How Corporate Australia is making headlines for all the right and wrong reasons

Airline in turmoil: Vanessa Hudson takes the reins as Qantas’ first female CEO  

Australia’s national carrier has been experiencing reputational turbulence over the past few weeks culminating in the early departure of outgoing CEO, Alan Joyce, two months ahead of schedule.  

Vanessa Hudson is the airline’s former CFO and has worked at Qantas since 1994. She has made it clear that improving customers’ experience and the company’s image is her immediate focus. 

After 15 years as chief executive, Joyce is stepping down as the corporation faces the heat for potential misconduct around hundreds of millions in outstanding COVID flight credits and a lawsuit from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for selling tickets to more than 8,000 cancelled flights between May and July 2022.  

Australian Government names the date for the Voice referendum 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced Australians will go to the polls on 14 October 2023 to vote on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. It will be the first referendum held in Australia since 1999. 

The vote will determine whether the Voice, a body providing advice to government on issues particularly impacting Indigenous Australians, will be enshrined in the constitution. 

Albanese insisted the Voice’s outlook would be “straightforward, clear, unambiguous”, adding the process for the outcome would encompass: “recognition, listening to advice, (and) parliament continuing as decision-maker”.  

LinkedIn updates platform algorithm

LinkedIn has made new tweaks to its algorithms allowing for greater engagement. The business social media platform has altered how posts are seen by members, including how content is distributed, making it more likely for users to see or engage with content catered to them.  

LinkedIn is also putting more focus on hashtag engagement to highlight more relevant topics and stretching reach for content over a period of time, rather limiting it to the immediate attention received when first posted.  

Australia makes strides on banning plastics  

Supermarket giant, Woolworths, has revealed in its 2023 Sustainability Report that it has removed 800 tonnes of plastic from its own-brand packaging. Having reached the midway point of its 2025 Sustainability Plan, the use of virgin plastic has been reduced by more than 1,200 tonnes through changes to the packaging of bakery items, milk bottles, BIG W bedding, and removing films from fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.  

Earlier this month, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia Governments brought in new single-use plastic bans. All states have banned the use of plastic-stemmed cotton buds, while WA has also banned packaging for peanuts, microbeads, plastic cups, and trays for raw meat.  

There is still a call for a national plastics road map and mandatory plastics framework given the confusion created by the different rules in every state and territory.  

Merlin and Kidsafe launch home safety checklist 

With the warmer weather coming in, many families will spend more time outdoors, which can result in more opportunities for injury. In Australia, more than 130 garage and driveway accidents result in hospitalisation every week.  

In an effort to prevent injuries, particularly for children, garage door and gate experts, Merlin, has partnered with Aussie not-for-profit, Kidsafe, and developed a garage and driveway safety checklist to help families identify and address potential risks. 

Merlin is an IMPACT client.  

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