Plastic bag levy in Australia

According to Channel News Asia, Australia’s second-largest supermarket, Coles, on Wednesday (Aug 1) halted plans to charge shoppers for plastic bags, succumbing to customer fury about a shift away from single-use plastics.

Coles, owned by Wesfarmers, and its larger rival Woolworths Group Ltd removed one-use plastic bags from stores late in June as part of a national push to reduce waste, selling reusable ones for a small fee instead.

It drew a furious response, dubbed “bag rage,” as customers angry about having to bring their own sacks or pay 15 Australian cents (11 US cents) for a reusable plastic bag abused checkout staff and vented on social media.

The union representing store workers launched a public campaign on the issue and both grocers capitulated, temporarily waiving the fee. Coles, which had initially planned to reintroduce the fee on Jul 12, never levied it and has now extended the waiver indefinitely.

“Some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags,” the company said in a statement. “Many customers bringing bags from home are still finding themselves short a bag or two so we are offering complimentarily reusable (bags) to help them complete their shopping,” it said.

The waiver was “still intended to be an interim measure,” Coles said, but gave no date for the resumption of the fee, saying only it will “assess when customers have become accustomed to bringing their own bags.”

Woolworths has levied 15c per bag since Jul 8. The backflip comes while Coles is under immense pressure to lure customers, as its sales growth lags Woolworths just as Wesfarmers prepares to spin it out and list it separately.

“It’s all a part of lifting their customer satisfaction and getting more customers in the door,” said James Tao, a market analyst at stockbroker Commonwealth Securities in Sydney.

Loo-seum to celebrate Australia dunny history

According to the 9News, the humble backyard dunny is no longer a fixture of suburban Australian life, but their memory will linger on in a specially created new memorial. The “Looseum” opened today, with a ceremony featuring a brown carpet.

Queensland Urban Utilities launched the project, which is fittingly located next to Brisbane’s Luggage Point sewage treatment plant. The Looseum’s dunnies were rescued and then restored by the Men’s Shed. (Queensland Urban Utilities)

The new memorial boasts three fully restored outhouses, as well as photos, stories, paintings, books and even songs that were sent in as part of a national campaign to “flush out” Australia’s thunderbox history, stores near me.

Outhouses used widely in Brisbane until as recently as the 1970s, but toilets were gradually moved inside homes as underground plumbing networks became more common. Many households ended up converting the now unused buildings into sheds, however, the QUU says it found at least 120 backyard dunnies still in use across the country as part of its search.

Australia’s dunny history includes memories of night soil men and scary night-time trips to the loo (Queensland Urban Utilities). Many Australians have memories of the iconic dunny.

The Looseum’s thunderboxes were rescued from Carina, Alderley, and Toogoolawah and were renovated by volunteers from the Men’s Shed, QUU spokesperson Michelle Cull said.”The dunnies were in terrible condition when we found them and one was destined for certain demolition, so it’s great we could save this piece of Australian history for future generations,” she said.

Racism in Australia

According to Sydney Morning Herald, Greg Inglis has labeled racism in Australia as “appalling” as the NRL widened its investigation to include allegations that a match official was the victim of a homophobic slur.

There are growing fears among investigators that it will be difficult to pinpoint the culprit who made the alleged remarks about Inglis. The South Sydney captain claimed earlier this week that he had been called a “black dog”, although footage of the incident isn’t conclusive, stores near me.

The NRL has been going over the evidence, which includes a dossier produced by the Panthers containing witness statements and footage from the venue. Inglis declined to delve into the details when he fronted at a State of Origin ticket launch in Queensland on Wednesday. However, he made it clear racism is totally unacceptable.

“Without a doubt, I think racism in Australian society is appalling. That’s it, full stop. It has to stop,” says Inglis.

The NRL integrity unit is attempting to finalize the matter by the end of the week, but the task of finding the alleged culprit is a difficult one. The NRL expanded the scope of the investigation to include alleged homophobic slurs aimed at match officials.

“We are happy the NRL is dealing with it and we will leave it in their capable hands,” said Professional Rugby League Match Officials (PRLMO) boss Silvio Del Vecchio.

Inglis’ State of Origin coach Kevin Walters, who on Wednesday confirmed the center, would return to his team this year, also called for a life ban for the offender.

“We’ve got a guy who does so much for the Indigenous community and Australia, and people come up with that sort of nonsense. It’s just not acceptable … It shouldn’t be tolerated. Surely, it’s just unacceptable that sort of behavior in any sport, let along rugby league,” Walters said.

Australia’s International Women Day

POPSUGAR interviewed Jess Miller over the phone to celebrate International Women’s Day.

POPSUGAR Australia: Did you always see a future in politics for yourself?

Jess Miller:    Oh no, it was definitely not what I planned. When I was at school I wasn’t really involved in anything like debating or school politics — I was more likely back at the sheds or doing sport or art. I never did that [politics] thing . . . being involved and caring when you’re younger is seen as being a bit daggy, at least where I was from.

PS: Do you see improving gender equality in politics as part of your role?

JM: You don’t realize the system isn’t made for women until you’re in it. It’s like a lot of things though, you know? School hours aren’t designed for women. A lot of working hours are not designed for women. And the Australian political system is kind of like a bastardization of the British and the American system, and those weren’t built for women. You don’t get paid a lot at local government; it’s not designed to be a full-time role. As the deputy Lord mayor you’re on about $37,000 a year, and as a counselor, you’re paid about $27-29,000.

PS:     What changes would you like to see this year?

JM: 100 percent, just more females in politics. The first thing is to get to that point of backing up other women publicly — to put a pretty firm line across inequality and just go, “Well this generation, we’re not copping it.” Now just feels like a really interesting time because there’s this sort of groundswell of support and sort of . . . tangible anger. I freakin’ love it. We should be angry and we shouldn’t just be quiet. I don’t like going to events and having people think I’m the caterer — that’s the thing. You can be polite and everything about it but if you make yourself a bit more visible, then other people go, “Well, maybe I can do that as well.” Check out Papa Survey official website for more inquiries.

Australia to join ASEAN

Australia was recently called out to expand their future in Asia through joining the Association of Southeast Asian nations. According to SBS News, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be preparing to host the ASEAN leaders at an event in Sydney on March 17-18, 2018. A released report of Australian Strategic Policy Institute on Tuesday will reportedly make the case for membership.

“Joining ASEAN is the best way to give full expression to our future in south-east Asia and in Asia more broadly. The Sydney summit can stir ambition into the symbolism, reaching towards substance,” says report author Graeme Dobell. He also suggested that by 2024, Australia and New Zealand could take up a new form of membership as ASEAN community partners.

Mr. Dobell added, “ASEAN, as a middle power grouping, needs extra middle power heft from Australia and New Zealand.” He explained how Southeast Asia is experiencing the pressure from Asia’s big beasts: China, India, Japan and in the US. Moreover, the report recognizes the potential uphill battle to obtain membership into the ten-country organization. One possible hurdle is Australia’s own perspective. Belong to any club that would accept me as Dobell shared, “Australia confronts a version of the Groucho Marx line, ‘I do not want to one of its members.” More money in the bank is surely needed to complete the cause!

On the other hand, Former Prime minister Paul Keating of Australia has advocated for the country to seek membership of ASEAN in order to find security in Asia not from Asia. “Or Canberra muses on a complicated semi-Groucho conundrum: ‘Love the club. Think it is a wonderful, vitally important club. But we would never want to join. Oh, and they do not want us.” ASEAN members include the following countries:

  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

It can be recalled how Australia had a “strategic partnership” with ASEAN since 2014.

What is happening in Australia

What is happening in Australia today?

  • US markets returned on Friday but still ended the week 5.2 percent. However, there was no relief for the ASX, because then China’s Shanghai SE50 crashed 4.6 percent and futures are pointing lower today. The yield spread between Australian and US 10-year bonds will start the week in negative territory, but the dollar found some buyers at a key technical level on Friday night.
  • Brexit talks could collapse over Ireland. The Irish question has looked resolved for nearly 20 years, but the matter of the border is threatening to derail the Brexit negotiations entirely. According to Business Insider, a high-ranking member of the Irish government recently told a British MP that “talks could collapse at any moment”.
  • Would you be ready for a recession? Think about the people you work with. Have any of them worked through a proper downturn? In Australia, you need to be about 45 to remember one in your career, let alone have managed a business through one. This could cause some trouble in the next downturn, but could even cause problems now, explains Paul Colgan.
  • Economists and traders search what went wobbly last week, why, and if it will happen again. This is the reason why data was a big deal in the current week. The first big number will be CPI inflation on Wednesday night, then its jobs and production Thursday before finishing with housing starts Friday. Meanwhile, China is out on holiday for Thursday and Friday. The big release will reportedly happen on Thursday in Australia and people are expected to see more jobs growth in this year.
  • Furthermore, one biggest question is if a person earns $1000 an hour. Of course, no one is but this is how one should value their time. In this case, people must learn how to spend wisely.

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