Ensuring help goes to the needy


While welfare payments are a good thing and vital to many, the recipients are receiving government money – from the taxpayers’ pot. Thus it seems fair that it is used for what it is intended and fair that it be directed towards those needs. Financial counselling should also be a part of receiving welfare payments.

Living on welfare is difficult; it is virtually impossible if you are not in public housing. Unfortunately, some Centrelink payments are sent ‘‘back home’’ and some family members travel overseas. To survive, individuals may then seek aid from charitable organisations. Cashless debit cards should be given to all welfare recipients, to ensure government money stays in our country and is used appropriately. Robo-debt was a cruel and flawed system. The cashless debit card likewise needs improving, but it is a means of ensuring a roof over families’ heads and providing food, clothing, medicine and school needs, particularly for children.
Jill Blundt, Travancore

A very selective distribution of cashless cards

As an age pensioner, can I find out why the government cannot give me one of these newfangled, cashless welfare cards to limit my wasting of taxpayers’ dollars on booze and gambling? I hope it is not because I am a tertiary-educated, middle-class, literate voter in a highly marginal electorate.
Mick Webster, Chiltern

Yet again, the vulnerable will be hurt the most

So the federal government is putting out to tender debt collection for those who are on social security. Has it learnt nothing from robo-debt? You can guarantee that the benchmarks that need to be hit by these agencies will hit the most vulnerable the hardest. Again. This is disgraceful.
Ann Maginness, Cheltenham

The government’s short-sighted, short-term tactic

Increasingly economists are arguing that wage stagnation in Australia and other market economies is the cause of low demand and, hence, low economic growth. And yet the Morrison government, in the last sitting days of the year, has put forward an industrial relations bill (The Age, 10/12) that will limit the capacity of workers to bargain for secure work and decent wages.

By attempting to kick out the BOOT requirement (the better off overall test) and to alter the definitions of casual work, it rewards old employer allies to the detriment of our economy overall.
Under the guise of the ‘‘COVID recovery’’, Scott Morrison and Christian Porter have revived the old ‘‘flexibility’’ arguments, but in so doing have condemned the economy to slower growth.

Individual employers may delight in being able to lower their wages bill in the short term but as wages reduce across the economy, consumers will have less money to spend. The fruits of victory will then be ashes in their mouths. As with climate and energy policy, when ideology, powerful lobbyists and short-term political tactics triumph, we are all the losers.
Lesley Ryder, Blackburn South

Workers miss out, no matter the state of business

Over the past eight years in Australia, wage growth has been stagnant and is at the lower end of the scale across OECD members. Yet business profits have grown significantly during that period.

But in tough times, the government expects employees to take a wage hit when those businesses are struggling. Other than the usual mantra that people will not even have a job if those business fail, can the government explain how it expects voters to believe it has any industrial relations credibility whatsoever.
Brandon Mack, Deepdene

THE FORUM

Subject MPs to IR laws

One wonders how the government might view the formulation of industrial relations laws for workers if MPs were, themselves, subject to exactly the same regulations and conditions. After all, they are workers who are employed by us, the taxpayers. I am sure a sudden epiphany would cause them to ensure that fairness plays an intrinsic role in the process and that every MP would form an entirely different view of the IR framework.
Erica Grebler, Caulfield North

Customers come first

Could someone please explain to the government, and the Prime Minister, that survival of a business depends primarily on the availability of confident, cashed-up customers. Without such customers, labour costs are irrelevant.
Joe Wright, Greensborough

The people’s senator

I heard Jacqui Lambie in the Senate on Wednesday night, explaining why she was opposed to the cashless debit card legislation. Her speech was absolutely brilliant and passionate. She uses her life experience to make decisions on how to vote in the Parliament, not like those who blindly follow their party’s position. It is a pity that we in Victoria do not have a Jacqui Lambie on the ballot.
Michael Higgins, Erica

Danger of casualisation

So we have found out the connection between insecure, insufficient, but essential, casual work and the spread of COVID-19, and now we want to entrench the ills of casual work in preparation for the next virus.
Robyn Hyde, Camperdown

The power of money

Do I really understand that people will be able to jump the queue and receive a vaccination by paying for it (The Age, 10/12)? If this is correct, then it reveals a truly awful aspect of the capitalism culture in Australia. I sincerely hope that when the official policy for rolling out vaccines is announced, it will be one that fairly and equally provides protection for everyone, beginning with those most at risk. Anything else makes a mockery of all that we have sacrificed during 2020.
Josephine Ben-Tovim, Carlton

Surely this is a first?

The federal government has confirmed that prisoners and people with severe obesity will be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination. If so, it will be the first time a government policy gives precedence to the poor and disadvantaged over the rich, famous and well-connected. The cynics among us can only hope that this degree of fraternity and concern for the underdogs of society is reflected in future government policies.
Peter Roche, Carlton

Beware of the GPs

I would like to draw your attention to an advertisement in an online medical employment forum last week. Four general practitioners were required to sign up for three to six months doing hotel quarantine COVID-19 screening in Melbourne. One stipulation was: ‘‘Doctors cannot be working face-to-face in other jobs at the same time (Telehealth jobs elsewhere are fine)’’.
This week we learnt that GPs working at some of Victoria’s quarantine hotels will be permitted to work elsewhere in addition (The Age, 8/12).

Former president of the Australian Medical Association, Tony Bartone, says, ‘‘GPs are trained health professionals when it comes to infection control procedures and the use of Personal Protective Equipment’’. However, this has not stopped many from contracting the virus, with large numbers dying overseas. Patients outside the hotels should not be exposed to the possible risk of infection from these hotel doctors.
Dr Judy Campbell, Preston

Flying from state to state

As an Australian in Britain who wishes to return home, I have been regularly scanning airline websites. On one, website, I am able to book a ticket from London to Melbourne with a two-hour layover in Sydney before boarding my domestic Virgin flight to the domestic terminal in Melbourne. How so?
Sandra Bennett, London

Delights of ‘camp’ food

I fear you protest too much about the food in your quarantine hotel in Sydney, Julie Moffat (Letters, 10/12). Although I must admit it does sound a lot worse than the offerings on school camps which at least came straight from the stove to the plate.
Ian Kerr, Camberwell

The extremes of contact

Re. your reports of dogs experiencing anxiety and anti-social behaviour after going through isolation with their owners in this difficult, COVID-19 year (The Age, 10/12).

Given the importance of those early months and years on a child’s physical and emotional development, my wife and I wondered what the effects of enforced isolation and lack of a variety of physical contacts (for example, grandparents) have been on young babies. And how they are coping and adjusting to the sudden attention from relatives and friends post-lockdown.
Peter O’Keefe, Collingwood

A well-deserved setback

I am gratified the US Supreme Court has dismissed Donald Trump’s latest outlandish bid to overturn the election results, despite the fact that he worked hard to get his nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, elected to it. This shows that the court, despite its 6-3 conservative majority, looks at issues according to the law and not individual, partisan politics. There is hope for the US yet.
Louis Roller, Fitzroy North

Towards true diversity

Thank you, Jon Faine (Comment, 10/12), for pointing out the need for diversity in government rather than by ‘‘too many men in pinstriped suits’’. Our government would be a better place if it were represented appropriately by men and women of our proud, multicultural nation. Most of the comparable democracies are way ahead of us in encouraging political participation. Even our close ally, the US, has had a Black American as president, and its vice-president elect is a woman of Jamaican and Indian heritage.

Former attorney-general George Brandis defended the right of Australians to be ‘‘bigots’’. We need to move away from monocultural in our political process. The major parties need to preselect culturally different candidates in winnable seats, rather than fearing upsetting the ‘‘rednecks’’.
Ivan John, Eltham

Vote one for competence

More identity politics from the ever unhappy Jon Faine. It does not matter where our leaders come from, what they look like or how diverse they are – it is their competence or otherwise that counts.
David Southgate, Hampton

Socially regressive bill

The Change and Suppression (Conversion) Practices Bill is a Trojan horse. According to your article, ‘‘under the reforms, anyone found trying to suppress or change another person’s sexuality or gender identity faces up to 10 years’ jail or fines of almost $10,000 if it can be proved that their actions caused serious injury’’ (Sunday Age, 6/12).

As a lesbian, could I be convicted or fined for counselling a non-conforming girl (one rebelling against heterosexuality and stuffy, sex-role stereotypes) that she is fine just the way she is, and might consider coming out as a lesbian or just enjoy being a tomboy and rebel? Alternatively, I could lie and say she has the brain and heart of a male trapped in the body of a female and should transition.

Beware. Transgenderism is the contemporary version of the bad old idea of ‘‘inversion’’. It is a socially regressive and we should not let this Trojan horse through our Parliament’s gates.
Liz Smith, Castlemaine

A serious lack of respect

The Minerals Council of Australia argues that a moratorium on mining projects that threaten sacred Indigenous sites across Western Australia until new legislation has been passed would unnecessarily stall not only mining works but also infrastructure projects (The Age, 10/12).

The council fails the pub test. Should valuable minerals be found beneath St Paul’s Cathedral, would its demolition be justified on the same basis as that for Indigenous sacred sites? One thinks not. The council’s lack of respect of First Nations Australians and their culture is inexcusable and should be condemned accordingly.
Colin Smith, Mount Waverley

The Palmer enigma

I realise there has been some controversy surrounding James Shipton, the boss of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, but he must be doing something right if Clive Palmer is taking out full-page advertisements to attack him.
Liz Jovanovic, Moonee Ponds

Come on, pay your tax

Getting the big tech companies to pay for news content is possibly a worthwhile goal. Of far greater importance is getting them to pay Australian tax that genuinely reflects their profits here. We need a digital turnover tax now. After that we should aim to tax all companies by turnover and abolish the all too regularly avoided company profits tax.
Mark Freeman, Macleod

Barred from ‘our’ port

The United States’ intention to direct naval exercises in the Pacific, the South China Sea and environs, and to use Australia as a base, would be a way to challenge China. However, this activity may prompt China to refuse entry for American and Australian ships into Darwin Harbour. Now who leased the Port of Darwin to Chinese interests for 99 years?
Jill Bryant Malvern East

Where’s the fairness, AFL?

We were robbed. How come the Western Bulldogs, which finished seventh, still get first pick in the AFL draft? It is supposed to give the bottom teams a foot up. Still way too Melbourne-centric, I reckon.
Stuart Gluth (ex Adelaide), Northcote

AND ANOTHER THING


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Federal

If Porter and his cohorts expect workers to take a pay cut, they should set an example and take one too. I await with bated breath.
Nola Cormick, South Melbourne

Peter Dutton’s beachside mansion was passed in at $4.355 million. Was it on Christmas Island?
Perry Becker, Gowanbrae

It will be interesting when the cashless welfare card is introduced into one of the Coalition’s blue ribbon seats.
James Lane, Hampton East

As politicians salaries’ come from taxpayers’ money, shouldn’t they, too, have cashless welfare cards?
Charles Naughton, Sunbury

Will China find some spurious reason to ban our iron ore? Probably not until it can get the same quality elsewhere.
Marie Nash, Balwyn

It’s a safe bet Google and Facebook aren’t political donors. They’ve probably never seen the need.
Gary Sayer, Warrnambool

Victoria

Can anyone think of a reason why the Premier won’t give more funding to the Ombudsman or IBAC.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

With Donald Trump soon to be unemployed, maybe he can replace Michael O’Brien.
Ed Veber, Malvern East

When the state’s Belt and Road is unbuckled, could we have the Port of Darwin returned?
Graham Cadd, Dromana

Victoria, from COVID-19 pariah to ‘‘top of the lucky country pops’’ in a sniff.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton

Now how can we blame China and/or Daniel Andrews for the quarantine breach?
Ken McLeod, Williamstown

Furthermore

The fertility rate in inner-city Canberra is just 0.62 (10/12). It suggests the bonk ban is working.
Elizabeth Long, Collingwood

Will The Age change its name to Harvey Norman News?
Rob Mathew, Yarraville

Note from the Editor

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.

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Top tips for ensuring the security of video meetings


COVID-19 travel restrictions have forced
Australian organisations to rely on video conferencing applications to allow
their employees to communicate with colleagues, clients and partners while
remote working. Unfortunately, this has been fraught with security risks such
as unwanted attendees, compromised corporate data, malware risks and even cyber
espionage.

Privacy and security of personal data are
legal responsibilities for all organisations today, so what are the best things
Australian organisations can do to manage the security of access to remote
video conferencing platforms?

Ensure
that there is end-to-end encryption, particularly for any tightly regulated
industries

Some video conferencing apps have become household names since many started working from home but there have been many security flaws by the lack of end-to-end encryption, including “video call bombing”. Whilst this may not be a problem for social calls, if businesses are taking part in private meetings, they should insist on an extra level of security.

Enforce
passwords, pins and logins for all online meetings

Meeting IDs can be guessed, allowing unauthorised attendees to join meetings even if they have not received an invite. It is, therefore, essential to require a meeting password, which can be communicated by other more secure channels such as email and SMS to limit unauthorised access.

The
meeting organiser should join first

It is advisable to use a video conferencing
app with a “waiting room” feature to manage people requesting to join. This
allows the host to challenge any unknown attendees before starting the meeting.

Prevent file sharing in the chatbox

Restricting file sharing in the chatbox of a video conference is important, so that unknown attendees aren’t able to receive and open private corporate documents, or to send malware disguised as an attachment to the host organisation or to other participants attending the web meeting.

Set
up alerts when meetings are forwarded

Often meeting details are forwarded to
colleagues, administrative staff or personal accounts for legitimate reasons,
but it’s important to set up alerts so the host is aware when meeting invites
are forwarded over email to others. If there is a concern over meeting
credential sharing, the host should schedule a new meeting with new dial-in
details.

Ensure
it is a pure cloud platform (no downloads needed)

There are a few legacy web conferencing platforms that require the user to download a client file in order to use them. This not only uses up valuable storage space but it can cause annoying pop-ups at start-up that are not easily disabled. Also, downloading anything poses a security risk to the user and their device.

Ensure
the platform ensures data sovereignty

Many organisations, particularly in the
public and legal sectors have a policy that requires data sovereignty, which
means keeping Australian data on Australian soil. This requires all data to be
kept in a data centre located in Australia, and it can only be accessed by
Australians.

Use
a business, pro or enterprise license

Employees need access to collaboration
tools to carry out their work efficiently and securely. Organisations should
consider buying an enterprise license that allows greater control over employee
use and helps to ensure that default settings are highly secure, meet the
organisation’s privacy policy, and any data storage requirements.

Whilst the pandemic has been a global
health catastrophe, video meetings make it easier for employees and clients to
stay in touch and have also reduced business costs due to the lack of travel
costs. Opportunities have now become truly global with web meeting platforms, removing
perceived barriers of distance and time zones whilst ensuring business
continuity.

Tobias Raper, Asia Pacific CEO, babl





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Giant supermarket says it is ensuring prohibited claims are not visible on products, after stickers spotted on Cheerios boxes


SINGAPORE: The company that runs Giant supermarket said on Monday (Oct 26) it is ensuring advertising claims prohibited by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) are not visible on its products.

This comes after CNA found redacted advertising on the packaging for Cheerios 100 per cent wholegrain oats. The words “can help lower cholesterol” had been covered with a translucent white sticker, but were still visible.

“We are ensuring that the claims are not visible by double layering the stickers,” a spokesperson from Dairy Farm, which runs the Giant and Cold Storage outlets in Singapore, told CNA.

According to Singapore’s food regulations, food products – unless permitted – must not be labelled or advertised to have any therapeutic or prophylactic actions. They must not advertise that they can prevent, alleviate or cure any disease or condition affecting the human body.

In addition, the labelling or advertising cannot say that consumers can achieve health or improved physical condition by eating the product.

“Food businesses importing prepacked food with claims not allowed under the Food Regulations, may remove the claims by striking them out or by means of sticker labels,” an SFA spokesperson told CNA last Thursday.

“Food businesses should ensure that the unpermitted claims are not visible to consumers at the point of sale.”

When asked specifically about the visible claims on the Cheerios cereal sold at Giant, SFA confirmed last Friday evening that it was investigating.

The Dairy Farm spokesperson said it is standard practice in supermarkets to cover up non-compliant claims.

“At Dairy Farm, if a product contains multiple non-compliant claims, we will stop carrying the product for consumer safety and welfare,” the spokesperson said.

“We have not received any feedback from customers regarding (the Cheerios cereal in question) so far.”

Under the Sale of Food Act, it is prohibited to sell any food that is labelled or advertised in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its value, merit or safety.

First-time offenders can be fined up to S$5,000, and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to three months.

“The industry is responsible to ensure that any food labelling claim complies with the requirements of the Sale of Food Act and Guide to Food Labelling and Advertisements,” SFA said.

“The industry should refer to SFA’s Guide to Food Labelling and Advertisements which contains detailed information on food labelling and advertisements.”



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Ensuring optimum nutrition for your kids while they learn from home – Webcast


Ensuring adequate nutrition for kids is a challenge, especially when their taste buds are addicted to fast food. However, taste and health are not mutually exclusive. Chef Amrita Raichand joins us for a workshop on how you can create healthy meals for your child while they attend classes from home without compromising on their taste.

About PC Paathshala

As e-learning becomes the new normal, Intel in India has collaborated with the Times of India (TOI) to launch PC Paathshala, a unique industry-wide initiative aimed at enabling India to adapt to teaching and learning online. PC Paathshala will bring user-friendly and easy-to-consume content, developed and curated by industry experts, to teachers, students and parents across India.





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Mindarie Halidon Cup moves to Murray Bridge ensuring more than 100 years of Mallee racing continues


The race that stops the Mallee has been thrown a lifeline by South Australia’s peak horse racing physique, making certain the Mindarie Halidon Cup can go in advance in 2020.

The Mindarie Halidon Racing Club committee determined previous weekend to terminate the September celebration due to uncertainty all around the pandemic and challenges assembly COVID-19 restrictions.

But the regional horse race that brings more than a thousand persons to the small Mallee neighborhood of Halidon each yr will continue to run right after Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) offered to transfer the meeting’s area to Murray Bridge.

“The Mindarie Halidon races have normally been an occasion to glimpse ahead to on the racing calendar,” TRSA business advertising and marketing supervisor Michelle Greene stated.

The Mindarie Halidon races often draw additional than a thousand persons to the small Mallee neighborhood of Halidon every year.(ABC Riverland)

“As section of our racing plan we nevertheless have to operate a conference, so Murray Bridge was the rational venue.

104 yrs of history

Ms Greene verified this 12 months is the cup’s 104th anniversary, even though the club experienced to cancel the race previous calendar year due to the fact of an oversight with the maintenance of the racetrack.

An inconsistency in the grass protect in 2019 left the two TRSA and the Australian Jockey’s Affiliation to deem the keep track of unsafe for racing.

A brown racetrack is surrounded by dry land. There are clouds in the sky.
The racetrack was considered unsafe for racing in 2019 since of inconsistencies with grass protection.(ABC Riverland: Laura Collins)

Mindarie Halidon Race Club vice president and stalwart Frank Griffiths explained to the ABC final calendar year it was a disappointing consequence for the local group, but he was wanting ahead to running the race meet up with in 2020 and outside of.

“The good news is for them we can even now say they have experienced the [104th] Mindarie Halidon Cup — even however it’s not at their venue this 12 months.”

TRSA verified the September 20 race at Murray Bridge will comply with all COVID-19 limits that are in position at that time.



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