Down the tube

What started out as a way to relax after a hard day’s work has turned into a tourist trap in Laos, writes Larissa Ham.

The man who claims he accidentally started the tourist craze of tubing in the Laos riverside town of Vang Vieng says its popularity is now hurting the town and its culture. 

Party's over ... Thanongsi Sorangkoun is dismayed by tourist behaviour in Vang Vieng.

Thousands of tourists visit Vang Vieng each year – about four hours’ bus ride north of the capital city, Vientiane – to float on a rubber tube down the Nam Song River and to party at rickety riverside bars. 

* Published in Traveller, Fairfax Media (click here to read the full story)

Worker unfairly sacked after taking stray kitten, rules Fair Work

By Larissa Ham

A cleaner who was sacked after taking a kitten from a cleaning job – and giving it to a friend who refused to return it – was unfairly dismissed, Fair Work Australia has found.

Judith Montague was working as a cleaner for Chadvic Cleaning Services at the YMCA’s student accommodation in Carlton, and had received two written warnings for unrelated conduct matters before being fired by owner Chaminda Fernando on February 21 this year.

Fair Work Australia Commissioner John Lewin yesterday said that while Mr Fernando had valid reason to take action over Ms Montague’s conduct, he had failed to follow aspects of the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code and ordered the cleaning company owner to pay $3940 to her.

Click here to read the full story.