Australia’s leading international student news website

Weekly news round-up: medical research funding cuts, Albert Einstein and Facebook bullying

Steven Tannason

Mon Apr 18 2011

medical researching funding cuts protest

IN our news wraps, we give you more than just the headlines. This week, we want to know your thoughts on the Federal Government’s proposed medical research cuts and the recent Facebook comments crises. We also want you to join us in paying tribute to scientific genius Albert Einstein.


Medical research funding cuts

PROTESTERS rallied across Australia last week to speak out against the Federal Government’s proposed $400 million health research funding cuts.

In Melbourne alone, more than 4000 people donned white coats and chanted, “Cures not cuts”. There were also plenty of posters with slogans like ‘SOS – Save our Science’ and ‘Diseases need Dollars’.

Protesters rallying outside the State Library over proposed funding cuts to medical research. Photo: Jonathan Chee

Protesters rallying outside the State Library over proposed funding cuts to medical research. Photo: Jonathan Chee

The Federal Government intends to take the money from the National Health and Research Council over the next four years. The council supports research into all public health sectors including mental health and basic influenza vaccines to emergency care and stem cell research.

Members of the council have already warned the government any cuts to medical research will not only affect researchers and medical practitioners, but also people with diseases and their families.

Wearing your heart on your sleeve. Photo: Jonathan Chee

Wearing your heart on your sleeve. In Melbourne alone, more than 4000 people donned white coats and chanted, “Cures not cuts”. Photo: Jonathan Chee

Speaking at the rally, The Australian Medical Association’s Western Australia president David Mountain said the cuts would also destroy Australia’s reputation as a world class research nation.

The government will announce its decision in next month’s budget.

A tribute to Albert Einstein

Tributes have poured in for the ‘Father of Modern Physics’ Albert Einstein on the 90th anniversary of his Nobel Prize win.

Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 for his service to theoretical physics and his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. But the rather eccentric-haired scientist is best known for his work on the theory of general relativity and the Manhattan Project, which eventually produced the first atomic bomb.

He died in 1955.

Social networking bullying

And finally, Facebook and MySpace fans should think twice about divulging their most intimate secrets following recent reports of abuse and cyberbullying.

Members of the Australian Defence Force have been accused this week of making homosexual slurs against their colleagues on social networking sites. Those involved created a Facebook page to out and intimidate gay personnel who were serving or had served in the ADF.

The allegations comes as a senior Melbourne academic said she also felt threatened by comments made by a well-known artist on Facebook. The head of RMIT’s fine art department, Elizabeth Grierson, took an intervention order out against  Australian artist Steve Cox after he criticized her and the university.

In a statement, Ms Grierson said she feared for her safety because Mr Cox’s art suggested an obsession with murder. But the judge made an unlikely ruling, telling Ms Grierson to not visit Mr Cox’s personal Facebook page for the next 20 years.

Both cases are a good reminder that we should all be careful about what we write on social networking sites. No matter how hard you try to keep your page private, your comments can and do still get out into the Internet, where they might be read by family, friends and employers.

Cyberbully also destroys lives and no wants to reads nasty comments about themselves online. Never write something about someone else that you wouldn’t want to be said about yourself.

Do you think there should be stricter rules about what people can write on Facebook?