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Issue #1693      July 15, 2015


Residential care for at-risk young people in Tasmania was provided by the Salvation Army in the south and Anglicare in the north. Both organisations lost their funding at the end of June. While Anglicare had paid redundancies to their workers, the Salvation Army claimed it was under no obligation to do so under the Fair Work Act. This attitude did not impress the Health and Community Services Union (HACSU) which was prepared to support about 45 workers who had lost their jobs. “These workers had been employed for many years on contracts, but the Salvation Army are claiming they have no requirement to pay redundancies,” said Mr Moore, HACSU assistant secretary. “As a result of the Salvation Army refusing to pay redundancies, HACSU will pursue justice for these workers through the Fair Work Commission,” he said.

Sometimes you come across a story and don’t really know if somebody is playing a joke on you. But it seems to be genuine so here goes. The City of Greater Geelong found itself in quite an embarrassing situation when it had recommended in its council newsletter that its staff smear dog poo on itchy and swollen insect bites. This advice came under the heading “Health and Safety Facts”. How it is healthy and safe to smear dog poo into a bite is really not clear. The newsletter was pinned on notice boards and available to city services staff in common areas but was quickly withdrawn by red-faced officials. The newsletter was no laughing matter for the Australian Services Union (ASU) which took phone calls from a number of concerned staff members.

Prison unrest continues in Victoria. Since state-wide smoking bans were introduced earlier in the month, mass riots started in protest. The Ravenhall Prison was the first to experience riots, followed by Port Phillip prison and Dame Phyllis Frost women’s prison. There are calls for the cigarette bans to be postponed until a proper transition program is in place.

The NSW government needed the support of MP Fred Nile (Christian Democratic Party) to pass its electricity privatisation legislation last month. Mr Nile is well-known for his fundamentalist attitude to social issues. He strongly opposes ethics classes in schools and it is believed that the deal he had made with the NSW Premier resulted in changes made for enrolment into the classes. Providers of ethics classes in NSW primary schools are outraged with a change to the school enrolment form which removes a clear choice between ethics and scriptures. “We are really disappointed,” said Bruce Hogan, the chairman of the charity and ethics class provider Primary Ethics. “In my view, the Christian lobby group has successfully lobbied Premier Mike Baird. His own personal beliefs and his need to keep Fred Nile on side for the next four years has overridden the rights of parents.” The previous form provided a box that could be ticked by parents who wanted their children to be enrolled in ethics classes.

Next article – Culture & Life – Resist the corporate takeover!

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