Liam Jurrah’s involvement in a violent incident in an Alice Springs court last week has captivated the Australian media for days. The 23-year-old forward at the Melbourne Football Club recommenced training yesterday, after being granted bail by an Alice Springs court on charges of unlawfully causing serious harm and being armed with an offensive weapon. The weapon is believed to have been a machete, and Jurrah is implicated in an attack that left a 35-year-old man in hospital with serious head injuries. The incident is reported to have been part of ongoing clan disputes that have plagued his home community of Yuendumu, 300km west of Alice Springs, for 18 months. This morning, The Conversation spoke with Jurrah’s biographer and friend Bruce Hearn Mackinnon. Mackinnon is a senior lecturer at Deakin University and hosted Jurrah on his initial move to Melbourne.
In grounding the entire domestic and international Qantas fleet last month, the firm's chief executive, Alan Joyce, claimed the action was the only way to stop the unions' industrial campaign. The implication was that grounding the planes was the only way to have Fair Work Australia (FWA) intervene and order a stop to all industrial action.
In the weeks since, a number of anti-union ''cold war'' industrial relations warriors, including Peter Reith, Chris Corrigan, economist Judith Sloan and coalition politicians, have thrown themselves into the debate, questioning the efficacy of the Labor government's Fair Work Act. The common theme is that the grounding of the Qantas fleet demonstrated the weakness of the act, because the company had no other way to get FWA to order a cessation of all industrial action other than by grounding its entire fleet. This is patently untrue.