News briefs


BRISBANE — Hundreds of reports of physical abuse and neglect of children in Queensland were not investigated properly last year because of state government under-funding, the State Public Service Federation said on October 30. The SPSF said resources had not improved since Labor took office in 1989.

The union, which includes the 236 government-employed social workers responsible for investigating child abuse, had threatened to stop work for 24 hours and to picket government offices with placards reading "Stop Goss abusing your family". The strike was averted by an Industrial Commission hearing on October 28, but the issue remains unresolved.

PERTH — First proposed by the Court Liberal government more a year ago, voluntary student unionism (VSU) legislation passed through the upper house in October. It is currently listed for debate in the lower house and is likely to be passed within the next month. Included in the bill is a mechanism which attempts to block funding offered by the federal government to student unions (to replace the amount of money lost under VSU). This mechanism is likely to be challenged constitutionally.