Good morning Bendigo - 21.02.14

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Business figure to help lead sweeping review of Fair Work laws

The federal government is finalising plans for a sweeping review of the nation's workplace laws, and could hand-pick an industrial relations expert from outside the Productivity Commission to help lead it.

Before the election, the government promised a ''genuine and independent review'' of the Fair Work laws by the economically dry commission, to consider their impact on productivity, the economy and jobs, with a view to raising flexibility in the workplace.

The review comes as Employment Minister Eric Abetz revealed plans to introduce new laws next week that would allow workers to trade off conditions such as penalty rates in return for more flexible hours. Fairfax Media has learnt former Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson, a critic of the Fair Work laws, was informally sounded out late last year about participating in the review.

Doctors fear overcrowding in emergency departments if $6 GP fee adopted

A minimum $6 fee to see a GP would lead more patients to seek treatment in overcrowded emergency departments including those with conditions that had deteriorated because of deferred care, doctors say.

Australasian College of Emergency Medicine president Anthony Cross said any disincentive to see a GP would send patients elsewhere.

''EDs [emergency departments] do have a reputation of being able to see and treat anything - there is a sense of a one-stop shop - so if they have to pay $6 that might sway people to come to an ED,'' he said.


If today is your big day, happy birthday!

You share a birthday with John Henry Newman, English cardinal (1801-1890); Leo Delibes, French composer (1836-1891); WH Auden, English poet (1907-1973); Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe; Nina Simone, US singer (1933-2003); Hubert de Givenchy, French fashion designer; Ron Clarke, Australian athlete; Kelsey Grammer, US actor; Mary Chapin Carpenter, US country singer; Jack Coleman, US actor; Christopher Atkins, US actor; Jennifer Love Hewitt, US actress/singer; Ellen Page, US actress; Ashley Greene, US model and actress.


1613 - Michael Romanov, son of the patriarch of Moscow, is elected czar of Russia, thus founding the House of Romanov.

1885 - US President Chester A Arthur dedicates the Washington Monument.

1963 - Soviet Union warns United States that an American attack on Cuba would mean world war.

 norms of international law" in Arab territories it occupies.

1986 - South African government opens "whites only" downtown districts of Johannesburg and Durban to all races in the first break with apartheid policy of segregated business areas.

1992 - For the first time since the Communist revolution of 1949, China welcomes foreigners back to the Shanghai stock market.

1993 - A UN relief convoy brings food and medicine to the besieged eastern Bosnian town of Zepa.

1994 - Commandos storm the Afghan embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, freeing five schoolboys and killing three Afghan gunmen who had held them hostage for nearly 40 hours in a demand for money and food.

1997 - Belgrade's first non-Communist government in a half-century takes office and elects Opposition Leader Zoran Djindjic as mayor of the Yugoslav capital.

1999 - The party of General Olusegun Obasanjo narrowly wins legislative elections in Nigeria, giving him the edge in an upcoming presidential election and signalling a return to democracy.

2005 - Tens of thousands march through Beirut in the biggest anti-Syrian protest in Lebanese history amid signals that Syria will soon begin withdrawing its troops.

2006 - Brushing aside objections from Republicans and Democrats alike, US President George W Bush endorses the takeover of shipping operations at six major US seaports by a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates.

2007 - Leaders in Britain and Denmark announce plans for withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

2010 - Israel's air force introduces a fleet of huge pilotless planes that can remain in the air for a full day and could fly as far as the Persian Gulf, putting rival Iran within its range.

2013 - A car bomb explodes near Syria's ruling party headquarters in Damascus, killing at least 53 people in one of the bloodiest days in the capital since the uprising began almost two years ago.


A frog telephones the Psychic Hotline and is told, "You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you."

The frog says, "This is great! Will I meet her at a party, or what?"

"No," says the psychic. "Next semester in her biology class."

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