As a community with some of the highest population of veterans and ADF personnel, we are reminded at this time of year veterans’ suicide is a difficult issue to discuss. Suicide is a difficult issue to discuss - period. But it is a conversation we need to have if we want to break down the stigma that surrounds it.
A few weeks ago murmurs started around Newcastle about the possible closure of the Veterans’ Access Network (VAN) office. Many in the Newcastle and hunter region who access this support were worried- and rightly so. The possibility of this important support for veterans disappearing would make many who regularly access it feel uneasy.
Innovation – it’s the new buzz word for politicians and especially for our Prime Minster. There is rarely a speech goes by where Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t invoke images of Australia’s bright future built on the back of innovation, agility and dynamism.
But for all this talk, the PM’s actions do not back up his rhetoric. Indeed there is a significant threat to the future of Australia’s innovative capacity for generations to come, and that is the Turnbull Liberal-National government itself and its cuts to Australian schools and universities.
At its heart, innovation fills niches, produces new goods and services, and creates new and more efficient and effective ways of doing things. This delivers growth in our GDP, growth in productivity, greater jobs and higher wages. And the key to unlocking this innovation boom is fostering the knowledge, skills and creativity of our people, not only for those currently in the workforce but for generations to come.
When you stop to think of Australia’s great scientific minds, do you think of Ruby Payne-Scott? Most people don’t know who this remarkable woman is, but they should.
We know as much as we do about the universe today because of people like Ruby. So it’s only right that we know more about her.
Ruby was a physicist, astronomer, war hero, equal rights activist and high school teacher.
Imagine a young girl stepping into any Australian classroom on her first day of school.
Nervous, impressionable and eager to learn.
She doesn’t know yet what there is to learn and discover.
And she certainly doesn’t know what she wants to be when she’s older, or how to get there even if she did.
But what she should expect along with every girl in every Australian school is complete encouragement in classroom learning, free from the subtle biases and barriers that slowly, over time, turn many girls away from an interest in science and mathematics.