The ASX
(Image: AAP/Steven Sophore)

From the Crikey grapevine, it’s the latest tips and rumours…

Give ’em the royal treatment. Banking royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne has urged us not to view the boom in royal commissions as a passing fad, and instead a reflection that “trust in all sorts of institutions, governmental and private, has been damaged or destroyed”.

You don’t have to tell the folk over at michaelwest.com.au. Not satisfied with the lingering fallout of the banking royal commission, author Ben Pauley is calling for a royal commission into another kind of white-collar criminal — those he says are involved in the Australian Securities Exchange. Specifically, he wants an inquiry into the “dishonest or dubious practices” of large investors, including short selling, “pumping and dumping”, algorithmic trading, and “rampant and blatant insider trading that never leads to prosecution or conviction”.

His petition has 2395 signatures so far and he’s hoping to get to 10,000. Pauley is a victim of these practices himself. He wrote in May that he took a “sizeable stake” in Origin Energy in September 2015 after the stock fell 15% in a week for “seemingly no reason”.

“A few days later, the reason for the fall was announced — a capital raising. I was gutted. This was not the first time this had happened to me and it was starting to depress me.”

The ASX rarely finds itself in the political spotlight in Australia and it is not painted with the same brush as ruthless Wall Street. But maybe it’s time we challenged that?

Keep your enemies close. Universities Australia (UA) has appointed one of its biggest critics to spearhead its next national survey into sexual assault and harassment in university settings. It announced this morning that feminist criminologist Dr Anastasia Powell of RMIT, in partnership with the Social Research Centre, will run the national survey at 39 Australian universities next year. Powell beat out several organisations competing for the top job in UA’s unprecedented open-tender process.

It’s an interesting move from UA. The organisation’s 2016 survey, headed-up by the Australian Human Rights Commission, was slammed by critics for things like not receiving final ethics approval on all its questions, and being released to students during high-stress periods like exams. Powell — whose research focuses on sexual assault — was one of these critics. She blasted the survey for asking questions like whether respondents had been sexually assaulted, rather than “behavioural questions” that describe and ask students whether they have experienced specific behaviours considered sexual assault. Speaking to Junkee at the time, Powell warned that “there are actually really poor community understandings about what constitutes a sexual assault. Many in the community, for example, still believe that unless a person clearly says no to sex and physically resists, that it’s not a crime if someone were to persist to have sex with that person.”

End Rape on Campus director Nina Funnell told Crikey she looked forward to working with Powell, and that the appointment “suggests a commitment to producing a more ethically-researched report than previous”. While the National Union of Students president Desiree Cai echoed this sentiment, she also hoped “this follow-up survey will provide us with further data to show that universities cannot continue to take symbolic actions …”

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

In the robot army now. Amazon has launched a new open-warehouse style PR campaign, likely in response to all those stories of 39-degree working temperatures, cheated work breaks, anti-union policies and genuine employee abuse. Not only can the public now come and check out Amazon “fulfillment centres” for themselves — where selected warehouses are very much up to scratch, we’re sure — but an army of very positive, very real “ambassador” employees have taken to Twitter to defend their beloved workplace.

This has led to a faintly surreal Twitter thread where over eight “employees” — who follow exactly no one and are just here to “educate others about what we do on our day to day” — have taken turns to reply to just one exasperated online critic. These accounts make claims about everyone being nice and cool in their air-conditioned warehouse. They also include admissions that yes, they used to have depression but it was their fault, not Amazon’s. And then there are the spurious reassurances…

 

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Peter Fray

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