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Published: 31 October 2013

Paul Young

President of ASM

Welcome to the last edition of Microbiology Australia for 2013. We hope you have been enjoying the tactile experience of the revitalised print edition. Rest assured we are working on the issue of timely delivery! We also hope that you are taking advantage of the new, user-friendly online format for the journal. If you have any suggestions for improvements to either the print or online versions, topics for future editions or any other feedback please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office (admin@theasm.com.au).

The plans for our annual meeting in Melbourne in July next year are coming along extremely well thanks to the efforts of the LOC, ably chaired by Enzo Palombo and the Divisional Chairs. The program and list of speakers is looking particularly exciting so please ensure that you book the dates in your diary (6–9 July 2014). We are trying something a little different for the Melbourne meeting. We are building into the program a few cross-disciplinary Symposia that we hope will help foster more cross-Divisional interactions. Let’s see how the experiment works! One announcement I have great pleasure in making is that our public lecturer for 2014 is Sir Gus Nossal AC, CBE whose presentation will be on vaccinations. It promises to be a real highlight of the meeting.

I would like to pick up on an issue I raised in my last Vertical Transmission, that of our desire for the Society to play a more active role as an advocacy body for microbiology matters that impact not only on our membership but also on the wider community. Over this past year we have been pro-active in providing timely media releases on various issues such as vaccinations and have responded to both a Senate Enquiry on antimicrobials and a government Discussion paper on a proposed national CDC. You will soon see an additional link on our website that will take you through to these documents. Our intent is to put our hands up as the relevant body from which advice should be sought on microbiology matters, whether this is in the form of community awareness and media engagement or in policy development. My sincere thanks for much of this background work so far goes in particular to our hard-working Executive and Society Standing Committees. As part of this renewed focus, the Executive has also discussed the possibility of commissioning Discussion papers that address pressing current issues that are relevant to our membership. The reality is that the pages of Microbiology Australia often negotiate this space and so we see this journal as an obvious conduit for some of these discussions. If you have any suggestions please forward them to our office email address provided above.

Finally, our VP Communications, Dr Jack Wang has hit the ground running with a range of initiatives that will enhance our engagement with, and between our Society members. Stay tuned for a website update coming soon, a new membership benefits brochure and increased social media activity. For those of you who ‘tweet’ I’m told the relevant information is @AUSSOCMIC and our Facebook site (AustralianSocietyForMicrobiology) is now an active space!

I wish you all the very best for the festive season as well as for the upcoming (at time of submission) grant announcements. All, the very best of luck! Happy reading!

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