Sharkey bites at WA’s IR legislation

THE president of the WA Industrial Relations Commission is the latest prominent figure to criticise the WA Government’s changes to IR laws.

Peter Sharkey said this week that the legislation, were it enacted, would threaten both his independence and power. His responsibilities in the workings of the commission would be reduced, thereby undermining his appearance of independence from the Government, which is frequently a litigant in the commission.

The legislation, which is before the upper house, would remove the link between Mr Sharkey’s income and those of Supreme Court judges; his salary would instead be independently determined by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, possibly to his disadvantage.

Voltaire’s martyr

PIM Fortuyn, a conservative Dutch politician, was shot dead outside a radio station in Hilversum, southeast of Amsterdam on Monday.

Fortuyn offered a seemingly contradictory policy platform, on the one hand encouraging tolerance for homosexuals – he was gay – but decrying the Netherlands’ unwillingness to reduce or halt immigration.

He was grouped with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the unsuccessful French presidential candidate, and other right-wing European politicians, but rejected any such links and expressed his disgust at Le Pen’s attitudes towards the Holocaust.

In the light of Fortuyn’s assassination, it is worth considering that perhaps Pauline Hanson’s famous “I’ve been murdered” video was not as ridiculous as it was once portrayed to be.

Don’t forget the Feds’ approach

THE leaks have begun to spring from the Federal Government in the lead-up to the Budget later this month. The biggest news so far is the suggestion that the government health insurer Medibank Private will be sold off to ensure the budget remains in surplus.

Like its WA counterpart, the Federal Government will be looking to – wait for it, wait for it – Raise Revenue and Cut Costs to keep its economic head above water. Governments, RRCC – say it right and it says it all.

Share and share alike, comrade

THE Federal Opposition has proposed its own way to counter Australians’ growing dependence on welfare; people will be encouraged through financial support to invest their money in the stockmarket.

Imagine if this idea had been thought of two years ago. The punters would have been lining up to put a little bit in resources (Pasminco seems to be undervalued); an insurance company is essential in the interests of diversification (HIH’s books look pretty solid); and telcos are the future – which shall we go with, Telstra or OneTel?

Dare one say, it could happen again?

Pay back time for public service

WA’s public service leaders were given a six per cent pay rise last week, their first in 21 months.

The Salaries and Allowances Tribunal awarded the rises to 70 senior executives including Under-Treasurer John Langoulant ($308,048), Police Commissioner Barry Matthews ($282,042) and head of the Health Department Mike Daube ($270,372).

The Tribunal increased pay for many of the executives in recognition of the fact they were given extra responsibilities by the Government’s decision last year to reduce the number of departments from 46 to 23.

A week of glam, blood, but no visas

THE newly formed WA Fashion Industry Association sent a couple of scouts to check out Australian Fashion Week. Vice chairperson Dominique Monteleone and committee member Ray Costarella flew to Sydney to soak up the glitz and glam, and of course a touch of blood. An incident involving a dispute between two photographers over their position to take photographs at the opening ended with one photographer having blood smeared on his face. Leona Edmiston, after a five-year absence, opened AFW which showcased 51 designers. The show has drawn criticism for the lack of big name designers but according to industry sources it’s an expensive exercise. Some say once labels have appeared for a few years they tend to have their own purchaser base and can market themselves differently, and for less money.

Ms Monteleone said the show was positioned for the up and coming designers and for the first time included a new generation exhibition.

WA designers featuring in AFW included Jodie Boland and Rebecca Patterson with both her labels Breathless and Selfh.

And it wouldn’t be a complete fashion write up without the silly model story. Two supermodels, Maggie Riser and Miffey Ryder were stopped at immigration and almost didn’t get into the country because they did not have working visas. It seems they smiled long and hard and were allowed to attend the opening night as “guest models”, however, they haven’t been spotted since.

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