Reports from detention. I’m currently on Christmas Island. I have just been speaking with a photojournalist who has been staking out the detention centre. He reports that, at most, 60 refugees were protesting and they only retaliated (with a store of Molotov cocktails) when tear gas was fired at them. He felt that this was in itself retaliation for the refugees making fools of Serco, the company responsible for the centre.  Apparently the ablution block and the guards’ sleeping quarters (60 beds) were torched. The reporter was expecting a cargo of tear gas and other weapons to be flown in.

Double standards on union design. If a union is going to campaign against design work being sent offshore, you’d think it would be very committed to having its own design work done within Australia by properly paid employees. So why did a certain union decide to outsource the design of its own website to an international online “competition” where only the winner got paid?

Not-so-lucky you’re with AAMI? Suncorp-owned insurer AAMI has been quietly rejecting flood claims in Queensland for the past month. The company started knocking back claims in Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley last month, and is now telling Brisbane policy holders that they’re on their own. Suncorp is trying to keep it all quiet, given AAMI’s sister brands Suncorp Insurance, Apia and GIO cover flood and are paying out without question.

Woolies in the wine game. Regarding Woolworths’ purchase of the Cellarmasters chain last month … I have recently had several discussions with some Barossa winemakers and with staff at Cellarmasters. They think that most commentators do not realise that Cellarmasters has significant bottling and packaging assets. Their fear is that Woolworths could move towards home-brand wines and strangle the industry, especially the boutique sector.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had Caltex purchasing Cellarmasters. This is untrue; Caltex had nothing to do with the purchase or with Cellarmasters.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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