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Watercooler: Floods take their toll in Queensland

Lucy Allen had this photo removed

Women demand right to have breastfeeding pics on Facebook

South Australia’s Minister for the Status of Women Gail Gago will write to Facebook asking that women be given the right to post breastfeeding photos of themselves and their babies if they so wish. As the rules stand, Facebook removes photos of that nature under its terms of agreement which state ‘users cannot post content that is hateful, pornographic, contains nudity or incites violence’. “Breastfeeding your baby is a normal and natural thing to do,” Ms Gago said. “There is no valid reason for any social media network to ban legitimate pictures posted by women of themselves breastfeeding their own children.” The Facebook policy has led to the creation of a group, “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!” which has more than 257,000 supporters removed from its social networking site internationally.

A protest has been organised outside Facebook’s Australian offices tomorrow. More than 350 images have been removed, according to an official count. Facebook said: “On some occasions, breastfeeding photos contain nudity – for example an exposed breast that is not being used for feeding – and therefore violate our terms. When such photos are reported to us and are found to violate our policies, the person who posted the photo is contacted, and the photos are removed. Our policies strive to fit the needs of a diverse community while respecting everyone’s interest in sharing content that is important to them, including experiences related to breastfeeding.”

The Queen leaving church today

Queen has reigned for 60 years

It’s the Queen’s diamond jubilee year and today marked the very day, 60 years on, that she ascended the throne. Her Royal Highness celebrated in an understated manner as the Palace didn’t want to go over the top with celebrations when Britain was in a spot of economic bother. Queen Elizabeth took to the throne as a 25-year-old after she was told of the death of her father, King George VI while travelling in Kenya with her husband, Prince Philip. She said of the 60th anniversary today: “Today, as I mark 60 years of your Queen, I am writing to thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince Phillip over these years and to tell you how deeply moved we have been to receive so many kind messages about the Diamond Jubilee.

In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see throughout my reign and which my family and I look forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth.” The major festivities, including a Thames pageant, will take place later in the year.

And just because we can, here’s a gallery of the stylish Queen over the years.

Police are skipping out in larger numbers

Figures released under Freedom of Information reveal the depletion of police recruits and officers in Victoria has reached ‘alarming’ levels. The figures showed more than a third of Victorian police had fewer than 10 years’ experience and eighty-two officers resigned within their first 12 months in the six years to June 2010, leaving a bill of several million dollars. The union said that might in part be attributed to the false expectations rookies had from watching the glut of television crime shows … and then being confronted with the real deal, which is significantly less ‘sexy’.

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The town of Mitchell in SW QLD has already been swamped

Flood evacuations in Queensland as towns hit again

It was little more than a year ago that towns in Queensland’s south west were mopping up from huge floods and now it’s happening all over again. The centre of attention is now on St George which is under an emergency, mandatory evacuation directive with residents told to leave. The main road out of town was cut by flood waters over night but the Balonne River isn’t expected to peak until Tuesday when forecasts say it will hit a record 15m. The town was struck by flooding last year but the river, which caused so much damage then, ‘only’ peaked at 13.5m. The floods have already swept through Charleville where the levee systems barely kept a 7.5m peak at bay. They have also claimed lives. Searchers yesterday found the body of a woman believed to be Jane Sheahan who was swept from her car by flood waters as rescuers grabbed hold of her seven-year-old son Darcy. Meanwhile, Northern New South Wales faces its own floods clean-up after days of torrential rain earlier this month. The flood waters damaged or inundated more than 500 homes.

More parents teaching kids to alienate in family court battles

They call it ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’: what happens when one parent ‘brainwashes’ a child against the other in family breakdowns. A Canadian researcher, Professor Nicholas Bara, is an expert on such cases and has been studying data out of the Australian system. Cases have increased dramatically since 2005 when there were two recorded, compared to 22 in 2010. He said there were cases of unfounded fear or rejection of parents due to brainwashing by another, but also legitimate concerns from the child. “But there are other cases where the child has legitimate reasons to be afraid of a parent,” he said, ”and it’s important for the court to unpack the real reasons.”

Inquiry into breast implants?

A ruptured implant

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon will make a move in the Senate this week to begin an inquiry into the way Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) handled the knowledge that thousands of Australian women could be walking around with toxic, defective breast implants. The dramas over the PIP implants arose in France with evidence they were prone to rupture and may be linked to an increase in cancer rates. Problems are beginning to surface over Europe and now both France and Germany have recommended women with the implants remove them. The TGA, however, has recommended against ‘routine removal’ because it says there is no evidence of an increased rupture rate.

Leadership snag? Gillard holds barbie for her MPs

Labor’s Federal MPs kicked off the parliamentary year with a barbecue at the Prime Minister’s residence in Canberra amid rampant speculation that a leadership spill was brewing, though no one will put their name to any of the rumours. The chatter comes as Gillard faces disastrous polls [though the latest Nielsen poll released today shows a sharp increase in support] and Kevin Rudd’s popularity continues to grow as Foreign Minister. Himself a contender for the future role as PM (perhaps not now), Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten drew on a barbecue analogy himself and said the speculation had been ‘overcooked’. The caucus catch-up isn’t unusual but it’s certainly taking place in uncertain times. MPs traditionally use the get together to brainstorm ideas for the year ahead and critique policy decisions that might not have worked so well. Gillard rebuffed the continued the leadership gossip last night, saying she had a busy policy year ahead. 20 MPs weren’t at the barbecue.