Set amidst the rugged splendor of the Australian Outback, two fun-loving drifters, Singing raconteur Phil O’Brien and ex Jailbird Al Zimdahl come across a French beauty ‘Elisa’, alone in the middle of nowhere, and on a mission to find what she really wants out of life. A gifted Singer and musician, the bright lights of Paris and her Fathers business caused her disillusion, and she’d thrown herself into the empty vastness of the Northern Territory hoping to find answers.
Yothu Yindi Foundation studies GST revenue figures for 2015-16 and finds disadvantaged communities were shortchanged
The Northern Territory underspent about $500m in GST payments meant for disadvantaged Indigenous communities in 2015-16, the Yothu Yindi Foundation has told the Productivity Commission’s GST review.
It accused governments of running policies that prevented Indigenous people in the NT from contributing to the economy and participating in the wealth of the nation.
“The full potential of the Territory will never be realised until Aboriginal people living in remote and regional parts of the Territory are able to assume a rightful place in its economic and social life,” the foundation’s chief executive, Denise Bowden, said.
Does glitter bring to mind the prospect of shiny, sparkly, Christmassy, harmless fun? I’m afraid it is a bit more complicated than that. The popularity of glitter and the sheer volume used at Christmas presents us with a growing problem. Here are five reasons to rethink your glitter habit.
1. All that glitters is … plastic
Millions of items are adorned with glitter, from baubles to wrapping paper. Christmas is not Christmas without sparkly accessories and flamboyant decorations, but is it really? Modern glitter originated in 1934, when an American farmer named Henry Ruschmann created a way of cutting mylar and plastic sheets into tiny shapes. He formed Meadowbrook Inventions, which today is still one of the main global suppliers of glitter.
The majority of commercial products that contain glitter, whether these are single use items, such as Christmas cards, or more permanent items such as Christmas tree decorations, use inorganic glitter – chiefly plastics such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and also polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Glitter is usually layered with other materials, such as aluminium to provide extra sparkle. Underneath the microscope, it is possible to see the huge variation of glitter shapes and sizes: hexagons, squares, rectangles and even hearts and stars ranging from 6.25mm to a truly tiny 0.05mm.
2. Glitter is not fabulous (for marine life)
Most people now understand that microplastics, such as fibres from clothes or microbeads in facial scrubs, are dangerous to sea life. Glitter is a microplastic too, classed as a primary type of microplastic as the particles are less than 5mm in size and have been purposely manufactured to be of microscopic size.
Glitter can enter seas and oceans from rivers, via wastewater from our homes and via run-off from landfill sites. Although many microplastics are removed at wastewater treatment plants, a huge amount of microplastics still find their way through to the oceans. The size of these particles means they are easily consumed by small marine organisms, who cannot discriminate between particles of food and plastic.
Microplastic particles attract inorganic and organic chemicals to adhere to them, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s, which have been banned since 1979) and toxic heavy metals. A big risk to wildlife comes from the bioaccumulation of these toxins in the food chain – as recently highlighted in the final episode of the BBC’s Blue Planet II television programme on Earth’s oceans, which showed how young dolphins have been found dead, possibly killed by toxins accumulated in their mother’s milk.
3. Glitter is not just for Christmas
Microplastics break down under UV light which changes the structure of the plastic, by the mechanical action of water and by microbes. Some plastics such as PVC contain plasticisers, which can extend the degradation time of plastic. Given that plastics already may take hundreds, possibly even thousands of years to decompose, this is a concern. Glitter, like any other plastic, will degrade in the marine environment into further smaller pieces, called secondary sources of microplastic, but while it may grace your Christmas card only for a few weeks, it will hang around for much longer.
4. Glitter is hard to dispose of
Knowing the problems posed by glitter, you may be wondering what now to do with it all. This is a difficult question to answer, as whichever way you dispose of it there is a chance it will end up in the oceans. Most importantly, do not wash glitter down the sink. Instead, try reusing the glitter (or item adorned with it) for a future festive project. This still does not eliminate the risk, merely potentially prolonging the moment it enters the ocean. So what to do?
Where possible try not to buy cards or paper that features glitter, or make-up containing glitter particles. Nurseries in Dorset have already banned the use of glitter – could you do without it too? Ultimately, the only way to prevent this type of plastic adding to the global microplastic problem is to get rid of it completely, and opt for an eco-friendly alternative.
5. There are guilt-free glitter alternatives
In line with the 2017 ban on microbeads in toiletries, there have recently been calls to ban glitter.. This has been met with some resistance and accusations that this represents scientists “wanting to take the sparkle out of life”. But we don’t have to go all the way from bling to bland.
Just as manufacturers of facial scrubs are looking at using natural exfoliating materials, such as apricot or walnut husks, glitter manufacturers have now started producing biodegradable glitter, available from many online stores (such as Glitterevolution and Ecoglitterfun). Biodegradable glitter is made from the cellulose of plants, such as the eucalyptus tree, grown on land unsuitable for food crops using sustainable forestry initiatives that require little water. On top of that, it is also compostable – truly an eco-glitter.
Even the company where modern glitter was born is getting environmentally friendly: Meadowbrook Inventions also now supplies biodegradable glitter, which means that with such a major supplier on board, there is hope for sparkly yet environmentally friendly Christmases in the future.
Late musician Gurrumul Yunupingu will be identified by his full name and his image can be shown, says his family in order to preserve his music and memory.
The mourning family of late indigenous Australian musician Gurrumul Yunupingu is breaking with cultural tradition to allow the use of his name and ensure his legacy lives on.
“The immediate family of Gurrumul have been clear throughout the grieving process that the contribution he made and continues to make to Australian and Yolngu cultural life should not be forgotten,” his record label Skinnyfish Music said in a statement.
THE Territory’s tourism economy will be forced into an overhaul once major projects like Inpex reduce, the Tourism NT chairman Michael Bridge said.
Mr Bridge, who is also a director of Airnorth — Australia’s second oldest airline — said high airfares were just one part of the challenge ahead.
The cost of flying to and from the Territory has again surfaced with independent MLA Terry Mills pressing for the lifting of restrictions allowing international carriers to move passengers to domestic destinations.
Top Enders forking out for sky-high airfares will get the chance to air their frustration when a Senate inquiry visits Darwin next year.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee is calling for first-hand experiences of flight prices in regional, rural and remote locations and will scrutinise the factors that determine pricing.
“It’s looking at regional routes and seeing what can be done from a federal perspective, from a regulatory perspective, to try and improve our connectivity,” Member for Solomon Luke Gosling said.
Australia is one of few Commonwealth nations not to currently have a treaty or treaties with its Indigenous people, despite ongoing calls for a settlement.
The term Makarrata has long been proposed as an alternative name for the treaty process in this country. However, many people have only become familiar with it since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released in May.
That statement, and a final report to the government, came after the Referendum Council held 13 regional forums to discuss constitutional change and try to reach a consensus.
These two documents rejected the idea of minimalist or symbolic changes to the constitution.
Instead, they called for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice to parliament, along with a Makarrata Commission “to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history”.
Makarrata was also the theme for this year’s Garma Festival, and part of its tagline, “Go! Bukuluŋdhun Makarrata wu,” which translates to: “Come! Let’s gather together for Makarrata.”
You don’t hear the phrase “off the beaten track” so often these days but it’s the perfect description for Lonely Beach in East Arnhem Land. We get there by four-wheel drive from an equally remote beach called Bawaka, in the Port Bradshaw area, having reached that spot after a couple of hours over soft sand, also by four-wheel drive, from Nhulunbuy on the Gove Peninsula. We got there by air from Darwin, and to Darwin by … Well, you get the picture. This is a long way from down south and, for our little group of Sydneysiders, it’s almost like another country.
WHILE some denounce Australia Day as Invasion Day, an Aboriginal clan from northeast Arnhem Land uses it to welcome doctors, nurses, teachers, police and the community to their land and to thank them for their contributions.
On Thursday, the Rirratjingu clan will hold a bungul, or welcoming ceremony, in the township of Nhulunbuy, to bring people together.