Inside the system

Union sued over suicide prevention meeting

Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC), headed by Nigel Hadgkiss, is suing the CFMEU over a suicide prevention meeting at the South Australian Medical Health and Research Institute site in November 2013.

The legal action by the regulator is directed at CFMEU official David Kirner and the union, who allegedly entered the Adelaide site without authorisation to help with a suicide intervention involving one of its members.

The CFMEU says it had permits to arrive without notice and according to Kirner, “The union had to come on site over suicide intervention because workers on the site said one of their mates was in trouble”. Increased deaths on construction sites have coincided with the FWBC’s use of its coercive powers—28 workers died in the construction industry in 2014, up from 17 in 2013.

NT youth to be tracked with ankle bracelets

Any NT youth on bail will be tracked using electronic ankle bracelets as part of a punitive new “law and order” process. The NT has the highest rate of juvenile incarceration in Australia and 95 per cent of the children locked up are Indigenous.

Currently only youth bailed from the Supreme Court can be tracked with ankle bracelets and 108 are currently being worn, but the planned changes will massively increase the scope of the surveillance. Ex-cop Attorney General John Elferink has also upped the ante, renewing a pledge to trial ankle bracelets that not only physically track the wearer, but can also take automatic blood alcohol readings every 30 minutes and transmit the results to a remote database.

Surprise: 50 per cent of Fox’s statements false

Fact check analysis by the Tampa Bay Times has found that over half of the statements made on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News are completely false. 60 per cent of the statements on the US news outlet sat somewhere between “mostly false” and “pants on fire”. Eight per cent were “completely untrue”.

These findings were confirmed by a study coming out of Fairleigh Dickinson University. It found that “people who say they consumed no news” fared better on a current events questionnaire that those who said they looked to Fox.

Queensland private schools Gorge on profits

Elite private schools subsidised by the government are raking in profits and generating millions in surpluses. A recent Queensland Audit Office report found that last year eight Grammar schools in Queensland collectively generated an $18.1 million surplus, up from $11.3 million in 2013.

Three grammar schools in Toowoomba, Rockhampton and Brisbane enjoyed a combined $6.2 million increase in government grants last year, allowing them to spend around $5 million extra on staff. The most profitable school, Toowoomba Grammar, raked in an enormous $5.9 million surplus on its own.

Uranium found in Aboriginal peoples’ water

Unsafe levels of uranium, nitrates and E. Coli were found in the water supply to remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia, according to a report tabled in May by the state’s Auditor General. Regular tests found contamination in the water supply of 68 out of 84 communities examined.

One of the worst contaminated was the west Kimberley community of Jarlmadangah, where microbiological tests failed five months in a row last year.

The report said, “The community told us that by the time they get a note from a failed water test they have already been drinking it for a week or two. They routinely boil water ‘for babies and young ones’.”

Children of Ayatollahs flaunt wealth in Iran

The children of Iran’s bloated Ayatollahs and their hangers on are flaunting their wealth like never before. The ultra-rich offspring of Iran’s elite were pushed onto the front pages of the nation’s newspapers after a series of fatal road accidents involving luxury cars in April.

The cars involved in the accidents were Porsches, Ferraris and Maseratis. According to The Guardian, the owner of the yellow Maserati killed in one accident was Mohammad Hossein Rabbani, Ayatollah Rabbani Shirazi’s grandson.

The “Rich Kids of Tehran” Instagram has become a notorious testament to the big spending of Iran’s 1 per cent. Young men pose next to private helicopters and show off Rolexs and gold plated phones, while young women wear elaborate gowns as they enjoy luxury mansions with vast swimming pools.

Such is life for the children of the Iranian elite who claim to represent “the poor and disinherited”.

Bono defends tax dodging

Bono, lead singer of Irish rock supergroup U2, has defended the band’s tax dodging practices as “smart”.

In 2006 the band moved parts of its business to the Netherlands to take advantage of tax breaks. When questioned about these practices in an interview to promote their upcoming tour, Bono said “It’s just some smart people we have working for us trying to be sensible about the way we’re taxed.”

The band’s front-man, high profile global poverty awareness campaigner and supposed philanthropist, is known for his association with the Band Aid charity albums, Live 8 performances and public anti-poverty meetings with the likes of Tony Blair and George Bush.

This isn’t the first time Bono has hypocritically celebrated the ability of the rich to evade tax with impunity. In late 2014 he faced ridicule after saying Ireland’s miniscule 12.5 percent corporate tax rate “brought our country the only prosperity we’ve known”. As the Irish Unite union pointed out, 25 per cent of Irish people now endure social deprivation thanks to years of austerity. Meanwhile a recent “rich list” put U2’s combined wealth at $843 million.

Things they say

We have got hundreds, maybe thousands of people drowning in the attempts to get from Africa to Europe and I suppose we must grieve for the loss
Tony Abbott shows how little he cares about asylum seeker drownings in the Mediterranean

Some of the ways that Australia acts on these things are tougher than we in Britain and Australia can perhaps stomach.
Even Nigel Farage leader of British anti-immigrant party UKIP’s thinks Abbott’s refugee policies are too extreme

Their wives may have done it and they didn’t know
Treasurer Joe Hockey’s attempt to explain why government ministers have taken up what the government says is “double-dipping” on parental leave

I have used that word ‘rort’ in relation to the scheme itself, not in relation to those using it
Scott Morrison tries to get out of his attack on those “double-dipping” on parental leave

Just answer the frigging question
3AW caller Jo was sick of yelling at her radio after Bill Shorten’s on air meltdown

I dread to think where I’d be without the Army. Bring back National Service
Prince Harry


Solidarity meetings

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