Thursday, December 21, 2017

Work for the Dole death spotlit

The father of an 18-year-old man who died participating in the federal Work for the Dole program has claimed his son was made to continue working despite being injured. Josh Park-Fing died from head injuries in April 2016 after falling from a flatbed trailer being towed by a tractor. BuzzFeed Australia has published text messages Park-Fing sent his father, Ian, the day he died, in which he described how “working for the dole is shot because they over work u n if your hurt your back they say there not filling out any paper work”. Ian Fing told BuzzFeed that his son was not allowed to take a day off work or fill out injury paperwork by employment contractor NEATO, saying “heaps of injuries happen on unregulated Work for the Dole sites”. Injuries on Work for the Dole sites increased more than fivefold in the 2015-16 financial year, with 500 injuries reported. Park-Fing was earning $218.75 for 25 hours’ work a week when he died.

Rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has been accused of raping a woman while playing for the San Francisco 49ers American football team in 2015. Civil lawsuit papers filed with California’s Santa Clara County Court allege Hayne raped a woman at his San Jose home, who “was unable to consent to sexual intercourse” due to intoxication. The Santa Clara district attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case in 2016, having found insufficient evidence to prove the crime of rape beyond reasonable doubt. Hayne is due to return to the Parramatta Eels NRL team in 2018 after leaving the Gold Coast Titans. In a brief statement, the NRL said it was “unlikely to enforce a ban on Jarryd Hayne until the matter is resolved”. A spokesperson for Hayne said he “unequivocally and vehemently denies the allegations”.

Employment minister Michaelia Cash has lost a court bid to avoid handing over documents relating to Australian Federal Police raids on Australian Workers Union offices in October. A federal court ruling on Wednesday will allow union investigators access to documents they believe may show Cash’s personal involvement in authorising the raids, as well as coordination between Cash’s office and the Registered Organisations Commission, amounting to political interference. Cash’s media advisor, David de Garis, resigned after BuzzFeed Australia revealed Cash’s office had tipped off media outlets about the raids before they happened. Cash and other Coalition Senators accused BuzzFeed reporter Alice Workman of partisan bias during a Senate estimates hearing in November, after Workman reported ROC and Fair Work Ombudsman officials joking that they could refuse to answer questions “all day”.

And former politician and cookbook publisher, Lady Flo Bjelke-Petersen, has died at a retirement home in Kingaroy north of Brisbane. Bjelke-Petersen, 97, was a National Party senator from 1981 to 1993, and downplayed the corruption, criminality and authoritarianism that forced her husband, Joh, to resign as Queensland Premier in 1987. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to the Bjelke-Petersens, tweeting that “Joh and Flo devoted their lives to Queensland and its success and dynamism owes so much to their vision and leadership”.

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What happens when the government uses Facebook as a weapon?

“Since being elected in May 2016, Duterte has turned Facebook into a weapon. The same Facebook personalities who fought dirty to see Duterte win were brought inside the Malacañang Palace. From there they are methodically taking down opponents, including a prominent senator and human-rights activist who became the target of vicious online attacks and was ultimately jailed on a drug charge. As Ressa began probing the government’s use of social media and writing stories critical of the new president, the force of Facebook was turned against her.” (Also: Fake news on Facebook fans the flames of hate against the Rohingya in Burmabloomberg businessweek

The red mark

“At the beginning of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war, village captains across Quezon City began submitting names of people believed to be involved in drugs. The names came from residents, sector leaders, along with the neighbours who sometimes sent text messages to the village captain. Other names were culled from forms filled out by surrendered users and dealers, and from the pieces of paper left inside anonymous drop boxes. By 2017, the Quezon City watch list had swelled into a massive database that now has at least 24,000 names.”  rappler

The Sun writers club: Meet the maids reporting Hong Kong’s hidden stories

“The 42-year-old domestic helper usually writes until 5:30am, then takes a bath and begins preparing her employer’s breakfast ... Palma is a contributor to the Filipino community newspaper The Sun, one of about 100 overseas workers in Hong Kong that the free bi-monthly publication has trained in journalism since it was founded 22 years ago this week. The contributors use their one day off each week to report, and often correspond with sources in the brief spare moments between housekeeping, running errands and cooking.” coconuts hong kong

Editor’s note: The stories in today’s shortlist originally came from the latest edition of Dari Mulut ke Mulut, a weekly news digest covering Southeast Asian affairs from freelance journalist Erin Cook. Sign up here.



Is Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ progressive-saviour image all it's cracked up to be?

“A building backing onto the Yarra River in Federation Square will be demolished to make way for a new Apple store. On Wednesday the Andrews government confirmed the tech giant had finalised a deal with Federation Square management to build the new shop where the Yarra building now stands. The announcement triggered a spat with a Melbourne City councillor who said the decision was ‘appalling’, and prompted an avalanche of criticism on Premier Daniel Andrews’ Facebook page.”   the age


Not if you’re in one of Victoria’s bursting prisons.

“Victorian jails will receive $345 million to build more cells in an effort to cope with the state’s increasing prison population. Over the next three years about 470 new beds will be opened in prisons across the state as the Andrews government tries to manage the system’s rapid growth ... In March last year it was revealed Corrections Victoria was so overwhelmed by inmate numbers it was failing to bring prisoners on remand to court appearances.”  the age


and finally:

Here’s every personalised license plate Ohio rejected this year

“The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles got all of America as their Secret Santa gift-ee, and they’ve given us a wonderful gift: a list of all 330 rejected personalized license plates. Some suggest dirty words, or body parts you’re not supposed to show people in public! Some reveal a deep misanthropy among Ohioans! One says ‘BOOBIES!’ There’s something for everyone.” jalopnik

Editor’s note: The Friday, December 22 edition of The Briefing will be the last for the year. The Briefing will resume on Monday, January 29.