Experts available for media commentary

November 27, 2014

A range of Murdoch experts are available for commentary in December and January on topics including bushfires, office parties, summer festivals, exercising in the heat, pool safety for pets and Australia Day.

Find the full list of Murdoch experts by category here, or contact a member of the Media and Communications team for more information.

World Aids Day

On December 1, World Aids Day will raise awareness across the world and in the community about the issues surrounding HIV and Aids. The theme for this year is Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero Aids related deaths.

Professor Simon Mallal

Professor Mallal and his team at the Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Murdoch University have made an enormous difference to how HIV and Aids and other diseases are researched and treated. He has longstanding research interests in genetic influences on clinical outcomes in HIV and other diseases, and why some patients experience life-threatening allergic reactions to an important drug for treating HIV.  This has resulted in a genetic test that is routinely used to decide who can safely receive the drug.  He can provide expert commentary on the latest advances in HIV/AIDS research and treatments.

Political review of the year

The key events and issues of 2014 including the world’s response to the Ebola epidemic, the losses of the Malaysian Airlines flights, the continuing fall-out from the 2014 federal budget and the rise of ISIS both domestically and internationally can be commented upon by our experts in Australian and international affairs.

Dr Ian Cook
Australian politics

Professor Sam Makinda
Security, terrorism and counter-terrorism

Professor Mark Beeson
International affairs, politics and security in Asia

Professor Ben Reilly
US and Australian foreign policy

Heat and pets/pool safety

As the summer temperatures rise, pet owners need to be aware of their safety in the heat and around swimming pools. Some dogs do not swim as well as others and unfenced pools can be hazardous, particularly to older animals. Heat stroke is also a common condition suffered by pets as temperatures rise to above 35 degrees. Vets from Murdoch’s Pet Emergency Centre can provide advice on these issues.

Dr Melissa Claus
Expert in small animal emergency care and critical care.

Dr Jill Griffiths
Murdoch Pet Emergency Veterinary supervisor

International Day of People with Disability

This event on December 3, aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being.

Adjunct Associate Professor Jan Gothard

Associate Professor Gothard, whose daughter has Down syndrome, has written a book about the varied attitudes and approaches which make up the rich experience of living with the condition in a changing society. She is a strong advocate of social inclusion and was involved in the pre-production of the ABC’s reality television series The Dreamhouse, which featured three young adults with intellectual disabilities becoming housemates. She also has a particular interest in migration and disability law.

International Volunteer Day

International Volunteer Day is celebrated on December 5 and provides volunteer organisations and individual volunteers with the opportunity to raise public awareness of their contributions to economic and social development at local, national and international levels.

Dr Megan Paull

Dr Paull researches volunteering and nonprofit organisations, focusing on the management of volunteers. She is also leading a large project on student volunteering which is investigating the rising trend of university students volunteering, exploring the practice as a learning process, a pathway to employment and as a means of engaging with the greater community.

Exercising in the heat

Dr Brad Wall

A lecturer in exercise science, Dr Wall specialises in hydration and thermoregulatory responses to exercise in the heat. He is also researching the effects of exercising in men receiving treatment for Prostate cancer.

Wild dolphin and human interaction

Delphine Chabanne

As the summer hots up and the holidays begin, Perth’s waterways will be busy with people cooling off. This presents more opportunities for dolphin encounters however, in order to maintain their populations in the Swan-Canning Estuary/Cockburn Sound and adjacent waters, it is important for people to behave correctly when around them. Dolphin researcher Delphine Chabanne from the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit advises that we should enjoy dolphins from a distance, we should slow down when we see them, never feed them and we should take rubbish home with us or correctly dispose of it. Ms Chabanne is currently researching the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in the Perth region, collecting biological and ecological data in order to assess the status of the dolphin population and apply appropriate management measures for their conservation.

Foul language in early Christianity

Dr Jeremy Hultin

Dr Hultin’s research centres on the New Testament, including Catholic Epistles, the Apostle Paul and the Historical Jesus. He gained his PhD by writing a book entitled The Ethics of Obscene Speech in Early Christianity and Its Environment which offers a comprehensive account of foul language as it appears in ancient literature, comedy, poetry, graffiti, love charms and other sources. His book offers insights into Christian warnings against foul language.


Dr Joe Fontaine

Dr Fontaine can provide expert commentary on the environmental impacts of bushfires. His recent research includes assessing bushfire threats in urban areas of Perth by mapping the amount of weeds in bushland areas; the interaction of fire and maintenance of biodiversity (both plants and wildlife) in forests and shrublands of western North America and WA; and assessing bushfire threats and the impacts of shortened fire intervals.

Office parties

The festive season presents a great opportunity for end-of-year workplace celebrations allowing employers and employees to reflect on the year's trials, tribulations and achievements and take a step back to unwind and relax. This can also however become a potential minefield of issues for organisations and individuals.

Dr Graeme Ditchburn

Dr Ditchburn is a psychologist specialising in organisational issues, with research interests in the individual at work, personality and dynamic performance, employee engagement, organisational commitment and organisational culture and values. He can speak about the pros of office parties including camaraderie and information sharing, and the cons such as over-familiarity and inappropriate behaviour.

Mum bloggers

Catherine Archer

A former public relations consultant and community relations manager, Ms Archer is currently researching bloggers, their relationship with PR professionals and marketers and the ethical implications of promoting brands via blogging. She has been published and spoken at conferences about mothers’ use of social media and the influence of the media on parenting.

Summer festivals, religion and euphoria

Dr Mark Jennings

A sociology lecturer and researcher, Dr Jennings has investigated the correlations between two very different musical spaces – a Pentecostal congregation and the West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots Festival – finding that within both settings music is used to create a discrete space for ecstatic experience. Also within these spaces, people behave in ways they wouldn’t normally. He argues that studying these experiences may help us to find ways to connect people and build bridges.

International Migrants Day

On December 18, United Nations member states and organisations are invited to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection.

Associate Professor Mary Anne Kenny

Teaching and researching in the areas of migration law, refugee law and international human rights, Associate Professor Kenny  is an expert on the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, child asylum seekers and gender issues.

Associate Professor Anne Pedersen

Associate Professor Pedersen is an applied social/community/peace psychologist who researches prejudice and anti-prejudice against different cultural groups, particularly asylum seekers, Indigenous Australians and Muslim Australians.

Australia Day

We have experts who can speak about Australian culture as the country celebrates its national day on January 26.

Dr Barbara Evers
Food and its contexts within history and society

Dr David Moody
Australian literature and films

Dr Jeremy Northcote
Australian youth culture

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