Every big company has a line about corporate social responsibility, and what it contributes to the community. But there’s always a tension between corporate hype about being ethical, or a good corporate citizen, and the need to make a profit to stay afloat.
Business is a tough environment and business leaders are under immense pressure to deliver a good bottom line. Corporate philanthropy is fantastic, but in the end charity begins at home, with the way a company treats its workforce.
We are seeing a growing trend towards business avoiding their responsibilities, both to treat their workers well, and to the long-term future of our workforce.
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It just sounds so damn unfair doesn’t it – free TVs!!!!!
But those up in arms about the “welcome packs” of household essentials being used to fit out community housing for asylum seekers this morning are ignoring a few basic truths. Truths that include: a) it’s cheaper to house asylum seekers in the community than in our overcrowded detention centres and b) those awaiting rulings on their refugee claims are not allowed to work to buy essentials for life themselves.
The list of basics, which includes everything from a bed to a colander, has been designed to ease the passage of the approximately 1600 asylum seekers who currently live in community detention.
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For over 100 years unions have been the anchor for the Australian Labor Party. Without the weight of the two million-strong union membership the party floats away or gets out of touch with ordinary Australians.
Political junkies will get a fix this week when the ALP’s national conference kicks off in Sydney.
The debates over gay marriage and uranium sales to India will get breathless media coverage. But behind this the union movement will be steadily pursuing a united agenda to push for the rights of working Australians.
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The kneejerk response to stories about sex trafficking is to ramp up criminal laws and crackdown on the sex industry. We need a more nuanced approach.
Last night I watched the Four Corners special on ‘sex slavery’. I work as a lawyer representing women and men who have been trafficked to Australia but most of the time I’d rather watch YouTube videos of cats yowling than a sex trafficking doco.
Still, I turned on Four Corners to hear the story of two Chinese women who had been trafficked into the sex industry.
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The Queensland floods are the most economically damaging natural disaster in Australian history – but as reconstruction begins, we should be wary of a different type of deluge, of a far more avoidable type.
In December last year, ANU academic Peter McDonald made headlines when he suggested that foreign workers should be rushed into the country to work below Australian minimum wages and conditions.
Professor McDonald argued that Australia needed to accelerate the construction of major infrastructure and that the best way to achieve it would be to put the projects out to international tender, allowing the winning bidder to bring their own workers to remunerate and treat as they see fit.
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More than eighty years separate the publication of Evelyn Waugh’s first novel and the Tory campaign for government in the British election, but the two are oddly connected.
The narrative spring that sets ‘Decline and Fall’ in motion is the expulsion from Oxford of its hapless hero, Paul Pennyfeather; and the reason he’s expelled is an act of bullying by the members of something called the Bollinger Club.
They “debag” him (pull down his trousers and pants) and force him to run around the quadrangle. He’s caught, ‘sent down’ as they say at Oxford, and left with no choice but to take a low paying job teaching at a seedy prep school, where his humilations grow steadily worse.
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