Staff at pubs owned by supermarket giant Woolworths have been ordered to record and share personal information about gamblers in an effort to keep them in gaming rooms longer and lose more money on poker machines. Fairfax reports that two former staff took screenshots of a Google Drive folder shared between 400 pubs owned by Woolworths subsidiary ALH Group, sharing details of the drive with independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie. In a video interview with Wilkie’s office, one of the former employees detailed how staff recorded private information about high-turnover gamblers into a shared file, known as the “high roller register”, so other staff could “easily strike up a conversation with them and build rapport really quickly”. Information such as “what time they normally come in, the teams they barrack for” and how much money they gamble were recorded, in order to “get people to stay for as long as possible, to put as much money into the machines as possible”. Wilkie will speak on the matter in Parliament today, while an ALH spokesperson told Fairfax “we take our responsibilities in providing responsible service of gaming and alcohol most seriously”.
Victoria Police assistant commissioner for professional standards Brett Guerin has resigned after being exposed as the person behind several social media accounts that regularly posted racist, misogynist and sexually graphic comments. Guerin’s online pseudonym, “Vernon Demerest” – a reference to a character from 1970 movie Airport – made references to “cheating dagoes” and “third world dullards”, and made sexually explicit comments about former chief commissioner Christine Nixon. Chief commissioner Graham Ashton said he was “at a loss to explain” Guerin’s “baffling behaviour”. The Age reports that Guerin delivered racist tirades in front of other officers at least twice before.
In more news about terrible men, comedian Tim Ferguson has admitted to writing a series of abusive letters to a TV critic in 1990. Writing for News Corp, reporter Candace Sutton detailed how Ferguson harassed her over several months after she briefly referenced him in a column for The Sun-Herald, by faxing her obscene drawings and writing that he hoped she contracted “leukaemia” and “breast cancer”. Sutton also said neither Fairfax nor ABC management responded adequately when she complained. At the time, Ferguson was a member of comedy trio the Doug Anthony Allstars, whose other members, TV host Paul McDermott and ABC radio host Richard Fidler, said they “were only made aware of the letter and drawings after Tim had sent them”. In a statement, Ferguson said he “apologises unreservedly”.
And sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins has voiced concern over cases of women who complain about sexual harassment and assault having their identities publicly revealed. Speaking to ABC radio, Jenkins said while phenomena such as the #MeToo movement were encouraging, “if media reporting is not helpful, that it will have the opposite effect, and it will deter people from making a complaint”. Jenkins highlighted the naming by The Weekend Australian of the Western Australian woman who submitted a formal complaint of sexual harassment against Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce.
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Indonesia’s Papua province children starving in a land of gold
“Papua has been a sensitive region since it became part of Indonesia in the 1960s following what some historians allege was a flawed UN-supervised vote. Just 1,063 people were selected to vote. The province is incredibly resource rich, home to the world’s biggest gold mine, which is one of Indonesia’s largest taxpayers. The government says Papua is an integral part of Indonesia and that this has been recognised by the United Nations. But a low-level separatist movement, fighting for independence, continues to this day.”bbc
What is white culture, exactly? Here’s what the stats say
“I’m still struggling to make the shift from my previous mindset, where white is the default, the presumed, the baseline. You don’t notice normalcy; you see the deviations from it. So the word ‘white’ could always be hopped over as an adjective. Now, ‘white’ still feels like an absence: an absence of color, an absence of food that is ‘different’ and an absence of a mum who pronounces your name differently from the way your friends do. But if my friend can use ‘white’ as an adjective, then what exactly are they describing?” the guardian
The palm oil problem
“The fields where cutters like Pot and his colleagues work are planted in rows and can be seen from the air when approaching Krabi, a region of southern Thailand. Some of the trees are still quite small, just a tuft of long, green palm leaves protruding from the ground. Others, though, are up to 10 metres tall. Elaeis guineensis, oil palms, are originally from West Africa. It takes three years before their fruits can be harvested for the first time.” spiegel online
How have universities responded to The Red Zone report on campus sexual assault?
“Abuse, bizarre hazing rituals and misogyny are rampant at the nation’s oldest university, according to a damning new report. Some of the rituals allegedly involve male students at Sydney University’s residential colleges masturbating into shampoo bottles belonging to female students and defecating in hallways. The 200-page report will be given to universities today and released later this week.” abc
Early signs are not promising.
“At the same time every year, students at the University of Sydney are violently hazed. The University’s vice chancellor, Michael Spence, has said the university is powerless to stop the practice which involves more senior students subjecting new ones to degrading, humiliating and harmful rituals ... The six largest residential colleges – St Paul’s, St John’s, St Andrew’s, Wesley, Sancta Sophia and the Women’s College – are governed by their own act of state parliament, rather than the university. These foundational acts guarantee the colleges’ independence.” guardian australia
What do we owe the Liberal Party this Mardi Gras?
“The Liberal Party, which specifically outlawed same-sex marriage in 2004, is eager to claim credit for last year’s marriage equality success. This Saturday, the party will have a float in the Mardi Gras parade. But for many queer Australians, the party is synonymous with the pain and suffering inflicted by the postal survey. Here, two writers have their say on what, exactly, the queer community owes the Liberal Party.” junkee