- An aeronautical engineer is plotting her next move in what has been a six-year battle to see the rights of donor-conceived children enshrined in law.
- Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is forging ahead with plans for an unpopular Medicare GP co-payment, rejecting advice from former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello to scrap it.
- Dr Tri Phan from Garvan and Dr Steve Lee from ANU have been jointly nominated as finalists for the 2014 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology. They have developed a simple and cheap way of making a high-powered lens capable of transforming a smartphone into a high-resolution microscope.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 12th August 2014. Read by Rebecca Foster.
An aeronautical engineer is plotting her next move in what has been a six-year battle to see the rights of donor-conceived children enshrined in law.
When the Assisted Reproduction Treatment Further Amendment Bill 2013 was finally debated in the Victorian Parliament last week, Dr Lauren Burns heaved a sigh of relief.
Now 30, Dr Burns was 21 when her mother told her she was conceived using donor sperm. The news shattered her sense of self.
As Dr Burns started to seek information about the donor, she got another shock. Her parents and the donor had signed an agreement that the donor’s identity would remain anonymous.
“All that I knew about my biological father was he had blonde hair and blue eyes and he was 5’11” and he was known by this pseudonym of C11,” Dr Burns said.
While Victoria is recognised as being well ahead of the other states and territories in terms of laws surrounding sperm donation, it has not kept up with comparable changes to adoption laws.
Dr Burns quickly discovered anyone born in Victoria after 1998 has unconditional access to identifying information about their donor. Anyone born after 1988 can access that information if the donor agrees.
Born in 1983, Dr Burns, like many others Victorians, fell through the legislative cracks.
She was awarded an Amelia Earhart Fellowship which is open to women around the world pursuing studies in the aeronautical sciences, and RMIT featured her in television advertisements about the university.
In between lectures, she chased up leads about her donor.
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey is forging ahead with plans for an unpopular Medicare GP co-payment, rejecting advice from former Liberal treasurer Peter Costello to scrap it.
Mr Costello said Mr Hockey should cut his losses and drop the planned budget measure.
“Putting a price signal in relation to visits to the doctor and ensuring that the Medicare system is sustainable is a key part of that program. We are facing a Medicare system that is growing in excess of 7 per cent per annum.”
He says the Medicare GP co-payment is not dead.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the Treasurer should dump his budget and start again.
Labor has… also launched an online petition against the Government’s higher education changes, under the slogan, “A Degree Shouldn’t be a Debt Sentence”.
The Government announced in the budget that it wanted to deregulate university fees, increase the interest rate on student loans and ask students to pay back the loans sooner.
On another front, Mr Hockey last week threatened to attach the Government’s multi-billion-dollar fund for infrastructure projects, the asset recycling fund, to an appropriations bill, in order to bypass the hostile Senate.
Under the plan, the states would be paid a bonus if they privatised assets and used the money for building projects.
Senate rejection of an appropriations bill would effectively shut down the Government.
But Parliamentary Library advice sought by Labor found the threat would fail.
The advice stated: “It is often incorrectly assumed that the Senate has no power over appropriation bills, and in this case the Treasurer appears to be making that erroneous assumption too”.
It says the Government will still have to negotiate with Labor, the Greens, the Palmer United Party and crossbench senators.
Mr Hockey says he will bypass the parliament if he has to and include the legislation in the appropriation bills.
Dr Tri Phan from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and Dr Steve Lee from Australian National University (ANU) have been jointly nominated as finalists for the 2014 ANSTO Eureka Prize for Innovative Use of Technology. The pair developed a simple and cheap way of making a high-powered lens that can transform a smart phone into a high-resolution microscope. The concept behind the ‘DIY Droplet Lens’ is so simple that even a child can make one at home (watch video). The lenses are formed using droplets of the polymer used to make soft contact lenses, then baking them upside down in an oven. Costing less than a cent, the lenses promise a revolution in science and medicine in developing countries and remote areas.
Dr Lee and his team worked with Dr Phan to design a lightweight 3D-printable frame to hold the lens, along with a couple of miniature LED lights for illumination, and a coin battery. The technology taps into the current citizen science revolution, which is rapidly transforming owners of smart phones into potential scientists. There are also exciting possibilities for remote medical diagnosis. The tiny microscope has a wide range of potential uses, particularly if coupled with the right smartphone apps.
…Presented annually by the Australian Museum, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research & innovation, leadership, science communication & journalism and school science. Winners of this year’s prizes will be announced at an Award Dinner on Wednesday 10 September at Sydney Town Hall.
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