What was the main point of the BtN story


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Questions for discussion
Episode 35

29th November 2011

ining tax

  1. What was the main point of the BtN story?

  2. Give some examples of minerals that are mined in Australia.

  3. Which countries buy Australian resources?

  4. What resources do they buy?

  5. Why has the Government introduced a mining tax?

  6. What percentage is the Government allowed to take of profits over $75 million?

  7. What minerals is the Government allowed to tax?

  8. What do the Greens and the Opposition think about the mining tax?

  9. Do you think the resource tax is fair? Why or why not?

  10. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a resource tax?

`Is the mining tax a good idea?’ Post a comment on the Mining tax story page.

Asbestos danger

  1. Discuss the BtN asbestos story with another student. Record the main points of your discussion.

  2. What is asbestos?

  3. Why was asbestos a popular building product?
  4. Describe what happened to Adam.

  5. Why is asbestos dangerous when it is broken up?

  6. What diseases can asbestos cause?

  7. For a while now it’s been illegal to use asbestos in new homes and buildings. True or false?

  8. How is asbestos safely removed from a building?

  9. What should you do before starting any home renovations?

  10. What are three facts about asbestos that you learnt watching the BtN story?

Post a message on the Behind the News Guestbook http://abc.net.au/btn/guestbook.html

Password power

  1. Why is password security important?

  2. What sorts of things are passwords used for?

  3. Give some examples of passwords that were on the `worst passwords’ list.

  4. Which hotmail password was banned recently?

  5. What is a dictionary attack?

  6. Complete the following sentence: The best passwords are…

  7. Give an example of a strong password.

  8. What is phishing and shoulder surfing?

  9. What would be your 5 tips for good computer security?

  10. Illustrate an aspect of the Password power story.

Invite an expert to the school to talk about the importance of computer security. Prepare questions to ask in advance.

Christmas turkey

  1. Summarise the Christmas turkey story.

  2. On which special day do Australians traditionally eat turkey?

  1. Thanksgiving

  2. Christmas Day

  3. Australia Day

  1. Why is turkey a popular meat in the United States?

  2. When were turkeys first brought to Australia?

  3. Describe the business of turkey farming.

  4. Turkeys are intelligent animals. True or false?
  5. Why did turkey become a popular meat to eat on Christmas Day?

  6. How are turkey farmers trying to make the meat popular all year round?

  7. Describe the Christmas traditions in your family.

  8. What was surprising about this story?

Test your knowledge in the online Christmas turkey quiz. Go to the BtN website and follow the links.

Surf lifesavers

  1. Explain the BtN story to another student.

  2. What colours are worn by surf lifesavers?

  3. Explain the difference between a lifesaver and a lifeguard.

  4. Junior life savers are also called

    1. Joeys

    2. Dolphins

    3. Nippers

  5. What is the minimum qualification required to be a lifesaver?

  6. Lifesavers need to know how to use a defibrillator. What does it do?

  7. When is the spinal board used?

  8. Describe the special lifesaver communications used?

  9. What do you do to stay safe when swimming?

  10. What do you understand about water safety since watching the BtN story?

Create a poster that educates young people about staying safe while swimming.

Password power

Episode 35

29th november 2011

Learning Area

Design and Technology

Key learning

Students will identify the features of a strong

password and understand that they are an important part of cyber security.

Students can include photographs, pictures or diagrams in their report.

ocus Questions

  1. Why is password security important?

  2. What sorts of things are passwords used for?

  3. Give some examples of passwords that were on the `worst passwords’ list.

  4. Which hotmail password was banned recently?

  5. What is a dictionary attack?

  6. Complete the following sentence: The best passwords are…

  7. Give an example of a strong password.

  8. What is phishing and shoulder surfing?

  9. What would be your 5 tips for good computer security?

  10. Illustrate an aspect of the Password power story.

Password power

Watch the BtN story Password power. Summarise the story in your own words. Watch the story again and listen carefully. Circle each of the following words as you hear them.


personal information

cyber criminals


dictionary attack


shoulder surfing

fingerprint recognition


Ask students to write what they think is the meaning of each word. Swap definitions with a partner and ask them to add to or change the definition. Check these against the dictionary definition. Ask students to write their own sentences using the key words.

Students will create a comic strip, brochure or advertisement to highlight the importance of good computer security, including using passwords that are hard to guess. Use the following questions to focus a class discussion about the topic.

  • What online activities and accounts require password protection?

  • Why are strong passwords important?

  • What sorts of passwords should be avoided?

  • What are the risks if someone accesses your computer?

  • What are some other cyber security measures?

  • How could you improve your own computer security?

Students then plan their brochure, comic strip or advertisement to educate young people about cyber security.

  • What information do young people need to know about cyber security

  • How will the information be presented?

  • What graphics will be used (illustrations, photos)?

Students who choose to make a comic strip may want to create it online at the following website http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/games-tools/comic-creator-a-30237.html

Encourage students to share their final products and to give feedback about how effectively they highlight the importance of cyber security.

Further Investigation
Invite an expert to the school to talk about the importance of computer security. Prepare questions to ask in advance.

8 Related Research Links

ABC Behind the News – Digital footprint
ABC Behind the News – Malware
ACMA Cybersmart – Your digital footprint
ACCC Scamwatch – Phishing


2011 wrap up

Episode 35

29th november 2011

Learning Area

Society and Environment

Key learning

Students will recall highlights and main events from Behind the News in 2011.

Students can include photographs, pictures or diagrams in their report.

As a class discuss the news highlights of the year.

  • What do you remember about Behind the News this year?

  • Describe a significant event that occurred in 2011.

  • What are some local events that you remember?

  • What is your best memory of 2011?

  • What story had the biggest impact on you? Why?

  • If you could change one thing that happened in the world this year, what would it be? Give reasons.

  • What topics or issues would you like to see reported on BtN in 2012?

Students can choose one or more of the following activities

  • Write your best memory of 2011 in the Behind the News guestbook. You can also tell the team what you thought about the show this year.

  • In small groups role-play an interview between two famous leaders who have been on Behind the News this year.

  • Create another version of the BtN story that includes the changes you would make. Storyboard the new version including graphics and music details. The following website has a storyboarding tool http://kidsvid.4teachers.org/scripting.shtml
  • Choose your five favourite stories from BtN this year. To ensure there are a variety of stories, students choose one from each of the following categories:

Global issue

Why did you choose the stories?

Why do you think kids would be interested in the stories?
Write a quiz question for two of the stories you chose.

  • What topics or issues would you like to have seen reported on BtN this year? Write a persuasive piece of writing arguing why it should have been included on the show.

  • Play the Hot Seat game in which a student assumes the role of a person featured in the news. Other students ask questions to guess his or her identity. The person in the `Hot seat’ is only able to reply yes or no to the questions.

  • Suppose you were able to interview two people who featured on Behind the News this year. Who are they and what questions would you ask them.

8 Related Research Links

ABC Behind the News – Archives


End of year quiz

  1. A large number of earthquakes occur in the

  1. Ring of Saturn

  2. Ring of Fire

  3. Ring of plates

  1. Nuclear power plants run on which fuel?

  1. Coal

  2. Uranium

  3. Wood

  1. What does the word ballet mean?

  1. Dance

  2. Float

  3. Exercise

  1. Humans can hear sounds that are between

  1. 1 and 100 000 hertz
  2. 20 and 20 000 hertz

  3. 50 and 50 000 hertz

  1. How old do you have to be to register as an organ donor?

  1. 16

  2. 18

  3. 21

  1. All satellites are the same distance from Earth.

  1. True

  2. False

  1. Christmas Island is owned by

  1. Indonesia

  2. Australia

  3. Malaysia

  1. The name for Easter came from Eostre the

  1. Goddess of eggs

  2. Easter Lily

  3. Goddess of Spring

  1. Which is the most severe form of allergic reaction?

  1. Vomiting

  2. Anaphylaxis

  3. Eczema

  1. The Tasmanian devil population has been reduced by more than

  1. 20%

  2. 50%

  3. 80%

  1. Which gas is released when yeast is mixed with sugar and warm water?

  1. Hydrogen

  2. Oxygen

  3. Carbon dioxide

  1. Biologists are finding new species around hydrothermal vents.

  1. True

  2. False

  1. `En Garde’ is a term used in which sport?

  1. Boxing

  2. Fencing

  3. Croquet

  1. Which is the most important quality in a police horse?

  1. Temperament

  2. Speed

  3. Weight

  1. Which one is a sleep chemical?

  1. Melanin

  2. Keratin

  3. Melatonin

  1. Which nuclear power plant was leaking after the earthquake earlier this year

  1. Yokohama

  2. Fukushima

  3. Sakura

  1. Which is an aerobics move?

  1. Jumping Jack

  2. Falling Jill

  3. Jellybean

  1. A medical expert who treats feet is called a

    1. Physiotherapist

    2. Podiatrist

    3. Cardiologist

  1. Squash was popular in the

  1. 1960’s

  2. 1980’s

  3. 1990’s

  1. In Afghanistan, reporters are placed in units and this is called

  1. Embedding

  2. Infiltrating

  3. Spying

  1. In which year did `9/11’ occur?

  1. 2000

  2. 2001

  3. 2010

  1. About 93% of defence jobs are open to women at the moment.

    1. True

    2. False

  1. The New Zealand Rugby Team is known as the

    1. Wallabies

    2. All Blacks

    3. Springboks

  1. Which hormone is not produced properly in diabetics?

    1. Insulin

    2. Glucose

    3. Diabetes

  2. MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a

    1. Preservative

    2. Colouring

    3. Flavour enhancer

  1. Which bank sets interest rates?

    1. Commonwealth

    2. Reserve

    3. Westpac

  1. Australia has some of the largest known reserves of uranium in the world.

    1. True

    2. False

  1. Sir Douglas Mawson was an

    1. Explorer and astrologist

    2. Geologist and seismologist

    3. Explorer and geologist

  1. The world population recently reached

    1. 7 million

    2. 7 billion

    3. 77 billion

  1. Junior lifesavers are also called

    1. Joeys

    2. Dolphins

    3. Nippers

Answers on the following page


  1. b. Ring of Fire

  2. b. Uranium

  3. a. Dance

  4. b. 20 and 20 000 hertz

  5. a. 16

  6. b. False

  7. b. Australia

  8. c. Goddess of Spring

  9. b. Anaphylaxis

  10. c. 80%

  11. c. Carbon Dioxide

  12. a. True
  13. b. fencing

  14. a. Temperament

  15. c. Melatonin

  16. b. Fukushima

  17. a. Jumping Jack

  18. b. Podiatrist

  19. b. 1980’s

  20. a. Embedding

  21. b. 2001

  22. a. True

  23. b. All Blacks

  24. a. Insulin

  25. c. Flavour Enhancer

  26. b. Reserve

  27. a. True

  28. c. Explorer and geologist

  29. b. 7 billion

  30. c. Nippers

BtN: Episode 35 Transcript 29/11/11

On this week's Behind the News.

  • The dangers of DIY shows why doing it yourself could land you in trouble.

  • How safe is your information? We find out what makes a good password.

  • And we unwrap a Christmas tradition. Why do people eat so much turkey on Christmas Day?

Hi I'm Nathan Bazley welcome to Behind the News.

Also on the show today with summer holidays on the way we head to the beach to find out what it takes to be a surf life saver.

Now it's getting to the end of your school year so no doubt you're looking to put your feet up and wind down a bit. But do you know who else is getting to the end of their work year? Politicians. And they finished off theirs with a bang. With that story and some of the other big news from this week, here's Tash with the Wire.

The Wire

Twists this big are usually reserved for movie thrillers but last week parliament hosted one that would make any director proud. Harry Jenkins was speaker of the house and as speaker it was his job to keep pollies in order.

The only catch with this job is that you can't vote so he couldn't ever help his side Labor, to pass any new laws. So he decided to step down meaning he gets his vote back. But then who would volunteer to fill the speaker's chair and lose their own vote?

Well this guy put his hand up Peter Slipper from the Liberals. And that's left the opposition with one less vote than they had and the government with one more. A big deal when the balance of power is so close.


In New South Wales, floodwaters have stranded around 2 thousand people - leaving many trapped. One of the main towns hit is Moree, where 120 homes have been cut off. The Mehi River, which runs through the town, peaked at more than ten metres at one stage that's the deepest it has been in a decade.


And a fire that was started by government workers to burn off foliage ahead of the bushfire season has been blown out of control destroying 40 homes. It all happened last week in the Margaret River region of WA south of Perth.

The people who live in this house were lucky their next door neighbours lost everything. The burn off was hit by high winds which caused all the destruction.

Mining Tax

Reporter: Nathan Bazley

INTRO: Well all that political drama you saw earlier came after an important week in parliament. The government used the last week to try to approve their mining tax and the opposition did its best to try to stop it. So how did they go? Let's find out.

NATHAN BAZLEY, REPORTER: Last time we heard from the battle that is parliament, the government was aiming to push through a whole lot of laws. Since then, they've had some success. But there was one war medal still eluding the PM - mining tax victory. Let's find out more about this battle-hardened soldier and what's standing in his way.

Explosions, big machines and huge craters. This isn't war, this is mining. Mining has hit Australia in a big way, as more and more valuable resources are found under the surface of the country. There's coal, lead, zinc, iron ore, gold, silver, uranium and natural gas to name a few. And right now, all of those commodities are wanted around the world.

Countries like China are exploding with growth. They're building and manufacturing their way through a boom. But to feed all this activity, they need raw materials - something we have lots of. So mining companies have hit a boom of their own.

All of this trade equals cash and lots of it. Mining companies are getting rich and in turn, that means more jobs and more money for the government. So there are a lot of positives coming out of the mining industry. But the government feels there should be more in it for the whole country.

Resources are found under the ground, so the government says really we all own a slice of them. So their argument is that we should all get a bigger cut of the profits when they're sold. And to fight this fight, they brought in a crack soldier - General Mining Tax.

Originally, when Kevin Rudd was still commanding the troops, General Mining Tax was a lot stronger and meaner. He would have had a big effect on mining companies. But he came under some heavy fire.

So then, when Julia Gillard was appointed Commander, she took away some of his power. And that's managed to get most mining companies to be allies in his mission. So what's he trying to do?

His mission is to capture some of the profits mining companies are making. He's allowed to take 30% of any of the profits they make over $75 million. But he's only allowed to do it on iron ore and coal mines.

But there are some people trying to stop General Mining Tax in his tracks. First, there are the Greens who'd prefer him to be much stronger again, meaning he can take heaps more from mining companies. Then there is the Opposition, who think he should be killed off altogether, saying he's bad news for the industry.

So that's how it stood for General Mining Tax, as he fought for success. And despite some setbacks and a few compromises, he managed to achieve victory giving him the promotion from General, to a fully fledged tax.

Asbestos Danger

Reporter: Alfie Tieu

INTRO: You could probably make a list of dangerous things around your home, electricity, knives, boiling water. But there's something that we don't often see that can be just as dangerous. What is it? It's a building material called asbestos. And as Alfie reports some people are warning that our love for DIY might end up being harmful to our health.

ALFIE TIEU, REPORTER: Shows about renovation and do-it-yourself projects are great for giving you ideas.

GIRL: And I thought we could take the ceiling off and make a kind of alfresco sleeping experience.

And these shows are often careful to make sure viewers know how to do things safely.

But amongst the screwdrivers, hammers and hacksaws there's something far more threatening and it could be lurking inside these walls. It's called asbestos.

Asbestos is a building material that was used a lot when building homes in the past. It's fireproof, it's water-proof and it's great for keeping your home warm. So you find it in lots of things like walls, water pipes, floors and roofs. Sounds pretty good doesn't it? Well that's what lots of people thought but then experts found out that it could be dangerous - even deadly.

ALFIE TIEU, REPORTER: This is one form that asbestos comes in, in the form of cement sheeting. It might look like a pretty harmless piece of board, but the real danger happens when the tiny fibres break off and can be breathed in.

When it's left in one piece asbestos can be completely safe. But if it's broken up, these tiny fragments can be released and carried in the air, which can get into people's lungs. They're like microscopic needles and can cause damage to your lungs and even lead to cancer.

That's what happened to Adam. His parents had been renovating their house and as a toddler Adam had been playing around in the asbestos dust. By the time he was in his twenties, Adam had developed lung cancer. He eventually died.

Unfortunately Adam's case wasn't a one-off. Lots of people were made sick by breathing in asbestos while going about their everyday work. Most of the time they had no idea it was dangerous. Some businesses were even taken to court for failing to protect their workers - and had to pay millions of dollars in compensation.

For a while now, it's been illegal for companies to use asbestos in new homes and buildings. But in older buildings you can still find a lot of it about. It could be in your house or even in your school.

And if asbestos needs to be removed, you have to call in experts in protective suits and masks to make sure it's done safely.

And this is when we get back to our DIY show. These shows encourage everyone to have a go themselves. But some people reckon that enthusiastic DIY-ers could be heading for trouble if they mess around where there's asbestos. So if your parents have been inspired to do some rennos, be sure they've checked with an expert first before they reach for the tool kit!

That brings us to this week's top tip for BtN Do-it-yourself.

Actor: Don’t do it yourself until you’re sure it’s safe.

Password Power

Reporter: Sarah Larsen

INTRO: Most people know that keeping your valuables safe from thieves is important. We put locks on our doors, close the windows when we go out and even use alarm systems. But when it comes to information some people are leaving the door wide open. They're choosing passwords that aren't secure and as Sarah reports, that's a problem.

Soldiers: Centurio, we have returned from battle. We are weary and wounded and seek entry.

Centurion: What's the password?

Soldiers: I don't know the password. Do you know the password? I thought you knew the password!

SARAH LARSEN, REPORTER: Passwords have been around since ancient times as a way of making sure only the right people were allowed to get access to places or information.

Soldier: Is it Roman?

Centurion: No

Soldier: Is it Sandals?

Centurion: No

Soldier: Jelly beans?

But here in the 21st century, passwords are a bigger part of every-day life than ever before. That one word can be all that stands between you and your personal information, even your bank accounts!

So it's important to use passwords that no one else could possibly guess. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.

Soldier: Is it antiquing?

Centurion: No

Last week, an IT company published a list of the 25 worst passwords it'd taken from cyber criminals who'd been caught stealing info. Top of the list were things like "Password" or rows of keys like 12345 or QWERTY. There were also some weirder ones that lots of people had like Superman and Dragon.

It's pretty easy to see why obvious passwords are bad passwords. They're the first ones that a cyber criminal is going to try. Recently Hotmail had to ban the password 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 because too many people were actually using it! But not all risky words are quite so obvious

Soldier: Banana

Centurion: No

Soldier: Apple pie

Centurion: No

If a person was trying to guess a random word it would take forever but computers can guess much, much faster. A piece of software could guess all the words in a dictionary in just a few minutes that's called a dictionary attack. Another risky move is using a word that means something to you.

Soldier: Is it big nose?

Centurion: No

Soldier: Beardy?

Centurion: No

With a bit of searching it's not that hard to find out your birthday or your brother's name, your dog's name or your favourite sport, but lots of people use those things as their passwords.

And it doesn't help to change an e into a 3 or an "s" into a dollar sign. Cyber crims are all over that one. The best passwords are the most complicated with letters and numbers and symbols. But of course, you've got to be able to remember them

REPORTER: Here's a trick that you could use. Think of a sentence that you can remember like, "I was in Mrs Thomas' class in year nine" then use the first letter from each word as your password (IwiMTciy9). Easy to remember but hard to crack!

You should have different passwords for different things and change them every so often. And you need to guard them closely that means not sharing them with anyone, even your best friends.

Soldier: good evening sir, I'm with the Roman password protection office and I want to check that your password is secure. Can you please tell me what it is?

And watching out for phishing; criminals posing as legitimate companies and asking for your personal details. You should also watch out for shoulder surfers; people who watch what you're typing. Some sites use alternatives to passwords, like a combination of images or even fingerprint recognition, which is thought to be much safer.

But passwords can still be a good way of keeping your info safe as long as they're used in the right way and, of course, you can remember them!

Presenter: From passwords to personal identification numbers let's have a quiz.

Quiz 1

The question is:

What does the T stand for in ATM?




Answer: Teller

ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine. Australia got its first one in 1977.

Christmas Turkey

Reporter: Nathan Bazley

INTRO: Now, in the time leading up to Christmas, it's interesting to think of all the things that we use at this time of year and then never again for a whole 12 months. One is turkey, a meat that usually only makes it onto the dinner tables in Australia once a year alongside all those other Chrissie favourites. But what happens to the industry for the rest of the year? Let's take a look.

NATHAN BAZLEY, REPORTER: What do you think Christmas light manufacturers do for the rest of the year? How about 'Santa stop here' sign makers? And how busy could it possibly be for Santa robot factories in mid February?

NATHAN: Christmas is a time when most of us get together and share special Christmas traditions, like trees, decorations and food. And then we go back to our normal habits until we do it all over again next Christmas. But what happens to all those Chrissie-related industries in between? Well as it turns out, one of them at least is dreaming of taking over the rest of the calendar as well.

THE SIMPSONS: How about a Thanksgiving feast? You can carve the Turkey! You eat turkeys? Yeah, it's delicious! REVENGE!

As The Simpsons has shown us, in America, turkey is a much more popular meat than it is here. In fact, Americans bite into around 45 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day alone! In Australia, turkeys were brought here right back on the first fleet. But the meat of these big birds hasn't become nearly as popular as it is in the States. A lot of families enjoy it once a year at Christmas, alongside other traditional meats like ham and seafood. But for the rest of the year, there aren't a lot of turkeys being 'gobbled' up.

CHRIS PRIESTWOOD, AUSTRALASIAN TURKEY FEDERATION: It's always been a turkey farmer's thing. You run out of money in November and you've got that much at the end of February that you don't know what to do with it.

So that would make turkey farming a pretty unstable business to get into. But there is another downside too.

JOHN WATSON, FREE RANGE TURKEY FARMER: Most probably the brain is the only part of their body that doesn't really grow that much from the day they arrive, so, yeah, they're incredibly stupid.

So between the stupidity and the seasonal income, turkey farming's a pretty tough gig here in Australia. But there is an upside. While their brain clearly isn't sprouting much, their bodies certainly are.

JOHN WATSON: That is exactly 10 kilos for those two pieces, breast fillet, five kilos each side.


JOHN WATSON: A big bird.

And that means lots of meat. That's one of the reasons that eating turkey became so popular on Christmas day, because with all the rellies getting together to celebrate, they needed a bird big enough to feed the whole family!

But one day a year is no good for the turkey business. So the big challenge for them is to find ways of selling all that meat to us year round. And the solution they've come up with is to package it up in lots of different ways.

Now they sell turkey schnitzels, turkey burgers and turkey mince and then there's the usual whole turkeys, and turkey rolls you normally see at Christmas. But it's not just about coming up with new ways to package our turkey; the farmers know that they mainly need to change our habits. So really, farmers just want us listening to the turkeys themselves, to hopefully see us gobble, gobble, gobble turkey all year round.

Presenter: OK while we're talking turkey, let's have a quiz.

Quiz 2

The question is:

What's the name of the skin that hangs from a turkey’s neck?




Answer: Wattle

In the world of turkeys it's good to have a big wattle apparently it can help to attract a mate.

You learn something new every day! Let's move onto some sport action next. Here's Matt with the Score.

The Score

Aussie Mark Webber has taken out the last Formula 1 Grand Prix of the year, at Sao Paulo in Brazil. His Red Bull team mate, Sebastian Vettel, ran into gearbox problems giving Webber a chance to pass him. Webber's win meant he finished the season in third place. Vettel finished first over all.


In the English Premier League the leaders Manchester City held on to claim a 1 - all draw against Liverpool. Vincent Kompany put City ahead in the first half with this header! But Liverpool hit back straight away when Joleon Lescott deflected Charlie Adam's shot into his own goal. City are still the only team that haven't been beaten in the Premier league this season.

Surf Lifesavers

Reporter: Sarah Larsen

INTRO: Well this is the last BtN before your summer holidays so many of you will no doubt be hitting the beach soon. But while you're enjoying some sunshine there's a group of people out there trying to make sure you stay safe. We're talking about volunteer lifesavers. We sent Sarah to find out what it takes to become one of them.

SARAH LARSEN, REPORTER: When you head to the beach there's a lot to watch out for: A sandy place to sit, a safe place to swim.

REPORTER: But you know, as you head out into the water there could be someone watching you. I'm talking about surf life savers, the guys and girls in red and yellow who keep people safe all around the country.

It could be treating a jellyfish sting or a dramatic sea rescue. Lifesavers work on the weekends and public holidays and they do it all for free. They're not the same as the lifeguards you see on TV shows like Bondi Rescue. These guys dress in blue and they're paid for what they do. And while they're the ones in the spotlight, most beach patrols are done by the volunteer life savers.

Surf Life Saving Association has been around for more than 100 years and over the years surf life savers have become an Aussie icon. Being a life saver takes a lot of training and qualifications but you don't have to be very old to get started. Kids can join Nippers which is the junior division. Then, when you turn 15, the serious training starts.

Daniel Ryan - Surf Lifesaver: Well I've just turned 15 and it's quite a big responsibility for me because like you get people going up to you asking what's going on and you have to explain to them everything.

Some of these guys are training for the Bronze Medallion, which is the minimum qualification that you need to be a life saver.

Trainer: We've got a drowning patient so we're going to look at the airways now.

They have to know a fair bit of first aid and not just CPR. They also have to know how to use a defibrillator which is a machine that shock's a person's heart back to its normal rhythm.

Caroline Kearney - Bronze Medallion Holder: On patrol I have more responsibilities like I can use the oxygen now and the defibrillator and I go for rescues and stuff like that.

Another skill is learning to use the spinal board if someone injures their back.

Trainer: They're face down so we need to get them on their backs and hopefully they're breathing and we can help them to be able to breathe and we need to get the spinal aboard underneath and to bring them to shore without doing any further damage.

Then there's mastering the long boards used for rescues.

Swimming through the waves is really difficult and they have to do fitness tests to make sure they're up to it. There are also some special life saver communication methods to learn. These flags are a way of signalling to let each other know what's going on between the surf and the sand.

Trainer: So that one is to return to shore. If we want you to precede further out to sea we will have both flags up.

While life saving is serious stuff, for these guys it's also about fun and friendship.

Jack Hornibrook - Lifesaver: Oh I've made heaps of friendships most of my friends at the surf club go down to the coast and have a few surfing sessions yeah.

So while staying safe at the beach is everyone's responsibility, it's good to know that there's someone else watching out for you.

Presenter: Absolutely.


Well, that's it for the show. Thanks for watching, I'll see you next time.

© ABC 2011


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