The Morrison government will today unveil legislation that will see casual workers able to apply for permanent roles after a year in the job, but remove the right for misclassified employees to claim billions of dollars in backpay. Employers will be required to offer part-time or full-time roles to people after 12 months if they have worked a regular pattern of hours for the previous six months, and could continue without a significant adjustment to hours. Employers will retain a right to refuse if they have “reasonable grounds” to do so. Unions warn the bill will only entrench casual work. The bill will also seek to cover employers exposed to up to $39 billion in claims, following a court ruling currently under appeal over misclassified casual workers. The government will this week detail further elements of legislation for award simplification, workplace pay negotiation, deals for new worksites, and compliance. A separate bill will encourage disaffected union branches to demerge.
Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has uncovered systemic failings in how the state’s police force handles family violence allegations against its members. The confidential review in September identified issues with a case involving a serving senior constable charged with 70 criminal offences after repeatedly bashing his partner, reports The Age. The problems included police telling the perpetrator, the first serving policeman in five years to be convicted of a criminal offence, of the victim’s “secret plan” to flee the relationship.
New South Wales Police have accepted responsibility for allowing two international arrivals to connect on to a flight from Sydney to Melbourne without entering hotel quarantine. Two German nationals, a 54-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy, landed in Sydney on Saturday, and flew on to Melbourne. Police say they mistakenly believed the pair had a travel exemption. The two are now in quarantine in Victoria along with 181 people, including other passengers of the Melbourne-Sydney flight. The Germans produced a negative test result for Covid-19 with further testing scheduled for Monday.
Victoria has further eased Covid-19 restrictions after 37 consecutive virus-free days, with indoor gatherings now allowed 30 people and outdoor gathering limits rising to 100. Numerical density limits will be replaced with square-metre caps, allowing restaurant and pub capacity to rise, while dance floors will reopen. Masks will be mandatory only in busy indoor places like supermarkets, public transport and in taxis. Masks will still need to be carried at all times and they will be recommended for use when social distancing is difficult.
A bushfire that has burnt more than half of K’gari (Fraser Island) has prompted evacuation orders for the township of Happy Valley. Residents were told by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to leave with the bushfire warning raised to emergency level. An air tanker from New South Wales will today drop gel lines of retardant between the head of the fire and the settlement. More than 80,000 hectares of land have burnt so far.