Live updates: Qantas loses High Court appeal over mass sacking, ASX in the red led by tech stocks
Qantas has lost its High Court appeal over the sacking of 1,700 workers during the COVID pandemic, with the court ruling the airline illegally outsourced the jobs.
The Australian share market is trading lower led by the technology sector.
Legislation has been introduced to federal parliament to ban the use of credit cards and cryptocurrency for online gambling.
Follow the day's financial news and insights from our specialist business reporters on our live blog.
Disclaimer: this blog is not intended as investment advice.
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By Emily Stewart
Here's how the markets are looking at 12.30am AEST:
Live updates on the major ASX indices:
By Emily Stewart
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By Emily Stewart
The federal government has introduced legislation today that will ban the use of credit cards for online gambling.
The ban will also cover the use of cryptocurrency and digital currencies.
The Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth says it will protect vulnerable Australians.
"You can't use your credit card to place a bet for land-based gambling and the same rules should apply for online gambling too."
Companies could face fines of up to $235,000 if they don't enforce the new rules.
Financial Counselling Australia's (FCA) director of policy and campaigns Lauren Levin says it's a major win in the battle to reduce gambling harm.
"Digital currencies can have wild fluctuations in value, so not only do people speculate on their bets, but also on the movement in the digital currency."
However, the FCA is disappointed online lotteries won't be included in the ban.
"Online lotteries have changed the whole situation, as the danger of losing large sums is now just as high as someone gambling on online sports betting.
"There is no good reason for online lotteries to allow people to buy a $10,000 ticket on credit, or for people to enter a $3,000 syndicate on credit.
"Gambling is gambling."
By Emily Stewart
The local share market is still down in the middle of the trading day.
The ASX 200 is down -0.8% to 7150 points at 12:20pm AEST. The index has lost 1.4% over the past five days.
The All Ordinaries is also down -0.8% to 7344 points.
It's looking pretty red across the sectors today as you can see in the ASX chart below.
The top movers are:
The bottom movers:
Don't forget you can get live updates on the major ASX indices here:
By Emily Stewart
Qantas shares haven't moved much this morning, despite the landmark High Court decision against the airline.
Australia's highest court dismissed Qantas' appeal against an earlier judgement that the airline illegally sacked 1,700 employees.
Qantas shares are trading slightly up at +0.3% to $5.59 at 11:45am AEST.
Here's a chart showing how Qantas shares have fallen over the past month:
By Kate Ainsworth
A Qantas spokesperson has confirmed the apology included in the airline's statement is the first one it has issued to workers who were affected by the illegal outsourcing decision.
Earlier, Qantas released a statement shortly after the verdict that included:
"We deeply regret the personal impact the outsourcing decision had on all those affected and we sincerely apologise for that."
The ABC has since confirmed with the airline that it is the first time it has officially apologised over the incident.
By Gareth Hutchens
The Australian Services Union (ASU) has issued a statement in response to the High Court's decision on Qantas.
It says it welcomes the judgement "which has come down decisively on the side of Qantas workers, marking a major win for labour rights".

"This landmark decision to deny an appeal by Qantas against previous rulings by the Federal Court makes it categorically clear that the airline took unlawful action under the Fair Work Act in November 2020 when it outsourced more than 1,600 ground-handling staff.

"Today's unanimous decision by the High Court is a win for workers against a company that has a well-known history of trampling over workers' rights and exploiting loopholes in the laws that are meant to protect workers," said ASU Assistant National Secretary Emeline Gaske.
"While we wholeheartedly embrace this ruling as a victory for all Qantas Group workers and their right to stand together, it's vital that the federal government expedite action to close those loops that allow for exploitation in our industrial relations system.
"These weaknesses should never be exploited to undermine the hard-earned rights of Australian workers to secure, well-paid jobs."
Ms Gaske said the High Court's decision "was another nail in the coffin for the manner of business undertaken by Qantas under previous management, in which profits took precedence over people – staff and customers."
"Qantas has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and new management has a serious task ahead of it to rebuild the trust of workers and the travelling public," she said.
"Looking ahead, the ASU will collaborate with new management to put an end to years of outsourcing and relentless cost-cutting.
"While the ASU was pleased to have secured a commitment from Qantas that no ASU-covered jobs will be outsourced, more needs to be done to build and maintain a strong local workforce of highly skilled customer service professionals who enjoy fair pay and solid job security.
"It's time for a fresh start, a renewed commitment to workers' dignity and rights in our nation."

By Kate Ainsworth
Secretary of the ACTU, Sally McManus, was also outside the High Court after its landmark ruling against Qantas.
She described the decision as a "great day for working people" and "for the Qantas workers".
"This is a huge win for the workers today," she said.
"Congratulations to all of the work at Qantas.
"To the TWU, which took up the case. When you decide to fight Qantas, you know you have to throw everything at it because they threw everything at it.
"A real David and Goliath struggle but it shows that workers can achieve when they pulled together and joined together and stand up for what is right through the union.
"Unions will always be there through thick and thin, through the good times and the bad.
"This is a great day for working people, [a] great day for the Qantas workers behind me.
"The High Court had their particular legal reasons and the things I had to concentrate on in terms of getting to their decision. but the court of public opinion already handed down a decision on Qantas.
"What we want to see is … Qantas restore respect for both customers and the workforce.
"Well done to all of the workers."

By Gareth Hutchens
The Albanese government introduced its new "Closing Loopholes" legislation to parliament last week.
It includes a proposed crackdown on the abuse of labour-hire work arrangements by some big corporates, among many other things.
It was partly inspired by Qantas's illegal sacking of 1,700 workers in 2020, which the High Court has just ruled on this morning.
In case you missed it, I wrote this piece on the weekend that explains that link between Qantas and the government's new industrial relations agenda.
Will today's High Court judgement against Qantas have some bearing on Australians' perceptions of the legitimacy of the govt's "Closing Loopholes" bill?
By Kate Ainsworth
Qantas has just released a statement in response to this morning's High Court ruling. Here it is in full:
"Qantas acknowledges and accepts the High Court's decision to uphold two prior rulings by the Federal Court regarding the legality of outsourcing the remainder of the airline's ground handling function in 2020.
"The Federal Court originally found that while there were valid and lawful commercial reasons for the outsourcing, it could not rule out that Qantas also had an unlawful reason – namely, avoiding future industrial action. The High Court has now effectively upheld this interpretation.
"The decision to outsource the remainder of the airline's ground handling function was made in August 2020, when borders were closed, lockdowns were in place and no COVID vaccine existed. The likelihood of a years' long crisis led Qantas to restructure its business to improve its ability to survive and ultimately recover.
"As we have said from the beginning, we deeply regret the personal impact the outsourcing decision had on all those affected and we sincerely apologise for that.
"A prior decision by the Federal Court has ruled out reinstatement of workers but it will now consider penalties for the breach and compensation for relevant employees, which will factor in redundancy payments already made by Qantas."
By Kate Ainsworth
The TWU is speaking now in Canberra:
"There are serious consequences that should flow from this. Richard Goyder and the board should go. Richard Goyder and the board have been complicit in this illegal sacking of 1,700 workers.
"On numerous occasions, Richard Goyder backed in Alan Joyce in relation to this very decision.
"And we know that Richard Goyder was complicit of it at all.
"This has been a spiteful dictatorship and the board has been right behind Alan Joyce.
"But their last act before they walk out the door should be to rip away from Alan Joyce, the obscene bonuses that he has taken as these families suffer.
"The bonuses have to go, the board has to go.
"And a message for the new CEO – Vanessa Hudson – you owe these workers and their families a deep and sincere apology.
"These workers have been put through hell. Their families have been put through hell.
"Their lives have been dislocated. Some of them forever."
By Emily Stewart
Here's how the markets are looking at 10.30am AEST:
Live updates on the major ASX indices:
By Emily Stewart
As expected, Australian shares have opened lower, following Wall Street's losses.
The ASX 200 is down -0.5% to 7173 points as at 10:15am AEST.
The broader All Ordinaries is down -0.5% to 7365 points.
We're seeing mixed performances from the sectors; with materials and energy dragging and utilities and financials up.
The top movers are:
The bottom movers are:
By Kate Ainsworth
Here's more from the Transport Workers Union national secretary, Michael Kaine, who has paid tribute to the Qantas employees and their determination in holding "Qantas management to account":
"Qantas workers have made history today. It has been three years and 20 days since Alan Joyce first announced the decision to outsource these workers, and they have not stopped fighting for a moment to ensure justice was served.
"The final act of this board should be to strip Alan Joyce of his bonuses and follow him out the door.
"The Joyce regime has been toppled, but the airline cannot achieve the reset necessary for its survival under the same board that resided over the largest case of illegal sackings in Australian corporate history. Richard Goyder cannot make it through another day as chair.
"Qantas needs a fresh start. A worker voice on the board would make a significant difference and send the right signal that Qantas is serious about getting back on track.
"All eyes will be on Vanessa Hudson as she responds to this verdict. Illegally sacked workers are owed an apology and an end to Qantas's attempts to delay paying compensation and penalties.
"Hudson must reverse the destructive business model at Qantas that has exploited or attempted to manufacture loopholes to axe and outsource essential workers to 38 different entities. These actions have destroyed the airline and its reputation.
"The airline and the industry need saving from themselves. We need federal parliament to urgently pass the Closing the Loopholes Bill, and the federal government to establish an independent commission to ensure aviation decisions are made in the interests of workers, customers and the public."
We'll hear more from the Transport Workers Union and Qantas employees outside the High Court in Canberra at about 10:30am AEST (in 15 minutes' time).
By Kate Ainsworth
The Transport Workers Union has just issued a statement in response to the breaking news that Qantas acted illegally in sacking 1,700 workers during the COVID pandemic.
The TWU says the verdict is proof that the "Qantas board must be spilled".
Here's the full statement from the union:
"Richard Goyder and the entire Qantas board must be replaced by new directors including a worker representative, after the High Court today unanimously upheld two Federal Court verdicts that Qantas illegally outsourced 1,700 workers," the TWU said.
"The TWU has also called on new CEO Vanessa Hudson to publicly apologise to illegally sacked workers and commit to a speedy and non-adversarial approach to Federal Court hearings on compensation and penalties.
"Three unanimous rulings from the Federal Court and High Court found Qantas breached the Fair Work Act. Outsourcing workers prevented them accessing industrial rights to collectively bargain and take protected industrial action.
"Qantas previously convinced the Federal Court not to reinstate the workers saying that if it did, Qantas management would sack them all over again."
By Kate Ainsworth
Qantas has lost its High Court appeal over the sacking of 1,700 workers during the pandemic.
The jobs of baggage handlers and cleaners at 10 airports were outsourced, as the airline faced a dramatic decline in business.
Qantas maintained it made the decision for sound commercial reasons.
But the Transport Workers Union told the High Court the airline had also been motivated to head off industrial action when things returned to normal, in breach of the Fair Work Act.
Today the High Court unanimously dismissed the appeal by Qantas.
By Kate Ainsworth
The Transport Workers Union is bracing itself for the High Court's verdict on Qantas sacking ground staff during the pandemic.
A decision is imminent on whether the airline has been successful in overturning a decision of the full Federal Court, which exposed it to a mammoth compensation bill for laying off about 1,700 ground and baggage workers at 10 airports.
The TWU told the court Qantas sacked the workers to head off any industrial action — which is prohibited by the Fair Work Act, and denied by the airline.
TWU's national secretary Michael Kaine says the ramifications of a successful appeal by the airline will be significant.
"What it will literally mean is that any company with a loud and proud intention could go out and say 'we are now sacking a workforce to prevent them from exercising their rights to bargain, their rights to take industrial action, to get better terms and conditions', so long as they do it at an appropriate time in past," he said.
"That of course would send bargaining and our industrial system into a bit of a free fall, a bit of a chaotic freefall, and would require, I think, urgent legislative action."
By Kate Ainsworth
Overnight, shares in Alphabet (Google's parent company) fell by 1.2% as the US government's trial against Google got underway.
The US Justice Department has accused Google of exploiting its dominance of the internet search market to lock out competitors and smother innovation, at the opening of the biggest antitrust trial in decades.
Prosecutors allege Google rigged the market in its favour by paying billions of dollars to Apple and other businesses to be the default search engine on phones and web browsers.
The US government's lawsuit, first filed in 2020, alleges the deals were intended by Google to be "exclusionary", which would deny its rivals access to search queries and clicks, and allow Google to entrench itself as the dominant search engine in the market.
Government estimates suggest Google has a 90% market share in search in the US alone, and the deals mean there are billions of web queries sent Google's way every day — meaning users have less choice and there is less innovation as a result.
But Google doesn't see it that way.
It maintains that it hasn't violated antitrust laws, and the browser agreements were "legitimate competition" and didn't stop its rivals from developing their own search engines, or stop other companies from promoting them.
Instead, Google argues that its product is simply better than those offered by other companies, and the makers of phones and web browsers simply set Google as their default search engine because it delivered the "highest quality" experience for their customers.
It's the biggest antitrust trial since Microsoft was taken to court by US regulators in 1998.
The trial in Washington DC is expected to last up to 10 weeks, but a ruling is unlikely until sometime in 2024.
By Kate Ainsworth
Ahead of this morning's High Court ruling over Qantas's sacking of 1,700 ground staff during COVID, the Transport Workers' Union says it's not concerned by news that the court's judges are members of the airline's exclusive Chairman's Lounge.
Yesterday, reported that the High Court had confirmed all of its judges were members of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge, ahead of this morning's ruling.
But speaking to RN Breakfast this morning, the national secretary of the Transport Workers' Union, Michael Kaine, said the memberships were "not an issue" in their eyes.
"It's certainly not an issue from our perspective," he said.
"We just don't think it's rational to take the position that the High Court judge, literally judges that are the most astute legal minds in our community, would be influenced by membership of the Chairman's Lounge in any decision.
"We just think it's not realistic to think that these judges would be influenced there.
"They are exercising their functions. They exercise them in an impeccable way.
"We may not agree with their decision, but it won't have anything to do with their membership at the Chairman's Lounge."

By Kate Ainsworth
You're going to be hearing a lot about Qantas again today — and it's all got to do with their controversial decision to sack hundreds of ground crew in 2020.
Later this morning, Qantas will learn whether it's convinced the High Court it did not break the law when it sacked around 1,700 ground staff at the height of the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Qantas told the High Court it had sound commercial reasons to sack the staff as it moved to outsource the jobs, in the face of a dramatic decline in the number of travellers.
But the Transport Workers Union told the court Qantas sacked the workers to head off any industrial action, a move which is prohibited by the Fair Work Act.
Qantas denies that was its motivation, and told the court the decision was necessary to save around $100 million a year as its business plummeted by more than 90%.
The airline took the case to the High Court after losing twice in the Federal Court, which ruled the outsourcing decision breached Fair Work laws.

The final verdict will be handed down around 10am AEST.
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