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(generated from captions) Hello, and welcome to Today Tonight. I'm Naomi Robson. Hello, and welcome to Today Tonight. fearing for their jobs Close to 200,000 workers Close to 200,000 workers

took to the streets today, to be worried and they have every reason of this multi-millionaire, if bosses follow the lead "Fast" Eddie Groves. He's going for it hard to the fullest. and exploiting those workers is in the millions. Eddie's pay packet He's worth $230 million. But wait until you hear the ultimatum he's given his struggling workers. But wait until you hear the ultimatum

a country of racists? Also, is Australia by pictures like these - Our image overseas has been tarnished being bashed and kicked. foreign students it's happening all too often. And tragically, Plus, we meet the lost generation - who refuse to work. the new breed of Australian teenagers and no future. They have no drive or ambition But first tonight, is about to be turned upside down, the Australian workplace in protest against workplace reforms and if today's huge turnout is anything to go by, out there. there are a lot of worried people Regardless of your politics, relations reforms become law, if the government's industrial the boss will have more power. And, as Glenn Connley reports,

who can't wait to change the rules. there are already some bosses He's Australia's childcare king of around $230 million. with a personal fortune and now owns 778 childcare centres, He gets around in a Ferrari worth more than a billion dollars. across the country But try working for Fast Eddy Groves. at one of ABC childcare centres. one of the companies ABC have also been of opposing the increases in wages that have been at the forefront

that the union's now fighting for. Union leaders like Geoff Lawrence say in a new workplace agreement they can barely believe that as little as $420 a week Fast Eddy wants workers taking home to buy their own compulsory uniform. to fork out more than $230 Well, get used to it. for millions of low-income earners That's the way life is about to be industrial relations laws. under proposed new but it's also not unusual. It's not fair And there are many, many industries of rich employers where there are lots without any bargaining power. and there are lots of workers he's going for it hard He's going for it, to the fullest. and exploiting those workers for 100 years now We've had a system in Australia

agreement with your workmates, where you can negotiate a collective with your employer, make a deal, stick to the deal for an honest day's work. make an honest day's pay This turns that on its head. took to the streets Today, workers across the country to protest the new laws. Trades Hall Council says Brian Boyd from Victoria's the most telling change with 100 employees or less will be the right of a boss for any reason. to sack anyone at any time they've got no rights at all - Under 100 employees means they can be sacked at whim. 10% of the companies in Australia - Over 100 employees - which is only to go to a court they have some rights unfairly or not. and test if they've been sacked

Here's what's proposed - of rights pertaining to pay, Protected rights of the hundreds conditions and job security. just five. The government plans to retain rate, your right to sick leave, They'll protect your minimum hourly

maternity leave and a 38-hour week. annual leave, unpaid parental or Everything else is up for grabs.

increased weekend, Gone are things like overtime rates, redundancy pay shift and public holiday rates, and loadings. and a host of allowances on your negotiating skills That will now depend or your boss's generosity. they'll disappear altogether. Most likely redundancy payments, overtime rates, Superannuation, long-service leave, penalty rates, normally apply in a workplace a whole range of things that would under this new legislation. are out the window So under this legislation, in any way? none of those things are set in stone No. we've had for 100 years That's the safety net concept that

in Australia, and conditions, is gone. underpinning our wages

a supervisor of a childcare centre I was dismissed from my position as when I was five months pregnant. job at a different childcare centre Lisa Maree Wintle was sacked from her when she was five months pregnant she wanted to take maternity leave. after telling her boss at the centre. I felt that I was a good worker that my dismissal was fair, I didn't feel that it was fair, on my pregnancy. and I felt that it was based to adhere to equal opportunity laws, While employers will still have to prove discrimination, it will soon be incumbent on a worker

without explanation. while a boss can sack any worker,

a lot of workers vulnerable I think that it does make a lot of job security for employees, and it takes away where a woman may fall pregnant. particularly in a case In fact, I would suggest probably face more victimisation that the pregnant worker would "Oh, you're pregnant, because the employer would say, be working as hard as I want you to. "you're probably not going to and get an unpregnant woman." "I can go out there this legislation would allow that? And they're able to do that under will allow you to be sacked Yes, because the legislation without any recourse legal. if you're in a small company of the Senate tomorrow. The Federal Coalition takes control legislation Unions expect the controversial by August and passed by September to be introduced to Parliament like. which means they can protest all they which means they can protest all they

to change dramatically. But life for workers is about Well, the government argues to the unfair dismissal laws alone that the changes will result in more jobs. But even a Senate committee has found than wishful thinking. that's nothing more Now, moving on - Should Centrelink have the right

relationship status? to determine someone's Last night we told you how Centrelink claimed 60-year-old Jill Ware was in a marriage-like relationship, without a shred of evidence, and billed her almost $70,000. Well, as of tomorrow, the government's welfare body will have singles in its sights. And it's a return, some say, to the days where public servants were counting knickers on the clothesline. Here's Michelle Tapper. I decided to do the appeal because what they were doing was unjust and we are not in a de facto relationship. I wasn't just going to roll over and die just to get the money. It's ridiculous. Robyn Ross has just spent months fighting Centrelink trying to prove she's not in a de facto relationship. I got sad, I got angry and I got sick and then I got very, very mad and I thought "This is a total injustice. If they can do this to me they're probably doing it to everybody else." Robyn was refused a disability pension by Centrelink and had her payments cut off two months ago all because she shares a house with this man Garry Chappele. They were invited to come out and see the house but they wouldn't do that. But if they did it would've been easy, but we had to go through months and months of red tape, idiots and bureaucratic fools. we got. Just the same reaction We are not de facto.

Centrelink claims Robyn and Garry are a de facto couple because they have lived together for five years and they bought a house together. But Robyn, who lives upstairs, and Garry, who lives downstairs, say they have been friends for 30 years and sharing bills and each other's company is easier than living alone. We have never had sex

I trust her. I think she trusts me

as well. It's easier financially

too, and also, it's great to talk

to somebody now and again. We have

never had sex. Centrelink said Gary

is too ill to have sex. It was just

ludicrous. They're very intrusive

very intimidated. Michael Rapper, President of National Welfare Association, says the crackdown is extreme and no singles living together are safe. There'll be a lot of additional victims that really have no investigation but Centrelink is picking on another 20,000.

Most of my friends live in share

houses, varying ages with varying

sexes. We get a $50,000 over payment. You get a $50,000 overpayment. Whoopie. I've heard people even cheer"

Tony was firing after taking them

to court because he was forced to

meet debt recovery quotas. Every

area had a particular target,

whether it be $2 million or $3

million. We're quite frustrated. We

were sitting in the office for four

hours. We had paperwork to fill out,

and they've still said we consider

you in a de facty relationship.

Nicole is also on Centrelink's hit

list, now she's split with her

boyfriend but still living in the

same house. I'm just living with

him as a friend. That's purely it. There's no financial aspect to our relationship so I don't see why they consider it to be a de facto. Why don't you move out? I don't have anywhere else to go. I have no friends or family I can stay with. We both attend university so it's just easiest for us to live together. Robyn and Garry appealed Centrelink's decision and successfully proved they weren't a couple. But even though they won they're still under threat that the welfare agency will appeal the finding so Robyn still hasn't seen a cent from Centrelink.

I don't have any other form of

income. I'm living on borrowed

money. Stkpwhrits totally unfair.

It's proven we're not de facto.

It's not right. She's paid her

taxes for years. Why can't she get some back?

That report from Michelle Tapper. Now to our disappearing retailers - shops and stores all over the country who are falling victim to the big department stores. Medium-sized outlets were once commonplace in the cities and suburbs. Now, more and more of them are shutting their doors, unable to compete with the retail giants. Here's Jackie Quist. It's a shock, isn't it? When they just aren't there anymore, it is a shock. For 76 years it's been a household name. But now Collins Booksellers is broke and in the hands of administrators - a high-profile casualty of what's become a retail battleground. They've been a major part of the trade for decades and it's been very sad to see that a large company like that in Australia has found it impossible to survive. Chris Harrington is president of the Australian Booksellers Association and says, in part, Collins fell victim to the heavy discounting offered by some of the big department stores. People are very aware now that a lot of new releases are discounted, that it does have an effect right across the market. What we're seeing these days is a really important top end of the market and we're also seeing a real price war at what used to be the middle ground. Michele Levine is CEO of Roy Morgan Research. Those organisations that just keep on doing the same thing and hoping that people will come and hoping that people will come to them through loyalty or habit, despite alternatives that are much cheaper delivering the same products perhaps cheaper, will just not survive. Mid-range fashion chains in particular are suffering. They say a warm autumn and start to winter has been a killer and big brands like Millers Retail are hurting badly. The company owns eight major chains, including Miller's Fashion, Katies, 16/26 and the discount variety stores Go-Lo. Millers says it faces a full-year loss of around $7 million and has closed 80 of its 1,050 stores. In a bid to gain ground, it's now slashing prices on top of its already discounted stock. We'll see more fallout in the retail industry. We are building more shops without retailers in them that are setting themselves apart. They are destined to fail. They are going to have a real problem. Retail expert Dr Stella Minahan from Deakin University. Fashion is particularly vulnerable. That middle range is constantly being squeezed out. People would rather pay a bit more for the personal service at the local boutique. are doing really, really well. We know that those retailers are doing really, really well. Great cut. Great cut. Very, very slimming. Very slimming. How is the baby going? Gorgeous. Four months old now. People have been saying that it's very, very quiet in the the retail area. I'm finding it completely the opposite. I'm finding that I'm still selling, my stock's moving and, um -

what more can I say? It's been really good. I've had a fantastic month last month. when she took her boutique upmarket. Belinda Milford says she took a punt when she took her boutique upmarket. She spared no expense with clothes, accessories, and even sells the shop's fittings. It's a concept that's worked.

People will spend if they have the

occasion. If there's something I

really like, I'll just get it. David Jones saw the signs last year and promptly began stocking garments from Australia's top designers. The Australian fashion consumer has been delighted with that move and they've responded really well, attracted a younger clientele with a bit more income who's coming in and they're following DJs because DJs have the latest look, the latest Australian labels. But with the consumer spending slowing, the experts warn mid-range retailers should take action sooner rather than later. Jackie Quist with that report. And coming up later in the program - the lost generation.

Teenagers who don't want to work. They have no drive or ambition. Instead, their lives revolve around computer games - all day, every day. And coming up -

Australians being branded as racist with some countries accusing us of being anti-Asian, and we'll tell you why. You're gonna have students that go back and say, "Australia's bad." I can't go out at night. RADIO ANNOUNCER: They do look like the three wise monkeys, I'll say it. (Sings loudly and badly) # I love YOU! # One more? Alright. # Ooh, love is on the way now... # New Uncle Tobys OT's bars. Delicious OT's - crispy O's with a milky base.

Now, is Australia a nation of racists?

Because that's what we're being accused of and it appears our image overseas has been tarnished by the release of shocking images which have been shown around the world portraying us as anti-Asian. Here's Glenn Connley. # Red and yellow # And pink and green # We sell ourselves to the world as multicultural, welcoming and warm.

But increasingly, this is the image many visitors are taking home from our shores. They came to Australia thinking it's a bright, sunny country, because that's how it's marketed. But when they came and that's what happened to them, that they left - they got beaten up so badly they had to leave the country. The victims of this mindless violence outside Curtin University in Perth have fled home to Korea and Japan. But international student leader Tiffany Soh says it's far from over. She says the attack, and others like it, are making big news across Asia, which is starting to damage our reputation

as a safe, friendly country. You're going to have students that go back and say Australia's bad.

Australia was recently voted the No.1 destination in the world for young people to come and study or work. Up there with our standard of living and our beautiful weather was a sense of safety and security in our cities and towns. But now that reputation is under serious threat. A new Australian survey of visiting international students

has found that more and more are experiencing violence, racism and discrimination. About 70% of the students in the study complained of loneliness or isolation at some stage, but it was clearly a lot worse for certain categories of students. Simon Marginson from Monash University in Melbourne conducted the study, which revealed many students are locking themselves indoors, fearing violence on the streets - and, sadly, there's growing justification for that concern. were located in two places. The cases that worried us the most One was metropolitan Sydney, of urban safety where there are more problems it seems, than elsewhere in Australia, You're vulnerable by yourself. it's a foreign territory. I mean, number one, Number two, you don't know anybody. So why does it happen? these young visitors are targeted One theory is that our jobs, our kids' university spots, because they're seen to be taking and becoming a drain on our economy. Well, think again. international students There's 225,000

studying in Australian universities. for Australia - It's a very important market and other expenditures $5.5 billion a year in fees by those students in Australia. to this problem is racism. Perhaps the real answer We may be isolated, Indonesian judges as monkeys, but when you describe in your region, you're not likely to win friends nor promote tolerance at home. the three wise monkeys, RADIO ANNOUNCER: They do look like I'll say it. and racially vilify and label, It's very easy to swear and abuse We are in danger of becoming swamped by Asians. I'm not so sure that racism is on the rise, to be overt about it, but I do think willingness to put it into practice, and to actually front people... to say things Professor Ken McNabb says Author and historian have a lot to answer for. shock jocks like Alan Jones of people like Alan Jones I don't regard the comments or reasonable as particularly informed prejudice to the debate. or contributing much except nasty they're shocked Visiting students say and drunk young people at the number of rude, disrespectful on the streets of Australia's cities. Walking alone in the night drunken people walking the street, when there are, like,

alone, walking and everything. they might approach if you are I can't go out at night. so maybe that makes me feel lonely. I just have to stay at home, is not so much in an attitude Where I think we fail of outright hostility or rejection.

and interest in them as people, It's that lack of curiosity to really draw them to us, our failure to engage with them, which is make friends with them. to do what they want us to do, is often ingrained in our psyche. Sadly, intolerance But Professor McNabb argues tolerance is actually quite easy, with a bit of practice. as you would have them do unto you. Do unto others in the way you wish to be treated. Treat people Australians are racist? So, do you think Let us know on our web site at - Coming up, the lost generation. Australia's new welfare breed - and no interest in looking for a job. no ambition, no drive, a permanent welfare generation. They will be Playstation addicts. We just get money off Centrelink. So we're bludgers. G'day Baz! garbage? G'day mate! You taking out the No, just our recycling. management services, See, we reviewed our waste waste is actually recyclable, and we found that 80 percent of our like these cardboard boxes. and now we're recycling... So we changed our garbage services and savi g money. environment. So, it's good for business and the that could do with your help! Yeah... Actually, I've got a plant What have you done... No matter what business you're in Recycling - it's your business. Domino's has a delicious new menu. Want to play? Sweet Chilli Chicken emits mouth-watering flavour, with its succulent chicken and sweet chilli sauce swirl. Other new menu pizzas are available to download now. SONG: # Domino's. #

Now to the lost generation, a new breed of Australian teenagers to find work. who've lost the drive and ambition Centrelink payments for money, They simply rely on their fortnightly playing computer games and would sooner spend all day than putting in a day's work. looks at this disturbing trend. Sophie Hull Better than doing nothing. in your life. Get rid of the problems Go to a different world. Shane and Jason, It's a world these two 17-year-olds, enter 10 hours a day. of their lounge rooms, In the relative cocoon races, spy missions and virtual sport they escape into the world of car that is their Xbox. You think, and then I'll look for a job." "I'll just do another hour tomorrow The same thing happens every day. on the game to do anything else. You're too much concentrating It can be very, very addictive. Like it's addictive. On any typical day at around 11.00. Shane gets out of bed He greets Jason at the door into the portal of his console, and retreats with no desire to look for a job. never stepping outside, a drug but, like, not as bad. I suppose it's a bit like gets rid of your problems. It kind of It just spaces you out. no PS2, what would you do? If you woke up and there was no Xbox, I would probably still be at school. So you left school to play Xbox? to actually go out and find work No, I left school for me. but there's nothing out there Yeah. So it's Xbox instead? And welfare. more than $200 a week in benefits. They're collecting

They don't look for work. What you see is their life. Think about it like this. would have been in primary school. 10 years ago, Jason and Shane As they grew, the first PlayStation and Nintendo. so did the phenomenon that was the games became more sophisticated, As they got older, more photo-realistic, their real lives pale in comparison. and they say no PlayStation, whatever, If there was no Xbox, I'd be out there looking around. Now, in Australia alone,

consoles and 400,000 Xboxes 1.5 million Sony PlayStation2 have been sold. households with a gaming console. That's a staggering one in every five has one, Almost every teenager in the country and so many of them are now lost in a virtual reality. It's really, really true. This is a science-fiction nightmare that seems to have come true. While I'm actually playing it,

just blacks out everything around you it's the Xbox, and the only thing...you know, that's all you think about. Is it better than the real world? you're just the same old person, It's sort of like every day basically you can be anything. but this variety, Like what? just anything, I suppose. You can be Superman, Spider-Man, How long since you've had a day outside the house? Probably once every couple of weekends, something like that, we spend one whole day out with our friends. If we're home all day, If we were home all day, we'll play all day. We're PlayStation addicts. We love the Sony. And it's not just the boys. Meet self-confessed Sony PlayStation2 addicts Aimee and Chantelle. Roll out of bed at 1.00, get up, have a shower and sit down and play the Sony for the day,

because we stay home a lot. There's nowhere to go around here, so you might as well play the PlayStation. Nothing to do. And when it comes to work, the girls say it's all too hard. Too far to go to a job down at Mt Druitt. There's no jobs at the shops there. So you can't really get there. So we're bludgers. We just get money off Centrelink. These are kids that have really lost hope in life and the only thing they have are their games. Dr Stephen Juan, anthropologist at Sydney University, predicted the evolution of the lost generation

20 years ago. It should be a great concern to all of us, because we're losing a generation here. These people will be good for nothing because they're interested in nothing. They're not even interested in the promotion of their own lives. They will be a permanent welfare generation that will be living to age 80 and we're looking at 60 or 70 years on State assistance. This is going to be very, very costly for all of us. I haven't given, like, up on life. It's just - I suppose it's wrong, but I'm just sort of waiting for an opportunity, not actually going and look for one. It's like waiting for a job to come to you instead of looking for it. Sophie Hull with that report, and the producer was Darren Ally.

Now a look ahead to one of the stories I'll have for you tomorrow night. And the grandparents cancelling their golden years, having to throw away retirement to raise kids all over again. My

daughter is not capable of looking

after the child, and I'm his

grandmother. There's no question of

me not having him. And that's tomorrow night. So until then, I hope you enjoy your evening.

Please take care, and goodnight. Captioned by Seven Network Email - captions@seven.com.au