Unions lose appeal to have Qantas pay sick leave to workers stood down due to coronavirus



A consortium of unions have lost an appeal in the Federal Court to have Qantas pay sick leave to the 25,000 workers who were temporarily stood down due to COVID-19.

The workers were stood down in March and have been unable to access sick, carers and compassionate leave.

In May, the Federal Court agreed Qantas staff could not access paid compassionate, personal or carer’s leave because there was no work for them to be absent from.

The court ruled if Qantas were required to pay leave entitlements after lawfully standing down its workers, that would defeat the purpose of having the staff furloughed in the first place.

The appeal case was backed by several unions, including the Transport Workers’ Union and the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union of Australia.

On Friday, two of three Federal Court justices dismissed the appeal.

In their joint decision, Justice Steven Rares and Justice Craig Colvin said under the terms of the enterprise agreement, being stood down means an employee is not required to present for work, and therefore cannot take leave “because … there is no obligation to present for work from which leave may be taken”.

The justices agreed that allowing workers to be paid for taking time off work during a period where there was no work “would be somewhat paradoxical”.

At the centre of the union’s appeal was the case of two workers who had been with Qantas for 30 years; one is battling cancer and another has heart disease.

The unions tried to argue Qantas should have paid the workers sick leave during the stand-down period.

TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said Qantas had let its workers down at their most vulnerable time.

“The ruling will devastate these workers, many of whom are battling serious illness and are struggling to pay bills and support their families,” Mr Kaine said.

“For a company which last year announced its CEO earned $24 million, this is a slap in the face.”

Qantas staff can still access annual leave, long service leave and JobKeeper payments.

Qantas has been approached for comment.



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Trade unions rally behind KCR against privatisation


Hyderabad: Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has proved his political acumen once again by touching the emotive issue of divestment in public sector undertakings (PSUs) by the BJP government at the Centre.

The employees and workers unions of several PSUs were agitating against the move of the BJP, saying it would ruin several premier institutions of the nation while private corporates would whisk away the fruits, even as lives of employees would be dragged to the crossroads.

 

Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao raised the disinvestment issue on Wednesday during the Parliamentary Party and Legislature Party meeting at Telangana Bhavan. He assured employees and workers unions of PSUs including Life Insurance Corporation of India, BHEL and others that TRS would stand behind them for their fight against the Central government.

He assured workers and union leaders of leading their movement personally to build pressure on the BJP government at the Centre. Hyderabad is the hub of various PSUs, which includes BHEL, Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd and Sponge Iron India Ltd.

 

Apart from the Central PSUs, Hyderabad had a large number of employees of the Life Insurance Corporation, South-Central Railway, BSNL and BHEL, some of which were already on cards for disinvestment, and whose employees have been opposing the move of the Centre.

Rao raked the issue of LIC, BSNL and Indian railways even as he extended support from the TRS to the nationwide strike of trade unions on November 26 against disinvestment and the anti-worker policies of the BJP.

This struck political gold with employees opposing privatisation of public sector units coming out in support of the TRS for the upcoming GHMC elections. Thousands of CPSU employees in the city, employee organisations from the LIC, BSNL and SCR held demonstrations at their union offices in the city to thank Chief Minister Rao. Trade unions of BSNL, LIC and SCR passed resolutions expending support to the TRS in the GHMC polls.

 

BSNL employee’s union leaders Sampath Rao, Samba Siva Rao, Sushil Kumar, Chandramouli, LIC employee’s union leaders Thirupathaiah, Mehboob and Rajendra Babu said they would extend full support to TRS in GHMC polls.

Telangana State Planning Board vice chairman and TRS politburo member B Vinod Kumar participated in meetings of employees’ associations of BSNL and the LIC.



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BHP wage deals scrapped as unions win Fair Work fight


Construction, Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials, representing BHP’s coal mine workforces in Queensland, called on BHP to apologise to Operations Services employees.

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“BHP is hardly a newcomer to the industry. They know what is required,” CFMEU mining and energy president Tony Maher said. “They should apologise to their Operations Services employees for this sneaky manoeuvre and immediately begin genuine bargaining for new agreements that reflect coal mining industry standards.”

Following the verdict, which affects the 3400 Operations Services employees across the country, BHP on Friday said it was considering the full bench’s findings before considering its next steps regarding workplace bargaining options.

“We would like to reassure our Operations Services team members that this decision does not impact the terms and conditions set out in their employment contracts,” BHP vice president Operations Services Mark Swinnerton. “They can come to work tomorrow as usual and receive the benefits that they signed up for.”

Trade unions, however, have fought the model, saying the new agreements have undercut BHP’s direct coal-mining workforce by as much as $50,000 a year and remove crucial entitlements. The union movement’s push has centred on BHP’s metallurgical coal mines in Queesnland’s Bowen Basin, where the CFMEU has argued Operational Services employees should receive the same pay and conditions covering the rest of the workforce, which are superior.

The CFMEU is now calling for BHP to engage in genuine bargaining to “give Operations Services workers a say over the terms and conditions of their employment, the same as the rest of its coal workforce”.



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M-70: The Soviet Union’s Supersonic Seaplane Never Took Off


Here’s What You Need To Remember: Before the advent of ICBMs, nuclear bombs and missiles would be delivered by supersonic planes. As missile technology developed, plans for these planes fell by the wayside – including the American P6M SeaMaster and the Soviet M-70.

With airline passengers crammed like sardines, it’s hard to remember there was a time when airliners were more like ocean liners. In the 1930s, seaplanes were queens of the sky. Clipper seaplanes like the Boeing 314 were the 747s of the era, carrying passengers on long flights across the Atlantic and Pacific.

Today seaplanes seem an anachronism—cute flying machines that haul tourists in remote places like Alaska. But for a period during the early Cold War, those floating flying machines would have been dropping nuclear bombs over America and Russia.

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Seaplanes have always had a military dimension. In World Wars I and II, cruisers and battleships carried them for scouting and to spot the fall of the ship’s gunfire. Long-range floatplanes like Japan’s Kawanishi H8K could fly 4,500 miles across the Pacific. Before there were search-and-rescue helicopters, the sight that downed Allied pilots or shipwrecked sailors most longed to see was the beloved PBY Catalina taxiing across the water to rescue them. If no airfield could be found in the vast expanses of the Pacific, then a seaplane tender could always anchor at some little island and function as a floating airbase for a flock of floatplanes.

But after 1945, the military seaplane, with its cumbersome floats (the Catalina was nicknamed the “Dumbo”) began to be replaced by long-range jet aircraft as well as helicopters. Nonetheless, both superpowers pursued amphibious strategic bombers.

The United States had its Martin P6M SeaMaster, a subsonic strategic bomber with a speed of almost seven hundred miles per hour and a range of 750 miles. Several aircraft had been built, and the SeaMaster was within a few months of deployment, when the program was canceled in 1959.

Not to be outdone, the Soviets conceived their own project in 1955. The Myasishchev M-70 would not just have been an amphibious nuclear-armed bomber: it would have been supersonic as well. Authors Yefim Gordon and Sergey Komissarov, in Unflown Wings: Soviet/Russian Unreleased Aircraft Projects 1925-2010, the authoritative tome of Soviet aircraft that never left the drawing board, state the M-70’s mission would have been to:

perform cruise missile attacks or conventional bomb strikes on enemy shipping, reconnoiter targets for Soviet submarines (with which it could also rendezvous when operating far from the shore), refuel from a submarine, find its target at altitudes close to the service ceiling when in very hostile airspace and launch a cruise missile at supersonic speeds in any weather, day or night, throughout its altitude envelope.

When the Myasishchev design bureau said its seaplane-bomber was high-flying, it wasn’t joking. One version of the M-70 would have launched cruise missiles from seventy thousand feet, another variant from fifty-five thousand feet. Speed would have been between 1,100 to 1,500 miles per hour (between Mach 1 and 2), with a range of almost five thousand miles. This would have been in line with 1950s bomber design, which emphasized high-altitude and high-speed attack to escape interception, until the advent of surface-to-air missiles in the 1960s encouraged low-level attack.

The M-70 never actually flew, but Unflown Wings has two photos of a small display model. The M-70 would have been a graceful, streamlined, needle-nosed aircraft with two engines on top of the wings—generally a good idea for jets floating in the water—and two more high up on the tail. Particularly distinctive is the undercarriage, which would have consisted of a retractable nose ski and wingtip skis, as well as a retractable hydrofoil under the fuselage. The three-man aircraft would have refueled by submarine; in fact, the plan would have been to build several tanker subs that would probably have resembled the Nazi “milk cow” subs that refueled German U-boats.

Unfortunately for the M-70, Myasishchev was also designing two land-based supersonic bombers that could also fly about five thousand miles, and some managers at the design bureau worried that a seaplane-bomber could never match the aerodynamic performance of its landlubbing counterparts. For targets closer to the Soviet Union, within two thousand miles or so, regular land-based bombers or cruise missiles would suffice.

But it was ballistics that really killed the M-70, and most of the other exotic bomber concepts of the 1950s and early 1960s. Or more specifically, ballistic missiles with intercontinental flight times that could span continents in minutes rather than hours.

A nuclear warhead for the first Soviet ICBMs had been tested in May 1957, and “this suggested that spending money on large and expensive supersonic flying boats and bombers could be a huge waste,” according to Gordon and Komissarov.

It was the swan song for the floating bomber.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

This article first appeared in 2017.

Image: Wikimedia Commons. 





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KLM 3.4bn Bailout Hits Crisis As Unions Refuse Paycut Plan


The Dutch government on Saturday suspended plans to help beleaguered national carrier KLM with a multi-billion-euro bailout package after unions declined to sign a deal involving a five-year pay-cut plan.

The move puts the future of the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM into jeopardy, which said it would not remain afloat without a massive government injection to save KLM, the world’s oldest airline hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The planned state aid is not going through. It’s disappointing but that’s the case,” Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra told reporters in The Hague.

“It’s really important now that everybody take their responsibility and realise that KLM is in an existential crisis,” the minister said after talks with KLM.

The Dutch cabinet’s decision follows a day of intensive talks between KLM and its unions to try and reach agreement over the deal.

Hoekstra gave KLM and unions representing pilots, cabin and ground crew until 12:00 pm (1100 GMT) on Saturday to sign the agreement to unlock the 3.4 billion euro injection.

While talks are still ongoing with several unions, the Dutch pilots’ union VNV have refused to sign what they termed a “last minute” change to conditions for the deal.

The bitter feud centres around a clause in the agreement which asks the troubled airline’s staff to take salary cuts for the next five years.

KLM this week presented the Finance Ministry with the austerity plan, which demands a 15 percent cut in costs and will see 5,000 jobs being shed as a result of the global impact of the coronavirus pandemic on air travel.

It also included an agreement from unions to cut pilots’ salaries until March 2022 and ground and cabin crew salaries until the start of 2023.

But Hoekstra on Friday turned down the plan, insisting on salary cuts to run concurrently with the government’s five-year bailout package.





The move puts the future of the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM into jeopardy, which said it would not remain afloat without a massive government injection to save KLM, the world’s oldest airline hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic
 ANP / Koen van Weel

“We have not signed,” a VNV representative told AFP shortly after the deadline passed.

“We had an agreement in place with KLM on October 1 and now they (the government) are going back on it,” said the representative, who declined to be named.

“A deal is a deal,” he said.

Talks are also ongoing with umbrella union FNV which accused the government of “creating great uncertainty with changes at the 11th-hour”.

“We do not understand why KLM and the cabinet require extra commitment at the last minute,” FNV said in a statement to AFP.

But it added: “As FNV we will never endanger the future of KLM.”

Some 3,000 pilots within the airline are said be the hardest hit by the austerity plan, with salary cuts of up to 20 percent, Dutch news reports said.

Other unions, however, have signed the deal including cabin crew union and the aerospace technicians’ union, saying keeping KLM flying was the first priority.

“We’re staring at the bottom of the barrel,” Dutch Union of Aerospace Technicians (NVLT) chairman Robert Swankhuizen told the RTL Nieuws private broadcaster.

“Squabbling any longer jeopardises state aid,” he said.

Air France-KLM posted a net loss of 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion) for the third quarter, compared with a 363 million euros profit year-on-year.





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Council of the Ageing joins unions in warning jobmaker could harm older workers | Australia news


The Council of the Ageing has joined unions in arguing youth wage subsidies do nothing to encourage the hiring of older workers and could even cause them to be sacked.

In submissions to a snap Senate inquiry, Australian unions and employer groups have welcomed the intent of the $4bn jobmaker hiring credit but warned it lacks safeguards and may not be enough to get businesses hiring again.

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (Cosboa) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) suggested youth wage subsidies may need to be increased, while the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for the program to be expanded to companies currently claiming jobkeeper.

The program, which proposes subsidies of $200 a week for new hires aged under 30 and $100 a week for those aged 30 to 35, is facing scrutiny after the Treasury revealed it was expected to create just 45,000 “genuinely additional” jobs despite 450,000 workers qualifying for the payment.

The most common complaints in Senate inquiry submissions were from unions, warning the hiring credit would promote insecure work, and from employers, the Council on the Ageing (Cota) and unions again that more needed to be done to help older workers.

Cota submitted that, although it supported the jobmaker program, it was “deeply disappointed that the other equally vulnerable population group, older workers, are not included in the scheme”.

“Once an older person becomes unemployed, in most cases they find it much more difficult to re-enter employment than younger people,” the council said. “People aged 55–64 years spend on average 36 weeks looking for work until they find employment, compared to 14 weeks for all age groups.”

Although employers have to increase headcount and payroll to receive subsidies, Cota said an employer could “theoretically displace one older worker from their role, and replace them with two part-time/casual younger workers under the scheme”.

“This provides a financial incentive on top of already pervasive age discrimination in Australia,” it said. “Proper safeguards must be built into the program to ensure older workers’ jobs are protected.”

Both Labor and the Greens have flagged amendments to the program to address concerns older workers could be sacked to make way for subsidised younger employees.

On Tuesday, Labor’s shadow employment minister, Brendan O’Connor, told ABC TV that he does “not quibble with the government focusing on 18 to 35-year-old” workers.

But he said Labor was concerned the scheme wasn’t “properly regulated”. The opposition wants to know what will prevent people over the age of 35 losing their hours or jobs and being “displaced” in favour of those eligible for subsidies.

In its submission, the Treasury claimed that existing laws prohibiting unfair dismissal and age discrimination would prevent employers from sacking older workers.

The Treasury also revealed employers are expected to hire young people before the formal rules for the program are written – because it will consult “with a view to the rules being settled” before they claim subsidies retrospectively after the first quarter.

Cosboa submitted its members believed the hiring credit was “too low” and needed to be “at least 50% higher” to reduce unemployment by 450,000.

The small business lobby group warned the $100 rate for those aged 30-35 was “too low to motivate small business owners to recruit a new, eligible worker”.

“The focus on younger workers may result in unintended negative consequences for recently unemployed mature-aged workers,” it said.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its submission said the hiring credit was a “welcome, practical measure to help address rising youth unemployment” but disagreed with the fact employers receiving jobkeeper wage subsidies are not eligible.

“This flies in the face of businesses that are in the restart and recovery phase where they will be starting to ramp up their businesses from a low base,” it said.

By using 30 September as the reference date for employee headcount, the jobmaker program could exclude employers whose “payroll would have gone down at that time” due to cuts to jobkeeper. The chamber proposed using a three-month average instead.

The ACTU warned parliament was being asked to pass the jobmaker hiring credit on “the basis of limited detail and trust” because none of the program’s safeguards were contained in legislation.

The treasurer will have discretion to change the program until October 2022, a period that includes “the forthcoming election period and extends beyond even the most pessimistic estimates of when normal parliamentary functioning will have resumed”, it said.

The ACTU submitted the program should have “additional safeguards which actively disincentivise the dismissal of existing staff”.

The peak union body warned that because workers are eligible after working 20 hours per week, many would have “insufficient income to cover basic living expenses”. There was no “strong policy basis” for the “arbitrary” cut-off age of 35, it said.

The ACTU warned that total subsidies would amount to $10,000 a year for younger workers or $5,000 for those aged 30 to 35, on par with the Restart subsidy which failed to create the desired number of jobs for long-term unemployed older Australians.

The Treasury argued younger workers had been targeted because in September those aged 15-34 had an unemployment rate of 10.2% compared with 6.9% for the total population.

“Young people have a larger share of working years ahead of them,” it said. “The long-term economic costs of becoming disconnected from the labour market is, therefore, much greater for young people.

“Older workers will generally have more substantial work experience to support them being re-employed.”



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Pope Francis supports same-sex unions, cardinals ask ‘Is the Pope a Catholic?’


Pope Francis has surprised and shocked many with his statement backing same-sex unions. Alan Austin assesses its significance.

THIS IS NEWS. Important news. Global leader of the Roman Catholic Church Jorge Mario Bergoglio, known to his faithful as Pope Francis, has just overturned one of the heaviest tables in the temple of human bigotry. Despite generally subdued coverage, this could eventually change the world as much as anything this year. And in 2020, that is a big call.

Why this matters

The Catholic Church is highly influential in many countries where laws punish same-sex activity and where men, women and children with same-sex orientation are routinely persecuted and killed.

Same-sex activity is still criminalised in 71 countries. These include Burundi (62.1% Catholic), Dominica (58.1%), Grenada (44.6%) and Lesotho (45.7%).

Even in advanced democracies where gay couples are physically safe, bigotry impacts their lives. Catholic institutions in Australia, the USA and other developed secular democracies still sack teachers, health workers and others for being in same-sex relationships, even when those individuals are committed Catholics and eminently qualified in every other way.
Imagine if these evils disappeared.

Long and firm tradition

In a world where religious organisations are steadily shifting on same-sex unions, the Catholic Church has appeared immovable. Catholic bishops have led opposition to marriage reform in Britain, the Philippines, the USA, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.

This is why the latest pronouncement is a shock — to gay couples and their supporters and to outraged traditionalists alike.

Bergoglio made his controversial comments in the film Francesco directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. The documentary on Bergoglio’s life and work premiered at the Rome Film Festival last Wednesday.

He said:

“Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God. You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. We have to create a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”

This is not the first time Bergoglio has suggested this as a Bishop, nor the first hint he has offered while Pope. But it is the first direct declaration while in the top job.

Official teaching

Roman Catholics still regard same-sex acts as wrong and homosexual attraction as “disordered”.

Point 2357 of the Catechism states: ‘…homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ Point 2358 goes further and refers to ‘This inclination, which is objectively disordered…’.

This is in contrast to many Christian denominations and other faith groups which now accept same-sex unions as equivalent to opposite-sex relationships.

It's okay to be gay — Pope Francis says so

Reactions of relief and excitement

Bishop Raúl Vera in Mexico immediately welcomed the remarks:

“It makes me very happy that a new door is opening in the church for people who still don’t have a place in it.”

Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic LGBTQ support group, hailed Bergoglio’s comments as “historic”:

“It is no overstatement to say that with this statement not only has the pope protected LGBTQ couples and families, but he also will save many LGBTQ lives.”

Swift condemnations

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island, USA, in contrast, rejected Bergoglio’s views in a prompt public denunciation:

‘The Pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the long-standing teaching of the Church about same-sex unions. The Church cannot support the acceptance of objectively immoral relationships.’

American Cardinal Raymond Burke, now based in Rome, also rejected the pope’s statement as ‘contrary to the teaching of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition’.

Why the religious Right needs to be victimised to know it’s alive

He said:

‘Such declarations generate great bewilderment and cause confusion and error among Catholic faithful.’

To others, Bergoglio’s comments are no great surprise, but a catch-up long overdue. Australian priest and commentator Frank Brennan has called for same-sex unions for ten years now.

The concept of family

A clue to the intellectual journey which led to Bergoglio’s declaration may be in his references – twice – to family: “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family” and, “You can’t kick someone out of a family”.

This pope sees people not primarily as individuals, but members of a family needing to welcomed, respected and protected by that family. They, in turn, contribute to its enrichment.

This understanding was articulated at length in his encyclical letter titled ‘Fratelli Tutti’ (‘All Brothers’) released earlier this month.

This reinforced his call for all humankind – regardless of nationality, status or faith – to see ourselves as brothers and sisters first and foremost.

This is the way, he urged, to avoid the depredations of those who would harm us, including political manipulators and corporate interests:

‘We need to think of ourselves more and more as a single family dwelling in a common home. Such care does not interest those economic powers that demand quick profits.’

Rejecting the emptiness of hell

Possible ways forward

In coming months, we shall see whether the Church proceeds to revise its official teaching and praxis or get Bergoglio to adhere to official doctrine. There will be great pressure in both directions.

So this latest declaration certainly does not end the matter. This Pope will not be with us forever and his successor could reverse his reforms. ‘God always corrects one pope by giving the world another’ is a well-rehearsed Catholic proverb.

Your elders will dream dreams

Visionary observers of Catholic affairs – both inside and outside the institution – may now ponder what other once-sacred precepts could also be challenged by this pontiff. If homosexuality can be reconsidered, what next?

Doctrines reformists may wish to see revisited include gay marriage, the authority of the clergy, the belief that Roman Catholicism is the one true Christian denomination and that the Christian faith is supreme. Plus, women priests.

Don’t laugh. The pope’s encyclical letter actually says that:

‘…the organisation of societies worldwide is still far from reflecting clearly that women possess the same dignity and identical rights as men.’

Bergoglio’s letter touches on all these areas of contention. Thus, his comments on same-sex unions serve to strengthen hopes for reform well beyond this one issue.

Alan Austin’s defamation matter is nearly over. You can read an update HERE and help out by contributing to the crowd-funding campaign HEREAlan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @AlanAustin001

Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.

 





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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk rejects allegations Labor supplied electoral data to the Queensland Council of Unions


Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has rejected allegations the Labor party (ALP) misused electoral data at the last state election after media reports the personal information of voters was shared with unions.

NewsCorp has reported the Australian Electoral Commission is investigating allegations the ALP shared details contained in the electoral roll, such as names and contact numbers of voters, with the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU).

The publication said the information, which is provided to political parties under strict privacy guidelines, was then allegedly used to target voters in marginal areas.

Ms Palaszczuk denied the accusations.

“I do reject it,” she said.

“The party secretary said to me that she has no evidence of any complaint.”

When asked by a journalist if her election victory in 2017 was “clean” Ms Palaszczuk said: “absolutely it was”.

“They [the ALP] have said that they have complied with all of their obligations under the Acts,” she said.

In a statement, a spokesman for the QCU said it was “confident it has complied with the requirements of the Electoral Act”.

The ALP state secretary, Julie-Ann Campbell, have been contacted for comment.

The AEC would not confirm if it was looking into the allegations but said in a statement it “does not comment on matters which may be the subject of further inquiries”.

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington said she was “deeply concerned” about the reports.

Both leaders are campaigning in South East Queensland today and pledged funding for community sport and road upgrades respectively, if elected.

Labor has committed to spending $7.5 million dollars to extend a program that supplies sporting vouchers to children.

The LNP has promised $20 million dollars to improve a major thoroughfare in Brisbane’s east.



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Pope Francis’ Views on Same-Sex Civil Unions Were Cut From a 2019 Vatican Interview


ROME — Pope Francis was an hour into a sprawling interview with a Mexican journalist at his Vatican residence in 2019 when he was asked if he had changed since his time as archbishop of Argentina, when he staunchly opposed gay marriage.

Francis responded that he had always defended the church’s teaching on marriage, then began to delve into the question of legalizing same-sex relationships when suddenly the video skipped forward. “One changes in life,” he said.

The words that went missing — expressing support for same-sex civil unions — surfaced only this week in a new documentary, stoking the hopes of gay Catholics and the fury of conservatives. But the clip also became the subject of sudden intrigue over when and where the pope made the remarks, and why they were only now being made public.

The pope made the comments in an interview with the Vatican correspondent for the Mexican broadcaster Televisa, said Teresa Villa, a spokeswoman for Televisa, late on Thursday.

Two people close to the company, who did not want to be identified while discussing such sensitive matters, said that the Vatican had required that the interview be filmed with Vatican cameras and that the Vatican be given control over the footage. The Vatican cut out the pope’s remarks on same-sex unions in the edited version provided to Televisa, the two people said.

Gone was this comment from the pope: “What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered.”

The excerpt, which the two people said was never seen by the network, remained buried until the Church allowed a documentary filmmaker access to the Vatican archives, including the raw footage of the Televisa interview. The filmmaker put the clip in a new documentary — “Francesco” — that premiered this week at the Rome Film Festival.

The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, declined to respond on Thursday evening when asked whether the Vatican had tried to suppress the Pope’s potentially groundbreaking remarks. It remained unclear who at the Vatican would have edited the footage, or if Francis himself knew of the cut.

But the disappearance, then re-emergence, of footage of Francis weighing in on one of the most divisive issues facing the Roman Catholic Church raised questions about whether the pope’s handlers sought to silence his apparent approval of legal unions for same-sex couples.

Since the remarks surfaced Wednesday in the new documentary, they have been welcomed as a major breakthrough by liberal Catholics and L.G.B.T. activists, and reviled by conservative bishops as a contradiction of church teaching. The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuality is a sin.

The confusion over the provenance of the footage sucked in a host of players on Thursday — the ambitious, Oscar-nominated director of the film, Evgeny Afineevsky; a respected Mexican journalist with Televisa, Valentina Alazraki, to whom Francis presented a cake on the papal plane on the occasion of her 150th papal trip; and the Vatican’s own communications department, which has a tradition of secrecy, strict message control and often ham-handed execution.

Almost everyone involved declined to comment or evaded questions of how the footage emerged.

The film’s director, Mr. Afineevsky, who had extensive access to the Vatican over years of production, told The New York Times on Wednesday that the pope had made the remarks in an interview with him.

But when the Vatican suggested otherwise, he did not answer repeated inquiries about where and when the pope made the remarks, or about whether he had instead recycled the footage from the Vatican’s cutting-room floor.

Vatican officials and confidants of Francis sought to dismiss the comments as old news, even though they had never seen the light of day.

Ms. Alazraki, the Televisa correspondent, told The Times on Wednesday that she did not recall the pope making such remarks to her. By that evening, video began circulating among Vatican reporters of her nearly hour-and-20 minute interview with the pope on the environment, sexual abuse and plenty else.

The setting appears identical to the clip used in the new documentary. In both, Francis is seated in his residence in Casa Santa Marta on a gold-trimmed chair with a honey-combed pattern chair behind his right shoulder, and a small microphone in the same spot on his robe.

On Thursday, Ms. Alazraki referred all questions to her employer, Televisa, Mexico’s largest media conglomerate, which said in a statement that at the time of the interview she was focused on the pope’s comments on the sexual abuse scandal.

Ms. Alazraki’s reputation is hardly that of a pushover. In early 2019, she was invited to address many of the church’s leaders at a summit on sexual abuse, and used the occasion to warn the clerics that unless the church publicly admitted its sins instead of “playing ostrich,” then “we journalists, who seek the common good, will be your worst enemies.”

But Ms. Alazraki, who has covered five popes, is also operating in a Vatican media environment that follows Italian journalistic practices and ethics. In Italy, the line between press office and reporter is blurry; reporters often share questions in advance and allow sources to vet stories before publication.

And in the Vatican, officials also often require that the Vatican’s own cameras do the filming.

But what is remarkable in this case is that the pope appears to have been censored in the Vatican’s postproduction process. It is also possible that the Vatican officials who worked closely with Mr. Afineevsky, the film’s director, clued him in to the cut footage.

The pope’s penchant for speaking in an off-the-cuff manner has maddened not only supporters and critics, but also his staff in the Roman bureaucracy. He has at times sought to circumvent his media office by personally granting and arranging his own interviews.

John Thavis, author of “The Vatican Diaries,” and a veteran church analyst, said some confusion was inevitable with Francis, who was purposefully breaking a centuries-old mold in which popes spoke in an extremely formal and controlled manner.

“He recognizes the headline he created yesterday is more important than all the footnoting and cleaning up that comes afterward,” Mr. Thavis said. “His goal is to set a tone, not a policy, so I don’t think he’s worried about the fallout.”

But perhaps someone in the Vatican communications office was.

Its major force is Andrea Tornielli, a former star Vatican reporter for Italian publications who has helped expand the power and footprint of the Vatican’s new communications department, leaving the press office, which it now oversees, weakened and out of the loop.

Another powerful voice is the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit priest and close ally of the pope, who has vigorously defended him against conservative critics on social media.

On Wednesday, Father Spadaro told reporters that the pope’s remarks had been contained in the Televisa interview — leaving it to be later discovered that those remarks never actually aired.

Both he and Mr. Tornielli declined to comment on Thursday.

Regardless of who may be trying to control the message at the Vatican, it has proved difficult with Francis.

“The Vatican attitude toward Pope Francis’ interviews is the same as the White House attitude toward Trump tweets,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest and expert on the Vatican bureaucracy. “They would prefer a much more controlled message where they write the speeches and he reads them. He’s just not going to do that.”

Jason Horowitz reported from Rome, and Natalie Kitroeff from Mexico City.



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