Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts

Friday, 26 June 2020

Australian Prime Minister is urging states to push ahead with reopening despite COVID-19 outbreaks

We always said that we were not going for eradication of the virus. Other economies tried that and their economy was far more damaged than ours. And so we have to ensure that we can run our economy, run our lives, run our communities, alongside this virus.” [Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison speaking on ABC radio program PM, 22 June 2020]

Financial Review, 22 June 2020:

A fresh outbreak of coronavirus in Victoria should not stop moves to reopen the economy, according to Scott Morrison, as one state delayed plans to reopen its borders and others contemplated new travel restrictions.

With Victoria recording a spike in cases because of what experts said was tardy adherence to safety protocols, thousands living within six local government jurisdictions were told not to leave their area unless essential.  

As the state introduced the toughest COVID-19 measures currently in Australia in an effort to contain the spike, the Prime Minister agreed it was a "wake-up call" but said setbacks were anticipated when he announced more than a month ago that the states were to reopen their economies by July. 

"This is part of living with COVID-19. And we will continue on with the process of opening up our economy and getting people back into work,'' Mr Morrison said.....

This was Scott Morrison at his uncaring, bullying best last Monday.

So what does "living with COVID-19" actually mean?

Well for 104 people it meant death, with 3 elderly victims dying at home and 30 in nursing homes.

It means there are still active COVID-19 cases in 4 Australian states and some people are still becoming sick enough to require an intensive care hospital bed.

Living with COVID-19 also means community transmission of the disease remains an issue in Australia, as well as people entering/exiting the country while infected.

The pandemic growth may have significanly slowed in Australia but it has not stopped, every day the average number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grow by around 12 people.

All this clearly indicates that the SARS-CoV-virus is not passively responding to successive state public health orders. What was happening is that collectively we had gone to great lengths to avoid coming into contact with this deadly virus thereby avoiding spreading COVID-19 disease.

When this collective action begins to fragment as more and more businesses, entertainment and sporting venues open, state borders are no longer closed and more international flights are allowed into the country, the virus which lives only to mindlessly replicate in as many human bodies as possible will quickly begin to infect larger numbers of people again.

It is highly likely that the resultant disease growth rate will not be able to be described as a "spike" or "setback". For Scott Morrison is stubborn. He will force the states and territories, along with communities and families, to keep exposure to the virus at a dangerously high level simply because he intends to open up the economy and go full bore ahead by July.

So why does the economy have to 'open' in July? 

Not because Morrison really cares about one of his favourite slogans, "jobs and growth". No, 'Emperor' Scott is afraid his own party and its financial backers will finally realise that he has no clothes and the economy is that scrap of cloth he is clutching to cover his nakedness.

It's all about hanging on to personal political power and his lucrative salary as prime minister - and he doesn't care how many people have to die or become chronically ill in order to achieve this.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Fair Work Commission announces a staged 1.75% increase to Australian minimum wages. Group 1 from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020, Group 2 from 1 November 2020 & Group 3 from 1 February 2021. Which group are you in?

Fair Work Commission, media release, 19 June 2020:

The Fair Work Commission has announced a 1.75% increase to minimum wages. This will apply to all award wages.
Increases to awards will start on 3 different dates for different groups of awards. See When will my award increase for information on when the awards will increase.
Most employees are covered by an award. If you’re not sure which award applies, use Find my award.
For anyone not covered by an award or an agreement, the new national minimum wage will be $753.80 per week or $19.84 per hour. This applies from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020.
You can read the detailed decisionexternal-icon.png on the Fair Work Commission’s website.

What do you need to do?

While we’re working to update our website and tools with more information and the new rates, you can:
  • subscribe to get email updates and we’ll let you know when the new minimum rates are available in our pay tools
  • keep checking our website for updates.
If you’re registered with My account you can subscribe to updates and manage your subscriptions in your account.

Who does the increase apply to?

The 1.75% increase applies to the national minimum wage and will apply to minimum rates in awards in 3 stages. See When will my award increase for information on when the awards will increase.
If you’re covered by a registered agreement, you should check it to see whether this increase affects you.
The increase doesn’t affect employees who already get paid more than their new minimum wage.

Interaction with the JobKeeper payment

The new minimum wage also applies to any work an employee performs while they're in the JobKeeper scheme, if they get their pay rate from an award or the national minimum wage. See JobKeeper and the Annual Wage Review 2020 on our JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme page for more information.

What happens next?

The Commission will issue draft determinations and orders about how this decision affects awards. It will then update the pay rates in each award.  We’re working on updates to our pay tools, information and resources with the new rates.

When will my award increase?

The increase to awards will happen in 3 groups.

Group 1 Awards - from 1 July 2020

  • Frontline Heath Care & Social Assistance Workers
  • Teachers and Child Care
  • Other Essential Services

Group 2 Awards - from 1 November 2020

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • A range of other industries

Group 3 Awards - from 1 February 2021

  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Aviation
  • Retail
  • Tourism
See below for a complete list of awards in each group:

Group 1

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 July 2020.
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Award
  • Aged Care Award
  • Ambulance and Patient Transport Industry Award
  • Banking, Finance and Insurance Award
  • Cemetery Industry Award
  • Children’s Services Award
  • Cleaning Services Award
  • Corrections and Detention (Private Sector) Award
  • Educational Services (Schools) General Staff Award
  • Educational Services (Teachers) Award
  • Electrical Power Industry Award
  • Fire Fighting Industry Award
  • Funeral Industry Award
  • Gas Industry Award
  • Health Professionals and Support Services Award
  • Medical Practitioners Award
  • Nurses Award
  • Pharmacy Industry Award
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award
  • State Government Agencies Award
  • Water Industry Award

Group 2

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 November 2020.
  • Aluminium Industry Award
  • Animal Care and Veterinary Services Award
  • Aquaculture Industry Award
  • Architects Award
  • Asphalt Industry Award
  • Black Coal Mining Industry Award
  • Book Industry Award
  • Broadcasting, Recorded Entertainment and Cinemas Award
  • Building and Construction General On-site Award
  • Business Equipment Award
  • Car Parking Award
  • Cement, Lime and Quarrying Award
  • Clerks—Private Sector Award
  • Coal Export Terminals Award
  • Concrete Products Award
  • Contract Call Centres Award
  • Cotton Ginning Award
  • Dredging Industry Award
  • Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award
  • Electrical, Electronic and Communications Contracting Award
  • Food, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award
  • Gardening and Landscaping Services Award
  • Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award
  • Higher Education Industry-Academic Staff-Award
  • Higher Education Industry-General Staff-Award
  • Horticulture Award
  • Hydrocarbons Field Geologists Award
  • Hydrocarbons Industry (Upstream) Award
  • Joinery and Building Trades Award
  • Journalists Published Media Award
  • Labour Market Assistance Industry Award
  • Legal Services Award
  • Local Government Industry Award
  • Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award
  • Marine Towage Award
  • Maritime Offshore Oil and Gas Award
  • Market and Social Research Award
  • Meat Industry Award
  • Mining Industry Award
  • Miscellaneous Award
  • Mobile Crane Hiring Award
  • Oil Refining and Manufacturing Award
  • Passenger Vehicle Transportation Award
  • Pastoral Award
  • Pest Control Industry Award
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Award
  • Plumbing and Fire Sprinklers Award
  • Port Authorities Award
  • Ports, Harbours and Enclosed Water Vessels Award
  • Poultry Processing Award
  • Premixed Concrete Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Industrial) Award
  • Professional Employees Award
  • Rail Industry Award
  • Real Estate Industry Award
  • Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award
  • Road Transport and Distribution Award
  • Salt Industry Award
  • Seafood Processing Award
  • Seagoing Industry Award
  • Security Services Award
  • Silviculture Award
  • Stevedoring Industry Award
  • Storage Services and Wholesale Award
  • Sugar Industry Award
  • Supported Employment Services Award
  • Surveying Award
  • Telecommunications Services Award
  • Textile, Clothing, Footwear and Associated Industries Award
  • Timber Industry Award
  • Transport (Cash in Transit) Award
  • Waste Management Award
  • Wool Storage, Sampling and Testing Award

Group 3

The new minimum wages will start in the following awards from the first full pay period starting on or after 1 February 2021.
  • Air Pilots Award
  • Aircraft Cabin Crew Award
  • Airline Operations-Ground Staff Award
  • Airport Employees Award
  • Alpine Resorts Award
  • Amusement, Events and Recreation Award
  • Commercial Sales Award
  • Dry Cleaning and Laundry Industry Award
  • Fast Food Industry Award
  • Fitness Industry Award
  • General Retail Industry Award
  • Hair and Beauty Industry Award
  • Horse and Greyhound Training Award
  • Hospitality Industry (General) Award
  • Live Performance Award
  • Mannequins and Models Award
  • Marine Tourism and Charter Vessels Award
  • Nursery Award
  • Professional Diving Industry (Recreational) Award
  • Racing Clubs Events Award
  • Racing Industry Ground Maintenance Award
  • Registered and Licensed Clubs Award
  • Restaurant Industry Award
  • Sporting Organisations Award
  • Travelling Shows Award
  • Vehicle Repair, Services and Retail Award
  • Wine Industry Award

Friday, 12 June 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison denies slavery ever existed in Australia *WARNING this post contains the names of people who are no longer living*

This was Scott Morrison boldly asserting yesterday that “there was no slavery in Australia.
"Australia when it was founded as a settlement, as New South Wales, was on the basis that there'd be no slavery," the Prime Minister told Ben Fordham on 2GB. "And while slave ships continued to travel around the world, when Australia was established yes, sure, it was a pretty brutal settlement."
"My forefathers and foremothers were on the First and Second Fleets. It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia," he said.

Why did Morrison chose to brazenly lie like this? Probably because he knew his statement would go to print without being immediately challenged by either News Corp, Nine, or Canberra Press Gallery journalists - and once in print with online amplification more than a few people would accept his lie as truth.

Thankfully Justice Garry Downes (President), Deputy President Stephen Estcourt and QC Deputy President Don Muller in an Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia decision on 18 October 2002 entered this into the record:

Nelly Wanda is said to be a Queensland Aboriginal who was born in 1883 and died in 1903…. It is said that Nelly Wanda was brought to Tasmania from Queensland when she was 9 years old by a ship's captain named Lucas who, it is said, dealt in 'human trade'. Nelly was sold as a house servant and died at the age of 19 in childbirth.”

Newspaper reports found at Trove also mention slavery.

"Aboriginal Slave. Recaptured and Flogged. 
Ill-treatment of an Alleged Slave. 

 Under yesterday's date a telegram was received by the Colonial Secretaryfrom Mr. P. Keiley, lightkeeper at Karomba, at the mouth of the Norman River. Mr. Keiley states that a fugitive female slave (presumably an an aboriginal) who had run away from her master or masters had been recaptured and flogged at that place yesterday. In Mr. Keiley's opinion the case is one which warrants the interference of the Colonial Secretary. A similar telegram has been received from the same source by the Aborigines Protection Society of Queensland. Immediately upon receipt of the telegram the Colonial Secretary wired instructions to the police-magistrate at Normanton to make a thorough and searching inquiry into the matter, and to report to him as soon as possible."
The Telegraph, 18 October 1890

"The Government at least cannot plead ignorance of the iniquities which are openly perpertrated, for an official of its own, Dr. W. E. Both, Northern Protector of Aborigines; testifies to certain abuses which exist in the the treatment of the unfortunate Northern black helots. He tells in his official report of absolute kidnapping, of evasion of the labour regulations, and of the selling of young aborigine to traders. He says he has reported absolute proof that such has been the case, and as no departmental action has resulted the secretary of the Protection Society has good grounds for appealing to a higher power."
The Worker, 8 December 1900

"As regards the capturing of natives on the Descal, this has frequently been done by the notorious Hodgson, who chained men, women and children together and marched them under a broiling sun to the station, where they were detained as shepherds. It seems incredible that the people in the neighborhood of Pilbarra that this man was allowed to leave the country without any investigation being held as to his systematic cruelties. He was universally abhorred, both by blacks and white people. Hicks' black financial statement will have attention yet."
West Australian Sunday Times, 1 September 1901

"Astounding revelations have been made regarding the kidnapping of an aboriginal boy from Port Hedland four years ago The District Magistrate at Karachi, India, has forwarded statements from several people alleging that Jourack, a brother of Dust Mahomet, who was killed at Port Hedland I8 months ago, had taken a black boy named Pidgy, then six years old, to his (Jourack's) 'home near Karachi, where this lad is now held as a working slave."
The Register, 30 January 1911


The sale of an aborigine as a servant at a station property in northern Australia was admitted by the Minister for Home and Territories, Mr. Marr, yesterday."

The Labor Daily, 18 October 1927

Friday, 22 May 2020

Australian casual employees regularly working full-time hours win paid leave, carer & compassionate leave in Federal Court ruling - Morrison Government threatens to change law to strip new rights away

"All members of the Court have also found that Mr Rossato was not a casual FTM under the 2012 EA, noting that the circumstances of his employment could not be distinguished in a material way from those of Skene. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to restitution of the casual loading which it claimed was included in the hourly rate it had paid to Mr Rossato. The members of the Court have found that there was no relevant mistake, and no failure of consideration such as would support restitutionary relief. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to bring into account the payments of remuneration that it had made to Mr Rossato on the basis that he was a casual employee. That is because the purposes of the payments of remuneration did not have a close correlation to the entitlements that Mr Rossato seeks. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac’s reliance on reg 2.03A of the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) was misplaced. By subregulation (d), the regulation can apply only when the person makes a claim to be paid an amount in lieu of one or more of the relevant NES entitlements. That is not this case as Mr Rossato seeks payment of the NES entitlements, not payments in lieu." [Workpac v Rossato, May 2020]

Yahoo! Finance, 21 May 2020:

Casual employees working full-time hours will be entitled to paid leave, setting back employers around $8 billion in back-pay claims, after a landmark ruling by the Federal Court on Wednesday.

The decision means regular, ongoing casuals will be able to access paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave and paid compassionate leave, and employers cannot claim that 25 per cent pay loadings offset those entitlements.

The ruling in Workpac v Rossato has effectively pulled the pin on the ‘permanent casual’ work model, and means any regular work that is permanent in nature is not genuinely casual, and therefore attracts the same entitlements as permanent staff.

This is a fantastic decision that puts an end to the ‘permanent casual’ rort that has become a scourge in the coal mining industry and across the workforce,” the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union national president Tony Maher said.

It’s a decision that passes the pub test on what it means to be a casual and is consistent with community expectations that casual work is irregular and intermittent.”

Maher called on employers to “stop the nonsense”, and start treating casual employees on permanent hours as if they were permanent.

When a job is full-time, regular and on-going, it is permanent and deserves the security and entitlements that come with permanent work,” Maher said.

Our union has worked hard to clarify the law with this decision and we will now be fighting to restore rights and lost pay for casual labour hire workers across the coal mining industry who have been illegally ripped off.”…….

Industrial relations minister Christian Porter said the decision would have “immediate practical implications for the bottom line of many Australians businesses at a time when so many have taken a huge hit from the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In fact, employers estimate between 1.6 and 2.2 million casuals will be affected, with a back-pay bill of around $8 billion looming.

Porter also flagged a potential appeal….

"Given the potential for this decision to further weaken the economy at a time when so many Australians have lost their jobs, it may also be necessary to consider legislative options."

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Quote of the Week

"According to a poll carried out by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, 70% of Australians admit to drinking more alcohol than they would have prior to the pandemic and 34% say they are drinking alcohol every day.” [Crikey, 15 May 2020]

Sunday, 26 April 2020

A perspective on society and the COVID-19 pandemic

This is a Twitter thread created by Janette Francis, a Walkley-award winning journalist, TV Presenter and podcaster.

Jan’s Twitter account was created in 2009.

The debate on the best responses to the COVID-19 pandemic is global and one cold-blooded aspect of this debate is currently found in British, American and Australian mainstream media articles and on social media - save the investments and assests of the well-off because old people and the chronically ill are going to die anyway.

This is Jan's contribution to this debate.

Jan Fran @Jan__Fran, 21 April 2020:

I keep hearing folks describe this pandemic as a kind of trade-off between public health and the economy. This trade-off is often framed around loss of life. 1

It usually goes something like this: if we ease the lockdown we’ll see people die from the virus. If we prolong the lockdown we’ll see people die from the consequences of possible economic collapse (i.e suicide, depression, poverty, ill health, violence). 2

We are led to believe that attempts to limit one set of deaths, will increase the other, that one group of people will have to sacrifice for the other. But whose lives are more important? 3

Do we sacrifice the sick now to save the healthy later; the old to save the young; the poor to save everyone else? We are led to believe that this is our dilemma and it is an impossible one. 4

Hey, here’s a fun thing to think about: guess how much money Jeff Bezos made today? 5

Jeff Bezos made 17,000 dollars. But he didn’t make it in one day. He made it in ONE SECOND. Every single second Amazon is reaping 17 thousand dollars worth of sales (this is AUD BTW) & this is happening SPECIFICALLY during this pandemic as more people seek deliverable supplies. 6

Jeff Bezos is now worth 216 BILLION dollars and good on Jeff Bezos, I say! I mean, the man is clearly providing a service that people need and reaping the rewards. That is #inspo, amirite?! Please speak at my conference, Jeff. 7

Thing is, there's a wee bit more to the world we live in. 8

We live in a world where, in the middle of a pandemic, one man makes 17 thousand dollars A SECOND and another is buried in a mass grave because his family can’t afford a funeral. 9

It’s a world where the homeless sleep in socially-distant quadrants in a hotel car park, while above them thousand-dollar-a-night rooms sit empty. It’s a world where folks are protesting their right to get sick in a country they can not afford to seek treatment in. 10

One thing this pandemic has done is exacerbated the gross inequalities we always knew existed. It has exposed them, brought them to the surface as the bodies of the poor and the desolate continue to be stacked beneath the ground. 11

The framing of this pandemic as ‘lives lost now V lives lost later’ is really just us tryna work out which sections of our society are more productive, more useful. Which sections are going to best replicate the system that was in place before all this Covid/lockdown malarky. 12

I mean, we all wanna get back to how it was ASAP, right? Now that we think about it we were having a great time. The system was working. But for who? 13

Not for the man whose body now sits in a mass grave on Hart Island NY, it wasn’t. Not for the homeless sleeping in their car park quadrants, it wasn’t. Not for the nearly 40 million Americans living below the poverty line, it wasn’t. This is the system we will replicate. 14

It is right to talk about sacrifice in this dark and uncertain time. I guess we all have to make sacrifices at some point so if not now, when? If not me, who? Before you answer that, know this … 15

Twenty-six individuals own as much wealth as HALF the world’s population - Lemme say that again: TWENTY SIX people (two. six) own the same amount of wealth as 3.8 BILLION PEOPLE. 16

That’s worth remembering the next time some legend waxes lyrical about why you might need to sacrifice yer nan for the sake of the economy. Maybe those 26 people should sacrifice the spoils they’ve reaped from a system that now needs saving from itself. 17

We do indeed have a dilemma but it might not be an impossible one. Maybe we actually don’t need to ask those who have the least to sacrifice the most, maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe that’s the trade-off? 18

Anyway, thanks for letting me share my thoughts on this website twitter dot com. 19/19