wage theft hospitality worker kitchen hand barista penalty rates casual worker
(Image: Unsplash/Louis Hansel)

On the bus The new industrial relations bill shows the good it can do a government to have an issue framed as they would like. Back in May, more or less every major publication reported on a wage claim against labour hire company WorkPac as though it conferred leave entitlements onto casual employees.

To be clear: the court did not find casuals might be entitled to leave. No one was found to be “double-dipping”. It just confirmed the well-established practice that people who work regular hours for three and a half years are not legally casuals, regardless of their hourly wage.

The framing as though this is all something new allows outlets to now cover today’s bill announcement (which also wants to introduce loaded rates rather than overtime, which worked out so brilliantly for the Shoppies union), as though it’s commonsense reform bringing “clarity” and “flexibility” to a problem that doesn’t actually exist.

Trump Watch Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has COVID-19. And, like Trump’s own diagnosis, the only surprising thing is that it took this long.

This is only about the fourth worst thing to happen to Giuliani this month. Since the beginning of November he’s had a troubling cameo in the new Borat film, made baseless claims about election fraud from the glamorous Four Seasons Total Landscaping carpark, and appeared to sweat off a layer of his human flesh mask during a press conference.

As with everything Trump related, the farce is swiftly followed by tragedy. We’re left to wonder how many people Giuliani — who spent four hours unmasked at the pointless Michigan election hearing, and who has never really struck us as a real “personal space” kind of guy — might have infected.

Seven white blokes run the country According to journalist Peter van Onselen, Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes his “political dominance” and popularity is down to seven white blokes.

These men include Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert, Assistant Minister to the PM and Cabinet Ben Morton, private secretary Yaron Finkelstein, chief of staff John Kunkel, ­secretary of the Department of PM and Cabinet Phil Gaetjens, International ­Development Minister Alex Hawke and former Liberal Party official Scott Briggs.

This list reminds us, via Kunkel, how direct a line fossil fuel interests have to the prime minister (pity poor Brendan Pearson, who failed to make the list). But it’s worth more interrogation. These are people who you’ve either never heard of or you’ve heard of for the wrong reasons.

It explains a great deal about, say, the ongoing career of Stuart Robert. Sure, he can find a way to spend nearly $40,000 of the public’s money on internet use. Sure, there was that company that received millions in government money and was run (unbeknownst to them) by Robert’s parents. Sure, robodebt. But his relationship with the PM indicates that maybe Roberts is actually extremely talented… just not at what the public thinks his job is.

Cancelling cancel culture The good thing about being cancelled, if it must happen, is that there are so many places you’ll get to discuss the chilling effect it has on free speech.

Take journalist Suzanne Moore, who left The Guardian three weeks ago following a letter by her colleagues expressing concern that the paper was publishing transphobic content. The concern expressed was general, but appeared to be prompted by one of Moore’s stories.

So now, with the field of acceptable ideas that little bit narrower, she is left with nowhere to discuss her ideas. Except The Telegraph. And the Herald Sun. And today, courtesy of a fawning interview with Bevan Shields, she can discuss the intolerance for diverse views in the Nine papers.

I suspect Moore might go on to make a good career out of being silenced.