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April 2013

Over our dead bodies: Port Arthur and Australia's fight for gun control=

By Lotte Chow

Republicans and lobbyists for gun manufacturers have been blamed for today’s defeat of new gun control measures in the US Senate, despite the public support for the legislation that aimed to expand background checks for firearms purchases. This debate over gun control in the US was restarted in the wake of the shootings in December 2012 when a gunman killed 20 children and six teachers in a primary school in the small US town of Newtown, Connecticut.

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, President Barack Obama vowed to use ‘whatever power this office holds’ to prevent similar atrocities being committed. Ironically, gun permit applications skyrocketed after the massacre. Obama proposed universal background checks on gun permits and a ban on assault rifles. The Second Amendment, along with difficulties of attaining federal reform in gun control, makes this a daunting task for the President.

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Henry Lawson While the Billy Boils: The Original Newspaper Versions AND Biography of a Book: Henry Lawson's While the Billy Boils

Other than the occasional primary school retellings of the Ned Kelly tales and the odd jaunt through Old Sydney Town, most of us have never really spent much time thinking about our early national identity. The gold-rush, early explorers and 'red coats' are phenomena of which are, more often than not, left unthought of.

Needless to say, however, Australia has a unique and highly eccentric literary heritage. Henry Lawson, writer, poet and artist, lived in a much earthier Australia. His stories - with their easy Australian humour and vivid descriptions - encapsulate the world of early Australia; a bleak and expansive world of diggers, threadbare homesteads and the unobtrusive billy boiling in the corner.

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Archibald Liversidge: Imperial Science under the Southern Cross=

By Jacqui Shilson-Josling

In my time studying at the University of Sydney, I have always taken for granted the existence of the large and well respected Faculty of Science. I, like most of my fellow science students, had never stopped to think how I would attain my degree if the University did not have a science faculty. That is, until I read the fascinating account of the life of Archibald Liversidge and his countless contributions to the University of Sydney and the wider field of science in Australia.

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