By Justin Gallen
Part of the agreement to go on the Australia 2013 program was that we all had to complete an individual research paper and present it to the group, otherwise we would be deported back to LC and held in solitary confinement in some dark chamber in the basement of the Frank Manor House. Ok not really, but we still had to complete our projects. As it turns out, we had some very unique and interesting topics discussed by our group. All of our projects were completed through interviews, through first hand experience, and by reviewing secondary sources.
Coby studied the role of safe injection and methadone clinics in Australia. There currently is a lot of debate on the effectiveness of these clinics due to factors such as cost, service, and safety. While these clinics are helpful for heroin addicts to cope with their addictions, there needs to be reform in the way these clinics are run.
Jasper gave a very optimistic report on the fight to establish American baseball here in Australia. With Australians currently preoccupied with their own sports like AFL (Australian Football League), rugby, and especially cricket, baseball has struggled for decades to gain a following down under. With a growing participation in little league, Jasper predicts that baseball will take off as a major sport once these little leaguers grow up.
India discussed the integration of Chinese culture into Australian culture, particularly how accepted Chinese immigrants felt with practicing their traditions and how many Chinese-Australian youth experience a blending of their traditional culture and of Australian culture.
Marc studied the action taken as a result of the Little Children are Sacred report that lead to protection of children in Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territories. While reports of sexual abuse outlined in this report were very serious, the policies imposed by the Territory government were too sweeping and general to be effective.
David did his research on the effects of agricultural runoff in Northern Queensland on the Great Barrier Reef. The reef supports a multi-billion dollar industry that is under threat from runoff polluted with silt and agricultural chemicals. If polluted runoff remains a problem, Australia's greatest natural wonder could be lost.
My project focused on how the current policies and practices of preserving Aboriginal rock art largely exclude Aboriginal involvement. While many practices are effective in keeping people away from rock art sites, they neglect to acknowledge the fact that rock art belongs to Aboriginal people and was protected by being repainted and re-carved. There has been some progress in recent years, with the hiring of Aboriginal guides and joint management between the National Park service and Aboriginal communities.
Once our projects were completed, we had a few days to relax and enjoy our last few days in Brisbane. We went to a Rugby league game where we witnessed the grueling defeat of Brisbane's Broncos by the Manly Sea Eagles. Tomorrow we say goodbye to our amazing host families and leave for the beautiful Lamington Plateau. And yes, it will be raining, and there will be leaches. Otherwise, it's going to be awesome!