Australia news LIVE: Yes campaign to accuse No camp of vilifying Aboriginal people; Qantas loses High Court bid

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Key posts

  • Qantas workers pursue damages after High Court ruling
  • Europe probes China over dumping of electric vehicles
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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New defence laws will close ’loopholes, Keogh says

Turning to another issue, military veterans and former Defence public servants will face up to 20 years in jail if they undertake unauthorised work for a foreign government.

Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister Matt Keogh spoke about the legislation, which is set to be introduced by the defence minister today.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Matt Keogh.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“That’s an issue that’s been identified … we need to make sure there are absolutely no loopholes or ability for people to think that they can operate contrary to Australia’s national interests,” Keogh said this morning.

He said the laws would identify and clarify to any former service personnel or public servants who worked in defence that information security and security was being taken seriously.

“We are going to properly regulate any work that they do for a foreign military, or companies associated with them so that we’re protecting our national interest.”

‘Qantas did the wrong thing’, Littleproud says of landmark ruling

Nationals leader David Littleproud is sceptical about the future of Qantas, but praised the High Court ruling that found the airline illegally sacked 1700 ground staff during the height of the pandemic.

“Qantas did the wrong thing,” Littleproud told Nine’s Today Show this morning.

“There are serious cultural deficiencies at Qantas, particularly under the leadership of Alan Joyce,” he said.

Nationals leader David Littleproud.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

But despite Joyce leaving the airline early and new chief executive Vanessa Hudson starting in the role, Littleproud said he was “sceptical” about the airline’s future.

“The same regime continues on … the new CEO, was, in fact, the chief financial officer,” he said of Hudson.

“I’m a little concerned that this will be more about words rather than actions and deeds.”

He said there were still “cultural deficiencies” at Qantas, and the board had to answer to those issues.

“Their job is to make sure there is governance over the operations of that company. And I think obviously, particularly the shareholders and the institutional investors will have serious questions of Qantas.”

Littleproud said the airline took “advantage of what was the biggest crisis” since the World War II.

“They saw an opportunity, took advantage of it as these workers’ expense. I think there are serious questions that need to be looked at.”

Qantas workers pursue damages after High Court ruling

Qantas faces a compensation settlement that could run into hundreds of millions of dollars for workers illegally sacked, following yesterday’s landmark High Court decision.

The ruling also prompted some of the company’s biggest investors to harden calls for a rethink of executive bonuses.

In what unions hailed as a “great day for working people”, the court unanimously ruled on Wednesday against the airline over its pandemic-era outsourcing of 1700 ground staff, emboldening a legislative push on controversial industrial reforms while provoking the Coalition to demand Qantas make staff reparations.

The High Court decision follows years of legal proceedings after Qantas sacked ground staff during the pandemic.Credit: Wolter Peters

Qantas moved to extend an olive branch to workers, with a spokesperson saying the airline intended to discuss reaching a settlement with workers in a bid to head off further legal action after the Transport Workers Union warned it would pursue compensation and significant penalties.

Lawyer Josh Bornstein, who ran the union’s case, said Qantas could be up for a “potentially very significant sum” that would consider the economic harms and health impacts suffered by the sacked workers.

Find out more about the case here. 

Yes campaigners told to accuse No camp of vilifying Aboriginal people

Trade union campaigners are being instructed to tell Australians the No side is vilifying Aboriginal people in the Voice to parliament referendum campaign, which has sparked another intense political feud over racism allegations.

The opposition has seized on newly unearthed comments from top Voice proponent Marcia Langton – referring to social workers as “by and large … racist” – a day after she rejected the Coalition and media misleadingly construing her criticisms of the No campaign as an attack on individual voters.

Trades hall secretary Luke Hilakari says Yes volunteers have encountered offensive content and that calling out misinformation is important.Credit: The Age

Langton said the views of No leaders Gary Johns, who has said Indigenous people should take blood tests for welfare payments, and David Adler, who accused journalist Stan Grant of artificially darkening his skin, were proof of racism within No’s ranks.

A key strategy of the No campaign – according to Matthew Sheahan, leader of major No outfit Advance – is to portray the Voice as divisive and has used Langton’s comments to further this charge.

Yes campaigners accuse their opponents of sparking the viciousness of the Voice debate

Continue reading about the tactics here. 

Europe probes China over dumping of electric vehicles

The European Union has launched an investigation into Chinese dumping of government-subsidised electric vehicles.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement in her annual State of the European Union address in Strasbourg.

Europe, a global powerhouse in manufacturing combustible engine cars, has been gradually losing the race in producing electric vehicles in the Chinese market to domestic players.

China’s President Xi Jinping and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Beijing in April.Credit: AP

Von der Leyen said Europe was for competition but only if it was fair and likened it to the loss of Europe’s solar industry to China, which she blamed on Beijing’s unfair trade practices where many young businesses were undercut and pushed out by government-subsidised Chinese companies.

“Global markets are now flooded with cheaper Chinese electric cars,” she told Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).

“And their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies.

Read the full story here. 

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for your company.

It’s Thursday, September14. I’m Caroline Schelle, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • Military veterans and former Defence public servants will face up to 20 years in jail if they undertake unauthorised work for a foreign government under new laws.
  • Volunteers for the Yes campaign are being instructed to convince voters that the anti-Voice movement punches down on Indigenous Australians.
  • Australia’s biggest business organisation says employers will be on notice over how they move to outsource work, after a landmark High Court ruled Qantas illegally sacked staff during the pandemic.
  • AFL champion Michael Long will arrive in Canberra after walking from Melbourne to campaign for the Voice to parliament. And he has one question for the Australian people.

Former AFL legend Michael Long will arrive in Canberra today. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

  • A group of scientists is hoping to create a new type of plastic that can be printed via a 3D machine and can break down in seawater within a month.
  • The world’s governments, businesses and households owe a record $367 trillion, with calls growing for governments to help cut debt levels.
  • An Australian study found TikTok users with eating disorders were shown a median of 497 appearance-oriented, 460 dieting-oriented and 461 exercise-oriented videos every week.
  • In NSW, the Labor government’s honeymoon period has ended less than six months since polling day, with the party’s primary vote slipping after multiple scandals.
  • Victorian businesses pocketed $178 million in carbon credits this year for installing LED light bulbs and cheap plastic door covers through a government scheme that industry says needs an overhaul.
  • Overseas, a convicted murderer who escaped from a US jail was captured using a heat-sensing aircraft and a police dog, ending a two-week manhunt.

Let’s get into it.

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