NEW SPECTROMETER NEW SPECTROMETER NEW SPECTROMETER by hjkuiw354

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									LA TROBE UNIVERSITY



    Bulletin
    MARCH 2003




NEW
SPECTROMETER
advances materials and
surface science research

                              BIG FUTURE
                      Increasing demand for
                          community nursing



                           LIVING WELL?
                           Homeless youth
                           risk poor health


                           GOOD CUSTOMER
                              contact helps
                           business success
LA TROBE UNIVERSITY                                           NEWS



     Bulletin
IN THIS ISSUE

German hospitals adopt Australian                        2
funding system
International Network of Universities                    3
meeting
Better quality of life for children with                 3
cerebral palsy
New professor sees big future for                        4
community nursing
Nursing backs away from injury                           5
New help for dementia sufferers                          6
Code of Ethics for speech pathologists                   6

Research in Action
Massive advance in surface research                      7
Osteoporosis – a possible new approach
Safeguarding customer loyalty
                                                         8
                                                         9    German hospitals
Prejudice and same sex attracted
youngsters
                                                     10
                                                              adopt Australian
River Basins under stress
Professor Finlay new head of science
                                                     11
                                                     11       funding system
deans
                                                              With the help of La Trobe University             Mrs Ell said the first intake was designed to
Intangible assets: Valuable & increasing             12
                                                              academic, Mary Ell, Germany is introducing       'train the trainers.’ Nine of the 65 Germans
Professor Lumley wins health medal                   12       a payment system for hospitals similar to that   came to La Trobe in 2001 for four weeks as
Social Documentaries: Public access                  13       used in Australia, based on Casemix.             part of their 13-week course.
to complex issues                                             The introduction of Casemix in Germany,          Now these trainers conduct the course
Healthy lifestyles in ASEAN countries                13       in particular Diagnosis Related Groups, is       entirely in German. Students include
                                                              supported by a Faculty of Health Sciences        hospital administrators, nurses, doctors and
Film induced tourism                                 14       certificate level course in Germany – the        finance personnel. The second intake of 65
Is WTO unfair to developing nations?                 15       University's first course taught exclusively     students will graduate in June this year.
                                                              in German.                                       Mrs Ell established the course with
Homeless youth risk poor health                      16
                                                              The project's Educational Director,              assistance from the Health Information
                                                              Associate Professor Mary Ell, from the           Management staff within the School of
                      Cover Photo: Image of a paper surface
                      as seen by La Trobe University’s new    School of Public Health, said Victoria leads     Public Health, and Professor Duckett. She
                      state-of-the-art ‘time-of-flight’       other Australian states in its use of Casemix    has travelled to Germany 10 times to
                      secondary ion mass spectrometer – the
                      only one in Victoria. The device        information to set budgets for hospitals.        establish, teach and manage the course.
                      permits new and more complex            La Trobe Dean of Health Sciences,                Kerin Robinson and Jennie Shepheard from
                      research projects plus commercial
                                                              Professor Stephen Duckett, was a key figure      La Trobe's Health Information Management
                      analysis for industry. Story page 7.
                                                              in developing the Victorian system.              course have also taught in Germany.
                      Photograph: Courtesy ION-TOF
                      GmbH, Munster.                          The course instructs German hospital
                                                              personnel, including medical and nursing
The La Trobe Bulletin is published ten times a year by the    staff, in disease classification, Casemix,
Public Affairs Office, La Trobe University.                   Diagnosis Related Groups, health inform-
Articles may be reproduced with acknowledgement.              ation management, quality management
Photographs can be supplied.                                  and German healthcare reform.
Enquiries and submissions to the editor, Ernest Raetz,
La Trobe University, Victoria. 3086 Australia
                                                              A consortium consisting of La Trobe's
Tel (03) 9479 2315, Fax (03) 9479 1387                        School of Public Health and a German
Email: bulletin@latrobe.edu.au                                company, EPOS Health Consultants of
Design: Campus Graphics, (47813)                              Bad Homburg near Frankfurt-am-Main,
La Trobe University.                                          conducts the 13-week certificate course
Printed by Vaughan Printing Pty Ltd.                          entitled Casemix Performer. The first 65         Professor Duckett, left, congratulates one of the
Website: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/bulletin
                                                              students graduated in June last year.            German graduates.


2                                                             LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN
                                                                                                                                         NEWS




INU MEETING AT LA TROBE




La Trobe University Vice Chancellor,           INU is a consortium of recognised, quality        Students from universities within the
Professor Michael Osborne, with the            universities in Australia, Asia, Europe and       network may undertake selected subjects
president of the International Network of      America encouraging Australian as well as         electronically through partner universities
Universities (INU) Partners, Professor Lu      overseas students to add an international         and include these subjects in the degrees
Tiecheng, of Sichuan University, during a      dimension to their studies by undertaking         they are undertaking in their home
recent INU meeting at La Trobe University      some of their programs at an overseas             universities.
Melbourne (Bundoora) campus.                   partner institution.




Better quality                                 At the end of a six-week exercise program,
                                               and most importantly, three months later,
                                                                                                 Orthopaedic
                                                                                                 Department of
                                               the children were better able to perform          the        Royal
of life for                                    tasks such as climbing steps, walking,            C h i l d r e n ’s
                                               running and other physical activities.            Hospital         –
children with                                  ‘Other improvements included reports of           tested
                                                                                                 Victorian
                                                                                                                22
                                               better balance and hence fewer falls,
cerebral palsy                                 improved circulation and enhanced
                                               participation in school and family
                                                                                                 children with
                                                                                                 diplegia aged
                                               activities. In other words, the quality of life   between eight
A La Trobe University research program is
                                               of these young people has improved                and 18.
helping improve the quality of life for
children with cerebral palsy.                  because of their enhanced physical                The team now
                                               function.’                                        plans to carry    Dr Dodd: first randomised
Led by Dr Karen Dodd and Dr Nicholas                                                                               controlled trial of this nature
                                               In the western world, about one child in          out a similar
Taylor, senior lecturers in the School of                                                                          carried out in the world
                                               400 is born with cerebral palsy, of which         project with
Physiotherapy, a research team devised
                                               spastic diplegia, which affects the lower         adults with cerebral palsy, the only
and tested a home exercise program using
                                               limbs, is the most common form.                   difference being that exercises would take
simple equipment that demonstrated
                                                                                                 place in a community gymnasium rather
lasting benefits. Dr Dodd said the project     For their research project, Dr Dodd, Dr           than the home.
was the first randomised controlled trial of   Taylor and two other researchers – Dr
this nature carried out in the world with      Helen McBurney of La Trobe University
children with diplegic cerebral palsy.         and Professor Kerr Graham from the

                                                                                                                            MARCH 2003               3
    NEWS




    New professor predicts
    ‘ BIG FUTURE FOR
    COMMUNITY NURSING’
    Community nursing is poised to be the           a collaborative interaction between La
    dominant branch of nursing in the future –      Trobe and the RDNS – the largest
    and La Trobe University has positioned          community nursing organisation in the
    itself to play an important role in             Southern Hemisphere.
    furnishing the necessary expertise.             ‘This fact alone ensures that the potential
    A major step towards this was the recent        for research is huge. Most research of
    appointment of Merilyn Annells as the           nursing interventions is conducted in acute
    University’s first Professor of Community       care sites and is not necessarily of
    Nursing and Director of its Postgraduate        appropriate focus for, or readily
    Clinical School of Community Nursing.           transferable to, community nursing.’
    Professor Annells took up the new position      As a prelude to drawing up a research
    in mid 2002 and is already instigating a        program, Professor Annells is supervising
    vigorous research and teaching program.         a survey of district nurses across Australia
    ‘Increasing demand for the services of          to identify and prioritise individual
    community nursing – of which district nursing   research projects.
    is an important part – makes new initiatives    ‘We have received 419 research                  District Nurses – 2003 style: Professor Annells
    and ideas vital,’ says Professor Annells.       suggestions and are currently prioritising      and RDNS nurse Janice Castro.

    ‘This is because de-institutionalisation is     to identify the top 20. Wound management,
    increasing in the health care sector. In turn   pressure care, the needs of informal carers
                                                                                                   Nursing Science (Home and Community).
    this means there will be increased              in the community and minimisation of
                                                                                                   In addition our first doctoral students
    emphasis on health promotion, health            documentation required in practice are
                                                                                                   focusing on community nursing have just
    maintenance and self-management of              emerging as some of these priorities.
                                                                                                   commenced candidacy.’
    health disorders – all of which are closely     ‘There is far too much paperwork in
                                                                                                   Before joining La Trobe, Professor Annells
    linked to district and community nursing.’      community nursing. Before I arrived,
                                                                                                   ran a research consultancy business in South
    La Trobe University’s Postgraduate              RDNS was working on a program to
                                                                                                   Australia specialising in community
    Clinical School of Community Nursing is         introduce handheld computers for district
                                                                                                   nursing. Previously she had been a senior
    sited at the Helen Macpherson Smith             nurses to help to rationalise documentation.
                                                                                                   lecturer at the University of South Australia.
    Institute of Community Nursing based at         This is just one of many innovations being
                                                    introduced by RDNS. I am pleased to be         She began her working life as a Registered
    the Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS)
                                                    part of that culture,’ she said.               Nurse and later completed a bachelor’s
    head office in St Kilda. Professor Annells
                                                                                                   degree at the South Australian College of
    will spend one day a week at the Bundoora       Professor Annells’ personal research
                                                                                                   Advanced Education and a master’s degree
    campus and most of the remainder at             agenda tends to focus on stigmatised
                                                                                                   and a doctorate at Flinders University.
    RDNS which contributed to the funding of        health conditions that are little researched
    the Chair and establishing the new school.      including flatulence – the subject of her      She is known internationally as a research
                                                    PhD. – head lice in schools and extreme        methodologist and has a general interest in
    Professor Annells says the new chair is
                                                    self neglect in the elderly.                   qualitative research methods, especially
    both challenging and exciting because it is
                                                                                                   the application of grounded theory method
                                                    ‘Other stigmas such as living with Down
                                                                                                   to nursing inquiry. She is published
                                                    syndrome are also of interest.
                                                                                                   internationally.
                                                    ‘In Australia, community nursing – district
                                                                                                   However not all her writings are targeted at
                                                    nursing included – suffers from a low
                                                                                                   specialist audiences. For example, her
                                                    status and is not necessarily recognised by
                                                                                                   interest in positive ageing resulted in two
                                                    our community for its positive impact on
                                                                                                   popular books written with colleagues,
                                                    health and wellbeing,’ she said.
                                                                                                   Still Me and Still Doing. The latter, about
                                                    ‘By research and teaching we aim to            healthy ageing for men, won the South
                                                    correct this situation. To this end we have    Australian Government Equal Opportunity
                                                    introduced a postgraduate course starting      Literary Award in 2000.
    District Nurses – 1903 style                    in 2003 – the Postgraduate Diploma of


4   LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN
                                                                                                                                        NEWS




                                                                                                In addition, the researchers collected data

Nursing backs                                                                                   on the number and types of injuries that
                                                                                                occurred in 72 participating wards in 25
                                                                                                health care facilities across Victoria during
                                                                                                the periods two years before, one year

away from injury                                                                                before and one year after program
                                                                                                implementation.
                                                                                                Compared to the year before program
                                                                                                implementation, the number of injuries
                                                                                                nurses incurred following implementation
                                                                                                fell by 48 per cent.
                                                                                                Days lost and costs fell even more
                                                                                                dramatically, but costs and days lost data
                                                                                                change over the course of each injury claim,
                                                                                                and improved estimates on cost benefits
                                                                                                require additional analysis in the future.


                                                                                                To implement ‘No Lifting’
                                                                                                principles, nurses reported
                                                                                                needing more patient
                                                                                                handling equipment, more
                                                                                                space to operate and store
                                                                                                equipment and on-going
                                                                                                education.
La Trobe University has evaluated a             injuries, elimination of those tasks should     Nurses reported support for the back injury
government policy to reduce one of the          lead to a reduction in injuries.                prevention programs and the principles of
traditional professional hazards of nurses –                                                    ‘No Lifting’. To implement ‘No Lifting’
                                                The project aimed to implement back
back injury caused by lifting patients.                                                         principles, nurses reported needing more
                                                injury prevention programs based on ‘No
                                                                                                patient handling equipment, more space to
The University’s School of Physiotherapy        Lifting’ principles by educating nurses to
                                                                                                operate and store equipment and on-going
has assessed for the Department of Human        move or transfer patients using methods
                                                                                                education.
Services (DHS) the first two stages of the      that did not involve taking the strain of the
$7.7 million Victorian Nurse Back Injury        task through their bodies.                      Dr Keating said that the vision of the
Prevention Project (VNBIPP) in progress                                                         Department of Human Services Nurse
                                                It was recognised that this would only
since 1998.                                                                                     Policy Branch and the support of the
                                                occur, and be sustained, if there was
                                                                                                VNBIPP Advisory Committee combined
The DHS Nurse Policy Branch established         cultural change in health care organisations
                                                                                                to create a rare opportunity for introducing
the project in response to growing concern      and nursing staff such that hazardous
                                                                                                dramatic changes to workplace practices.
in the health care industry about the           manual handling practices, that were
unacceptably high rate of injuries to nurses.   previously considered acceptable, were          ‘The early results are very encouraging. We
                                                identified as unsafe and eliminated.            are most interested in the long term effects
At the time that the project commenced,
                                                                                                of the programs on the numbers of injuries
nurses accounted for more than 54 per cent      La Trobe Physiotherapy senior lecturer, Dr
                                                                                                sustained by nurses,’ Dr Keating said.
of compensation claims by health industry       Jennifer Keating, and Ms Melissa Mitchell,
workers. The industry was paying around         a human resources consultant and principal
$50 million annually in workers’                of the company Health Arena, were
compensations premiums with nurses’             appointed to evaluate the first two phases
back injuries accounting for more than half     of the project. Mr Bob Powell, a statistical
that figure.                                    database consultant, worked with them.
Traditionally, nurses had been taught           Starting in December 2000, the evaluation
manual handling techniques, but this            team worked until June 2002 examining
education did not appear effective in           the results of surveys that had taken place
controlling or reducing the number of           since 1998. Nearly 2000 nurses were
injuries that nurses sustained.                 questioned about their work practices
 The rationale behind the VNBIPP was that       particularly in regard to transferring
if manual handling tasks were causing           patients.
                                                                                                 Dr Jennifer Keating and Ms Melissa Mitchell



                                                                                                                           MARCH 2003           5
    NEWS




    New help for                                                                                 said   Dr    Kinsella,
                                                                                                 neuropsychologist.
                                                                                                                               a    specialist


                                                                                                 ‘We are taking the results of laboratory


    DEMENTIA                                                                                     research over the past decade and applying
                                                                                                 them in the real world. The techniques
                                                                                                 outlined in the book are quite simple for
                                                                                                 carers to apply in daily life. It seems so


    SUFFERERS                                                                                    commonsense and we expect it to be
                                                                                                 readily accepted.’
                                                                                                 Dr Kinsella said that a problem with
                                                                                                 dementia was that conflict often arose

    and their carers                                                                             between the patient and the carer – often
                                                                                                 between aging parents and their children –
                                                                                                 because of burden and frustration caused
    Melbourne researchers, building upon          It is one result of ongoing research on        by progressive memory loss.
    recent advances in memory management,         cognitive aging in older adults and early
                                                                                                 As increasingly effective pharmacological
    have produced a rehabilitation program for    dementia by Associate Professor Glynda
                                                                                                 management of dementia becomes
    sufferers of dementia and their carers.       Kinsella and Dr Ben Ong of La Trobe
                                                                                                 available, there is a need to identify those
    Based on a new technique called ‘spaced       University School of Psychological
                                                                                                 in the early stages for whom therapeutic
    retrieval,’ the program is designed to help   Science, Professor Elsdon Storey, Director
                                                                                                 treatment may be most effective.
    carers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease   of Monash University Department of
                                                  Neurosciences, the Caulfield General           With early identification, it is also possible
    to learn and remember names of persons,
                                                  Medical Centre and eight doctoral students     to apply neuropsychological interventions
    messages and locations.
                                                  in clinical neuropsychology.                   such as spaced retrieval. By applying this
    A $20,000 grant from the Rotary Health                                                       new technique early in the onset of
    Research Foundation has enabled               The technique of spaced retrieval resulted
                                                                                                 dementia, it should be possible to avoid
    researchers from La Trobe University and      from early research work by a then La
                                                                                                 this conflict and the stress between the
    other Melbourne institutions to develop a     Trobe University doctoral student, Dr
                                                                                                 patient and the carer, and consequently
    booklet instructing carers how to use this    Michael Bird, working with Dr Cameron
                                                                                                 improve the quality of their lives.
    spaced retrieval program.                     Camp of the Menorah Park Aged Care
                                                  Facility, Ohio, USA.                           Dr Kinsella said the new spaced retrieval
    The booklet will be available in March                                                       booklet would complement and extend the
    2003 in Cognitive, Dementia and Memory        ‘Basically spaced retrieval enables those
                                                                                                 services of dementia and memory services
    Services clinics established in Victoria in   with a memory problem to encode
                                                                                                 and memory clinics by involving family
    1997 to provide outpatient diagnosis for      information more securely and, when
                                                                                                 carers in home-based care.
    people with cognitive difficulties and        combined with common memory aids, to
    memory impairment.                            better remember things they have to do,’




                                                  version in use for the past 15 years – began   problems and needs, a proliferation of
    Code of ethics                                in 1999 and was completed in 2002.             legislation and accelerated rates of change,
                                                                                                 make prescriptive statements about ethical
    for speech                                    The new code of ethics includes a section
                                                  outlining the values and ethical principles
                                                                                                 practices of limited use.

    pathologists                                  to which Association members aspire as
                                                  well as a section on required standards of
                                                                                                 ‘In such workplace climates, mandatory
                                                                                                 ethics which set down what shall and shall
                                                  practice.                                      not be done in all circumstances quickly
    Speech pathologists in Australia now work                                                    become outdated and are of limited use.
                                                  Ms Brown said the previous code needed
    within a new, comprehensive set of ethical
                                                  significant rewriting for a number of          ‘The Group has provided an aspirational
    guidelines, thanks partially to the work of
                                                  reasons.                                       code that we believe is more in tune with
    a La Trobe University academic staff
                                                                                                 contemporary ethics. Aspirational ethics
    member.                                       ‘Firstly, the scope of practice for speech
                                                                                                 outline the principles and values we aspire to
                                                  pathologists has expanded considerably
    Ms Louise Brown, senior lecturer in the                                                      use in our ethical decision making in contrast
                                                  since the last code of ethics was written,’
    Department of Human Communication                                                            to mandatory codes,’ Ms Brown added.
                                                  Ms Brown said.
    Sciences, was a member of a four-person
                                                                                                 Patients or others may make a formal
    Ethics Review Task Group that prepared        ‘We work with more diverse client groups –
                                                                                                 complaint to the Speech Pathology
    both a Code of Ethics and an                  such as people with swallowing problems –
                                                                                                 Association of Australia Ethics Committee
    accompanying education package for the        and in more diverse work settings.
                                                                                                 currently chaired by La Trobe University
    Speech Pathology Association of Australia.    ‘Like all health professionals, speech         Human Communication Sciences lecturer,
    Work on the updated code for Australia’s      pathologists increasingly work in climates     Ms Hilary Johnson.
    3000 speech pathologists – to replace         of uncertainty where complexity of client


6   LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN
LA TROBE UNIVERSITY

                         RESEARCH IN ACTION
NEW SPECTROMETER
expands materials & surface science
                                                                                                     SIMS for her research on new methods of
                                                                                                     reducing corrosion in steel.
                                                                                                     ‘Her research involves looking at polymer-
                                                                                                     based corrosion inhibiting coatings – and
                                                                                                     this is one of the great applications of
                                                                                                     TOF-SIMS,’ project supervisor Associate
                                                                                                     Professor John Liesegang said.
                                                                                                     ‘Such research could lead to the
                                                                                                     development of better surface coatings
                                                                                                     such as paints by introducing a corrosion-
                                                                                                     inhibiting interface between the steel
                                                                                                     surface and the overlaying surface coating.
                                                                                                     The device has many new features and
                                                                                                     strengths not available on older style
                                                                                                     spectrometers,’ A/Prof. Liesegang said.
                                                                                                     ‘In the research field it enables us to
                                                                                                     determine the molecular composition of
                                                                                                     the outermost layer of a surface and to
                                                                                                     image this surface and examine spatial
                                                                                                     distribution of molecular species.
                                                                                                     ‘It also enables a detailed examination of
                                                                                                     the composition of micro arrays important
                                                                                                     in bio-compatibility. Tissue engineering
                                                                                                     and implants rely heavily on tailoring the
Associate Professor John Liesegang, Dr Narelle Brack and Dr Paul Pigram with the TOF-SIMS            surface properties of materials to ensure
                                                                                                     bio-compatibility.

Installation at La Trobe University of a state-       commercial company Amcor Research and          ‘In the industrial field TOF-SIMS enables
of-the-art ‘time-of-flight’ secondary ion mass        Technology, and Deakin University jointly      us to work for clients on a wide range of
spectrometer – the only one in Victoria – has         operate the facility.                          projects including improving paint
opened up new and wider research and                                                                 systems, which has huge application in the
                                                      Dr Paul Pigram, Director of the Centre for
industrial development avenues.                                                                      automobile industry, and on upgrading
                                                      Materials and Surface Science, said the
                                                                                                     packaging where we can examine sealing
Nestled in a basement laboratory in the               new spectrometer, known as a TOF-SIMS,
                                                                                                     and adhesion capabilities and examine
University’s Centre for Materials and                 opened up a number of expanded research
                                                                                                     contaminants and production faults,’
Surface Science, the $1,300,000 German-               areas. These involved micro-patterning
                                                                                                     A/Prof. Liesegang added.
made device enables analysis of the                   polymer systems, surface chemistry of
surface properties of materials never                 bacteria, surface modification of              Finance for TOF-SIMS came from three
before achievable in Victoria.                        packaging materials, analysis of lubricant     sources – the Australian Research Council
                                                      systems on steels and investigation of         ($550,000), the Victorian Government
It will enable University staff and students
                                                      surface properties of biomaterials.            Science, Technology and Innovation
not only to pursue new and more complex
                                                      La Trobe Research Fellow, Dr Narelle           Initiative ($500,000) and a consortium of
research projects, but also to provide
                                                      Brack, is charged with developing TOF-         universities, CSIRO and industry
industry and other organisations with
                                                      SIMS applications and liaising with clients.   ($580,000).
commercial analyses that hitherto they had
to seek interstate or abroad.                         The device, installed late in 2002, is         Only two such current generation
                                                      already fully operational. In an initial       instruments exist in Australia – those at La
A consortium comprising La Trobe
                                                      project, La Trobe PhD. student, Ms             Trobe and the University of South
University, CSIRO Molecular Science, the
                                                      Walaiporn Prissanaroon, is using TOF-          Australia.


                                                                                                                              MARCH 2003            7
    RESEARCH IN ACTION

    OSTEOPOROSIS
    A possible new investigative approach
    Researchers worldwide seeking effective
    ways to prevent or treat osteoporosis have
    a possible new investigative approach open
    to them – thanks to pioneering research at
    La Trobe University.
    Members of a research group in the
    University’s School of Human Biosciences
    have established a relationship between the
    nervous system and the skeleton.
    This development may provide not only a
    new line of investigation into the cause of
    metabolic bone diseases like osteoporosis
    – and hence possible treatment – but also
    into possible new treatments for traumatic
    conditions that affect the skeleton.
    The research is the subject of the PhD.
    thesis of Dr Tanya Uebergang who
    graduated from La Trobe in 2002 after
    spending five years examining nerve
    control of bone metabolism in rats and its
    implications      for     understanding
    osteoporosis.
    Osteoporosis is a systemic skeletal disease
    characterised by low bone mass and micro-
    architectural deterioration of bone tissue –
    making bones fragile and susceptible to
    fractures.
    As our population ages, it becomes an
                                                   examine whether there were any differences     These results suggest that certain neuro-
    increasingly important medical and social
                                                   in levels of these chemicals between           chemicals may mediate bone loss
    problem – but its causes still remain
                                                   osteoporotic bone and normal bone.             associated with osteoporosis. Knowledge
    subject to conjecture.
                                                   ‘We removed the ovaries from laboratory        of these neural regulators may be
    Dr Uebergang explained that women                                                             beneficial     in   understanding     the
                                                   rats to mimic post menopausal
    secrete oestrogen that has a protective                                                       mechanisms of osteoporosis and provide a
                                                   osteoporosis and compared the effects with
    effect on bones – but a women’s oestrogen                                                     novel avenue for further research and
                                                   those in “sham-operated animals” – rats
    level decreases at menopause and                                                              possibly the development of clinically
                                                   that underwent the same surgical
    consequently bone mass falls.                                                                 efficacious agents.
                                                   procedure but had their ovaries left intact.
    ‘Seeking to understand that relationship                                                      Dr Uebergang, who completed an honours
                                                   ‘Generally speaking there was an increase
    we looked at a number of possible causes –                                                    degree in Health Science and her PhD. at
                                                   in certain neuropeptides – substances
    including the role, if any, of the nervous                                                    La Trobe University, now teaches
                                                   nerves release to help the body to
    system. In two separate experiments we                                                        pharmacology and pathology to nursing
                                                   communicate – in the bone of osteoporotic
    found the nervous system definitely played                                                    students at Australian Catholic University,
                                                   rats, confirming our suspicion that the
    a role,’ Dr Uebergang said.                                                                   Melbourne.
                                                   nervous system played a role in
     Previous research has shown that animals      osteoporosis.                                  The research group at La Trobe University
    deprived of a nervous system display low                                                      – Dr Brian Grills and Dr Bronwen Bryant
                                                   ‘A second experiment led to the same
    bone mass. Humans with spinal cord                                                            who were joint supervisors of Dr
                                                   conclusion.    We      looked     at   the
    injuries also display a localised loss of                                                     Uebergang’s PhD. thesis – and Dr John
                                                   “immobilisation” model for osteoporosis.
    bone mass.                                                                                    Schuijers, and other doctoral and masters’
                                                   We immobilised a group of rats by
    Research has also demonstrated that            bandaging up one of their legs and             students, continue with the research.
    chemicals produced by the nervous system       compared the results with rats not
    act as regulators of bone metabolism. Some     immobilised. We found an increase in
    neuro-chemicals inhibit bone from being        certain neuropeptide levels in the bone of
    broken down – whilst others preserve it.       the immobilised limbs.’
    With this in mind, the next step was to

8   LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN
                                                                                                RESEARCH IN ACTION

Good Customer
contact
helps business
success
Looking for a way to increase customer
loyalty to your service business?
Forget the loyalty programs that cost you
money and are a nightmare to administer!
Forget also the more traditional marketing
strategies of increased promotion and
reduced prices!
Although these practices may change a
customer’s purchasing behaviour for the      She recently won the 2002 Australasian              managers will attempt to safeguard and
short-term they do nothing to instil a       Marketing Journal Paper of the Year Award           nurture their customer loyalty by paying
positive attitude towards your business.     with her doctoral supervisor Professor              attention to employee transfer policies and
                                             Lester Johnson from Mt Eliza Business               turnover rates.
So how does a firm attract these ‘truly’     School.
loyal customers? Don’t look too hard –                                                           ‘Managers may be more inclined to follow
your service employees are your bait.        Results from her PhD. research have                 human resource practices designed to
                                             indicated that a client’s personal loyalty,         satisfy and retain their valued employees,’
These are some of the conclusions from       defined in terms of a positive attitude             she said.
research into service businesses – and in    towards the employee and a high level of
particular hairdressing salons – by                                                              Further, Dr Bove strongly believes that
                                             repeat patronage of the employee, translated        personal loyalty has other possible positive
La Trobe University School of Business       into increased loyalty to the service
lecturer, Dr Liliana Bove.                                                                       outcomes for the business that have not
                                             business. Further, perceived credibility of         been empirically tested. These include
Her PhD. thesis examined in depth the        the service employee was the most                   increased     employee       worker      job
effects of customer trust and commitment     important determinant of personal loyalty.          satisfaction, organisational commitment
to individual employees and how loyalty to   ‘Hence service managers of high contact             and citizenship behaviour.
the employee impacts on loyalty to the       businesses should encourage their employees
service firm.                                                                                    ‘It is likely that customer-contact
                                             to form lasting customer relationships, and         personnel who work in environments
Because of her background in business and    the best way to achieve this is via the build up    where there is little opportunity for
marketing, her research interests lie in     of trust,’ says Dr Bove.                            personal loyalty to develop due to the
services marketing, customer loyalty and     ‘However, personal loyalty does not come            transient, transactional nature of the client,
marketing research, with her work            without risk as any disruption of a                 would have lower job satisfaction, and
appearing widely in regional and             customer’s loyalty to a particular employee         display less commitment and citizenship
international marketing and business         has a detrimental effect on his or her              behaviours towards their organisation.
journals.                                    loyalty to the firm.                                ‘Take for example the hair stylist who works
                                             ‘High employee turnover is a common                 at a no-frills, no-appointment-necessary
                                             problem for many service organisations.             salon, where the majority of customers are
                                             Customer-contact      personnel      like           unknowns. Contrast this to a hair stylist who
                                             salespeople and personal service workers            works at a salon where the majority of
                                             represent the most mobile workforce.                his/her clients are regulars and some indeed
                                             ‘This is because of their high stress levels.       are very loyal to the hair stylist. Which hair
                                             Customer-contact personnel have low                 stylist do you think would derive greater
                                             salaries, low status and limited opportunity        satisfaction from their job?’
                                             for advancement and training. Managers of           Dr Bove is currently working with
                                             service businesses accept a highly mobile           Marketing colleagues at La Trobe
                                             workforce and do nothing about it. If the           University, Nichola Robertson and Simon
                                             message of my research can get through,             Pervan to investigate whether there is a
                                             that customer loyalty to employees has a            relationship between personal loyalty and
                                             spill over, positive effect on customer             customer citizenship behaviours towards
Dr Liliana Bove                              loyalty to the business, then perhaps               the firm.


                                                                                                                           MARCH 2003             9
     RESEARCH IN ACTION

     DON’T ASK. DON’T TELL
     Same sex attracted (SSA) young people are      workers in general and mental health, youth   ‘However, while the project found very
     not more prone to suicide or self harm than    housing, education, drug and alcohol          limited quantitative data, it proved a rich
     others in their age group simply because of    services, youth work, legal and juvenile      source of qualitative information, and the
     their sexuality.                               justice, police and counselling services.     evidence confirmed that there is real
     But because of prejudices surrounding                                                        concern about suicidal risk for SSA young
     homosexuality, others in their age group       ‘While school teachers                        people under 20 years of age.
     may isolate and bully them and others they                                                   ‘While the project was unable to identify
     perceive not to conform to gender or
                                                    tended not to know about                      any data that could establish empirical
     sexual stereotypes.                            SSA students, school                          evidence that there is a correlation between
     As a result, these young people can                                                          homosexuality and suicide or self harm,
     experience diminished feelings of self
                                                    nurses were more likely to                    when we talked to the 25 key informants
     worth, which may lead to depression,                                                         working in the field, we started to get a
                                                    be approached by young                        very different picture.
     thoughts of suicide, or self harming
     behaviour.                                     people with concerns about                    ‘While school teachers tended not to know
     This is one of a number of conclusions                                                       about SSA students, school nurses were
                                                    their sexuality.’                             more likely to be approached by young
     drawn from a La Trobe University research
     project in 2001 and 2002 for the Victorian                                                   people with concerns about their sexuality.
                                                    ‘There were indications from previous
     Department of Human Services. The              research that SSA young people had higher     ‘Also, sexuality related issues is one of the
     project was called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,      than average rates of suicide and self        main themes for callers to Kids Help Line,
     because of the approach taken to gays in       harm,’ Ms Dyson said. ‘Our aim was to         a national telephone counselling service
     the military by the US armed forces during     establish whether data collected by           for young people. The information from
     the Clinton era.                               agencies in Victoria could demonstrate        school nurses and Kids Help Line
     Ms Sue Dyson, a researcher with the            whether such a link existed.                  confirmed what other research had
     University’s Australian Research Centre in                                                   indicated – that schools are a site for
                                                    ‘Of the 115 workers contacted, we             homophobic bullying and a number of
     Sex, Health and Society, contacted 115         identified 25 as key informants – but found
     workers in a number of service sectors that                                                  young people experience distress as a
                                                    that while they provided invaluable           result of this.
     come into contact with young people            information, none actually collected the
     between the age of 12 and 25. These included   precise kind of data we were seeking.         ‘From interviews with youth health
                                                                                                  workers and homelessness workers, we
                                                                                                  also found that SSA young people are also
                                                                                                  over represented among homeless youth –
                                                                                                  and these workers also reported higher rates
                                                                                                  of suicidal behaviours among this group.
                                                                                                  ‘Over the last three years, 23 support
                                                                                                  groups for SSA young people have been
                                                                                                  established in Victoria, some funded by
                                                                                                  local government, the Federal Government
                                                                                                  and welfare agencies.
                                                                                                  ‘Workers in these groups indicated that a
                                                                                                  number of young people they work with
                                                                                                  had expressed suicidal thoughts. It appears
                                                                                                  that they felt that they could not seek help
                                                                                                  or support in a crisis because of the taboos
                                                                                                  surrounding homosexuality and suicide.
                                                                                                  ‘While we didn’t have direct contact with
                                                                                                  young people in this project, workers told
                                                                                                  us that as a result of being part of a group
                                                                                                  where they are able to be open about their
                                                                                                  sexuality, and accepted and valued for who
                                                                                                  they are, kids appeared to be able to
                                                                                                  overcome feelings of hopelessness and
                                                                                                  even suicidal thoughts,’ Ms Dyson said.
                                                                                                  A report, detailing the findings of the
                                                                                                  project, will be published in the near
                                                                                                  future.


10   LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN
                                                                                                                                   NEWS




River basins
UNDER STRESS                                                                                                             Professor Tony Prato



River basins around the world are under            She said his seminars would make a          Basin, particularly given the extra demands
stress – and despite different biological,         valuable contribution to on-going           created by the record drought in many
physical and economic conditions,                  discussions about the Murray-Darling        parts of Australia.
Australia and the USA have many
problems in common.
This was the basis of a special public
lecture entitled Water Management in
River Basins – Flow and Quality Issues by
American      water   and    ecosystems
management expert, Professor Tony Prato,
                                                   Professor Finlay:
on 30 January 2003.
Professor Prato, Head of the Department of
Agricultural Economics of the University
of Missouri-Columbia, spent three weeks
                                                   President of
at La Trobe University’s Albury-Wodonga
Campus in January 2003 as a
Distinguished Visiting Fellow.
He told his audience in the campus main
                                                   Science Deans
lecture theatre that there were a number of
                                                   Professor David Finlay, Dean of La
reasons why river basins were under stress.
                                                   Trobe University’s Faculty of Science,
These included growing populations                 Technology and Engineering, has been
causing increased demand for water,                elected President of the Australian
damming and channelisation of rivers,              Council of Deans of Science.
inefficient use and over-allocation of
                                                   The appointment is usually for two years
water, soil and water pollution, loss of
                                                   although the president is elected
biodiversity, drought, competing water
                                                   annually. Professor Finlay replaces
uses and other stresses.
                                                   Professor Bill McGillivray of Griffith
While the USA and Australia face                   University.
somewhat different conditions there were
                                                   The Council promotes the development
many commonalities.
                                                   of science through study and research in
An expert on adaptive and ecosystem                Australian university science faculties,
management, multiple-attribute decision            schools and departments.                                           Professor David Finlay
making, spatial decision support systems,
                                                   Professor Finlay’s tasks will include
geographic information systems and                                                             concerned with the training of science,
                                                   working with the Council board on a
remote sensing, Professor Prato gave a                                                         technology and mathematics teachers.
                                                   number of objectives including
number of seminars and lectures.
                                                   identifying and addressing national         It is also concerned to ensure the supply
His topics included adaptive resources             issues in science, education, research      of properly trained teachers of science
management and water quality and flow              and scientific professions, promoting       and mathematics teaching in their areas
issues. While in Albury-Wodonga he also            science as a beneficial area of study and   of content knowledge.
researched key issues relating to the              promoting funding, recognition and the      Professor Finlay has been Dean of the
Murray-Darling Basin.                              conduct of research and research            Faculty of Science, Technology and
Visit organiser, Dr Lin Crase, Deputy Head,        training in science.                        Engineering at La Trobe University
School of Business, described Professor            The Council has input into the current      since August 2001. Prior to that he was
Prato’s visit as very significant for the campus   Review of Teaching and Teacher              Dean at Newcastle University.
and those in the community interested in           Education in areas where the review is
water and resource management.


                                                                                                                       MARCH 2003               11
     NEWS




     INTANGIBLE,
     VALUABLE, and
     increasing rapidly
     Often you can’t see, touch, feel, or hear      contributions from such new listings on the
     them – but they are worth more than 44         Australian Stock Exchange as Telstra and
     billion dollars.                               privatised former government utilities like
                                                                                                       Dr Peter Sainsbury and Professor Judith Lumley
     And their value is rising fast. In fact they   electricity and gas companies.
     almost doubled in value between 1992 and       Other contributions to the staggering rise came
     1999 – the latest years from which figures     from the growth of the leisure and tourism        provided a notable contribution to the
     are available.                                 industries – including casinos and other          protection and promotion of public
                                                    gambling industries like the TAB and Tabcorp.     health    in     Australia,     promoted
     These valuable commodities are the
                                                                                                      approaches to designing public solutions
     identifiable intangible assets owned by        Mr Goodwin’s research into intangibles
                                                                                                      and solving public health problems and
     companies listed on the Australian Stock       led to a number of key findings, including
                                                                                                      advancing community awareness of
     Exchange.                                      one that may alleviate the fears of
                                                                                                      public health measures and the ideals
     Tracking them down and then quantifying,       Australian    companies      about     the
                                                                                                      and practice of equity in the provision of
     counting and recording them is an              forthcoming introduction of amortising
                                                                                                      health care.
     important segment of research for the PhD.     these assets.
                                                                                                      PHAA president, Dr Peter Sainsbury,
     thesis of La Trobe University School of        He explained that the introduction of
                                                                                                      presented the medal to Professor
     Accountancy lecturer, Mr John Goodwin.         amortisation would reduce profits more
                                                                                                      Lumley at the Association’s annual
     Mr Goodwin has developed Australia’s           than five per cent for 99 firms at most.
                                                                                                      conference in Adelaide.
     first intangible assets data base of listed    Fourteen of these 99 are media industry
                                                    firms like News Ltd. But he stresses he           In outlining some of Professor Lumley's
     companies – a tool that gives accountants,
                                                    deliberately overstated the effect of             most significant achievements, Dr
     researchers and others vital information
                                                    amortisation – so the real effect would be        Sainsbury said she had earned an
     not previously readily available.
                                                    less – clearly not the ‘disaster’ that some       international reputation for her
     According to Mr Goodwin the intangible         commentators have suggested.                      contributions to perinatal research and
     assets of some companies are worth a lot                                                         epidemiology.
     more than their tangible ones. For             Mr Goodwin said his discovery that
                                                    Australian firms that capitalise intangible       He said Professor Lumley had:
     example, the intangible assets of
     Australian media companies – worth             assets have increasing earnings value over           a pivotal role in establishing and
     around $29 billion – are probably worth        time was particularly worthy of note. The         maintaining a high quality system for
     more than the companies’ tangible assets.      result is interesting because previous            routine collection of perinatal data on all
                                                    research in the USA indicated that earnings       births in Victoria, and in promoting
     One company alone, News Ltd., has more         value relevance had declined over time.           collaboration     between      states      in
     than half the $28.8 billion worth of
                                                                                                      contributing to the collection and
     intangible assets that media companies own.
                                                                                                      publication of national perinatal statistics.
     Mr Goodwin says identifiable intangible
     assets include databases, software,            Professor                                           been the editor of Australian Family
                                                                                                      Physician, is currently the joint editor of
     management and other contracts and
     agreements,       copyrights,   deferred
     expenditure, brand names, technological
                                                    Lumley wins                                       the Australian and New Zealand
                                                                                                      Journal of Public Health and is a past
                                                                                                      member of the Advisory Board of
     assets, intellectual property, mastheads,
     licences and trademarks.
                                                    health medal                                      Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology.
                                                                                                        an exceptional awareness of the
     In Australia, intangible assets are more
                                                    The Director of La Trobe University’s             complexities of public health research
     often included in balance sheets than in the
                                                    Centre for the Study of Mothers’ and              and practice in cross-cultural contexts.
     USA – even though there is no specific
                                                    Children’s Health, Professor Judith
     standard for most intangibles or definition                                                        been at the forefront of efforts over
                                                    Lumley, has been awarded the Sidney
     of the term ‘intangible asset’ – and their                                                       more than two decades to promote the
                                                    Sax Public Health Medal for 2002.
     value continues to grow.                                                                         use of evidence to inform public health
                                                    Awarded by the Public Health                      policy and practice in relation to
     Their rapid growth from $23.44 billion in
                                                    Association of Australia (PHAA), the              maternity care.
     1992 to $44.3 billion in 1999 resulted from
                                                    medal goes to the person who has
     a number of factors, including substantial

12   LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN
                                                                                                                                     NEWS




SOCIAL DOCUMENTARIES:
public access to
complex issues
The television documentary explaining            sources such as the Australian Film
and illustrating complex social issues in        Finance Corporation and Film Australia.
terms we all understand is a critical            But overall social documentary budgets
element in public service broadcasting.          are shrinking in both countries –
Like that of many products, the worth of         threatening the calibre of social
the social documentary is often a direct         documentaries produced.
result of the money made available to            To pinpoint and then to evaluate the            Healthy lifestyles in
produce the final result.                        criteria applied to social documentary
This is the reason why financing such
documentaries is a vital social question
                                                 funding, Ms Debrett is interviewing 50
                                                 people involved with social documentaries
                                                                                                 ASEAN
and why La Trobe University lecturer, Ms
Mary Debrett, is devoting her PhD. thesis
                                                 from both sides of the Tasman.
                                                 They include the documentary makers
                                                                                                 countries
to examining and analysing the subject.          themselves, people from government              The Head of La Trobe University’s School
A lecturer in Media Studies, Ms Debrett is       funding agencies and commissioning              of Public Health, Professor Vivian Lin, has
making a comparative study of social             editors and broadcasters.                       drafted an action plan to promote healthy
documentary funding in Australia and New         She is attempting to ascertain the criteria     lifestyles in ASEAN countries at the
Zealand – two countries whose public             for funding and how these vitally involved      invitation of the World Health
service broadcasting systems have evolved        people define the term social documentary.      Organisation (WHO).
in radically different ways.
                                                 Despite the difference in the size of the two   Working with two La Trobe PhD.
Ms Debrett worked for a number of years          countries, NZ is producing far more social      students, Sally Fawkes and Prue Bagley,
in television in New Zealand as a film           documentaries – but because they must be        Professor Lin finalised the plan with
editor, researcher, and documentary maker        commercially viable, they are of the            representatives of ASEAN countries,
and was there during the late 1980s when         populist and formulaic kind.                    WHO officials, and the ASEAN
the broadcasting system was deregulated.                                                         Secretariat ahead of a meeting of ASEAN
It changed from a highly regulated system        ‘I mention this in the context of the oft-
                                                                                                 Health Ministers in Vientiane.
consisting of a sole government-run              heard remark that there is a “dumbing
                                                 down” of documentaries. There have been         Professor Lin and her colleagues consulted
broadcaster to one of the least regulated
                                                 exceptions, including a series in New           closely with the Lao Ministry of Health,
systems in the world.
                                                 Zealand on the Maori Wars made by a             which was hosting the Health Ministers’
Today there are two networks, TVNZ, the          local academic that rated well – even out-      Meeting, as well as with WHO and a range
former monopoly broadcaster that the             rating Coronation Street,’ Ms Debrett said.     of health professionals to produce the
government still owns but which is now run                                                       detailed report.
as a profit-making corporation, and a            ‘Trends indeed do reflect the “dumbing
                                                 down” syndrome, one indication of this being    It formed part of a vision for health
privately-owned fully commercial network.
                                                 the increasing popularity of “documentary       development to 2020 in ASEAN countries
Before     deregulation,    the    social        soaps”. The British series Driving School was   incorporated     into   the      Vientiane
documentary – which she defines as the           a classic example of the trend.                 Declaration that the Ministers signed.
way we represent ourselves to ourselves –
                                                 ‘This happens when ratings become more          It is the latest of a number of assignments
was largely produced by an in-house
                                                 important than public service. A                Professor Lin has completed for WHO and
documentary department, but that has
                                                 concentration on ratings prohibits              governments in Asia on public health issues.
largely changed under the new system.
                                                 commercially – oriented networks from           Professor Lin said the research suggested
Now a quango still provides two thirds of        making innovative programs for fear they        that ASEAN countries were in various
funding for some social documentaries but        might not have mass appeal.                     stages of demographic, economic and
the broadcaster must provide the remaining
                                                 ‘The BBC was able to develop new kinds          epidemiological transition.
third – but does this only if it considers the
project ‘commercially viable.’                   of programs like Monty Python, and the          ‘Given trends towards aging, urbanisation
                                                 ABC Good News Week, only because they           and industrialisation, it is expected that
In Australia public funding for social           were not reliant on ratings. When they          problems associated with non-communicable
documentaries is available within the two        prove successful they result in similar         diseases, injury, and poor mental health will
public broadcasters, the ABC and SBS –           programs being produced on commercial           increase,’ Professor Lin said.
and also from other non-commercial               television – but without the initial risk.’


                                                                                                                          MARCH 2003             13
     NEWS




     FILM-INDUCED
     TOURISM COMPANY
     How is it travelling?
     Has Australia overestimated the economic        half by Lend Lease Corporation Limited,            For starters the venturers relied on a
     benefits of tourism in general and film-        the opening of the venture was attended by         California-based feasibility consultant
     induced tourism in particular?                  media hype and the full force of publicity         whose estimate of five million visitors
     As a result of research for her PhD., La        from Fox studios and its parent company            annually proved to be a dramatic
     Trobe University senior lecturer in             News Corporation.                                  exaggeration. Even a revised figure of 1.5
     Tourism, Ms Sue Beeton, believes this may       Finally Lend Lease withdrew after losing           million was optimistic. Then estimates that
     be the case.                                    $145 million – a major contributor to the          29 per of visitors would be from overseas
                                                     fall of the company’s earnings per share of        and 21 per cent from interstate were far too
     While championing the tourism industry as                                                          high, especially when compared with
     a growing element in Australia’s economy,       58 per cent for the half year to December
                                                     2001. Fox has never revealed publicly how          current theme park visitation in Australia.
     a major segment of her thesis compares
     business failures and successes of film-        much it wrote off on the project.                  Ms Beeton cites other factors she believed
     induced tourism enterprises such as movie-                                                         contributed to the theme park failing.
     based theme parks.                                                                                 Because of the heritage listing of many of
                                                                                                        the buildings on the site, the operators
     One of her objectives is to create a field of                                                      were unable to build bulky ‘white knuckle
     study in which business students can                                                               rides’ which appeal to young visitors.
     critically examine examples of business
     failure so as to appreciate how mistakes are                                                       Then it failed to create a tangible and
     made and consequently how they can be                                                              marketable movie theme park atmosphere
     avoided in future.                                                                                 along the lines of those operating on the
                                                                                                        Gold Coast and in other countries.
     An admitted film buff, Ms Beeton, who
     teaches at La Trobe University Bendigo,                                                            Then when things started to go wrong,
     specifically examined the failure of the                                                           management made what Ms Beeton
     Fox Studios Backlot on the site of the old                                                         considers to be its greatest error by
     Sydney Showgrounds, a film theme park-                                                             removing the huge portal entrance and
     type attraction which opened with great                                                            abandoning the entrance fee – although
     fanfare in late 1999 and closed after                                                              still continuing to charge to enter
                                                      Front portal of the Backlot before its removal.
     massive financial losses two years later.                                                          individual attractions such as the excellent
                                                                                                        Titanic exhibition.
     ‘Over optimistic tourism assessment             Ms Beeton said that many mistakes were
     appears still to be a significant contributor   made, starting with unsound predictions of         While glitzy and appropriately artificial,
     to business failure and this is certainly an    patronage and revenue, while the partners          the portal gave the place a movie
     important aspect of the cause of the            were examining the economic viability              atmosphere of fantasy, fun and
     Backlot’s demise,’ Ms Beeton said.              before deciding to proceed.                        anticipation. Its removal devalued the
                                                                                                        ambience and subsequent experience.
     Owned half by Fox Studios, which                The theory was that as the adjoining Fox
     operates a film studio on the same site, and    Studios was involved in making such                Movies rely on make-believe, fun, fantasy,
                                                     blockbusters as Moulin Rouge, The                  famous stars and the very concept of fame.
                                                     Matrix, Star Wars (Attack of the Clones)           Absence of these elements – or their
                                                     and Mission Impossible II, film fans –             removal – deprived the theme park of its
                                                     many from Asia – would pour into the               basic attraction.
                                                     Backlot to soak up the glitzy glamorous            It was obvious from the early days there
                                                     ambience.                                          were problems. Few Fox-specific souvenirs
                                                     It was generally accepted that the cash            were available – and those on sale were
                                                     flow from the Backlot theme park would             uninspiring. Food stalls – even those with
                                                     underwrite the high film-making costs of           movie themes – were often closed.
                                                     the studio in its early years.                     Overall, it seemed nobody could decide
                                                     This assumption was a mistake – among              whether the Backlot should have an American
                                                     many others.                                       or Australian character – and it finished up
                                                                                                        with no readily discernible theme.


14   LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN
                                                                                                                                                NEWS




WORLD TRADE ORGANISATION:
REMOVING CHAOS AT THE EXPENSE
OF DEVELOPING NATIONS?
Is the World Trade Organisation – which          This raised the question as to whether the    He cites the European Union’s subsidies to
aims to maximise free trade – unfair to          people of those nations that emerged from     its regional members. For example, Ireland
developing nations?                              overall poverty benefited from the            received subsidies to improve its economic
La Trobe University associate lecturer, Mr       economic growth derived from such a           prospects, the injection of capital helping
Brien McDonald, explores this complex            trading environment, or whether there was     Ireland to emerge from poverty and to
question in a chapter of a book to be            no overall increase with some benefiting at   improve its wealth prospects.
published in India in mid 2003.                  the expense of others.

As a teacher of Asian Economic                   Mr McDonald said a major stumbling block      ‘If societies en masse feel
Development and International Business           for a single regulatory body like WTO has
                                                 been the emergence, and increasing impact,    threatened by changes in
Environment, Mr McDonald has an intense
                                                 of regional trade agreements which could
professional interest in this question that is
                                                 almost undermine the international
                                                                                               world trading, then WTO
being explored by the publisher of the
book, the Institute of Chartered Financial       organisation’s authority and at the same      is not achieving its goal of
Analysts of India.                               time create their own paradoxes.
                                                                                               removing a chaotic system
In the lengthy chapter, Mr McDonald says
that the frequently expressed argument that                                                    and replacing it with one
the World Trade Organisation is an avenue
for enhancing the power of multinational
                                                                                               providing more certainty and
corporations and the OEDC countries at                                                         related benefits.’
the expense of emerging markets goes
back many years.                                                                               Yet if the WTO pursued a policy of
Similar arguments were advanced about                                                          instantaneous unrestricted free trade, this
multinationals in the 1920s and even the                                                       would aim to reduce subsidies to improve
trading companies of the 16th century.                                                         the performance of emerging markets – the
                                                                                               very instrument that proved so vital to
Mr McDonald discusses at length the action
                                                                                               Ireland’s growth.
of the USA – an advocate of free trade –
which in March 2002 introduced tariffs,                                                        Mr McDonald concludes that during times
quotas and subsidies to protect its steel                                                      of immense change – including those that
industry on the grounds that it was a ‘vital                                                   have occurred in world trading since the
industry’ essential for national defence.                                                      introduction of GATT (General Agreement
                                                                                               on Tariffs and Trade) and WTO – some
He said that the paradox was that the USA
                                                                                               groups often feel threatened and seek
was trying to promote itself as a fair trader
                                                                                               practices that promise to return them to a
– but at the same time was creating barriers
                                                                                               previous position of economic security.
to protect an industry threatened by
imports often from developing countries.                                                       Changes in income distribution affecting
                                                                                               low skilled workers are often cited as a key
Data from the 1970s to the mid-1990s
                                                                                               factor by the International Union of Labour,
revealed that much of the change in world
                                                                                               and economists such as Paul Krugman.
economic growth has been the result of
emerging markets. Exports from developed                                                       ‘If societies en masse feel threatened by
nations remained relatively flat but those                                                     changes in world trading, then WTO is not
from such emerging markets as South                                                            achieving its goal of removing a chaotic
Korea, Singapore, India and China grew                                                         system and replacing it with one providing
exponentially.                                                                                 more certainty and related benefits,’ he said.
It could be concluded that there appears to                                                    WTO has much work to do in convincing the
be a positive relationship between exports                                                     world of the benefits its system can bring.
from emerging markets and the level of                                                         Working with such groups as UNCTAD
economic growth sustained by these                                                             (UN Conference on Trade & Development)
markets.                                                                                       was a way of reducing concerns.


                                                                                                                         MARCH 2003               15
     NEWS




     Homeless youth
     RISK POOR
     HEALTH
     It’s hard to live well when you are young   sexual experiences than their home-based
     and homeless. Project i, a five-year La     peers. The average age for their first
     Trobe University study of homeless young    experience of vaginal sex was 14 years 4
     people in Melbourne, has found that         months. Only 30% always used condoms
     although some homeless young people         when engaging in sex. In the past three
     manage reasonably well, many face           months, 11% had five more sexual
     significant health risks.                   partners. In addition, 59% of the homeless
     This conclusion was reached in the report   young women and 45% of the young men
     Living Well? Homeless young people in       had had sex when they did not want to.
     Melbourne from La Trobe University’s        Pregnancy rates were substantially higher
     Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health   than reported for home-based peers.           marijuana, 40% had used amphetamines
     and Society (ARCHS). The report is based    Approximately one-third of young women        and more than one-quarter had used
     on surveys with 403 homeless young          and the partners of young men had been        heroin. In this period more than one-
     people aged between 12 and 20.              pregnant, yet very few of these pregnancies   quarter of these young people had injected
     The Reverend Tim Costello launched the      resulted in births.                           drugs, and 11% of all the young people has
     report at ARCHS in mid February.                                                          shared needles or equipment.

     According to ARCHS researcher, Dr
                                                 Homeless young people’s                       Dr Mallett believes that homeless young
     Shelley Mallett, the research found some                                                  people’s drug taking and sexual practices
     good news. ‘Nearly 40% of the homeless
                                                 drug and alcohol use is                       will adversely affect their long-term health
     young people surveyed were still in                                                       and well-being.
                                                 high and more than half
     education, and 20% attended school more                                                   Mental health was also a major issue for
     regularly after they had left home.         felt dependent on the                         homeless young people. About one quarter
     ‘Many of the “positives” in their lives                                                   reported symptoms indicative of a
     result from their contact with services     drugs they used.                              psychiatric illness. Over one-third
     specific to homelessness and housing,’ Dr                                                 attempted suicide, and a similar number
     Mallett said.                                                                             deliberately harmed themselves in the last
                                                 Homeless young people’s drug and alcohol
                                                                                               three months. Dr Mallett believes that
     Health outcomes presented a less positive   use is high and more than half felt
                                                                                               these figures are cause for alarm, more so
     picture. These young people were sexually   dependent on the drugs they used. In the
                                                                                               because many of the young people do not
     active at a younger age and had more        past three months 70% had used
                                                                                               know how to access services that provide
                                                                                               assistance with mental health issues.
                                                                                               Dr Mallett concluded: ‘Young people’s
                                                                                               responses suggest that there is clearly a
                                                                                               need to provide adequate services for
                                                                                               issues such as substance use, sexual health
                                                                                               and mental health, and an equal need to
                                                                                               promote the availability of these services
                                                                                               to young people.’
                                                                                               Project i was conducted in conjunction
                                                                                               with a similar survey of homeless youth in
                                                                                               Los Angeles by The Center for Community
                                                                                               Health at the University of California. The
                                                                                               American National Institute of Mental
                                                                                               Health funded the project in both
                                                                                               Melbourne and Los Angeles.


16   LA TROBE UNIVERSITY BULLETIN

								
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