Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Fallen footy star Israel Folau could be back in the NRL within months as team offers a two-year contract and lobbies to reinstate him – two years after Wallabies sacked him over homophobic posts

Israel Folau and the St George Dragons are lobbying the NRL to allow the the fallen star to play this season after homophobic posts derailed his career.

St George Illawarra Dragons boss Ryan Webb confirmed the club formally applied to the NRL to allow them to sign Folau on a two-year contract on Tuesday.

Folau had his Wallabies and Super Rugby contracts ripped up days after an Instagram post warning gay people 'hell awaits you' in April 2019.

The NRL is now speaking to relevant parties and reviewing the proposal before deciding if Folau will be allowed to play.

'We are always on the lookout for great players,' Mr Webb told the Sydney Morning Herald. 'We have enquired with the NRL about Israel and we will work with them to hopefully see him join us in 2021. 'We understand there will be a range of opinions in regards to this decision, but we believe he would be a good addition to our club.'

The club board has reportedly approved the move to sign Folau and they have informed their sponsors such as St George Bank and Jeep.

It's understood Wests Tigers also expressed interest in the dual international in May last year.

'Wests Tigers were just feeling out the situation. It didn't go too far and nothing will come of it,' a source close to Folau told the Daily Telegraph.

Folau signed a new one-year contract with French club Catalans Dragons in June 2020 but returned to Australia after the birth of his first child this summer.

He had his $4 million Wallabies contract ripped up in May 2019 after he twice uploaded religious posts which Rugby Australia found homophobic.

Folau's post from 2019 read: 'Hell awaits drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolators.'

He captioned the picture with: 'Those that are living in Sin will end up in Hell unless you repent. Jesus Christ loves you and is giving you time to turn away from your sin and come to him'.

ARLC chairman Peter V'landys has previously made his views known on the saga. 'The game is inclusive. Israel's comments are not inclusive,' V'landys told reporters in November 2019.

'With due respect to Israel, what he says, young kids listen to. He is a role model. They act on it. And when you're a kid at school and you get bashed up because you're different, I don't think that's a good thing.'

Whether the league will change its tune 18 months later will be hotly debated by powerbrokers over coming weeks.

New push to force Australians to wear badges saying 'I'm a mother' or 'I'm a son' and ban 'sexualised' uniforms at work to stop harassment and violence

Thank goodness these are only suggestions

Sexualised uniforms could be banned and employee badges may be made mandatory in a bid to stop sexual harassment and violence in the workplace.

Government agency Safe Work Australia made the suggestions in its new national work health and safety guidelines released on Monday.

The guide said employers should 'avoid sexualised uniforms and ensure clothing is practical for the work undertaken' to prevent sexual harassment of employees.

The guide to prevent workplace violence and aggression also made a number of suggestions, including one to wear badges.

'Provide your workers with badges to remind customers and clients that a worker is part of the community e.g. labelled with "I'm a son" or "I'm a mother",' the guide read.

The sexual harassment guide warned 'working from home may provide an opportunity for covert sexual harassment to occur online or (by) phone'.

'Keep records and screen shots if inappropriate behaviour occurs online or through phone communication,' the guide read.

Businesses should also 'reinforce what behaviours are expected of workers' to stop sexual harassment at work events like office Christmas parties.

Workplaces with 'hierarchical structures' such as the police, medical and legal industries can 'increase the likelihood of sexual harassment,' according to the guide.

Sexual harassment can include unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing, suggestive comments or jokes, sexualised nicknames, sexually explicit pictures and circulating sexually explicit material.

Persistent unwanted invitations to go out on dates, requests or pressure for sex and intrusive questions or comments are also considered sexual harassment.

Workers who experience sexual harassment can either tell their harasser to stop if they 'feel safe and confident' doing so or report it to their superiors.

Sexual assault, stalking, indecent exposure and obscene or threatening communications are criminal offences and should be reported to police.

Workplace violence and aggression includes physical assault, intentionally coughing or spitting on someone, verbal threats and abuse or yelling and swearing.

Hazing or initiation practices, domestic violence in the workplace, gendered violence and sexual assault or harassment also fall under the same umbrella.

Chau Chak Wing: Billionaire businessman wins defamation case against ABC, Fairfax Media

The ABC and Nine say a judge’s decision to award billionaire Chau Chak Wing $590,000 in a defamation case will have a “chilling effect” on media freedom in Australia.

The Chinese-Australian philanthropist and political donor will walk away with the sum and a sense of vindication after winning a lawsuit against the two media companies over a Four Corners episode in June 2017.

The program, titled “Power and Influence”, investigated Chinese interference in Australian politics.

Dr Chau sued the ABC and Fairfax Media, now owned by Nine, alleging the program painted him as a corrupt Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spy who paid a bribe to a UN official.

Federal Court Justice Steven Rares largely ruled in Dr Chau’s favour on Tuesday morning.

He found the program defamed Dr Chau by suggesting he engaged in secret lobbying for an arm of the CCP, made huge political donations as bribes to influence pro-China policies, and paid a $200,000 bribe to former United Nations General Assembly president John Ashe.

But the judge said the program did not suggest Dr Chau, who has been an Australian citizen since 1999, had “betrayed his country” to spy for the CCP, nor that he knew associate Sheri Yan was a spy.

The ABC and Nine hit out at being forced to defend these allegations only for the judge to find they were not contained in the program.

“This case has again starkly demonstrated fundamental problems with Australian defamation law and pre-trial procedures being heavily skewed in favour of a plaintiff,” the companies said in a statement.

They urged state and territory parliaments to reform defamation laws as a matter of urgency.

Dr Chau told the court at trial he had been in “agony” after hearing about the broadcast. “I couldn’t sleep for days, and I couldn’t eat well for days, and my blood pressure went very high, and I had to make a number of visits to the doctor, and I was in breakdown, and I lost many weight,” he said.

Justice Rares said it was “no small thing” for Four Corners to direct such serious accusations at Dr Chau, noting they were false “on the evidence before me”.

“For a man who mixed with prime ministers and provincial vice-governors, leading bankers and businessmen to be publicly and falsely accused of bribery of the president of the General Assembly of the United Nations and of Australian political parties and to be a member of a clandestine arm of the Chinese Communist Party was calculated to inflict on Dr Chau, as I found it did, personal and public humiliation and disgrace,” he said.

“The imputations struck at the core of Dr Chau’s previously high reputation for integrity, philanthropy and the promotion of a positive relationship between Australia, of which he was a citizen, and China.”

Dr Chau has previously won a defamation case against Fairfax Media and settled a defamation case against News Corp publisher Nationwide News.

Brisbane economy 'bouncing back' after coronavirus lockdown, council data reveals

The Brisbane economy has started to "bounce back" from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with retail spending in the 2020 November-to-December period one of the biggest in a decade, new data released by the Brisbane City Council shows.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said foot traffic was steadily returning to the CBD, currently at 58 per cent of its normal capacity.

"The Queen Street Mall today is a very different picture than it was in 2020," Cr Schrinner said. "In April 2020, foot traffic plummeted to just 20 per cent of pre-COVID levels, but now we see more and more shoppers, workers and visitors returning to the CBD.

"It's still down significantly — there's still growth to happen and that's one of the reasons why we're encouraging people to come in and there's signs that things are getting busier this week."

Foot traffic peaked over the Christmas period, with people coming in to the CBD to shop. "Foot traffic on the Queen Street Mall peaked at about 80 per cent of pre-COVID levels, exceeding the long-run average in 2020 for the first time since the city went into lockdown earlier that year," Cr Schrinner said.

"In Brisbane, spending with a bank card was also up 6 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, with retail spend hitting more than $23 billion, which is an increase of about $1.4 billion," Cr Schrinner said.

"The biggest spenders were in our outer suburbs, which reflects the introduction of State Government restrictions and more people working from home.

"Virginia recorded the largest increase in electronic retail spend in 2020, with an increase of $122 million, followed by Belmont, Milton, Everton Park, Eagle Farm, Oxley, Hamilton, Salisbury, Manly and Newstead.

"Data shows that in December 2020 electronic retail spending in the CBD was on par with 2019 levels for the first time, which is fantastic news for our local businesses, and I hope this trend continues."

National Retail Association (NRA) chief executive officer Dominique Lamb said consumer confidence was down during lockdown but had since grown, with people more willing to spend money on luxury items, dining out and short holidays closer to home.

"Add to this the recent back-to-school spending, and it has been a very promising start to the year," Ms Lamb said. "We are confident that this trend will continue into 2021."

BCC economic development chair Krista Adams said job numbers were also on the rise and were on track to recover to pre-pandemic levels by March 2022.

More jobs are also expected to be created through local infrastructure projects after a $40 million cash injection into the Brisbane City Council from the Federal Government.

The stimulus funding will be used to upgrade bikeways, install additional lighting and build new footpaths among other small-scale projects.


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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