Telstra fined $50 million over unconscionable treatment of Indigenous phone plan customers
The Federal Court has ordered Telstra to pay a penalty of $50 million, plus costs, for its treatment of Indigenous customers in rural and remote parts of Australia.
The decision comes after the telco admitted it had acted unconscionably towards 108 customers who were customers at five Telstra-branded stores, by selling phone plans people could not afford and did not understand.
In many cases multiple phone plans were sold to a single customer on the same day, and they then ran up thousands of dollars in data charges.
Many of the customers were pursued by debt collectors.
Telstra admitted to egregious conduct during an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Moderna announces 25 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine for Australia
Pharmaceutical company Moderna has done a deal with the Australian government to provide 25 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the nation.
Health Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday morning confirmed the deal, which he said would see 1 million doses arrive by September and 9 million doses by December.
He also announced the government was about to begin discussions with the private sector to produce mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna’s, in Australia.
Currently, Australia has no local manufacturing capabilities and needs to import mRNA vaccines.
The Moderna announcement came in a Wednesday evening media statement without any adjoining statement from the federal government, which has recently been under fire over Australia’s vaccine rollout.
Moderna said it would provide 25 million doses of their mRNA vaccine, with 10 million of those doses, effective against what they labelled the “ancestral strain” of COVID-19, to arrive in 2021. The remaining 15 million doses would arrive in 2022.
Death toll in Middle East rises as clashes between Israel and Hamas militants escalate
Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza and Hamas militants have fired multiple rocket barrages at Tel Aviv and the southern Israeli city of Beersheba in a further escalation of the region’s most intense hostilities in years.
At least 67 people have been killed in Gaza since the violence escalated on Monday, including 16 children and five women, according to the enclave’s Health Ministry.
Seven people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.
Also on Wednesday in Gaza, a multi-storey residential building and a tower housing Hamas and other media outlets collapsed after Israel warned occupants in advance to evacuate.
Another structure was heavily damaged in the air strikes.
Israel said its warplanes had targeted and killed several of the Islamist group Hamas’s intelligence leaders.
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