Australia has paid Nauru $29m in visa fees to keep asylum seekers in detention | Australia news | The Guardian

The Australian government has paid Nauru almost $29m on monthly visa fees to keep asylum seekers and refugees in the island’s detention centre.Since the Nauru facility was reopened in 2012 the visa fee for asylum seekers had been raised to $1,000 per person per month, the immigration department has confirmed … Continue reading

Centrelink leaves 26 million calls unanswered

Nearly a quarter of the 57 million phone calls made to Centrelink last year went unanswered, according to a new report by the Australian National Audit Office.Australians spent 143 years waiting in vain to speak to Centrelink in 2013-2014, before simply hanging up, the auditors calculated.The statistics of Centrelink phone … Continue reading

Days of drudgery, abuse and threats on Centrelink’s phones

A Centrelink call-centre employee has told of working days filled with threats, abuse, unpaid overtime and desperate attempts to help clients in trouble.The public servant, stung by online attacks on her and her colleagues in the wake of the Auditor-General’s revelations of Centrelink’s shocking record of answering the phone, says … Continue reading

View from the Street: Government endorses slaver… sorry, ‘work experience’!

By Andrew P Street Oh, what a lovely class war!One of the things that the government has been very careful about discussing too much in recent times is industrial relations – specifically, how unfair they think it is that employers are still expected – indeed, obligated! – to pay staff.After … Continue reading

How A New Immigration Law Will Help Hunt Whistleblowers

By Somayra Ismailjee A seemingly mundane bill passed by the senate last week could have serious implications for those trying to blow the whistle on the Department of Immigration, writes Somayra Ismailjee. On Friday morning, the Australian Border Force Bill 2015 was passed through the senate. For anyone who isn’t … Continue reading

Federal budget 2015: side-effect means sickest patients are to pay more for drugs

Some of Australia’s sickest people will pay more each year for their medicines due to a little-noticed change in last week’s federal budget.Health Minister Sussan Ley on Monday announced an agreement with the Pharmacy Guild which she said would deliver “cheaper, more affordable medicines for consumers”, partly because pharmacies will … Continue reading

Tony Abbott under fire over ‘try before you buy’ jobseeker comment

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, has come under fire for suggesting employers “try before they buy” when hiring long-term unemployed people.Abbott made the comments during an address to the Queensland Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning, where he was highlighting a new initiative which allowed people who have been unemployed … Continue reading