Fair Work watchdog raids more than 80 businesses

Blake Roberts worked at Bella Portofino in Wollongong, where he was underpaid. 5th October 2016 Photo: Janie Barrett Photo: Janie BarrettFair Work inspectors have raided more than 80 businesses in NSW in response to complaints of rampant underpayment of young workers.
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The Fair Work Ombudsman launched a series of raids in Wollongong in response to concerns young workers in the town were being exploited.

Fair Work inspectors visited more than 80 businesses unannounced in the city’s central business district across three days this week.

The raids are in the wake of Fairfax Media’s exposure of widespread underpayment and in cases non-payment of university students by cafes, restaurants, retail and take-away food outlets.

Inspectors interviewed business operators and workers and checked records to ensure workers were being paid minimum hourly pay rates, penalty rates, overtime and allowances. Their compliance with record-keeping and pay slip laws was also checked.

Acting Fair Work Ombudsman Michael Campbell said the auditing was in response to intelligence and public concerns that young workers in Wollongong were being underpaid and treated unfairly. He said a number of audits could lead to full blown investigations.

Inspectors contacted young workers identified by Fairfax Media before targeting the businesses that employ many young workers.

“Wollongong is a tertiary education hub with a high a number of young students who work in casual jobs and the reports of underpayments have been concerning,” Mr Campbell said.

“Young workers can be vulnerable if they are not fully aware of their rights or reluctant to complain, so it’s important we are proactive about checking they’re being paid correctly.”

After taking to Facebook to vent about being offered as little as $10 per hour to work in a takeaway food shop in Wollongong last year, Wollongong University graduate Ashleigh Mounser received complaints from about 67 young workers with similar issues.

Fairfax Media has spent two months talking with many of these workers, including Ms Mounser and her original Facebook respondents, their employers and researchers about the underpayment of workers aged 18 to 24.

Not only were young people in the Illawarra being ripped off, in an area of high youth unemployment, many were working for free in the hope of getting a paid job.

Ms Mounser welcomed news of the raids on businesses, but said more needed to be done to stop the rampant underpayment of students from continuing.

“I’m glad that something is being done, but I would rather that it be prevented rather than punished,” she said.

“I think we still need to look at legislation in terms of preventing it because people are still coming to Wollongong and dealing with the same problem, even it it’s from a different business.”

Arthur Rorris, secretary of the South Coast Labour Council, the peak union body for the region, said Ms Mounser had uncovered a culture of exploitation.

“We are not surprised that the Ombudsman has conducted these raids. It will take much more than three days of raids to get to the heart of the problem,” he said.

“We are talking about hundreds of businesses in our region and thousands around the country.”

Mr Rorris said the labour council has so far recovered thousands of dollars of entitlements for workers who have spoken up about the underpayment problem.

“We are in the process of recovering more in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

Need for energy market independence to avoid fracture

The Business Council of board member Catherine Tanna at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 29 March 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThe head of one of the country’s largest energy utilities has warned the nation’s energy markets risk fracture amid the mounting “uncertainty and inconsistency” of state-based energy targets.
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“We’re already grappling with uncertainty and inconsistency created by state-based renewable energy targets,” said Catherine Tanna, the chief executive of Energy.

???Her comments, posted on the company’s website, came as the federal government moves to give the competition watchdog more power over the industry.

It also came in the wake of the closure of Victoria’s large Hazelwood power station on Thursday, which had the nation’s energy market operator AEMO prepared to force industry to shut down to keep the lights on, in a bid to avoid any market disruption.

Closures were avoided as Victoria continued to export electricity for much of Thursday into NSW while importing from Tasmania and South .

Those trades shifted later in the day, with NSW selling into Victoria later in the afternoon as Victoria was also supplying Tasmania.

Prices in the wholesale electricity market remained elevated, at more than $100 a megawatt hour for most of the day.

“With the closure of Hazelwood, obviously the operators of Loy Yang and Yallourn are making money hand over fist,” one industry expert said.

“Competition in the market is too low, so the generators have every incentive to bid their output into the market at as high a price as they can.

“Recently South put forward a proposal that amounts to ‘going-it-alone’ and the federal government has floated the idea of expanding the Snowy Hydro scheme.

“How long before the system fractures?”

Despite the recent criticism of the national electricity market, 15,000 MW of capacity – with a third of that renewable generation capacity – has been added over the past two decades as the emissions intensity of the NEM has fallen by one fifth.

“Clearly the system is challenged,” she said. “But it needs enhancement, not replacement. Absent [political] bipartisanship, we need independence; but we do not need another institution to oversee the energy industry.”

Rather than create new regulators to address the energy challenge such as the n Competition and Consumer Commission – “we have more than enough already’ Ms Tanna said – “the answer lies in how you use the agencies we already have”.

In particular, the n Energy Markets Commission should move from overseeing the sector to take on a role similar to the Reserve Bank in the banking and finance industries where it sets monetary policy, she noted. For its part, the AEMC could guide a carbon market.

“Just as the RBA is responsible for monetary policy, our independent energy institutions might take charge of delivering carbon policy,” Ms Tanna argued. “For example, the AEMC might do this with advice from AEMO and AER. Its lever would be a mechanism for managing carbon.

“A clear long-term carbon signal … would be the premier mechanism to drive a national reduction in carbon emissions, just as it’s the long-term interest rate that drives national investment.

“Or we can watch as federal and state governments continue to work at cross-purposes.”

Her comments came as plans were unveiled for a $1 billion solar-battery farm to be built in South by Lyon Solar, which includes a 330 megawatt solar farm to cost $700 million and a 100MW battery system which will have four hours of full output storage.

The new farm is to be operational by the end of the year and is aimed at heading off shortages which the energy market operator has warned both Victoria and South are facing next summer.

Myer share raid won’t buy board seat

Solomon Lew’s $101 million raid on Myer shares will not automatically deliver the billionaire rag-trader a seat on the department store’s board.
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Amid reports that Myer and Mr Lew’s Premier Investments have already engaged in discussions, sources close to the department store claim Mr Lew’s 11 per cent stake does not come with board representation.

More tellingly, one Myer insider said the question of whether Mr Lew or a representative from Premier would be offered a board seat came down to maintaining the “right balance” on the board.

“It becomes a question of whether you think you can manage all those relationships,” one source said. “And it can become more complicated if it’s a shareholder.”

Retail analysts are divided on whether Myer’s board or management is more at risk from Premier’s unexpected swoop on its shares on Monday, but neither Myer nor Premier are making any public comment.

One investor said the board’s response to former Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes’ “demands” hurt its reputation.

And more recently, it’s understood major Myer shareholders voiced concerns over the board’s role in the $600 million turnaround plan put forward by current chief executive Richard Umbers as well as the speed of the recovery.

One analyst said Myer’s first-half result had also raised questions over the board’s commitment to a sales-led recovery, when cost-cutting was the key driver of revenue growth in the period.

Myer chairman Paul McClintock said he was not going to make any comment at this stage and it was “business as usual” at Myer.

Mr McClintock foreshadowed plans to add another director to the board at Myer’s annual general meeting in November. ‘Lew pressure’

Retail insiders warn Mr Lew will make his influence felt even if he doesn’t agitate for board representation.

“He’s an activist investor, he backs himself and he’s been very successful in most of the things he’s done,” one source said. “If he doesn’t get his way, there is the risk that he might start wielding his influence.

“I’m sure the board is looking at Mr Lew’s history and thinking this isn’t necessarily going to work out well.”

But it’s not just Myer’s board that will be feeling apprehensive about Premier’s share holding, there’s also the management team led by chief Richard Umbers, who will face even greater scrutiny from Premier’s team of experienced retailers.

Market watchers claim Mr Lew is skilled at throwing “bombs from the outside” as he proved as a minority shareholder in Country Road.

“I’m not sure he’s even looking for a board seat,” one analyst said. “It restrains him from acquiring more stock … and it would be very un-Solomon to apply any sort of handbrake.

“Alternatively, would it be such a bad thing to have someone who knows as much about the opposition as Mark McInnes in the tent?” Mr McInnes was the chief executive of David jones before he joined Premier.

A number of retail analysts are puzzled by Premier’s investment in Myer, question why it would invest in the “structurally challenged” department store sector.

Credit Suisse analyst Grant Saligari said Premier had bought into a mature retail market that was bracing for the arrival of global behemoth Amazon. Takeover doubts

“Premier has indicated it does not intend to make a full takeover, and in our view … there would be few compelling reasons for Premier to tie-up its balance sheet when it has a very high returning offshore retail expansion in Smiggle,” Mr Saligari said.

“Either this is a significant vote of confidence in the Myer strategy or there is something else at play.”

Broker Citi was more blunt in its assessment of the investment, particularly if it’s not a precursor to a full takeover.

“It does not represent the ideal deployment of capital, in our view, as shareholders may view Myer as operating in a more challenging environment, mid-way through a turnaround strategy with relatively high exposure to Amazon,” analyst Bryan Raymond said.

And he warned “mixed investor opinion” on the merits of a the acquisition may weigh on Premier Investments’ share price in the medium term.

History suggests Mr Lew has picked up something about Myer and is positioning himself to capitalise on any activity, but Premier didn’t rule out a takeover on Wednesday, either.

ASA director Stephen Mayne said Mr Lew was the “most prolific retail share trader in n history.”

“More often it’s trading share for profit rather than operational influence.”

Human Rights Commission to probe bid to deport Fijians

A family that could be split apart by government moves to deport the two parents back to Fiji has been given a flicker of hope after the Human Rights Commission agreed to examine their case.
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The Prasad family, ethnic Indians who arrived in Sydney in 2000, includes two n-born children who cannot be deported because they are full citizens, with n passports.

Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has declined to exercise his discretionary powers to keep the family together and compliance officials from the Immigration Department have warned the family that deportation action could begin from Tuesday.

Fairfax Media has confirmed the HRC, led by president Gillian Triggs, has accepted a complaint by Jitend Prasad and his wife Joytika that their n childrens’ human rights would be breached if they were sent back to Fiji.

The HRC has found in a number of recent cases that a child’s right “not to be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with their family” is breached when the government removes their foreign-born parents.

In a 2013 case that closely mirrors the Prasads’, Ms Triggs found that removing the Bangladeshi parents of an n boy, Master Aishik Antar Paul, back to their country of origin would be “inconsistent” with his rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Both the previous Labor government and the Coalition refused to intervene in the Paul case and the government has recently cut off Medicare rights to the family from Campsie as it continues to seek their removal, according to their lawyer, Christopher Levingston.

“The continuing failure of the Minister [Peter Dutton] and Assistant Minister of Immigration [Mr Hawke] to act in conformity with the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission concerning the best interests of n citizen children, is in my view totally inconsistent with the precept that the family is the fundamental unit of society,” Mr Levingston said.

“The impulse to punish and remove the parents of n citizen children is not only inconsistent with international treaty obligations it is an affront to common sense and does nothing to instil confidence in the integrity of the migration program. It is unfair, unjust and makes absolutely no political sense at all.”

The Prasads’ migration agent, Farnam Razzaghipour, said the department should be notified on Friday but the family remained “petrified” about being sent to immigration detention.

It is usual for the HRC to ask the department to pause any deportation action while the commission investigates but Immigration is not bound by such a request.

An investigator for the HRC said she was unable to comment on the status of any complaint until the commission reports its findings.

The Prasads have lived for 17 years in Eastlakes, southern Sydney, with Jasmita, 15, and her brother Jasneel, 12, both n citizens, attending local schools Randwick Girls’ High and Mascot Public, respectively.

The Prasads, who have had their claim for asylum refused, claim they were caught up in threats and violence by indigenous Fijians from a nearby village during the 2000 military coup in Fiji and would suffer discrimination and degrading treatment on the grounds of their ethnicity if they returned.

According to the law, the minister can use discretionary power if there are “strong, compassionate circumstances that, if not recognised, would result in serious, ongoing and irreversible harm and continuing hardship to an n citizen or an n family unit, where at least one member of the family is an n citizen or n permanent resident.”

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Julie Bishop condemns colleagues over China extradition treaty collapse

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has delivered a blast to the backbench rebels who helped sink the China extradition treaty, questioning their trust in ‘s own legal and political system.
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The deputy Liberal leader has also extended an olive branch to bring Labor back to the table on the ratification, suggesting the government would be prepared to meet an opposition request to review the entire Extradition Act.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull withdrew the treaty from Parliament this week after a backlash from Labor, crossbench senator Cory Bernardi, and a group of government MPs who had threatened to cross the floor over the issue.

The treaty was first signed by John Howard in 2007 and after nearly a decade of delay, the government moved this year to bring it into effect based on advice from the n Federal Police and Department of Foreign Affairs that non-ratification was becoming a major diplomatic irritant.

Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media on Thursday that China’s ambassador to , Cheng Jingye, had expressed deep disappointment the government had been forced to pull out of plans to ratify the treaty.

The Foreign Minister also said she had told her colleagues at a meeting on Monday night that the proposed treaty gave the government broad discretion to deny extradition.

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Senate kills off Turnbull government’s changes to 18C race discrimination law

Attorney-General Senator George Brandis in the Senate at Parliament House on Tuesday 28 March 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares Photo: Andrew MearesThree years of wrangling over a section of ‘s racial discrimination laws has again amounted to naught after the Senate killed off the Turnbull government’s proposed changes late Thursday night.

A bid to amend section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and make it lawful to offend, insult and intimidate others on the basis of race was voted down by Labor, the Greens and a slew of crossbenchers, including Nick Xenophon and the Tasmanian Independent Jacqui Lambie.

Attorney-General George Brandis described the defeat as a “sad day” but Labor MPs celebrated the bill’s scuttling with frontbencher Tony Burke declaring it a victory for anyone who had experienced racism. The Independent Senator Cory Bernardi, who has led the charge to change the law since the coalition abandoned its election promise in 2014, accused the government of setting the changes up to fail accused the coalition of collaborating in a “tricky deal.” But this was immediately rejected by the Attorney-General George Brandis who said “that is not true.”

But the government will likely be more successful in passing procedural changes to how the n Human Rights Commission handles cases, which make it easier to dismiss vexatious complaints and require greater transparency toward defendants.

The government’s loudest proponents of changing section 18C suggested the issue could be revisited if further examples of the law’s problematic application came to light.

“I strongly suspect we’ll be back here debating this issue again when the next QUT students or Bill Leak case occurs,” Liberal senator James Paterson told Fairfax Media.

“And that will be their [Labor, the Greens and NXT] fault. Section 18C, which they claim to believe in, will be further discredited, and the pressure to fix it will be even greater than it is now.”

Senator Brandis told the chamber the debate took on a more “serious and indeed sinister significance” in light of Labor considering extending section 18C’s provisions to sexuality, disability and age.

“This is not primarily a debate about race. It is a debate about free speech,” Senator Brandis said. “Not a single country in the entire world has a section 18C.”

He said it was “deeply offensive and insulting” for Labor and Greens senators to suggest he supported weakening race hate laws because he was a white man.

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke who represents one of ‘s most multicultural seats in Sydney’s southwest suburbs told Fairfax Media the defeat of the bill was a victory for anyone who had experienced racism in .

“This win will be felt by anyone who has experienced racism and knows that racism is more than just words,” he said.

“Those who attempted to trivialise the damage caused by racist hate speech should hear this message and find a cause that doesn’t give licence for insults, offence and humiliation.”

Conservative Senator Cory Bernardi said he was disappointed with the result and questioned whether the government’s heart was really in it.

“The process has all the hallmarks of a tricky deal having been agreed between the government and Labor party,” he said.

“This is just lip service, the government wants to get the process changes through. The cost of that deal is no substantive reform to section 18c but who knows what the government will get in return?

“It appears the government’s intention was merely to tick and box and say ‘we tried let’s move along.’

“There was never any serious commitment to meaningful change.

“I suspect that harass was so poorly drafted that it was set up to fail,” just like last time,” he said.

A spokesman for Labor’s Penny Wong said Senator Bernardi’s claim was “categorically not true” backing the Attorney-General’s denial.

The previous coalition government led by Tony Abbott proposed a radical rewrite of the act that sparked a furious backlash amongst ethnic groups.

That triggered Mr Abbott, the then prime minister, to abandon the reform as he sought the Muslim community’s support for stronger counter-terror laws.

Senator Brandis’ defence of that proposal, with his infamous “people have the right to be bigots” speech, was considered one of the factors in why the change failed to generate any broad support within the community.

The free-market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs urged the Coalition to take to the next election a policy to amend the section 18C.

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Tigers respond to burn Pies after lacklustre first half

RICHMOND 2.4 3.5 9.8 14.15 (99) COLLINGWOOD 2.4 4.9 7.13 11.14 (80) GOALS – Richmond: Lennon 2, Martin 2, Riewoldt 2, Cotchin 2, Ellis, Butler, Rioli, Caddy, Edwards, Grigg. Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 3, Treloar 2, White 2, Grundy, Mayne, Moore, Broomhead. BEST – Richmond: Cotchin, Martin, Rance, Houli.Collingwood: Grundy, Treloar, Pendlebury, Adams, Grundy. UMPIRES Schmitt, Kamolins, Deboy. CROWD 58,236 at MCG

Nathan Buckley could only lash out in the coaches box in frustration as Collingwood remained winless, this time their poor goal kicking to blame for a 19-point loss to Richmond on Thursday night.

Where the Magpies’ woes had been their sloppy disposal when heading into attacking 50 in a loss to the Western Bulldogs last week, they were left to lament their woeful conversion rate on this occasion at the MCG, ensuring a week of intense public scrutiny.

Fighting to retain his job, Buckley must now find a way for the Pies to regain their groove, with finals contenders Sydney (SCG) on Friday night, St Kilda (Etihad Stadium), Essendon (MCG) and Geelong (MCG) to come over the next month. The Pies led by 10 points at half-time but that would have been far more had they not botched a handful of opportunities in front of goal.

Darcy Moore, Jesse White, James Aish, Alex Fasolo and Adam Treloar would all miss shots they would be expected to convert, with even skipper Scott Pendlebury, admittedly on his right foot, spraying a running shot over the boundary.

There would be more frustration in the third term, none more obvious than when recruit Chris Mayne missed from about 20m out in front of goal, after the former Docker – who has had the yips in recent years – had done the hard work by successfully tackling Alex Rance. It was a telling miss. Fasolo, who had a dirty night, would later botch a set shot from 35m. This was enough to make any coach slip into a rage, and Buckley’s feelings were clear when he swiped at his desk in anger.

After an arm-wrestle in the first half, the Tigers made their run from late in the third term, incidentally after key forward-ruckman Ben Griffiths was helped from the field after landing heavily in a marking contest on the wing. He was clearly dazed and did not return.

Trailing by a game-high 17 points, the Tigers – despite the best efforts of indefatigable Pies ruckman Brodie Grundy – would respond to lead by seven points at the final change. The Tigers’ tackling pressure, as was the case against Carlton a week earlier, was instrumental in their comeback, as they outworked their opponents.

Dustin Martin may not have been as brilliant as he was against the Blues but he played a key role, whether that be through the midfield or up forward. His strong mark and successful snap with less than six minutes remaining would ice the win.

Adam Treloar found plenty of the ball for the Pies, so, too, did Trent Cotchin, who was brilliant. He would finish with 26 disposals, two goals, seven clearances and seven tackles. Dion Prestia was also busy with 24 disposals but his kicking percentage was poor. The Pies showed plenty of fight in the final term, with Will Hoskin-Elliott contributing three goals, but the Tigers responded in fine style.

“Collingwood are a fantastic side .. it’s just how you turn that momentum back your way. There were some fantastic efforts,” Cotchin said.

Buckley said he had been worried the Pies would struggle to run out the game after a taxing clash against the Bulldogs.

“We thought that we would struggle for legs. We felt like we really rolled out of the Bulldogs’ game and looked after the players as well as we possibly could, introduced some fresh legs in Aish and (Tim) Broomhead, went a bit smaller but, in the end, we weren’t able to maintain the rage for long enough,” he said.

When you probably shouldn’t apply for that line of credit

Houses are becoming riskier, not less affordableHousehold items you only have to clean once a yearMany off-the-plan buyers selling at a loss

Lines of credit on home loans are a relatively new product in the mortgage marketplace.

But the problem is that it can be tempting for borrowers to use them as a cash machine that they never have to repay.

But, of course, that is not the case at all because lines of credit are not free money.

Property Investment Professionals of chairman Ben Kingsley said lines of credit can have a role in the financial landscape but discipline was the name of the game.

“In the right hands, and for the right purposes, lines of credit have their place in the product suite of options available to consumers,” he said.

“But given lines of credit operate like a big credit card limit, they have the potential to be misused by some borrowers.

“So it’s important that any borrower be very disciplined about how they manage their money and they must always remind themselves ‘it’s not your money’ – it’s a loan that one day you will have to pay back.”

Lines of credit are a useful tool for sophisticated property investors, Kingsley said, who may use them to access equity to assist with funding their investment activities, such as helping to pay the deposit and various other buying costs.

Intuitive Finance managing director and mortgage broker Andrew Mirams said that lines of credit were sometimes more trouble than they were worth.

“People generally lack the financial discipline to maintain and reduce a line of credit,” he said.

“At the end of the day, a principal and interest loan with an offset account works exactly the same way, but at least you have minimum monthly principal reductions.”

He said other disadvantages of lines of credit can include paying a slightly higher interest rate due to the nature of the account being a fully operational transactional one.

Depending on the lender, and whether the line of credit is included under a professional package, establishment and ongoing administrative fees can sometimes be higher than for term loans, Mirams said.

“If you don’t manage your cash flow carefully, the compounding interest can also quickly erode your equity,” he said.

But a line of credit can be useful for people who need a financial buffer or who are looking to invest in shares, he said.

Investors running a property business also often used a line of credit as a transactional overdraft account, Mirams said, but they had to have the discipline to manage it correctly.

“Because there may be a temptation to access funds in a line of credit that aren’t necessarily going to build wealth, we generally suggest arranging one for disciplined investors looking to purchase a new property or to fund a renovation to an existing asset – both options are generally likely to see you add value to your portfolio,” Mirams said.

A modern take on the traditional Queenslander hits the Brisbane market

Nab a bargain Queenslander outside BrisbaneWhy the Queenslander love affair continuesRestored Queenslander re-affirm’s Brisbane’s affinity for the style

A strikingly modern Queenslander has hit the Brisbane property market, offering a new twist on the tried and popular design principles of the traditional northern homes.

Darren White, owner of 37 Mornington Street, aimed to rethink the Queenslander design from the ground up. “It was just: let’s build a timber house with a tin roof and make sure it catches the breezes,” he said.

By taking basic design principles and reworking them into a modern design, Mr White said his house was an way of changing what people thought of the classic Queenslander.

“It’s not traditional, he said. “It’s the Queenslander plus plus, or 2.0.”

Aside from the exaggerated red cedar timber cladding and tin roofs visible from the street, the home also features a number of traditional Queenslander features, such as high ceilings, big decks, breezeways and a gabled roof.

Space property principal Judi O’Dea said the house was a step forward for the treasured Queenslander design. “It’s a special project, he’s thought a lot about this,” she said. “It’s got such a modern feel.”

“It’s a great country house in the city.”

Mr White completed the build a year ago and had been living in the home with his partner since. Ms O’Dea said the three-level, four-bedroom house could accommodate many more.

“Families, but probably someone with a little bit older kids,” she said.

“Maybe someone who wants a bit of separation of living.

“It could be a fabulous teenage retreat, it could be for a guest, or it could be an Airbnb or rental.”

Mr White was selling because he wanted to build another new house, and while he’s not a builder by trade, he’s already thinking about his next project.

“It’s been a long project … I think with the next one, I’ll get into the building a lot more.”

The house will be auctioned at the end of April.

Barr says Phillips shows marriage equality ‘inevitable’

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr says the fact AFL Women’s superstar and Olympic medallist Erin Phillips’ marriage isn’t recognised in is shameful, but change is inevitable.

Phillips almost had a clean sweep of the inaugural AFLW awards, not only winning the premiership with the Adelaide Crows, but also claiming the Crows’ best and fairest, the AFLW’s best and fairest and the AFL Players’ Association most valuable player as well.

There was a moment when she was named the league’s best player that brought ‘s marriage laws into the spotlight.

Just like many Brownlow Medallists have, she kissed her wife in celebration.

But unlike those male footballers, Phillips and her wife Tracey Gahan’s marriage isn’t recognised in .

Barr’s one of ‘s few openly gay politicians and has long campaigned for marriage equality in , forming part of the ACT’s unsuccessful bid to legalise same-sex marriage in Canberra in 2013 only for the High Court to rule the laws unconstitutional less than a week later.

He said Phillips was an inspiration to ns with her achievements in the sporting arena.

Not only did she dominate the first AFLW season, but she’s also won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in basketball and still plays for the Dallas Wings in the WNBA.

While her USA marriage currently isn’t recognised Down Under, the chief minister was confident marriage equality would soon be part of n law.

“In Erin Phillips we have a perfect example of why marriage equality in is an inevitability,” Barr told Fairfax Media.

“Erin is an inspiration to all ns – the best women’s footy player in the country, a world-class basketballer, an Olympian and a mother, who just happens to be in with love a woman, Tracy Gahan.

“The fact Erin and Tracy are legally married in America, but not here, is shameful.

“Erin is like so many other ns denied marriage equality – she can contribute to the heart of this nation, but this nation won’t let her legally commit her heart to the one she loves.

“It is not fair and it will change.”