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The Smart Capital in the Clever Country? Maybe not.


“Hey, g’day! How y’goin?” A familiar greeting. But this was not in Australia. This was off season in a quieter part of southern China, a couple of years ago. While getting a buzz from the unexpected reminder of home, we were only a little surprised. Anyone travelling around Asia over the last 20 years will have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of young Australian backpackers making their way around, very often to remote regions. The 3 week adventure bus tour of yesteryear has been superseded by a few months, or longer, of roaming, working, lazing, and more roaming, usually with friends.

No longer just silent observers of the exotic, these travellers happily share the privations of the developing world, and relish the close contact with the locals. China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand seem to be the hot spots for young Aussies, some becoming semi-permanent residents, joining or starting a business there. Many are checking-out the world before starting their university studies or while taking a break from them. This is a smart, curious and adventurous group.

Now, a question. How many of these young people in, say, China, are fluent, or near fluent, in Mandarin? I don’t know either, but our observations suggest very few. Although they’re having the time of their lives, imagine how richer the experience would be if they could chat easily with the locals. How many educational, cultural, business and career experiences do they unknowingly pass in their travels because they cannot speak the local language?

Sure, some have studied an Asian language for a year or two at university, which, though useful, normally gives them little more than the ability to engage in small talk. Compare that with German or Swedish tourists here, virtually all of whom can speak fluently in English on any topic you care to raise. Ok, English is an international language, but this has made it too easy to ignore the changing nature of the world. China is now a major economic power and a cauldron of opportunities for young people with the mix of essential skills to seize them; one of which must be the language.

We noted with mixed feelings the announcement by the Prime Minister during his visit to Vietnam in November 2006 that Chinese is now the most widely spoken foreign language in Australia, “An illustration,” he said, “of Australia’s natural, comfortable and permanent part of the Asian region”. Alas, this has little to do with our education system. Most of the speakers of Mandarin and Cantonese in Australia bring these languages with them as immigrants and visitors, and have little support in the formal school system to encourage their children to maintain and develop these valuable linguistic skills – or become literate in Chinese.

How is the education system in the ACT responding to the growing importance of Asia, particularly China? Its report card does not look too good. The number of students studying Mandarin in government schools has fallen from over 1,000 in 2001 to 550 in 2006. And many of the current students are in fact native speakers studying here as international students!

The reduction in Mandarin programs at school level in the ACT has probably been influenced by the abolition of the Federal Government’s National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) program in 2002/3. But it is also symptomatic of the generally low status of languages other than English in schools. A telling example of this is the absence of any reference to learning to communicate in another language in initial versions of the ACT Department of Education’s new curriculum framework currently being trialled. One wonders how this is possible given that languages are supposed to be one of eight key learning areas in Australian education.

All Ministers of Education declared their commitment to promoting languages in a national statement issued in 2005. This statement made clear the immense importance of learning another language – from contributing to general intellectual and educational development and helping promote social cohesiveness to enhancing employment and career prospects; not to mention the advantages of language skills for the country – strategically, economically and internationally. Also, research clearly shows that learning another language can help students improve their literacy skills in English!

Why is the ACT, a diverse, widely travelled, well-educated and affluent community, not leading the way in Australia? It is time to take positive steps to overcome the problems that have beset language programs in the past – lack of quality teachers and programs, little continuity within schools or between primary and secondary programs, and little integration with other areas of the curriculum or with the resources out there in our community in the embassies and homes of the 13% of ACT residents who speak a language other than English with their families.

What is needed is a long term and comprehensive plan that will build on the Territory’s strengths and equip the young people of the ACT with the languages skills they will need in the social and business world of tomorrow. English alone is no longer enough. Learning at least one other language should be an integral part of the education of all young people in the ACT.

We will need to decide which languages to focus on, but Asian languages, particularly Chinese, should be one priority. As the former head of the World Bank said in Australia recently “we must invest in an Asian future”.

The ACT used to lead Australia in many areas, including its education system. It can again show leadership by adopting a far-sighted language policy that will pay handsome dividends, not only to future generations of Canberrans, but to all Australians.

Len Waugh
Vice- President, Association for Learning Mandarin in Australia Inc (ALMA)- a non-profit community group – see http://alma.anu.edu.au for details

Getting into Alpacas


Fiona and friends!
Fiona Vanderbeek
When I left England in 2001 I was in my early-40s, enjoying a career in London, living in a beautiful old house in glorious English countryside and driving a nice car. I also had an Australian husband, who yearned to return home; I took the plunge – we packed our lives into a forty foot container and moved to the Southern Highlands of NSW.

We spotted an advertisement for a seminar on alpacas; by the end of that weekend we were hooked! At this point I couldn’t tell straw from lucerne and had never owned an animal larger than a cat. We were extraordinarily fortunate to find ourselves in an area abounding in experienced alpaca breeders, who made us welcome and gave huge practical support as we selected our foundation animals and dealt with our first births.

Now we have joined with four of those studs (Alpacapena, Earthwise, Elysion and Pacofino) to form the Southern Highlands Alpaca Alliance, and will be holding our first “Alpaca Basics” day in June. Our aim is to help those contemplating entering the world of alpacas – be it as the owners of a couple of endearing lawnmowers on a few acres, or for those planning to enter a rapidly expanding rural industry on anything from 25 to 250 acres.

Six years after leaving England, I work full time running Birrong Suri Alpacas. It has not always been easy – we have lived with drought and been threatened by fire. My brain is kept fully functional as we work on the continuous genetic improvement of our herd, and my physical fitness far exceeds anything I ever achieved in a London gym. Would I swap my old clothes and dusty ute for an air-conditioned office and a shiny car – not for anything.

If you would like your Alpaca Questions answered through The Word, or would like to attend “Alpaca Basics” contact Fiona Vanderbeek on (02) 4878 9310 or email alpacas@birrong.biz

Bald Archys return to Tuggeranong Arts Centre


Andrew Howell, Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride
For the 6th time, the deliciously wicked Bald Archys return to Tuggeranong Arts Centre from 3 to 20 May. The Archys are the creation of Peter Batey OAM, Director of the Coolac Festival of Fun, and have grown from humble beginnings to national prominence.

Launched at the Museum of the Riverina, Wagga Wagga, the Bald Archys travel to Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Canberra, Deniliquin, Melbourne, Bright and Adelaide. The exhibition attracts huge crowds wherever it goes and Tuggeranong is no exception.

‘The Bald Archys are a signature event at Tuggeranong Arts Centre,’ said the Centre’s Gallery and Visual Arts Co-ordinator, Suzie Edwards. ‘Thousands of people come each time the show is on and they always have a good laugh at the paintings of our beloved politicians, sports people and arts identities.’

This year’s exhibition features some 40 works, the winning entry being Xavier Ghazi’s janus portrait of Barry Humphries/Dame Edna. Admission to the exhibition is by gold coin donation. Gallery hours have been extended to meet demand and will be from 9 to 5 week days and 10 to 4 weekends.

Enquiries phone 6293 1443
Info on the website www.tca.asn.au

Stomp Goes To Rio!


The Kokoloco girls will be performing at Stomp.
Is the cold getting you down, would you rather be in Rio? Then you need to head to the next Stomp dance party!

“The Stomp” is a cooperative project organised by a group of volunteers from the local dance community and the Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin. This time Stomp is getting out the feathers, sequins and maracas as the Rio Carnaval comes to the Albert Hall, on Saturday the 12th of May.

The disastrous Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 was the catalyst to run the first Stomp dance. It raised $4000 and helped get a Sri Lankan fishing village back to work with new boats. Since then dancers of all styles have enjoyed Stomp every 3 months, so far raising over $18,000! The money is dedicated to needy charities nominated by the Rotary Club.

Before winter sets in, Stomp is heating up the Canberra night as we head to South America and join in the famous Rio Carnaval. Annie and the Armadillos will set feet on fire as they once again entertain the Stompers with their own special brand of music. A wide range of DJ music has been selected to complement the breaks in the live music. The Stomp team is also putting together some exciting surprises that will make the “Rio Carnaval” one hot night.

The Stomp is a night of great live music, professional dance performances, dance competitions, the odd surprise and of course, lots of dancing. The Stomp tries to cater for the broadest array of dance styles and you will certainly see plenty of swing, ceroc, rock and roll, Latin and ballroom styles. Each Stomp begins with complementary dance classes enabling you to expand your dance knowledge – Stomp is the ultimate event for any enthusiastic dancer!

Tickets are just $20 for over 5 hours of dance entertainment and are available from the website www.thestomp.org.

So if you are keen to support local charity and have a great time, write this date in your diary – 12th May 2007, get out your feathers and finery and round up your friends, because the “Rio Carnaval” is heating up the Canberra night!

2007 Access Dinghy National & International Championships


Sailability ACT 2007 Nationals Team
Sailability ACT put in a brilliant performance at the 2007 National & International Regatta in Adelaide at Easter.
After a season of dedicated training, under the expert coaching of Michael Leydon, all the hard work paid off for Sailability ACT sailors who took on the unfamiliar waters of St. Vincent’s Gulf off Adelaide to win or place in most divisions. Sailability ACT also took out the coveted Team Trophy over teams from all Australian states plus teams from Japan, New Zealand and Italy.
Ten Sailability ACT sailors, six with disabilities, journeyed to Adelaide to contest the event in which over 65 sailors, many with disabilities, took part.
In the Access 2.3 Novice Division our sailors took the trifecta, with 13 year old junior Nathan Kelly 1st, his mother Karen Kelly 2nd and Australian Team Special Olympic sailor Bronwyn Ibbotson 3rd. In the Access 2.3 Intermediate Division Christine Elliott was 3rd. In the bigger boats the Access 303 Singles Division, Michael Leydon was 2nd after a closely fought race, and in the Access 303 Doubles, Michael Leydon and Debbie Boys went undefeated throughout the event for 1st place.
With the addition of the Team Trophy Sailability ACT bought home a swag of Trophies and proved themselves a formidable force in Access Dinghy racing.
The 2007 Sailability ACT Team Pictured below are:
From left to right (Back) Michael Leydon, Nathan Kelly, Allister Peek, John Elliott (Centre) Bronwyn Ibbotson, Karen Kelly, Christine Elliott, Bill Gabriel
(Front) Debbie Boys and Catharine Keir.

Everyday for Everyone


By Diana Coxhead
Spring is a much welcomed season in Canberra after the chill of winter, bleak days, layers of clothing and lurgies. Wendy, mother of two is shaking off the shackles of winter, embracing the warm weather and heading out to Floriade with the kids.

Before she is out the door, enjoying the beautiful spring weather, she remembers it’s collection day tomorrow, so she trundles the garbage and recycling bins out to the footpath. Not long after, her phone beeps to say she has a text message. It’s the Erindale library. The book she has been waiting for has arrived. Wendy makes a mental note to swing by the library to pick up the book on her way out.

As she nips out the back to hang out the washing, she notices the grass is being mowed in the public space near her house. “Wonderful she thinks, this will deter snakes and make the area look great.” As she steps out the door, kids in tow, the phone rings and it is the coordinator at Tuggeranong Lakeside Leisure Centre letting her know her dates for swimming lessons are available. “My day just keeps on getting better,” she thinks before finally bundling the kids into the car. Wendy also remembers the pile of used items in the boot of her car and decides to make a trip to the Recycling Centre along the way.

Did you know, before Wendy has even left her home, she has come into contact with the Department of Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) several times.

Established in July 2006 TAMS merged with previous departments such as Urban Services, Tourism, Environment ACT, Sport and Recreation, ACTION, Canberra Stadium and parts of the Office of Sustainability to serve residents under a single department.

With a population of over 300,000 Canberra is a city with wide-ranging services and facilities from Tidbinbilla Nature Park to a comprehensive network of bike paths, public pools and plenty of open spaces for people to enjoy. It is these services which TAMS manages. Along with overseeing Yarralumla Nursery and Capital Linen, TAMS’ people also cleans and maintains 88 shopping centres, 67 toilets and 119 barbeques in public parkland.

Meanwhile, as Wendy is heading down the Monaro Highway she slows down as there is a dead kangaroo on the road. She makes a mental note to call Canberra Connect to have it removed.

TAMS’ staff can be found throughout Canberra, mowing grass all year round, hosting Floriade, maintaining footpaths, roads, traffic and street lights, playgrounds, sports grounds, as well serving the city through ACTION, recycling and waste collections and Domestic Animal Services.

During her day, Wendy came into contact with TAMS at least 10 times. To find out more about TAMS call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81 or visit www.tams.act.gov.au. By the way, Wendy managed to get her book from the library, enjoy Floriade, get to the Recycling Centre and call about the dead ‘roo.

Take time to get to know your neighbours; you never know when you may need them


CRS is a free, not for profit mediation service
Fiona McIlroy
It takes time to create a sense of belonging and connection. Many of us nowadays think time is a scarce commodity. We may complain that we hardly have time to spend time with family, so why would we bother building bridges with neighbours. That may be a policy that works in fair weather when all is going smoothly in our street. What about a time when a crime is committed, or a public nuisance? A flood, a burst water main or fallen power-line? Not to mention a fire- who has a ladder or a hose?
There are many good reasons to take the time to know your neighbours, at well least enough to know who is in their household, and if they go away for a significant period. We may value our privacy because we are so busy, but others in our street may value an occasional kind word because they may be isolated or unwell. Whilst we cannot legislate for kindness, we will all benefit from it when the need for community solidarity arises.
The Chair of the Social Inclusion Board noted in his Introduction to the ACT Government Report on Open Forums 2005 that:
‘Canberra has been through a period of social, cultural and economic transformation.there has been a significant growth in the number of households of one or two person(s)..In the past, many cohesive neighbourhoods were based primarily on larger families, and children provided some of the social ties of a community.
There is also evidence that.Canberra in particular has a transient population, with approximately thirty per cent of Canberrans moving house each year.’
The people who have lived in a neighbourhood longer are in a good position to introduce themselves to new arrivals. Never under-estimate the power of a friendly greeting from an insider to an outsider coming in. Establishing a friendly and supportive neighbourhood is not difficult, but it takes good will and a decision to make that effort.
Don’t wait till you have a problem before you talk to your neighbour
If you let time go by without meeting your neighbour in a friendly natural way, something they do may begin to annoy you. It is after all easier to be annoyed with the neighbours than with your boss, the government, your own children, dog, garden, or heaven forbid yourself! Bad-mouthing the family next door may be a nice easy way to let off steam, but how easy is it in the long run if there are tensions between you and the neighbours? Chickens come home to roost!
The lost opportunities when we don’t trust our neighbours
The down side of not being able to talk to your neighbours
Do you want to live in a stand-off situation where you avoid coming across them near the front gate, or worse, in a virtual war zone where you are nervous about one them or their kids deliberately damaging your plants, letterbox or car?
Who will watch my place or water my pot plants?
On the lost opportunity list, what about when you want to go away and can’t feed your pet or water your pot plants? What a loss of freedom if you can’t go away, and if you can’t rely on the good will of your neighbour to watch out for your place while you are away!
What about in times of crisis- a fire, an accident, a burst water main, or electricity pole down in the wind? Friendly neighbours will always take the trouble to check how you are going, and will help you out or share information where possible.
Goodwill can be lost easily by believing or repeating stories or gossip
Good will is easy to lose, and takes a little effort to create and keep. Knowing the person in good times is always an insurance against a mistake, accident or misunderstanding in rough times. Treating each other with respect, and listening to another point of view is vital. Gossip involving neighbours often spreads quickly, and as is often said, bad news travels faster than good. If we do not know a person first hand, it is much easier to believe something said by others, or even to make assumptions about their motives when something happens.
It is too easy to develop suspicions without proof
For instance, the bin is tipped over. There are young people in the house next door, who have been seen hanging out in the driveway at night. Of course it was them. We may never test the truth of this belief. But next time something happens, eg a letterbox is damaged, we are more than likely to believe the same young people are responsible. If people are wrongly accused, they can become anti-social.
Find ways to build social connection among neighbours
Street parties are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they are a great way of getting to know people in your street. Sometimes people even find they have skills to share, or information to pass on. Even chatting at the local shops can be helpful. The potential for hearsay to become rumour and social division is less if people are able to chat and find out first hand how their neighbour ticks. If you don’t want to hold or attend a street party, just be friendly when you cross paths, see them working in their garden or collecting the mail.
A neighbour may hold the key to something valuable you want to know.ah yes, I can recommend a reasonable plumber.
If there is a problem between neighbours that concerns you, contact Conflict Resolution Service on 6295 5998
If a misunderstanding or annoyance has arisen between neighbours, and you don’t feel able to express your concerns face to face, contact Conflict Resolution Service for advice, referral, conflict resolution strategies mediation, or counselling
Appreciate your neighbours as a friend in times of need
Remember to value your neighbour, as there may very well be a time when you need one another. Not to mention positive feelings are better for your health than negative ones, and social connection is the best medicine.
This project aims to educate the community in ways to prevent, manage and resolve conflict in their neighbourhoods.
Conflict Resolution Service is now located on Level 3 Griffin Centre
Genge St Civic. Call us on
6162 4050 for advice or information on resolving disputes or visit www.crs.org.au

The Conflict Resolution Service is a community organisation funded by ACT Government to provide a free and accessible mediation service to the Canberra region for neighbourhood disputes; parenting couple and family disputes; and community disputes which may include charitable organisations or sporting organisations. Mediations will also be provided on a fee for service sliding scale basis for disputes involving property settlements exceeding $30,000; corporations and workplace disputes.

ACT well placed to contribute to a national curriculum


EDUCATION will be a key battleground at the federal election, and one of the most important debates will be over a national curriculum.

The Howard Government and federal Labor have put forward their competing visions of how a national curriculum should develop. Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop says a national curriculum will be set up at her prerogative, tied to the next funding round between the Commonwealth and states and territories. Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd and Labor education spokesman Stephen Smith have said a National Curriculum Board, comprising curriculum experts, will be set up to develop a national curriculum over three years, focusing on maths, science, English and history.

I support the move to a national curriculum covering core subjects. Year 12 courses in chemistry, physics and higher-level mathematics are 80-95 per cent the same nationally. Further, each year, about 80,000 school students move to a different state or territory. Many defence families, for example, are in Canberra for a short time. We should aim to minimise education disruption.

National collaboration will also help lighten the curriculum development load on the ACT Education Department and our teachers. More broadly, it is important that as a nation we agree on what is essential for students to learn. As individuals, our students face the challenge of keeping up with the ever-increasing rate of change. As a nation, we face the challenge of maintaining our global competitiveness. The greatest challenge for a national curriculum is getting the balance between national consistency and local flexibility right.

While a national curriculum should set up clear statements about core curriculum content, states and territories should have flexibility in relation to teaching strategies, and be able to add local content. In the ACT, for example, it is crucial that our history classes recognise the important role Canberra plays, and that our politics classes recognise the unique aspects of the ACT’s political system. Further, there will always be some elements of schooling that cannot be captured in a national curriculum document, which should be left to local communities. Such a document will promote common standards in core subjects, but schools will always be best placed to promote creative problem-solving and ethical behaviour in individual students.

The ACT is well placed to contribute to a national curriculum, because it is already working to ensure a consistent curriculum in its schools. The ACT framework enjoys strong community support because parents, teachers and others have been involved in deciding what students should be taught. It serves as a national model.

Unfortunately, the Howard Government’s threats to bludgeon states and territories into adopting its curriculum through the next funding round will not produce a national curriculum which reflects excellent practice from the ACT and elsewhere. It appears set to continue to grandstand on education policy. It would be better served by entering into a dialogue with states and territories about how to realise a national curriculum, while taking into account the needs and interests of local communities.

Andrew Barr MLA is the ACT Minister for Education and Training.

Have a cuppa for cancer


Register now for Australia''s Biggest Morning Tea
The Cancer Council ACT invites you to join them for a cuppa and to help raise funds for the fight against cancer.

Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea is Thursday May 24 this year, and calls on members of the public to register as hosts, then invite their friends, family and workmates to attend their Morning Tea, and make a contribution to The Cancer Council ACT.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a chat and a catch up,” Council Fundraising Manager Hope Steele says. “People hold their Morning Tea’s at home, work, school, anywhere. We’re hoping the ACT will really get behind the event this year.”

The Cancer Council ACT hopes to register 800 hosts and raise $160,000. All money raised stays in the ACT region and funds The Council’s research, education programs and support services for people affected by cancer, their families and carers’.

While the official date is May 24, hosts can hold their Morning Tea anytime throughout May. If you, your school or workplace would like to register as a host for this year’s Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea call 1300 65 65 85 or visit www.biggestmorningtea.com.au

ADHD drugs on par with Ice


My name is Matthew Dent. I am a concerned citizen. The following information is documented and I am merely passing it on. I have sourced all references cited.

This article is dedicated to Marcus McKenzie, a good friend of mine who eventually commited suicide due to what I believe may very likely have been the result of the use of stimulants prescribed for ADHD. Such stimulant drugs are now known to cause suicide and psychotic episodes according to recent warning labels applied by the American Food and Drug Administration.

The following is quoted from the official American Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) website.

“Amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, and their various salts are collectively referred to as amphetamines. In fact, their chemical properties and actions are so similar that even experienced users have difficulty knowing which drug they have taken. Methamphetamine is the most commonly abused.

“Street terms for methamphetamine: Meth, poor man’s cocaine, crystal meth, ice, glass, speed.”

Next is a quote from an American Medical Assoc Journal.

“Acknowledged as leaders in the field of brain imaging of drug effects, Volkow and colleagues have spent several years tracing the effects on the brain of drugs of addiction, using positron emission tomography (PET) and other advanced techniques.

“… Because of methylphenidate’s [Ritalin] chemical similarities to cocaine,
pharmacologists thought that it might work in the same way, only less potently, blocking fewer transporters . Animal studies with high doses of methylphenidate indicated that this could be the case.


“The results were shocking. ‘We were surprised as hell,’ said Volkow. ‘We didn’t expect this .’ Instead of being a less potent transport inhibitor than cocaine, methylphenidate was more potent . A typical dose given to children, 0 .5 mg/kg, blocked 70% of dopamine transporters . ‘The data clearly show that the notion that Ritalin is a weak stimulant is completely
incorrect,’ Volkow said.”

(Nora Volkow, MD, psychiatrist and imaging expert at Brookhaven National
Laboratory, Upton, NY)

(906 Journal of AMA, August 22/29 . 2001-Vol 286, No . 8 [Reprinted] L2001 American Medical Association)

The Australian Drug Guide, by Dr Jonathan Upfal, actually has Methylphenidate (Ritalin) Dexamphetamine, prolintane (Catovit) and ecstasy all under the heading of “amphetamines”.

Dr Upfal mentions the powerful habit forming potential of these class of drugs, placing it in the “high” category: “These drugs induce psychological dependence and tolerance to their effect. Doses become progressively larger and more frequent. Overdose: Acute anxiety, tension, irritability, fever, sweating, trembling, enlarged pupils, talkativenesses, restlessness, rapid pounding heart, irregular heart rhythm or breathlessness, panic, violent or aggressive behaviour, hallucinations, delirium, severe headache, seizures, strokes, coma. Chronic: depression, paranoia, hallucinations, severe insomnia, weight loss, psychosis.”

The side effects listed in The Australian Drug guide are as follows, “dry mouth, metallic taste, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, butterflies in the stomach.
Apprehension, anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, euphoria, nervousness, weakness, tremor, restlessness, dizziness, sensitivity to glare with dilated pupils.
Sweating, pallor, chills.
Rapid pulse, pounding in the chest.
Increased sexual drive, impotence, difficulty urinating.
Crying spells in children.
Fatigue post-dose[come down effect]…
More serious: Panic, confusion, aggression, violent attacks, delirium, hallucinations, depression, paranoid ideas, compulsive or stereotyped behaviour, teeth grinding.
Pounding headache, slurred speech, loss of power in the limbs or face, disturbances of vision due to raised blood pressure in the brain, convulsions, stroke due to brain hemorrhage.
Irregular heart beat, chest pain, breathlessness due to heart strain; damage to heart muscle.”

If one cares to have even a brief look on the Net regarding the effects of stimulants given by psychiatrists and doctors to treat ADHD, one cannot help but confront the horrific facts. Witness futher damning evidence from the DEA:

“Psychotic episodes, paranoid delusions,hallucinations, and bizarre behavioural characteristics similar to amphetamine-like stimulant toxicity, have been associated with methylphenidate (Ritalin ) abuse. Severe medical consequences, including death, have been reported.” (Terrance Woodworth, DEA congressional Testimony before the Committee on Education and the Workforce: Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families, 16 May 2000.)

In the same report we also find testimony to the fact that neither animals nor humans can differentiate between cocaine, amphetamine and mehtylphenidate. “In short, they produce effects that are nearly identical.”

On June 28, 2005, the FDA ordered labeling changes to methylphenidate [Ritalin] products, including Concerta, to warn that these drugs can cause “psychiatric events.” These are described as “visual hallucinations, suicidal ideation [in laymans terms: constantly thinking of suicide], psychotic behavior, as well as aggression or violent behavior.”
Source: Jennifer Corbett Dooren, “FDA Eyes Psychiatric Risks of ADHD Drugs,” Smartmoney.com, 28 June 2005.

In 1995, the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) asked governments to “exercise vigilance with regard to trade in and dispensing of the substance [stimulant prescribed for ADHD] in order to prevent any attempts to divert it into illicit traffic.” (Report of the International Narcotics Control Board for 1995, United Nations Publication, ISSN 0257-3717.)

The same year the DEA said Ritalin could lead to addiction and that “psychotic episodes, violent behavior and bizarre mannerisms had been reported” with its use. ( “Methylphenidate [A Background Paper],” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Oct. 1995, p. 16.)

“Psychotic episodes”? “Violent behavior”? What is this? Our so-called health experts are still pumping these drugs into our children despite the warnings which, by the way, have been known about since the general introduction of amphetamines way back in the 1940s.

Psychiatrists seem to have no compunction in dealing out these drugs which are basically the same as Ice. Ironic isn’t it that our government is subsidising drugs such as ‘Ritalin’ and ‘Dexamphetamine’ for children as young as 4 years old; all this whilst speaking with grave concern about the abuse of “Ice” on the streets. The facts show that Ice and the various stimulants prescribed for ADHD have fundamentaly the same effects on the body and mind. Lets get real here guys! How long will it take until this is stopped? How many kids are going to die from this?

The word is getting out though: Michael Moore is soon to release a documentary called “Sicko” which exposes the lies behind this legal drug dealing gone mad and supported by our governments.

You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.




The new Canberra Glassworks, due to open on 25 May, will become Australia’s most important centre of glass making and glass exhibition.

The ACT Government has shown incredible foresight, converting a 92 year old, former industrial building into an iconic new centre for the arts. As Australia’s newest cultural attraction, the Canberra Glassworks will provide cutting-edge exhibitions of glass art, hands-on experiences for visitors and unique access facilities for artists.

The grand opening weekend marks the culmination of years of planning and construction work creating a unique venue dedicated as a world-class glass art centre.

The central attraction of the Glassworks is the dramatic view of glass blowing in the centre’s ‘Hot Shop’, viewed from a raised platform. Visitors will be able to see world-class artists in action and to take part in the excitement of glass blowing first-hand.

Visitors to the building will be inspired by the design and architecture of a contemporary space within an historic building. Canberra’s iconic Powerhouse, one of the city’s oldest buildings, has been ‘reborn’ as a state-of-the-art venue to showcase Canberra’s world-renowned glass art and artists.

The new Canberra Glassworks will be open to the public every Wednesday – Sunday. Visitors will be able to learn how to work with glass, meet artists, view work in progress as well as exhibitions within the centre’s two galleries.

Guided tours of the spectacular building and the ‘Off the Street’ program will allow visitors to get behind the scenes and have unique hands-on experiences with glass. Visitors will be among the first to see Australia’s first cultural facility devoted to contemporary glass practice and relax in the cafĂ© or enjoy shopping for exclusive, hand-made glass at a range of prices.

The opening weekend celebrations will offer visitors the opportunity to tour the historic building, see the ‘Hot Shop’ in action, view the inaugural glass exhibition, talk to the Canberra Glassworks team or find out more about enrolling in a workshop program by a leading glass artist. Bookings for tours of the facility on 26 – 27 May are essential. Telephone Canberra Connect on 13 22 81 to book in or for more information about the program email contactus@canberraglassworks.com.

Brumbies last hoorah!


Saturday 28th April 2007 sees the last CA Brumbies home game for the 2006/07 season. Still with a realistic shout of making the semis the Brumbies are desperate to send George Gregan, Stephen Larkham and Jeremy Paul out with the fanfare these loyal servants deserve.

80 minutes of free-flowing, entertaining rugby is expected from two of the best teams in the competition. A victory for the CA Brumbies over the Crusaders, the comps leaders and perenial nemesis for the Brumbies is a must to give the Brumbies a chance of cementing their place in the semis.

How good would it be to see the Brumbies break their bonus point drought and put away at least four fabulous free-flowing tries to boost their chances of catapulting over the Bulls and the Chiefs into fourth spot on the table.

Get your tickets from www.ticketek.com

Rapt in Felt Exhibition


annie''s wrap
Rapt in Felt Exhibition
Canberrans will have the opportunity to view the magical qualities of the world’s oldest fibre – man made felt, when the Canberra Region Feltmakers hold their annual exhibition from Thursday 31 May to Sunday 3 June.

The Canberra Region Feltmakers have been presenting the Rapt in Felt exhibition since 1997. Both local and interstate felters will be exhibiting and selling their work. Some of these exhibitors, Michelle Slezak, Gaida Cirulis, Jackie Hartley, Liz Evans, Betty Hudson and Helen French, are well known felters in the region. This exhibition follows on from another successful display of felt at both the Canberra Show and the Folk Festival.

The exhibition runs from Thursday 31 May to Sunday 3 June from 10.00am to 4.00pm daily, with a fashion parade on Friday and Saturday at 12.00 noon and a fabulous felt frenzy buyer’s bazaar will also be operating.

Canberra Region Feltmakers President, Maggie Whyte says: “We are very pleased to be holding the exhibition again this year and we encourage those who have not seen it before to come down to the CSIRO Discovery Centre and see why the interest in felting is growing in the Canberra region all the time.”

Australian merino wool is the best wool to use for feltmaking. Australian feltmakers specialise in producing light wearable felt by incorporating silk in their garments. Decorative elements like yarns and other natural fibres can be included in the felting process. Further decoration to finished garments can be achieved with machine embroidery, beads and feathers. Clothing is not the only thing that can be created from felt – bags, sculptures, hats and a variety of fashion accessories can easily be created.

Felt is our oldest textile. Felt is made with wool, water and pressure. Until recently feltmaking had become a forgotten art, but is now enjoyed by a wide variety of people of all ages. Felt is so versatile! You can make it thick or thin to create unique clothing, footwear, rugs, hats, furnishings, sculptures or wall hangings. Felt yurts (tents) are today still being made and lived in by nomadic tribes in Europe and Asia. The Canberra Region Feltmakers were formed in December 1994 and usually meet on the fourth Saturday of each month at the Lions Youth Haven, Westwood Farm, Kambah, on the Kambah Pool Road. There is a wool and fibre shop and a well stocked library. Workshops are also conducted and everyone is welcome to attend them. Visitors are welcome to attend the meetings – come and see what felting is all about. Or visit our website www.crfelters.org.au .

For more information, please contact:
Maggie Whyte
Canberra Region Feltmakers
Ph: 6281 0988

Indian Myna Trappers Making an Impact


Indian Myna
By Bill Handke, President, Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc.

The Indian Myna problem in Canberra has taken a positive turn with some 9 600 Indian Mynas now removed from around Canberra and Queanbeyan by 230 backyard trappers over the past year. Indian Mynas – feral birds that were introduced to the Canberra region in 1968 – are despised as a major threat to our wildlife and as a
significant nuisance in people’s backyards. They take over nesting hollows of native birds, prey on their eggs and chicks. Many people are also greatly disturbed by the way they scare native birds away from their gardens and foul their patios and barbeque areas. The trappers, members of the community-action group, Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc (CIMAG), have made a huge difference. There are now regular reports that myna numbers have dropped significantly in local areas, native birds are coming back into backyards and Rosellas returned to nesting hollows last breeding season.

Kambah has been a particularly successful area for trapping. With 22 people with traps, 3061 mynas have been removed from Kambah over the past year. Other highly successful suburbs are Garran, Duffy, Pearce, Theodore, Aranda and Hall.

This is wonderful news for our native wildlife. And some considerable respite for people who are concerned about the presence of mynas in their backyards.

But the job has a long way to go. Indian Mynas continue to be seen in big numbers in many parts around Canberra: around shopping centres and in areas where there has been little or no trapping.

More needs to be done to reduce the opportunities mynas have for feeding, breeding and roosting. All Canberrans can help in this area: by not leaving cat or dog food out during the day and by not feeding the birds directly; by blocking holes in the eaves and other areas around their homes that mynas can use as nesting hollows; and by removing pencil pines and similar dense foliage exotic trees that are used as roost trees at night.

If people want to know more about the activities of CIMAG they can contact Bill Handke, the President of CIMAG (phone 02 6231 7461 or email president@indianmynaaction.org.au) or go to the CIMAG website: www.indianmynaaction.org.au .