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  1. Published time: 4 May, 2018 10:04 Experience in the sex or escort industry will no longer help would-be immigrants move to New Zealand, it seems. The recently-hyped addition to the employment list, for visa hopefuls, has vanished from the immigration website. News about prostitution being listed as skilled employment in New Zealand made headlines last week. While migration experts said that applying for a resident visa as a sex worker would still be difficult, authorities apparently had second thoughts and removed the skill from the online employment list checker without publicly explaining the move. As of Friday, the page that described the occupation as providing “clients with sexual services or social companionship” returns an error message: "Oops! We couldn't find the page you're looking for." It can still be viewed on the nonprofit Internet Archive, with the latest available copy dated April 25. While the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website did not issue any official statement on the development, the agency’s area manager Stephanie Greathead told local media that the removal was done to avoid“further confusion.” “INZ does not grant visas to persons who are intending to provide commercial sexual services,”Greathead said as cited by the New Zealand Herald. “INZ has removed this occupation from our Skill Shortage List checker to avoid any further confusion that means we would approve a visa for this occupation.” The official reportedly added that foreign sex workers are not granted visas because the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 allows only the country’s citizens and residents to “legally work in the sex industry.” Personal comment: no more threesomes for you bors https://www.rt.com/news/425813-new-zealand-prostitution-no-visas/
  2. Inside the home of a Darwin rural residence is a piece of fabric that was "most likely" stripped from the plane of Germany's infamous Red Baron moments after it was shot down. Baron Manfred Von Richtofen, dubbed the 'Red Baron', was taken down in the skies of northern France in April 1918. With 80 kills under his belt, he was Germany's most celebrated World War I pilot. Eyewitness accounts reported the Baron was flying uncharacteristically low when he was shot down. Although just who shot him remained a matter of debate for decades, it is now widely accepted he was killed by Australian gunners. Adrian McQuillan's grandfather Daniel was one of them. "We'd beg pop to tell us the story of the Red Baron, and we'd sit on the floor and he'd tell it in detail," he said. Aussie troops were renowned for taking souvenirs from the war, and the Baron's death was no different. "Grandad told us the story of how he went down like at the time when the plane was shot down, apparently soldiers came from everywhere and surrounded the plane," Mr McQuillan said. "Like so many of the others, he just took his knife out and cut a section out of the side of the plane, which included part of the insignia, the Maltese cross." Mr McQuillan, now a resident of Darwin's Lambells Lagoon, sent the item to the Australian War Memorial to establish its validity. He believes it may have also been part of a larger piece of fabric. "What was pointed out was that it's significant the line on the top of the Maltese Cross was straight, which was done earlier in 1918," he said. "They changed from a curved insignia to a straight-lined insignia." A matter of provenance The biggest question about its validity arose because the fabric had been ironed, according to the Australian War Memorial. PHOTO: German pilot Manfred von Richthofen became known as the Red Baron.(Creative Commons: Photographer C.J. von Dühren. The Wartenberg Trust.) Mr McQuillan said the fabric appeared to have been folded several times, and would have been ironed out to remove wrinkles. Despite this, the AWM agreed it was "more likely than not" an original piece. "It was a statement of provenance... if Pop was in the area at the time and was so clearly able to describe the events, then it's very likely that the piece was in fact cut from the plane," Mr McQuillan said. He said his grandfather wanted to share his experience, but died before he ever got the chance. He now wants to ensure the piece and its story isn't forgotten. "I'm very keen that it be preserved by somebody... I don't have children of my own but I don't want the piece to be lost," Mr McQuillan said. "This might be a way of doing what wasn't done then... I can tell what I know." http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-23/remembering-the-red-barons-death-100-years-on/9687156 Personal Comment From Bors: Another claimant to the title.
  3. Before there were computers and GPS beacons to track the ocean's whims, there were slips of paper and bottles. Or more specifically, slips of paper in bottles. The world's oldest message in a bottle was discovered in on a beach in Western Australia 132 years after it was tossed into the Indian Ocean as part of an experiment on ocean drift patterns, according to experts who call it "an exceedingly rare find." A report released by the Western Australia Museum details how the bottle was found and what its well-preserved message reveals about science and history. The dark green glass bottle, which measured less than 22cm long and 7cm wide, was found in January north of Perth by a woman named Tonya Illman, according to a museum press release today that quotes Illman on the surprising discovery. She and a friend were walking along the dunes when she saw it near where her son's car had become bogged in soft sand. "It just looked like a lovely old bottle so I picked it up thinking it might look good in my bookcase," Illman said. "My son's girlfriend was the one who discovered the note when she went to tip the sand out. The note was damp, rolled tightly and wrapped with string. We took it home and dried it out, and when we opened it we saw it was a printed form, in German, with very faint German handwriting on it." After some research and excitement, the family not knowing if what they found was "historically significant or a very inventive hoax," brought their discovery to the museum. Experts there took detailed measurements of everything from the opening of the bottle to the twine wrapped around the yellowed paper inside of it. There was no cork and researchers believe it may have dried out, shrunk and became dislodged at some point. Because the paper was so well preserved, they also believe the bottle probably washed onto shore within a year of being thrown and lay buried for more than a century in damp sand. On the paper were two significant details: the date June 12, 1886 and the name of a ship, "Paula." More digging, along with help from authorities in the Netherlands and Germany, revealed that the bottle was part of a long-term German Naval Observatory programme studying global ocean currents. An entry in the Paula's Meteorological Journal written by the captain detailed the bottle being tossed overboard on the same date listed on the paper. The handwriting also matched his, down the extra curl in his Cs. The museum's report lauds the discovery's scientific significance. "Ocean current and drift patterns are still not completely understood," it reads. "The need to understand long-term climate change patterns has also seen historic data, such as that recorded in Paula's meteorological journal and other 19th century ships' logbooks, added as datasets into global climate models." The report links the bottle to German scientist George von Neumayer who implemented a drift bottle experiment from 1864 to 1933 that involved thousands of bottles being thrown overboard with pre-printed message slips inside. Ship captains were expected to write in details on one side of the paper and those who found the bottles were asked to fill out the back and return the notes to either to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg or the nearest German Consulate. Only 662 message slips were returned. Before the latest discovery, the last one was found in January 1934. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12008044
  4. The failure of many Australian workers to get a real pay rise has been linked to a decline in industrial action, including strikes. The findings follow the Fair Work Commission's decision last week to stop Sydney train workers from taking industrial action including restrictions on overtime and a one-day strike on Monday because it could damage the economy. Jim Stanford, economist and director of the Australian Institute's Centre for Future Work. Photo: Neil Ward The analysis by the left-leaning Australia Institute Centre for Future Work think tank shows there has been a 97 per cent decline in industrial action from the 1970s to the present decade. Across Australia, there were 106 industrial disputes in the first nine months last year, close to a postwar era low. The new report to be released on Tuesday found a correlation in the form of a "close statistical relationship" between a dramatic reduction in industrial activity and stagnation in wages. The report does not claim a direct link. Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox Photo: Alex Ellinghausen The analysis shows there has been a one percentage point deceleration in wage increases for every decline in the frequency of work stoppages of about 60 lost work days per 1000 workers per year. Report author and economist Jim Stanford said industrial action has become "almost extinct" in Australia and this had weakened the bargaining power of workers. "It isn't a coincidence that we are seeing record low rates of industrial action and record low wage growth," he said. "Those are two sides of the same coin." "The evidence is overwhelming that losing the effective ability to take collective action has been one of the key factors explaining the decline in wage growth which has now reached a record post-war low. SHARE ON FACEBOOK SHARE SHARE ON TWITTER TWEET ACTU Secretary Sally McManus. Photo: AAP "If workers do not have the capacity to impose a cost of disagreement on employers in the form of some kind of collective action whether that is a work to rule, an overtime ban or an actual strike, then employers don't take bargaining as seriously." While his research did not prove the direct cause of slow wages growth, Dr Stanford said there was a clear correlation in the form of a "very clear statistical relationship between the long running pattern of industrial action and the long run deceleration of wage growth". "There is an old stereotype that unions are too powerful and cause too much disruption... but the situation today is the polar opposite," he said. "The data on how rare strikes have become I think affirms that unions have too little power, not too much." Chief Executive Australian Industry Group Innes Willox said the level of industrial action in Australia fell significantly from 2006 when secret ballots for industrial action were introduced. "Since 2006, the level of industrial action in Australia has been relatively stable," Mr Willox said. "Over the period since 2006, there have been times of high wages growth and low wages growth – neither of which have had any apparent link to the level of industrial action." “More industrial action will be damaging to the economy. The last thing that the community needs is for the unions to be given even more power to take industrial action.” James Pearson, chief executive officer of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that while industrial disputes had plummeted since the late 1980s, slow wages growth was a comparatively recent trend. "Wages growth is a function of more factors than workplace relations," he said. "Rising business competitiveness and confidence to invest, and consumer confidence, are likely to lead to more demand for labour and upward pressure on wages. "The majority of Australians with a job are employed by small and medium sized businesses in the private sector. They understand sustainable pay rises can only come through sustainable profits." But David Peetz, professor of Employment Relations at Griffith University said Dr Stanford's conclusions were plausible and broadly consistent with other research on long-term wage increases associated with the power of labour. "To the extent that is shows that lower power of workers is associated with low wage increases and the low rate of wage increase at the moment is due to the low power of labour, then I'd say it is pretty accurate," he said. ACTU secretary Sally McManus said the new research was further evidence that onerous industrial relations laws needed to change because it was too hard to take industrial action as a last resort. "If employers don't give pay rises if you ask nicely, the only thing workers have left is to exercise their ability to withdraw their labour," she said. "If you take that away then they don't have bargaining power." The Reserve Bank last year acknowledged slow wage growth may also reflect the erosion of workers' bargaining power to achieve higher wages. Governor Philip Lowe has said that it is plausible that workers are less inclined to risk job security by seeking larger wage increases. Acting NSW Treasurer Victor Dominello said NSW has had fewer industrial disputes than the rest of Australia for 12 consecutive quarters. "That is the longest run of below-average industrial disputes since records began in the 1980s," he said. "This sustained reduction in strike activity is good news. It means that workers, families and business owners can have confidence that our essential services will be there when they need them. "In the 2016-17 financial year, NSW public and private sector workers were rewarded with the strongest wage growth of any state." http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/decline-in-strike-action-linked-to-slow-wages-growth-20180129-p4yyzl.html Personal Comment From Bors: I don't think we'll see a return to the heady days of the Maritime Union or the Transport Union. Do we really want to? Those guys achieved results but they did go nuts as well.
  5. Health Minister Greg Hunt has defended the move to take low-dose codeine products off pharmacy shelves, saying it will save lives and bring Australia into line with comparable countries. The ban, which will require people to get a prescription to access the painkillers, will take effect on Thursday as part of an effort to curb codeine addiction, abuse, and overdoses. This will save lives: Hunt Australians won't be able to buy codeine based products over the counter from Thursday, but Health Minister Greg Hunt says the plan will save up to 100 lives a year. Mr Hunt said the expectation of the Therapeutic Goods Administration was that up to 100 a lives would be saved annually under the change. "In Australia, more people lose their lives to codeine-related deaths than to heroin," he told ABC radio, saying authorities across Australia and medical groups had unanimously backed the ban. terms and conditions and privacy policy. Doctors have warned it is not effective at treating chronic pain and long-term use can be dangerous. Research has found that more than 500,000 Australians have some form of codeine addiction, Mr Hunt said on Tuesday. The decision to restrict the drugs has been met with anger from regular users, who are concerned about the inconvenience and cost associated with a visit to the GP to acquire a script. People who rely on products like Panadeine, Nurofen Plus and Mersyndol have been warned to talk to their doctor about managing pain after the restrictions come into effect. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dangerous-and-addictive-greg-hunt-defends-codeine-ban-20180129-h0qakz.html Personal Comment From Bors: This is a man who thought Walruses lived in the Antarctic.
  6. "I don't feel like a hero and I don't want to be. Every decision we make has consequences and right now I just need to try and deal with what I have seen." These are the words of Lisa Elmas, the Narrawallee woman who was one of the first people on the scene of the Boxing Day car crash that [URL='http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/annabelle-falkholt-dies-in-hospital-days-after-crash-that-killed-her-parents-20171229-h0bejc']claimed the lives of four people[/URL] and left another woman in intensive care. [B][SIZE=4]Horrific crash victim dies from injuries[/SIZE][/B] Annabelle Falkholt, the 21-year-old daughter of the couple that died in the horrific car accident on the Pacific Highway on Boxing day, has died from her injuries. Now, Lisa has called on the NSW Government to make first aid kits and fire extinguishers mandatory at registration for vehicles statewide – items she believes would have made a difference on that fateful day. The 44-year-old was [URL='http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/triplefatal-driver-was-heading-home-from-methadone-clinic-20171228-h0b1a0']only minutes behind Craig Whitall's Toyota Prado[/URL] as she drove south toward her home on the morning of December 26. [SIZE=5][B]RELATED ARTICLES[/B][/SIZE] [LIST] [*][SIZE=4][B][URL='http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/annabelle-falkholt-dies-in-hospital-days-after-crash-that-killed-her-parents-20171229-h0bejc.html']Annabelle Falkholt dies in hospital days after crash that killed her parents[/URL][/B][/SIZE] [*][SIZE=4][B][URL='http://www.smh.com.au/comment/heroes-of-the-highway-this-holiday-season-20171228-h0avfl.html']Spare a thought for the highway heroes[/URL][/B][/SIZE] [/LIST] When she rounded the Princes Highway at Mondayong she encountered the horrific accident involving Mr Whitall and the Falkholt family. Mr Whitall, from Ulladulla, veered onto the wrong side of the Princes Highway and collided with a car carrying the family of four from Ryde. Lisa pulled her car to the side of the road, stopped traffic and went into action while others watched on in shock. Some, Lisa said, stood back and videoed the unfolding horror. "I could see the four-wheel-drive had a gas bottle underneath and that flames were starting," she said. [LIST] [*][URL='http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/']Illawarra Mercury[/URL] [/LIST] [B][I][SIZE=5][COLOR=#ff0000]Personal Comment From Bors: [/COLOR][/SIZE][/I][/B] [SIZE=5][COLOR=#ff0000]Registration the last time I did it in NSW was around 6 hungee when compulsory third party was included... @Inferous @Lord Massington Your opinions?[/COLOR][/SIZE]
  7. The Liberal Party is terrified of taking serious steps to tackle housing affordability, fearful that its political fortunes are tied up in billions in home equity across blue chip electorates built up over the past 30 years. However, bold reform could create a long lasting electoral majority for the Coalition as it did for Menzies half a century ago. Fewer Australians are owning their own home and house prices surged 70 per cent in the last five years. There is huge political opportunity in providing the aspirational young people of our country with a pathway to homeownership. However, neither major political party is taking the necessary action. Rewind several decades and a central theme of Sir Robert Menzies' Forgotten People speeches was the notion that home ownership was essential for the safety and stability of not only individuals and families but for society as a whole. Home ownership was seen as a key marker of a prosperous middle-class Australia. The Menzies government delivered on that conviction, increasing home-ownership rates from 50 per cent in 1949 to 71 per cent in 1966. Aspirational Australians, including hundreds of thousands of immigrants, were able to purchase and live in homes across the country. RELATED ARTICLES Hobart beckons for first-home buyers Diary of a first home buyer, week 11: just one in five low-income young Aussies owns their home On the back of this, Menzies built an electoral coalition that kept him in government for 23 years, making him our longest ever serving prime minister. Today the Coalition treads on eggshells around the pensions of retirees sitting on homes worth millions of dollars across Sydney and Melbourne's blue chip electorates, burnt badly by its experience trimming some of the excesses of our superannuation system at the last Federal election. Labor isn't doing any better, pinning its hopes to the single largest tax increase on aspirational wealth in our history by threatening changes to our negative gearing arrangements. Our housing market is riddled with dozens of taxation and capital cross-distortions that have coupled with decades of demographic and political factors to create the current housing affordability crisis. However, none of these are more perverse than that which allows retirees to sit on homes worth millions of dollars and still receive the pension, the primary dwelling pension asset test exemption. Older Australians are sitting on family homes instead of downsizing.. Imagine two Australians, who over the course of their life times earn the same income, and save the same amount of money. However, one of them invests in the share market instead of buying a home. The one bold enough to invest in productive capital in the share market will be ineligible for the aged-pension and significantly worse off as a result. This creates an incentive for Australians close to retirement to sit on large family homes instead of downsizing. This reduces the volume of housing available in the market, pushing up prices. Those who cry foul about a change to this situation by arguing that the elderly would be forced to sell their family homes are ignoring the reverse-mortgage market that would quickly emerge. This would allow retirees to borrow against their home in order to meet living costs and enjoy their retirement. Not to mention the fundamentally unfair notion that multi-millionaires are allowed to claim a pension because their assets are illiquid. The primary dwelling pension asset test exemption means that those who were never able to afford a home end up subsidising the pensions of those who were. Even worse, those who aren't in the housing market are subsiding the inheritance of the children of homeowners: retirees are able to live off the pension instead of digging into millions in equity in their homes. An exemption designed to enshrine the importance of home ownership in our taxation and entitlement system has instead gone the other way, pushing the Australian dream further away for many. We should not foster a society where the largest determinant of your future living standards is whether or not your parents bought a home in metropolitan Sydney 30 years ago. But with a convoluted array of capital, taxation and planning distortions that is exactly what we are doing. Fixing this situation will require political bravery, but if done right, the Coalition government could tap into millions of aspirational, politically unaligned young Australians desperate for a feasible path to home ownership, just as Sir Robert Menzies did decades ago. Harry Stutchbury is the president of the NSW Young Liberals. http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-the-liberals-could-fix-the-housing-affordability-crisis-and-win-young-voters-20180103-h0d7r0.html Personal Comment From Bors: They're all in it to feather their own nests, nothing will change because nobody who can change it is affected adversley by it.
  8. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says he will consider deporting African gang members if they are on temporary visas. Picture: AAP Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has said Victorian residents are too frightened to leave their homes to go out for dinner, as the state grapples with an African street gang problem. Mr Dutton said the Victorian Government had been caught “flat-footed” by an outbreak of gang violence over December, and that residents have lost their sense of public safety. “People don’t see this in NSW, in Queensland, but the reality is people are scared to go out at restaurants of a night time because they’re followed home by these gangs, home invasions, and cars are stolen,” Mr Dutton told Sydney radio station 2GB on Wednesday. He attacked Premier Daniel Andrews for “going soft” on gang violence and youth offending, and also lambasted the judiciary for handing out soft sentences for harsh crimes. “I’ve said for a long time we need to respect the judiciary, but in the end the magistrates at a state level are appointed by the state premiers,” Mr Dutton said. “And if they’re employing civil libertarians and people who won’t put in place proper deterrents — well, you can expect the sort of outcomes we’ve seen in Victoria.” Dutton also insisted the police have a greater role to play. “The police are given direction from the Premier and the state government down there which is really a ‘go soft’ message, it’s unacceptable,” Mr Dutton said. The comments come as federal MPs pressure the Victorian Government to clamp down on crime allegedly perpetrated by teenagers and young adults from migrant and refugee communities in the city’s fringe suburbs. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called out the Andrews government on Monday for failing to address growing lawlessness throughout the state, even as Victoria Police and the Police Minister say they are dedicating more resources to the issue. Mr Dutton said there was still a “long way to run in this debate” and called out federal opposition leader Bill Shorten for not taking a more active role in the issue playing out in his home state. He also promised to examine the residency status of thugs who are caught offending when they are on temporary visas. “We need to weed out people who have done the wrong thing, deport them where we can,” Mr Dutton said. “If people aren’t prepared to integrate ... frankly, they don’t belong in Australian society.” With AAP http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/peter-dutton-threatens-to-deport-african-gang-members/news-story/7f1a81b18789abd0e239ef1c75a5a4b2 Personal Comment: That's what happens when you import 10,000 odd Sudanese with buggerall integration plan and put them all in the same place.
  9. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will promise to give Australians a vote on whether to become a republic during the first term of a future Labor government. The promise, to be made in a landmark speech to the Australian Republican Movement on Saturday, will dramatically reignite debate about whether Australia should have its own head of state. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Photo: Janie Barrett In a move that will energise republicans and give supporters of an Australian head of state a clear choice between Labor and the Turnbull government ahead of the next election, Mr Shorten will pledge to hold a simple "Yes" or "No" vote. The question would be: "Do you support an Australian republic with an Australian head of state?" Under a Shorten government, Australians will get to decide whether they want Queen Elizabeth to remain Australia's monarch. Photo: Jonathan Brady The promise means a first vote on the issue would be held sometime between 2019 and 2022, to be followed by a second vote after that would settle on the tricky topic of the best model. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the republic debate should not be considered until after the Queen dies. But Mr Shorten will argue the debate does not require Australia to "wait for a change of monarch, we don't need to tip-toe around our future". "I'm confident Queen Elizabeth would farewell us with the same affection and good grace she has shown every time a Commonwealth nation has made the decision to cut its ties with the monarchy. We can vote for a republic and still respect Queen Elizabeth," he will say. He will also promise to appoint a specific minister with responsibility for the republic if he wins the next election. The Labor leader's promise to hold a republic vote will be followed up on Sunday by the unveiling of a major new tax policy that will clamp down on Australians using trusts to avoid paying tax. Mr Shorten has previously said he would like to see an Australian head of state by 2025. The Opposition Leader's promise to "take the first real step to an Australian republic in our first term" represents the most detailed road map yet on how his government would advance the issue. If a compulsory plebiscite of all eligible citizens produced a "yes" vote, a subsequent national debate would then occur on how to choose an Australian-born head of state. This plan is broadly in line with the Australian Republican Movement's preferred timeline of a plebiscite by 2020 that would ask whether Australia should have its own head of state, and how that person should be chosen. The ARM plan calls for a second referendum on the issue to settle the matter by 2022. "We cannot risk being caught in a referendum like the last one, where Australians were given one vote to settle two questions. When a lot of people voted 'No' because of the model, not because of the republic," Mr Shorten will say. "The first, clear question we ask the people should be whether we want an Australian head of state. And the debate should be about why. About our sense of Australia, our history and above all, our future." In 1999, the Australian Republican Movement - which was then led by Mr Turnbull - was hamstrung by divisions over whether an Australian head of state should be directly elected, or chosen by the parliament or prime minister. The push ultimately failed. Mr Turnbull has been loathe to reopen the republic debate since becoming Prime Minister given it would trigger conservative divisions within his party. On his recent trip to Britain he declared himself both a republican and an "Elizabethan". Mr Shorten believes Australia can retain its sporting and cultural links to the Commonwealth even if it voted to leave it. "We can vote for a republic and recognise that Will and Kate have two seriously cute kids. We can vote for a republic and still binge watch The Crown on Netflix. And we can vote for a republic without derailing the business of government, or the priorities of this nation," he will say. "I know an Australian republic isn't front-of-mind for everyone, but I don't buy the argument that we can't have this debate until every other problem in the nation has been solved...it's no good hoping for a popular groundswell – we must set a direction and bring people with us, and we have to do it early." - The Age Personal Comment From Bors: WASTE. OF. FUCKING. MONEY. and oh yes... FUCKIN TRAITOR! HANG THE TRAITOR HANG HIM!
  10. Australia Has Been Exposed As A Giant Hoax & We Could All Be Fucked Now M8s I, you, and everyone else in this stinking country knows the highly secret truth that Australia is not actually a real place. I'm breaking several extremely serious contract clauses in admitting this out loud - all part of what we knowingly signed up for when we signed those documents from the UN years ago - but the shit may be about to hit the fan and I'd like to get as far ahead of the wave as I can before it crests. For years, decades even, we have managed to uphold the wildly ambitious charade; conning the world into believing that Australia is a real place that exists in the literal middle of nowhere. A giant island with only 23 million people on it? Who ever thought that story would be bought. But lately we've been getting a little arrogant. A little too comfortable. A smidge too brazen in what we insist are our cultural habits. Drinking beer out of a shoe? Come on. Boiling water in a kettle instead of a microwave? Outrageous. Somehow having multiple names for round discs of battered and fried potato? As far fetched as a fairy tale. In a horrifying development, it would appear that the yards-thick facade we have crafted is slowly beginning to crumble, surely spelling imminent doom for our fake nation. Swedish Facebook user Shelley Floryd has exposed Australia as little more than a lie; a fabrication concocted by a coalition of nations in order to cover up England's historical mass-drowning of convicts beginning in the late 1700s. In a blistering expose, Floryd also lifted the lid on the fact that everyone carrying an Australian passport is, in fact, a paid actor, hired on an ad hoc basis to fill empty expanses of South America or neighbouring Pacific islands that serve as the location of "Australia" for curious wandering tourists. Shelley Floryd "Australia is not real. It's a hoax, made for us to believe that Britain moved over their criminals to someplace. In reality, all these criminals were loaded off the ships into the waters, drowning before they could see land ever again. It's a coverup for one of the greatest mass murders in history, made by one of the most prominent empires. Australia does not exist. All things you call "proof" are actually well fabricated lies and documents made by the leading governments of the world. Your Australian friends? They're all actors and computer generated personas, part of the plot to trick the world. If you think you've ever been to Australia, you're terribly wrong. The plane pilots are all in on this, and have in all actuality only flown you to islands close nearby - or in some cases, parts of South America, where they have cleared space and hired actors to act out as real Australians. Australia is one of the biggest hoaxes ever created, and you have all been tricked. Join the movement today, and make it known that they have been deceived. Make it known, that this has all just been a cover-up. The things these "Australian" [sic] says to be doing, all these swear words and actions based on alcoholism, MDMA and bad decisions, are all ways to distract you from the ugly truth that is one of the greatest genocides in history. 162,000 people was [sic] said to have been transported to this imaginary land during a mere 80 years, and they are all long dead by now. They never reached that promised land. Tell the truth. Stand up for what is right. Make sure to spread the world - Australia is not real. It's a codeword for the cold blooded murder or more than a hundred thousand people, and it is not okay. We will not accept this. Stand up for the ones who died. Let it be known that Australia does not exist. #AustraliaisNOTreal" In addition to that, Floryd posted secretly obtained global maps exposing the giant expanse of the Indo-Pacific Ocean where Australia is ordinarily positioned on all geographical material released by the world's governments. True maps that, as we all know from our basic security training, could only have been created by a rogue agent on the International Space Station. What does this mean for the future of our employment at AustralisCorp? Who's to say. Citizens of New Zealand are almost certain to lose their annual stipend for keeping the rouse to themselves. Entry-level citizen contracts do not contain explanation of what occurs in the emergency event of the Australia Scheme's collapse. Either way, it might be smart to start actioning your escape plans, folks. There's a fair chance we might be totally fucked now. Source: Shelley Floryd/Facebook. https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/arts-and-culture/australia-has-been-exposed-as-a-giant-hoax--we-cou/e9103fce-ea72-40eb-b114-beadae7f6969.htm Personal Comment: I knew it. Just like Canadia and Narnia, Australia is just not real.
  11. President Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office on Jan. 28, 2017. (Pete Marovich/Pool photo via European Pressphoto Agency) By Greg Miller and Philip Rucker February 2 at 12:50 PM It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week. Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it. At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.” Trump’s behavior suggests that he is capable of subjecting world leaders, including close allies, to a version of the vitriol he frequently employs against political adversaries and news organizations in speeches and on Twitter. “This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center. Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.” Trump returned to the topic late Wednesday night, writing in a message on Twitter: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!” U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia — countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan. The characterizations provide insight into Trump’s temperament and approach to the diplomatic requirements of his job as the nation’s chief executive, a role in which he continues to employ both the uncompromising negotiating tactics he honed as a real estate developer and the bombastic style he exhibited as a reality television personality. The depictions of Trump’s calls are also at odds with sanitized White House accounts. The official readout of his conversation with Turnbull, for example, said that the two had “emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.” A White House spokesman declined to comment. A senior administration official acknowledged that the conversation with Turnbull had been hostile and charged, but emphasized that most of Trump’s calls with foreign leaders — including the heads of Japan, Germany, France and Russia — have been productive and pleasant. Trump also vented anger and touted his political accomplishments in a tense conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, officials said. The two have sparred for months over Trump’s vow to force Mexico to pay for construction of a border wall between the two countries, a conflict that prompted Peña Nieto to cancel a planned meeting with Trump. Even in conversations marred by hostile exchanges, Trump manages to work in references to his election accomplishments. U.S. officials said that he used his calls with Turnbull and Peña Nieto to mention his election win or the size of the crowd at his inauguration. One official said that it may be Trump’s way of “speaking about the mandate he has and why he has the backing for decisions he makes.” But Trump is also notoriously thin-skinned and has used platforms including social-media accounts, meetings with lawmakers and even a speech at CIA headquarters to depict his victory as an achievement of historic proportions, rather than a narrow outcome in which his opponent, Hillary Clinton, won the popular vote. The friction with Turnbull reflected Trump’s anger over being bound by an agreement reached by the Obama administration to accept refugees from Australian detention sites even while Trump was issuing an executive order suspending such arrivals from elsewhere in the world. The issue centers on a population of about 2,500 people who sought asylum in Australia but were diverted to facilities off that country’s coast at Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. Deplorable conditions at those sites prompted intervention from the United Nations and a pledge from the United States to accept about half of those refugees, provided they passed U.S. security screening. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/no-gday-mate-on-call-with-australian-pm-trump-badgers-and-brags/2017/02/01/88a3bfb0-e8bf-11e6-80c2-30e57e57e05d_story.html?utm_term=.2bf2dc630eae Personal Comment: Until this was essentially confirmed a few hours later with Trump's tweet, this article read like a typical "FAKE NEWS" ridiculous story about Trump being an incapable person. I guess we found out. "Why? I will study this dumb deal!".
  12. Live baiting scandal rocks Australia Greyhound racing 'toast' MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has banned greyhound racing. GRNSW said they had taken decisive action to recover community trust in the wake of revelations of live-baiting and other cruel practices. "Around our state there are many thousands of responsible participants who treat their greyhounds like family who are involved in the greyhound racing industry either through training, racing or supporting the sport," the spokesman said. "These people were as dismayed as others by the exposure of completely unacceptable and inhumane practices within greyhound racing. "That is why they supported the significant reforms made by Greyhound Racing NSW over the last 12 months." GRNSW said they fully co-operated with the Special Commission of Inquiry who delivered the damning report. They said they would continue to advocate and support GRNSW members as greyhound racing winds down across the state. A damning investigation into the sport uncovered reports of systemic animal cruelty, including mass killings and live baiting. State Premier Mike Baird said the findings of a special commission of inquiry had left the government with "no acceptable course of action except to close the industry down". The sport would be outlawed by July 1, 2017, Baird said in a statement after releasing the decision t on his Facebook page. "Greyhound racing has been banned in many countries and many states of the U.S. and is legal in only eight countries around the world. NSW will be the first state in Australia to ban it." "Over the coming months, we will consult with the industry to help minimise the pain as best we can for the innocent industry participants as we work towards an orderly industry shutdown." The decision caused shares in betting company Tabcorp to fall by around five percent to A$4.34 ($3.26) on Thursday, though it said in a statement that greyhound racing only accounted for about five percent of their wagering turnover. The inquiry, led by Australian lawyer Michael McHugh QC, found that up to 68,000 greyhounds bred in the past 12 years had been destroyed because they were considered uncompetitive. That amounted to about half the greyhound population, the report said. It also said that evidence suggested up to 20 percent of trainers engaged in the practice of 'live baiting', where animals such as rabbits are chased by dogs during training sessions. McHugh's report added that "many trainers" did not seek proper or adequate veterinary treatment for injured dogs, instead preferring "cheap and sometimes painful methods of treating greyhound injuries". It added the industry had turned a blind eye to reports of animal cruelty. The state government will consult with the industry and animal welfare authorities to implement a shutdown plan over the next 12 months. "I feel much empathy for innocent trainers and those who will lose their job or hobby as a result of this," Baird said. "And I understand the disappointment of people who enjoy having a punt on the dogs. But we simply cannot and will not stand by and allow the widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals." But Victoria has no plans to ban greyhound racing. Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber has called on Premier Daniel Andrews to shut it down but acting racing minister Jill Hennessy said the industry had taken great strides in reforming. And on Twitter, Racing Minister Martin Pakula said he was backing Greyhound Racing Victoria to continue the reforms after none of the reports in Victoria recommended the shutdown of greyhound racing in the state. Meanwhile, the boss of Queensland's biggest greyhound group has condemned the NSW decision as a stitch-up based on half-truths. Queensland Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association president Brenton Wilson told AAP he is appalled at the decision, which appears to have no genuine basis. Wilson said his organisation has been working tirelessly in the past 12 months with the Queensland government and racing officials to solve any problems. Tasmania Greens have joined their counterparts in Victoria and Queensland and have urged the state government to follow NSW's lead and ban greyhound racing. Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Cassy O'Connor, has chaired a parliamentary inquiry into the state's management and monitoring of greyhound racing and congratulated the NSW Liberal administration's move to outlaw the sport by July next year. O'Connor said the NSW premier had recognised the inherent cruelty in greyhound racing and acted in the best interests of animal welfare and Tasmania should do the same. - AAP
  13. Australia's Dami Im celebrates as she learns the results during the Eurovision Song Contest final in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo / AP Ukraine's Jamala was declared the winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest today for a melancholic tune that recalled the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars by Soviet authorities. Susana Jamaladinova, who uses the stage name Jamala, received the highest score for her song 1944, after votes from juries and TV viewers across Europe were tallied up following performances on Saturday night by the 26 finalists at Stockholm's Globe Arena. Her song received received 534 points. Australia's Dami Im was second with 511 points and Russia's Sergey Lazarev third with 491. Ukraine's Jamala celebrates with the trophy after winning the Eurovision Song Contest final with the song '1944' in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo / AP The show was broadcast live in Europe, China, Kazakhstan, Australia, New Zealand and, for the first time, the United States. Last year's contest reached nearly 200 million viewers globally. Amid entries about love and desire, Jamala's song stood out. With sombre lyrics it recalls how Crimean Tatars, including her great-grandmother, were deported to central Asia in 1944 by Josef Stalin's regime during World War II. Malta's Ira Losco performs the song 'Walk On Water' during the Eurovision Song Contest final. Photo /AP U.S. singer Justin Timberlake performs during the Eurovision Song Contest final. Photo / AP Russia's Sergey Lazarev reacts as the results are announced. Photo / AP "I really want peace and love to everyone," she said, hoisting the Eurovision trophy and a Ukrainian flag. The focus on Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, could be considered a swipe at Moscow, but Jamala insisted there was no political subtext, and contest officials agreed. -AP http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11639288 Personal Comment From Bors: I've never understood the whole thing behind the Eurovision contest but...it seems a little ludicrous to see Australia placing...anywhere?
  14. The Turnbull government must raise taxes as well as cut spending to reduce the budget deficit, or it will risk losing its AAA credit rating. In a stark warning to Treasurer Scott Morrison ahead of a May 3 budget expected to contain measured spending cuts but avoid tax hikes, ratings agency Moody's predicted the government could struggle to reach its goal of a surplus by 2021. The Coalition has stepped up its political attack in recent weeks over Labor's plans to make changes to negative gearing, capital gains and superannuation tax concessions, as well as hiking tobacco excise. Treasurer Scott Morrison will hand down the budget on May 3. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Mr Morrison warned on Thursday morning - before the Moody's note was released - that Labor would "increase the tax burden on the Australian economy by over $100 billion in the next 10 years". "That's not a plan for jobs and growth," he said. But the note, from Moody's senior vice-president Marie Diron, flies in the face of that warning and was seized on by Labor shadow treasurer Chris Bowen. "Treasurer Scott Morrison announced that the budget to be released on 3 May would focus on curbing spending to lower the government's fiscal deficit. However, given previous difficulties in reducing welfare benefits, actual spending cuts may be modest," the note stated. "Moreover, Mr Morrison's announcement excluded measures to raise revenues. Without such measures, limited spending cuts are unlikely to meaningfully advance the government's aim of balanced finances by the fiscal year ending June 2021 and government debt will likely continue to climb, a credit negative for Australia." In addition, the "fading prospects for tax reform" presented challenges and the government's "pledge to curb spending will be tested by significant spending commitments on welfare, education and health". A country's credit rating is a measure of its credit worthiness. A downgrade in the rating, even if it does does not drive up borrowing costs for government, can drive up those costs for private sector banks. The benefits of a AAA rating for government, in turn, flow through to ratings in the private sector and improves economic confidence. Holding a AAA rating also helps a government sell its economic credentials. Mr Bowen said the note was a "clear and unmistakable warning to Scott Morrison - lift your game". He pointed out that Australia had, for the first time, received three AAA ratings from ratings agencies under the former Labor government and said "it must be protected". "Losing the AAA credit rating would mean that Australia pays more in interest, it will be a blow to confidence and would have flow-on effects to the ratings of major corporate entities in Australia," he said. The warning comes as figures released on Thursday showed unemployment fell in March by 0.1 per cent to 5.7 per cent, a movement welcomed by the government. Moody's said changes to superannuation tax concessions in the May budget will be "insufficient" to achieve a balanced budget in the next five years. The firm does go on to note that Australia does have "favourable fiscal metrics relative to AAA-rated peers" but that a prolonged increase in government debt had taken place over the last decade. It said debt had risen to 35.1 per cent of GDP in 2015, up from 11.6 per cent just 10 years earlier. Much of that growth in debt took place under the former Labor government. Much of that growth in debt took place under the former Labor government. "The government's pledge to curb spending will be tested by significant spending commitments on welfare, education and health." Mr Bowen said Labor had been arguing for some time tough decisions on revenue and spending - code for tax rises in some areas - were necessary and "Labor's been leading the debate ... we have been setting the agenda". What is a AAA rating? This is a way of rating an entity, usually a government or a company, that wants to borrow money. It gives lenders an easy way of seeing how likely they are to get repaid. Ratings have several grades with AAA being the highest down through to C. Anything below BB is deemed as junk. Australia is one of 12 governments with a AAA rating worldwide. Why does it matter? The higher your rating, the lower your borrowing costs. This is because with a higher rating you are seen as a smaller risk by someone lending you money. When a government or company borrows money, usually through issuing bonds, that debt is then assigned a value based partly on the credit rating. This is important for people who trade bonds. Is it an assessment of the health of the economy? No. It is an assessment of the ability of a borrower to repay money. However, for a government in particular its ability to repay money is linked strongly to the performance of the economy. In a strong economy, income to the public purse is higher and expenses such as welfare are lower. So the rating can be a proxy measure of how strong a nation's economy is travelling. The credit rating is also an important benchmark for politicians about how prudently they are managing the government's finances. What would it cost Australia if it was downgraded? The cost of a credit rating downgrade is hard to quantify, especially for a government. In theory, a lower credit rating should lead to borrowers demanding a higher return for the risk they're taking. In the case of Australia however, since all its debt is denominated in Australian dollars which it is able to print, it can never technically default. This means Australia's borrowing costs are determined by expectations of where the Reserve Bank will set the cash rate. Other governments that have lost their AAA ratings such as the US and Japan have actually seen their borrowing costs fall because investors have assumed their central banks would hold official interest rates lower. What else would it impact? The real impact of a credit downgrade would be borne by other borrowers that the rating agency has assessed to be tied to the health of the government, in particular state governments and banks. This is because both are bolstered by an implicit guarantee from the Australian government. That could mean a downgrade of the federal government could push up costs for other parts of the economy. The banks source a large portion of their funding from international bond investors that would, all else being equal, demand higher rates. The higher the cost of borrowing for the banks, the more they may have to charge for mortgages, for example. - explainer by Jonathan Shapiro Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australias-aaa-credit-warning-at-risk-unless-turnbull-government-raises-taxes-moodys-20160414-go62bj.html#ixzz45ldjdF3a
  15. As few as four senators who between them secured fewer than 10,000 votes could decide whether Australia goes to an early double dissolution on July 2 or waits for a standard spring poll, after Malcolm Turnbull arranged for an emergency re-call of Parliament to test their resolve. Daring the Senate to block his government's building unions watchdog bill for a second time, and another union-corruption bill for a third time, thus sending the nation to a winter double dissolution election, he said "the time for game playing is over". Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares The stunning tactical ambush not only upped the stakes, it caught the entire political establishment off-guard on Monday, including Mr Turnbull's own MPs and even inner-circle ministers as senior as his Treasurer, Scott Morrison. Australian voters must now brace for what will feel like an election campaign extending for a staggering 15 weeks. The Prime Minister used a snap press conference in Canberra to reveal he had visited the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and advised him to prorogue the Parliament - officially ending the current session - before also using the Governor General's powers to recall both houses to sit for three weeks from April 18, ahead of a re-scheduled May 3 budget. The Prime Minister has put pressure on the crossbenchers to support the Coalition's industrial relations reforms. Photo: Andrew Meares The move, which relied on the little-used provisions set out in section 5 of the constitution, means the seven-week pre-budget parliamentary break leading up to the scheduled May 10 budget has been halved with the special sitting dedicated entirely to consideration of a once-defeated bill to re-establish the Howard-era Australian Building and Construction Commission and the already twice-defeated registered organisations bill. Both bills have come up against stiff Senate opposition from Labor, the Greens, and six of the eight cross benchers, almost all of whom were elected in 2013. Passing them - both articles of faith for the conservative pro-Abbott wing of the party - would be a major win for Mr Turnbull's internal prestige. But their rejection would be even more advantageous, allowing him to run a full-throated anti-union militancy campaign in which he would attempt to paint Labor's Bill Shorten as a fellow traveller. Illustration: Ron Tandberg Mr Turnbull's action follows last week's successful passage of changes to Senate voting procedures which ended elaborate and opaque preference deals, and will almost certainly mean fewer independent and minor party senators will be elected in future. The bold manoeuvre means that the independents and micro-parties must now decide between standing their ground on principle, which will cause the legislation to fail, prompting a double dissolution election in which most will lose their $200K jobs, or switching to support the bills. However a complete about-face would suggest their principles are worth less to them than their six-year sinecures. Asked how long he had been planning the move, Mr Turnbull said: "well I've been aware of Section 5 of the constitution for quite a long time and the decision to proceed with this advice to the Governor-General, the final decision to do that, was taken last night [sunday] ... if we do proceed to a double dissolution, the election will be on Saturday the 2nd of July". In a further sign of the haste and need-to-know basis of the announcement, Treasurer Scott Morrison was forced to admit he had not known of the decision - including the crucial aspect in which the budget is brought forward to May 3 - when he was on Sydney radio just minutes before it became public. "May 10, May 10," he told 2GB's Ray Hadley at 9.30 am, when asked about its possible rescheduling. "We're preparing for May 10 Ray, I can't be clearer than that." Uncertainty over the budget timing and the election itself has now been reduced to a choice between a dissolution of both houses for a July 2 election if the Senate remains obstructive, or the standard House of Representatives and half-Senate election due in the ordinary course of events in the September-November period anyway. Buoyed by improving opinion polls, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten displayed little reluctance to ratchet-up his campaigning intensity accusing the Mr Turnbull of "playing election games" while declaring the difference between the Liberals and Labor "could not be starker". "I will spend the next 15 weeks campaigning on the same issues I've always fought for: protecting Medicare, decent jobs, better schools, renewable energy and fairer tax. "I challenge Malcolm Turnbull to get out his office and listen to what people have to say about his plans to gut Medicare and his plan to give big multinationals a tax cut," he said, ahead of a two-day swing through Queensland, the state where the election could be decided. Four senators - Ricky Muir, John Madigan, Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus - received only 9901 individual primary votes in total; Madigan at the 2010 election, the rest at 2013. Among the crossbench senators who opposed the bills in the past are Victoria's Ricky Muir, who secured 479 primary votes in 2013; John Madigan, who scored 1151 in 2010; Jacqui Lambie who secured 1501 in 2013; and the former League star Glenn Lazarus who did better with 6770. Senator Lazarus has vowed not to support the ABCC bill in its current form, and Senator Madigan has flagged a similar intention, declaring he does not respond to bullying. Senator Muir said the ABCC bill deserves a full debate and discussion around extending its powers to employers, adding it would be a "sad day in Australian democracy if we all folded and voted for the government, because they actually put a gun to our head". However, support could also come from others such as WA's Zhenya "Dio" Wang, and SA's Nick Xenophon. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-puts-nation-on-election-footing-for-likely-double-dissolution-20160321-gnnlml.html#ixzz43Xa9df1E Personal Comment From Bors: I really kinda hope he does call a DD ...I think it would be exciting to see a double dissolution again, we haven't had one for a fair bit...last one was in 1983. I think it will be a travesty if he is able to change the electoral laws to stop independent candidates and minor parties getting a foothold though.
  16. Problems relating to massage parlours ripping off their workers date back years. Massage parlours around the country are being accused of systemic wage fraud, sham contracting and in some cases contracts that dock workers' pay if they are late for work, "lack passion" or too noisy. In the latest development in the foreign student and 417 working holiday visa wage exploitation scandal, Fair Work raided 18 massage parlours in late February and found all were non-compliant with key workplace obligations. Another reminder to employers who flout their workplace obligations that there will be financial penalties if they are caught. Natalie James Compliance violations included failing to issue pay slips, lack of employment records and foreign workers on a visa paid a percentage of each massage – usually 50 per cent – rather than an hourly rate or the correct visa-nominated salary and with no remuneration for periods they spent at the business without clients. Many foreign workers have found themselves in a position of vulnerability. Unfortunately, flouting work place laws isn't new to massage parlours. Nor is it new to other parts of the economy. With 1.3 million workers on visas, which is equivalent to one in 10 workers, it is undermining the economic fabric of the country, as well as being a violation of human rights. Sectors of the economy including agriculture, hospitality, cleaning, convenience stores and trolley collection have been exposed as some of the worst offenders when it comes to wage fraud. In late August, Fairfax Media and Four Corners jointly exposed systemic wage abuse across the 7-Eleven convenience store giant. In 7-Eleven's case, many of the thousands of workers are students on visas, who are only allowed to work 20 hours a week without breaching their visa conditions. The Fair Work Ombudsman raided 20 7-Eleven stores in September 2014 and found that 60 per cent of the 20 stores raided had payroll issues. Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James. Photo: Jesse Marlow Around the same time, it kicked off a national review of the wages and conditions of foreign workers in Australia on the 417 working holiday maker (WHM) visa after receiving allegations that unscrupulous operators were exploiting backpackers. Problems relating to massage parlours ripping off their workers date back years, with the Fair Work Ombudsman conducting dozens of raids across the country since 2009. During that period the raids have unearthed wage problems and other work-related contraventions as high as 60 per cent. The regulator's latest series of raids in February, mainly in Hobart and Adelaide, include some previous offenders, who were found to be continuing to be doing the wrong thing. This suggests the penalty rates aren't a big enough deterrent, something the government needs to look into. It is why the Fair Work Ombudsman recently argued in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia "there is a need to send a serious message to the respondents that the court will not countenance attempts to disguise employment relationships and thus deny employees their required minimum entitlements". The case brought by Fair Work against Lu's Healthcare related to sham contracting between 2011 and 2013. The massage parlours, located in Melbourne's central business district and Richmond, allegedly underpaid two workers to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. According to court documents, a male massage therapist was underpaid $33,000 and a 19-year-old female therapist was underpaid $21,000. According to Fair Work, they should have been paid the minimum wage under the Health Professionals and Support Services Act. Workers also had money illegally taken from their wages using an inhouse code of conduct, including fines of up to $100 if a worker was late for work or fines of $50 for a "lack of passion or good hospitality" and the ominous clause "employees with other problems will undergo serious punishment". The code also included a "disturbance of the work environment category", which fined employees $20 for "noise making and playing around" and sleeping or lying on massage tables. Punishment for "resistance to hard work" was being "put back into apprenticeship again". When Fair Work took legal action against Lu's Healthcare, the company decided to repay the two workers the money they were owed. Then on March 10 the Federal Circuit Court imposed penalties of $112,860 on Lu's Healthcare Pty Ltd and $5940 on director Kun Wang, which was equivalent to 36 per cent of the maximum penalty that could have been imposed. Delivering his decision in the Federal Circuit Court, Judge Sullivan, noted: "It does not escape my attention that, in terms of cash flow, the delay in paying basic remuneration to employees engaged in what can only be described as basic employment leads to a very strong inference that the hardship occasioned to those employees would have been greater than might otherwise be expected for higher paid employees, who one would expect to be better financially resourced." Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James said in a statement the penalties "should serve as yet another reminder to employers who flout their workplace obligations that there will be financial penalties if they are caught". She said the business model identified at Lu's Healthcare was relatively common across massage businesses. Sadly, employees interviewed by Fair Work inspectors said how difficult it was for them to find employment. Some were foreign students, who had recently completed their studies, but were unable to find work in their chosen professions. It is understood that one business had a single employee who was paid cash-in-hand (a percentage of the massages completed each day). The employee was Chinese and had a degree in agriculture. She was a single parent with two children in primary school. She commented how difficult it was to find full-paying employment, because she was a single parent with limited time. One employee from Thailand was employed to manage a shop. She advised that she "felt like a part-owner of the shop and was grateful the employer had provided her with a senior role". However, she also advised that she only received $60 a day for working an eight-hour day. Foreign workers play a vital role in the Australian economy. For various reasons, including limited language and a lack of knowledge of their rights, many foreign workers have found themselves in a position of vulnerability which has made them targets for unscrupulous behaviour. These behaviours are undermining the economy and our reputation. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/massage-parlour-workers-pay-docked-for-lacking-passion-20160322-gnooat.html#ixzz43fIhEy00
  17. Jo Dwyer with friends outside Newtown High School of Performing Arts. Photo: Peter Rae Students at a leading Sydney high school have won a battle to change their uniform policy to allow students to wear boys or girls uniforms regardless of their gender. Newtown High School of the Performing Arts students lobbied the school's administration to have the new uniform policy implemented last week. "Our aim was to remove the un-inclusive gender labels from the school uniform, and make it so that anyone could wear any aspect of the uniform without having to go through a long and difficult process," said Jo Dwyer, a year 11 student at the school. "Before the changes were implemented, students had to go through the school with parental permission and notes from psychologists before they were allowed to wear the cross gender uniform, and that wasn't really a possibility for some students whose parents aren't supportive of their gender identity," he said. While the move has been welcome by the LGBTI community, it has been condemned by Christian groups. A spokeswoman for The Australian Christian Lobby said the school's policy could put students' wellbeing at risk. "To encourage a guy to wear a dress would just be setting him up for bullying," said spokeswoman Wendy Francis. "I don't get it. It is a retrograde idea in my mind, there is no need to say we are going to allow boys to wear a kilt or girls to wear trousers, I find it almost laughable." Newtown local Annie*, who does not identify as having a gender, said the measures would "save a lot of headache" for children in a similar situation. "From about the age of 10 or so I would wear sports uniform to school everyday, until I was told to wear the dress. I would wear very long baggy pants under my dress everyday instead," Annie said. Cassidy McDermott Smith, who graduated from the school in 2014, said Newtown High's environment had always been inclusive of all gender or sexual preference. "I am so proud of [the school] as it continues to prove itself to be an incredibly progressive and open minded community. The students attending the school are extremely intelligent, politically aware, and are never afraid to voice their opinion to create uproar for the sake of positive change," she said. LGBTI advocacy group Safe Schools Coalition Australia is pushing all NSW schools to adopt the policy. "It could be timely for the school to consider how inclusive your current dress code or uniform policy is and whether it could be updated... provisions could be considered by the school for the student to wear elements of the uniform they feel most comfortable with," said a statement on the group's website. A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said that all NSW schools were free to decide on the make up of their school uniform. "Students can wear any part of the available uniform options," the spokesman said. It is not the first time the school has made headlines. A video showing a group of year nine students asking former Prime Minister Tony Abbott about feminism and gay marriage clocked up on Youtube in 2014. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/newtown-high-school-of-the-performing-arts-changes-gender-rules-for-uniforms-20160220-gmz7fn.html#ixzz40x8mG1v0
  18. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched the 2016 Defence white paper at ADFA in Canberra he's pictured with CDF Mark Binskin and Defence Minister Marise Payne. Photo: Andrew Meares Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched the 2016 Defence white paper at ADFA in Canberra he's pictured with CDF Mark Binskin and Defence Minister Marise Payne. Photo: Andrew Meares The federal government has announced the largest shake-up of Defence personnel in a generation with close to 1200 public servants, most of whom are Canberra-based, set to contest new roles within the department. The Defence white paper, released on Thursday, announced the creation of 800 new roles in intelligence, space and cyber security divisions. Another 400 roles will be created in strategic policy, engineering, IT and diplomacy. But the government has capped the number of public servants within the Department of Defence at 18,200, prompting unions to fear close to 1000 staff will be made redundant given current staffing of around 18,000. According to the white paper, the new roles will be accommodated by ongoing cuts to the bureaucracy and existing staff will be retrained to perform specialist functions. But Professionals Australia official Dave Smith, whose union represents technical staff employed by the government, said the majority of new roles would require specialist knowledge unlikely to be found in the existing workforce. "Defence has identified the need for 1200 new roles but they have to do it within the envelope of 18,200 APS employees," he said. "A 1000 will have to go. It's that simple." "These are not positions that you could retrain for without extensive background in relevant technologies." The Department of Defence has shed close to 20 per cent of its workforce since 2012 when 22,230 public servants were employed by the government. More than 4000 staff have left the department in recent years with management accepting the voluntary redundancies of an additional 565 executive level staff in November. Mr Smith said the proposed restructure would only add to a loss of expertise and experience. "We have no confidence that these additional roles will halt the erosion of critical science, engineering and technical roles despite more than $50 billion being put into purchasing and maintaining new capability in the submarine space alone," Mr Smith said. According to the white paper, maintaining the capability of public servants is "one of the most challenging jobs" facing the department in coming decades. "To meet these demands, the government will undertake the largest single rebalance of the integrated Defence workforce in a generation through the implementation of the First Principles Review," the white paper said. "All parts of the Defence workforce will need to upgrade their skills as part of building a more capable, agile and potent future force." The white paper also announced intentions to send more civilian staff overseas on diplomatic missions, with tertiary training provided to those who need it. "Defence will increase the number of personnel with intermediate and advanced language skills to support our enhanced international engagement, with a focus on languages in the Indo-Pacific region," the report said. The workforce restructure was announced on the same day the department opened voting on a revised pay deal, which offered a 2 per cent increase each year for three years. The government continues to prioritise efforts to "increase the leadership capabilities of executive level staff" with new graduates to be subjected a greater policy focus. Graduate numbers increased by 55 per cent this year from 161 positions in 2015, to 250. Shadow Defence spokeswoman and Canberra MP Gai Brodtmann said the white paper revealed more public servants were likely to lose their jobs. "The government's own First Principles Review said that Defence has already had to replace sacked public servants with military personnel to ensure functions continue," she said. "This cycle of shifting positions from ADF to civilian to contractor has to end. It is disruptive and costly." The government acknowledged the need to embrace a more diverse and inclusive culture as part of the restructure. Women account for 41 per cent of department staff but only 15 per cent of the ADF workforce. "Gender equality and increasing female participation in the Defence workforce and in senior leadership roles is fundamental to achieving Defence capability now and into the future," the paper said. The government also announced intentions to grow the permanent ADF workforce to around 62,400 by 2026, which would take it to the largest number since 1993. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/government-signals-largest-restructure-of-defence-personnel-in-a-generation-20160225-gn36cs.html#ixzz41EJd55Su Personal Comment From Bors: I always suspected Turnbull was an avid vivisectionist.
  19. High on the hill: Huang's Beauty Point home in Mosman, on Sydney's north shore. Photo: HuwLambert.com Beijing overtakes New York as 'Billionaire Capital of the World' When a little-known Chinese property developer splashed $12.8 million on an Australian mansion in 2012, it raised eyebrows not just for the price but for the copycat purchases that followed. My philanthropic donations don't come with any hidden agenda, and it has nothing to do with China Huang Xiangmo A flurry of mainland buyers descended on Sydney property agents with requests for similar properties nearby, but with the proviso that their mansions could not be "bigger and better". They made clear it was in deference to the original purchaser, Huang Xiangmo. Huang Xiangmo with Malcolm Turnbull at Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney this month. Photo: Supplied "When Mr Huang was looking to buy we were also looking for houses for his associates – but they weren't able to buy until Mr Huang had bought his 'King of the Mountain' house," one Mosman agent told Fairfax Media. "And their houses, as we understood it, couldn't be higher than his on the hillside or better than his." In the following months five more multimillion-dollar homes were sold to Huang's "friends", all lower down the hillside in Beauty Point. Agents, baffled but delighted, listened to buyers speak of their hope that Huang's "good fortune" would rub off on them through living nearby. As word spread of the area's excellent feng shui, interest from other Chinese buyers surged, Mosman prices broke out of a prolonged post-GFC slump, and long-time residents took to calling the area "Beijing Point". Huang arrived in Australia in near-total obscurity. But big spending and relentless networking behind closed doors has seen him swiftly ingratiate himself with Australia's most powerful politicians to become the figurehead of the new wave of "mainland money" coursing through Australia. On top of a fast-growing portfolio of property developments, Huang's Yuhu Group is party to a landmark $2 billion Australian agriculture investment deal, endorsed by the federal government in late 2014. Huang's Beauty Point home in Mosman. Photo: HuwLambert.com There is the question, however, of just how much the government and public institutions know about Huang, a prolific political donor who has funnelled more than $1 million into the coffers of both major parties since 2012, including through family members, his companies and staff. The 46-year-old, who also goes by his legal name Huang Changran, gave $1.8 million to establish the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney, helmed by former foreign minister and NSW premier Bob Carr, and another $1 million to the Children's Medical Research Institute at Westmead. In December, he pledged $3.5 million for an Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture at Western Sydney University. Fairfax Media can reveal Huang was caught up in a far-reaching corruption scandal involving senior government officials in his native Jieyang, a city of 6 million in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, which prompted a hasty departure from his base in Shenzhen. Mr Li Ruipeng (second from left) of Li Guancheng Investment Group (LGIGA) with a number of coalition politicians (including Tony Abbott, Mc Farlane amd Stuart Robert) Photo: Supplied Sources with knowledge of the matter say Huang, having been tipped off that a close political patron would be investigated for graft as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption drive - which includes operations Fox Hunt and Sky Net, left hurriedly for Australia, where he had already explored the possibility of expanding Yuhu Group. Huang has been conspicuously low-profile in China since 2013, with Yuhu's website documenting his every move in Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan - but never on the mainland. Huang says he has had no trouble returning to mainland China. Huang Xiangmo with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Photo: Supplied Last month, he failed to appear at his own company's annual meeting in Shenzhen, where a major strategic decision was announced, refocusing Shenzhen Yuhu's expansion plans toward Australia and away from the mainland Chinese market. Around the same time Huang was picking up the pieces, another Jieyang entrepreneur was seeking to reinvent himself in Australia. Li Ruipeng is now notorious as the Chinese businessman who fished luxury Rolex watches out of a paper bag, presenting them to Tony Abbott and former frontbenchers Ian Macfarlane and Stuart Robert. Despite representing himself as a billionaire in Australia, Li has left behind a multimillion-dollar trail of unpaid creditors and employees in mainland China, according to court documents obtained by Fairfax Media. Li and several co-accused have been consistent no-shows in court; lawyers acting for those owed money believe he absconded to Australia as his business started to go sour. A Guangdong court ordered his company assets frozen in September 2014. The Jieyang city gate that got Chen Hongping and friends in hot water. Photo: Supplied Though Huang is listed as a director of Yuhu's Australian subsidiaries, he has chosen not to hold any shares in his name, according to corporate filings. Yuhu's lucrative property operations are majority-owned by his wife, Huang Jiefang, and Huang Jiquan, believed to be the couple's son. The Mosman mansion is also in Huang Jiefang's name. Huang's woes in Jieyang stem from the close political connections which helped him ride from rags to riches during China's real estate boom. In 2009, Huang gave 150 million yuan ($32 million) toward the construction of a grand pagoda-style city gate, citing his close relationship with the city's top official, Communist Party secretary Chen Hongping. "One night, it was after 10pm, I was having a chat over tea with Secretary Chen," Huang told the local state-run newspaper in a hagiographic account of his contribution to the city. "When he raised the matter of the Jieyang Tower, he was very impassioned, very worked up. He made no secret that Jieyang's financial situation was inferior to more developed regions, and hoped that I could provide some valuable assistance." Huang Xiangmo playing mahjong with NSW Premier Mike Baird. Photo: Supplied Trouble struck when Chen was investigated for corruption in November 2012. A subsequent court indictment alleged that, obsessed with building himself the perfect grave, Chen embezzled millions to construct a luxurious family burial site in accordance with the principles of feng shui. He was formally detained in June 2013, has been expelled from the party and is awaiting sentencing. Ominously for Huang, the indictment also found Chen erred by overspending on the city gate, which features nine 10-metre spires surrounding a giant rhyolite boulder transported from the storied Mount Tai, some 1600 kilometres away in Shandong province. All told, the court found Chen had accepted an "unprecedented" sum of more than 125 million yuan in bribes. Chen's arrest also led to the downfall of his immediate predecessor, Wan Qingliang, who had by then been promoted to party secretary of the city of Guangzhou. Local media ran sordid accounts of the pair sharing the same mistress, adding that Wan flew around on chartered China Southern flights, picking his favourite air stewardesses from a photo line-up on his iPad. Huang Xiangmo with former prime minister Kevin Rudd. Photo: Supplied There is no suggestion that Huang's contribution toward the Jieyang Tower should be construed as a bribe. But Huang's decision to leave at a politically turbulent time proved astute. Even if innocent, staying would have meant putting faith in China's party-controlled judiciary instructed to pry into Wan and Chen's financial benefactors. Another local businessman who donated toward the city gate, Huang Hongming (no relation), was detained in connection to Chen's investigation, his whereabouts still unknown. In a rare telephone interview with Fairfax Media, Huang Xiangmo said he was never affected by Chen's case, pointing out he was never mentioned by name in the prosecution's indictment. Huang Xiangmo with former prime minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Supplied "It was a philanthropic act," he said, referring to his contribution to the Jieyang Tower. "I don't have any business or investments in Jieyang, my company doesn't have any projects in Jieyang." He said he had made plans to migrate to Australia as early as 2010, well before he knew Chen was in trouble. He is applying for citizenship and expects to get his passport next month. He denied having any trouble entering mainland China, saying he frequently returned. On his donation to UTS, he said he hoped "Australians could understand China more clearly, and that China could understand Australia more clearly". "My philanthropic donations don't come with any hidden agenda, and it has nothing to do with China," he told Fairfax Media. "My company doesn't invest in China any more; it just has some small residual assets. When the media say I have some [ulterior] motives, I don't know whether to laugh or cry … I feel it is unfair, not objective." And of his political donations to both major parties, he said: "I just sometime participate in their activities … I feel sometimes their politics are in line with us Chinese-Australian businesses, in line with our standards and ideas. We just support their political views, without raising ours." If Li's efforts to court favours in Australia have backfired, Huang is swiftly moving toward political reinvention. As head of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, he gives speeches urging Chinese-Australians to oppose independence for Taiwan, Xinjiang or Tibet. When Xi made his first official visit to Australia as China's president in late 2014, Huang was there to greet him as a leader of Australia's Chinese business community. He gave a keynote address at this month's farewell reception for China's outgoing ambassador to Australia, Ma Zhaoxu. And having sought to woo Australia's revolving door of recent prime ministers, he was granted a front-row seat alongside Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at Sydney's lantern fair celebrations marking the Lunar New Year. In a statement, UTS said it is "proud to have attracted financial support from Mr Huang Xiangmo as it has from other Australian-Chinese donors". "Like all universities, UTS undertakes due diligence before accepting any donations. The university is not aware of any impropriety involving Mr Huang." Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/chinese-king-of-the-mountain-brush-with-corruption-scandal-20160224-gn2tvt.html#ixzz41EWovw8l Personal Comment From Bors: I know that there's a lot of whinge bagging about how all these cashed up slopes are supposedly working for the Chink gubberment and out to do us all in by buying property over here, but when you think about it...they choose to live over here for a reason, could it simply be they think China is a rat hole and anyone whose smart enough to get out is getting out with all their money?
  20. Tasmanian devils have been threatened by contagious cancer. Here, an immunised devil is released into the wild. Photo: Tasmanian Government For all its peculiar horror, cancer comes with a saving grace. If nothing else can stop a tumour's mad evolution, the cancer ultimately dies with its host. Everything the malignant cells have learned about outwitting the patient's defences - and those of the oncologists - is erased. The next case of cancer, in another victim, must start anew. Imagine if instead, cancer cells had the ability to press on to another body. A cancer like that would have the power to metastasise not just from organ to organ, but from person to person, evolving deadly new skills along the way. While there is no sign of an imminent threat, several recent papers suggest that the eventual emergence of a contagious human cancer is in the realm of medical possibility. This would not be a disease, like cervical cancer, that is set off by the spread of viruses, but rather one in which cancer cells actually travel from one person to another and thrive in their new location. While there is no sign of an imminent threat, several recent papers suggest that the eventual emergence of a contagious human cancer is in the realm of medical possibility. Photo: Jon Krause/New York Times So far this is known to have happened only under the most unusual circumstances. A 19-year-old laboratory worker who pricked herself with a syringe of colon cancer cells developed a tumour in her hand. A surgeon acquired a cancer from his patient after accidentally cutting himself during an operation. There are also cases of malignant cells being transferred from one person to another through an organ transplant or from a woman to her fetus. On each of these occasions, the malignancy went no further. The only known cancers that continue to move from body to body, evading the immune system, have been found in other animals. In laboratory experiments, for instance, cancer cells have been transferred by mosquitoes from one hamster to another. And so far, three kinds of contagious cancers have been discovered in the wild - in dogs, Tasmanian devils and, most recently, in soft shell clams. The oldest known example is a cancer that spreads between dogs during sexual intercourse - not as a side effect of a viral or bacterial infection, but rather through direct conveyance of cancer cells. The state of the research is described in a review, The Cancer Which Survived, published last year by Andrea Strakova and Elizabeth P. Murchison of the University of Cambridge. The condition, canine transmissible venereal tumour disease, is believed to have sprung into existence 11000 years ago - as a single cell in a single dog - and has been circulating ever since. (Why did this happen in dogs and not, say, cats? Perhaps because of what the authors demurely call the dogs'"long-lasting coital tie" - the half an hour or so that a male and female are locked in intercourse, tearing genital tissues and providing the cancer cells with a leisurely crossing.) Normally a cancer evolves in a single body over the course of years or decades, accumulating the mutations that drive it to power. But to have survived for millenniums, researchers have proposed, canine cancer cells may have developed mechanisms - like those in healthy cells - to repair and stabilise their own malignant genomes. Early on, cancer cells typically flourish by disabling DNA repair and ramping up the mutational frenzy. Somewhere along the way, the age-old canine cells may have reinvented the device to extend their own longevity. There is also speculation that this cancer may have learned to somehow modify canine sexual behaviour in ways that promote the disease's spread and survival. The second kind of contagious cancer was discovered in the mid-1990s in Tasmanian devils, which spread malignant cells as they try to tear off one another's faces. Devil facial tumour disease threatens the creatures with extinction. With so few examples, transmissible cancer has been easy to dismiss as an aberration. But in December, scientists at the Universities of Tasmania and Cambridge reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that Tasmanian devils are passing around another kind of cancer - genetically distinct from the first. It's weird enough that one such cancer would arise in the species. What are the chances that there would be two? One theory is that the animals are unusually vulnerable. Driven so close to extinction - by climate change, perhaps, or human predators - the species is lacking in genetic diversity. The cells of another devil injected through a vicious wound may seem so familiar that they are ignored by the recipient's immune system. If some of the cells carry the mutations for the facial cancer, they might be free to flourish and develop into a new tumour. But the scientists also proposed a more disturbing explanation: that the emergence of contagious cancer may not be so rare after all. "The possibility," they wrote, "warrants further investigation of the risk that such diseases could arise in humans." Cancer has probably existed ever since our first multicellular ancestors appeared on Earth hundreds of millions of years ago. The life spans of even the longest-lived animals may be just too brief for cancers to easily evolve the ability to leap to another body. Otherwise, contagious cancer would be everywhere. For now, at least, it remains a curiosity. Consider the case of a 41-year-old man in Medellin, Colombia, who was examined by doctors in 2013 because of fatigue, fever and weight loss. His lymph nodes were clogged with cancer cells that had also spread to his lungs and liver. Yet the cells looked far too small and simple to be human. "This case posed a diagnostic conundrum," the doctors wrote in November in The New England Journal of Medicine. The solution to the puzzle came when the man was also found to be harbouring a tapeworm called Hymenolepis nana. Further analysis concluded that the cancer cells had originated in the parasite and then metastasised through the man's body. There is no reason to think that tapeworm cancer is about to become a threat to public health. The patient's immune system had been compromised by HIV, and he died several months later. But nature is infinite in its surprises. The New York Times Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/what-if-cancer-was-contagious-20160223-gn1sft.html#ixzz417kko5Zr Personal Comment From Bors: It's brought in by illegals. Tighten the borders.
  21. The federal government's 'no jab, no pay' law has sparked a rush on vaccines as parents fear missing out on welfare benefits. Under the vaccination policy, which came into effect on January 1, parents will lose the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement and childcare subsidies if their child is not up to date with their immunisations. State and territory health departments report they are being inundated with calls from GPs and health nurses about how to implement catch-up schedules, particularly for children who have never been vaccinated, as parents flock to immunisation providers. "No jab, no pay": Parents to lose childcare subsidies if their child is not up to date with immunisations. Photo: Wayne Taylor Meanwhile, health departments are sending out increased vaccine supplies, a spokesman for federal Health Minister Sussan Ley confirmed. Statistical data measuring the effect of the 'no jab, no pay' policy on immunisation coverage won't be available until April. "While it is too early to provide meaningful figures, there appears to have been strong interest in the supply of vaccines for children under five years of age," said NSW Health director of communicable diseases Dr Vicky Sheppeard. Dr Sheppeard said for example there had been an increase in the supply of vaccines given at two, four and six months old to protect against pneumococcal disease from an average of 24,000 doses a month in the preceding months to 29,000 doses in January. Anticipating an increase in immunisations, the federal government made specific vaccines available to catch up older children who hadn't been immunised at the recommended ages. "There has also been strong interest in these vaccines," Dr Sheppeard said. The director of public health for the NSW North Coast, Paul Corben, said a lot of parents were seeking immunisation advice and vaccines since the 'no jab, no pay' policy had become law. "Across the state we're all fielding a lot of inquiries," he said. Mr Corben said he was not sure the policy would sway hard-line anti-vaccination parents. "Who it does sway are the people who are ambivalent or perhaps a bit complacent. It's an added incentive [to get their children immunised]," he said. Immunisation providers in known anti-vaccination hot spots such as the North Coast are reporting at least five families a week are coming in to individual practices to bring their children up to date. "Now the 'no jab, no play' law has come into effect, local immunisation providers are getting a massive increase in parents bringing their kids in to catch up on the schedule," said Heidi Robertson from the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters group. Australia's national immunisation target is for 95 per cent of children to be immunised, but immunisation data released this week revealed that some pockets of the country still have shockingly low vaccination rates. Mullumbimby has one of the lowest rates of in Australia, with less than half of children under five fully vaccinated. "That doesn't reflect what is happening right now," Ms Robertson said. "I have a feeling in a year or two we'll see an increase in vaccination levels here." Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/federal-governments-no-jab-no-pay-law-sparks-run-on-vaccines-20160219-gmyusd.html#ixzz40xNXLF3X Personal Comment From Bors: That's one way to combat the vaccines cause autism crowd.
  22. After speaking out about rampant underpayment and 60-hour working weeks, former 7-Eleven employee Bharat Khanna is helping other international students avoid exploitation, including one who has been allegedly paid as little as 48 cents an hour. Mr Khanna said 7-Eleven workers were still being exploited despite being paid hourly rates of up to $25 on paper. After being paid the correct rate, they were then asked to hand back about $9 per hour in cash to their managers, leaving them underpaid at rates of $16 per hour. More than 20 workers at 7-Eleven franchises in Northern Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast have told Mr Khanna they are still being asked to hand back cash to franchise owners. Former 7-Eleven employee Bharat Khanna. Photo: Nick Moir "It's all done verbally because they don't want to keep any records," he said. "On paper everything is good. When people say no to handing back the cash, they no longer have a job. People are still not getting pay slips or proper breaks." Mr Khanna, who began a full-time job with the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees' Association this week, is touring university campuses in Sydney and Newcastle to raise the awareness of overseas students about their rights at work. The SDA, which represents retail, fast food and warehouse workers, has partnered with United Voice, the union for hospitality workers and cleaners, to this week launch a national campaign and 131732 hotline with free advice for overseas students about workplace entitlements. "The students want a job whether it pays them $10 or $15 per hour, they are ready to take it," Mr Khanna said. "They convert it into their own currency and think it's a big amount. But they later realise their expenses are high compared to what they are earning." Mr Khanna said he knew of international students who have failed expensive university subjects because they have kept working excessive hours for meagre salaries. "My concern is that the exploitation is still happening and it's happening on a broader level. It's not just 7-Eleven who are doing it," he said. "I would say the franchisee model is very bad in this country." The SDA's national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the new Welcome to Work campaign would target international students at university orientation weeks around the country to support them in their study and work. "Telling them that there is no other choice but to work long hours for little pay or else they will have their visas cancelled is completely immoral," Mr Dwyer said. Mr Dwyer said a new amnesty for 7-Eleven workers appearing before a Senate inquiry into the exploitation of 7-Eleven workers should be extended to all international workers to prevent them from being deported for breaching their visa conditions by working more hours per week than permissable because their pay rates were so low. Mr Dwyer said a key to the problem was head office taking a 50 to 56 per cent cut of a franchise owner's profits. "This gives franchisees the incentive, some would say the imperative, to pay below legal wages," he said. A spokesman for 7-Eleven said it was aware of the "repugnant" cash-back practice and was working to eradicate it. He said the head office share of profit was on a sliding scale ranging from 50 per cent for the first $500,000 in profits, to 56 per cent for profits of more than $1 million. "7-Eleven has done significant modelling on labour costs to determine the average minimum weekly cost of operating both fuel and non-fuel stores," he said. "The 7-Eleven store agreement provides franchisees with a guaranteed yearly gross income of $310,000 for fuel stores and $340,000 for non-fuel stores. If a franchise is not making this amount, 7-Eleven will adjust monthly charge to cover this minimum gross income." 10 THINGS you need to know about working in Australia 1. If you're on a student visa, you are only allowed to work 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session. During break periods you may work unlimited hours. 2. You should receive a pay slip listing your hours, wages, and any tax paid to the government – even if you get paid in cash. 3. You are entitled to a minimum wage. 4. You are entitled to extra money if you work nights, weekends or public holidays. 5. You must obtain a Tax File Number to be able to work. 6. Your employer cannot force you onto an individual contract. 7. You cannot work until you have commenced your course. 8. Your employer can't pay you in goods or services. 9. If you earn more than $450 per month your employer must pay superannuation. 10. You are allowed to join your union. Source: United Voice Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/7eleven-workers-continue-to-be-exploited-20160221-gmzxne.html#ixzz40x9Db6al Personal Comment From Bors: 7 Eleven is one of the most disgusting companies in Australia and when I think of all the horror stories some of the guys used to tell me long before this big shitstorm broke, I feel the only punishment befitting the arrogance of the owners is a violent arseraping.
  23. The Port of Melbourne is Australia's busiest container port. Photo: Paul Rovere The Port of Melbourne is likely to be sold without the approval of Parliament in a high stakes gamble that could strip hundreds of millions of dollars from the final price. After months of wrangling, the Andrews government claims to have hit a brick wall, issuing the State Opposition with a blunt ultimatum: pass the deal by Thursday or Australia's largest container port will be sold without legislation using special powers introduced by the former Kennett government. The bold move means Labor would be unable to offer potential buyers the comfort of a bipartisan legislative agreement, creating an added layer of legal uncertainty for an already jittery market. Treasurer Tim Pallas said negotiations to pass the legislation through State Parliament's upper house – where Labor is seven votes short of a majority – had hit dead end after weeks of "frustrating" talks with the Opposition. He conceded bypassing the parliament would – all things being equal – undermine the sale price. But he predicted this would be offset by the reintroduction of various sweeteners previously off the table – including a controversial clause making a future government liable to pay compensation to the buyer if rival port undercuts its business within the next 50 years. "This process of engagement has to come to an end," Mr Pallas told Fairfax Media. "They (the Opposition) are proposing a ridiculous compensation regime that would strip value for no good reason out of the transaction and we are not going to agree to that." In an added complication, bypassing the parliament would mean the sale would be very unlikely to take place this year, potentially throwing State Treasury's budget predictions out of alignment by billions of dollars. Both sides of politics announced plans to sell the port in the lead-up to the 2014 state election, with an estimated $5.3 billion from the transaction factored into the budget by the former Coalition government just months before it lost government. The Andrews government, which hopes to snare at least $6 billion from the sale, has promised to use the money to pay for its plan to eliminate 50 level crossings over two terms. Victoria has also been banking on about $900 million from the federal government's asset-recycling scheme, offering the states 15 per cent of any asset sale as a bonus payment for new infrastructure. Further delays could put this at risk, with the scheme likely to end within the next two years. Shadow Treasurer Michael O'Brien said a decision to lease the port without legislation would be legally questionable, wiping billions of dollars from the sale price and making the state a laughing stock. "The Coalition has offered a reasonable way forward which industry agrees with," Mr O'Brien said. "By contrast, no one agrees with Daniel Andrews' reckless position." Labor hopes the demise of negotiations could see the opposition come under pressure from the business community, which has argued for months the sale is needed to finance future infrastructure. Also under a cloud is a promise by Labor to devote 10 per cent of the lease proceeds to rural and regional infrastructure, as well as a plan for a port rail shuttle. A key business adviser closely involved in the negotiations said there was no doubt bypassing the parliament would undermine the price, but he said he believed the financial hit could be minimised by strong contractual arrangements between the buyer and the state. "There is a very big pool of capacity chasing this," he said. "You couldn't pick a better time." Almost 50 pages of correspondence between the government and the opposition – seen by Fairfax Media – shows both sides have yielded ground since negotiations started late last year but the compensation clause remains an apparently insurmountable sticking point. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Brendan Lyon said the port lease had been scrutinised, debated and contemplated to within an inch of its life and it was time to end the "heavy politicisation of infrastructure". "Victoria needs the money for infrastructure, and Victorians need the lease done well to win back investor confidence," Mr Lyon said. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/port-sale-to-bypass-parliament-20160221-gmzk4s.html#ixzz40wO9eSVy
  24. Roads Minister Duncan Gay is standing firm in the face of fears that stiffer penalties for cyclists will dampen people's appetite to leave the car at home and ride. With the new fines in place in just over a week, murmurs of discontent are even coming from the big end of town where large companies have built bigger and swankier changing rooms and showers – often referred to as "end-of-trip facilities" – to cope with a rapid increase in cyclists in recent years. Marianne Foley, a principal and board member of Arup Australasia, said the multinational firm actively promotes riding to work because cycling was a key to an active and sustainable transport system. Businessman Guy Bicknell says the higher penalties are a thinly veiled response to a vocal minority who simply dislike cyclists. Photo: Daniel Munoz "We support safety measures, but increased barriers to cycling have been proven in studies to potentially reduce safety for all cyclists, which no one wants," she said. The Baird government's new measures come into force on March 1, and include raising the fine for riding without a helmet from $71 to $319. The penalty for running a red light will increase five-fold to $425. Guy Bicknell, co-owner of designing and marketing consultancy Mobius, said the higher penalties were a thinly veiled response to a vocal minority who simply disliked cyclists. "The penalties are huge. Is it a revenue-raising measure or is it because you care about cyclists?" he asked. "It is astonishing the amount of abuse you get [from motorists]. It is a unique Australian thing." Mr Bicknell, 57, who cycles three or four times as week, said the need to carry identification was "emblematic of this constant over-reach by governments" and would discourage some people from cycling. However, Mr Gay said the new bike fines in NSW would be less than those in other states. "The concern and the spin that somehow police will be pulling over people to check whether they have got identity is just wrong. The authorities will not be pulling over anyone unless they have committed an offence," he said. The identification cyclists over 18 would need to carry could be a driver's licence, an identity card or a passport. They could also use a photo of their ID on their mobile phones, he said. "The key to what we are doing is saving lives. We are putting deterrents there to make people wear helmets, not run red lights and be careful where they are interfacing with other traffic," he said. The need for motorists to give at least a metre gap between vehicles and cyclists would also be enforced. One of Australia's largest unlisted property fund managers says property investors are spending millions of dollars to increase the size and quality of cycling facilities to cope with sky-rocketing demand. "Rather than disincentives, the government should focus on all road users, including cyclists, motorists and pedestrians doing the right thing, with the focus on individual safety first and foremost," ISPT Super Property chief executive Daryl Browning said. "Employers know the efficiencies and productivity gains of active travel in the workplace." The City of Sydney estimates the number of people riding within its boundaries has doubled over the past five years. The council says independent counts of bike movements at peak hour on weekdays rose from 25,868 in March 2010, to 47,624 in October last year. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/gay-stands-firm-as-fears-mount-that-stiff-fines-will-see-bikes-ditched-for-cars-20160221-gmzft0.html#ixzz40qSN5Aa2 Personal Comment From Bors: Wear a fuckin helmet, don't run red lights. Simple.
  25. The black, coffin-shaped speaker was draped with a bunch of red gladioli. At its base, a headstone read "Sydney, 1788-2014, Taken before its time." Touches like these - half-comic, half-dramatic - were common in the latest protest against Sydney's lockout laws as thousands marched from Central station to Hyde Park on Sunday. Thousands of protesters gathered at the "Keep Sydney Open" rally to protest against the recently renewed lockout laws. Photo: Peter Rae Organisers estimated 15,000 people turned up to the peaceful event, although some media put the figure at half that. Many wore white "Keep Sydney Open" t-shirts, while others carried disco ball pickets. They rallied against staff cuts, venue shutdowns, a lack of personal freedom and lost opportunities for young musicians. Premier Mike Baird was a particular target after earlier this month saying that he was unlikely to change his mind on the laws. On one sign, he appeared as a little girl sucking a thumb and holding a teddy bear, above the line "It's not out Baird time yet". He was also the joker in the pack as the crowd attacked the lock-out zoning that exempts Star Casino and James Packer's developing Barangaroo project. Protester's signs singled out over-policing, Premier Mike Baird and the exemption of Sydney's casino from the lockout laws. Photo: Peter Rae "Hear No Evil, Casino Evil," one sign said. Another showed a photo of Packer's biff with then Nine boss David Gyngell from 2014, captioned "Role Models". Dave Faulkner, a member of the Hoodoo Gurus, told the Hyde Park crowd that Sydney's entertainment areas could become like "so much dead coral on the barrier reef, dead forever." Guitarist Julia Wylie, 28, said it was becoming harder for her and her friends to find work as venues shut. "There's like nowhere to play," she said, arguing the violence problems had shifted elsewhere. "All the dickheads from King's Cross have gone to Newtown." Australian Opera violinist Adrian Keating, 53, may play a very different kind of music to that favoured by the crowd but said "there is a flow on effect that impacts on all parts of our industry". Organisers estimate up to 15,000 attended the rally. Photo: Michele Mossop "People aren't going out as much, he said. For student Leo Gordon, 23, the government should educate rather than legislate to fight against ugly parts of Australian culture. "There's a real Australian-ness to getting f---ed up," he said. But a new Galaxy poll shows two thirds of NSW voters support the lockout laws - including 3am last drinks and 10pm bottle shop closures. Earlier on Sunday, a group of doctors, nurses, paramedics and police officers called on the government to keep the laws in place. "These laws have saved lives," the Last Drinks coalition spokesman Tony Sara said. "This isn't about stopping people from having a good time; this is about making sure that people get home safely at the end of the night". Former High Court judge Ian Callinan will deliver a review of the laws in August. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/keep-sydney-open-protesters-march-to-unlock-sydneys-nightlife-20160221-gmzggk.html#ixzz40qREFWwf Personal Comment From Bors: You're all pissheads, get over it.
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