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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

ABC staff to walk off job next week – as it happened

ABC staff to walk off job next week – as it happened

The move comes after union members rejected a revised offer from management.

The Community and Public Sector Union and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance held meetings on Wednesday and resolved that the sticking point is inadequate career pathways for ABC employees.

ABC employees will stop work for an hour at 7am and 3pm on Wednesday 22 March.

A planned strike was called off last week after ABC managing director David Anderson put forward a revised offer.

And that is all for this evening. Here is a wrap of today’s big news:

Queensland Greens MP accuses committee of trying to ‘bury’ submission on youth crime

Queensland Greens MP Michael Berkman has accused a parliamentary committee of attempting to “bury” a whistleblower’s submission during a heated debate on the state’s controversial youth crime laws.

Watch house officer Steven Marshall’s submission to the state’s economic and governance committee detailed “human rights breaches” he claims he witnessed at Brisbane City watch house between 2018 and 2019.

The submission – which was quickly removed from the parliament website – outlined shocking allegations such as “illegal strip searches”, adults exposing themselves to children and staff wrapping towels around prisoners’ heads to avoid spit hood protocols.

Guardian Australia unsuccessfully sought a statement from the committee about why the submission was removed.

Berkman tabled Marshall’s submission to parliament on Wednesday as he claimed the committee had chosen to “bury” it rather than “shining some light” on it.

“I now table a copy of that submission so that it’s at least on the record in this debate,” he said.

Queensland police confirmed on Tuesday they were reviewing claims outlined in the submission, noting it was published by the committee “very briefly and then withdrawn”.

A police spokesperson said “an enquiry was made to the committee regarding the existence of submission 58 due to the QPS noting a discrepancy when cross-checking submissions against the list”.

The state parliament is debating the youth crime bill this week, which includes making breach of bail an offence for children and expanding an electronic monitoring trial for children as young as 15.

During the debate, Berkman was asked to leave the chamber before accusing the government of driving “a baseless, media driven response that suspends the Human Rights Act on four occasions to deny children their rights.”

This is a disgraceful piece of legislation and I hope each and every one of these members of the government feels shame.

Health minister Yvette D’Ath defended the government’s response, saying the laws were specifically targeted towards serious, repeat offenders.

The Greens’… position, it ignores all of the investment [the] government has made and continues to make to try to change the direction of the young kids’ lives going forward.”

What is really important is not just the time they spend in detention, but what we do to support them through the process … and [that] wraparound support.

David Pocock: money in housing future fund ‘won’t even touch the sides’

Labor’s housing future fund is the backdrop of debate as Senate crossbenchers and independents demand more ambition to tackle Australia’s housing crisis.

Though the $10 billion proposal passed the lower house in February, Greens and independents in the Senate worry it doesn’t go far enough, AAP reports.

The allocated money will finance 30,000 social and affordable homes in the first five years. But as a parliamentary committee examines plans for the fund’s implementation, independent senator David Pocock says the allocated money is “not going to even touch the sides”.

He says the fund was on track to provide just 540 homes when there were 3,100 people on his jurisdiction’s social housing waiting list.

It sounds like a lot of money but when you break that down into available payments to build and maintain social homes, that money runs out pretty quickly.

The government will require the Greens’ vote to pass the bill – but they are calling for the removal of a $500 million annual spending cap, and for a minimum $5 billion to be invested every year.

In a submission to the committee, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Housing Association also called on the government to clarify the rationale behind the $500m annual limit.

Community Housing Industry Association chief executive officer Wendy Hayhurst recommended some tweaks but suggested the fund could be easily upscaled.

While the initial housing targets are modest, the HAFF can be scaled over time with regular top-ups and this could become the source of ongoing dependable funding needed to make inroads into the shortfalls in social affordable rental housing.

Workers in Australia’s Antarctic Division ‘left out of pocket’

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission arguing many Antarctic expeditioners are owed thousands of dollars in unpaid meal allowances.

Expeditioners from across the country are required to stay in hotels while they complete pre-departure training in Hobart. This usually takes two to four weeks, but shipping delays meant some staff stayed in hotels for three months late last year.

Due to a housing shortage in Hobart, some expeditioners were given accommodation without kitchen facilities. The union said some staff received meal allowances while others did not. It alleges one person resorted to boiling eggs in a kettle.

Here’s the statement from the CPSU’s Tasmanian regional secretary, Zac Batchelor:

Workers in Australia’s Antarctic Division have been left out of pocket because of delays to expeditions that are out of their control, and their own employer’s refusal to appropriately support them during that time.

If an expeditioner is recruited to do a job that requires training in a different location and the department organises and funds that travel, then that person is, as far as the union is concerned, travelling and entitled to the allowances that come with that.

In the midst of an emerging recruitment and retention crisis, the last thing the AAD can afford to do right now is drain its own candidate pool.

A Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water spokesperson declined to comment “as the matter is subject to legal proceedings”.

The union said 301 expeditioners and head office staff have signed a petition calling on the department to pay uniform meal allowances to expeditioners.

Another class action to be launched against AFL over concussion-related injuries

AAP reports lead plaintiffs in the action include former Melbourne star Shaun Smith, Adelaide Crows premiership player Darren Jarman and the family of the late Shane Tuck.

Griffins Lawyers will file legal papers in Victoria’s supreme court by Friday seeking damages after eight years of working on the case.

Managing partner Greg Griffin says up to 300 players could join the action.

Through no fault of the players, they’ve been damaged in many respects.

There are many stories to be told, a lot of them aren’t very happy or pleasant, but they need to be told.

An AFL spokesperson says the health and safety of its players is a top priority.

The AFL takes concussion and the protection of the brain health of all those playing our game extremely seriously.

The AFL has made more than 30 changes to tribunal guidelines and on-field rules over the past two decades to further protect the head and annually updates the concussion guidelines to improve the response to head knocks in our game in accordance with current and evolving science.

Just a day earlier, Margalit Injury Lawyers lodged action seeking up to $1 billion in compensation from the AFL for players who sustained concussion-related injuries between 1985 and March 14 2023.

The move comes after union members rejected a revised offer from management.

The Community and Public Sector Union and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance held meetings on Wednesday and resolved that the sticking point is inadequate career pathways for ABC employees.

ABC employees will stop work for an hour at 7am and 3pm on Wednesday 22 March.

A planned strike was called off last week after ABC managing director David Anderson put forward a revised offer.

Queensland Greens introduce climate transition bill

A Greens proposal would see Queensland fossil fuel exports end in less than a decade in an effort to cut the state’s carbon emissions, AAP reports.

MP Michael Berkman tabled a bill in state parliament yesterday to set up an independent authority to work on a transition plan with coal and gas workers, including a job-for-job guarantee and free re-skilling.

Berkman says the state government doesn’t account for exported fossil fuels in its emissions data, but they still contribute to climate change in Queensland:

When we take into account our coal and gas exports, Australia’s absolute carbon footprint is among the highest in the world, roughly equal with Russia.

It’s a great shame that Queensland, identified as a potential leader in green steel manufacturing by experts … is already falling behind on this.

NSW fire weather warning

The NSW Bureau of Meteorology has issued an extreme fire danger forecast for the Southern Ranges and Central Ranges districts going into Thursday.

Full points for ‘credibility and transparency’

New misinformation firm NewsGuard gives the ABC, the Australian and Guardian Australia full points on “credibility and transparency”.

The marking criteria included gathering and presenting information responsibly, regularly correcting errors, responsibly handling differences between news and opinion, avoiding deceptive headlines, and clearly disclosing ownership.

Search on for youths who allegedly mistreated penguins

Authorities are investigating claims several young people mistreated little penguins on the foreshore of Burnie in Tasmania, AAP reports.

An onlooker called the police at 6:30pm on Sunday after witnessing the incident.

One penguin is being cared for by a vet and will undergo surgery due to its injuries.

The Burnie foreshore is home to colonies of penguins, and holds dusk tours between October and March as the birds return from feeding at sea.

In 2018 a man bludgeoned six little penguins to death at Sulphar Creek, just ten minutes away from Burnie. He was sentenced to 49 hours of community service.

Tasmania’s Parks and Wildlife Service is investigating the recent incident, and Tasmania Police sergeant Ben Elliot said police are “seeking public assistance”:

Police are seeking public assistance to identify those involved, particularly a young female who was carrying a distinctive, brightly coloured backpack.

We are urging anyone with information about the incident, including the identity of the youths, to contact police.

Safeguard mechanism explained

For anyone wanting to catch up on what the safeguard mechanism is – and don’t we all – this explainer is a place to start:

This piece gives some more up-to-date information about the sticking points in the negotiations between the government and the Senate crossbench:

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