IF IT’S “UN-AUSTRALIAN”, SHUT IT DOWN
All foreigner travellers will be barred from entering Australia from 9pm AEDT tonight, the ABC reports, due to Scott Morrison replacing the China, Iran, Italy and South Korea travel bans with a global ban on all non-residents and non-citizens.
The news, which follows similar measures from New Zealand and even Tasmania yesterday, means anyone with a student or working holiday visa currently out of the country will be unable to enter Australia for the foreseeable future. Visa holders already in Australia can remain, however, The Guardian reports the ban creates new limbos for two million temporary visa holders.
IN RELATED NEWS: The government has advised more than 170 Australians trapped in locked-down Peru to find a commercial charter flight home, according to the ABC.
25 YEARS LATER, NEWSTART MAY INCREASE
Australia will increase the real-term rate of Newstart for the first time in 25 years as part of the federal government’s second stimulus package, according to The Australian Financial Review ($).
In an earlier report, AFR indicated the package would include a new unemployment payment — one targeted at people who lose their jobs during the crisis — higher than the existing Newstart rate, although Scott Morrison appeared to indicate yesterday the new rate would extend to all recipients.
IN RELATED NEWS: Labor’s Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness Jason Clare has called for mortgage, rent and utility support to form part of the package, while Josh Frydenberg told 7.30 last night that mortgage support might be offered by the big banks.
$105 BILLION BIG BOYS FOR THE BANKS
The RBA has slashed interest rates to 0.25%, The Age reports, revealed plans to buy government debt to lower borrowing rates, and announced at least a $90 billion loan to banks on the condition they pass the money onto small and medium businesses.
Along with $15 billion from the government for small lenders, this will effectively inject $105 billion into the banking system.
KEEP IN MIND: With a global recession all but guaranteed, it might be worth checking out the World Economic Forum’s guide to dwindling monetary policy tools.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
GUARD TESTS POSITIVE
A video leaked to BuzzFeed News shows detained refugees in Brisbane voicing fears to immigration officials — and largely getting nothing in the way of answers — after both Buzzfeed and The Guardian reported that a local Serco guard contracted the virus.
The news comes amid campaigns to free people from confined, at-risk areas, with The Age reporting of similar fears across the prison system.
SOLDIER STOOD DOWN
The Australian soldier recorded shooting and killing an unarmed Afghan man in footage aired by Four Corners has been suspended from duty, while Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has referred the matter to the AFP commissioner, the ABC reports.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Sorry, are you recording that? Or you’re… no? Okay. We’re permitted up to 60 million tonnes, so the reality is we’ve got an opportunity to be able to expand beyond that.
Speaking at an LNP fundraiser on the Gold Coast last July, the Adani Australia CEO demonstrates brief concern that his secret plan to rip 100 million tonnes of coal a year out of the Galilee Basin might go public.
“Throughout his time in politics, Scott Morrison has made an art form of exploiting fear for political gain. His surprise election victory last year was achieved in the basis of relentless fear campaigns — mostly entirely fictional — about Labor policies, and represented a recent high point of a fear-based political business model, one unseen since Paul Keating brilliantly exploited concerns about John Hewson’s GST and other policies in 1993.”
“Shock jock Alan Jones again courted controversy this week, saying that Australia is now ‘facing the health version of global warming. Exaggeration in almost everything. Certainly in description, and certainly in behaviour.’”
“Panic buyers now join a long, storied list of people and things that Australian politicians have decided are un-Australian, from left-wing activists, to head-butting Tony Abbott.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Contact sport in a time of social distancing — Georgina Robinson (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The National Rugby League went to unprecedented lengths to safeguard the health of its players when round two of its season got under way in Sydney on Thursday night. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, it placed its interchange benches 20 metres apart at ANZ Stadium, with each chair on each bench 1.5 metres away from the next. Officials washed and disinfected the match balls every 10 minutes.”
Coronavirus: PM looks to nationalise failing firms ($) — Simon Benson (The Australian): “Scott Morrison is heading down a road that may require him to do what was politically unimaginable only three weeks ago. Some companies may end up having to be nationalised, if even only temporarily. The government isn’t there just yet. But people should be under no illusion as to what might be coming down the pipeline.”
Scott Morrison has said we’ll face at least 6 months of disruption. Where does that number come from? — Joel Miller (The Conversation): “Scott Morrison yesterday warned Australians will face at least six months of disturbance to our day-to-day lives as we navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing measures such as restrictions on large group gatherings and events won’t just be in place until next week or the week after.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
COAG energy ministers are expected to discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The High Court of Australia will hear Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton‘s appeal against the test cases of four Nauru and Papua New Guinea asylum seekers.
The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia will hold a virtual version of its “2020 Pathology Update”.