The Guardian • Issue #2044


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2044

ABC journalists have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking industrial action as they push for a fair deal from management. Close to 90 per cent of union members voted in favour of a range of industrial actions up to and including an indefinite strike in a protected action ballot. Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance media director Cassie Derrick said members were resolute that the current proposal from ABC management needs to be improved. Union representatives met with ABC managing director David Anderson but there was no better offer forthcoming.

“David Anderson listened to our concerns and has agreed to postpone voting on the current offer, but there was no commitment made about providing an improved deal that addresses the major concerns of staff,” said Derrick. “This is not just about pay. It’s about ensuring a fair go at forging a career at the public broadcaster. It’s about sustainable careers and equal pay for journalists in the regions, from diverse backgrounds and women.”

Outstanding issues for ABC staff include career progression through pay bands to provide a pathway for junior staff, and the majority of staff in the regions as journalists gain skill and experience in a role; a regular, transparently reported gender and race pay gap audit to address specific problems with inequality and retention of diverse staff. The union says the offer must also include back pay to the expiry date of the previous enterprise bargaining agreement. ABC members around Australia met last week to discuss the result of the protected action ballot and the next steps to be taken.

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has escalated calls for nurse-to-patient ratios to be introduced state-wide, off the back of new data showing more patients sought emergency treatment in public hospitals towards the end of 2022 than prior to the pandemic. The data shows almost 68,000 emergency department patients left without, or before, completing treatment during October to December, while one in 10 patients who were treated and admitted still spent almost 20 hours waiting in the ED over the same quarter. The union says that to improve these figures, urgent investment is needed in our skilled nursing workforce which has suffered widespread burnout and fatigue. NSW patients deserve better, they deserve ratios. In the lead up to the March state election, NSWNMA members are urging candidates from all political persuasions to support minimum and enforceable nurse-to-patient ratios, improved maternity staffing and fair pay.

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: The chief executive of National Australia Bank is right behind the Albanese government’s tax increase for people with superannuation savings of more than $3 million. “It affected a small group of people who have a huge amount of money in those funds.” The hypocrisy stands out like a shining gold snout in a trough. For a man on more than $5 million per annum who is responsible for driving mortgage holders into deeper debt and starvation it is a drop in the ocean.

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