Mischa Frank

The federal Coalition government’s reforms to private health insurance confirm its blind allegiance to a system most people do not support.

Most people prefer a universal public healthcare system, but ever since Medicare was introduced in 1984, successive governments have sought to divert public funds to the private health insurance sector.

The government spends about $6 billion annually on private health insurance rebates. Singles earning up to $140,000 and families earning up to $180,000 receive rebates of between 8.4% and 33.4%, depending on age and income.

The development consortium responsible for building Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel has taken inadequate measures to protect workers and the public from toxic contaminants, including asbestos and perfluoralkyl substances (PFAs), according to the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU).

Construction of the West Gate Tunnel project is being overseen by a joint venture involving John Holland and CPB Contractors.

The coronial inquest into the death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day, due to start on August 26, will be the first of its kind to consider the role systemic racism plays in an Aboriginal person’s death in custody.