The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-12-08T01:29:00Z Could 2020 be the year for the ultimate reset and slowing down, both on an individual and universal level? Discover the wisdom within, Author, Pina Di Donato’s new book, The Reset Switch. 2020-12-08T01:29:00Z could-2020-be-the-year-for-the-ultimate-reset-and-slowing-down-both-on-an-individual-and-universal-level-discover-the-wisdom-within-author-pina-di-donato-s-new-book-the-reset-switch The Kind Press is proud to announce the release of The Reset Switch by Pina Di Donato. The turn of a new decade held such promise. A chance to close off a cycle and begin anew in 2020. And then every corner of the globe was exposed to a new type of highly contagious and unpredictable virus. With no pre immunity, vaccine or treatment, every human was susceptible. Sounding much like a science fiction movie, this was to become the world’s reality and worst nightmare of leaders and frontline medical experts. COVID-19 has ripped through entire countries, causing widespread isolations, lockdowns, death and crippling economies all over the world. The effects and impacts of this virus are far reaching and complex, bringing every part of our lives under the spotlight, requiring reflection and adjustment. All the solutions and management points to a need to shut down everything, reset, and work out ways to effectively reboot the system. But for every dark cloud there is bound to be a silver lining; an opportunity that could, in fact, make a difference to our future. 2020, a year of reset, on an individual and global scale. Having passed through a period of gradual awakening, and having made many changes in order to create the life she felt she deserved, Pina Di Donato was looking forward to the new year. But just when she thought she was finally in control of her future, the Universe had other plans. She, too, would be banished to her corner of the room where she could rest, reflect, reset and contemplate her next move. This book is the result of her reflection and offers an original perspective on the experience. The Reset Switch is a friendly book that highlights the benefits of slowing down, putting the need for reset under the microscope and offering newness and the promise of what is to come. Could true happiness be just around the corner? -ENDS- The Reset Switch by Pina Di Donato. ISBN: 9780648870630 RRP: $29.99 Format: Paperback Language: English Number Of Pages: 228 Published: 8th December 2020  To request a copy of the book or to arrange a giveaway, please email ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pina Di Donato is an avid philanthropist, business person, highly experienced marketing professional and author. She is the author of Who Switched the Lights On? And the co author of the history and business book, A Long Way from Home.  She has held many board positions with not for profit organisations, including being Deputy Chair of Northern Health Foundation and established a pivotal charity arm, whilst helping to rebuild one of the largest poultry producers in Australia. Passionate about sharing her experiences through storytelling, Pina hopes to inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and onto the path of fulfilling their own unique purpose.   JESI poised for accelerated global growth 2020-11-11T05:48:38Z jesi-poised-for-accelerated-global-growth Brisbane, 11th November 2020: Innovative remote worker and journey management company JESI, has received a multi-million-dollar funds injection from Microsoft aligned VC firm, Future Now Capital Management. The investment will serve to fast-track JESI’s global growth rollout and underpin its ‘customer first’ value add strategy. With the recent appointment of Chairperson Brad Seymour, who has an established reputation for scaling global business’, the JESI company is geared and supported to take on the exciting next phase of its customer-centric expansion.Queensland headquartered, JESI has developed market leading SaaS solutions that significantly improve the protection, monitoring and management of remote and mobile workforces. With origins and a strong presence in the global resources sector, JESI counts Rio Tinto, Orica, BHP, Sandvik among its clients. Other target industry verticals include NGO’s, linear infrastructure and AEC.Already on a growth trajectory, JESI has seen a strong up curve in business and interest through the COVID months with scalable functionality in the solution able to provide a connected eco-system for ‘work from home’ employees. Clearly though, the Future Now investment will turbocharge staff growth, service capabilities and development projects. “Technology integrations will be a key development focus in achieving the company projected growth outcomes” said Kathy Wilson General Manager of Customer Success. “our existing customers are looking to evolve with interoperability solutions and connected technology. JESI software enables them with a compelling value proposition”.JESI CEO Joe Hoolahan said, “The pandemic has bought to the fore the need for enterprises to protect their workers as they work remotely while at the same time ensuring they remain connected. We are also acutely aware that reliable activity data is increasingly becoming a key business metric and we already witnessing how our customers are using the data to drive workforce movement efficiencies,” Joe Hoolahan added.JESI is the first investment for newly founded, Future Now Capital Management, a Sydney based venture capital firm. In 2019 Future Now Capital Management executed a world first partnership with Microsoft that will see investors in the Fund gain direct exposure to companies selected for Microsoft’s accelerated growth programs. Future Now Capital Management will oversee the Fund’s investments into, and the growth strategies of, the portfolio companiesBrad Seymour, JESI Chairperson said, “I am incredibly excited about firstly, the product excellence and relevance of JESI in today’s new world, and secondly, the opportunity for JESI to grow exponentially with Future Now’s backing. I look forward to working with the team through this scale-up stage and beyond.”JESI Management Solutions are now actively recruiting talent to join their team. To explore what roles are on offer refer to the page. DeKalb County Selects Secured Signing as Their Digital Signing Solution 2020-11-05T00:46:44Z dekalb-county-selects-secured-signing-as-their-digital-signing-solution November 5th, Sydney - In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, DeKalb County Government, like many other organizations had to mobilize their workforce in a virtual platform.  “Many departments did not have a method of automation around signatures for vital records and contracts that allowed daily operations to continue,” says Felicia Green, Deputy CIO at DeKalb County Government. “We identified Secured Signing as a solution to quickly adopt and provide a level of automation and continuity in various high traffic departments including Legal, Purchasing, Executive Offices, and Courts to sustain a smooth operation.”  The onset of COVID shifted the culture that was previously paper based to now function in a completely virtual environment. This shift translated to increased efficiency, the tracking to documents electronically and the ability to move through internal processes at a faster rate. DeKalb County's ideal solution was one that had easy ramp up and administration, without the use of complex integrations. The tool would be easy to adopt and socialize through the organization and allowed for quick user trainings and configuration based on user needs to begin immediate use, migration away from paper-based signatures, and physical touch workflow processes. In evaluating other vendors, Secured Signing was a cost-effective solution during the initial onset of COVID to pay via credit card.  Secured Signing offered an intuitive solution that provided signing workflow capabilities and streamlined the organisation’s signing procedures. The ability to track and monitor documents at every touchpoint of the signing process ensured the right people were signing the right documents at the right time. This gave DeKalb County Government the peace of mind to proceed with Secured Signing as their digital signing solution. For complex signing processes, Secured Signing had inbuilt capacity if required, which further validated the signing platform as the ideal choice. Once DeKalb County Government was able to see the benefits and had thoroughly tested the product, they were ready to roll out Secured Signing to the wider organisation. "The process to transition to an enterprise plan was a seamless process when our needs changed accompanied with competitive pricing options.” This is a key decision point for a County Government to keep cost in mind but empower a robust solution that offers scalable growth for future needs. Mike Eyal, Managing Director at Secured Signing is pleased with the outcome. “DeKalb County Government’s ability to successfully adopt Secured Signing within their organisation, during these difficult times, is a testament to our teams’ willingness to deliver an effective solution. Our ongoing training and support allow businesses the opportunity to scale our platform up within their business operations.” Secured Signing’s digital signing platform provided a multitude of features: unlimited number of signers, templates and fillable forms, out-of-the-box security through PKI digital signatures, as well as notarization and video signing capabilities to ensure effective use across all departments. DeKalb County digitally executes thousands of documents using Secured Signing’s platform. About DeKalb County Government DeKalb County Government is the government body that provides Public Safety, Court Services, Water Supply and Distribution, Parks and Recreation, and other core Constituent Services to residents of DeKalb County in the greater metropolitan Atlanta, GA area. DeKalb County is Georgia’s fourth most populous County; comprised of 13 major cities (~760K in population). For more information visit: About Secured SigningSecured Signing is a SaaS digital signing and online forms platform that uses the most secure technology, PKI encryption technology (the same encryption technology as what banks use and blockchain is built on). Secured Signing is headquartered in New Zealand, where it was founded in 2010.  It has clients in 30 countries, including tax accountants H&R Block, Adecco and Manpower. For more information visit: Online Schooling - 2020-09-10T11:20:13Z online-schooling Although I have been working in the education field for over 30 years I used to be very sceptical regarding the quality and impact online learning may have on students. I was convinced that, in order to learn well, students have to be in a physical setting where they could mingle with both their peers and their teachers. I held the belief that online learning would not allow students nor teachers to form a community. At the age of 54 I decided to undertake an online course myself – after having gone through formal education in a traditional way (two doctoral degrees, one master degree). During this particular online course – that was not only based on lecturing, but also on valuable live sessions where participants got engaged in debates, discussions and collaborative learning – I realised that I established a strong bond with the participants that resulted in further gatherings online and offline.As, at that time, I was working towards becoming less location-dependent as a professional, I was looking into options that allowed me to live my mission differently in comparison to how I was doing it up until then. After many years of teaching, lecturing, coaching and leading international schools in different countries and experiencing the need to start from scratch again after each move (I moved due to family reasons), I was fascinated by creating something that would allow me and my job to work from anywhere.Synchronicity is often at play and, indeed, the mentor of the online course that I subscribed to one day phoned me and asked me whether it would be possible to create an online school? You can imagine that my former beliefs were at a deviation. We brainstormed on the basis of our common experience and knowledge in different fields (mine in education, giftedness and personal development and Katharina’s (my business partner) in Marketing and coaching) what would be the best way to bring a holistic education offering into reality: School Beyond Limitations was born.School Beyond Limitations is not only based on online schooling, but it also integrates the opportunity of experiential learning weeks in different countries in Europe. Students learn to see themselves as unique human beings who are invited to pursue their own interests through the lenses of academic, social, emotional, personal and entrepreneurial learning opportunities.The experience has now given us enough evidence that online learning has a number of huge advantages (although it may not be the right solution for everybody). Students who love to engage online and gain inspiration by connecting with people from different countries forget that they are not in the same physical room. Surprisingly, students say that they seem to bond more with their classmates in a contained online context (at School Beyond Limitations there are only maximum 8 students in each class) than they ever did before in traditional classes with over 20 students being present. They keep connected after lessons and communicate and collaborate beyond their school hours. As such, the online approach gives them the understanding how much value they gain through collaboration with one another and furthermore, they realise that they belong to a steady, friendly, caring and open learning community – an environment that promotes the notion that learning takes place at any time and anywhere.Online learning allows students to connect with their peers and teachers also in times of change, such as during the COVID 19 pandemic throughout which the majority of countries have closed their schools and were not ready to phase an efficient solution for their students’ learning. Often teachers just sent assignments out to their students by expecting the assignments to be handed in at the end of the week. Students, from one moment to the next, needed to learn everything independently whereas before there was never any focus on self-directed learning in school. There was no or very little interaction with the students. No wonder that students who experienced such an approach started to feel left alone and demotivated about their learning experience.The online lessons at School Beyond Limitations allowed students to continue their learning journey. It never interrupted. Students are involved in their learning. It allows them to see the purpose of their learning by being seen in their individual uniqueness. They learn out of curiosity based on their interests, talents, experiences and competencies. Their learning takes place through inquiry and projects based on a trans-disciplinary approach. That allows them to integrate their learning holistically as it is relevant to their own lives. On top of supporting students’ personal development, they are encouraged, through the exposure to experts in various fields, to develop their entrepreneurial mindset and their entrepreneurial ventures. Such powerful online classes allow them to learn how much value there is to connect with entrepreneurs and to be exposed to their expertise. Online classes offer infinite possibilities for such learning experiences. Students connect easily with relevant people who may have an impact on their own professional career. Another positive aspect of online learning is that students encounter less stress. There is no need to get up so early if school starts at 9 am from home. Students mention this aspect all the time: how much freer and more relaxed they feel about school by connecting from home. There is no need of commuting to school on a daily basis and that helps them to introduce a daily routine based on more freedom and choice. In addition, the peer pressure that usually makes students suffer so much in traditional settings is something that online students do encounter much less. First of all because their environment is so different. Nobody can hide in the classroom. Everyone is seen and also the interaction between the students is taking place openly. If their learning environment puts an emphasis on the whole human being – including their emotional and social wellbeing – then there is no space for such risks to take place. So, is online learning an alternative to traditional schooling? For sure it is (not for all); especially if the online learning is based on the uniqueness of the learning journey of each single student and takes them on an interactive journey that ignites their passion for learning and their interest in creating value for themselves and the world they live in. Author Dr Martina Geromin DBA, PhD Mercy Ships plastic surgeon to feature on ‘Global Scalpels’ podcast 2020-08-12T01:05:58Z mercy-ships-plastic-surgeon-to-feature-in-global-scalpels-podcast Wednesday 12 August 2020: Highly respected Melbourne plastic surgeon and long-time Mercy Ships volunteer David Chong will this Friday feature on the global surgery podcast ‘Global Scalpels’. Founded in 2020 by Taylor Ottesen and Riana Patel during the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘Global Scalpels’ aims to bring together interesting speakers to show the work behind the scenes and to highlight the people creating some of the most innovative projects in sectors such as tech, legal, advocacy, and research. Mercy Ships and ‘Global Scalpels’ share a dedication to highlighting and serving the needs of the 5 billion people around the world who lack access to safe and affordable surgery and it is this need that is the focus of this week’s podcast. The episode also touches on the topics of universal citizenship, giving back, and facial “differences” and the stigma surrounding them. Dr Chong is widely renowned and sought-after for the repair of facial deformities in children, but also equally enjoys improving the lives of his adult patients through reconstructive procedures, concentrating primarily on the face. It is this passion that has inspired Dr Chong’s dedication to transforming the lives of the world’s forgotten poor and led to his international work with global aid organisations like Mercy Ships. Since first serving with the hospital ship charity as a Maxillofacial Surgeon in 2015, Dr Chong has returned twice a year to offer his skills in the African nations of Madagascar, Benin, Cameroon, Guinea, and Senegal. Dr Chong has authored several articles and chapters on facial surgery, and has become a prominent expert in this field. He is also the current president of the Australasian Cleft Lip and Palate Association. ‘Global Scalpels’ episodes are published weekly to explore the many aspects of the field of global surgery and to inspire others through the work of some of the incredible heroes fighting daily for this important cause. ‘Global Scalpels: David Chong’ premieres this Friday, 14 August on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. END About Mercy Ships Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, with more than 2.7 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and strengthen health care systems throughout Africa. For more information, visit About Global Scalpels Founded in 2020 by Taylor Ottesen and Riana Patel during the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Scalpels aim to bring together a number of interesting speakers to show the work behind the scenes and to highlight the people creating some of the most innovative projects in sectors such as tech, legal, advocacy, and research. The podcast is targeted towards anyone interested in the field of global surgery – surgeons, technology wizards, business people, and researchers alike. Global Scalpels hopes to highlight that global surgery is a team effort and that engagement with all professionals, such as designers, entrepreneurs, advocacy gurus, and clinicians, is essential to provide the 143 million additional surgical procedures required annually. For more information, visit Notes to Editors High resolution photos of the hospital ship, volunteers, and patients are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships. For more information, please contact: Melissa MasonNational Office ManagerMercy Ships Australia07 5437 Social workers urge government to lead economic recovery by investing in social housing 2020-08-04T05:23:42Z social-workers-urge-government-to-lead-economic-recovery-by-investing-in-social-housing During National Homelessness Week, 2-8 August this year, Australian social workers are calling for more investment in social housing to help end homelessness.Last month, the AASW submission to the Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia, called on the federal government to build or acquire additional social housing. AASW National President Christine Craik said the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we can respond to homelessness quickly as a response when there is a threat to public health, and this quick response has protected some of the most vulnerable people in our society. “During this pandemic, the Victorian government has housed many who were homeless as part of a public health response until April next year. We welcome this move, and would argue that this initiative needs to happen on a more permanent basis, not just during a pandemic and needs to be implemented across the country. “We are supporting the Everybody’s Home campaign this week. Building social housing and repairing empty or substandard public housing needs to be prioritised in all neighbourhoods across Australia. This kind of initiative will result in local jobs, economic stimulus and work towards social cohesion across the country. This pandemic has wreaked havoc with our most vulnerable communities and if there is to be one positive thing to come out of this, let that legacy be that this was the time we took a different path around social housing and committed ourselves to eradicating homelessness forever. “For anyone, becoming homeless can feel like a personal failure and many of our cultural myths and negative stereotypes around homelessness and poverty feed into this. You can tell a lot about the health of a community by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens. We need to challenge these myths and those negative stereotypes about homelessness and mobilise politically to end homelessness for good. We urge everyone to use this week to engage with the Everybody’s Home campaign.”Social workers know the effects of housing insecurity on vulnerable people. We know the ways in which this intersects and complicates other systemic disadvantage, including family violence, child protection and mental health. See the Scope of Social Work Practice areas in Homelessness, Family Violence, Child Protection and Mental Health. Scope of Social Work Practice – HomelessnessScope of Social Work Practice – Family ViolenceScope of Social Work Practice – Child ProtectionScope of Social Work Practice – Mental HealthENDS JIC White Paper - Enabling the digital transformation of healthcare 2020-07-08T23:57:00Z jic-white-paper-enabling-the-digital-transformation-of-healthcare Brussels, 7 JULY 2020. The Joint Initiative Council for Global Health Informatics Standardisation (JIC) has published a white paper explaining how its nine health informatics standards development organisations (SDOs) have been working together to help transform the global healthcare system into one that’s digital with the goal of precise and real-time exchange of information based on full interoperability enabled by global standards. Transcending national boundaries and organisations, the Joint Initiative Council’s SDOs work collaboratively to provide global, coordinated—not competitive—standards that address real-world healthcare issues. In its recently released white paper, the JIC explores the desired future of a digital health ecosystem where high-quality data is available to the right people, at the right place and at the right time for high-quality decisions and care. Established in 2007 and consisting of nine SDOs, including CDISC, CEN, DICOM, GS1, HL7, IHE, ISO, LOINC and SNOMED International, the Joint Initiative Council has come together to deliver coordinated standards and implementation guides. Today, healthcare researchers, manufacturers and providers can use these JIC outcomes for the successful implementation of digital processes and interoperable systems. “At JIC, we recognise the importance of consistency across standards and the need to collaborate on their development. We’re concerned not only about standards as ‘outputs,’ but more importantly, how standards impact healthcare ‘outcomes’—their practical value in the delivery of high-quality care,” said Ulrike Kreysa, senior vice-president, GS1 Healthcare and chair of the JIC. Within the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the need for accelerating the speed and capacity of this digital transformation has become more important than ever before. JIC members are contributing to this public health need by addressing immediate gaps and by providing topical enhancements to their existing standards. "The World Health Organization (WHO) looks forward to the continued cooperation of global Standard Development Organisations within the Joint Initiative Council in order to better leverage on common health data standards and interoperability to anticipate and react to pandemic challenges such as the one we are experiencing, and to the future ones to come in our fast and ever-changing environment.”, said Bernardo Mariano Junior, Director, Digital Health & Innovation and Chief Information Officer, World Health Organization. Joint Initiative Council for Global Health Informatics StandardisationHighlights from the JIC white paper include four standards-based initiatives that offer practical solutions to real-world problems. These initiatives include the International Patient Summary (IPS), the Identification of Medicinal Products (IDMP), COVID-19 and Genomics. The white paper is available as a downloadable PDF at For more information, visit the JIC Web page: or follow us on Twitter @JICouncil. JIC Media Contact Philippe NeirinckxDirector Marketing Healthcare, Emerging Sectors & Solutions T: +32 2 788 78 00 E: About the Joint Initiative Council - The Joint Initiative Council for Global Health Informatics Standardisation (JIC) is formed to further the important role of health informatics standards to enable interoperability of information and processes across health domains. Health informatics standardisation is supported by a community of experts that works within and across various health informatics standards development organisations (SDOs). The JIC supports the timely, efficient delivery of safe, coordinated, accountable, high-quality health services to individuals, communities and populations. www.jointinitiativecouncil.orgAustralian media enquiries:Wendy McWilliams, WMC Public Relations Pty Ltd. Tel: 03 9803 2588. E: copy of the white paper can be downloaded from WMC PR’s Press Office: Award-winning documentary feature film highlighting Australian hero medics to air on 7TWO in global first 2020-07-08T05:16:59Z award-winning-documentary-feature-film-highlighting-australian-hero-medics-to-air-on-7two-in-global-first Tuesday 7 July 2020: The never-before-seen on TV director’s cut feature-length film of the award-winning documentary The Surgery Ship will air for the first time anywhere in the world on 7TWO this Sunday, 12 July at 12pm. Featuring 24 minutes of additional footage and previously unaired patient and volunteer stories, the feature-length documentary was filmed in Guinea, West Africa and follows life aboard the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, the MV Africa Mercy. One of those patient stories cut from the original documentary and seen here for the first time is that of Alya Camera, a young boy with a tumour that impacts his airway and threatens to suffocate him within just weeks. Alya is successfully operated on by Dr Neil Thomson in a procedure that literally saves the child’s life. The Africa Mercy’s volunteers face profound professional and emotional challenges like Alya’s as they attempt to treat curious diseases they’ve seldom seen outside their textbooks. Health conditions such as benign tumours, cleft palates and bowlegs, that in the Western World would be treated early, are commonplace in Africa and often left unchecked for decades, leaving people to suffer unnecessarily. More than 70% of the world’s population is unable to access essential surgery, according to the Lancet’s study on access to surgical care. As a result, more than 17 million people die needlessly each year, and many common, treatable illnesses become life-threatening. The Surgery Ship features several Australian medical volunteers including plastic surgeon Nerida Moore from Yowie Bay in New South Wales, ENT surgeon Neil Thomson from Gosford, NSW, Cairns physiotherapist Nick Veltjens, and nurse Deb Louden from Toowoomba, Queensland. The documentary was made with the support of Screen Australia and Screen NSW. Produced by the award-winning team at Media Stockade in Sydney, the film is an uncompromising look at the consequences of lives lived without access to modern medicine and the ethical challenges in trying to help. On location in Guinea, director Madeleine Hetherton and her crew were embedded with the Africa Mercy team, documenting the powerful and inspirational stories of both patients and healers. Some of the stories end in triumph, others in tragedy as the doctors must explain to their patients that nothing can be done for their terminal conditions. Hetherton observes, “This is a story about the challenges of giving aid. There are brutal limits to what it can achieve. The line of patients at its door is unending. The ethics of who to choose for surgery and who is not is harrowing.” “Despite these complications, The Surgery Ship is also a story about the everyday heroism of both Africans and the volunteers, and the human drive to rise above circumstances, to survive, and give the best of ourselves - even when there seems no end in sight. At its heart, this is a positive film; in it, we see people who are seeking to make a difference. It is an outward looking-story about how we can engage with the world.” The Surgery Ship airs on 7TWO at 12pm on Sunday, 12 July and encores at 2.30pm on Wednesday, 15 July. Watch the trailer at END About Mercy Ships Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development aid to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, with more than 2.7 million direct beneficiaries. Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations serve with Mercy Ships. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and strengthen health care systems throughout Africa. For more information, visit Notes to Editors High resolution photos of the hospital ship, volunteers, and patients are available upon request, with attribution to Mercy Ships. For an interview with the Mercy Ships volunteers featured in The Surgery Ship, please contact Melissa Mason directly on 07 5437 2992 or For an interview with The Surgery Ship producer/director Madeleine Hetherton, please contact Madeleine directly on 0408 622 203 or For more information, please contact: Melissa MasonNational Office ManagerMercy Ships Australia07 5437 World Refugee Week 2020: AASW continues calls for an end to mandatory detention 2020-06-17T23:21:10Z world-refugee-week-2020-aasw-continues-calls-for-an-end-to-mandatory-detention During World Refugee Week 2020, the AASW continues calls for the Federal Government to put an end to its punitive practice of mandatory detention. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “This year’s theme for World Refugee Week is Celebrating the Year of Welcome. The Australian government, however, consistently breaches the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees, our welcome is one to offshore detention, immigration detention centres and other forms of incarceration for those who have broken no laws. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that policy changes can be made quickly and to the benefit of vulnerable people. This has not occurred within the people seeking asylum and refugee population, who have been left exposed to the effects of coronavirus in detention. “As World Refugee Week started, there have been attempts by the government to move a group of people seeking asylum with pre-existing medical conditions from hotel accommodation in Queensland back to offshore detention. These people seeking asylum were transferred to Australia under the now repealed medevac legislation. They are at significant risk of severe complications or death if they are moved back to immigration detention while COVID-19 is still a threat.” The pandemic has a more severe impact on vulnerable groups and people in detention are no exception. Ms Craik continued, “There is nothing stopping the government from releasing this group, and all people seeking asylum, into the community where they can be free to continue their lives in safety and security. Keeping these people in detention is cruel and tortuous, and its only purpose is to send a terrible message to others who wish to seek asylum in Australia that ‘You are not welcome here’.” “Australia needs to be better than this and we can do better than this. “The practice of mandatory detention needs to end now. It causes immeasurable damage to those vulnerable people who have already worked so hard to flee harm. If we want to properly celebrate World Refugee Week, and the resilience and tenacity of people seeking asylum and refugees; this is the only way.” Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention) Bill 2020 continues human rights abuses, says AASW 2020-06-12T05:29:00Z migration-amendment-prohibiting-items-in-immigration-detention-bill-2020-continues-human-rights-abuses-says-aasw The AASW has called for an end to mandatory detention of asylum seekers in its submission to the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020 [Provisions] inquiry.AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The amendments in this bill continue a tradition of human rights abuses targeting a vulnerable population, who have a right to seek asylum in Australia, and who by no fault of their own find themselves prevented from living their lives in security and safety in their country of origin.“This bill proposes increasing the search powers of authorised officers, allowing them to search asylum seekers and their belongings without a warrant, preventing access to SIM cards and other forms of communication with internet-connectivity, treating asylum seekers as if they have broken the law.“Expanding the powers of officers to conduct searches and being able to do so without a warrant or solid basis will continue the harmful nature of detention. Again, these measures will apply to people who have broken no laws and whose mental health is already at risk because of government policy.”Ms Craik said seeking asylum in Australia is not illegal, however our practice of placing asylum seekers into mandatory detention is punitive, cruel, and only designed to deter people from coming to Australia. She said, “These proposed amendments will exacerbate existing breaches of the human rights of people seeking asylum and perpetuate the harm being done to a group of vulnerable people in the name of border security.”“The Federal Government needs to end the policy of mandatory detention now. It is a measure that does not work, is costly, and causes immeasurable damage to those vulnerable people who have already worked so hard to flee harm.”Our submission will be made available on the Parliamentary website in due course. Australian social workers encourage everyone to download COVIDSafe app 2020-04-27T03:47:35Z australian-social-workers-encourage-everyone-to-download-covidsafe-app The AASW welcomes the introduction of the COVIDSafe app, launched by the Australian government yesterday and encourages everyone to download the app. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “The Australian community has come together over the past few weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19. “We have done so well in this regard that some states are even beginning to cautiously lift restrictions, which is going to have a positive effect on mental health.” The introduction of a tracing app will assist health authorities to isolate actual and potential cases of COVID-19. “The AASW is asking everyone to download this app and play your part in helping to eliminate this virus. Social workers are working so hard to help people through this time, and anything we can do to assist this, needs to be done. “You simply make sure your Bluetooth is on, download the app and complete a short, non-identifying questionnaire. You do not have to use your real or full name, if you do not want to. “Downloading the app will assist in life returning to normal much more quickly, which is something everyone wants.” Australian social workers have made adjustments during this time to provide essential mental health, family violence, child protection, health, aged care, school social work services and other services that social workers provide. Ms Craik said, “Social work services have continued during this period and the Association is supporting its members through these extraordinary times, to deliver the very best services to the Australian public.” Claroty Significantly Strengthens its Industry-Leading OT Security Platform 2020-04-22T03:02:35Z claroty-significantly-strengthens-its-industry-leading-ot-security-platform Claroty, the global leader in industrial cybersecurity, today announced it has strengthened the Claroty Platform to deliver the industry’s broadest range of operational technology (OT) security controls in a single solution, thereby empowering enterprises to more easily and effectively reduce risks posed by increasing connectivity between OT and information technology (IT) networks. “Enterprises have been transformed through digitisation initiatives, causing once-isolated OT networks to be interconnected with the rest of the enterprise. However, those OT networks remain invisible to security teams since they communicate on proprietary protocols and have very different characteristics than IT networks,” said Galina Antova, Co-founder of Claroty. “The Claroty Platform extends core security controls to OT environments, thereby closing the 25-plus year gap between the security posture of IT and OT networks, and delivering comprehensive governance and risk reduction across the parts of enterprise networks that were previously invisible and unsecured.” Enriched by newly enhanced Continuous Threat Detection (CTD) 4.1 and Secure Remote Access (SRA) 3.0 components, the platform addresses four areas integral to risk reduction: visibility, threat detection, vulnerability management, and triage & mitigation. All of Claroty’s OT security controls deploy rapidly and integrate seamlessly with existing IT security infrastructure, eliminating the burden of complex deployments, steep learning curves, and unfamiliar tools—all of which have long been barriers for achieving stronger industrial cybersecurity. These controls also improve IT and OT practitioners’ ability to protect the availability, reliability, and safety of their industrial environments. The Claroty Platform includes: Visibility: Before the risk to an industrial environment can be reduced, it must be assessed. This requires full visibility into the environment’s OT network, which has historically been difficult to attain due to the prevalence of unfamiliar OT assets, architectures, and protocols. The Claroty Platform tackles this challenge by leveraging unmatched protocol coverage, scanning, segmentation, and secure remote access capabilities to grant complete visibility across all three OT dimensions critical to risk reduction: assets, network sessions, and processes. Claroty is the only vendor to provide this calibre of visibility. With CTD 4.1, users can see and customise their view of critical information with greater ease. SRA 3.0 not only enables secure OT remote access, but it also provides real-time monitoring and recordings of all remote sessions for painless auditing and risk assessments. Threat Detection: Swiftly detecting threats is essential to reducing risk. But aside from visibility, OT threat detection also requires distinguishing true threats from false positives. This can be challenging for reasons ranging from the incompatibility of traditional detection tools with OT networks to a deficit of OT threat intelligence, among others. The Claroty Platform makes effective detection attainable by automatically weeding out false positives and alerting users in real-time to anomalies and known and zero-day threats. Now with CTD 4.1, users can also access and act on the latest OT threat intelligence faster than ever before with automatic updates via the Claroty Cloud, as well as utilise a customisable dashboard to quickly identify the threats that matter most. Vulnerability Management: Effective vulnerability management is necessary for reducing risk in industrial environments. The prevalence of legacy systems means vulnerabilities are common, but so are false positives and negatives due to visibility and bandwidth limitations. The Claroty Platform resolves these issues by automatically identifying and comparing each OT asset to an extensive database of vulnerabilities tracked by Claroty’s research team, as well as to the latest Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) data from the National Vulnerability Database (NVD). And with CTD 4.1, users can now pinpoint the riskiest vulnerabilities and attack vectors in their environments, receive mitigation recommendations and filter out any noise faster and more easily than ever before. Triage & Mitigation: Time can significantly impact risk. The longer it takes for an alert to be evaluated, a threat neutralised, or exposure mitigated, the greater the risk to OT availability, reliability, and safety—as well as the entire enterprise—is likely to be. New features within CTD 4.1 and SRA 3.0 combine purpose-built automation with deep OT context to further streamline and accelerate triage & mitigation processes. The Claroty Platform’s unique root cause analysis feature, which groups all alerts related to the same event or series of events, produces a higher signal-to-noise ratio and lower alert fatigue. As a result, users can more effectively and efficiently handle alerts and ultimately reduce risk without being overwhelmed by false positives or lengthy investigations. “Being alerted to vulnerabilities in real-time is a must-have for our Manufacturing operations,” said Kevin Tierney, Vice President of Global Cybersecurity for General Motors. “We need solutions that allow our organisation to quickly identify which assets have potential vulnerabilities and prioritise the actions we need to take in order to reduce and eliminate potential risks.” “Securing critical infrastructure and industrial networks has become more important than ever, with all the new, unexpected obstacles and challenges that CISOs must overcome,” said Grant Geyer, Chief Product Officer of Claroty. “The Claroty Platform, strengthened even further by these latest updates, is a complete OT security solution perfectly positioned to mitigate the emerging risks to OT environments.” CTD 4.1 will be available this month and SRA 3.0 will be available in May. To learn more about the Claroty Platform and its new features, please request a demo. About Claroty Claroty bridges the industrial cybersecurity gap between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) environments. Organisations with highly automated production sites and factories that face significant security and financial risk especially need to bridge this gap. Armed with Claroty’s converged IT/OT solutions, these enterprises and critical infrastructure operators can leverage their existing IT security processes and technologies to improve the availability, safety, and reliability of their OT assets and networks seamlessly and without requiring downtime or dedicated teams. The result is more uptime and greater efficiency across business and production operations. Backed and adopted by leading industrial automation vendors, Claroty is deployed on all seven continents globally. The company is headquartered in New York City and has received $100 million in funding since being launched by the famed Team8 foundry in 2015. For more information, visit Australian social workers respond to COVID-19 pandemic 2020-03-23T06:55:51Z australian-social-workers-respond-to-covid-19-pandemic The AASW is working with members and key stakeholders to address the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. AASW National President Christine Craik said “COVID-19 is deeply affecting all of us. Social workers, like many health professionals, are deeply concerned about the effects of the virus on individuals, groups, families, and the broader community. “The social work profession is over 100 years old and during this long history we have been there working to assist people and communities to support and recover from world wars, pandemics, global and regional crises and recessions. Through it all, social workers have worked side-by-side with people affected, driven by a deep commitment to social justice and human rights.” Social workers know that in times of crisis, we need to consider those who are disadvantaged and most vulnerable. Ms Craik said, “For example, we have already seen reports of an expected increase in family violence related to the conditions of the COVID-19 lock downs, and the broad reaching impacts that a downturn in the economy will have on those already dealing with anxiety and depression, mental health and homelessness, to name a few. “We have confidence in the strength of our communities to support each other through this crisis, but we also need to address potential shortfalls in the social services workforce as more staff become affected by the coronavirus,” she said. The AASW welcomes the extension of small business cashflow support to community services and charities in the second stimulus package, announced yesterday. Ms Craik said, “We await further detail about how and when community services on the frontline of responding to COVID-19 will receive the funding and whether it will be enough to adequately respond to the impending crisis. “We also welcome the increase of $275 per week to the Jobseeker Allowance (formerly Newstart) and Youth Allowance Job Seeker payment for the next six months. We urge for this to be extended to include students, those on the disability support payment and others on social security income support schemes”. AASW is updating its website for social workers as developments come to hand. World Social Work Day 2020: Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships 2020-03-17T02:32:47Z world-social-work-day-2020-promoting-the-importance-of-human-relationships Today is World Social Work Day, a day of celebration for the social work profession, held every year on the third Tuesday of March. This year’s theme is Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships, which is set by the International Federation of Social Workers. Like many other professional bodies, the AASW usually marks the profession’s special day with several public gatherings around the country. With the current Covid-19 pandemic, the Association has cancelled them in the interests of public safety. Social work is a proud profession and at times like these with the current unprecedented challenges, social workers are supporting and advocating for the vulnerable in our community. AASW National President Christine Craik said, “Human relationships are at the very heart of what social workers do. “World Social Work Day is a day to celebrate the profession of social work. We are a proud and diverse profession. We work in a variety of settings on many issues from mental health, housing and homelessness, through to family violence and so much more. We work in government departments, charity organisations, educational settings and in private practice. It doesn’t matter where we work, we all uphold the values of working for social justice and championing human rights. “More than ever, our values and commitment will see us working through the Covid-19 crisis. Social workers are supporting, advocating and speaking up for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the community who are already bearing the brunt of the community reaction to this crisis. Those with existing anxiety issues are having their anxieties exacerbated, not only by the threat of this virus but by the panic and self-interest of others in the community. On this World Social Work Day we call on all in our community to remember the importance of human relationships, the importance of looking out for the vulnerable in our community and the importance of working together as we negotiate the next few months and beyond. “The ability of Australians to support those impacted by bushfires and other natural disasters is inspiring, so let it be those actions that define us as we face this new threat.” World Social Work Day will be celebrated in many countries around the world. Australia will be one of the first countries to mark the day around the world. Ms. Craik said, “I encourage everyone to participate in this year’s theme of Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships. On 17 March join us on Twitter using #WSWD2020 with a photo or video depicting human relationships.” “I’ll Never Give up!” 12 Months after the abduction and illegal retention of his children Australian father vows to fight on to bring his children home! 2020-02-18T04:47:56Z ill-never-give-up-12-months-after-the-abduction-and-illegal-retention-of-his-children-australian-father-vows-to-fight-on-to-bring-his-children-home MEDIA RELEASE: TUESDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2020“I’ll Never Give up!” - 12 Months after the abduction and illegal retention of his children in Colombia, Australian father of two vows to fight on to bring his children home!On Thursday 20 February, Australian father of two, Robert Clarke will light a candle as a symbol of hope that soon his precious children Benjamin (Benny) (4) and Lucia (16 months) will be returned to Australia where they belong.In marking the 12-month anniversary (20 February 2019) of their abduction and illegal retention in Ipiales by their Colombian mother, Maria Yepez Oviedo during the family’s annual holiday to visit her family; Robert Clarke vowed to fight on to bring his children home to the country of their birth, Australia.The children’s mother who has lived in Australia since 2013 is a permanent resident of Australia. Prior to their Colombian holiday, the couple had planned to marry and purchase a home in Melbourne. However, without Robert’s knowledge Maria had planned to retain the children in Colombia having taken Benny and Lucia’s birth certificates and withholding their passports to prevent them from returning home to Australia. It is believed that the children’s abduction and retention by their mother in Colombia came about because their maternal grandmother, Mrs. Oviedo Heurtas is a convicted criminal serving a 4-year home detention sentence in Ipiales (where they are now living) and is unable to travel to Australia to visit her daughter and grandchildren.Putting his faith in the international Hague Convention and the Australian Government, on 12 March 2019, Robert immediately filed legal action to have the children returned to the country of their birth under The Hague Convention. Australia and Colombia are both Contracting States to The Hague Convention which is designed to protect children from harm caused by cross-border abductions (and wrongful retentions) with procedures designed to bring about the prompt return of these children to the State of their habitual residence.Under The Hague Convention Benny and Lucia should have been immediately returned to Australia within 6 weeks. However, the Colombian authorities (including the Colombian Central Authority) and the Colombian Judge delayed proceedings. This delay obstructed compliance with The Hague Convention; the effects and consequences of which are both human and international in nature and in direct contravention of the principles of The Hague Convention.More than nine months following the children’s abduction and unlawful retention and more than eight months after Mr Clarke filed for their immediate return, on 5 December 2019, Colombian Judge Hernan Rodriguez Reina ruled the Clarke children had been illegally retained by their mother (according to The Hague Convention) but failed to order their immediate return to the country of their birth and habitual residence; asserting the children were now settled and should stay in Colombia claiming it would be harmful to the children if they returned to Australia. In one of the first Hague Convention cases of Australian children being abducted and unlawfully retained in Colombia; the Colombian Government has failed to honour their responsibilities under The Hague Convention causing harm to young Benny and little Lucia and placing their personal safety at risk. Robert Clarke and his Australian family have just one opportunity to appeal the Judge’s decision. In early January 2020, Robert’s legal representatives were told the appeal would be heard in February 2020. However, 12 months after their abduction and with February almost past, Robert has still not been advised of the date for the appeal hearing with Colombian officials once again delaying proceedings in favour of the children’s Colombian mother.It’s been a painful year for Robert. Only fragments of what was once a happy family remain in his Melbourne home. Once filled with the sounds of Benny and Lucia’s laughter, the house is now quiet. Much loved toys are still, neatly assembled in rooms where photographs of a happy family hang on walls while Benny’s little dog, Nacho wonders from room to empty room looking for his much-loved little playmate.On the mantelpiece stand two Cadbury Easter Bunnies that Robert bought for his children last year, placed carefully beside unopened Christmas packages from relatives, awaiting Benny and Lucia’s return.Determined to do whatever he can to bring his children home, on Australia Day 2020, Robert launched a campaign inviting people to sign his petition to the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, asking him to honour Colombia’s commitment to The Hague Convention and “Help bring his precious little Australians home!” The petition has more than 16,000 signatures and continues to grow daily with men and women expressing outrage at Colombia’s failure to adhere to the principles of The Hague Convention while others ask, “What is the Australian Government doing to help bring the children home?”Ipiales, on the border of Colombia and Ecuador where the children are now living is a very dangerous place where criminal activity is rife and kidnapping, extortion and violence appear to be accepted as an everyday occurrence. “As the only Western children living in Ipiales, the longer Benny and Lucia remain in Colombia, the greater the risk to their personal safety and the greater the harm being done to their well-being,” said Mr Clarke.“On Thursday I will light a candle for my beautiful children to keep the flame of hope burning that soon they will be returned home safely to the country of their birth,” he said. “I hope people will help us and add their voices to our pleas to the President of Colombia by signing the petition calling for Colombia to honour The Hague Convention principles so I can bring my children home.” Mr Clarke said. To learn more about Robert Clarke’s plea to President Iván Duque Márquez to help bring his children home and how you can help, sign and share our petition, please visit: or Follow us on Facebook.#HelpBringMyChildrenHome #HagueConvention #BennyandLuciaClarke #SignPetition-ENDS-LINKSWEBSITE: MEDIA REQUESTS Insight Communications: +61 2 9518 4744 or For detailed Journalist notes please contact Insight