25 September 2023

And in Other News….

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Violence leave to be extended

A new ‘one-stop-shop’ to provide resources for employers and employees dealing with family violence issues is to be established.

The plan was announced by the Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy and the Minister for Women, Kelly O’Dwyer following the Fair Work Commission’s decision to add an entitlement of five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave per year for workers employed under modern awards.

The Ministers said legislation would be introduced as soon as possible to extend the same entitlement to other employees covered by the Fair Work Act.

Indigenous Commissioner for PC

Legislation has been passed to establish the position of Indigenous Commissioner at the Productivity Commission (PC).

The new position will facilitate PC’s work in evaluating policies and programs that have an impact on Indigenous Australians.

Treasurer, Scott Morrison said enshrining the position and policy focus into law formed part of a commitment to Closing the Gap and would ensure there was a strong evidence base to direct funding on the ground and deliver better outcomes.

Former Minister Newman dies

Former Minister for Social Security, women and Family and Community Services, Senator Jocelyn Newman died in Berry, NSW on Easter Sunday at age 80.

Senator Newman was the wife of fellow Minister Kevin Newman and mother of former Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman.

She passed on following a long struggle with Alzheimers Disease and a memorial service is to be held in Canberra in the next fortnight.

Ineligible MPs excused

A high-level advisory committee has determined that all former Parliamentarians found to be ineligible to hold office by the High Court should be excused from repaying their resultant debts to the Commonwealth.

The Minister for Finance, Senator Mathias Cormann has accepted the Committee’s advice.

The committee determined that the Parliamentarians had performed their duties in good faith for a proper purpose and that it was difficult for individuals at the time of nomination to know they were ineligible.

Senator Cormann said the debts waived included those owed by Rodney Culleton, Barnaby Joyce, Scott Ludlam, Fiona Nash, Malcolm Roberts and Larissa Waters.

The debts included salaries, superannuation and electorate allowances, as well as non-salary expenses such as staff, office and travel expenses.

Medical team to PNG

An Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) has travelled to Papua New Guinea to assist with health needs following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the Highlands area in February.

The 15-member AUSMAT team was drawn from State and Territory-based health services including the Northern Territory, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

The National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre in Darwin coordinates AUSMAT.

The specialists will also work with local health officials and humanitarian organisations to address public health issues.

Jail for tax fraud

In what has been described as the largest ever prosecuted tax fraud, the Supreme Court of NSW sentenced Michael Issakidis to 10 years and three months’ jail.

Mr. Issakidis and a co-conspirator deliberately absorbed $450 million of otherwise assessable income through falsely created losses overseas to evade $135 million in corporate tax, netting themselves about $63 million.

The co-accused, Anthony Dickson was sentenced to 11 years’ jail, later increased to 14 years on appeal.

These sentences bring to a conclusion the multi-year fraud investigation by the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce involving members from the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Federal Police.

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