Fair Work backs paid domestic violence leave

Millions of Australians will be able to access 10 days of paid domestic violence leave under a landmark decision by the Fair Work Commission.

What we know:

  • The Fair Work Commission has made a provisional decision that 2.6m permanent employees should be able to access the leave on a yearly basis at their base rate of pay (AFR $); 
  • The full bench of the industrial umpire found that financial support was necessary to help employees leave a violent relationship, and it was unlikely to create a substantial cost for employers;
  • In reaching its decision, the commission received information that 1-in-4 women and 1-in-13 men experienced at least one incident of domestic violence (The Age); 
  • The Australian Council of Trade Unions, which led the case, said the ruling was “a generational achievement for millions of women” and called for the next federal government to expand the paid leave to all workers;
  • A union petition on the issue has attracted more than 23,000 signatures;
  • Business groups claimed the leave would act as a disincentive to employing women and came too soon after the introduction of five days’ unpaid domestic violence leave four years ago;
  • The Coalition voted against a move by Labor in the Senate to legislate 10 days’ paid leave last September, arguing that the Fair Work Commission was handling the matter;
  • The commission will consult with interested parties, giving them an opportunity to object, before the decision is cemented and details are finalised.
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Turnbull knocks super housing scheme

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has joined a wave of critics of the Coalition’s plan to allow first home buyers to tap into their super, warning it would inflate home prices and undermine retirement savings.

What we know:

  • Turnbull joined super funds and another former leader in Paul Keating in denouncing the plan, which allows first home buyers with at least a 5% deposit to withdraw 40%, or up to $50,000 to put towards mortgages (SMH); 
  • “It undermines the objective of superannuation and serves to inflate property prices,” Turnbull said, calling for more housing supply instead;
  • Liberal senator for NSW Andrew Bragg called for the scheme to be expanded further, to allow all homeowners to pay off their mortgages using their super;
  • Economist Saul Eslake warned the proposal would supercharge the market and had no cap on the number of people who could take it up, unlike other housing schemes (Crikey); 
  • He said it would enable couples to pay “up to $600,000 more for housing than they otherwise would” as they could borrow up to as much as four times the amount drawn from super;
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there would not be supply ­issues because of a separate proposal to encourage empty-nesters to downsize (The Australian $); 
  • The Coalition claimed the scheme would reduce the time taken to save for a deposit by three years.
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New Zealand pitches green plan

The New Zealand government has unveiled NZ$2.9bn in spending to reduce emissions as it ramps up efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

The plan includes:

  • NZ$569m to pay lower-income families to scrap their old petrol guzzlers and replace them with cleaner hybrid or electric cars (stuff.co.nz); 
  • $350m to improve access to low-impact transport like walking, cycling and public transport, and $40m to decarbonise all buses by 2035 (RNZ); 
  • $330m for energy efficiency improvements for businesses;
  • Implementation of nationwide kerbside food waste collection by 2030;
  • A ban on new fossil fuel energy generation by 2024 (NZ Herald). 
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Inner-city elites a bit rich for Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested voters in inner-city Liberal seats are turning to independent challengers because they are sheltered from economic problems.

In an interview with Leigh Sales on 7.30, Morrison was asked why so many voters in blue-ribbon Liberal seats were considering voting for the “teal” independents (The Age). 

Morrison replied that voters in seats such as Wentworth, North Sydney and Kooyong felt more insulated from ups and downs in the economy.

“As time has gone on, many of these places are less vulnerable to the impacts of the economy, compared to places where I’ve been today,” he said, referencing the Queensland seats of Blair and Leichhardt.

It comes as Liberals in threatened inner-city electorates launch a fresh wave of endorsements from Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on climate change without any mention of Morrison (SMH). 

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Tonga eruption felt in space

The eruption of Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano was the largest explosion documented by researchers since 1883, a new study has confirmed.

The research, published in the journal Science, found the January 2022 eruption was similar in size to the Krakatoa explosion in Indonesia in the 19th century (Cosmos).

Researchers say that atmospheric waves produced from the massive eruption circled the entire globe four times in one direction, and three times in the other.

A separate study published this week found that winds produced by these waves reached more than 1100kmh and rose up to an altitude of about 450km, where they influenced weather patterns in space.

“This is something we’ve only previously seen with strong geomagnetic storms, which are a form of weather in space caused by particles and radiation from the sun,” said co-author Dr Joanne Wu, a physicist at UC Berkeley.

The eruption caused a tsunami and spread ash across the Pacific Islands, cutting off communications (The Saturday Paper). 

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A broad, comprehensive roadmap for Australia’s arts and culture that touches all areas of government, from cultural diplomacy in foreign affairs to health to education.

Shadow Minister for the Arts Tony Burke MP holds a special event at Melbourne’s Esplanade Hotel, where he revealed his bold plan to one day come up with a bold plan for the arts industry (ArtsHub).

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Postscript: Hospitality worker to use 40% of super to move into first car

A man who has amassed $3,450 in super over his 10 years working in the hospitality industry has welcomed the government’s new super home-buying scheme, saying he’ll finally be able to afford to put a deposit on a second-hand car to live in. Jake McGuinness, 31, said he’d always dreamed of unlocking his four-figure superannuation nest-egg so he could get a foothold in the secondhand car market (The Shovel).

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