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State Focus -

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(generated from captions) Details at 5:00. This program is captioned live. welcome to State Focus. Good afternoon and explore and bring you up to date affecting our region. with the news and issues Stay with us for the next half hour. and Brumbies star Steve Larkham We're going to chat to Wallabies about his plans for the future. to encourage young doctors We'll take a look at a new scheme to take on a country practice. to avoid the flu this winter. We'll also have the latest on ways dominating news in Canberra But first up, the issue that's been attention around the country. and certainly gaining by the ACT Government Legislation has been introduced to allow civil unions, to have the same legal rights essentially allowing gay couples as those who are married. has become involved, Now the federal government generally opposing the idea, thoughts of a gay couple planning but I thought we should hear the a civil union. Welcome to State Focus. Thanks Phil. through the ACT assembly, If this legislation get of it by forming a civil union? you two intend to take advantage commitment to each other We intend to celebrate our bill does get passed or whatever. regardless of whether or not the to have that legal recognition We'd hope that we'll be able intend to go ahead regardless. of our relationship, but we piece of paper though I guess. Evan, you'd like to do it with a the legal recognition aspect, Yes. I think so, because important aspect to us, well it's not the most piece of legislation in place, it just makes it easier to have a of our relationship. that allows recognition proving our domestic relationship Otherwise we'd have to rely on can be quite difficult by other means which - especially at short notice. that you already have? How would it change the relationship change our relationship Well the civil union aspect won't a great deal. other before our friends and family It will be the commitment to each love each other very much that will show them that we of our lives together. and want to spend the rest we consider to be part of that, The legal recognition aspect, well something that's very important between the two of us. but won't change our relationship - it? it's not called a marriage, isn't David, this is like a marriage, but opportunity to get married, I mean if there was an you would get married? to be no different Yes, we consider our relationship relationship would be than a different sex couples to get married, and if we had the opportunity we would follow that path, yeah. I'm thinking legal matters here. What would be the advantages to you? intestacy and wills and so on... It's been mentioned things like two have wills do you? I'm assuming that you Um... Not yet? Everybody should have. But you should have, shouldn't you? Maybe not.

away and you died intestate, Well lets say, one of you passed as you do, without a will. unmarried couple, a couple without What's the difference between an a civil union and those with one? we were in a domestic relationship. I suppose we'd have to prove that Hopefully in our case us in our relationship - our families support issue but, you know, so hopefully there wouldn't be an could make a big difference with that piece of paper that it in a lot of peoples... You both have supportive parents? families support our relationship Yeah, both our parents, our it with us later in the year. and look forward to celebrating Evan, from a religious point of view. Catholic Church has come out against Now the Anglican Church and the this matter of civil unions. the attitude of the Quakors? You're a Quakor I understand. What's issue of homosexuality The Quakors debated the back into the 60's and 70's to be very accepting of it. and over time have come In 1994, the Quakors decided same sex relationships, to formally celebrate committed so the attitude is very accepting whether you're same sex and the issue is not or a different sex couple - - whether the couple is a same sex relationship is committed the issue is whether the the important thing. and loving and that's it, will be presided A civil union, as I understand - if it comes into effect of course, either a civil celebrant will be presided over by or a registered General. Is the ceremony important to you? that's the chance when we get to The ceremony's important. I think us and to make that commitment have our friends and family around in front of them. peoples - for friends and family And effectively we'll be asking for through having a ceremony. and community support registrars between just going to the That's the difference I think, office and actually having the commitment. a ceremony to celebrate it's greatly understood, David, I think - I don't know if just to same sex couples are they? but civil unions aren't available different sex couples. No. They'll be available to will only have limited legal rights, I'm not sure, since the ACT law couples would take that up. I'm not sure that many couples that aren't interested But I mean I suppose there's some baggage that comes along with that, in marriage cause of some of the up that option, I'm not sure. perhaps, and they might take Zealand's had civil union I notice that the - where New for 12 months now. been amongst lesbian couples, And I think 40% of the unions have amongst opposite sex couples. 40% amongst gay couples and 20% of figures here I imagine. So we'd probably see the same sort Possibly. Not sure. community, if this comes in, What's the talk amongst the gay Possibly. I think there might be of civil unions take place? are we likely to see a rash

out of it as well. a lot of tourism come Canberra to have a civil union, I think a lot of couples coming to recognition in their home state, even though it doesn't have the I suppose... tourist boom led by civil unions. I was going to mention that too. A gay couples interstate? Are you hearing that from it's important to note that Look I'm not sure, but I think similar regime in Tasmania, the ACT proposal, unlike in the ACT, so I imagine doesn't require residency it will be fairly popular amongst Australian couples in other states and territories. Well we'll await the outcome of the ACT legislation with a great deal of interest. Because there is a lot of interest and for your sakes, lets hope it's something positive that you can do something with. Thankyou. Thankyou. Thanks for joining us today. A break now on State Focus before we look at how the ANU is educating our doctors of the future to overcome the shortage of GPs in the bush. And still ahead Brumbies and Wallabies star Steve Larkham in country towns is doctors. Attracting them and retaining them. All sorts of incentives have been tried, extra money, provision of locum support and support for families of rural doctors. Still it's a battle. Now the ANU and other medical schools have embarked on a scheme which appears to have a lot of merit. Joining us here on State Focus is Associate Professor Amanda Barnard, Head of the Academic Unit of Rural Health and one of her students, Ben Piper. Welcome, thanks for coming along this morning. Thankyou, thankyou. You've been involved with this for quite some time. It's an age old problem though isn't it? It is. Well it is an age old problem in many ways and as you said quite rightly there's been a number of incentives. But I think we've started to see in a number of areas - have had an effect. But sometimes it's a long term process, particularly in terms of recruiting doctors to rural areas. What's working? Well I think a number of the things that you've suggested have been working, but one of the most exciting things from our point of view is the fact that all over Australia, a number of medical schools have been trying to attract more doctors from - more students from rural areas because we know that students who come from rural areas are more likely to go back. Ben you're one of those students from a rural area. Where are you from? I'm actually from a town called Coola, which is just east of Dubbo. So you come from a country area. You recognise the problems? Yeah. Well a lot of country towns have had to face these problems. So, it's a problem I've seen in real life. Would you be likely to go back to a rural area? How long have you got to go before you graduate? I've got a year and a half before I graduate. And I will. I do envisage myself going back to a rural area after I graduate at some point. So you were selected, I guess, because you're from a rural area yourself and you're on some kind of scholarship. How does that work? Well I don't know if I was selected purely because I'm from a rural area. But I am on a scholarship - on a rural bonded scholarship, where the Commonwealth Government pays me money whilst I'm at Medical School in return for me doing six years of service after I gain a fellowship in whichever college I prefer. Which, Amanda, are the areas that are most affected? Which are the areas that it's most difficult to get Doctors into? Probably far western locally or New South Wales, but when we're looking but I think that the problem's everywhere. I mean even Canberra is an area of unmet need in terms of medical workforce. So it's a wide problem. And towns that you visit and you think this is a fabulous town, you know, who wouldn't want to live there, have troubles attracting doctors. You've recently had students though, in areas around here though, haven't you? Absolutely. Absolutely. What's the experience been with that? Well Ben one's of our students. Currently the ANU has eleven of it's eighty year three students spending their entire third year in towns around the region. So we have students in Young, in Goulburn, in Queanbeyan, in Cooma and Bega and I'll let Ben speak about the experience, but certainly the feedback that we're getting from all the students is that it's very, very positive and those students have chosen to go there. Some of them are from rural backgrounds, they're not all on bonded scholarships. They've chosen to go there because of their interest and interesting with this recent announcement of funding, we're able to increase our numbers of students. And so I've let our current second years know that and I was talking to one of them yesterday and I said you know, there are eight places and what she said - I think she said, Hmmm, reckon you'll get sixty applicants for those eight places? And I'm saying, right well we're going to be very busy. So there's an enormous interest in it from our particular group of students. Ben, you're in Goulburn right now. That's right. What's been your experience there? So far it's been nothing but positive and I think that's - the huge benefit and huge step forward in developing a program like these is that it gives people positive experiences in rural areas and overcomes a lot of the boundaries between the traditional training of medical students in the city and returning to the country. What's the feeling amongst your fellow students? What's the talk amongst them? Are they prepared to go to rural practices? I think a lot of them are. Some of them aren't and that's fine, you know, different environments suit different people. But yeah, I think it's overwhelmingly positive as far as our experiences have been. Well thanks for joining us here today. Thanks very much, it's been our pleasure. Thankyou for having us. We're going to stay with matters of a medical nature now. As we head for the cold and flu season, looking at the best and latest ways to cope with the dreaded bug this winter. Here's State Focus reporter Peta Burton with Dr Paul Dugdale from ACT Health. Welcome to State Focus. Thankyou. How are you feeling? No bugs or flu or anything? I'm feeling great today. Fantastic. But we're really well underway with our preparation for the flu season and that's what we need to focus on right now. Fantastic. That's good news. Now lets talk about the season. that's facing ACT at the moment? Well there's two problems. There's our everyday variety of winter flu which we're expecting and then there's the international pandemic which viewers might have heard about the preparation for. But today we wanted to focus on the everyday winter flus that we get. We're expecting over one thousand, five hundred people to die in Australia from flu this year and in the ACT the flu season is winter so now's the time to start getting ready. It certainly is. Now is the time to be prepared. Now lets talk about an increase in flu cases. Are we able to cope? Are our hospitals prepared enough? Yes. We get a peak of winter illnesses every year and the hospitals are well advanced in their preparation for that. Of course one of the main things is to make sure the hospital staff don't get sick from flu and so we've got our campaign to vaccinate health care workers well underway at the moment now too. Now how much is in the kitty this year for the flu vaccine budget? And more importantly is there enough to go round? Well just for flu vaccine we've got over 300,000 dollars for the ACT alone and we've already distributed 20, 000 doses, they're ready to go and there's plenty more when they run out and we hope that they do and we hope to perhaps distribute around 30 000 doses this year. Fantastic. Now lets talk about not getting sick. I mean preventionism. What should people be doing to avoid getting the flu. I know it's only April, but June/July is coming up, what's your advice? Sure is. Flu is quite contagious and it's easy to spread and easy to catch from somebody who's got it. The main things are cough hygiene, so cough into your hand or preferably into a tissue, wash your hands and don't share household items, towels if you've got the flu. Keep yourself away from other people, so if you've got the flu try not to give it to somebody else. Stay home. Stay home from them. It makes you feel pretty crook so you're not going to be much use at work in any case if you've got the flu. And have a flu vaccine. Now lets talk about the flu vaccine. Anyone can get it can't they? Yes. It's available to anybody, but it's free to people over sixty five or people who've got a chronic illness. If people want more information about where they can get the flu vaccine, who - there is a contact number that they can call, 6207 7777, which is Health First. Call Health First and the nurses who answer the phone, they will be able to help you . Also talk to your GP. They've got doses in the fridge right now for people who are over sixty five or with chronic illness and they'll be able to help you get doses from your local pharmacist for other people. Fantastic. Doctor Dugdale, thankyou very much for joining us today. Certainly some valuable advice that can benefit everyone and heres to a very healthy winter. Absoluetly. Thankyou. State Focus reporter Peta Burton with Dr Paul Dugdale. After the break on State Focus, Brumbies and Wallabies star Steve Larkham to tell us how he plans to finish up his rugby career. Back in a moment No, just our recycling. and we found that 80 percent of our waste is a tually recyclable, an saving money. What have you done... Recycling - it's your business. We're just over a year away from the Rugby World Cup and the Brumbies are just over a month away from the Super Fourteen finals. Both of these events are very significant for my next guest, pondering his playing future with contract talks on at the moment, as we say good afternoon to Stephen Larkham. Good afternoon Steve. Great to have you with us. Thanks Phil. Difficult time. I mean you're right in the centre of contract discussions right now. How do you handle that? Yeah, a little bit of disturbance to the actual season. It would be nice to get the contracts out of the road before the season started or at the end of the season, but I suppose the make up of season means that they need to have some definate signings for next year. And next year for the Brumbies sort of starts in three months time. So, it's difficult at the moment sort of juggling playing with trying to do my own contract. That's what I'm saying, even more difficult for you because generally a manager handles these things, but you've decided to do it yourself. Yeah. I have this year. I think the way that the ARU have structured the contracts, you sor t of sit into a tier or a band and there's only slight negotiations that you can do. So in terms of the actual legal side of my contract, it's going to stay the same, the way that the money's broken up and everything like that. But it's just a matter for me to negotiate the monetary side of things. So I didn't feel there was a need for a manager this year. Just to explain to our viewers. It's sort of a two part contract isn't it. One part with the ARU and one part with the Brumbies. Yeah, if you're lucky enough to get an ARU contract, your basically negotiating with the ARU because the state will put in a certain amount and then it's what you negotiate on top of that with the ARU that is where you pick up most of your money I'd say. Ok, so which way are you headed at the moment? You likely to stay with the Brumbies? Well, still undecided. So we've had a couple of discussions with both Andrew Faegan and Shaun Barry and at this stage I'm still undecided. So, I would have liked to have it wrapped up by now - a decision either to stay or to go. But still just waiting for a few little negotiations to sort of unfold and I think hopefully by next week we can make a decision. So what are the alternatives? I mean you want to stay in Australia to play in the world cup next year. Yep. It would mean you'd go into another province. Bit hard to see you playing in another uniform. No and right from the start of the negotiations I've told the ARU that I'm very keen to play in the next world cup. I was very disapointed after 2003 where we came so close and probably should have won that final to retain the world cup and I'd certinaly like to be around and part of the team in 2007. To sort of try and win back the world cup. And I've told them that from the start. I've never played states up against states. There's no way I'd ever play for another state. Born in Canberra, played all my rugby in Canberra and would never even think to play for another state. Could I throw in, Dad's the president of the ACT RU too. He is at the moment, yeah, but.. Well I suppose it's in the family. You know, Dad's played 300 grade games in Canberra. I'm very proud of Canberra Rugby and certainly don't like some of the other states, the way that they portray themselves I suppose. So I would never play for another state and the only other option for me is over seas and I've told them straight up that I want to play in the world cup but if, you know, the money's not there for the amount of effort that I'm willing to put in, then I'm looking at Japan at this stage. Ok. Is that a viable option for you is it? It is, Japan, yeah. I haven't gone and negotiated any deals over in Japan. I haven't gone to the meet. I haven't done any of that sort of stuff. Could you play in Japan and play in the world cup? Probably not. I mean it would depend on the Japanese club, but I'd say not. I mean you'd have to have a focus here with the province, with the ACT Brumbies, which would lead into the international season and it would be a full year in Australia, before you went over to France for the World Cup. Cause you are talking about a last contract in Australia aren't you, I mean there's a chance for you to play ove rseas after that, but a last - so you want to make it a good one? Yeah, definately and whilst it is my last contract, I still feel like I can offer a little bit to Australian Rugby and certainly the experience that I've built up over the years and leading in World Cups and through World Cups, I feel like I can offer something and I suppose it's going to be the end of my playing days in Australia, but I still feel as though I've got some Rugby left in me and at this stage I'm looking at Japan. Could I put it to you, the most likely scenario is one year playing with the Brumbies, get World Cup done and then overseas after that? At the moment that's the way that we're negotiating - that's the way that I'm negoitating, just for that one year, just for the World Cup year and then it would be a matter of talking with the Brumbies to see whether they'd be interested in me helping out for a transition period. So obviously when I'm gone they'll have to find a 5-8 and whether Matty Giddo steps up to that, I'm not sure. That's if Matty Giddo stays here. That's if Matt Giddo stays here, that's right. So there's lots of long term prospects for the Brumbies that they have to sort out and if I can help out in any way then I'm also thinking of that, provided I sign this contract, the way it stands at the moment. Eventually help out - that's not playing? Or just being a mentor is it? Well I'd say, playing, sitting on the bench, being a part of the squad - whatever role they'd see me in. If it would help the Brumbies I'd certainly put my hand up and be keen to do that and I think that, you know, after the World Cup it would be the end of my international career, no doubt about that. But potentially come back and help the Brumbies out if they need it and if I'm going to sign for next year, I suppose. So it all hinges on whether I'm going to sign for next year and that's just sort of an after thought, whether I can help the Brumbies out after that. Just before I let you go. Tonight, up against the Cheetahs, haven't seen them before and are the Brumbies going well enough at the moment, do you think. I mean, fourth place on the table, but haven't really shown their best yet. No we haven't shown our best and a lot of people say well, you know, when are they going to show their best. When are they going to play eighty minutes? I think what's important at this stage of the competition is that we haven't had our usual losing streak, which we sort of seem to go through, through the middle of the season and we've been holding it together, we've been getting the wins, which is the important thing. Sure we haven't been playing eighty minutes, but we've been doing enough to win matches, and it feels as though, when we really need to play rugby we can play and we can play really good. So I think it's just a matter of us taking it game by game at the moment and sort of minute by minute when we get out there on the paddock. So whilst we'd like to really blow away sides and win by huge margins, a win is good enough for us at this stage. And certainly coming up against the Cheetahs a little bit of an unknown for us. They're not your traditional South African side. Sure they've got big forwards, very physical, very good in set piece, but they're willing to throw the ball around. They've got a bit of a drift defence, so not your typical attacking or defending side, but very good at set piece. Well good luck out there tonight and good luck with those contract negotiations. We hope next week that we're hearing that you're going to be around next year. Yeah, so do I. Thanks Steve. That's our program for today. We look forward to your company again next Saturday here on State Focus. In the mean time have a great weekend. Live captions by Southern Cross Ten, Canberra. We apologise for the temporary loss of captions. Normal service will resume as soon as possible.