Inside the system

Lifetime ripping off Spaniards forces out a royal

Spanish King Juan Carlos’ recent abdication prompted celebration, as 20,000 people took to the streets of Madrid, alongside protests in 50 cities and towns across the country demanding a republic.

His decades of obscene extravagance enjoyed at the expense of ordinary Spaniards should not be forgotten.
Spain has been hit hard by the economic crisis since 2008, with unemployment at a shocking 26 per cent and ruthless government cutbacks. But in 2012 Juan Carlos caused a scandal by treating himself to a $14,000 per day elephant hunting trip in Botswana, just weeks after saying he was “kept awake at night by the plight of Spain’s youth unemployed”.
This year his daughter Cristina was forced to appear in court over her husband’s suspected money laundering and embezzlement of $8 million in public funds.

It was only in 2013 that Juan Carlos thought to sell off his 40 metre yacht that cost taxpayers $36,000 just to re-fuel. He never even disclosed his annual budget, paid for at taxpayers’ expense, until 2011 when it came in at $12 million a year.
Juan Carlos was only hoisted to the throne due to the wishes of Spain’s fascist dictator General Franco in 1969.
Juan Carlos only maintained his popularity until the hunting incident through a media pact that prevented any reporting on his dodgy business dealings or affairs. He has avoided two separate paternity suits due to his royal status conferring immunity from prosecution. After 40 years on the throne, Spain’s economic crisis has seen him as exposed for what he was all along—a greedy parasite.

No expense shared on hotels for the super-rich

In the aftermath of the economic crisis the super-rich paused their spending on extravagant hotels and holidays, anxious to avoid being caught out in luxury while others were seeing their lives destroyed.

Now spending on ultra-expensive holiday accommodation has rebounded with a vengeance. The rich are spending more than ever before.
The pattern is repeated across the world, with ever more extravagant hotels springing up to meet the demand. In December Rosewood London opened its Manor House Wing. Its six bedrooms and three living rooms, library and eight person dining room are accessible through a private street entrance and private elevator. The $42,000 per night suite also comes with its own postcode.

The super-rich don’t just want luxury hotels, they want them as soon as they snap their fingers. One Spanish hotel, the St. Regis Mardavall, got a call from a German man about the weather. After hearing from the receptionist that the sun was shining he booked the biggest suite available and said he’d be there within the hour. He had been circling above Spain in a private jet.

Boss paid workers in pizza

The owner of two Melbourne pizza restaurants has been hit with $335,000 in fines after paying over 100 young workers in pizza and fizzy drink. Ruby Chand runs the two restaurants as part of the La Porchetta franchise.
Over a period of four years 111 young kitchen hands, cooks and waiters were underpaid by over $250,000, receiving less than the minimum wage and having annual leave entitlements withheld. This appalling exploitation of workers, some teenagers, was exposed after a complaint from a parent.

Chand claimed that staff received half-price pizza and soft drink and that this was “offset” against their wages and entitlements. The business had also made use of government training schemes to claim more than $45,000. Chand’s companies, Bound for Glory Enterprises Pty Ltd and Zillion Zenith International Pty Ltd, were required to back pay wages in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Chaplaincy program linked to homophobia

Abbott’s school chaplaincy program will cost $240 million over four years. Previously schools had the option of employing secular student welfare workers or religious chaplains. Now the funding will be available to employ chaplains only. Some chaplain providers have been linked to extreme homophobia.

Access Ministries provides chaplains for over 300 Victorian schools. Recently it was revealed that one of their volunteers distributed “bible-zines” to year 6 students that said homosexuality was a sin, telling those who think they are gay never to act on it.

Anti-homeless spikes appear in exclusive London suburbs

Anti-homeless spikes installed in London to remove “sleep sites” that the homeless use to shelter from the wind and rain have generated widespread outrage.

Thanks to austerity and cuts to benefits rough-sleeping has increased by 75 per cent over the past three years in the capital.
The spikes were installed on a ledge outside a Tesco supermarket in London’s Regent Street as well as beside the doorway of a luxury apartment complex in Southwark in South London.

After activists covered the spikes in concrete and protesters threatened to converge on the store, Tesco agreed to remove them.

Jobless pregnant women to be denied income

Pregnant women have been refused exemption from the Coalition’s changes to welfare that could see under-30s go six months without support.

Under the current system a pregnant woman is exempt from Centrelink job-seeking obligations once they are six weeks away from giving birth. The fact that 2600 women claimed this exemption in 2011 gives some indication of the scale of devastation that would be wrought by throwing a comparable number of expecting mothers off any form of welfare for months.

When questioned by the Guardian as to whether pregnant women would now face the same draconian treatment as other under-30s a spokeswoman for Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews refused to rule it out. The spokeswoman described it as “encouraging parents to participate in the workforce”.


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