pill testing
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

The Victorian government’s brilliant (and completely unenforceable?) wage theft laws, ANZ’s disastrous home loan offer, and The New York Times fact checks… The New York Times. Catch up with all the latest tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

Wage theft

For the past two days, Victorian parliament has hosted debate around long-promised wage theft laws. The laws could send employers who “deliberately underpay or don’t pay their workers” and who “attempt to conceal wage theft by falsifying or failing to keep records” to jail for up to 10 years.

Except… how?

Way back in 1996, Victoria was the first state to hand its power over employment law to the federal government. As we reported when the laws were first announced, the whole thing looks completely unenforceable and open to immediate challenge. (The only people to point this out seems to have been the Victorian Chamber of Commerce.)

Now, the bill classes wage theft a criminal rather than industrial act, and criminal law is within the state’s powers to legislate. Whether that would withstand the inevitable constitutional challenge when they attempt to enforce it remains to be seen.

Ready, aim, shoot yourself in the foot

Still in Victoria, thankfully, we have the Liberal party to hold these guys to account. Behold Bev McArthur, MP for Western Victoria, who opened her speech to parliament yesterday thus:

Mr President, all lives matter. Brumby lives matter too. 

She was arguing that the government had better police the Black Lives Matter protest this coming weekend with the same vigour it did a modestly attended rally protesting the brumby cull. As we pointed out yesterday, she needn’t be too worried.

Ratio of the week

The Russian embassy in Australia has taken to Twitter to (get this) advocate for press freedom, demanding that “the USA authorities immediately take action to protect journalists from becoming targets of police violence”:

We look forward to similar calls for investigation into the true circumstances of the deaths of journalists Anna Politkovskaya, Sergei Protazanov, Konstantin Popov, Alexander Khodzinsky, Dmitry Tsilikin, Yevgeny Khamaganov, Maksim Borodin…

Bank watch

Last Friday ANZ closed what turned out to be a madly-priced home loan offer. Not only was there a special two year, fixed 2.3% rate on offer, but ANZ was also offering $4000 cash back to those successful in getting a loan.

Naturally the bank was overrun with applications, so much so that the approval time soared to four to six weeks. The ANZ had earlier cut the $4000 back to $3000 for loans over $250,000.

Compounding the problem was the location of ANZ’s mortgage processing centre in India. That in turn saw some clients forced to delay settlement on their existing homes because ANZ was taking too long to process loan applications.

That saw some customers hit with fees for not being able to settle, penalty interest and document fees that added $1000 or so to the cost of the loan. Good thing they got the $4000 cash back… or was it $3000?

The New York Times v The New York Times

In a piece that almost certainly won’t undermine its credibility for years to come, The New York Times has published an op-ed by tough-guy Republican Senator Tom Cotton, calling for the military to “restore order” to the US’ fractured streets.

I think we can all agree this is not exactly a fabulous time for a major publication to be spreading and endorsing the authoritarian urges of American politicians.

Shout out, then, to Davey Alba, NYT‘s tech reporter, who pointed out that the article contained unchallenged misinformation — about far left “antifa” saboteurs infiltrating and exacerbating the riots — that had already been debunked… by The New York Times.

Have you got a tip for CrikeyLet us know.

Peter Fray

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