Chronic stress could be making you fat

Sarah Jackson, UCL

The world is getting fatter and it’s making us sicker.

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But could rising stress levels be playing an important role in our growing waistlines?

Obesity is now one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is associated with increased risk of developing a host of chronic health conditions. There is great public interest in the reasons some people struggle with their weight while others find it easy to stay slim, with blame often attributed to genes or health conditions, such as thyroid problems.

Stress is another potential risk factor that has attracted research attention. People tend to report overeating and “comfort eating” foods that are high in sugar, fat and calories when stressed. And because the stress hormone cortisol plays a role in metabolism and fat storage, there are plausible biological mechanisms behind a possible link between stress and putting on weight.

In research published in Obesity this week we found that chronic stress was consistently linked with people being more heavily, and more persistently, overweight.

Our data were collected over a four-year period as part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, a study that follows a large group of people aged 50 and older. We found that people who had higher levels of cortisol in their hair tended to have a larger waist circumference, were heavier, and had a higher body-mass index (BMI). People classified as obese on the basis of their BMI (≥30) or waist circumference (≥102cm in men, ≥88cm in women) had particularly high levels of cortisol in their hair.

When we looked back at people’s weight over a period of four years, we saw that those who had more persistent obesity had higher hair cortisol measurements than those whose weight had fluctuated or who had consistently been a healthy weight.

Lisa S/Shutterstock长沙桑拿按摩论坛,

Measuring long-term stress

Why did we use hair to measure cortisol levels? Previous studies looking at the link between cortisol and obesity have relied mainly on measurements of the hormone in blood, saliva or urine which may vary according to the time of day and other “situational factors”, such as diet or illness. Because these methods give a very short-term picture of a person’s stress levels, these studies were not able to evaluate the relationship between obesity and longer-term stress. The distinction between acute (short-term) and chronic (longer-term) stress is important because the former is thought to serve as a protective fight or flight response whereas the latter can have a damaging effect on the body.

Hair is a reliable way to measure long-term exposure to stress hormones. Catalin Petolea/Shutterstock长沙桑拿按摩论坛,

Over the last decade, a new method for measuring cortisol levels in hair has been developed, and has been shown to be a reliable way of assessing chronic stress exposure.

For our research, a lock of hair 2cm long was taken from each participant, cut as closely as possible to the person’s scalp. Hair grows at an average rate of 1cm per month, so our samples represented approximately two months’ hair growth with associated accumulated levels of cortisol.

We measured people’s weight, height and waist circumference, and we used these measures to assess the relationship between levels of hair cortisol and adiposity (fatness).

A new target for treating obesity?

We cannot be sure from our research that stress is causing people to become obese, but if causation can be proved through further investigation, the link between chronic stress and obesity offers a potential target for interventions aimed at preventing and treating obesity. Tried and tested stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness meditation and yoga are cheap, widely accessible options that could help people reduce their risk of developing obesity. It may also be possible to use drugs that reduce cortisol levels to treat obesity in more severe cases.

Sarah Jackson receives funding from Cancer Research UK.

Teachers renew ‘I give a Gonski’ campaign

Teachers are going to step up pressure on the federal government as it finalises a new school funding deal with the states and territories.

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The Australian Education Union is using the success stories of 24 schools around the country to highlight the importance of increased funding to students in disadvantaged areas.

It will renew its “I give a Gonski” campaign, with new ads targeting what it says is a failure to support under-resourced schools.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham is in the final throes of negotiations on a new funding agreement, with the deal expected to be signed by leaders in April.

He wants the states to agree to a range of measures including higher standards for new teachers and tests for Year 1 students in exchange for commonwealth funding increases.

But the union has slammed the government’s refusal to proceed with the large increases in 2018 and 2019 that were part of the six-year Gonski deal.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to implement a new funding system is in chaos,” union federal president Correna Haythorpe said on Friday.

“States and territories won’t back it and the Catholic school peak body has said there is not enough time to implement a new funding system before the end of this year.”

Every student at Cowandilla Primary School in Adelaide – one of the examples in the union’s 2017 Getting Results report – has improved since it received extra money for specialist numeracy and literacy programs.

But principal Julie Hayes says that could not have happened in a resource-free vacuum.

If the boost in money continues, her school could help its large numbers of disadvantaged students access computers and other technology they didn’t have at home.

“Principals at disadvantaged schools are always keen to make sure they’re able to level the playing field by providing these things at school cost,” she says.

“So, if we had significant money it would help support that – a new way of learning.”

Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says the debate around school funding neglects the tools teachers need.

Too often teachers are blamed for all the problems with schools and student achievement.

“We must end the teacher blame game, and actually focus on what matters for schools, teachers and kids,” she will tell AEU’s annual conference in Melbourne on Friday.

“We know funding matters. Other things matter, too, but we can’t deliver those things unless we properly fund our schools.”

Sexton returns for Ireland to face France

Fit again, Ireland five-eighth Johnny Sexton returns to the side for France’s visit as coach Joe Schmidt picked from a near full-strength squad in a bid to stay in contention for the Six Nations title.

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Sexton, who has suffered a spate of injuries recently from numerous concussions to shoulder, hamstring and neck problems, missed Ireland’s first two matches of the tournament with a calf injury, when he was ably replaced by Paddy Jackson.

Despite only playing two of Ireland’s last nine matches and just three times for his province Leinster since October – failing to play more than 60 minutes on each occasion – the 31-year-old’s experience will be vital on Saturday, Schmidt said.

“He was frustrated missing those first two and he’s excited by the opportunity, and he takes a fair bit of responsibility as well,” Schmidt told reporters. “He’s obviously a leader within the team, and his experience contributes some of that leadership,

The New Zealander made two other changes after the 63-10 rout of Italy last time out, both in the front row. Prop Jack McGrath starts ahead of Cian Healy, and captain Rory Best returns after missing out on a 52nd consecutive Six Nations match through a last-minute illness in Rome.

IRELAND: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose, Simon Zebo, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, CJ Stander, Devin Toner, Donnacha Ryan, Tadhg Furlong, Rory Best (capt.), Jack McGrath. Interchange: Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Peter O’Mahony, Kieran Marmion, Paddy Jackson, Andrew Trimble.

Cambodian students adjust life goals after stint in Australia

For the past five years, Central Coast Grammar School, north of Sydney, has been hosting the at-risk children, many of whom, have gone on to forge successful careers.

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Seventeen year-old Phannat Phy only began playing piano five years ago.

He learnt entirely by ear in his home country, Cambodia, and he’s already receiving standing ovations.

His performance at Central Coast Grammar’s school assembly blew the audience away.

Phannat is one of a generation of children in Cambodia living below the poverty line.

Since he was three, Phannat has been living under the care of Sunrise Cambodia, a charity that supports and educates at-risk children.

It was set up in the early 90s by Geraldine Cox.

“All of the children that have come have been affected in some way by feelings of abandonment, low self-worth, lack of confidence because there is a stigma attached to being an orphan in Cambodia.”

Phannat is one of four teenagers from Sunrise Cambodia, taking part in an Australian exchange program.

For a month, they attend school at New South Wales’ Central Coast Grammar and stay with a host family.

For most, it’s the first time they’ve lived in such a setting.

Phannat says it’s like having a second family.

“I feel like that this is my own house and she is my mother, yeah – they are very kind, it’s like my mother and father.”

He and the others are giving just as much back to the community.

Bec Hockey, a year 12 student at Central Coast Grammar, first met Phannat when she went on exchange to Cambodia last year.

She says it was an honour to see Phannat perform at the assembly.

“Really proud, I knew how nervous he was and he was just amazing and to see his talent be showcased at our school was really amazing.”

Founder of the exchange program, Peter Davies, in the past has hosted some of the Cambodian students in his home.

He says the memories they leave behind last forever.

“Some of the funny things that happen, you’ll never forget. For example, we told two of our boys that we had a machine for washing clothes – I wound up pulling clothes out of our dishwasher.”

For the students, the trip is full of new experiences.

In Cambodia, school runs for just three hours a day and there are no extra-curricular activities.

Phannat says he’s grateful to be taking part in a range of subjects that don’t exist in Cambodia.

“(We) don’t have sport or art or music, that’s why it makes us like, feel stressed. This place is very nice.”

Chieb Khtik says it’s her first time using a computer at school.

“It’s very fun. The school standard, in here, it’s very modern. In Cambodia, when we study, we use the notebook but here, we use the computer.”

The classes are igniting new aspirations for the students.

Vichhay Khorn has been taking part in an I-T elective and now hopes to forge a career in that area.

He says he wants to share the skills he’s learning here in Australia with his peers back home.

“I want to work in IT. The knowledge about technology is so low, so that’s why I want to get more from Australia and share with the other children at the centre and in the community.”

That’s a real possibility, says Geraldine Cox, if the program’s past participants are anything to go by.

“We’ve got one doing a scholarship in China in IT, another doing agriculture in Israel, we’ve got two girls doing international relations degrees in Phnom Penh universities. We’ve got another boy doing civil engineering, we’ve got kids in hospitality, social welfare, the whole lot.”

And with Phannat on a path to study at the Royal Fine Arts School in Phnom Penh, the list of success stories looks likely to grow.

 

 

Crunch time for reef research: experts

The world must start ploughing time and money into new research to understand how crucial coral species might survive climate change, an Australian-led team of scientists says.

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A new paper by international coral experts says the mechanisms corals might use to acclimatise and adapt to a rapidly warming world are poorly understood.

While there’s been some promising new knowledge, they say efforts to understand those mechanisms must be ramped up, and now.

“We can’t wait for the full impacts of ocean warming before we start thinking about how we’re going to solve the problem,” says climate change scientist Dr Line Bay, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

Scientists say research must focus on hard coral species – the building blocks upon which everything else on the reef depends.

“These are the trees of the rainforest, the foundational species that support the enormous biodiversity we recognise on the reef,” Dr Bay says.

“Just like you can’t have a forest without trees, you can’t have a reef without hard corals.”

Scientists around the world, including in Australia, have learned much over the past decade about how corals function and respond to their environment.

“Corals are not only animals, they are individuals. Within the same species you’ll have individuals that are more sensitive to extreme conditions, and others that are more tolerant.”

Dr Bay says such knowledge could lead to new and practical strategies to aid reef survival, such as breeding heat tolerant coral to help the reef recover from mass bleaching events.

The group of scientists, led by AIMS and Dr Gergely Torda from James Cook University’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, have published their paper in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Dr Torda says much rides on the ability to better understand the mechanisms that could enable corals to cope with warmer seas, which caused back-to-back mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef this year and last.

“The time to act is now, as the window of opportunity to save coral reefs is rapidly closing,” Dr Torda says.

Team challenging traditional obesity management is itself challenged

A quarter of Australian adults are estimated to be clinically obese.

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A common view is that obesity is a self-inflicted condition but one Melbourne clinic is challenging that perception.

Austin Health Obesity physician, Professor Joe Proietto, says he treats obesity as a chronic genetic disease.

“The view that obesity is genetic is controversial, however the evidence is very strong that there is a genetic predisposition to obesity.”

Doctors at Austin Health feature in a new documentary, trying to treat patients through a combination of diet, medication and surgery tailored specifically for their genetic make-up.

Professor Proietto believes the environment has far less bearing on weight than genetics.

But Sydney University Obesity Research Director, Doctor Nick Fuller, says blaming genetics is only going to make the obesity crisis worse.

“We are finding more and more genes that contribute to obesity but genetics are not the reason for the increase in prevalance of obesity.”

Doctor Fuller believes dieting is not the most effective solution.

He believes weight loss should happen slowly, to trick the body into believing it is at a new set weight point.

“They need to lose a small amount of weight before the usual response to weight loss kicks in and maintain that weight so they can reprogram their set weight before going on to lose weight.”

Helene Jagdon has been trying to lose weight for 30 years.

She has tried many fad diets and training regimes, without success.

Only in the last few years under Doctor Fuller’s strategy has she been able to lose 14 kilograms – and keep it off.

“He didn’t make us feel like we were on a diet, he was just guiding us to what foods we can eat and not really saying what foods we can’t eat. Just saying if you feel like having a laksa have a laksa but maybe limit it to one takeaway treat in a week.”

Now a comfortable 68 kilograms, Helene has maintained her passion of cooking and is inspiring people half her age to lose weight without dramatically changing their lives.

 

The 3-part documentary The Obesity Myth starts on Monday September 4 at 7:30pm on SBS.

 

 

Report says cluster munitions use doubled last year

Cluster munitions are often crude and unreliable weapons.

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Launched from the air or the ground, they can release hundreds of smaller sub-munitions to attack a target.

Globally, since the 1960s, they have killed more than 21,000 people.

But a report by the leading international monitor of the use of such weapons, the Cluster Munition Coalition, says almost a thousand casualties were directly related to them just in 2016.

Those casualties, mostly in the civil wars in Syria and Yemen, were double the number in the previous year.

And the coalition’s landmine and cluster-munition monitor, Loren Persi, says the weapons can cause harm for decades after they are first deployed.

“The majority of all casualties from unexploded remnants of war were from cluster munitions, and many of them were children, and it is definitely an indication that Laos, which is a ‘states’ party, and many of the countries that are affected are still affected by these munitions many years later.”

The rising figures come despite an increasing number of countries ratifying an international treaty prohibiting their use.

Officials say it is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor cluster munitions, with some speculating the number of attacks was actually far higher than the 200 recorded.

The advocacy director from Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division, Mary Wareham, singles out the ongoing conflict in Syria.

“The vast majority of that use has been by Syrian government forces. And, last December, the Russian foreign minister sent us a letter with a three-page policy position paper about cluster munitions in Syria. He did not explicitly deny or confirm Russia’s involvement in the use, but it denied that cluster munitions were being used indiscriminately in Syria. We disagree.”

The latest report was released at United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

The United Nations has also raised concerns over a sudden rise in air strikes hitting the Syrian city of Raqqa last month.

A United States-led coalition, seeking to oust IS from the city, conducted more than a thousand strikes on Raqqa, up from 645 in July.

And Russia’s air force, backing Syrian government troops along with Iran, reported carrying out more than 2,500 air strikes across Syria in the first three weeks of August alone.

The UN human rights office says forces may be violating international law and endangering civilians.

Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani has urged both sides to remember what they are fighting for.

“If you’re going to pummel civilians, if you’re going to cause massive loss of civilian life and infrastructure, then what is the point? The point should be to liberate these civilians from ISIL’s murderous regime, not to pummel them so that, in the end, you have a Pyrrhic victory.”

 

 

Marawi battle: Philippines yet to accept offer on Australian troops

Defence Minister Marise Payne will travel to Manila next week to discuss the conflict between rebels and security forces in Marawi.

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Australia has offered Manila assistance with military capacity-building and training on top of the two surveillance planes already deployed there.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declined to speculate on the scope of any extra assistance.

“We do not want (IS) establishing a stronghold in Southeast Asia,” he told reporters in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

“It is vitally in our interests to see that insurgency defeated.”

Defence has sent two P-3 Orion surveillance planes to help with intelligence gathering.

Canberra has offered special forces soldiers to help train Filipino troops, but Manila is yet to accept.

The Philippines defence force has been fighting IS militants in Marawi since May and foreign fightersreturning from Iraq and Syria are being drawn there.

The conflict had displaced an estimated 400,000 people.

‘Not about troops on the ground’: Foreign Minister Bishop downplays assistance  

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has downplayed reports Australia will send special forces troops to help the Philippines fight Islamic State militants.

Ms Bishop stood by her earlier comments that Manila had been offered assistance in advising and training local forces.

“It’s far too early to even speculate because the Philippines haven’t indicated what level of support or what form that support would take,” she told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

“We are talking about advising and assisting and training. This is not about troops on the ground — the Philippines would not accept that. And it hasn’t been offered,” she said. 

“The Phillippines haven’t indicated the level of support they require.”

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Deputy Prime Miinster Barnaby Joyce said the threat presented by IS in Southeast Asia must be taken seriously.

“We don’t want a caliphate in the southern Philippines. I don’t think that’s going to be good for business in South-East Asia,” he said.

“This is not just a problem for Australia, it is a problem for the whole region and the whole region will work together in a concerted way.”

Amnesty warns against complicity in rights abuses

Amnesty International urged Marise Payne to seek assurances from the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that Australian troops will not inadvertently become complicit in human rights abuses.

Defence Minister Payne will be discussing Australia’s offer to send special forces troops to fight IS in a meeting with officials in the Philippines next week.

“Amnesty International Australia has been appalled by reports back in June that the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gave his troops an unequivocal license to kill civilians with impunity while fighting ISIS-aligned militants in Marawi,” said Amnesty International Australia’s Campaigns Manager Michael Hayworth. 

“At a minimum, Australia should be leading calls on President Duterte to protect civilians and make sure that a proportionate response is taken to any alleged threat from extremist groups.”

Battle claims 800 lives

Pro-Islamic State militants took over the southern Philippines city of Marawi in May.

Filippino soldiers have been fighting to take back the city in a conflict that has displaced an estimated 400,000 people.

IS rebels in Marawi are believed to be receiving direct funding from IS in the Middle East.

Close to 800 dead including about 600 militants.

Duterte declares battle is nearing its end

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday a three-month battle against Islamic State group supporters occupying parts of a southern city was in its “final stages”.

Duterte gave his assessment shortly after government troops secured a vital bridge in Marawi city, allowing them easier access into areas being held by the militants.

“We are in the final stages. So let us send immediately, even air-lift, the police,” to Marawi, Duterte said in the capital Manila, about 800 kilometres to the north of the battle zone.

Pro-IS gunmen occupied parts of Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines on May 23, triggering a battle that the military says has left almost 800 people dead.

The fighting, which has included a US-backed air campaign against the militants, has destroyed large parts of Marawi.

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Seven residents dead after flu outbreak at Victorian aged care home

The elderly residents, aged between 70 to 94, died at St John’s Retirement Village in Wangaratta, in the state’s north-east.

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Over the past few weeks, 123 people caught the flu during the deadly outbreak.

Victorian chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said there was one person still battling the illness and another death looked like it could be possible.

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“We are at the peak of one of the worst flu seasons ever and the elderly are one of highest-risk groups,” he said on Friday.

“Sadly, for the frail – and people with underlying health conditions – the flu can be very serious. About 800 people in Victoria die each year from influenza – the most of any communicable disease.”

St John’s Retirement Village is home to 146 residents who are looked after by 200 staff.

In Victoria, flu outbreaks are at very high levels – particularly in aged care homes.

Victoria’s Depertment of Health has recorded 208 cases this year, which is double the amount seen last year in the same period.

So far this year, more than 11,300 people have been infected by influenza in Victoria alone.

To lessen the risk of catching the highly contagious virus which can spread through fluids in coughs and sneezes, Dr Suttom urges people to keep their hands clean by thorougly washing their hands with soap before visiting their friends or family in aged care or hospital.

NSW has also had the worst month for the flu since records began with more than 39,000 cases detected in August – more than double the previous record.

Data collected by NSW Health shows there have been 39,082 cases of the flu during August.

This surpasses the previous record set in July this year when there were 16,761 cases.

In general, August is the worst month for the flu with 13,602 cases in the same month last year and 12,901 cases the year before that.

‘Watershed’ in cancer therapy raises hope

Australian cancer researchers have been buoyed by the approval in the US of a “revolutionary” cancer therapy that works by genetically altering a patients’ cells to fight the disease.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week approved the drug CTL019 developed by Novartis Pharmaceutical, the first gene therapy to hit the US market.

Peter Orchard, CEO of CanTeen – the national support organisation for young people living with cancer – has hailed the decision a “watershed” for cancer treatment.

“It’s part of a new way of cancer treatments that could genuinely start to impact survival rates in some of those nastier cancers that have really been difficult to deal with,” Mr Orchard told AAP on Friday.

Dr Emily Blyth – a haematologist and bone marrow transplant physician at Westmead Hospital – says an important step has been taken towards making this lifesaving therapy available in Australia.

Although that is still “heartbreakingly” a long way off.

“It’s getting access for Australian patients that now becomes the challenge,” Dr Blyth said.

The treatment involves collecting t-cells, a type of immune cell, from the patient that are then genetically engineered to produce special receptors designed to recognise and kill the cancer cells.

Haematologist and cancer researcher Dr Kenneth Micklethwaite at the Westmead Institute – who is leading a trial of a very similar therapy in Australia with Dr Blyth – says the therapy works by harnessing the power of the immune system to fight the disease.

He said the results of international clinical trials have been “remarkable”.

“They’ve seen patients who have very active leukaemia that’s completely resistant to all other therapies, nothing else has worked, and they’ve given them these cells and their leukaemia has responded very promptly and just melted away,” Dr Micklethwaite said.

The potent personalised treatment, however, is not cheap.

Novartis set the price for its one-time infusion of so-called “CAR-T cells” at $475,000.

Mr Orchard says for an Australian hoping to access this treatment overseas could cost them upwards of $1 million.

For this reason, efforts by CanTeen are now under way to bring this sort of cutting-edge treatment to Australia in the hope of improving survival rates among the 1,000 young people diagnosed with cancer every year in the country.

Last month, CanTeen put out a call for expression of interest to researchers after receiving $5 million in funding from the federal government to conduct clinical trials for sarcoma, leukaemia and brain tumours.

“We would love to see it tried more widely here in Australia, it’s a new frontier of treatments for cancer that we just really need to explore now and use to give people hope where there has been no hope,” Mr Orchard said.

Dr Blyth has called on the nation’s doctors to advocate for their patients “because that’s how we get them access to the world’s best treatments.”

“Who wants to tell a patient ‘look this is a available for someone who lives in the US it’s not available for you’, it’s just too heartbreaking,” said Dr Blyth.

Redistribution of parliament’s seats could threaten Government

The Australian Electoral Commission has announced South Australia will lose one seat, while Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory will gain one each.

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That could pose a threat to a federal cabinet minister and even the whole Coalition Government.

The nation’s political representation is set for a shake-up, with seats across several states and territories soon to change to better represent the country’s population shifts.

The Australian Electoral Commission, which determines the number of seats, has decided Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory will each gain one seat.

South Australia, however, will lose a federal MP, bringing the total number of lower-house electorates to 151.

Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers says the public will have a chance to make suggestions first and raise any concerns they may have.

The Greens, currently in a power-sharing agreement with Labor in the ACT, are already looking at how the move could benefit them long-term.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale says reviews of the electorates are a regular and necessary occurrence.

“As the population grows, we need to continue to look at boundaries and redefine those. What we want to see is a redistribution that gives people that level of representation. And, as far as the Greens are concerned, we’ll be putting our best foot forward to try and ensure that people have an opportunity to see a Greens member of the lower house in the ACT elected.”

A redistribution of electoral boundaries is already underway in Queensland and Tasmania, but no change to the number of those seats is happening.

The new Victorian seat is expected to be in Melbourne’s north-west and would most likely go to Labor.

It is unclear who would win the newly created ACT seat, with the Liberals making strong gains in elections in recent years.

Victorian Labor MP Catherine King has told the ABC the changes could make for an interesting election.

“These boundary changes, they do change seats and change voting patterns, I guess, so I don’t know. At the end of the day, it’s really in the Australian Electoral Commission’s hands, and you go out there and try and convince people on the basis of your policies to vote for you.”

The redistribution is potentially bad news for the Turnbull Government, already holding onto power with just a one-seat majority.

There is speculation the Prime Minister might call an election in late 2018 before the changes are finalised.

There is likely to be months of lobbying and submissions, including from political parties themselves, before the final boundaries are settled.

The Liberal-held seats of Grey and Barker in South Australia are expected to merge to form an area covering 98 per cent of the state’s landmass.

The move could also affect Defence Industries Minister Christopher Pyne, who holds the seat of Sturt in Adelaide’s outer eastern suburbs.

He could face more Labor voters, but he has told the Nine Network he is not worried about his position.

“I’ve been through three redistributions that I can remember. There’s no more, or greater, reason, or less reason, why my seat would be abolished. Eventually, there will be a 12-month process. I’ll be living in the seat somewhere in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. I’ll be standing for that seat. That’s where my party membership is. That’s where my electors are. I will definitely have a seat. The reality is, what it will end up looking like is a matter for the Electoral Commission.”

South Australian Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie has expressed disappointment at the reshuffle, though.

She says it is a sign of her state’s diminishing national presence.

 

‘No skin’ left on Brisbane burns victim

A man fighting for his life after being set alight while asleep at his Brisbane home has been burnt so severely there isn’t “a bit of skin left on him,” relatives say.

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A cousin of Victor Graveson, 65, has described the horrific injuries suffered when he was doused in an accelerant and set alight at a Teesdale Road home at Alexandra Hills on Friday morning.

He ran from his home covered in flames before relatives came to his aid and put out the fire.

Mr Graveson, who is retired, is in a critical condition at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with head-to-toe burns.

Relatives say they saw another man running from the property about 9am, about the same time they saw smoke coming from the home.

“I was sitting here and one bloke ran up the road, took off at a 100 mile,” Mr Graveson’s cousin told AAP.

“About 15 minutes or maybe 10 minutes later we could see the smoke coming from down at the house and by the time we got up there it was pretty well alight.

“Victor was lying inside my brother’s verandah all burnt, right through. There wasn’t a bit of skin left on him.”

A 34-year-old man has been treated for minor burns to his arms after taking himself to Redland Hospital. He is being interviewed by police, who are treating him as a person of interest.

Police tape surrounds the four-hectare property which has been declared a crime scene.

The property, which is made up of a number of makeshift dwellings and homes belonging to the victim’s relatives, is littered with cars, boats and farming machinery.

Authorities were seen inspecting the boot of a car on the scene that was open and with a number of plastic fuel tanks inside.

A history of SA’s troubled new hospital

Adelaide’s new $2.

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4 billion hospital will open next week after years of political infighting, cost blowouts, fatal accidents and a naming controversy.

In June 2007 then premier Mike Rann announced the government would build a hospital on the old railway site in Adelaide’s western CBD.

Known as the Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Hospital and costing $1.7 billion, it would replace the existing and historic Royal Adelaide Hospital and be finished by 2016, the premier said.

But if he thought the project would be universally embraced, and the cost unchanged, he was in for a shock, with even the name posing a major headache for the government.

Chosen to honour the former Olympic gold medallist and popular state governor, the plan was quickly drawn into controversy before a brick was laid.

Influential medical figures argued that scrapping the “Royal” moniker would mean losing the international recognition the hospital had.

Others were outraged that the government would consider a change, arguing the “Marj” would simply not do.

“Some of the attacks have been deeply personal, aimed at Marjorie and her contribution, rather than simply at our choice of her name for the new hospital.” Mr Rann told parliament in 2009 after eventually succumbing to public pressure to retain the existing name.

Nevertheless, the criticism continued.

The opposition questioned the need for the project altogether, arguing redeveloping the existing RAH would be more cost effective.

The railway yard site would be a better location for a sports stadium, they said.

There was significant backlash within the medical community with the Save the RAH lobby group also calling for the project to be scrapped and money invested into the existing hospital.

Labor stuck to its guns and after winning the 2010 election started work on clearing the site.

But new Premier Jay Weatherill soon faced more concerns as contaminated soil caused the first of many delays.

Worse was to come with the on-site death of construction worker Jorge Castillo-Riffo who was crushed while operating a scissor lift in 2014.

The government also faced pressure from the Australian Medical Association who repeatedly questioned the size and suitability of the hospital’s facilities.

In 2016, Steve Wyatt became the second worker to die on the site and the premier promised an inquest after workers rallied on the steps of parliament.

By then the hospital had already missed its first scheduled completion date and was set to miss a second.

That was, in part, related to a string of alleged faults, including dodgy air-conditioning, incorrect loading dock sizes, and smaller than expected rooms.

Those issues landed the government and the developers in court before a settlement was reached.

But through all the trials and tribulations the government held firm on its belief that the new Royal Adelaide would prove to be the best hospital in the Australia, among the best in the world and would usher in a new era of medical care.

When it opens on Tuesday, the public – its patients – will finally get to judge that for themselves.