There was once a little pub in Carlton called the Corkman. Built in 1854, it was one of the oldest buildings in the suburb. It wasn’t particularly charming—mission brown had been slopped all over it in the 1970s—and it didn’t have a particularly worthwhile social function, mostly used as a watering hole by Melbourne University law students.
It has been variously described as smelling like off ham, burning plastic and chemicals. Officially, it produces “a strong odour with wet paper and sweet fermented characteristics”, in the words of an odour engineer from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). People who live near it report experiencing headaches, sinus problems and skin irritation because of the unrelenting stench.
A modest industrial dispute in the northern suburbs of Melbourne has become the latest flashpoint in the battle for the right to strike. Around 90 envelope production workers at the Australian Paper site in Preston – who have been out the gate since 16 January – were ordered back to work by the Fair Work Commission on 16 February.
Eighteen months, one Herald Sun cover, half a dozen national news articles and multiple court appearances after he was charged with assault, Victoria Police have dropped their case against Steven Diston, Electrical Trades Union organiser. Admitting they had no prospects of winning in court, Victoria Police withdrew charges against Diston just weeks before his case was due to be heard.
Civil rights weren’t the only big winner out of the same sex marriage postal survey. Australia’s largest envelope producer – Australian Paper – did pretty well after getting the contract to supply the Bureau of Statistics with about 16 million survey envelopes. Now, after locking away an unexpected profit boost, the company is attacking the workers that helped produced the windfall.
The Victorian Labor government continues to face resistance to its plan to sell large plots of public land across Melbourne. The land has been used for many decades for public housing and, in at least one case, was given to the state specifically for that purpose.