Thursday, September 14, 2017

Asylum seeker families lose claim

The families of asylum seekers who died in a boat crash off Christmas Island in 2010 have lost a lawsuit against the federal government. At least 50 people drowned when their boat crashed into cliffs off the island after bad weather and high seas made tracking the vessel “nigh on impossible”. The suit, which was launched in June 2014, alleged the government breached its duty of care in not rescuing their loved ones. The New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that the government had no control over the vessel, the weather or the asylum seekers’ decision to travel to Australia.

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss has stepped down after admitting to breaking workplace laws. On Tuesday Hadgkiss admitted he directed the ABCC not to publish new laws allowing union officials greater access to worksites. Labor and unions have demanded the resignation of employment minister Michaelia Cash, who admitted to learning of Hadgkiss’ wrongdoing in October 2016. Cash defended Hadgkiss’ tenure, saying he had aided in “restoring the rule of law” in the building industry “despite relentless opposition and appalling intimidation from lawless construction unions”. Responding to the news of Hadgkiss’ resignation, the Australian Council of Trade Unions released a statement reading: “Good”.

Actor Rebel Wilson has won a record defamation payout of more than $4.5 million against publisher Bauer Media. Wilson, who sued in July 2016, claimed Bauer titles Woman’s Day, Women’s Weekly, OK Magazine and New Weekly impacted her career with a series of articles claiming she lied about her age and other aspects of her past. Unlike many previous celebrity defamation cases, Wilson was willing to talk about the damage the coverage did to her career, telling the court she was sacked from two high-profile movies after the Bauer allegations went public. The size of the payout is expected to have an immediate impact on the glossy magazine industry, which regularly publishes unverified gossip and innuendo on celebrities.

And in fake-news news, marriage equality opponents briefly seized on “evidence” that Australia Post was tampering with postal votes, only to be sucked in by an internet joke. Sydney-based engineer and online-based idiot Dan Nolan caused widespread outrage after jokingly claiming to be an Australia Post employee “using a torch to check all ballots and throw out ALL no votes”. After the tweet was initially picked up as legitimate by the Vote NO Australia Facebook page, sparking several death threats, Australia Post clarified that Nolan “does not work for Australia Post” and warned that “tampering with mail is a federal offence”. A similar incident occurred in October 2016, when someone jokingly claiming to be an Ohio United States Postal Service worker “ripping up absentee ballots that vote for Trump” went viral. As someone who has the profound misfortune of knowing Dan personally, I can assure readers the incident is fake and by no means the dumbest thing he’s ever done.

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Open Quotemarks

So many warnings to Turnbull about what this postal vote could unleash. Now my godson Sean has been punched while sitting at his bus stop.

Close Quotemarks
KEVIN RUDD UNLEASHES ABOUT THE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE POSTAL VOTE
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A NEW PODCAST FROM SCHWARTZ MEDIA
Episode 2: The economics of mental health
Richard Denniss on how political debates are harming our mental health, with special guests Allan Fels, Gemma Carey and Eleanor Malbon.

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Angela Merkels quiet power

“Minutes later, the refugees arrived. Scores of exhausted men, women and children, clutching grimy plastic bags and battered holdalls, trudging along behind a police escort. For a moment the watching crowd was completely silent. Then someone began to applaud. Slowly the faces of the refugees brightened. The crowd, the cheers, the homemade welcome banners were all for them. Angela Merkel had just taken the biggest gamble of her political career.” bbc

If we fail

“The climate crisis is often imagined as a sudden, all-encompassing, simultaneous collapse in which agriculture fails, the seas flood in, disease spreads, and human civilization crumbles into Hobbesian war of all against all. But in reality, some crises will appear more immediately and others will take a long time to arrive, and if we act with speed and purpose some can still be avoided.” jacobin

Undercover in Temp Nation

“We are forming and packing raw, circular pastry dough into wet plastic trays – a shoulder-crunching task called pinching. These may well be the croissants you eat for breakfast. Supervisors shout at us to wake up. They shout at us to move faster, pinch nicer, work harder. No one talks through the noise and exhaustion ... Across the province, more and more people are relying on temp agencies to find work. When they do, statistics show they are more likely to get hurt on the job. I am undercover to investigate why.” toronto star

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Q. 

Who wants to take a punt at what’s causing this weather?

“An out-of-control bushfire in the New South Wales Hunter Valley was threatening houses on Wednesday as firefighters battled a number of fires amid unseasonable heat with Sydney experiencing its hottest September day on record ... Sydney was the hottest capital city in the country on Wednesday, with a maximum forecast temperature of 33 – about 13 degrees above average and the hottest September day since record-keeping began 159 years ago.”   guardian australia

A. 

Besides cultural Marxism? The usual.

“Australia’s warmest winter on record has combined with the ninth driest winter on record to produce the increased bushfire threat. Australian National University researcher Dr Marta Yebra is working on a space-based system to predict moisture content in forests. ‘Bushfires have been part of Australian landscapes for a long time, but with climate change the fires are getting more severe and frequent’, Dr Yebra said.”  abc

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and finally:

I have spent YEARS designing the iPhone 9 and I’m mad as hell

“For the last three years it has been my sole duty to create the iPhone 9: a phone that was supposed to come after the very bad iPhone 8, and before the wonderful 10. I have worked diligently, and I am proud of my work. I was certain that the iPhone 9, my beautiful baby, would astound the tech world and usher in a new era for the company. The bastard Tim Cook has stabbed me in the back and taken everything from me.” mashable

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor, and a former editor of Junkee.