The federal government has shut the Christmas Island detention centre more than 10 years after it first opened. Hundreds of asylum seekers have been moved to detention centres on the mainland since June 30, with the final group of detainees leaving the island on Sunday. Immigration minister David Coleman told Fairfax the closure was “another example of the Coalition government cleaning up Labor’s mess”. Thousands of detainees passed through the centre since it opened in 2008, becoming a symbol of the offshore detention policy of successive Australian governments.
Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus has laid out the union movement’s demands ahead of the next federal election, including a return to industry-wide bargaining and the introduction of a living wage. Speaking to the John Curtin Research Centre on Thursday, McManus said “single enterprise bargaining has failed in so many industries because business owners are encouraged to undercut one another to compete on wage costs”. Industrial relations minister Kelly O’Dwyer seized on the speech, saying it was “a recipe for industrial conflict and chaos not seen since the 1970s”.
A funeral insurer criticised by the royal commission into the banking and finance sectors for targeting Aboriginal children gave out toys and showbags at an Indigenous rugby league tournament at the long weekend. The Aboriginal Community Benefit Fund, which has no ties to Indigenous communities and has no Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people on its board, was exposed targeting Aboriginal children for expensive funeral plans by recruiting “dark-skinned” door-to-door salespeople and incorporating the rainbow serpent into its marketing material. Financial Rights Legal Centre solicitor Mark Holden told the ABC he saw an ACBF stall at the Koori Knockout in Dubbo, where branded plush toys and miniature footballs were handed out to people who gave ACBF their contact details. A spokesperson for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said it was investigating the incident.
And consumer advocacy group Choice has awarded the 2018 Shonky Awards for the most unreliable, dishonest and shoddy products in the Australian marketplace. Winners included the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Dollarmites school banking program for mixing “unchecked corporate power with primary schools”, timeshare programs run by hotel chain Marriott for being “938 per cent more expensive than similar accommodation sourced on an online booking site”, and the KitchenAid two-slice toaster for “miserably failing its only job”: to toast sliced bread. “Our seven 2018 winners follow a long tradition of highlighting why we need to hold companies to account for their bad behavior and why we need stronger laws to protect Australians,” Choice chief executive Alan Kirkland said.