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Tony Abbott government abandons plan to make job seekers apply for 40 jobs a month

October 7, 2014 – 10:58AM

Latika Bourke

National political reporter

Minister for Employment Eric Abetz says the backflip shows the government is listening to feedback.

Minister for Employment Eric Abetz says the backflip shows the government is listening to feedback. Photo: Peter Mathew

Plans to make job seekers apply for 40 jobs a month have been abandoned following an angry backlash.

The federal government had wanted the tougher regime to work alongside another contentious budget measure which would force some young job seekers under 30 to wait six months before receiving the dole.

But Minister for Employment Eric Abetz confirmed on Tuesday the government “has made some changes” to the scheme and will now keep the required number of monthly job applications to the current rate of 20.

Job seekers would have had to double the number of jobs they apply for each month under the dumped plan.

Job seekers would have had to double the number of jobs they apply for each month under the dumped plan.

Senator Abetz told the ABC the government had listened to the community and accepted forcing the unemployed to apply for 40 positions a month could “diminish” the value of genuine job applications.

“We understand that for business this is a burden,” he said.

Speaking in Canberra, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the decision did not constitute a backdown.

“Some people might like to put a pejorative on it. I would like to say isn’t this the whole point of consultation? Consultation that can’t result in any changes is meaningless.  The consultations that this government has will be fair dinkum”.

The government was inundated with negative feedback when the plan was first announced earlier this year.  Most of the 60 submissions it later received were against the proposal.

In July, Senator Abetz said making job seekers apply for 40 positions a month would be the equivalent of “one [application] in the morning” and “one in the afternoon”.

“In general terms… asking somebody to seek a job in the morning and one in the afternoon is not too much to ask,” he said at the time.

However, the first sign the minister may be retreating from the idea emerged in August, when Senator Abetz noted a “degree of community reaction” to the idea.

A spokesman for Senator Abetz said dropping the plan showed the government was forming policy in consultation with the community instead of “on the run” like the former Labor government.

Last month, Parliament’s joint human rights committee found the plan to strip people aged under 30 of the dole for six months unless they are in training or in work was “incompatible with the right to social security and the right to an adequate standard of living”, and “incompatible with the rights to equality and non-discrimination on the basis of age”.

Labor’s workplace spokesman, Brendan O’Connor, told Fairfax Media the government had conducted a “humiliating backdown”.

“If they had chosen to speak with employer and community groups before announcing [the 40 jobs a month plan] they would have known this was bad policy,” he said.

“With a simple calculation it should have been clear to everyone that 30 million applications being sent to employers each month was as absurd as it was unfair.”

He urged Senator Abetz to “pick up the phone” and consult before announcing bad policy.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney struggling to keep up as technology challenges financial services industry

October 7, 2014 – 12:15AM

Matt Wade

Senior writer

Sydney's banking and financial services district needs to embrace new technology to continue to thrive.

Sydney’s banking and financial services district needs to embrace new technology to continue to thrive. Photo: Bloomberg

Sydney has the potential to follow London and New York in becoming a hub for the burgeoning financial services technology sector, a report has found. But it also warns the increasing overlap between financial services and new technologies – or Fintech – could disrupt many big local employers and challenge Sydney’s place as a leading financial services centre.

The Committee for Sydney report says the rapid advance of technology, including consumer favourites such as smart phones and tablets, is changing the landscape of the financial services sector, one of Sydney’s most important industries.

“Traditional financial services institutions are investing in technology innovation, rethinking their business models and even collaborating with Fintech firms,” it says.

The Fintech sector is experiencing strong global growth – in 2013 financing activity in the industry was estimated to be $US3 billion and that is forecast to rise to $US6 billion-$8 billion by 2018.

Sydney’s financial services industry generates about 5 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product and the sector employs about 180,000 people in NSW. That key economic strength combined with two other sectors in which Sydney leads Australia – information technology and tech start-ups – means there is “every reason to be optimistic that a vital Fintech sector can be established”. The IT sector employs about 160,000 people in NSW.

The increasing overlap of financial services and technology presents great opportunities for Sydney as we’ve got high-calibre talent and enterprises in both areas,” said Andrew Low, chairman of a new Financial Services Knowledge Hub established by the Committee for Sydney and CEO of advisory firm RedBridge Grant Samuel. ”The key is to provide more opportunities for smart start-ups to interact with financial services businesses, both big and small, so we get innovation.”

But the report also highlights the risk that new technologies pose for cities such as Sydney that rely heavily on the financial services sector. Fintech is challenging existing business models as non-traditional players in the financial sector leveraged new technology to deliver new and existing services to consumers and business in more relevant and convenient ways.

It’s estimated that 25 to 30 per cent of current banking industry revenue could be at risk as a result of these trends.

“This cannot be taken lightly,” the report warns.

Tim Williams, the Committee for Sydney’s chief executive, said the rapid changes in financial technology would be a boon for consumers.

“Technology is generally placing more power in the hands of consumers to shape their financial services,” he said. “Technology is so disruptive to the financial services sector that it will pose challenges to traditional providers and ways of working who will need to reinvent themselves – it will put pressure on all to innovate. This is great for competition as well as consumers.”

Despite the size and sophistication of Sydney’s financial services sector the city is still in the early stages of establishing itself as a key hub for Fintech start-ups.

“Sydney has many of the required elements to become a Fintech hub,” the report said. “But compared to the global leaders, it is underperforming.”

Report co-author and head of banking at KPMG, Ian Pollari, said the support of the state and local governments was needed to foster Fintech in Sydney.

“London provides an excellent role model for Sydney to emulate, with the UK government, in particular, leading the Fintech charge through innovative funding, alignment and collaboration initiatives,” he said.

Sydney will also need to “collaborate to compete” as technological change reshapes the financial services sector.

“Structuring and enabling collaborations between banks, alternative finance providers, insurance providers, Fintech entrepreneurs, universities, venture capitalists, regulators and indeed government – is vital to overall success,” the report said.

Source : The Sydney Morning Herald

2015 Queensland of the Year finalists revealed

October 7, 2014 – 7:23AM

Natalie Bochenski

View more articles from Natalie Bochenski

Terri Irwin embraces daughter Bindi.

Terri Irwin embraces daughter Bindi. Photo: Bradley Kanaris

A child protection advocate, a wildlife warrior, a golf champion and a rugby league superstar are all in the running to be the 2015 Queenslander of the Year.

Hetty Johnston from Braveheart, Terri Irwin from Australia Zoo, Adam Scott and North Queensland Cowboys’ co-captain Johnathan Thurston have been unveiled as the finalists by the National Australia Day Council.

Johnston founded Bravehearts in 1997 after a case of child sex abuse in her own family, and has campaigned tirelessly for tougher sentences for paedophiles and greater education for children.

Hetty Johnston.

Hetty Johnston.

Born in the USA, Terri Irwin was already committed to wildlife rehabilitation when she met Steve Irwin during a tour of Australia in 1992.

The pair made documentaries, expanded Australia Zoo at Beerwah, campaigned for conservation and had children Bindi and Bob before Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while filming off Port Douglas in 2006.

Terri Irwin became an Australian citizen in 2009 as a tribute to her late husband, and has continued advocating environmental causes.

Johnathan Thurston on the run from Sonny Bill Williams.

Johnathan Thurston on the run from Sonny Bill Williams. Photo: Ian Hitchcock

Thurston is one of the NRL’s best players, and the only person to feature in all 24 games of Queensland’s State of Origin eight-series winning streak from 2006 to 2013. Last month he won his third Dally M medal for Player of the Year.

Scott’s victory at the 2013 Masters made him the first Australian to win golf’s most coveted prize in its 77-year history. He has won 27 tournaments and was ranked world number one for 11 weeks between May and August this year – only the second Australian after Greg Norman.

Toowoomba property developer and philanthropist Clive Berghofer has been named as a finalist in the Senior Queenslander of the Year category.

Tied for tenth: Adam Scott.

Tied for tenth: Adam Scott. Photo: Getty Images

The QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Centre was renamed after him following his donation of $50 million in 2013.

94-year-old Fred Hyde from Warwick was also nominated for his decades of service to building schools in Bangladesh.

After retiring, the former engineer dedicated his life to raising funds for his group Co-operation in Development, which has partnered with Australian schools and companies to build more than 40 schools for poor children on Bhola Island.

Jean Little, Indigenous health and community services advocate from Mapoon in far north Queensland, as well as veterans’ health advocate and fundraiser Joan Harris, are the other two nominations.

Young Queenslander of the Year finalists include engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied, water polo player and daughter of rugby league great Wally, Jamie-Lee Lewis, Sunshine Coast philanthropist Sean McCarthy and social justice campaigner Madeline Price.

2015 Queensland Local Hero nominees include youth advocate Andy Gourley, community contributor Gitie House, reconciliation champion Barry Watson and founder of charity website Givit.com Juliette Wright.

The winners will be announced at the Queensland Museum on Friday October 24, and will travel to Canberra for the national awards on Australia Day 2015.

National Australia Day Council CEO Jeremy Lasek, said in total 137 Australians were being recognised as finalists.

“The finalists all embody the Queensland spirit, giving their time, skills and passion to make a difference to others and to make the State and Australia, a better place,” he said.

Source : The Brisbane Times

Australian National University losing top women in troubled School of Politics

October 7, 2014 – 6:14AM

Emma Macdonald

SENIOR REPORTER FOR THE CANBERRA TIMES.

The beleaguered Australian National University’s School of Politics and International Relations continues to lose staff despite management claiming that it had “resolved” most of the grievances around the school’s alleged culture of bullying and gender discrimination.

Yet instability continues with two more of the university’s senior female political scientists announcing their resignation from the ANU and the school appointing its third head in less than a year.

One third of the school’s academic staff  – eight out of 27 – have now filed formal grievances about their work environment  and 12 have left. The school’s reputation has subsequently suffered through international coverage of its industrial woes.

Meanwhile it is believed that one senior academic at the centre of bullying allegations is now taking legal action against the ANU.

Last month the university failed in its appeal against one of two successful Comcare cases awarded to academics who suffered psychological damage while working there.

A gender imbalance within the school will be exacerbated with the resignation of one of the most senior remaining women Dr Katrina Lee-Koo, who is currently on maternity leave but will leave to take up a position with Monash University next year.

A former Associate Professor in the school Renee Jeffery has also resigned from the ANU to take up a Professorship of International Relations at Griffith University next year. She transferred internally into the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies last year at the height of the exodus.

Disruption at the top of the school’s management has also continued with the appointment of the third head of school in less than 12 months.  Dr Andrew Banfield has taken over from Professor Ian McAllister, who was placed in the position in December when Professor Jeffery Karp went on extended sick leave.

Dr Banfield is a relatively junior academic, having completed his PhD just four years ago. He was appointed deputy head of the school in 2013.

He has played down dysfunction within the school, suggesting staff attribute the continuing instability to “malcontents” when a prospective student raised the issue during a large forum at the August ANU Open Day.

While questions have been raised internally as to why Dr Banfield was made head of school over more senior female academics,  the ANU spokeswoman said “the university is unapologetic about creating opportunities for and supporting high potential early and mid-career academic staff – to do so is essential for renewal.”

She also said that new appointments made this year were “mindful of improving gender balance”.

Of the nine new appointments made, however, just four are female, which brings the total number of female academics at the school to 11 out of 27 and is lower than at the start of the year.

The female staff are at lecturer level meaning women continue to carry the biggest teaching loads. Concerns to management raised by female staff are that they have been further asked to increase their teaching workloads at the expense of their research output, while both male and female academics have endured direct criticism or career setbacks for seeking to balance their work with their family responsibilities.

The school’s internal ructions have reached the international political science community with UNSW Associate Professor of International and Political Studies Dr Tony Burke saying there was no doubt the school’s international reputation had been damaged as a result.

Professor Burke said “there is a broad knowledge of the damage done to international relations teaching and research at the ANU. There is great dismay about it and it is seen as an example of international poor practice.”

The situation at the ANU was discussed during a panel  at the International Studies Association meeting in Toronto in March, has been featured on the Washington-based Chronicle of Higher Education and has been widely discussed on the international networking website Political Science Rumours.

Source : The Canberra Times

James Akel elogia cena de Lília Cabral com Regina Duarte na novela História de Amor

Lilia Cabral, no capítulo de hoje da novela História de Amor, no canal Viva, deu uma das maiores aulas de interpretação da história da televisão num papel de difícil envergadura.

O diálogo dela com Regina Duarte foi um dos momentos mais raros da tv e das novelas de todos os tempos.

Coisas assim mostram que quando o texto é bom e a atriz é excelente, o ibope acontece porque a emoção é inexorável e arrasa na tela.


Escrito por jamesakel@uol.com.br às 15h47 no dia 06.10.2014