Thursday, September 19
The Federal Government has posted a smaller-than-expected budget deficit, firming up its expectations of delivering a surplus this financial year.
The latest Treasury figures show last year’s budget deficit was $690 million for the 2018/19 financial year.
The Government in April projected a $4.2 billion deficit for that financial year.
“The Australian economy is strong and ready for the challenges ahead,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
A boost in commodity prices and exports contributed to the budget improvement.
Mr Frydenberg said there had been a $13.8 billion improvement in the underlying cash balance since the budget was released in 2018.
“These outcomes demonstrate the Government’s economic plan is working and confirming the budget is on track and will be back in the black for the 2019/20 year,” he said.
“Importantly, Australia has completed its 28th consecutive year of economic growth, and maintains its triple-A credit rating, with more than 1.4 million jobs created since we came to Government.”
A Melbourne woman who suddenly felt unsafe when going for her early morning walk has built up a special walking group with a membership of 300 people who meet and walk in safety.
Alixandra Sampson, of Brunswick said she had felt vulnerable one morning when she put her headphones .
“….when I put them on, I just felt really unsafe and kept looking over my shoulder,” she told the ABC.
Walking along darkened streets, she wished there was someone she could call on to walk beside her.
Eventually she abandoned the walk and posted about her experience on a community Facebook page, the Brunswick Good Karma Network, reported Andie Noonan and Tiffanie Liew
Mrs Sampson said the response was overwhelming.
“[It] really blew me away how many other people felt the same as what I was feeling,” she said.
Seeing the response, she set up Brunswick Sole Mates Facebook group to connect people in the area with others so they can walk safely in areas that are not well lit, or when it’s dark.
The group now has over 300 members and they have been on several outings.
Ms Sampson said high-profile attacks on women in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, like the rapes and murders of Jill Meagher in 2012, Eurydice Dixon in 2018, and Aiia Maasarwe in January this year, have made her worry about her own safety.
A recent study showed that only 50 per cent of women feel safe walking alone at night, compared with 80 per cent of men.
Another survey of young people (aged between 15 and 19 years) found that 47 per cent of women were worried about their safety, compared with 18 per cent of men.
“It’s made me really fearful of even walking home from the train station after dark. I hold my keys between my knuckles, I text my housemates when I’m on my way and when I expect to be home,” Ms Sampson said.
“It’s about safety and feeling safe to live and walk around and not be scared to listen to music or not be scared to walk in a park if there’s only one street lamp.”
“It’s sad, but it’s a reality. So we have to minimise risk where we can but also support each other where possible.”
A gun safety group has launched a harrowing back-to-school television commercial about the horrors of mass shootings in classrooms across America with viewers opinions divided.
Sandy Hook Promise, a gun safety advocacy group, immediately went viral with millions of views on social media within hours of its release on Wednesday.
Many viewers described it as the “most powerful thing” they’d ever seen, while others said it was “hard-to-watch” and “too graphic”.
Despite the conflicting views, the “back to school essentials” video and #sandyhookpromise were soon trending on Twitter.
The commercial starts cheerfully with a boy admiring his new backpack.
But the narrative quickly darkens, with other students using everyday back-to-school items -including pencils and scissors as knives – to survive a shooting as the sounds of screams and gunshots ring out in the background.
“These new sneakers are just what I needed for the new year,” one boy says as he runs through a corridor.
“These new socks, they can be a real lifesaver,” a girl says, taking off her knee-high hosiery to use as a tourniquet on another student’s bloody leg.
In one scene, a boy uses his skateboard to break a window in a desperate attempt to escape the gunfire.
As it nears the heartbreaking end, a little girl huddles in a bathroom cubicle and types out a loving text to her mother on a glittering pink phone. Tears stream down her face.
“I finally got my own phone to stay in touch with my mum,” she says.
The child closes her eyes at the sound of a door opening and footsteps approaching before the scene fades to black.
“It’s back to school time. And you know what that means,” white texts that appears on the screen reads.
The Sandy Hook Promise was created after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Twenty six people, including 20 children, were killed in the massacre.
It’s latest advertisement is part of the organisation’s “Know the Signs” campaign that aims to warn students, teachers, and parents about the signs that someone is planning a shooting. According to the group, eight children die from gun violence in the US and 32 more are shot and injured every day.
Nicole Hockley, a former marketing consultant who co-founded Sandy Hook Promise after her six-year-old son, Dylan, died in the Newtown shooting said “gun violence and school shootings are not easy subjects, and they shouldn’t be fun to watch”.
“The more we step away from reality, the less respect we’re giving to those who have to live through this,” she said.
Ms Hockey told USA Today that “we have to compel ourselves to address this head-on and do something about it”.
Photo: A boy uses a skateboard to break a window and escape a shooting in a back-to-school advertisement.Source:Supplied
The commercial was released a week after Congress reconvened, following six weeks of recess. Politicians have struggled to address gun violence despite the Sandy Hook shooting reigniting fierce debate over gun control in the US.
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