A team of Australian researchers believe the code used to count votes in the federal election should be made public, after they found problems in the code of the 2012 NSW local government elections. Dr Vanessa Teague is a member of this team, and says it would be good for democracy, and good for the Electoral Commissions, to make election-related source code public before an election.
Overseas technology could see police in Australia using devices to check drivers’ mobile metadata without a warrant. The technology, which some are calling ‘textalysers’, would be used to see whether people were texting while driving. Melbourne University’s Dr Suelette Dreyfus says it has worrying implications for citizen rights and privacy.
In the lead up to the federal election, housing policy peak National Shelter has called for an all party commitment to a better housing future for Australia. National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski says we need to focus on housing prices, deposits, tax discounts and deductions on what we want Australia to look like, not just on the day after this election, but in the years and decades to come. If you want to join National Shelter in calling for an end to the housing crisis in Australia by 2025, you can sign the petition here.
QUT is set to ban smoking from all three campuses from July 1.
The announcement was made to coincide with World No Tobacco Day, and would see QUT banning smoking of all forms, including the use of electronic cigarettes. Continue reading QUT goes smoke free
Ahead of the Federal Election, major parties and political candidates are being urged to spell out their plan to tackle suicide and self-harm across Australia. It’s been described as a “national emergency”, with latest ABS figures showing the suicide rate has increased by nearly 20% in the past decade. Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Sue Murray says there are nearly 30 federal electorates where the problem has hit an alarming level. If you need help, or someone to talk to, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or on their website.
The Australian Greens urge the Labor party to join them in committing to removing religious exemptions from the Sex Discrimination Act, following Rainbow Labor’s announcement to appoint an LGBTI discrimination commissioner. Greens sexuality spokesperson Senator Robert Simms says Labor’s plan is a good one, but won’t end discrimination against LGBTI people under the law.
We now have strong evidence that improvements in admission processes through hospital emergency departments leads to a decrease in patient deaths, according to the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine. Dr Simon Judkins was a part of this research, which he says helps close the loop, showing that improving hospital processes and access targets not only reduced the time patients spent in ED, but led to fewer patients dying.
The Australian Greens today confirmed they oppose the so-called backpacker tax. The tax, which would see backpackers paying a third of their earnings in tax, has been delayed for six month, pending further investigation. Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert says nobody wins with a backpacker tax.