The Opposition’s view on China Abbott, who has led the opposition Liberal Party since 2009, wants the Australia-China relationship to move from one based on shared interests to one of “shared values.” But he notes that Australia’s friendship with China is more recent than that with Japan, and less developed than that with the United States. In a major policy speech to a business audience in Beijing last year, Abbott said he believed it would take time before Australia’s ties with China approached “the warmth that we take for granted with America.” Still, he believes it is an effort worth making. Like his mentor, former Australian prime minister John Howard, Abbott is a rock-solid supporter of Australia’s military alliance with the United States, and believes that it is possible to be friends both with Washington and Beijing. Howard, he said, “understood that you could make a new friend without losing an old one.” Abbott said Australia accepted China’s modernization of its armed forces and so Australia’s strong military relationship with the United States should be seen more as a means of “building trust than picking sides.” His objective in government would be engagement with China rather than containment, and cooperation rather than strategic competition. Where they agree Where Rudd and Abbott are in agreement is on the need to wrap up a free trade agreement with China that has been in the works since 2005. The two countries recently began their 20th round of negotiations, but differences over agriculture, investment access and intellectual property protection continue to stymie a result. In contrast, neighboring New Zealand signed a free trade agreement with China in 2008 and has seen its exports of meat, dairy and other foodstuffs grow significantly. There has been some bilateral progress this year. During a visit to China in April, Julia Gillard, the Labor leader who took over when Rudd was dumped by his own party in 2010 before she suffered the same fate at Rudd’s hands on June 26, signed a “strategic partnership” agreement with President Xi Jinping that calls for annual high-level leadership meetings. Rudd has already invited Xi to visit Australia next year. Abbott has said that if he wins government, his first overseas trip would be to Indonesia, and his second would include China. He has also pledged to sign a China free trade agreement within 12 months of taking office. But Abbott has also expressed wariness about Chinese state-controlled investment in Australia.
An australian audit of vaccination status in children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease
Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is also increased in those with an underlying chronic illness and on immunosuppressive therapies [ 31 ]. It is hence important to protect IBD patients from these VPD. Australia introduced a 7-valent conjugate pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7) on 1 Jan 2005, and the special risk guidelines current in 2007 recommended additional 7vPCV if under 10 years and 23 valent polysaccharide vaccine 23vPPV if > 10 years of age [ 18 ]. The response in adults to 23vPPV is variable and IBD patients on biologic therapies such as infliximab achieve lower protective titres [ 32 ]. Newer pneumococcal conjugate vaccines with increasing numbers of serotypes are becoming available internationally [ 33 ] and the 13 valent conjugate vaccine (PCV13) introduced into a number of countries including the United States and soon in Australia [ 34 , 35 ]. Importantly the PCV13 vaccine is also being studied in adults > 50 years, and early results from phase III immunogenicity studies found an equivalent or better response than the 23vPPV [ 36 ]. Studies are also in progress to determine the efficacy of this vaccine in preventing community acquired pneumonia in adults > 65 years [ 37 ]. Studies of these newer PCV are required in special risk populations to assess both their safety and immunogenicity and help determine the best schedule to optimise IPD protection. The risk of reactivation of diseases such as hepatitis B by these anti-TNF antibody therapies, has led to recommendations of additional screening before commencing therapy [ 38 , 39 ]. In this study 20% of participants had been treated with infliximab and other biologic therapies may be used in the future. Reassuringly, 93% (39/42) of those with comprehensive immunization records had documented evidence of hepatitis B vaccination. However, serological testing confirming a negative Hepatitis B infection status was conducted in only four patients. It is possible this is an underestimate as serology samples may have been sent to external laboratories. Another limitation of this serological evaluation was that it was conducted at only one of the two sites (RCH), but included 94% of subjects. Live vaccines need to be considered with caution in patients who are immunosuppressed, due to the risk of vaccine associated morbidity such as seen with measles vaccine [ 40 ].