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Monash University helped eleven young Afghan academics escape the Taliban

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INTERNATIONAL rescue plans to protect and evacuate endangered citizens are not usually on a university’s curriculum. However, Monash University’s director of Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre, Professor Jacqui True, realised she had to do something about the Afghan scholars and teachers involved in the debate program created by the University and its International Affairs Society in Kabul, Afghanistan. “On 14 August, when Kabul fell, I knew we had to do what we could to help them,” Professor True said. “We felt a responsibility to do everything we could to protect them at a time of geopolitical instability, especially as…

There is something comforting about receiving a handwritten note

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VERY few people write letters or notes anymore, so it is a welcome surprise when one arrives in the mail. There is an instant sense of belonging because someone took the time to sit down and put pen to paper. Australia Post is helping Australians stay connected by delivering more than four million specifically designed prepaid postcards to rural and remote households as part of its continued focus on mental health. Head of community at Australia Post, Nicky Tracey, said the simple idea would positively impact people’s mental health, particularly those who are currently unable to visit friends and family.…

Don’t let your good cause die with you

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OVER one hundred charities are encouraging Australians to leave gifts in their wills to ensure their ideals live on. Include a Charity Week, which runs from 6-12 September, aims to get people thinking about how the material legacy they’d like to leave behind when they’re gone could make all the difference to their favourite non-profit. CEO of Fundraising Institute Australia Katherine Raskob said a key part of the Week is an online ‘What Kind of Legend Are You?’ quiz. Anyone can take the quiz to understand how their life stories and values relate to some of Australia’s best-loved charities including…

Sydney youth blaze trail to multicultural understanding

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YOUNG Sydneysiders from seven of the world’s major religions have published an unprecedented manifesto for intercultural harmony. Taking as its logo the world-renowned Harbour Bridge, The Sydney Statement seeks to transcend theological and cultural differences and connect believers, whatever their faith, in a series of common values, principles and commitments. The Statement, the fruit of three years’ work between the Columban Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations and grassroots religious and youth organisations from all around Sydney, was made possible by a COMPACT grant from Multicultural NSW. The text was drafted by the members of Sydney Youth PoWR, a young people’s Parliament…

You don’t have to have an addiction to have an overdose

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SUSAN* had a two-year-old daughter when her partner died from an accidental overdose 20 years ago. Every accidental overdose death is preventable is the mantra of International Overdose Awareness Day, an annual global event held on Tuesday 31, August. The Day is for people like Susan who have lost a loved one, friend or family member to remember them and to work on reducing the stigma associated with drug-related deaths. Susan said it was tough to deal with her devastating loss and lied about his death, saying he was killed in a car accident. “The thing I’ve found over the…

How to fight online censorship that is damaging democracy

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ALGORITHMS and content moderation policies in internet spaces discriminate against minority groups and rob people of their livelihoods and sense of community. That’s the conclusion an expert panel came to at Exhibit, an online forum organised by Digital Rights Watch Australia. Author, researcher and former Penthouse Pet Zahra Stardust kicked off the evening with an explanation that governments and social media platforms deploy legislation and technology to censor sex-related content online. “The regulation of sex is political,” she said. But the notions of offence, obscenity and profanity driving that censorship are middle-class values that punish sex workers, BIPOC and members…

The answer to homelessness is not just a roof

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HOMELESSNESS Week, an annual awareness-raising series of events, is held the first week of August highlighting the over 105,000 Australians who are homeless on any given night. On Monday, 2 August, Homelessness Australia, the country’s national peak body for homelessness, invited the Federal Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Michael Sukkar, to launch the 2021 week, which the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas hosted. Safe Place Advocacy’s Mary-Faeth Chenery, vice-president of a group of community citizens aspiring to influence positive social and affordable housing changes in Hepburn Shire, said they did not have a special event or acknowledged the [Homelessness] week. “We are…

Biloela family united but still in legal limbo

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THE detention of the Murugappan family has attracted international attention this week after the hospitalisation of the youngest child, Tharnicaa, with a blood infection in Perth. The Tamil family have been held on Christmas Island since August 2019 when Australian Border Authorities removed them from their home in Biloela, Queensland. The federal government this week released the family into community detention in Perth following significant public pressure. On Wednesday 23 June, the three oldest members of the family were granted bridging visas, providing them work and study rights while they reside in the Perth community. Chris Breen, Refugee Action Collective’s…