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News Today Explored Thursday 24th Feb, 2022

Vanuatu lauch inquiry into Australian seasonal worker scheme

Fruit pickers employed under Australia’s Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) and Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) have come under official scrutiny by the Vanuatu Government after allegations of exploitation by workers.

The workers claim they were subjected to inadequate housing, bullying and poor pay. One claimed he had received $100 for a full week's work, and then had a further $30 deducted without explanation.

Since the pandemic restricted access to backpackers and visa holders, agricultural companies have been exposed for their exploitative working practices including pay per piece agreements. This practice was abolished in November 2021 after Fair Work found the provisions 'not fit for purpose".

Clive Palmer hospitalised after experiencing symptoms of Covid-19

Unvaccinated mining magnate, man who tried to bankrupt WA, and large spender on yellow and black advertising, has been hospitalised this morning after experiencing "Covid-like symptoms".

On Wednesdy he cancelled his planned address at the National Press Club due to illness.

Spokesman for Mr Palmer have said variously that he has not been tested and that he tested negative for Covid.

The defamation case between Palmer and WA Premier Mark McGowan will continue with Mr McGowan due to testify from March 7th.

Bramwell Station in QLD to return to traditional owners for conservation.

The Queensland government has purchased the Bramwell Station in Cape York to return to Aboriginal traditional owners. A section of the land will be designated national park and the rest will be freehold land. This adds 131,900ha to protected land holding in the state.

Russia invades Ukraine

In a long awaited announcement, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Russia will conduct military operations in eastern Ukraine. Against his advice to other countries not to intefere, the US, Europe and allies threatened to increase sanctions if military action occurred.

Tonga Internet cabel reconnected

The undersea fibre-optic cable connecting Tonga with the world has been restored after damage caused by the January Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano eruption. Families that were separated, even those living on other Tongan islands, had limited means of communication without the cable. About 90km of the cable had to be repaired.

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