Monthly Archives: April 2019

Aussie teens turn their backs on ‘uncool’ alcohol

Today’s teenagers are turning their backs on Australia’s excessive drinking culture, and shunning other drugs, in a change that has been dubbed a modern “youth revolution”.
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A study involving more than 41,000 Australian adolescents (average age 13.5) has observed a staggering drop in rates of teen alcohol consumption and smoking since 1999.

Drinking and smoking are on the decrease among Australian teens, according to a new study. Picture: SHUTTERSTOCK

At the turn of the century, almost 70 per cent of surveyed teenagers had already drunk alcohol.

By 2015, that figure that dropped to 45 per cent, meaning high school students abstaining from alcohol are now in the majority.

An author of the study, Professor John Toumbourou, said while the adult population were also showing signs of moderating their alcohol consumption, it did not compare to the sharp trend within the secondary school population.

“They are making changes that are much more dramatic to other age groups,” said Professor Toumbourou, chair in health psychology at Deakin University.

“It’s a new, youth-led revolution.”

Lily Parsons, 13, explains it another way.

“It’s not cool,” she says.

“If one of my friends drunk, I would try to stay away from them a bit.”

The year 8 student is from Colac, a town with a population of about 12,400 in south-west Victoria.

Some things stay the same in Colac – it’s still the sporty kids who occupy highest rung on the popularity ladder. But alcohol no longer appears to be as trendy as it used to be, at least for kids like Lily.

Lily has read that it is safer to not to drink until after 21 – and she is going to “do her best” to abstain until then.

So, at the moment at least, her outings with friends involve shopping trips to Target, going to the movies and pool, and hanging out at “Maccas”.

Fifteen years ago it was her uncle, Ryan Fennell, roaming the streets of Colac looking for something to do.

The financial advisor, now 31, says back then he did not think twice about the health effects of alcohol – it was either not talked about it, or it did not sink in.

“If you weren’t drinking, you were strange,” he said.

“You were a loser, I guess.”

Ryan Fennell and his niece Lily Parsons, born 18 years apart, grew up in generations with differing views on teen drinking. Photo: Scott McNaughton

His social life in Colac revolved around cricket, footy and hanging out with friends.

“The weekends were focused around how we were going to get alcohol,” Mr Fennell recalled.

The newly published study, largely using Victorian data, found that in 1999 almost 40 per cent of surveyed students had favourable attitudes to substance use, compared to only 11 per cent in 2015.

Meanwhile, only 10 per cent of surveyed teens had tried smoking tobacco in 2015, compared to 45 per cent in 1999. Just 4 per cent had tried cannabis, compared to 15 per cent in the older generation.

Professor Toumbourou believes changing parent attitudes are one of the major factors behind the moderating behaviour of their children.

He said around the time of the Sydney Olympics some parents thought that it would be better to supervise teenagers drinking small or moderate amounts of alcohol, expecting they would drink anyway.

Adam Golding, 31, was among this generation. He grew up in the Victorian regional city of Wodonga, and says he remembers his parents allowing him to bring two cans of beer to his friend’s 15th birthday party.

“Other times, getting a bit older, they said you can bring a bit more – maybe six drinks each.”

The technique, however, did not stop the teenagers drinking to excess anyway with alcohol obtained through other means.

Adam Golding, 18, with his friend Rob Glew, 17, at the Wodonga Races in 2004. Photo: Supplied

Today, parents and teenagers are faced with evidence that drinking alcohol as a young person can cause permanent brain damage, including memory problems, because the brain only fully matures well into people’s 20s.

Professor Toumbourou said parents may have been influenced by 2009 national guidelines recommending that teenagers abstain from alcohol altogether.

He is among those calling for Australia’s legal drinking age being raised to 21, in response to the scientific evidence of the damaging effect of alcohol on the growing brain.

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ZZ Top’s guitarist cancels final Australian show after backlash

Billy Gibbons (frontman of ZZ Top). Picture: APIt seems guitar legend Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top has not been giving all hisloving to fans as outrage has trailled him up the NSW coast.
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After leaving hundreds of fans fuming after two “bizarre” shows at Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul, Newcastle’s show on Wednesday wasn’t much different while the fourth and final show in Brisbanehas been cancelled due to “unexpected circumstances”.

Fans who made it to the Civic Theatre in Newcastle reported the Sharp Dressed Man only appeared on stage for 45 minutes and played three songs despite being told it was a two-hour show. While ticket-holders who had paid $200 to meet the star were left without what they paid for.

Read More:Was Billy Gibbons lying when he said he was a keen surfer?

ZZ Top’s guitarist cancels final Australian show after backlash Comments after Billy Gibbons’ Newcastle show on January 10.

Comments after Billy Gibbons’ Newcastle show on January 10.

Comments after Billy Gibbons’ Newcastle show on January 10.

Comments after Billy Gibbons’ Newcastle show on January 10.

Comments after Billy Gibbons’ Newcastle show on January 10.

Some of the comments from disgruntled fans on Facebook after Billy Gibbons’ two Thirroul shows on January 5 and 6.

Some of the comments from disgruntled fans on Facebook after Billy Gibbons’ two Thirroul shows on January 5 and 6.

Some of the comments from disgruntled fans on Facebook after Billy Gibbons’ two Thirroul shows on January 5 and 6.

Some of the comments from disgruntled fans on Facebook after Billy Gibbons’ two Thirroul shows on January 5 and 6.

Some of the comments from disgruntled fans on Facebook after Billy Gibbons’ two Thirroul shows on January 5 and 6.

TweetFacebookOne of four songs Billy Gibbons plays in Thirroul on SaturdayPost by One of four songs Billy Gibbons plays in Thirroul on Saturday.

Illawarra Mercurycontacted the promoter Mr Brewer on Tuesday who said he would return with a statement from Gibbons in 10 minutes but failed to respond.

Songs and stories tours by musicians are not new to the Illawarra with veteran rocker Jimmy Barnes set to bring his second tour of that style to Anita’s Theatre this year.The Angels have also had recent success with a national tour in the same vein that stopped by Wollongong.

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Without a trace: Jayden’s mysterious disappearance rocks small town

Without a trace: Jayden’s mysterious disappearance rocks small town FEAR: Charters Towers resident Doug Morris said the community was looking for Jayden Penno-Tompsett, top left. Senior Sergeant Graham Lohmann, bottom left, said police were “not closed to any possibility”.
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The Flinders Highway at the entrance to Charters Towers, where a missing person investigation has rocked the small town. Picture: Brodie Owen

Locals walk down the main street of Charters Towers, Gill Sreet. Charters Towers is about 90 minutes south-west of Townsville. Picture: Brodie Owen

Police canvassed the Stockroute Road area on Wednesday but were no closer to finding Jayden Penno-Tompsett. Picture: Brodie Owen

TweetFacebook‘He is my mate and I’m hurt too’THE friend travelling with Jayden Penno-Tompsett before he vanished has denied claims he is “heartless” and says he is actually heartbroken at the disappearance of his mate.

Lucas Tattersall was a passenger in the Nissan Pulsar when the men were passing through Charters Towers in North Queensland early on New Year’s Eve.

Earlier: Queensland police join the search for Jayden

The pair took off from Newcastle andhad taken turns in the drive upto Cairns via the Gregory Highway, which passes through towns including Emerald and Clermont, before it becomes the Flinders Highway at Charters Towers.

In Charters Towers, police believe Mr Penno-Tompsett became angry and for an unknown reason turned onto a back road –possibly Stockroute Road, which connects cattle grazing farms –before vanishing.

Mr Tattersall has not responded to media requests for comment but on Facebook said he had tried to calm Mr Penno-Tompsett to no avail.

Police canvassed the Stockroute Road area on Wednesday but were no closer to finding Jayden Penno-Tompsett. Picture: Brodie Owen

“I’m sorry to tell you but if someone wants to just up and leave and f*** off then that’s what they are gonna do,” he wrote.“[You] don’t understand how hard I tried to help Jayden when I with him and calm him down so we can sort this out [sic].”

He added:“He is my mate and I’m hurt too please stop making out I’m just some heartless prick that left him out there to die.”

Asked why he drove off, he said he was “owed money” in Cairns that he needed to fix his car because it was“on the verge of breaking down”.

“I had to wait about 4/5 days until I could get it fixed. Otherwise if I didn’t do what I did I’d be stuck in Charters Towers with no money or nothing,” he said.

Two helicopters, including one piloted by a cattle grazier with extensive local knowledge, scoured the area near Stockbridge Road.

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Daunting Open match-up looms for ‘Demon’ de Minaur

Gun Australian youngster Alex de Minaur has drawn a daunting opponent in the Australian Open first round – former top-10 player Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
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De Minaur, in a rich vein of form in the lead-up to the first major of 2018, picked up a main draw spot after winning the Australian Open wildcard play-off last month.

De Minaur has already marched into the Sydney International quarter-finals and the 18-year-old was due to play Feliciano Lopez in the final eight on Thursday night.

Australia’s best hope in the men’s draw, Nick Kyrgios, will meet Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva. Kyrgios is the solitary Australian men’s seed but narrowly misses out on a coveted top-16 seeding by one place.

It’s a tough assignment for Australia’s second-ranked man, Matthew Ebden, who plays big-serving John Isner while countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis has a tricky assignment against Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Another Australian in the main draw, John Millman, plays Croatia’s Borna Coric.

Six-time winner Novak Djokovic faces early challenges in his return to the circuit.

Djokovic, in the unfamiliar surrounds as the 14th seed after not playing at all since Wimbledon, meets American Donald Young. But beyond that, Gael Monfils, looms in the second round.

Ashleigh Barty (18) and Daria Gavrilova (23) are the two Australian women to enjoy the protection of a seeding.

???Barty, who raced up the rankings in 2017, confronts Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, while Gavrilova will play a qualifier.

Veteran Australian Sam Stosur has a dangerous assignment against Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.

But it’s even worse for young Australian Destanee Aiava, who drew world No.1 Simona Halep.

The men’s and women’s events at Melbourne Park are both missing two of their top-32 players.

Defending champion Serena Williams and Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova aren’t featuring at the Open, with five-time runner-up Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori unable to compete on the men’s side.

The withdrawal of Williams and unseeded star Victoria Azarenka means only two Australian Open champions feature in the women’s draw – 2008 winner Maria Sharapova and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber.

FIRST ROUND MATCHES TO WATCH:

MEN’S

David Ferrer (Spain) versus Andrey Rublev (Russia)

Kevin Anderson (South Africa) v Kyle Edmund (Great Britain)

Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) v Fernando Verdasco (Spain)

Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v Donald Young (USA)

Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) v Daniil Medvedev (Russia)

???WOMEN’S

Simona Halep (Romania) v Destanee Aiava (Australia)

Kristyna Pliskova (Czech Republic) v Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)

Venus Williams (USA) v Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)

Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) v Francesca Schiavone (Italy)

Sam Stosur (Australia) v Monica Puig (Puerto Rico)

With AAP

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Josh Frydenberg concedes Australia’s carbon emissions rose in 2017

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg concedes Australia’s greenhouse gas pollution continued to soar last year, confirming that more than a decade of climate policy bickering has failed to curb harmful emissions.
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Official data shows Australia’s annual emissions have risen for the fourth year running. They were up by 0.7 per cent in the year to June 2017, to 550 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The alarming figures come ahead of a critical few months for the Turnbull government as it seeks to convince the states and territories to sign off on its signature climate policy, the national energy guarantee – a measure that Labor says will fail to sufficiently rein in emissions.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the government’s national energy guarantee, announced in October, was “the most effective way” to cut emissions. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The data, released last month, also casts serious doubt on Australia’s ability to meet its international obligations under the Paris climate accord.

Australia recorded its third-warmest year on record in 2017 – continuing a trend of warmer temperatures that the Bureau of Meteorology has linked to climate change.

The latest quarterly update of Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory showed last year’s emissions were only marginally lower than the 554 million tonnes produced in 2000, despite years of fierce climate policy debate in the intervening years.

Emissions levels have fluctuated since the turn of the millennium, but have risen steadily since 2013.

Speaking on ABC Radio on Thursday, Mr Frydenberg was repeatedly pressed to admit Australia’s emissions rose last year, and eventually conceded “that is true”.

But he said those figures were calculated on a yearly basis, and “if you look at the last quarter they went down, if you look at the trend it is improving”.

Mr Frydenberg said June quarter figures showed emissions went down by 0.6 per cent, and that emissions on a per capita and GDP basis were at “their lowest in 28 years”.

“What you need to focus on here is what is happening in different aspects of the economy as a result of policies we are putting in place,” he said.

“What we are seeing is real improvements in various aspects of the economy.”

Mr Frydenberg pointed to the national energy productivity plan which aims to boost energy efficiency in the built environment by 40 per cent, and the emissions reduction fund, focused on agriculture and the land sector, which has abated up to 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide at an average cost of $12 a tonne.

The Department of the Environment and Energy’s own modelling projects that by 2020, Australia’s total emissions will be slightly higher than current levels, at 551 million tonnes. It said the rapid expansion of the liquefied natural gas sector was a major factor in emissions growth, however this was partly offset by falling emissions in the electricity sector.

Mr Frydenberg on Thursday said the government’s national energy guarantee, announced in October, was “the most effective way” to cut emissions.

It forces energy companies to meet mandated standards of reliability and emissions reduction, but critics say it thwarts growth in renewable energy, props up ageing coal-fired power plants and will fail to sufficiently drive down emissions.

Labor has heavily criticised the plan and energy spokesman Mark Butler said on Wednesday the “only detail that has been released is modelling showing cuts to large-scale renewable investment”.

Mr Butler said former prime minister Tony Abbott “vandalised” the nation’s climate change policies – a reference to the abolition of Labor’s so-called carbon tax in 2014 – and “unsurprisingly we have seen carbon pollution levels rise ever since”.

He said the government’s own data “projects that with their policy position in place, carbon pollution levels will continue to rise between now and 2030” – the date set for Australia to meet its emissions reduction commitments under the Paris deal.

Mr Frydenberg said the independent energy security board was undertaking detailed design work on the national energy guarantee. In April it would be presented to the COAG energy council, which must unanimously sign off on the policy.

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