Vaccine ID fails first test

NSW retailers have struggled to enforce vaccine entry requirements as restrictions ease for the vaccinated, while hundreds of thousands of Victorians navigated a complex process to obtain proof of immunisation.

In NSW:

  • NSW eased restrictions before its digital vaccine passport was ready, leaving shoppers to show proof of vaccination via a complex registration process using other apps or with a hard copy;
  • The delay means vaccine status needs to be manually checked by retailers, with entry checks inconsistently applied on Monday (AFR); 
  • The state’s reopening was marked by reports of aggressive behaviour from unvaccinated people, including one man who destroyed a shop’s signage and fixtures (The New Daily); 
  • Shops could be fined $5000 if they don’t take “reasonable measures” to enforce the rules, with unions calling for security guards and increased fines for customers;
  • Connecting the federal immunisation register to the NSW system has caused numerous errors and inaccuracies (Guardian Australia). 

In Victoria:

  • The Victorian government rolled out proof-of-vaccination trials at 14 venues across the state on Monday (ABC); 
  • As of Monday evening 190,000 Victorians downloaded a new version of the Service Victoria app, and will need to link vaccine digital certification to the app via the Express Plus Medicare app or myGov; 
  • An expert in data security warned that the vaccine passport system was easy to forge (The Age). 
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Sony face the music

More than 1000 former Sony Music Australia employees have spoken with Four Corners, as part of an investigation into systemic bullying, discrimination and misconduct at the company.

What we know:

  • Former vice-president Tony Glover was sacked after an independent investigation into sexual harassment claims made by five women;
  • Glover told Four Corners he was made a “scapegoat” and doesn’t recall alleged incidents of inappropriate touching because it’s possible he was drunk at the time (ABC); 
  • Sony’s former chief Denis Handlin was accused of demanding to fire a secretary for a younger woman, had staff followed by private detectives, and was verbally abusive while drunk (ABC); 
  • At least seven women were made redundant at Sony Music Australia while on maternity leave over a six-year period up to 2013 (NME); 
  • The investigation follows a 7am series uncovering misconduct and bullying at Sony Music Australia, with one former employee describing a culture entirely dominated by men (7am). 
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100,000 Afghans seeking asylum

More than 100,000 Afghans are estimated to have applied to come to Australia, while hundreds of Australian citizens and permanent residents remain stranded in the country.

“We have 26,000 applications, which is well in excess of 100,000 people applying,” Department of Home Affairs official David Wilden told a Senate committee into Australia's involvement in Afghanistan (SBS).

The discrepancy is because most of the visa applications have multiple people attached to them — usually close family members.

The Australian government has refused to increase its annual cap of 13,750 refugee places in response to the crisis, allocating 3000 of those places to Afghan nationals.

Humanitarian organisations have pressed the Morrison government to take at least 20,000 Afghans.

More than 280 Australian citizens or permanent residents remain in Afghanistan, many of whom are unwilling to depart because they are still trying to get visas for family members (ABC). 

Officials warned that the Taliban are “increasingly interested” in those trying to leave.

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CBA staff seek $16m in pay

The Fair Work Ombudsman is pursuing millions of dollars in fines against Commonwealth Bank for alleged underpayment of staff.

The Commonwealth Bank and Commonwealth Securities Limited are accused of “knowingly” underpaying thousands of employees more than $16m by getting them to sign on to individual agreements that undercut union deals (Nasdaq). 

The maximum penalty is up to $666,000 per breach.

It comes as Commonwealth Bank retains its title as the recipient of the most customer complaints for the third year running (AFR). 

Consumers made 5815 complaints about the bank, while ANZ received the second highest level of complaints.

The overwhelming majority of complaints to the major banks were related to payment services, home loans and credits cards.

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Scientists’ morale plummets

An annual survey of Australian scientists has found job insecurity, fatigue and plummeting morale afflicting the sector.

The Professional Scientists Australia and Science & Technology Australia (STA) survey found nearly two-thirds of scientists reported lower morale in the last 12 months, and 71% reported greater fatigue (InnovationAus). 

At least 17,000 jobs at universities were shed in the first year of the pandemic.

“Every hour or day or week that a scientist spends worrying about whether they have a job in the very short term future is an hour or a day or a week that they’re not spending finding a cure for a rare childhood disease ... or helping Australia to make the transition to a clean energy future,” STA boss Misha Schubert said.

Schubert said the federal government could address the pressure with secure, long-term support via a multi-billion-dollar research translation fund, and better job security in public institutions.

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Jonathan Toebbe placed an SD card concealed within half a peanut butter sandwich at a pre-arranged ‘dead drop’ location.

A US Navy engineer is arrested for attempting to sell American nuclear submarine designs to a foreign power. Whatever problems Australia had with the French submarines it abandoned in favour of a US alternative, at least France doesn’t give away military secrets via the medium of sandwich (Politico).

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Postscript: Man builds rotating house so his wife can change the view

Vojin Kusic built the home in Srbac, northern Bosnia, for his wife Ljubica, who has a penchant for changing views ... Having never had the chance to go to university, Kusic designed and built the rotating house by himself using electric motors and the wheels of an old military transport vehicle (Yahoo).

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