“Tony Abbott has to go”: US think tank
The United States Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has branded PM Tony Abbott “shockingly incompetent” and said he deserves to lose his job. CFR senior fellow and Southeast Asia expert Joshua Kurlantzick roundly condemned Mr Abbott in his article, saying the prime minister “has proven so incapable of clear policy thinking, so unwilling to consult with even his own ministers and advisers, and so poor at communicating that he has to go”. Mr Kurlantzick claims to take no position on whether the Coalition or the ALP should be in government.
Craig Thomson to face court again
Fair Work Australia’s (FWA) civil case against former Labor MP Craig Thomson will be revived after the ombudsman filed papers with the Federal Court. FWA’s general manager Bernadette O’Neill told the media she believes she has “good prospects of success” in her case against Mr Thomson, who escaped a jail term last year after being found guilty of theft from the Health Services Union. The Federal Court case will begin next month.
Tuberculosis scare at Sydney childcare centre
Almost 100 children will be screened for tuberculosis after a case was found at a Surry Hills childcare centre. NSW Health said a person who was at the Only About Children centre “on a daily basis” has tested positive for the disease, and as a result 92 children and 15 staff are at risk. A NSW Health spokeswoman reassured the public there is no ongoing danger to anyone at the centre or in the wider community, and that treatments are highly effective. There are approximately 1200 cases of tuberculosis in Australia each year.
Unemployment hits 12-year high
The unemployment rate has increased to 6.4 per cent, its highest since August 2002. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 12,200 jobs were lost between December 2014 and January 2015, driven by a decrease in both male and female full-time employment. An estimated 795,000 people are unemployed, an increase of 34,500 from December last year. The decrease in full-time work has been partly offset by a rise in part-time employment for men.
Campaign gives “one million reasons” to preserve University funding
A postcard campaign by the Greens aims to defeat the Abbott government’s higher education reforms by appealing directly to cross-bench senators. The “One Million Reasons” campaign has sent more than six thousand postcards to senators such as Jacqui Lambie, Ricky Muir and Nick Xenophon in the hope of swaying them against the government’s “unfair plan to create an elitist university system” by cutting higher education funding and deregulating fees. The plan has been reintroduced after it was defeated by two votes in the Senate last year. – Compiled from web and agency sources by Jake Nelson
Top photo from US Department of State’s Flickr photostream.