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The Loop: Scathing NSW parliament culture report, Australia's teacher shortage, McDonald's alleged wage theft claims, and the hawk solving a pigeon problem

Hi there. It's Friday, August 12 and you're reading The Loop, a quick wrap-up of today's news.

Let's start here: The scathing report into NSW parliament culture

A report into workplace culture at NSW parliament was delivered today by former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick.

Almost 450 people, or 27.7 per cent of all parliamentary workers, participated in the review.

Known as the Broderick Report, it found that one-in-three staff had experienced sexual harassment or bullying in the past five years.

The report also found:

  • 52 per cent of bullying incidents were allegedly perpetrated by members of parliament
  • Almost 10 per cent said they had heard about, or witnessed, at least one sexual assault
  • 2 per cent indicated they had experienced actual or attempted sexual assault
  • Bullying was found to be "systemic" and "multi-directional" across parliamentary workplaces
  • Half of the reported incidents occurred at parliament house, with the remainder occurring at electorate offices, during work-related travel, at work-related social functions and online.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the report's findings were "sobering, confronting and unacceptable", and vowed to end workplace harassment in parliament.

The report found a sexist culture existed within NSW parliament. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi)

We heard a lot about Australia's teacher shortage

The national Education Minister Jason Clare met with his state and territory counterparts on Friday to address what they can do about the declining number of teachers.

Here are the main takeaways:

  • Federal, state and territory education ministers will develop a national action plan to help address the "massive challenge" of teacher shortages in Australia
  • There's been a 16 per cent drop of young students going into teacher training, and the graduation rate for teachers is sitting at just 50 per cent
  • The ministers met with teachers, principals and representatives from independent and Catholic school groups, as well as unions
  • Mr Clare said the ministers heard confronting stories of teachers working 70-hour weeks
  • The action plan will be prepared by December, and will focus on strategies to encourage more people to become teachers, prepare them for the workforce, and retain those already in the industry
  • The federal government says it is also looking into more skilled visas for teachers to help address the workforce shortage.
The number of people studying teaching degrees is declining, despite growing classroom numbers. (AAP: Dan Peled)

News alerts you might have missed

  • Four children under the age of 10 years who were abducted north of Mackay yesterday have been found safe and well. Police are still searching for Joshua Carter, who they allege took the children from their home about 11:30am yesterday.
Anne Heche suffered a "severe anoxic brain injury" according to a statement from representatives.  (AP: Invision/Jordan Strauss/File)

What Australia has been searching for online

  • McDonald's. The fast food giant has been hit with claims of wage theft by the union for retail workers, which alleges employees were denied paid breaks. The union is seeking at least $250 million in compensation on behalf of more than 250,000 current and former employees across Australia.
  • Olivia Wilde. The US actor and director has won custody of her two children with former fiance and Ted Lasso star, Jason Sudeikis, after being served legal documents while on stage at an event in April.

One more thing

Meet Pac-Man, the hawk hired by the San Francisco's metro system with one job: to scare away pigeons.

The 5-year-old Harris's hawk has been patrolling the El Cerrito del Norte station with falconer Ricky Ortiz to stop pigeons from roosting (and protecting commuters from pigeon poop) three days a week.

To prevent Pac-Man from feasting on the pigeons or local rodents, Mr Ortiz gives him snacks throughout the day.

So far it's been a success. Mr Ortiz says there's "probably less than half" of the pigeons at the station now Pac-Man is on duty. 

It ain't much, but it's honest work for Pac-Man. (Reuters: Carlos Barria)

You're up to date

We'll be back with more next week.


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