Inside the system

Qantas to make $1 billion after axing 5000 jobs

Qantas is on track for a $1 billion profit this year after it cried poor two years ago and demanded 5000 job cuts. The 234 per cent profit increase took airline’s half-year profit to $688 million. The mega-profits were driven by a drop in oil prices which saved the company $488 million in costs.

Shareholders will reap major rewards. The company is buying back $500 million worth of its shares which will crank up the value of the remaining shares on the market.

When the job cuts were announced in 2014 Transport Workers Union Secretary Tony Sheldon refused to put up a serious fight. He said the union would “discuss cost-saving measures to mitigate job losses”.

Now it seems there is no shortage of profits, running costs are dramatically down and shareholders are raking it in; but the jobs are gone anyway. To add insult to injury, Qantas is attempting to impose a pay freeze in upcoming Enterprise Agreements. Linda White, the assistant national secretary for the Australian Services Union, said the company’s huge profits were “going to make it a bit hard” to ask her members to accept a wage freeze. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce is on $12 million a year. The ASU took aim at his hypocrisy on Facebook, saying, “Qantas announce record breaking profits as Alan Joyce, the $12 million man, tells workers to take a wage freeze. That’s cold.”

Mushroom farm migrant workers underpaid $92,000

Fifty-two migrant workers at a Hunter Valley mushroom farm in NSW were underpaid a total of over $90,000 over an 11 month period between 2013 and 2014. The mostly Taiwanese and Chinese workers couldn’t speak much English. The outrageous rip off was uncovered by a Fair Work investigation into the horticultural industry.

This latest scandal comes after companies including 7-11, Domino’s Pizza and other agricultural suppliers to Coles and Woolworths such as Zerella in South Australia have been exposed for underpaying workers.
Farm operator Gromor Enterprises outsourced its workforce through labour provider TDS International Investment Group. This left workers on a flat hourly rate of only $16.37. For staff picking, weighing and packing the fungi this should have been increased to $20.14 and then $21.08. Including public holiday rates pay should have been as high as $37.95 under the horticulture award, more than double what the workers received. One worker took a $6938 hit.

Education Department corruption exposed in Victoria

The Victorian Education Department spent $1.4 million on over the top entertainment and gimmicks to promote their $180 million dollar “Ultranet IT” project. The project was supposed to establish an online platform that connected teachers, parents and students. But it collapsed due to technical problems on the day it was launched.

The revelations came during an ongoing inquiry into the 2010 project by Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC). The lunatic promotional spending included a specially designed Ultranet bus and a professional Ultranet themed song and dance routine performed in front of department staff, principals and corporate partners, to the tune of the Madonna song, Material Girl.

Meanwhile, the cost of the project blew out from $60 million to a possible $240 million. The inquiry heard that senior executives within the education department bought shares in the company that received the government tender for the failed project, CSG Limited. They declared no conflict of interest.

Wages growth hits 18 year low

Wages growth has hit an 18 year low thanks to company cost-cutting, low inflation and longer hours at work.

In the period from October to December wages rose only 2.2 per cent, the lowest since the index was established in 1998 and practically level with core inflation of 2.1 per cent. In the private sector wage growth was even lower, at just 2 per cent.

Employment actually rose in the last three months of 2015. But analysis by Macquarie Wealth found that an increase in the number of hours people are working meant, “average earnings per employee in the economy actually declined.” Workers are doing more hours but taking home less pay as the mining boom tails off. Bosses want workers pay for the economic slowdown.

School says gay author visit ‘not appropriate’

Will Kostakis, an award winning author of young adult books, has had a speaking visit to a Catholic school cancelled, days after he came out as gay on his blog. This decision was spurred by an ex-boyfriend being diagnosed with cancer.

Less than a week later he received a cancellation email from De La Salle College in Revesby Heights in Sydney, a school he had visited previously. The letter stated, “We were reading over your blog and I think it might not be appropriate, and parents might not be happy.” The letter also expressed concern about Kostakis’ new book, which has a gay character, saying, “We have a concern about promoting your new book at our school as it is a Catholic school”.

Kostakis told Fairfax that the right-wing attacks on the Safe Schools Program had encouraged homophobia. He said he spoke out on his blog because “I want to add my voice, however quiet it is, at the end of a week when every idiot in parliament is making links between Safe Schools and sex shops”.

Poker champ advises stockmarket traders

For traders, the stockmarket operates like a gigantic casino, where there are big risks and big money to be made.
According to the Financial Review, US trading firms are now routinely encouraging traders to try their hand at poker, valuing the skills in “numeracy, risk assessment and composure under extreme competitive pressure”.

Now Australian poker champion Joe Hachem has offered his advice saying, “A winning poker player is a conservative person who only sticks his neck out when he thinks he has the edge…If I let my emotions overtake my numbers…I can blow my whole bankroll.”
In the wake of scandals about drug taking, late night parties and expletive-ridden emails among stock traders at ANZ, he must think they could use the tips.

Things they say

I think that is a pretty good outcome

Peter Dutton on the $55 million plan to dump refugees in Cambodia, where there are now just two of the original five refugees left

I judge everything I do by the way you operated.
PM Malcolm Turnbull to former Liberal PM John Howard, who introduced the GST, went to war in Iraq, introduced Workchoices, the Pacific Solution—enough said!

We are serious about innovating…We want to try new things, new ideas, and we will be looking at investing in technology
ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver jumps on the innovation bandwagon looking for ideas to stop union membership losses

The idea that you should just vote how you feel, I think it kind of misses the point.
Tanya Plibersek bemoaning the fact that some people want to vote for politicians with principles

It is going to take a much more severe downturn before politicians will actually see the need for dramatic structural reform and cuts in spending.
Shirley In’t Veld, recently appointed to the board of NBN and a director of Asciano, CSIRO, Duet and Perth Airport, puts the big business view, as unemployment rises and investment slumps in WA

Yes he deserved it. The next time we see him, we might have to kill him. We don’t know who he is. He might be a terrorist.

Donald Trump supporter John McGraw, who punched a black protestor at a Trump rally.

I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya
Donald Trump urging on the crowd over a protester at a Trump rally a month earlier.

But if we came to the Right without the leftist human rights lawyer, the conversation could be quite different.
Funny that—Noel Pearson explaining his strategy of sucking up to the Right as the way to get Constitutional recognition.

Research and writing by Adam Adelpour

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