Inside the system

NT Prison guards torment Aboriginal kids

A 15-year-old Aboriginal boy told a youth forum in September that staff at a juvenile detention centre had made young people fight each other, and rewarded the winner with food.

Travis said, “you get Coke and a chocolate once a week. So, boys, they wanted that a bit more than once a week, so workers would make them fight and stuff and do stuff that kids usually wouldn’t do just so they could get it.” NT Attorney-General John Elferink has confirmed police are investigating allegations in regards to Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre.

Travis also said staff used food to pressure another teenager into eating faeces, filmed it and shared it on social media: “There was [bird] poo sitting on the ground one time and a young fella got dared to eat its shit and they [the guards] videoed it and put it on Snapchat to all their friends and they gave him a Coke and a chocolate.”
A review into an alleged riot at the centre last year found staff had placed young people in solitary confinement for periods of between six and 17 days and unnecessarily used tear gas and restraints including hand-cuffs and spit hoods.

CSIRO ship rented out to Chevron and BP

A high-tech CSIRO marine research ship has been rented out to multinational energy giants Chevron and BP. The vessel, called the Investigator, will spend two months mapping the Southern Ocean to enable exploration for petroleum resources. The Investigator would otherwise have been out of action due to government under-funding.

Much of the ship’s state of the art technology would normally be used to study the effects of climate change. Now, Chevron will be the first to charter the vessel from 22 October, followed by BP, which already has well developed plans to drill in the Bight. To top it all off, the areas to be surveyed by the mega polluters actually overlap with a Marine Reserve.

The work will even be done by 35 CSIRO scientists and staff from associated institutions. CSIRO director of strategy Toni Moate has celebrated the deal, saying “This will ensure Australia remains attractive as a frontier exploration area whilst maintaining Australian scientific expertise and capability”.

Trucking magnate invites MPs on luxury cruise

Trucking billionaire Lindsay Fox, owner of Linfox, has embarrassed government and opposition front-benchers by inviting them on his “once in a lifetime” luxury birthday cruise for his 80th birthday.

The all-expenses-paid ten day jaunt through the Mediterranean is purported to cost around $1400 per person per day.

According to a source speaking to The Australian, Fox, a BRW rich-lister worth over $2 billion, has chartered a 294 passenger cruise ship for the occasion.

Travel industry sources enthused over the benefits of the top-end cruise ships previously used by Fox, saying, “It’s the intimate, relaxed setting and the alcohol is all-inclusive”. The cruise will pass through Venice and the Greek port of Piraeus. Thoroughbred horse owner and property developer Lloyd Williams has confirmed his attendance.

Volkswagen busted for greenwashing

Volkswagen (VW) has lost its “Green Car of the Year” prize after a massive pollution-cheating scandal. On 18 September US environmental regulators announced the company had violated air-quality rules, by installing software that enabled 500,000 diesel cars to evade emissions limits for nitrogen oxide and other harmful pollutants.

The software was used to falsely present diesel cars as just as clean as petrol alternatives. But VW diesel cars were spewing out 40 times the legally permissible level of nitrogen oxides.

Green Car Journal announced it was rescinding VW’s 2009 prize for the Jetta TDI after VW admitted it intentionally deceived the government about emissions levels.

Ron Cogan of the Green Car Journal said, “These models were selected as Green Car of the Year above others for compelling reasons, including high fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, a fun-to-drive nature, and the ability to meet 50 state emissions requirements with advanced diesel technology.” VW said they agreed with the decision.

One in five big companies pay no tax

The Australian Tax Office has revealed shocking statistics showing more than one in five private companies with revenue over $100 million pay zero tax. When questioned by Senators the ATO’s deputy commissioner, Michael Cranston, admitted that the figure was partly a product of large-scale tax evasion, or as he calls it “aggressive tax planning”.

The revelations come as the Coalition presses ahead with plans to allow private companies to avoid public disclosure of their tax payments, or lack thereof.

A successful campaign by private business pushing the changes actually argued that public disclosure increases the risk of company owners being targeted for kidnapping.

A UNSW expert on financial disclosure, Jeffrey Knapp, responded by saying it was “the stupidest excuse for non-disclosure I’ve ever heard”.

Productivity Commission says cut wages during natural disasters

A review initiated by the Abbott Government has recommended that wages be cut during droughts and cyclones.

According to the report, “The Fair Work Commission has considered submissions from several industry groups seeking exceptional circumstances deferrals or exemptions in relation to a range of natural disasters, including droughts, floods and cyclones”.

The Chairman of the Productivity Commission, Peter Harris, said he thought Fair Work already had the power to cut wages in such “exceptional circumstances” but Fair Work said it was a “legal grey area”.

Things they say

Here’s the rule in the Liberal Party—if you win, you did the right thing. They’re the rules of the Liberal Party.
Former Liberal Treasurer, Peter Costello, in a moment of honesty, reflecting on the deep principles of the party

For people on $40,000 and $50,000 and $60,000 dollars a year, penalty rates are the difference as to whether or not they can afford to send their kids to a private school.
Bill Shorten tries to wrap his head around why workers are so attached to penalty rates—and fails

I was grateful for the support my government’s reforms got from sections of the media, including The Australian.
Tony Abbott stating the obvious – behind every failed conservative PM, there is a right-wing rag.

I’m a former journalist for The Australian and an avid reader of The Australian, and The Australian is one of the world’s great newspapers.
ex Prime Minister Tony Abbott, making overtures to Rupert Murdoch for a new job?

They have got a nerve to ridicule people like me who tried to actually get things done. And they have always ridiculed and sneered. They have never actually given any benefit of the doubt or been prepared to see the big picture.
Former Qld Premier Campbell Newman talking about the media in an authorised biography and sounding just like Tony Abbott

The Medicare co-payment was necessary to end the ‘something-for-nothing mindset’.
ex Prime Minister Tony Abbott, revealing everything about his own mindset.

It’s actually work that we’re very proud of because it’s all about care and welfare.
Diane Smith-Gander Chair of Transfield Services talking about running detention on Manus and Nauru

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