Wednesday, March 07, 2018

New ‘super union’ gets green light

The Fair Work Commission has approved a merger between the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Maritime Union of Australia and the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia. The new union, which will begin operations on March 27, will have more than 140,000 members, making it one of the largest unions in Australia. CFMEU national secretary Michael O’Connor said the new CFMMEU would “be fighting every day to restore the fair go”. The merger was strongly opposed by the government, with workplace minister Craig Laundy warning that the new union would “have the opportunity to disrupt the supply chain at any stage of the journey between arrival at the port and installation at the building site” if it chose to strike.

Federal education minister Simon Birmingham has resisted calls to criminalise “hazing” practices at university residential colleges. Student activists have been calling for the repeal of laws granting self-governing status to elite colleges such as the University of Sydney’s St Paul’s College, alleging widespread abuse of students in orientation week hazing rituals. Speaking to Fairfax, Birmingham said he did not “think the case that there is a gap in the law has been clearly made”, and that victims already had “clear pathways to complaint and to have actions applied in relation to sexual harassment”. Advocacy group End Rape on Campus recommended a hazing ban in its recent report on campus abuse, The Red Zone, urging government intervention to combat sexual abuse and assault at universities.

Federal health minister Greg Hunt has ordered an investigation into private health fund Bupa’s decision to reduce cover for some services. The changes mean Bupa would no longer cover conditions such as pregnancy and birth for restricted-cover customers. Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon asked Hunt to investigate whether Bupa’s decision was legal, saying the “unconscionable” move amounted to “one big leap towards managed care”. A spokesperson for Hunt said “the minister has written to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and asked him to review and investigate this action”.

And Victorian parliament is expected to pass legislation abolishing the “Ellis” legal defence, historically used by the Catholic Church to prevent child sexual abuse victims pursuing large compensation claims. The defence, based on a 2007 New South Wales court case, protects church assets from compensation claims made by abuse victims on the grounds that the church cannot be held responsible for the crimes of individuals. Premier Daniel Andrews said the legislation would “quash an unfair legal loophole preventing child abuse survivors from suing some organisations for their abuse”.

Open Quotemarks

I did try with Nick Xenophon once but he took me on a cheap date – cheapskate. He took me to Kentucky Fried Chicken so that was it.

Close Quotemarks

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Can Venezuela be saved?

“The list of world leaders who have called on the Venezuelan government to release López includes Angela Merkel of Germany, Emmanuel Macron of France, Theresa May of Britain and Justin Trudeau of Canada; it is that rarest of political causes on which Barack Obama and Donald Trump are in agreement. López has become a kind of symbol. His name and face are emblazoned on billboards, T-shirts and banners – but there’s disagreement on precisely what he represents.” the new york times magazine

Something mysterious is killing captive gorillas

“Like many captive male gorillas, Mokolo suffers from heart disease – specifically, fibrosing cardiomyopathy, a condition that turns healthy heart muscle into bands of scar tissue too rigid to pump blood. While heart disease is nearly absent in wild populations, it’s the leading killer of captive male gorillas around the world. Some 70 percent of adult male gorillas in North America have heart disease, and many die prematurely as a result.”the atlantic

How to raise a boy

“Trained by superhero movies, inspired by planet-straddling athlete-gods and tech tycoons more powerful than entire governments, boys are reared to tame their aggressions, then asked to navigate a bleak, winner-take-all economic landscape. Thanks in part to more enlightened attitudes about gender and parenting, it is hard not to see male entitlement and aggression as toxic forces degrading our culture. But it is also hard not to notice that the world is now run by the aggressive and the bullying.” the cut



What does the NRL consider worse than one of its players threatening to kill people?

“The family terrorised by NRL player Matthew Lodge during a drunken New York rampage say they have never received an apology and they believe the NRL is condoning violence by giving Lodge a contract when he hasn’t paid court-ordered restitution. Speaking for the first time, Manhattan couple Ruth Fowler and Joseph Cartright say they were ‘stunned’ and ‘infuriated’ to see Lodge welcomed back into professional rugby league despite not paying a cent of damages for his 2015 home invasion.”  fairfax


A man innocently pissing in his own face. (Look, I know that’s not great either, but it wasn’t someone else’s face was it.)

“North Queensland are set to hand Todd Carney an NRL lifeline by offering the controversial playmaker a one-season contract. The 31-year-old signed late last year for Cairns-based Queensland Cup side Northern Pride, who are a feeder club to the Cowboys, but is desperate for a return to the top grade ... Carney, a Dally M medal winner in 2010, has not played in the NRL since 2014 after he was sacked for the infamous bubbler incident.”  guardian australia


and finally:

How to win an argument by yelling, ‘We’re saying the same thing!’

“It’s important to feel free to express yourself and to stand strong in your beliefs, but sometimes we all get stuck in arguments that feel like they just won’t end. Maybe you both believe the same thing, but slightly differently, or maybe you don’t agree on anything at all but you don’t want to admit it. So here’s how to politely wrap things up while also winning the argument by yelling, ‘We’re saying the same thing!’ ” reductress