What’s free in Melbourne over the Labour Day long weekend


Moomba’s back, the sun is out and Melbourne’s got a tidy three-day weekend on the cards. Kick off the Labour Day long weekend with awesome events, free pop-up cinemas, street art walks and more. Check individual events and venues for exact opening hours.

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Downhearted Liberals told to ‘stand up and fight’ at Labour Day campaign launch


“And when the question is asked of you in 2021 with the future of our state at stake, where were you? Were you fighting with us, were you standing up on behalf of the people of Western Australia, were you standing alongside our Liberal candidates on behalf of the people of WA, the answer needs to be yes.

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“You need to join us now in 2021, it is unprecedented, it will be difficult but we have the opportunity to make history here and now, join us.”

There were no new policies launched at the event – a few hundred metres down the road from one of the last Liberal government’s crowning infrastructure achievements, Optus Stadium – with the focus firmly on building Roe 8 and stopping Labor from getting ‘total control’.

Mr Kirkup acknowledged how his recent rhetoric that Premier Mark McGowan was going to win had been a tough pill to swallow for Liberal supporters.

“I’ll tell you this: if it means we need to make sure that the people of our state understand what it is at stake; if it is important for us to make sure that we get as many Liberals across the line as possible; if it is important to make sure that what stands between total control from the Labor party and the future of our state; and this is the sacrifice that I need to make, then it is worth it,” he said.

“The Liberal Party represents a thin line that stands between Labor’s desire for total domination, election without accountability, no checks and balances, and the very threat of our democracy at stake, there’s a thin line that will stop them and that is you.”

Liberal candidate for Murray-Wellington Michelle Boylan, who rubbished the party’s renewable policy over the weekend, standing behind Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup at the campaign launch on Monday.Credit:Peter de Kruijff

There were no elder statesman such as former Premier Colin Barnett at the event nor did Mr Hastie make an appearance.

Federal Liberals at the launch included Ben Small, Ben Morton, Vince Connelly, Ian Goodenough, and Michaelia Cash.

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Senator Cash led an all-women line-up of lead-in speakers – which included Deputy Leader Libby Mettam, Darling Range MP Alyssa Hayden, and Bicton candidate Nicole Robins – ahead of Mr Kirkup’s main address and said Mr McGowan needed to be held to account.

The Prime Minister was the most noted absentee from the launch but Mrs Hayden tried to channel Mr Morrison circa his 2019 ‘how good is Australia?’ victory speech as she revved up the crowd.

“How good is the local Liberal blue team, how good is our local Liberal volunteer team, how good are we,” she said.

The Liberals infamously grooved to Daft Punk’s One More Time at the 2017 campaign launch and dipped back into the early 2000s music catalogue with the Junior Senior dance track Move Your Feet as the Monday event’s main song.

‘Monstrous scare campaign’

Mr McGowan was in the safe Liberal seat of Nedlands for a policy announcement on Monday when he said the opposition was engaging in a monstrous scare campaign and the people of WA should just vote how they wanted to.

“We live in a democracy, people can vote in accordance with what they think,” he said.

“If they support the government, if they think we kept the state safe and strong, if they like our program for the election, well I’d urge people to vote for us.

“All the Liberal Party is doing is engaging in a monstrous scare campaign.

WA Premier Mark McGowan.

WA Premier Mark McGowan.Credit:Peter de Kruijff

“I just think people should be able to vote, it’s a democracy.”

The Premier said the Liberal Party did not believe in itself and questioned why West Australians should vote for them.

“They’re acting in a very non-West Australian away, this giving up, surrendering, throwing in the towel, cutting and running, it’s not the West Australian way,” Mr McGowan said.

“We [Labor] believe in ourselves, we believe in WA, we believe the state has a strong future and we want to guide that future.”

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Live local theatre a labour of love


A Geelong mother and daughter are set to star in a World War I remake of a “lost” Shakespeare play, as local theatre groups slowly return to the stage.

Hamlyn Height actress Melissa Musselwhite plays three characters in Skin Of Our Teeth Productions’ Love’s Labour’s Won alongside daughter Rose, who has the lead role.

“I’m trying to work on three different accents,” she told the Independent.

Musselwhite has performed onstage for 40-plus years, including 30 in Geelong, and has been with Skin Of Our Teeth since its inception.

Rose followed her mother into local theatre beginning with an odd role in Geelong Repertory Theatre’s production of Arsenic and Old Lace about a decade ago.

“Probably the first show was when she was 14 – she played a dead body that got carried onstage over someone’s shoulder,” her mother recalled amusedly.

“I think because she was little and light, that was what worked.

“I remember saying to her, ‘if we’re really lucky we might get to perform a show together one day’.

“And we’ve since done eight or nine together.”

Rose will certainly be more animated in Love’s Labour’s Won playing at Waurn Ponds Hall for nine shows beginning on March 5.

Love’s Labour’s Won is a lost play attributed by contemporaries to William Shakespeare, written before 1598 and published by 1603, though no known copies have survived.

The play has been set in World War I previously, but director Emma Watson has made this version her own, according to Mussewhite.

“It’s going to be quite fresh, bright and new to people,” she said.

“Emma has had this in the works for a long time. I think it’s very exciting for her to finally see it onstage – fingers crossed – next week.”

The group returned to rehearsals recently after more than a year absent from the stage due to COVID-19.

“I was actually feeling a little bit anxious about committing again to rehearsals,” Musselwhite admitted.

“But the first rehearsal back, the anxiety just flew away and I realised I was back in my happy place.

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Moomba festival on Labour Day weekend to go ahead after City of Melbourne backflip


Melbourne’s annual Moomba festival has been revived after an announcement was made yesterday that it would be cancelled.

The City of Melbourne had blamed COVID-19 restrictions and the recent five-day lockdown for the cancellation of the annual Labour Day festival along the banks of the Yarra River.

But less than 24 hours later, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said cancelling it was a mistake and the message from the community was loud and clear.

Moomba 2.0 will go ahead on the long weekend with a reduced program of events — the annual Birman Rally, parade and water skiing will not be going ahead.

But the Moomba monarchs will be back.

“We worked tirelessly overnight to ensure more events will be put on as part of Moomba 2.0,” she said.

“Listening to the public response, speaking with the Victorian government and receiving so much support from the festival and events sector gave us an opportunity to reimagine Moomba.”

Earlier, Major Events Minister Martin Pakula said he had contacted the City of Melbourne on Thursday night to express his disappointment at the cancellation, which he said was unnecessary and “premature”.

He said the Chief Health Officer had already approved a COVID-safe plan for the event, which would just need to be pared back.

“I’m sure that if you ask the businesses of the CBD and the area around the CBD, whether thousands [of people visiting the area] is better than none, I’m sure they’ll all say that thousands is better than none,” he said.

In explaining the original decision to cancel the event, Cr Capp said the logistics of getting rides and other infrastructure into Victoria was made more complicated by the pandemic.

“We’re kind of working moment by moment,” she said.

She said even after the decision to cancel was made, they kept trying to pull it together and were ultimately successful with help from the state government and the major events sector.

“Twenty-four hours can make a big difference in the current environment,” she said.

Cr Capp said the city had always planned to have some events on over the long weekend but it was clear they could not deliver the traditional Moomba with large crowds at two sites.

Instead, the festival will be spread out across the city with carnival rides in Alexandra Gardens and performances in Melbourne’s iconic lanes.

“We will be filling them up with pop-up music performances and street art exhibitions,” Cr Capp said.

There will also be events at Docklands and concerts at the Myer Music Bowl.

City of Melbourne buildings will be lit up in red to “encourage everyone to show their love for Melbourne” and bring the buzz back into the city, she said.

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Jobs data highlights labour demand




The latest job vacancy figures released by the National Skills Commission have highlighted the tight labour market in Western Australia, with demand for labourers now at an eight-year high.

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Keir Starmer Reportedly Under Pressure as Labour Doc Says UK Should Pay Reparations to Ex-Colonies



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The report, titled Remaking Of The British State: For The Many, Not The Few, comes just ahead of a constitutional commission recently announced by Sir Keir Starmer, by which his party is supposed to announce the changes it considers relevant.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has landed in hot water after a recently released party report suggested a Labour government should make “woke” payments to former British colonies and apologise “unreservedly” for the  negative repercussions of the former Empire, the Daily Mail reported.

“The British state should set up a reparations fund as part of the constitution, which offers financial assistance to communities across the world that can show loss and detriment as a result of the actions of the British state,” the report pointed out.

It also called for the abolition of trade union laws, which would lead to the return of flying pickets and general strikes, the disestablishment of the Church of England, as well as  the replacement of the House of Lords with ”the Senate of Nations and Regions”.

“Socialists should seek to reorder the British state and hardwire the constitution in favour of socialist objectives. This must be a central plank of the Labour Party’s vision to transform the UK,” the document went on.

Labour allies have since reportedly opted to distance themselves and Starmer from the proposals, attributing them to his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, among others.

“The last leadership were always getting reports like this written in order to keep their friends happy,” one of Starmer’s allies commented last night, adding, “fortunately, that’s not Labour’s approach any more.”

The 234-page paper called Remaking Of The British State: For The Many, Not The Few, precedes a UK-wide constitutional commission,  which Sir Keir has already announced. 

Separately, the Labour leader has also recently come under growing pressure from senior party figures and activists to hold Boris Johnson accountable for the adverse effects of his Brexit deal on UK businesses.

When Johnson announced the limited free-trade deal with the EU on 24 December, Starmer said in a statement that Labour would accept the deal to avoid any risk of a No Deal scenario. Yet, he insisted it was limited and flawed and that Labour would go to great lengths to expose its pitfalls.

In mid-January, British data analytics firm YouGov published the results of its fresh polls on the voting intentions of the British public. Central in the poll was the question “Who would make the best Prime Minister?”, to which 34 percent answered “Keir Starmer” and only 29 percent Boris Johnson. Around 34 percent of respondents couldn’t produce a clear answer to the question.



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Laws would make life for labour hire miners worse: CFMEU



The miner’s union has thrown its support behind Labor’s jobs plan, saying it would stamp out the “permanent casual labour hire rort” across the industry.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese on Wednesday unveiled the first tranche of the party’s ‘secure Australian jobs plan’.

The blueprint included a crack down on “cowboy labour hire-like firms” to guarantee same job, same pay; a cap on back-to-back short-term contracts for the same role and casual work properly defined in law.

CFMEU general president Tony Maher said these measures were necessary for stamping out a practice that drove down workers’ wages and conditions.

“Workers have been speaking out loud and clear about this problem and it is well understood in mining regions, where families are left without the ability to secure home loans, take holidays together and build their lives in a way afforded by secure work,” Mr Maher said.

“The IR Omnibus Bill currently before the parliament includes an unfair definition of casual based purely on the label in your contract, not the reality of your work arrangements. And it includes weak, unenforceable casual conversion provisions that employers can easily ignore.”

The CFMEU is urging senators not to pass the IR Omnibus Bill in its current form.

Dawson MP George Christensen said he would support the bill.

“The Morrison Liberal National Government is legislating to ensure casual workers in the mining industry get the right to convert to full-time work, which is actually what the union movement and many coal miners have been calling for, for a long time,” Mr Christensen said.

“And as such I am supporting it.”

More stories:

Christmas scrooge? Forced holiday work leaves miners fuming

First look at Australia’s most controversial mine

74% believe killing coal jobs risks other jobs: survey

Mr Albanese said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been “doing nothing to stop the creeping expansion of insecure work”.

“Indeed, fewer Australians can access the basic entitlements and protections earlier generations took for granted,” he said.

“Nearly a third of Australian workers are in arrangements with unpredictable, fluctuating pay and hours.

“They endure few or no protections such as sick and holiday leave, or superannuation benefits.”

A Senate Inquiry on proposed workplace law changes is expected to wrap up in March.

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Man cheated while wife was in labour, now girlfriend is giving parenting advice


A woman, whose husband was cheating on her while she was in labour, snapped at her now ex-husband’s girlfriend when she took the kids’ dress-ups off them.

Giving birth is just about one of the most vulnerable times for a woman. You’re all splayed out for everyone to see, there may be some open-air bodily functions involved, and we’re at the height of our emotions.

For one woman, her vulnerability was amplified by the discovery that her husband and father of her children, was cheating on her… even while she was birthing their baby.

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She thought all the notifications were from family. Source: iStock.

RELATED: Celebrity cheating scandals

He was cheating while I was in labour

“Five years ago while I was in the waiting part of labour (you know were the epidural kicks in but you’re hours away from the main event) my then husband told me he needed to get some food because he was starving,” the woman wrote in her post to Reddit.

“In his hungry hurry, he left his phone behind, which every few seconds kept getting notifications.”

The woman asked the midwife to pass her the phone, assuming the notifications were family and friends asking for an update on the labour, but she couldn’t have been more wrong.

“I asked the midwife pass me the phone, and he literally was updating his mistress on my labour and, how can I put this… sweet talking her about how even though he was with me she still had his full attention,” she continued.

When he returned, there was much screaming, the midwife kicked him out of the room and the woman’s sister came in to support her for the birth.

The woman then moved back into her parents’ home with her five children, the couple got a divorce, and he moved in with the new girlfriend, who is also the woman’s cousin (still following?).

RELATED: Husband admits to emotionally cheating

Mother giving her newborn to godson at hospital

The woman’s sister ended up being there for her. Source: iStock.

RELATED: Teen chooses baby name after boyfriend cheats

Harry Potter vs the step mum

Now the kids are 15, two aged 13, eight and five years old, and the cousin/girlfriend is still on the scene and has become a part of the kids’ lives.

The kids have recently become obsessed with Harry Potter and it has been pointed out that the eldest four look like the Weasleys after the eldest made a TikTok video. They love to dress up, particularly the five-year-old girl who dresses up as male characters such as Harry, Draco, Snape and Edward from Twilight.

The mum said this doesn’t bother her at all and just wants her kids to be happy, but her ex-husband and his girlfriend don’t see it the same way.

“Today while I was dropping them off, my ex’s girlfriend asked to speak to me about my kids, especially my youngest,” the woman wrote.

“She basically told me it was weird and they weren’t right in the head so what are we gonna do about the situation at hand.

“I told her she’s f**ked her cousin’s husband so her ideas on what people should do aren’t something I want my kids picking up, and that my kids are fine, she isn’t their mom nor will they ever see her as such, and that they hate her guts (her doing but that’s another story).

“And finally, she should stay in her lane when it comes to my kids.”

The kids weren’t around when the confrontation occurred, and the mum left afterwards. A few hours later, the woman received a call from her ex-husband who was irate over how his girlfriend had been treated. He said she had been crying all day, particularly over the comments about her never being their mother since she can’t have children of her own. He’s demanded the woman apologise but that doesn’t seem like a realistic request given what happened next.

“My eldest rang me to collect them. Apparently, my ex had hidden all their costumes (he has a garden like the Malfoy one so they wanted to make TikTok videos) and his gf held a ‘family meeting’ about the HP obsession and basically belittled my kids, especially my five-year-old,” she wrote.

The second youngest child recorded the interaction which was then uploaded to Facebook, so the mother took her sister around there and collected her children.

“I told my ex I’ll be going for full custody,” said the woman, “I took my kids out to the car at that stage but my sister just let loose.”

Cosplayer dressed as Newt Scamander from 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' at Birmingham MCM Comic Con.

What’s wrong with a girl dressing as Harry Potter anyway? Source: iStock.

Your kids, you parent them your way

Most people agreed the woman had every right to do and say what she did.

“She was way out of line for trying to tell you how to parent YOUR kids,” commented one person. “They can do what they want when they’re at their dad’s house. She should just talk to her bf? So weird. No need to bring you into this.”

Another added, “I was literally cheering when OP said what she said… It’s about time people STOPPED considering a person’s hobby and choice of entertainment to be a reflection of some mental illness or social ineptness or a lack of value/worth.”

And this person laid it all out on the table: “Dude… she f**ked your husband and… was texting him while you in the delivery room and she thinks it’s OK to consult you about some dress up? They’re freaking kids. You didn’t do it in front of the kids so it’s kosher and it’s even more since you’re standing up for your kids and they’ve expressed their upset with her prior.”

Would you have lost it too? Let us know in the comments on Facebook!

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Politics – What the Labour Party is learning from Joe Biden | Britain


THE LABOUR PARTY has long spied the future through a telescope across the Atlantic. New Labour was entranced by Bill Clinton’s New Democrats. Ed Miliband was a keen student of Barack Obama’s campaign. Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders were mutual admirers. American politics is more exciting than Europe’s these days, which is why Labour wonks can recite with greater ease the names of Democratic senators than the prime ministers of Europe, and their shelves heave with Robert Caro biographies and West Wing DVDs.

Yet the echoes of America in British politics are faint. British partisanship is less vociferous than America’s, and its cultural and racial rifts shallower. Although Boris Johnson is embarrassed by his dabbling with Trumpism (see article), he did not suggest bleach as a treatment for covid-19, nor incite an insurrection.

The most striking similarity is between the bind the Democrats found themselves in following the defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and the crisis Labour faces after Jeremy Corbyn’s defeats in 2017 and 2019. Both saw their electorates split: their younger, more diverse, city-dwelling voters stayed loyal, while older, whiter voters in industrial towns drifted away. Labour’s woes in the so-called red wall were mirrored in Mrs Clinton’s loss of the rustbelt states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The centrist Mr Biden’s success validates Labour’s decision to replace the radical Mr Corbyn with the moderate Sir Keir Starmer.

Sir Keir initially made big advances against the Tories, but insiders fret that he hasn’t opened up a clear lead despite the pandemic (see chart). His party is therefore keen for advice. Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, is leading the outreach to the incoming administration.

Sir Keir’s circle sees the insecurity of lower-middle-class families, who “feel the world is spinning out of control”, as the root of Britain’s volatile politics. Mr Biden promised such voters “jobs, dignity, respect and community”. A key insight from Team Biden is that people who once voted for revolutionary change in the form of Donald Trump now hanker for stability. Like Mr Biden, Sir Keir has styled himself as a safe pair of hands, and a defender of the rule of law and Britain’s standing in the world. (Mr Biden’s slogan, “No Malarkey”, rather suits managerial Sir Keir.)

A speech by Sir Keir about “family first” policies reflected advice from John Anzalone, Mr Biden’s pollster, on how to win back working-class voters: faced with a rhetorician like Mr Johnson, a leader’s personal values carry more weight than eye-catching policies. Sir Keir’s speeches are heavy on moralism and light on plans. He now sits in front of a union flag for television interviews, and speaks of his admiration of the queen, the troops and the doggedness of the British people. (The elder-statesman routine is easier for Mr Biden, 78, who took his seat in the Senate around the time the Labour leader was sitting his 11-plus exam.) Sir Keir, like the president-elect, plays up his humble background. “My dad was a toolmaker; he spent his whole life on the factory floor,” he declared on January 11th.

There are also lessons in how Mr Biden navigated the issues of identity politics—trans rights, the Black Lives Matter movement—which span the Atlantic. As with the Democrats, such issues motivate party members, but can be met with indifference or suspicion by voters, especially older ones. Mr Biden’s solution was to embrace a socially-liberal agenda, couched in the language of love and respect, while being careful not to rebuke voters who weren’t on board, says Marcus Roberts, a pollster at YouGov who has worked for the Democrats and Labour.

Mr Biden’s campaign provides warnings too. Despite his ravings and his cataclysmic response to the pandemic, Mr Trump received 74m votes, 11m more than in 2016 and the highest cast for any presidential candidate bar Mr Biden. He increased his share among non-white voters, and remains dominant among men without a college education. Mr Johnson could equally advance in the red wall in 2024. Ejecting a prime minister with a majority of 87 is no easier than ousting a president after a single term. Mr Biden provides inspiration, but little comfort.

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Learning from Joe”

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Universal credit: Labour presses PM for action ahead of benefit vote



Labour says the PM should give millions a helping hand by extending the £20 universal credit uplift.

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