Sunday, June 02, 2013

Tom compromises

He will no longer be giving odds from the commenters' box during the game but will appear as part of advertising breaks

HIGH profile bookmaker Tom Waterhouse will cut back his appearances on the Nine Network's NRL coverage, starting Friday night.

Waterhouse, the son of trainer Gai Waterhouse and bookie Robbie Waterhouse, has become the public face of the controversy surrounding live betting odds being spruiked on television, especially during football games.

The public outrage over the growth of bookies promoting betting odds during games has led the government to announce a crackdown on the practice.

Waterhouse on Friday, in an open letter in The Daily Telegraph, said he would step back.

"I am sorry. I have listened to the PM and Australia and have made the call with Channel 9 to dramatically cut back on my advertising from tonight," he said.

Waterhouse said in the letter that had around five per cent of the racing and sports betting market in Australia and spent approximately five per cent of the betting advertising dollar.

He said he was competing with offshore giants such as and as well as local players such as the TAB.

"Punters like to watch sport, so I have focused on sports advertising, which flows through to benefit the sports," he said.

"I would love to be still betting at the track but the world has moved on and punters want to be able to bet online.

"However the public has spoken and you will see less of me on TV."

Under the government's proposals, all promotion of live odds by gambling companies and commentators will be prohibited during live broadcasts of sport.

The broadcasting industry body Free TV Australia has indicated Prime Minister Julia Gillard won't need to force the changes, promising to revise its code within a fortnight.


NBN issues compared to failed 'pink batt' scheme

The roll out of the national broadband network has suffered its worst week with key partner Telstra battling at least one local community after the discovery of asbestos during construction work, while an accident on Friday left a network-related contractor dead in Kiama.

The federal government is hoping a meeting at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday will defuse concern it may be blamed for mishandling another large program, with independent senator Nick Xenophon drawing parallels with the abandoned roof-insulation "pink batts" scheme, which left four workers dead.

"The difference is that with asbestos, families might not know there is a problem for up to 40 or 50 years," Senator Xenophon said.

Comcare, the federal health and safety agency, issued prohibition orders on work involving the construction of the broadband network after asbestos was improperly handled at several pits owned by Telstra. These include Greenacre in Sydney's west, where work was halted on May 2, Penrith and the ACT.

"It's all over the place," Senator Xenophon said. "I'm worried that this is a systemic issue."

Penrith resident Matthew O'Farrell, who was evacuated from his house over asbestos concerns, said he had been given no indication from Telstra when he and his family could return to their Hornseywood Avenue home. No agreement had yet been reached on how the work would be completed, he said.

"That's what we're angry about, they've put nothing in writing yet or agreed to how they're going to do our homes … all they're worried about doing is their pits," he said. "What we're worried about is when they do their pits they'll then say we don't care any more about you."

Telstra is conducting an audit of asbestos management for all contractors and has set up a team of 200 specialists to inspect and supervise all remediation work once it resumes. A Telstra official told a community meeting this week the country has between 5 million and 8 million pits, many built with asbestos lining.

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten said Monday's meeting would focus on Telstra and how the company will ensure future work involving asbestos will be strictly controlled.

"We're calling all the stakeholders together on Monday to make sure the voices of everyone that is concerned are not swept under the carpet," he said.

The government would also seek a commitment from Telstra that they would not walk away from any claims made by workers who may have been exposed to asbestos, he said.

President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia Barry Robson said it had asked Telstra to track down the four workers to register them with the dust diseases board. "You think you are getting the message out there and then a big company like Telstra does something like this and you say to yourself … they just don't get it," he said.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, meanwhile, said in a statement he was "deeply saddened" by the death of a 56-year-old man who was crushed during a workplace accident involving an NBN contractor's truck in Kiama on Friday morning. Police are investigating the incident.


Govt to crack down on LEGAL immigrants

But for illegals it's "come one, come all"

JULIA Gillard will reignite the foreign workers controversy with plans to introduce cash fines for bosses who fail to offer jobs to Australian workers first.

Warning that a "tick-a-box" approach currently applies to companies claiming they face local labour shortages without even advertising jobs, unions are pushing the Prime Minister to act before the September election.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal cabinet will tomorrow night debate the measures, which include financial penalties for employers who lie or mislead authorities about labour shortages to import workers on 457 visas.

The 457 visa is the most commonly used program for employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers to work in Australia temporarily with a little more than 100,000 workers currently in Australia under the visa class.

The number of 457 visa classes has jumped 20 per cent in the last year.

Currently, bosses must claim there is a labour shortage to secure a foreign worker but do not have to prove it.

"Why do they like 457 visas if they have local labour available? Because they can deport these workers in a month," a senior government source claimed.

"It makes WorkChoices look like a picnic."

Senior government sources also said the Department of Immigration was reviewing "serious" allegations over exploitation of some low-skilled workers, suggesting there was a "fine line" between the abuse of 457s and labour trafficking.

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said the Coalition was open to "common sense" reforms to the scheme but accused Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor of grossly exaggerating the numbers of workers being exploited.

"Our real fear is they are using this as a Trojan horse to introduce industrial inspectors," Mr Morrison said.

"There's no doubt that immigration policy is being driven by the union movement and union donors to the Labor Party."

The crackdown follows a push by big union donors to the Labor Party to lock in the changes before the September 14 election.

But the 457 debate has sparked bitter divisions within the Gillard government ranks, with accusations the Prime Minister was "dog-whistling" to racists.

Last month, former Labor leader Simon Crean said the debate over 457 visas was a good policy with bad rhetoric. "She's gone the class warfare," Mr Crean said.

"The 457 visa debate was a good example of the message being taken out of context - because it looked like 'we'll put Australians before foreigners'. Unequivocally, immigration has been good for this country."

Mr O'Connor sparked controversy earlier this year when he suggested the number of 457 visa rorts to be in excess of 10,000.

"I can assure you we will be looking to legislate," he said at the time.  "There will be some parts that might be reformed through regulation."

Mr O'Connor has previously pledged to allow the Fair Work Ombudsman's inspectors to check businesses were complying with the scheme's guidelines.


Anti-Muslim speech disallowed

After what Muslims have done and keep doing, people must be expected to be angry about it

Australian Defence Force personnel, paramedics and a NSW rural firefighter have been caught posting racist and religious slurs on social media pages despite the furore over the racist insults directed at AFL star Adam Goodes.

All three organisations have launched investigations after receiving a stream of complaints that their employees and volunteers have been posting the comments on known race-hate and Facebook pages over the past week. All of the people involved clearly identified themselves on social media pages, some posting pictures of ambulances, firetrucks and themselves in uniform, as well as identifying their work position or organisation.

The postings from soldiers and sailors are the latest in a string of racist scandals to have hit the Australian Defence Force over the past decade, including inflammatory remarks by serving personnel in Afghanistan, soldiers dressing like the Ku Klux Klan and racist and sexist Facebook groups.

One message on a hate page, understood to be from a serving soldier, said: "My mates wife ripped the scarf of a muzzos head, after she run up the arse of their Porsche, it was so she could see where she was going next time."

Another serving officer, who had been the subject of a complaint to Defence in the past two weeks, was again posting comments on Friday about Muslims, saying, "Kill em all."

The ambulance officer contributed to a group post about a Muslim person the group wanted to "kill or deport".

One of the hate messages put up just a few days ago by the rural firefighter said: "We as Australians have a 'CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT' to freedom of speech. But you go ahead and voice your opinion and the government say it is wrong. SO I sayd [sic] F--- the government Send all the f---ing Muslims back to their own country and then nuke the place. No more problems with the c---s."

The posting came during a week of controversy triggered by a young teenage girl who called AFL star Adam Goodes an "ape" and fuelled by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire.

A Defence spokeswoman confirmed the Office of the Inspector-General of Defence was investigating the fresh allegations of inappropriate comments made by Defence members on social media sites. "If any investigation determines that inappropriate behaviour has occurred, the matter will be referred to the relevant service for action."

In 2011 Facebook and YouTube postings by a small number of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan sparked controversy. Videos showed soldiers referring to Afghans as "sand coons", "dune coons", "niggers", "smelly locals" and a "raghead".

Last year the ABC uncovered a Facebook group where serving and ex-military personnel were swapping bawdy comments about women and offensive remarks about Muslims.

And in 2004 soldiers at Townsville's Lavarack Barracks dressed in Ku Klux Klan-style hoods and posed behind some Aboriginal and other dark-skinned soldiers.

The executive director of the Australian Defence Association, Neil James, said such behaviour would be very disappointing given that the ADF was so strong on its social media policy . "When you are fighting a war in complex human terrain - among people - it is not clever to be giving them things they can use as propaganda against you, it is also not looking after your mates," he said.

ADF investigations will also examine comments, such as "Death to Islam", which were posted by a man wearing what appeared to be an Australian army uniform.

A complaint by a peace group which monitors websites was sent to the Rural Fire Service, saying one of the postings had been made last week. The group called for the firefighter to be disciplined.

A fire service spokeswoman said the service had not been aware of the comments but "now they have been brought to our attention, the service has taken immediate action".

She said the service had already contacted the volunteer and he had agreed to remove the post. Disciplinary processes had been started.

Ambulance NSW has also launched an investigation after receiving a complaint about an employee who contributed to a racist group post that revealed the address of a person who was disliked by the group and who they wanted to "kill or deport".


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't any dark skinned people make racist comments?