News: The most influential gay icons in Australia

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List of ‘gay icons’ announced

And it doesn’t just feature same sex people. The list covers all. SameSame founder Tim Duggan wrote:

“For many years if you mentioned the words ‘gay’ and ‘icon’ in the same sentence, you’d instantly conjure up images of Cher straddling a canon, Judy commanding Carnegie Hall, Bette on the beach or Madonna twisting yoga poses into dance moves. But it’s twenty frigging twelve, and us new gays think it’s high time we politely shoved the previous generation of icons back into the closet and anointed a new breed of modern gay icons.

Some of them are gay, some are straight and a few sit somewhere in the middle – yet they’re all united by one thing: a healthy amount of respect and admiration from the gay community for fiercely being who they are. A strong sense of self is the biggest requirement to be considered an icon, and in the lead up to Sydney’s Mardi Gras this weekend, here is our pick of the definitive list of Australia’s most influential new gay icons.” Without further ado, here’s some of those picks:

New law allows women to get the pill, without prescription

A new law passed in the Senate today will make the pill (and anti-cholesterol drugs) to get a top up on an exhausted supply without the need of a prescription from the doctor. The measure would apply to women who had previously had a prescription but have simply run out. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said the new laws will mean “patients will not have to risk missing their medication if they’re unable to see a doctor”. As reported: Provisions already exist allowing chemists to dispense emergency supplies of a necessary drug, but in these cases the drugs without prescriptions do not attract the subsidy from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which can make them expensive. The pharmacist would be required to notify the most recent prescribing doctor in writing that the medication had been topped up.

– This is how Mamamia first covered the issue. Should the pill also be free?


Gerry Harvey says people will shoulder blame if they don’t start shopping

Retailer Gerry Harvey says businesses will go bust and the economy take a bigger hit if people don’t start spending again. His own Harvey Norman electrical, bedding and furniture network took a six-month profit hit of more than six per cent. Retail sales figures for January, out yesterday, showed growth of only 0.3 per cent – and all of the increase was accounted for by a 4.3 per cent jump in spending at cafes and restaurants. “If you are in technology, which is audio-visual and computers, you are getting a hiding,” Mr Harvey said. ”It’s just under extreme pressure and the evidence of that is Woolworths deciding to get rid of Dick Smith and the recent collapse of WOW Audio Visual Superstores, and in addition to that you have the other collapse of Sleep City bedding group. If you go to Singapore and Malaysia, for example, and you talk to people there they say ‘what’s wrong with you guys? You have got all that mining and those problems? I wish we had that [mining resources] and problems!’ They look at us with great amazement because they just can’t believe we are going on like we are.’’

Mother and daughter break down after the report was tabled in Parliament

Inquiry recommends formal apology for other stolen generation

For decades it was accepted practice to remove children from their unwed, single or ‘unfit’ young mothers as they were born in the belief it was the best thing for both the mother and child. It wasn’t and now there are more than 100,000 parents who never knew their children, and even children who never knew their birth parents. The Senate Inquiry into the practice – which occurred most heavily in the 1950s, 60s and 70s – tabled its final report in the upper house yesterday with 20 recommendations. The first is that the Commonwealth and other state and territory governments issue a formal apology. While the ‘forced adoptions’ were never expressly encouraged by law, they were seen as normal and condoned. Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert, who chaired the inquiry, broke down as she tabled the report. “This was a really hard, emotional inquiry,” she said. “You couldn’t help but take the stories to heart.” Labor senator Claire Moore told the chamber people had to consider in retrospect whether the adoptions had been in the best interests of children and parents. Senator Moore said one of the most poignant moments of the inquiry was a woman telling senators all she wanted was for her son to know she loved him and had not given him away. Some agencies and governments, like the Western Australian government, have already apologised.

– Mamamia shared some of the heartbreaking stories and more information about forced adoptions here.

Today marks a new beginning for your data on Google


Google has changed the way it collects your data, rolling some 60 privacy policies into one easier to understand one. But the changes means it will know more than ever about users. We’ve already covered the basics about just how much data Google collects, but that was all split over individual ‘properties’ like YouTube, Gmail and so on. Now it all rolls into one. It basically means Google will be able to target even more ridiculously specific ads at you because it’ll know collectively what’s going on in your emails, what videos you’re listening to, what searches you’re making. All in one profile. For many it’s not a problem; they realise that if a product is free, they’re more than likely the product. But if you have issues, you can change your settings. Google has even provided some info here.

Phone hacking inquiry claims Murdoch Jnr, sort of

James Murdoch during the inquiry

Rupert Murdoch’s heir apparent, son James, has resigned as executive chairman of News International, the beleaguered British newspaper arm of global News Corporation as the phone hacking scandal and inquiry drags on. He’s the most high profile scalp yet in a long-running search for the truth which has already claimed Rupert Murdoch’s favoured ‘daughter’ Rebekah Brooks and several high profile staff. But James will remain on as Chief Operating Officer for News Corp, looking after its British television interests. The Leveson Inquiry has seen James Murdoch accused of a ‘cover-up’ at the company.

“He wasn’t around when the original hacking era started. He wasn’t around when the doomed and disastrous cover-up was launched. The trouble is that wittingly or unwittingly … he became caught up in that cover-up,” Former News of the World deputy editor Paul Connew said.

Mr Murdoch had acknowledged receiving an email from a senior executive that warned of evidence that hacking was more widespread but had denied opening the attachment with this information. Mr Connew said this either amounted to “complete incompetence or something more sinister”.

Should kids start school earlier and finish after lunch?

That’s the discussion one Australian school is having with a proposal before it to start classes at 8am and have the students out the door after lunch, at 1.15pm. Merrylands East Public School is consulting every family of its 381 students about the idea. Educators and child experts believe the traditional 9am-to-3pm school day no longer meets students’ needs and the earlier times make the most of children’s brain functions. The school said many of the children already arrived at 8am as they had working parents and those who couldn’t be picked up at 1.15pm could be cared for at the school’s homework centre.

Is changing school times something we should be looking at nationally?