Newsletter 155

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Partner Visas – Form 888 and statutory declarations 

The new Form 888—Supporting statement in regard to a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa application—will make applicants aware that it no longer takes the form of a statutory declaration. However, for Subclass 801 applicants who are s48 impacted, two statutory statements in support of the application must be provided at the same time and location as the application. 

In order to maintain the integrity of the Partner Visa programme, S48 impacted candidates must meet a higher standard than other applicants and submit statutory declarations in support of their applications.

Fair Work – Information Sheet 

The Fair Work Information Statement – August 2023 has been gazetted by the Fair Work Ombudsman.  The National Employment Standards are explained in detail in this information sheet, along with additional helpful details for both employees and employers.

Migrant worker exploitation 

Minister Giles described recent initiatives to spot migrant labour exploitation in a press release, noting that: 

In the month of July, Australian Border Force (ABF) personnel checked 300 enterprises across all states and territories. This campaign is in addition to the 140 businesses that the Albanese Labour government has already fined. The ABF singled out sponsoring companies, punishing those who disregarded labour rights like wages, conditions, health, and safety with fines, bans, and other measures.

The full media release is available here. 

Increase to Humanitarian Program 

According to Andrew Giles, minister for immigration, citizenship, and multicultural affairs, the number of individuals resettled annually under Australia’s humanitarian programme will rise from 17,875 to 20,000. 

At a time when more than 2 million people globally are in urgent need of resettlement and more than 100 million people are forcibly displaced, this pledge will help to ensure that Australia does its part in responding to the humanitarian crisis on a global scale.

As refugees rebuild their lives in Australia and contribute to our economy and society, the Albanese Labour Government is implementing a humanitarian programme that gives them protection and assurance.

The government of Alba is devoted to protecting our borders while upholding our sense of duty and humanity.

The structure of Australia’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy has not altered. Anyone who makes an unauthorised boat trip to Australia will be sent back to their starting place, transferred to another nation, or sent back to their home country.

All non-citizens who are determined to have exhausted all options for staying in Australia and to have disregarded Australia’s protection commitments are required to leave as soon as practicable.

More reforms needed in sexual violence trials

According to a recent study, trials for sexual abuse need further modification to make the experience for victims better.

Although previous reforms have improved the experience of victims in sexual crime trials, it has been 40 years since the first legislative changes, and a new study has revealed that numerous aspects of how trials are conducted continue to give victims of sexual violence a negative experience. 

As part of the study, the trials were analysed and reviewed, in terms of reviewing the operation of legislative and privacy protections, examination-in-chief and cross-examination approaches, prosecution responses, judicial interventions, rules of evidence and jury directions. 

“It was a huge undertaking, but one that was significant, and highlights important issues in the law reform landscape. We found that there have been some improvements to complainants’ experience in sexual offence trials since procedural reforms started in the 1980s,” Professor Quilter said. 

As part of the trial, defence counsel were given space to question victims on a range of topics, including prior flirtatious behaviour and aspects of their past said to be “relevant to credibility”. This included topics such as substance use, mental illness or having children in care. 

Despite this, Professor Quilter said the problem is not that judges and lawyers are ignoring or misapplying special rules for sexual offence trials, but that the reform process that began more than 40 years still has a way to go. 

“Reforms to date have been important, but there are aspects of what makes sexual offence trials so traumatic for many complainants that have not yet been addressed,” she said. 

“There is scope to do more to improve the experience for complainants so that stereotypes and narratives that are out of step with contemporary values no longer feature in sexual offence trials.” 

Employee sacked over WFH monitoring calls for second chance

An ex-insurer from Sydney alleges that since she was wrongfully fired from her job when her work activity was observed while she was working from home, she now relies only on the income from her online profile to pay her expenditures.

The data showed she did not work her rostered hours for 44 days, started late on 47 days, finished early on 29 days and performed zero hours on four days.

It also recorded a low number of average keystrokes overall.

She took her case to the Fair Work Commission, claiming IAG had a “premeditated plan to remove her from the business and that she was targeted due to her mental health issues”.

“I think it’s quite invasive. It gives people with access to this sort of software a lot of power,” Heikkilae said.

“Through software like this we can essentially see everything the user is seeing, everything from websites, to keystrokes, how much time they’re active and even a live view of their screen.

He said the person monitoring doesn’t need the employee’s permission.

Cheikho said she’s now on welfare and worried no one will give her a second chance.

She wants to warn other employees to track their work activity to avoid ending up in a similar situation.

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