(Image: AAP/Glenn Hunt)

FEDERAL FUNDING

Both The Age and The Australian ($) report the federal cabinet has approved a $2.4 billion medical package to tackle coronavirus, to include funds for over 100 pop-up fever clinics across the country and e-health services to help people with symptoms.

It follows a $30 million advertising pledge to battle misinformation, the ABC reports.

FUN FACT: In separate, less welcome, research news, a UNSW lab overseen by one of Australia’s top cancer researchers has run out of federal funds, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

VIRUS WATCH

For our now regular overnight coronavirus coverage, let’s take a look at how the states are doing.

  • Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has signalled potential “extreme measures” for a future pandemic phase of the outbreak, including school shutdowns, event cancellations, and entire sectors working from home (ABC).
  • Perth has opened its first dedicated clinic (WAtoday).
  • South Australia has launched the country’s first drive-thru testing clinic (ABC) — although South Korea beat it to that global title by at least a week (CNN).
  • Tasmanians are complaining of being knocked back for testing, even if they show symptoms (The Mercury $), just a day after Premier Peter Gutwein publicly considered fines for “isolation scofflaws” (The Mercury $).
  • A Sydney doctor is calling for quarantines across NSW’s major population centres, as the state records another 14 cases (ABC).
  • Business NSW has circulated legal advice to members stating they do not have to provide paid leave to permanent workers forced into isolation over virus concerns who have not yet been diagnosed (The Australian $).

ON THE INTERNATIONAL FRONT

  • Italy has begun rolling out country-wide quarantine measures (The Guardian).
  • Wall Street has seen stocks surge after recording its worst day since the 2008 GFC (Sydney Morning Herald).
  • A US biotech firm has ramped up production of a drug experts hope could be a therapeutic treatment for coronavirus (The Guardian).
  • Finally, because Australian shoppers are not alone in their fear and miscommunication, France has had to tell its citizens that cocaine does not protect against the virus (Evening Standard).

PELL’S HIGH COURT APPEAL

Ahead of George Pell‘s two-day appeal at the High Court today, The Australian ($) reports several people have made inquiries with abuse lawyers about potential future action against the cardinal, including potential civil action over criminal charges that never went to trial.

According to The Age‘s appeal explainer, Pell’s lawyers will drill down on whether the jury that found him guilty could, on the evidence presented to them, fully explain the “six missing minutes”.

PLAY-BY-PLAY

Legal experts have told the Senate inquiry into the sports rorts that Bridget McKenzie could be personally liable over the scandal, The Guardian reports.

FUN FACT: Because the sport rort updates just do not stop coming, the paper also reported six grants worth $260,000 were approved for the marginal seat of Longman just ahead of the 2019 election.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Many people would have already made provisions for that [coronavirus-related sick leave] because of course the purpose of casual employment is that you’re paid extra in lieu of entitlements.

Christian Porter

The attorney-general and literal industrial relations minister suggests workers in retail, hospo and cleaning have enough stashed away so they need not work through a global health crisis. Who says politicians on $357,247.50 are out of touch?

CRIKEY RECAP

Relief and spend — how business, government can beat the downturn

“With the treasurer due to announce a stimulus package tomorrow, businesses have been doing what they do best: asking for tax relief. But is reducing the burdens on business enough to prevent a recession?”


Memo to Nine’s directors: there’s still time to save AAP

“The controversial decision to kill Australian Associated Press (AAP) didn’t go to the full board of Nine Entertainment and was instead taken under delegation by management through the AAP board, Nine confirmed today.”


Pandemic gives the right a dose of its own medicine

“There, then-White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney chuckled for a fawning crowd as he told them that coronavirus was just another attempt by the Democrats to get Trump because ‘they couldn’t do it with impeachment’. Trump followed up later, calling it the latest hoax.

“What could possibly happen next, at a gathering of thousands of people from across the US, many of them aged, in the sort of hotel air-circulation system that Legionnaires’ disease is named for?”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

NSW police chief denies advising PM on whether Angus Taylor should step down over doctored document

Stationery chain kikki.K is placed into voluntary administration in tough retail environment

Universities rewrite Confucius Institute contracts amid foreign influence scrutiny

How refugees succeed in visa reviews: new research reveals the factors that matter

University of Tasmania slashes degree offerings in cost cutting exercise to stay ‘sustainable’

Australia’s carryover climate credits are setting a dangerous precedent

Palaszczuk Government blames magistrates for youth crime chaos ($)

Gun club and church with Liberal links awarded $40,000 in federal grants

Scott Cam defends $347,000 taxpayer-funded pay packet, arguing everyone has to make a living

Putin sets path to stay in power until 2036

THE COMMENTARIAT

Justice a casino in which there’s only one winner ($) — Jason Falinski (The Australian): “Our legal system should be about justice, not profit, but the tax-haven-dwelling litigation funders have other ideas. Last Friday, the Australian Sec­uriti­es & Investments Commis­sion was asked what it knew about the activities of litigation funders. Remarkably, it knew nothing.”

The message to doctors has always been clear: if you get sick, do it on your own timeRanjana Srivastava (The Guardian): “This festering wound of doctors was aggravated by the Victorian health minister, Jenny Mikakos, who chided a veteran general practitioner with mild viral symptoms for seeing patients after returning from an overseas trip.”

What could we make of a Pell acquittal?Daniel Reeders (Meanjin): “Understanding the verdict as a legal fact preserves ‘epistemic humility’—the simple acknowledgment that we weren’t there and we don’t know what happened. The legal standard, beyond reasonable doubt, applies to the judgment of the case made against the accused, not the truth of the event.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick, ANU emeritus professor of strategic studies Hugh White and executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Peter Jennings will discuss “Australia’s Future Submarines — Time For Plan B?” at the National Press Club.

Sydney

  • Former NSW fire chief Greg Mullins and climate councillor Professor Will Steffen will launch Summer of Crisis, the first comprehensive overview of the devastating climate impacts Australians experienced this summer.

  • PETA will hand out free toilet paper with the message “Wipe Out Animal-Borne Illness: Go Vegan” printed on each sheet.

Brisbane

  • Economist Ross Garnaut and Queensland Energy Minister Anthony Lynham will speak at a CEDA forum on building a sustainable energy economy.

Peter Fray

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