The Federal Budget: What’s It All About?

PUBLISHED ON 23/5/13 ON HITZ247

After the federal budget was announced a few days ago, many people have been outraged since the details were released. I never really have paid much attention to such things in the past, but now nearly finishing the end of my degree and entering the “real world” at the end of the year I thought it was about time I had a look!

No More Baby Bonus?

The Baby Bonus will be abolished in nine months’ time, so women who fall pregnant from this week onwards will no longer benefit from the $5,000 Baby Bonus. From March 1, the Baby Bonus will be replaced with a lower payment of $2,000 for first-born babies and $1,000 for subsequent children. The federal government estimates 48,000 families who would have expected the Baby Bonus next year will miss out. Treasurer Wayne Swan said the Baby Bonus was “not sustainable”. “We understand there’ll be some people unhappy about this decision,” he said, “but at the end of the day decisions had to be made about who needs the payment. The payment had been increasing dramatically and is not sustainable in its current form.” The change will save taxpayers $1.1bn over five years. Being a student at this present point in time, I believe the Baby Bonus funding can be spent on much better things, however it has meant the increase of the Family Tax Benefit.

So really will it still be saving taxpayers’ dollars?

School funding:

As of January 1 2014, schools will be receiving more funding, with primary schools getting $9,271 per child and high schools receiving $12,193 per child. I do believe this was an important addition, as I myself have been through the school system and am currently involved in higher education. I think that extra funding at schools will further encourage people to go to university, and in turn reduce the unemployment rates.

Childcare:

The government has introduced a new maximum amount for the Child Care Rebate at $7,500 a year until June 30, 2017. I believe this will provide parents with assistance in returning to work after giving birth, as many of the issues with going back to work can sometimes relate to the ridiculous daily child-care rates.

Medical Supplements:

It was announced that an extra $29.6 million would be provided to support the dispensing of chemotherapy medicines in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Overall, the Budget provides $226 million to improve cancer prevention, detection, and research, and provide better patient care and support. The government will introduce new measures, including a new Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre, funding for bone marrow transplants and for the Youth Cancer Network program run by CanTeen, and money to improve the treatment for people affected by lung cancer. The Government will also expand the age range for the BreastScreen Australia and introduce more bowel cancer screening. This will help those who are suffering from horrible cancer experiences. I do believe this was a very sound investment by the government, as I know so many people affected by cancer.

Now what about us, the students:

The budget focus was placed upon post-grad degrees. The government will spend $97 million from 2014 to 2017 for additional Commonwealth-supported sub-bachelor and postgraduate places. That’s perfect if you’re looking to further your skills.

Undergraduates not so lucky…

The government has scrapped the Student Start-up Scholarship from next year, instead offering loans for Youth Allowance, Austudy or ABSTUDY, meaning you will have to pay the money back. For those of you who never were eligible to receive the Student Start-up Scholarship, you will remain indifferent. The 10 per cent HECS-HELP up-front payment discount has also been abolished. I do believe this, it is ridiculous!!! At the time 10 per cent may not seem like much but it can often be up to $500 dollars, and over an average four-year course all the discounts add up! The $500 can sometimes come close to the cost of an entire subject unit.

Apprentices, apprentices, apprentices times 4,000:

The government will provide $50.6 million of grants to peak industry bodies and large employment bodies to develop and implement training programs for approximately 4,000 apprentices, over a four-year period. I do think this was a very encouraging move by the government, as university is not for everyone, but sometimes people feel as if there is no alternative and end up enrolling in a university course which they only go to for 6 months. They are then left with HECS loans and a half-finished degree. Plus, in society we don’t only need doctors, but builders who will build the hospital the doctors will work in!

The federal budget is trying to address trade shortages and encourage those who aren’t necessarily scholastically minded into another option!

We may not have to put up with as much tobacco smoke in the city of Melbourne!

The government will raise the price of a pack of cigarettes by 7 cents starting from 2014. That may not seem like much, but since the average smoker goes through one pack a day, that works out to be an extra $.50 a week, or $26.00 a year. The pack of cigarettes needs to be raised even more! A measly $0.07 isn’t going to affect the number of smokers, or the number of people admitted to hospital facilities for smoking related illnesses.

Has the federal budget done well or are there still some places they can improve on? Why not ask us, the Australian public in a national referendum where we believe our taxpayer dollars should be spent?

I certainly don’t want my $1,500 that gets deducted at tax time to go towards hospital facilities for those who choose to rot away their lungs. I would prefer it to be spent on cancer research, or go towards the improvement of an individual’s schooling experience!

Final Reflection Piece

For Literature and Media Project A I wrote an online portfolio of articles and pieces for varying online publications.

I started my blog, “SILENT OBSERVER– Rephrasing Society, One True Sentence at a Time” on Friday the 8th of March at 3:03 pm, inside sitting on the couch. I had never kept a blog before so was unsure what to expect or how to use wordpress.com. I chose the blog name: SILENT OBSERVER, because a lot of my writing was about the unnoticed things that can affect people and putting my own twist/spin on it. I gathered the byline of my blog, “Rephrasing Society, One True Sentence at a Time” from Ernest Hemingway’s quote which I believe to be true. Although it isn’t always easy to tell the truth, I believe it can make your writings a lot stronger.

 

As my homepage states,

“So I thought it would be best to start with a few remarkable quotes from writers that I admire. In order to write well, I believe you need to look at those people who have been and still are active in the industry.

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently…” —Nicole Krauss

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” —Enid Bagnold

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.” —Virginia Woolf

“You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.” —Marie de Nervaud, WD”

 

I began by looking at those people who also write, masters of their field.

 

It took a few weeks to understand how the basics of the blogging world worked. Quickly I began to understand how effective tagging and the SEO status of posts can create more traffic through the blog.

 

As I stated in my intention I was going to write pieces for 4 publications; Weekend Notes, HITZ247, The Marshalltown and Student View. Overall I only wrote one piece for both Weekend Notes and The Marshalltown, the majority of my work was written for HITZ247 and Student View. I did endeavour to have roughly thirty pieces by the end of semester, but unfortunately only managed to complete 23. It roughly worked out to be 2 a week throughout the semester. The break down of the number of pieces per publication were as followed:

 

HITZ247 = 12

The Marshalltown = 1

Weekend Notes = 1

Student View = 9

 

I think at the start of semester I underestimated the amount of time that goes into one piece; from the research, to the concept development to the actual writing of the piece. (Especially since every piece ranged from 600-1300 words.)

 

At the start of semester I could write pieces that reflected any topic I was interested in, but as the semester drew to a close I was given topics to write about from a “youth’s perspective”. I found this quite interesting because it allowed me to expand on my favoured topics and taught me things I didn’t know.

 

FAVOURITE PIECES TO WRITE:

 

–       Why are Women still a Minority in Positions of Leadership and Power? PUBLISED ON 26/03/2013 ON THE MARSHALL TOWN. This was an interesting piece to write because I knew there was an underlying gender bias in society, but according to the report “Women’s employment in the context of the economic downturn,” conducted by The Australian Human Rights Commission in April 2009 research suggests that if the number of women in leadership positions increased the Australian economic activities could be improved by 20%. I was also able to look at the highest difference in gender distribution amongst different industries can be seen in Mining with 82.1% being fulltime males versus 15.0% being fulltime females, Construction with 80.7% being fulltime males versus 5.7% being fulltime females.

–       MasterChef’s ‘Guys vs Girls’ Spin: An Interesting Plot Twist or a Stereotypical Hype Fest? PUBLISHED ON 24/4/13 ON HITZ247. (Is MasterChef taking a step back in time? MasterChef, prepare for the social media backlash!) This piece was similar to the above one, but looking at gender stereotypes not, just that of an employment outcome. It made me think how such a mainstream television program could get caught up in the world that revolves around gender politics. Being a female myself, I don’t believe all females can be placed in tiny little boxes.

My favourite publication to write for was HITZ247, as I believed it combined all aspects of my Media and Communication degree. It is a publication with aspects of radio, print and television media. I really enjoyed working with my supervisor and the team at HITZ247, many of them are students like myself. It was easy to relate to them and was easy when it came time to bounce and pitch article ideas around.

Throughout my pieces I did try to use personal anecdotes to keep the writing light-hearted not just full of information; in an attempt to keep readers interested. Sometime I found myself getting quite passionate about the issue I had at hand. I learnt there is a big wide world out there, away from the small constraints of my small world.

Overall I feel very happy with the outcome of my project, I learnt things about myself and my writing style, and was able to experience writing about things which affect people’s everyday lives. I feel I did satisfy my initial thoughts of my statement of intention quite well.

www.bgrimble.wordpress.com

Chat Apps: Are They Overtaking Normal SMS?

Modern wireless landline phone capable of send...

Modern wireless landline phone capable of sending and recieving text messages (SMS).

PUBLISHED ON 20/5/2013 ON HITZ247

A few weeks ago the research firm Informa, in partnership with The Financial Times, revealed that 19 billion messages were sent each day in 2012 via chat apps, compared to 17.6 billion messages via SMS.

Chat apps are cheap, sometimes even free; you can write as much as you want and know if the person you’re speaking to has read your message straight away. Chat apps were designed for smart phones and are slowly killing individual’s uses of text messaging. They will shift the way the generation communicates.

People can be on plans which offer unlimited texts, but they are still opting for chat apps. Chat apps allow the users to have extra space, unlike the usual 160 characters typically available in SMS messages.

Although, are chat apps essentially the same as iMessages?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Is Apple’s iMessage a chat app?

One of the features people believed to be important of the iOS 5 was iMessage for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, which gave users a way to send messages, photos and videos to their friends who were also using iOS software. It quickly became an individual’s preferred way of communication. I myself am a daily user of iMessage, as many people I know have it; even though I do have a cap with unlimited SMS with Vodaphone.

There are various other chat apps available for people to download and use as an alternative to SMS.

What is a chat app?

A chat app is an online chat, which includes web-based applications that allow communication between directly addressed, or anonymous users in a multi-user environment. With the creation of such devices, the term “chatiquette” has emerged. “Chatiquette” is a term that is a variation on “netiquette” (Internet etiquette), and describes the basic rules of online communication. It immerses users in a new network of connection with social rules and expectations.

The different chat-apps on the market:

WHATSAPP: It is an internet based messaging service available on multiple internet based messaging platforms. It can be seen as an efficient iMessage alternative. It does cost $0.99 to download from the App Store.

FACEBOOK MESSENGER: This is a messaging service available through the social media platform Facebook. It eliminates the need to create another user account, if the individual already possess a Facebook account. Even if the Facebook Messenger app isn’t directly downloaded, any individual can still access their messages by checking their Facebook account. Another positive – it is a free service. Every person is also provided with an @facebook.com email address to every person on Facebook who wants one. Now people can share with friends over email, whether they’re on Facebook or not. To be clear, Messages are not emails. There are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by hitting the Enter key. It is modeled more closely to chat and reduces the number of things you need to do to send a message. Facebook have made it more like a conversation.

VIBER: Viber is similar to WhatsApp, encompassing all aspects of group chat, texting and photo/video sharing. It also allows users to make free Viber-to-Viber calls; this means users can have access to free phone services, even over long distances.

PHONE

Traditional mobile phone

What the future will hold is unknown, but what can be seen is that many consumers, especially in less developed regions, will continue to rely on traditional mobile phones and text messages in the years ahead, research firm Informa suggests.

How do you really know what is going to happen in the future…

PUBLISHED ON 4/5/13 ON STUDENT VIEW

Precognition’ definition: Knowledge of an event before it occurs.

For thousands of years, mankind has been foretelling the future. Throughout history, kings and queens have always had a seer or shaman by their side to tell them whether they will win a battle, or use mirrors or water to let them know who is their best match in marriage. Through dream interpretation or reading the cards, they have foretold the future. But what exactly does it mean?

Precognition is the ability to see into the future. But how could this be possible? Surely the future is something out there that hasn’t happened yet.

Or is it? Quantum physicists and scientists have been studying different ideas for a while now and some are beginning to believe that, instead of time moving in a straight line from this moment to the next, maybe it actually has all happened at once and we are just at a certain point within that time. Without going into the physics of it all, this means that when we look at the clock and it says 12 o’clock, we know that in five minutes it will be five past the hour. On the other hand, if time has happened all at once, then in theory we should be able to ‘see’ the past and the future, as long as we could make a machine that would allow us to tap into this ‘timescape’.

Why do we see into the future?

Why do we see into the future?

So why do we see the future?

There have been many reports over the years in newspapers and magazines of people – usually well-educated, intelligent human beings – who have stated that they have seen the future. They not only claim to have seen future events, but have in fact written them down. Some people actually send these premonitions or precognitions to the Psychic Research Society or even store them in their bank to prove to the world that they were telling the truth. So, how can this be? And why doesn’t it happen to everybody?

I believe we can all do this. How many times have you thought about somebody, only to see them a few hours later? Maybe that is telepathy. Or is it?

That is just an example, but if we want to study this properly then we have to rule out other ideas – whether they are psychic ideas or everyday occurrences. So, we will say that predicting seeing a friend is telepathy.

But what happens if you dream about an earthquake taking place in Mexico on the 5th of January 2012 and then it happened? How on earth would you explain that? Was it coincidence? Surely not, especially if you have the day and time exactly right.

No need for a crystal ball!

How do you really know what is going to happen in the future…

How do you really know what is going to happen in the future…

Deja vu.

The trouble is, unless you actually document your dreams or even daydreams when the incident occurs, you may actually be having deja vu. We have all had this occur at some time or another. We feel that we have been to a particular city or building before. In fact, we are so certain, we then go on to believe it must involve reincarnation. We know we haven’t visited that place in this lifetime, so therefore it must have happened in a previous lifetime. Scientists now believe this happens because of how our brain works. Evidently, if we see something for the first time, chemicals in the brain can actually make us ‘see’ it a second time. Therefore, we believe that we have been there before.

But then again, that can only explain the fact that you think you recognise the place. It doesn’t explain how on earth I knew there was a room at the back of the building painted pink! But I am getting off the subject…

Precognition or imagination?

Unless this subject is studied more, we can only guess at how accurate it actually is. Even though I am a sceptical person and prone to dissecting every bit of information that I cannot understand, and even more so, making sure it has a scientific explanation, I am aware of the fact that this has happened to me. A lot.

Time Travel in Einstein’s Universe: The Physical Possibilities of Travel Through Time

Is Time Travel Possible?

So where does this leave us?

Is time travel possible?

Is time travel possible?

In Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, Einstein believed that time was not as human beings see it. He believed that time could be stretched or shrunk, all depending on whether you were going very fast or very slow. This was his main study into time travel. Einstein was sure that one day it would be physically possible to travel into the future or the past. Surely the only way this is possible is if time as we know it is completely wrong. We could travel backwards or forwards in time only if it had happened all at once. Of course, there is the other theory that if we did travel through time, we would not actually travel back to ‘our’ time but another dimension that was either behind us or in front of us in time. But once again, that’s another story!

So taking into consideration all the details of scientists and seers – scientists who study and only believe when they can see the proof in front of them and seers who can actually see the future without any proof – where does this leave us?

All I can say is that time, like everything else in the universe, is a strange and tantalising fact. The only problem is that we don’t know what that fact is! Maybe one day we will find out. And that day will be wondrous indeed!

So, what do you think?

Is this just a coincidence? Maybe it is all in my mind… But can that be true of the many other people who have had this experience? Will we ever know the truth about precognition?

HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED PRECOGNITION? IF SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS?