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advocacy and charitable status

The recent Federal Court decision in the matter Commissioner of Taxation v Aid/Watch Incorporated 2009 says
that an advocacy and lobbying organisation, such as A4, cannot be seen as a charitable for tax purposes.

Such a decision has major implications about how advocacy groups operate.

Here are some links to commentary on the issue ...

Autism Associated With Single-letter Change In Genetic Code

ScienceDaily (Oct. 7, 2009) — In one of the first studies of its kind, an international team of researchers has uncovered a single-letter change in the genetic code that is associated with autism. The finding, published in the journal Nature, implicates a neuronal gene not previously tied to the disorder and more broadly, underscores a role for common DNA variation. In addition, the new research highlights two other regions of the genome, which are likely to contain rare genetic differences that may also influence autism risk.

Autism families demand more support

Dozens of people have rallied on the steps of Parliament House in Adelaide to demand more support for children with autism.

Some parents cried as they described the emotional and financial toll of finding treatment for their children.

They are lobbying for more State Government money for medical support, to reduce waiting lists and for more special education classes in schools.

Rally organiser Daryl Barkhazen says the children deserve a better deal.

A genome-wide linkage and association scan reveals novel loci for autism

Although autism is a highly heritable neurodevelopmental disorder, attempts to identify specific susceptibility genes have thus far met with limited success1. Genome-wide association studies using half a million or more markers, particularly those with very large sample sizes achieved through meta-analysis, have shown great success in mapping genes for other complex genetic traits.

APAC'09 Prevalence presentation

The presentation below was given at APAC'09 in Sydney. Among other things, it shows the growing number of children whose family get's Carer Allowance (that is, children who have been formally diagnosed with Autistic or Asperger's Disorders and also registered to receive Carer Allowance).

Previously, a paper on autism prevalence in Australia was published in the peer reviewed proceedings of the 2004 Biennial Australian Autism conference (see

Government announces Autism Spectrum Disorder register

Media Release

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services
Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Australian Government has given its support to a National Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Register to better track the incidence of the condition in Australia.

Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, today announced the Register at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2009.

Study by Flinders University detects signs of autism in first weeks

Verity Edwards, September 14, 2009, from: The Australian

A WORLD-FIRST study on siblings of children with autism is showing that signs associated with the behavioural disorder appear in babies in their first weeks of life.

The Flinders University research is the first of its kind to study the behaviour of infants who have an increased risk of developing autism from as young as 10 days, and to revisit the children every second month until they are 18 months old.

Capped funds for pupils with disabilities

Anna Patty Education Editor, SMH August 15, 2009

SCHOOL funding for students with special needs will be capped and no longer distributed according to the number of individual students, under NSW Department of Education proposals.

Principals and teachers are concerned that funding for students with autism and mental health disorders will be capped for the next three years at 2009 levels. The State Government plans to allocate grants based on the prevalence of disorders in the wider community.

Tipsters trounce computer model

THE Computer - aka Taylor Fry Consulting Actuaries - was disappointed in the performance of its AFL model this year. It now has experience over the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Last year, the model scored 128 points over rounds 1 to 22 compared with 117 this year. However, it is good news that the decline in its own performance is a win for charity. At the start of the season, Taylor Fry promised to donate to charity $500 for each tip it was behind the leader after 22 rounds.

Cost of doing little

THE person most qualified to help Ms Simonovska's autistic son (The Age, 22/8) learn to communicate is a speech pathologist. Having just qualified at the only university in the state that offers this course, I am less than optimistic about his chances of getting the help he needs and deserves. Funding the therapy is great: finding the therapist can be tricky.

Lack of funding for Autism forces family overseas

7:30 Report - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Broadcast: 19/08/2009, Reporter: Sharon O'Neill

It is estimated that half a million Australian families are affected by autism and many of them struggle not just with the needs of an autistic child or adult but with the huge costs associated with the array of therapies required to treat the disorder. For one family, Australia did not have the resources they needed for their autistic son, forcing them to relocate to the United Kingdom.

Patients 'locked in cages' at Bribie Island care facility

Warning: do not read on if you are at all sensitive to distressing news.

Tristan Swanwick, September 01, 2009 12:00am

INTELLECTUALLY impaired residents of a Queensland care home were locked in cages, tied to toilets and struck with fly swatters by staff, a court heard yesterday.

Susan Beryl Lister, 60, yesterday pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane District Court to charges of deprivation of liberty and assault.

Schools telling disabled children to stay at home

Justine Ferrari, Education writer | August 26, 2009

Article from:  The Australian

SCHOOLS are turning children with disabilities into part-time students by restricting their attendance hours in breach of anti-discrimination laws.

Some school principals are limiting the time disabled students are in class to match the hours a teacher's aide or other assistance is available, Macquarie and Sydney university researchers have found.


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