Schools and TAFEs headed back today with the State Government putting their COVID action plan into effect, but the State School Teacher's Union doesn't believe the plan goes far enough to protect TAFE lecturers and students.
Senior Vice President Matt Jarman joined Isaac on Drive to talk about the explosive accusations that the McGowan Government haven't included TAFEs in COVID-19 planning.
The 26th January isn't a day of celebration for the Indigenous people of our land. Thousands of people joined together on Australia Day to urge the Federal Government to act on the grief and loss Indigenous people feel on Australia Day. For a growing number of people, Australia Day is a day of mourning and sadness.
Co-organiser of the protest Megan Krakouer spoke to Isaac on the drive show this afternoon and told the fam about the protests and what the Indigenous community are calling for.
If you missed the compelling interview, click play below.
It’s a hot, humid January day in Fremantle. Specifically, Walyalup Koort, formerly King’s Square in the city centre. The gathered crowd occupies the entire space. The music on the loudspeaker is playing the anthems of yesteryear while live artists perform favourite songs and original hip hop and rap. Families are looking out for their kids either swarming the playground or sitting for face painting. The presence of many teenagers and young adults gives the whole event a festive vibe reminiscent of university and youth gatherings in the 60s.
Yet despite the atmosphere, the goal of the organisers and the intention of the rally is very familiar to most West Australians. These people don’t want to be forced to get vaccinated with the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. Specific to this rally, the attendees wanted the Fremantle City Council to declare the city a mandate free zone, allowing anyone to enter restaurants, businesses, and events regardless of vaccination status.
At this point you may wonder why I’m writing about this event specifically? Why should you keep reading? After all, it has become very common for the organisers and attendees of such rallies to be labelled simply as anti-vaxxers, rightly or wrongly. People who refuse to follow the rules that everyone else has too. Even at the time of writing, the double dose vaccine rate in WA sits at roughly 89.9%. So isn’t this discussion sorted? Those were thoughts I had as I made my way through the streets of Fremantle that afternoon. In full disclosure, I’ve had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and plan to have my booster in the future. So, would I really be convinced or find anything interesting in what my peers at this event would say?
For now, I’ll still be getting my booster. But what was surprising, or perhaps what shouldn’t have been so surprising, was that my peers weren’t trying to overthrow the state government, bring down the border or lob threats at the Premier. Rather, they were there because they were worried and concerned about what the future would look like for them. It’s a concern that many young Aussies are pretty familiar with. Further discussion with these young attendees revealed that they didn’t oppose all vaccines, despite commonly being called anti-vaxxers. When I asked them for their stance, the response was nearly unanimously in favour. In school, they had their vaccines for whooping cough, Hepatitis, and other diseases. Many had and would get a flu shot if they felt they needed it.
So, if my peers at this rally had no animosity towards vaccines, why were they there? The common thread was that they felt that the vaccine had been rushed into production, rather than following the same process or time frame that other vaccines undergo for testing and approval. And since they had such concerns about the safety of the vaccine, they felt they shouldn’t be mandated by their state government to get one.
The health advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, thoroughly tested and scientifically verified in their effectiveness. When I enquired further, everyone I asked said that, while they did not feel safe taking the current vaccine, due to time frame of their production, they would be willing to take a vaccine developed in a few years.
Concerns about the safety or health effects of the vaccine were not and is not unique to young or old opponents of WA mandates. But after having conversations with the younger attendees, it became apparent that their concerns for mandate consequences was very different to more vocal opponents. The reasons given for opposing mandates spoken from the from the soap box that day included rampant corporatism, a move towards a communist state, the introduction of tyranny, religious scripture, and many others. What set the young adult attendees apart was how very human and personal their viewpoint was.
Some said they felt afraid that they’d be dehumanised or disregarded by their friends and family. Others didn’t want to lose the chance to hang out socially with their mates or have their friendships torn apart because of the stance they had taken. Others had lost jobs and were desperate for work. None of them mentioned anything about tyranny, oppression or lost individual rights. In the simplest terms, they were concerned they couldn’t live the same lives or have the same experiences as their mates. At the end of the day, the Fremantle Council voted down the proposal. The next evening when I asked, Premier Mark McGowan quite rightly said that the Fremantle Council does not have the authority revoke vaccine mandates in the city, rendering the result a mostly moot point.
However, I don’t believe that the experience and the discussions I had were worthless. I think that among the younger attendees was a more empathetic message for the government and the rest of Western Australia.
Whether you agree with their concerns or not, I think among young adults and teens, of both perspectives, have the chance for a more civil and productive dialogue going forward. And isn’t that better than the unsuccessful shouting matches we’ve become so used too?
Banksia Hill Detention Centre - WA's ONLY youth prison. It's meant to be a place that nurtures and rehabilitates 10-17 year olds, but instead has been stained by allegations of abuse, inhumane treatment and excessive use of solitary confinement.
Human rights activist and journalist Gerry Georgatos joined Isaac to chat about the four class actions being lodged against the facility. Listen below.
I'm 20 years old and I have no idea who to vote for in the upcoming federal election...
When it comes to politics I like to think I'm well across policies and funding announcements, because I want to know what's going on in my own backyard and inform how I will vote in upcoming elections. But this year I feel in the dark. I don't know who stands for what and why, which feels very uncomfortable as we get closer and closer to a federal election. Is it just me or are our leaders just so out of touch with those aged under 30?
All my voting life I've been a 'swing voter' when it came to state and council elections (yes, politics shouldn't come into council elections) and I'd like to continue that trend and not vote for a party just because my friends are doing so. I've got a problem with community leaders who don't put in effort to inform young and first-time voters with their policies and ideas. You've got to ask why they wouldn't consider it? I can't label a politician lazy, but I can question why you wouldn't engage a first time voter?
I had a conversation with a journalist at another media outlet today and she asked me what are some of the issues that younger voters/I care about - I said social issues, like rights for asylum seekers/refugees, financial support for university/TAFE/further education and infrastructure. Have you heard a politician mention this yet? I've certainly not heard enough about it, certainly not enough to formulate a clear decision on who I believe should be leading the country!
What does it take for leaders to stand up and be proactive in engaging a younger community? It's illegal to not vote in a federal election if you're eligible - so talk to us. Engage us. After all, your fate is kinda in our hands...
The stereotype we face everyday is that ‘young people love to complain’. However, when we ask ourselves what we have learnt over the past two years, should the answer not be that we are endlessly adaptable when faced with confronting circumstances?
Young millennials and freshly anointed Gen Z'ers eagerly anticipate the end of the year. Some of these millennials (team me) commemorate our timely release from uni by pressing pause on those pesky 5 in the AM alarms. Older Gen Z'ers embrace their freedom in the form of nightclubs, live music events and New Year’s salutations. Unfortunately, this year's celebrations became a now-familiar scene across Perth City. On the 23rd of December 2021, WA Premier Mark McGowan announced that Covid-19 had struck in the WA community, yet again. The announcement meant that community celebrations were restricted and social spaces, frequented by young people (i.e nightclubs), were forced to close. It occurred to me that young adults were likely to be affected and I put out a call to several Facebook groups to find out how those under 30 were feeling.
Many cited similar concerns. Primarily these were
A loss of income (for those who work in these industries). Unhappiness at being unable to "relax" after a stressful academic year.
I also spoke with Perth music artist Paige Savill aka, She is Alexandra. Paige claimed the loss of income during the busiest time of year would affect her financially and psychologically as people working in the entertainment industry, were not entitled to financial relief.
Earlier I said that we young people are resilient.
As I scoured social media to find out how people would respond, it became apparent that it was not the young who 'love to complain'.
I noticed that the responses of those whom we are supposed to consider 'role models' were far louder in their disapproval and anger at the sudden closures. And while the disappointment of Millenials and Gen Z'ers was evident, there was an overall tone of maturity and empathy.
Hospital appointments and consultations aren't generally fun times and transitioning to a whole new specialist can seem daunting and scary - which is definitely a normal feeling. For those with an epilepsy diagnosis, a crucial part of keeping on top of your diagnosis is seeing a neurologist. As a child and adolescent, you would see a pediatric neurologist, but as you edge towards 17/18 it becomes apparent that you need to transition to seeing an adult neurologist.
Jenifer Ann joined Isaac on Drive this week to give some tips and comfort about the change and how to navigate it as a patient (and also a parent).
The change needs to happen, Jenifer suggests at age 16 it is a good idea to start thinking about seeing an adult neurologist. A crucial part of the transition is taking as much information as possible from your pediatric neurologist and/or GP. Your pediatric neurologist will make a referral for you, based on your seizures and diagnosis (how regular they are and your types of seizures).
Make sure your seizure diaries are up to date and you keep on-top of your medication and advice from your pediatric neurologist. Ensure you are keeping to your action plan. Doing all of these things will ensure you are equipped for seeing your adult neurologist.
For parents/caregivers, this process can also be stressful. Ensure you do your research and pace yourself. Look into who is taking on new patients but ultimately take as much information as you can from your child's pediatric neurologist.
Hear all of Jenifer's tips below.
Jenifer Ann joins Isaac every Monday from 3.20pm to talk about epilepsy and how those with a diagnosis can ease their challenges.
Nicola Bourgault is our resident movie buff and she joined Isaac to talk us through the top movies to binge as we head into 2022.
Here are the movies she recommends...
- Spiderman No Way Home
- Encanto (if you cry... don't tell us we didn't warn you) - West Side Story
- The Matrix
- Harry Potter: 20th Anniversary return to Hogwarts
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife
- Don't look up
- Sing 2 (prepare to have the tracks in your head for the following couple of years) - The Tick Boom
- The French Dispatch
- The King's Man
- House of Gucci
- Licorice Pizza
If you missed the chat, click play below to hear all of Nicola's suggestions and commentary in full.
When was the last time you sat in a taxi? Not an Uber... or a Didi... an actual Taxi. I have to admit it was my first time in a LONG time recently and at first I wasn't enthusiastic.
Karrinyup to the outer northern suburbs was always going to be costly, no matter how you go about it - but the main thing was, I was getting home. After waiting for 20mins, I hopped into a cab and my journey began. I had a lovely driver, who in this case I'll name Joe*. Joe has been driving taxis for the last couple of years and has been working right through the pandemic. He's taken people from the outer suburbs to the city and back again, but you'd never know.
As 2022 roles around, West Aussies are continuing their trend towards Uber and other 'ride-sharing' companies, which isn't a bad thing. Saving money and time has never been something a taxi driver has begrudged someone of and in this case, Joe understands why people are steering away from the old-school taxi service. There's a gap that needed to be filled and Uber did just that, fair game to them! This article isn't a 'bag Uber' piece, it is instead trying to convince you that Taxi drivers need your service.
Taxi drivers don't generally sit on a fixed wage, they are forced to essentially make commission with the taxi company taking a cut of their income. As it stands (January 2022) Joe needs to make a minimum of $95 per day to cover all his expenses, like fuel. When I posed the question to him, 'do you make that $95 a day', his response was a stark reminder of the state the taxi industry is in. Joe hasn't made $95 in a while, he barely gets jobs in a 12hr day, but the taxi company still takes their money at the end of the fortnight, which Joe says he's had to pay out of his own pocket. You'd expect the company would be appreciative of the current economic environment? Well, that's not what Joe seems to think.
The State Government announced financial relief for WA taxi companies/workers back in April 2020 with $9million allocated to the sector. Has Joe seen a cent of that money, or at least reaped some benefits? No. Has head office support Joe in any way? No.
The taxi industry has not progressed with the times and is leaving its employees by the way side. Joe is now considering moving out of the taxi business, as he cannot live in a holding pattern. He needs to see change and quickly, or he's out. But what needs to change? Well for starters taxi companies need to catch up with the times... long holding times on the phone need to go. More employees are needed to avert long waiting times for passengers. Websites and apps need to be modernised and systems need to be rectified. There's quite a bit to do. Joe still has some faith in the industry and hopes upcoming changes, at the company he works for, will help boost his income.
The taxi industry is in dire straits and it needs your help. Without us, not much will change. When you're next out, consider a taxi over a ride-share vehicle. This is someone's life we're talking about.
Press conferences, exposure sites, conspiracy theories and a tonne of misinformation - it's all the ingredients of a typical pandemic. We've been living a version of normal for two years now and things don't seem to change. Whenever a press conference is called, Facebook comments light up with the words 'LOCKDOWN'. You wouldn't be human if you're a little over all of this...
Experts have a label for this and it's 'Pandemic fatigue' with the Federal Government's very own mental health website having a designated section to this phenomena. It seems that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light a whole new medical emergency... mental health and Australia's lack of education around it.
The Federal Government have some resources available if you're feeling pandemic fatigue. You can view them by clicking here.
The Black Dog Institute reports that 1 in 5 (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. During the pandemic we saw ordinary Australians step up and create/deliver mental health projects that mattered.
At the Western Australia Australian of the Year Awards in November of 2021, 28-year-old Kendall Whyte was recognised as the WA Young Australian of the Year for 2022. Whyte founded the Blue Tree Project in 2019 with her efforts also being noticed during the pandemic. Blue trees are popping up here in Australia, but also overseas in countries like Canada and Britain. Kendall spoke to Youth Jam after being recognised for her efforts.
Pandemic fatigue and lack of support in the mental health space have left Aussies vulnerable. Statistics from the Mental Health Commission show suicide was the 13th leading cause of death for non-Indigenous Australians and the 5th leading cause of death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Another cash injection will benefit the mental health space, but what is truly needed is further education and a removal of the stigma that surrounds mental health and seeking help.
If this article brought up anything for you, then call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. You are loved.