This Week’s Human Rights News

By André Dao
Photo of a Mines Advisory Unit inspector looking at a cluster bomb unit

18 November 2011

Historical Equal Pay Agreement

It has been announced that the Federal Government and the Australian Services Union will make a joint submission to Fair Work Australia for equal pay for the community and services sector. The agreement proposes to increase the wages of community sector workers by between 19 and 42 per cent.  The proposed pay increases would ensure that those working in the health and caring industries receive remuneration that reflects the importance of these services. The Sex Discrimination Commissioner has asserted that these sectors have been traditionally underpaid because it is employment largely undertaken by women.

African Communities at Risk of Social Exclusion in Melbourne

The Age has reported that there is a danger that African communities in Melbourne are becoming socially excluded due to unemployment. Community leaders are reported to have announced that joblessness among African-Australian graduates is now as high as 90 per cent.  As well as this, doctors, pilots and other professionals who have migrated from Africa find it problematic to get their qualifications recognised in Australia.  African community leaders have highlighted the negative affects of extreme unemployment among African migrants.

Prohibition of Cluster Munitions

Human Rights Watch has called for countries that have not banned cluster munitions to stop trying to establish a new international law explicitly allowing for the use of these weapons. The Director of the Arms Division at Human Rights Watch has said that the attempt to introduce the law is an attempt by the United States and other countries “that have not banned cluster munitions to provide political and legal cover for any future use of the weapons.”

In related news, the Human Rights Law Centre and other organisations have pointed out the flaws in domestic legislation to be enacted for the purposes of ratifying the Convention of Cluster Munitions. Specifically, it has been reported that the Cluster Munition Prohibition Bill allows Australian troops to actively assist in the use of Cluster Bombs.

Right Now’s Rose Press has reported on calls for Australia to set the right example on cluster bombs.





Review – Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia

By Georgia Cerni

Sophie Cousins’ book Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia is, in many respects, a proposal. For Cousins, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Australians with an opportunity to reconsider the ways our society currently functions. Cousins aptly makes her case – while in some ways the pandemic reinforced burgeoning inequalities, it also presented us the chance to apply collectivist values to solve systemic problems.