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(Images: AAP/Mick Tsikas; MacDonald's)

Gobbling up our freedoms

As it becomes clear that the Morrison government doesn’t have the credibility to convince enough Australians to download the COVIDSafe tracing app, it’s been turning to people the public DO trust.

First it was Warnie, and now Australia’s mass burger gold and silver medallists (we’ll let you decide which is which) are sending prompts to encourage the download of COVIDSafe:

Elsewhere, Perisher Ski Resort is also jumping onboard.

Is this coordinated between the brands? And just how widespread is it? Have you gotten a text from Subway telling you to prioritise safety over privacy? Let us know.

The Boyce is back in town

Today brought the quite remarkable news that Fair Work Commission deputy president Gerard Boyce — having told mining giant BHP that its new pay deal didn’t pass the “better off overall test” required for approval — went ahead and approved it anyway after BHP told him his analysis was “inaccurate”.

The exchange was revealed when — quelle surprise! — the approval was overturned on appeal last week.

Boyce has a bit of a history of finding the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Cast your mind back to the heady days of March 2020, two months and several housebound lifetimes ago. In that month’s Senate estimates it was revealed that Boyce was an aficionado of (ahem) niche anime figurines:

Fair Work Commission’s general manager Bernadette O’Neill confirmed the figurines were in his office and agreed they were “inappropriate”.

“My recollection is one was a female figure and the other I am not sure was even human,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said she could not recall if the figurines’ breasts were exposed. “Scantily clad is probably the way I think of it,” she said.

Following complaints — presumably that he was breaching the “no horny and possibly alien anime figurines” clause in the EBA — he removed the figures and installed an apparently fake security camera to give whoever had dobbed the impression they were being watched.

And — yep, there’s more — after he was sanctioned for his breach of OHS’ strict “no creating a panopticon to intimidate your colleagues” directive, Boyce replaced the camera with a life-size cardboard cutout of famous fair pay advocate Donald Trump.

This followed a series of social media posts which put his political neutrality under question. Boyce is paid $460,000 a year and is one of 20 consecutive Liberal Party Fair Work Commission appointments whose background is with employer groups.

That was then, this is now

May 11, 2020: Scott Morrison’s response to the weekend’s anti-lockdown protests, where concerned citizens and a peppering of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists protested Victoria’s strict lockdown:

I understand people’s frustration … It’s a free country, people will make their protest and make their voices heard.

November 23, 2018: his response to the school strikes calling for climate change action:

… we do not support our schools being turned into parliaments, what we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools.

November 1 2019: talking about environmental activism in a speech to the Queensland Resources Council:

… there should always be a place for peaceful protest. Of course. It is one of our democratic principles. But in Queensland and elsewhere, one variant of this new absolutist activism, anarchism, is testing the limits of the right to protest. The right to protest does not mean there is an unlimited licence to disrupt people’s lives and disrespect your fellow Australians.

Anyway, now we know what kind of protest Australia has a place for.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

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