitioned your government for something it actually ended up putting into motion? Last we checked the defence budget still far exceeded the one to home people sleeping on the street.

When was the last time your state representative did what the majority of voters wanted? Stop building sports stadiums and put the money into hospitals.

Why is it that one can avoid voting for the government who will be in office only a few years but not be allowed to refuse giving out personal information to be stored on a server they have no access to and will not know who is reading it? Who really runs this place? Who wants to know all about the souls on this continent? Where will the information end up? Could it leak or be given to someone internationally? Who really wants to know where your mother was born and whether you can afford to be taxed further?

Why is the monetary fine for not voting far less than not telling the ABS your yearly income and your kid’s name?

If you are registered to vote for a government in Australia and you do not exercise this mandatory “right,” you can be fined;

“Voting at federal elections has been compulsory since 1924 for all citizens on the Commonwealth electoral roll. Anyone who is unable to provide a valid and sufficient reason to the Divisional Returning Officer for failure to vote at a federal election and who does not wish to have the matter dealt with by a Magistrates Court may pay a penalty of $20 (section 245).”  —   AEC, Australian Electoral Commission.

Yet you face far greater penalties for not filling the census out, why?

“The Census provides an invaluable snapshot of the population every five years. The information is used to shape the country’s health, education, transport and infrastructure needs and gives an unparalleled anthropological insight into how our country has changed over time.” –

We call bullshit. And you should too.

flip the bird

Further reading;

Former Australian statistician Bill McLennan said the census was “without doubt the most significant invasion of privacy ever perpetrated on Australians by the ABS”