Tag Archive | “Media”

Officials refuse to subsidise pasta diversification plan of Australia's oldest media company.

Thumbs down for Fairfax noodle market


EXCLUSIVE: The noodle diversification plan of embattled media giant Fairfax has taken a hit with City of Perth officials recommending their political masters refuse a $50,000 handout, and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority declining another sponsorship request flat out.

Fairfax Media wants to shift its night noodle markets from Northbridge to Elizabeth Quay, and has asked Perth council for a $50,000 grant to do so.

The noodle markets rolled into Perth for the first time last year, with a $50,000 cash handout from the council.

The markets attracted coverage from Fairfax’s arch rivals Channel 7, the Sunday Times, and the West Australian but not from oneperth.com.au which had earlier revealed the noodles were coming to town.

This year Fairfax plans to boil its noodles at Elizabeth Quay from March 30 to April 10.

In its funding application, Fairfax said the markets would cost $518,788 to put on.

oneperth.com.au can reveal the company has also been knocked back by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority which is scrambling to complete Elizabeth Quay by its scheduled opening day of January 29.

The MRA refused cash and in-kind support for the noodles on the basis that Fairfax is a commercial venture.

Fairfax has told the council that if it fails to secure sponsorship from the city it will explore all possible revenue streams to enable the noodles to proceed.

The council’s marketing committee is scheduled to consider the officials’ recommended refusal on January 19.

Fairfax is Australia’s oldest media company. It first hit the skids in the early 1990s when MBA graduate Warwick Fairfax, then aged 30, took the reins and the company collapsed. Fairfax made a minor comeback, but was slow to adapt to the internet age. A former editor of the company’s Sydney Morning Herald has observed the firm’s four major newspapers are rapidly growing broke.

In Western Australia, Fairfax juggles its emerging noodle interests with the operation of 6PR, 96FM, The Australian Financial Review, and a ragbag of websites and country newspapers.

Noodle photo: Uwe Aranas, Wikimedia Commons

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Privacy complaint of former WAtoday reporter unfounded, says tribunal.

Tech journo loses Telstra metadata stoush


The former technology editor for Fairfax’s watoday.com.au, smh.com.au, theage.com.au and brisbanetimes.com.au websites has lost a privacy stoush with Telstra over access to his metadata.

oneperth.com.au can reveal that last week Telstra won an appeal against Sydney-based Ben Grubb who recently packed in his job with Fairfax after five years there. Grubb plans to go into business with fellow technology journo Asher Moses who has also parted company with Fairfax.

In May, the Federal Privacy Commissioner directed Telstra to give Grubb all metadata regarding his Telstra mobile phone.

In a ruling that Grubb had branded “a landmark decision”, the Privacy Commissioner had originally ruled the metdata was personal information as defined by the Federal Privacy Act.

The Privacy Commissioner had decided that in refusing to give Grubb access to the metadata Telstra was in breach of National Privacy Principle 6.1, and Telstra was directed to give the metadata to Grubb.

But Telstra challenged that direction at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia. And on Friday, tribunal Deputy President Stephanie Forgie set the decision aside.


Deputy President Forgie decided Telstra’s mobile network data was not information about an individual, namely Grubb, and so was not personal information.

She concluded Telstra was not in breach of the national privacy principle when it refused to give Grubb access to the metadata.

Grubb had originally asked for data on which cell tower he was connected to at any given time, the mobile phone number of texts he’d received and the time they were received, the time his data sessions started and finished, URLs of websites he visited, the duration of telephone calls, and details of who he called and who called him.

Before the tribunal, Grubb argued that if Telstra could associate metadata with a specific account then it was personal information about that account holder.


At the heart of his submission was the proposition that if a person were to trawl through the data held by Telstra, that person would be able to identify Grubb from it.

To illustrate his submission, Grubb referred to data released by AOL as anonymised search query logs conducted by a large number of its users. AOL had released the information for research purposes but made it publicly available. Among those to whom it was available was the New York Times. The newspaper used the information released by AOL on particular users to follow their searches and, using the information from those searches, to identify them.

Grubb asked why, if Telstra could give law enforcers access to metadata such as URLs, IP addresses and cell tower information, the company could not give the same metadata to him.

Deputy President Forgie said the answer was that Grubb’s entitlements and those of law enforcement agencies were the subject of different legislative regimes.

Telstra argued that the process of identifying an individual from mobile network data involves complicated and tedious searches of the sort that could not lead to a finding that the identity of the individual could reasonably be ascertained.

Photo: ‘Redlands597198’, Wikimedia Commons

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State's largest local government moves to mandate good news only.

Push to abolish negative council coverage



Bureaucrats at the City of Stirling – Western Australia’s largest municipality by population – have upped the ante on media control by redrafting a policy in order to mandate positive news coverage.

A package of policy reviews now before the council includes reviews to the council’s media policy, as pictured below.

The redrafted media policy makes it clear the council will no longer merely aim for positive coverage, but shall achieve it 100 per cent of the time.

Stirling media policy

Nowadays, of course, that is impossible, except in North Korea and a handful of fundamentalist states in the Middle East.

In WA, even though Channel Nine News now sponsors the WA Police Excellence Awards, and Fairfax Media sees the running of noodle markets as part of its core business, Perth’s home-grown news provider, oneperth.com.au, continues to play its part in keeping the City of Stirling honest.

The bureaucrats’ political masters are set to decide whether to approve or reject the redrafted media policy at a council meeting on Tuesday night.

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Elizabeth Quay food may be delayed



EXCLUSIVE: The State Government has moved to nullify negative press and public dissatisfaction in the event of delays to food outlets at the massive Elizabeth Quay project which it has conceded is unlikely to be completed until at least 2030.

The Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority is seeking expressions of interest from several “unique operators” to provide a stop-gap anti-Dullsville solution at the Quay.

The MRA is seeking a range of “tourism, business, entertainment, or social enterprise concepts” to energise the Quay in case opening day in late 2015 proves a big flop.

From as early as January 2016, the public will be able to promenade around the quay’s artificial inlet, sit and look at South Perth, walk over a bridge to an artificial island, chill out in the so-called BHP Billiton Water Park, moor a luxury yacht, catch a ferry or river cruise, or grab a bite to eat.

Elizabeth Quay on opening dayThe Canberra-esque picture, left, is how Elizabeth Quay will look on opening day. With the last of the planned private sector skyscrapers around the quay’s perimeter not due to rise for 15 to 20 years (see extract below from MRA document seen by oneperth.com.au), the MRA is keen to stop tumbleweeds gathering.

With tenders for the construction of one major MRA food outlet not closing until June 19, the Authority has put out a last-ditch call for entertainers, artists, musos, retailers and food vendors to help out on a temporary basis.


Government document reveals Elizabeth Quay not likely for completion for 15 to 20 years.

“The activation mix may include commercial operations, not for profit, social enterprise, business incubation, innovation and things that Perth has never seen before,” an MRA document seen by oneperth.com.au jargonises.

“In the first six months of Elizabeth Quay opening, the purpose is to provide something to eat, drink and do, maximise patronage and frequency [and] act as a flexible gap filler until other offerings come on line.”

The MRA says that whatever unique operation is selected, it must “provide a buffer should there be any delays in food and beverage outlets opening”, and “create a high level of goodwill to offset any negative media that may arise”.

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Musical ministers at it again


Not content with the mundanities of administering their portfolios, the Cabinet ministry of Colin Barnett has hopped back on the pop music bandwagon, this time with their leader at the reins.

In January, oneperth.com.au observed that State Cabinet had unleashed a spate of ministerial media releases incorporating titles of popular songs in their headlines.

In that month alone, ministers Albert Jacob, Helen Morton, John Day and Michael Mischin integrated the titles of no less than seven oldies but goldies into the headlines of media releases. The acts so honoured were Culture Club, Ray Charles, The Ramones, Al Green/Talking Heads, UK Squeeze, Elvis Costello, and Def Leppard.

Now, the musical ministers are at it again, with Mr Jacob and Regional Development Minister Terry Redman today issuing a release titled: ‘Who let the dogs out in the Pilbara’, a reference to the Year 2000 canine-inspired ditty of one-hit-wonders Baha Men.


oneperth.com.au can also confirm that Mr Barnett has decided to join the musical release lineup for the first time.

Entering the charts with a bullet on February 16, but sharing the limelight with subordinates Kim Hames and Mia Davies, the State Premier and his two backing vocalists issued a release titled: ‘We are the champions … and we’re coming to Perth‘.

An obvious homage to Queen and the late, great Freddie Mercury, that release was followed up on May 23 with the more obscure ‘Heaven’s best on display at Astrofest 2015‘, probably an allusion to the song ‘Heaven’s Best’ by New York soul momma Kelly Price.

Mr Barnett reinforced his chart success in a joint release with Dr Hames titled ‘New kids on the block‘.


Refusing to let his boss hog the limelight, Attorney General Mischin, who figured prominently in the January musical ministerial releases, has six (count ’em, six) entries this time ’round.

The first, ‘WA searches for a lawyer with a heart of gold’ would have long-haired hippy troubadour Neil Young turning in his grave if he were dead.

Bachman Turner Overdrive might be marginally more satisfied with Mr Mischin’s ‘Taking care of business made easier for WA firms’.

The Attorney-General’s third release, ‘Accolades for those who fight for your rights’, was a veiled reference to a worldwide hit by Brooklyn rap trio the Beastie Boys.

Fourth was Mr Mischin’s May 11 release ‘Law award winner is pretty fly (for a legal eye)’, in the mode of 1990s pop-punks Prodigy.

Fifth for Mr Mischin was ‘Return to sender operation thwarts scammers’, featuring the title of a signature tune by no less than The King, Elvis Aaron Presley.

Rounding out Mr Mischin’s contribution to the press release pop charts was the Billy Idol-inspired ‘Rise in white weddings at WA’s registry office’.


But, just as Blur pipped Oasis for Britpop honours in the late 1990s, Mr Mischin was pipped by Dr Hames who, with the help of a few sneaky duets, has managed a remarkable seven musical media releases since February 1.

On February 27, he and Ms Davies released a duet titled ‘Howzat! Game on for World Cup innings’, in memory of Aussie pop gods Sherbet.

Dr Hames’ solo effort, ‘Needles and wins: Mums urged to vaccinate’, refers to ‘Needles and pins’ which has been recorded by virtually every pop star ever to grip a mic.

Channeling Rodgers & Hammerstein, Mr Hames on April 2 noted that ‘Freo streets come alive to the sound of music’.

With Regional Development Minister Terry Redman, who charted for the first time, Dr Hames also released ‘Kimberley to shine bright like a diamond’ (which rips a line from a Rihanna song), and ‘Money, money, money for regional events’ (ABBA).

Last, and probably least, in the duo’s discography is ‘Taste of honey and red, red wine in WA’s south’ – a double-bunger tribute to The Beatles and Neil Diamond/UB40.

Dr Hames’ solo release ‘Higher and higher – awards finalists announced’ is probably a reference to Jackie Wilson’s ‘(Your love keeps lifting me) higher and higher’.

Trumpet pic: http://solstock.deviantart.com


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$50,000 handout for Fairfax night noodle market


FEBRUARY 3 UPDATE: City of Perth councillors tonight approved the $50,000 ratepayer-funded handout to the night noodle market of national media conglomerate Fairfax.

EXCLUSIVE: City of Perth officials plan to hand $50,000 to an offshoot of Australia’s oldest news corporation Fairfax Media to run a night noodle market, even though the national media giant admits it does not need the cash.

Fairfax Events is a spinoff of Fairfax Media which in the eastern states engages in much cross promotion with its parent entity.

It plans to charge 25 stall holders at an upcoming 12-night noodle market a rental fee of $500 a night and a commission of 20 per cent on their turnover.

oneperth.com.au can reveal that Fairfax Events has also applied for $20,000 cash and in-kind funding from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, and other monies from a range of corporate sponsors.

The company says the noodle market is ready to roll from March 18 to March 29 this year, at the Perth Cultural Centre.

Fairfax Events has told city officials the market will go ahead with or without council funding.

If the city’s councillors and mayor Lisa Scaffidi approve the $50,000 funding when they next meet on February 3, as recommended by council assistant marketing manager Melissa Forbes, the mayor and councillors will each get VIP invitations to the market.

Fairfax Events anticipates 48,000 people will attend its noodle market.

In Western Australia, Fairfax juggles its emerging noodle interests with the operation of 6PR, 96FM, The Australian Financial Review, and a ragbag of country newspapers and lifestyle websites.

As an aside, if you’re a junior journo looking to join Australia’s oldest media conglomerate, one of its non-noodle operatives is going on maternity leave. You can fill her shoes for 12 months by applying via this non-Fairfax websiteBut beware, the ad’ says Fairfax Media is on a “journey of transformation”. The company also contends it’s “leading the way in innovation and audience centricity”. Good luck with your application. And tell ‘em oneperth.com.au sent you.

Noodle photo: Uwe Aranas, Wikimedia Commons

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Barnett ministry a funky bunch


EXCLUSIVE: The new year has ushered in a raft of media releases from Western Australian Cabinet ministers inspired by the senior politicians’ latest memories of pop music’s greatest hits.


Today, in an homage to New Wave outfit Squeeze, environment minister Albert Jacob issued a release titled: World-first poison bait not so cool for cats.

In 1979, Squeeze, or UK Squeeze as they were then known in Australia, had a Top 10 hit in the antipodes with their single Cool for Cats.


Mr Jacob’s press release is moving up the oneperth.com.au charts with a bullet.

It arrives hot on the heels of planning minister John Day’s chart-topping release of yesterday titled: Take me to the river … and the stadium.

That puff piece invokes the title of a soul hit by the Reverend Al Green notably covered by Talking Heads on their stunning second album More Songs about Buildings and Food. The album has long been an inspiration for oneperth.com.au which on slow news days rallies to the catchcry: ‘more yarns about buildings and food‘.

But oneperth.com.au digresses.


Next on the Barnett Government hit list is Eco-design means a Karma chameleon for Rottnest, again from the label of jumpin’ John Day.

That release owes its inspiration to a swingin’ little ditty you might remember by 1980s gender bender Boy George and his band Culture Club.


Rounding out the Government Media Office Top 5 for January is a double-barrelled headline from Attorney General Michael Mischin titled: Hit the road jack, Oliver’s army is here to stay.

The first half of the headline is lifted from the title of a Ray Charles hit that needs no introduction.

The second half comes with apologies to Elvis Costello whose Oliver’s Army achieved minor chart success in Australia but spent four weeks at Number 2 in the UK singles chart in 1979.


But wait, yes, there’s more.

Also in State Cabinet’s bargain box of hard rock headlines is Love bites, love bleeds $11m from West Aussies, a doff of Mr Mischin’s legal wig to a 1987 power ballad by big-haired English rockers Def Leppard.


And no wrap-up of this month’s media release hit parade would be complete without Disability Services minister Helen Morton’s Hey ho, let’s grow inclusive communities! adapted from an anthemic line of Blitzkreig Bop by New York punk pioneers The Ramones.

Premier Barnett is yet to jump on the rock bandwagon with a music release of his own.

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Miner muzzles Wikifrauds


A Federal Court judge has threatened to throw the owner of an Australian website, wikifrauds.net.au, in jail unless he removes from the site a raft of allegations against an international mining company.

wikifrauds.net.au is owned by New South Wales-registered firm Full Exposure Pty Ltd which in turn is owned by John Richard Carter.

In Adelaide last month Mr Carter told Federal Court Justice Anthony Besanko that “the sole purpose of wikifrauds is to serve the community both in Australia and around the world by providing information about Australian and international frauds and scams”.

Before Justice Besanko, Adelaide-based and Frankfurt-listed mining company Astra Resources claimed wikifrauds.net.au had made several representations that were or could be misleading or deceptive.

The alleged representations included allegations of fraud, that Astra shares were worthless and not tradeable, and that the company was associated with a scam.

Astra was founded in 2009 and has interests in iron ore, gold and coal production in Nigeria, India, the Philippines and Cambodia.

In a written judgment delivered yesterday, Justice Besanko concluded that statements on Wikifrauds’ website were capable of constituting the representations pleaded by Astra, or at least the bulk of them.

Justice Besanko declined to determine – at this stage – if the representations were true or false.

He did however conclude the representations were capable of causing substantial damage to Astra and its subsidiary companies.

“Astra Resources has established a prima facie case or serious question to be tried and the balance of convenience appears to favour it,” Justice Besanko noted.

He ordered Wikifrauds to remove all reference to Astra from its website.

“[Wikifrauds Pty Ltd] will be liable to imprisonment, sequestration of property or punishment for contempt if it neglects or refuses to do the acts or things specified in this order or disobeys this order,” Justice Besanko warned.

A oneperth.com.au check of Wikifrauds’ site today showed the page about Astra had been removed.

However, a cached version of the page, including photographs of Astra senior management, was still publicly available.

Photo: ‘PiccoloNamek’, Wikimedia Commons.

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‘Complaint costs journo his job’


A journalist was allegedly underpaid $90,000 and threatened, coerced and sacked after making a complaint.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is prosecuting Sydney-based company, F.L. Press Pty Ltd, which prints and publishes foreign newspapers, magazines and other publications, including the Novosti Newspaper.

The ombudsman is alleging F.L. Press underpaid the journalist more than $90,000 – and threatened, coerced and sacked him after he lodged a complaint.

Also facing court is company manager and sole director Theodore Skalkos.

F.L. Press allegedly underpaid the journalist a total of $90,723 between 2003 and 2011, mainly as a result of paying him a flat rate of $14.58 an hour, when he was entitled to receive up to $24.72 an hour.

The journalist, aged in his 50s, reported for the Novosti Newspaper on matters relating to the Serbian community in Australia.

He first lodged a complaint with the Fair Work Ombudsman in April, 2010 after F.L. Press allegedly told him his position was being changed from full-time to part-time.

F.L. Press allegedly threatened not to pay the journalist’s outstanding entitlements unless he signed a statement saying he agreed to the change.

The ombudsman alleges that on one occasion after the complaint, Mr Skalkos told the journalist he would be dismissed if he did not complete his own duties, as well as the duties of another worker who was on leave, within his usual hours.

On another occasion, Mr Skalkos allegedly used an intimidating and threatening tone when telling the journalist he would not be dismissed if he withdrew his complaint.

The Fair Work Ombudsman statement of claim alleges that as a result of the journalist refusing to withdraw his complaint, he was ultimately dismissed in January, 2011.

In a media release, Fair Work Ombudsman Nicholas Wilson said the conduct of F.L. Press and Mr Skalkos allegedly breached provisions of workplace laws relating to adverse action and coercion.

Mr Wilson said the decision to prosecute was made because of the seriousness of the alleged conduct.

The ombudsman alleges F.L. Press committed several breaches of workplace laws and that Mr Skalkos was involved in a number of the breaches.

The company and Mr Slalkos face maximum penalties per breach of up to $33,000 and $6600 respectively.

The ombudsman is also seeking a court order for F.L. Press to rectify the alleged underpayment of the journalist.

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Dropped bikie case bungled


A comedy of legal and journalistic errors surrounded the dropping of a case against Coffin Cheaters Motorcycle Club members last year, according to a report tabled today in State Parliament.

On April 6, 2011, a Supreme Court hearing into alleged contempt of the Corruption and Crime Commission by two Coffin Cheaters was aborted due to an application by CCC Acting Commissioner Mark Herron.

Today, a report by the Joint Standing Committee on the CCC revealed the website of The West Australian newspaper had incorrectly reported the discontinuance was caused by the CCC’s failure to disclose evidence to the bikies’ defence lawyers.

The journalistic blunder would have remained unacknowledged but for the Committee report.

The report reveals the case was actually abandoned because Mr Herron considered it had little chance of achieving a conviction.

Also revealed were observations by Mr Herron that the CCC and WA Police had made errors.

At a closed hearing of the Committee in May last year Mr Herron divulged that certificates filed by the CCC in support of the case were not precise enough.

He also said he had criticised the way in which questions were asked by counsel appointed by the WA Police.


At another closed hearing in May last year, then CCC Inspector Chris Steytler addressed the Committee.

“What happened … was essentially the Commission made a mess of the certificate and that was the reason it failed – nothing less,” Mr Steytler explained.

The Committee noted that “the episode” highlighted flaws in the legislation that governs the CCC.

“… the CCC consistently narrowly construes the CCC Act so as to render itself impotent of engaging substantially during organised crime examinations,” the Committee concluded.

The Committee recommends that if the CCC Commissioner were in future to consider counsel for the WA Police to be doing an inadequate job that the Commissioner intervene.

The Committee also recommends the CCC be allowed to help WA Police prepare its organised crime investigations.

In comments on the Committee’s draft report, current CCC Commissioner Roger Macknay had said the recommendations did not require any amendment to the CCC Act.

Mr Macknay claimed that “no detriment resulted to any person” from withdrawal of the case against the Coffin Cheaters.


The Committee noted The West Australian’s erroneous report reflected badly on the CCC – without justification.

The Committee also highlighted that the CCC did not move to publicly correct the error.

This irked deputy Committee chair John Hyde – himself a former journalist.

“I think I am more disappointed that [the CCC has] allowed that to be reported without being corrected,” Mr Hyde lamented in the Committee report.

“Normally when there is something wrong, the CCC is within a nanosecond of putting out  a press release or correcting something in the media.

“I have got transparency issues with the way this has been portrayed.”

In his comments on the draft report, Mr Macknay said he understood the error had been corrected by The West Australian before its newspaper was printed the next day.

“With respect, that is scarcely the public record,” he contended, adding he could not see how the case warranted a formal report to Parliament.

Many internet users know that cached versions of deleted errors can be accessed for days after being removed from a webpage. This extends the time that misinformation can linger on the public record.

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Internet illed the radio star


An ex ABC Morning Program host who contracted severe anxiety and depression after being urged to embrace online technology has lost her fight for financial compensation.

In a ruling published today, Karen Buck’s appeal of a Comcare decision not to compensate her was dismissed by Administrative Appeals Tribunal Deputy President Stanley Hotop.

From 1997 to 2001 Buck co-hosted the ABC’s flagship Morning Program, with Jim Gill in Perth.

In 2001 she became a trainer of broadcasters – at one point instructing 600 presenters at 59 radio stations around Australia.

However, in March 2010 she received a new job plan which she later told Comcare did not match her “skills, competence or aptitude”.

Buck, 59 of Denmark, alleged the ABC’s failure to provide a training plan for the transition, and the management style of her new supervisor Justine McSweeney, had made her ill.

A later medical examination requested by Comcare found Buck’s condition was caused by her work at the ABC, specifically the new job plan, but not by Ms McSweeney.


In evidence to the tribunal, Buck said she was being asked to move from face-to-face training to an online, e-learning and virtual classoom environment.

She said her face-to-face work would now be limited to training senior radio staff from around Australia who would then train junior presenters themselves.

“The new job plan also required me to design training for content makers (as broadcasters were now called) in the broad range of radio craft skills,” she testified.

“These skills now include[d] a range of multi platform and social media task[s].

“I had never trained in these areas before because these were not areas I had any knowledge or skill in.”


Buck said some ABC managers were now referring to such journalistic mainstays as interviewing, writing scripts and producing programs as “heritage craft skills”.

She said her new role was to include capturing digital photos, audio and video, editing them and publishing them on the web, podcasting, establishing and maintaining websites, blogs and Facebook pages, and using Twitter and Facebook to promote the ABC.

Buck said she would also be expected to train a new breed of cross-media reporter.

She testified she had no skills or knowledge in these areas and would need extensive training.

She said Ms McSweeney had assured her she would receive training but was unprepared to put this in writing.

Ms McSweeney testified instead that she had told Ms Buck that most of the training would be face to face and some would be through e-learning.

“I told her it was not known at that point what specific e-learning would occur but any new methods would only happen after the proper training,” Ms McSweeney submitted.

Mr Hotop considered Ms McSweeney’s encouragement and urging of Buck to sign the new job plan was reasonable.

He also noted it was reasonable for Buck to indicate she was not then prepared to sign that job plan, given her concerns at the time.

Mr Hotop found that Buck’s anxiety and depression were caused by reasonable administrative action taken in a reasonable manner in respect of her employment.

He found the conditions were therefore not injuries as defined by Federal compensation legislation, and so no compensation was payable.

Photo: Gnangarra, commons.wikimedia.org

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Overtime slashed to keep West afloat


EXCLUSIVE: Some staff at the West Australian tabloid will be forced to take a $20,000-a-year pay cut after admissions by management that the monopoly periodical is not travelling too well.

A Fair Work Australia decision published yesterday notes the tabloid has been hit hard by the emergence of online news and advertising, and poor ad sales since 2008.

The monopoly publication admits it continues to trade at greatly reduced volumes compared to 2008.

The much-hyped Saturday paper for which the tabloid saves its least boring stories was regularly 192 pages but now weighs in at just 168 pages.

A weekend real estate lift-out was often 128 pages but now limps across the line at about 70.

The weekend motoring and professional employment section was regularly 96 pages. It is now a puny 40 pages.

Half-year financial results presented to Fair Work Australia commissioner Bruce Williams were 7 per cent lower than the corresponding period a year before.

Tabloid management told Mr Williams that, at the same time, the publication’s staffing costs had continued to rise.

The managers claimed that to cope with their advertising crisis they needed to slash overtime hours available to press room printing and basement staff.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union opposed the cuts and told Mr Williams it would cost many of the staff about $20,000 a year.

Mr Williams accepted that loss of annual gross earnings would range from zero for some workers to about $20,000 for others.

He concluded the planned changes were not unjust, and endorsed the tabloid’s right to vary rosters and staffing so it could save on overtime.

Compared to the planned blue collar pay cuts, a round of voluntary white collar redundancies in 2009 saw few cuts to the tabloid’s legion of ageing journalists.

Although clocking in at one of the worst-regarded dailies in the nation, reporters at the tabloid are among the best paid in Australia.

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High profile economist joins Curtin


High profile economist Craig James has become the third TV regular appointed in recent times as an adjunct professor to the Curtin Business School.

Mr James (pictured) is chief economist at CommSec and has started a three-year appointment.

He said he was looking forward to working with Western Australian students during the state’s unique economic period.

“The Western Australian economy is incredibly strong and is currently out-performing all other Australian states,” Mr James said.

“Western Australian companies are attracting strong global investment.

“Many of the students at CBS are going to finish their studies and go on to play major roles in shaping the future of these companies.”

Mr James threw in some free advice for WA investors.

“Certainly, the world is experiencing massive changes with a debt crisis raging in Europe and emerging nations, led by China, taking over leadership of the global economy,” he said.

“So the simple message for investors is to stay alert.

“Pessimism can swiftly change to optimism in the current environment and Western Australian investors need to embrace the opportunities that arise.”

Mr James is a regular media commentator and the daily spokesperson for CommSec on several national news bulletins.

During his tenure he will present public lectures and advise the university on international and domestic economic issues.

He joins fellow celebrity number crunchers Bernard Salt and John Nicolaou as recently-appointed adjunct professors at the Curtin Business School.

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Harvey Norman ‘baited’ consumers


Six Harvey Norman franchisees have each paid an infringement notice for advertising in The West Australian’s weekend tabloid a camera they did not stock.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it issued the notices because it had reasonable grounds to believe allegations the franchisees had engaged in bait advertising by promoting the Kodak ‘Playsport’ pocket video camera in a catalogue.

This occurred despite the franchisees being unable to supply the product to consumers.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said businesses had to be careful when advertising their products via catalogues.

“Promotional material must be accurate and there must be adequate stock of the advertised product to meet reasonable demand, otherwise businesses risk bait advertising which is illegal,” Mr Samuel said.

The six Western Australian franchisees which have each paid the infringement notice of $6600 are:

  • Armastore Pty Ltd, which operates the Harvey Norman Armadale computer franchise;
  • Avitmont Pty Ltd, which operates the Harvey Norman Belmont computer franchise;
  • CW Superstore Pty Ltd, which operates the Harvey Norman City West computer franchise;
  • Ellicom Pty Ltd , which operates the Harvey Norman Osborne Park computer franchise;
  • Mildlander Pty Ltd, which operates the Harvey Norman Midland computer franchise; and
  • Kenstore Pty Ltd, which operate the Harvey Norman Port Kennedy computer franchise.

The ‘iPad is here’ catalogue advertised the Kodak camera for $218 when the franchisees did not stock the camera.

The catalogue was widely distributed on November 13, 2010 in the Saturday tabloid of the monopoly West Australian.

Earlier this year The West Australian also printed an advertisement by a scammer who fleeced one victim to the tune of $12,000.

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