Fair Work upholds anti-vax sacking

The Fair Work Commission has upheld the dismissal of a NSW South Coast aged care worker who refused to get a flu shot, in the first full bench decision on vaccination mandates during the pandemic.

What we know:

  • A receptionist at a South Coast aged care home was sacked after refusing to get a flu shot because she said she suffered allergies;
  • The FWC on Monday upheld an earlier decision that found the worker did not provide evidence of the allergy, and had espoused anti-vaccine views (SMH); 
  • “We do not intend, in the circumstances of the current pandemic, to give any encouragement to a spurious objection to a lawful workplace vaccination requirement,” the FWC said;
  • In a dissenting opinion, FWC deputy president Lyndall Dean said vaccine mandates were disproportionate and akin to “medical apartheid” (ABC); 
  • The Australian Industry Group welcomed the decision as supporting “an employer’s right to mandate vaccinations where reasonable”; 
  • It comes as childcare giant Goodstart Early Learning will make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory for all 15,000 employees (The Age); 
  • The University of Melbourne meanwhile will require anyone who enters a campus to be fully vaccinated (Nine). 
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Early reopening puts disabled at risk

The “seriously deficient” vaccine rollout should reach all Australians with a disability before states ease restrictions, according to the disability royal commission.

What we know:

  • The disability RC draft report found there was curtailed access to vaccines for people with disabilities as the federal government failed to adequately consult at “critical points” (The New Daily); 
  • It also found a “lack of transparency” over a failure to reveal that people with disability had been dropped from Phase 1a of the rollout;
  • Restrictions should not be eased until all people with disability have been given the opportunity to be fully vaccinated;
  • Experts warn that easing restrictions too much once 70% of eligible people are double vaccinated would lead to a “significant number of deaths” in the disability community (ABC); 
  • It comes as the NSW government details its roadmap to ease restrictions, advancing once 70% of over-16s are double dosed (7News); 
  • The ACT’s lockdown meanwhile is set to end October 15 once the territory hits 80% of over-12s (The Canberra Times).
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Kids face climate chaos

Children will face up to 24 times more extreme weather events in their lifetimes than older generations unless immediate action is taken to reduce emissions, according to a new report.

Save the Children’s Born into the Climate Crisis report found children born in 2020 could face almost three times as many crop failures, three times as many floods, and seven times more heatwaves compared to those born in the 1960s (SBS). 

Australian children in particular can expect to experience four times as many heatwaves, three times as many droughts, as well as 1.5 times as many bushfires and floods.

Eritrean children could suffer 24 times as many floods, while those born in Sierra Leone face 15 times as many droughts.  

The analysis is based on today’s global climate pledges, which are on track for 2.6 to 3.1°C of warming, with Save The Children calling for countries to raise their ambitions at the upcoming Glasgow climate summit.

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Subs deal erases local jobs

The ACTU has warned that the federal government decision to scrap the French submarine deal in favour of a US nuclear alternative has put thousands of jobs at risk.

In a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, union bosses said the deal with Britain and the US lacked “the Australian content commitments of the previous contract” with France (SMH). 

“This decision is an ‘act of betrayal’ and robs Australia’s shipbuilding and manufacturing communities of decent jobs for generations to come,” the letter read.

The agreement with French company Naval Group said at least 60% of the contract’s work would be done in Australia, which has not been specified in the new deal.

Defence giant Lockheed Martin, which was to have built the combat systems for the French subs, has already issued termination letters to its Australian subcontractors.

The unions noted that they were not consulted before the decision.

The plan to scrap the deal had been in the works since 2019 (The Saturday Paper). 

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Brexit blamed for UK fuel crisis

The UK could mobilise its army to deliver fuel to petrol stations, in response to a critical fuel shortage.

As many as two-thirds of nearly 5500 independent outlets are out of fuel, with the rest running low.

The crisis has been triggered by a shortage of truckers due to Brexit and Covid, which in turn has sparked a wave of panic buying (The Guardian). 

The UK government has considered turning to the military to help deliver fuel (iNews).  

Competition law has been suspended for the industry to allow oil firms to quickly refill petrol stations (BBC). 

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Eventually we get to a point where you’ve got committees of public servants or business leaders, or anyone … union leaders, you could have the ACTU become a committee of the National Cabinet.

Anne Twomey from the University of Sydney warns that a bill to expand cabinet secrecy provisions is so broad it could mean National Cabinets all the way down (ABC).

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Postscript: Wake Up, Sailors, Scurvy Is A Hoax

Listen, if you want to hide below deck licking limes and then later come above deck to enjoy the sunshine and your lack of jaundice and intact teeth and gums that aren’t leaking putrid black blood, then be my guest. But not even the Captain has the right to make me eat a nutritious and lifesaving fruit if I don’t want to (McSweeney’s).

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Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.