Our journalism usually sits behind a paywall, but we believe this is the time to make more of our content freely available to as many readers as possible. For more free coverage, sign up to COVID-19 Watch.
empty wallet money recession wages wage theft
(Image: Adobe)

IMF PREDICTS THE WORST RECESSION SINCE 1929

Late last night, the International Monetary Fund released a new world economic outlook update, titled “The Great Lockdown” that projects the global economy will fall to -3% this year and create the worst recession since the 1929 Great Depression.

As the ABC explains, IMF predicts advanced economies will fare worse at -6.1%, with Australia likely to shrink to -6.7%. However, in a baseline scenario that assumes “the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020 and containment efforts can be gradually unwound”, policy support and resumed economic activity could grow the global economy by 5.8% in 2021 and Australia could rebound by 6.1%.

AUSTRALIA’S STIMULUS ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST: As the Grattan Institute unpacked yesterday, Australia’s injection of $200 billion in health and financial measures now ranks as the second-highest in GDP terms after the US.

WOULD YOU TRADE SURVEILLANCE FOR FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT?

According to the ABC, the federal government is developing an opt-in tracking app that could be used to ramp up tracing efforts and — if used by at least 40% of the population — potentially enable the country to begin easing lockdown measures.

Australia would be hardly alone, as Reuters reported in late March that Germany, a country with strong regulations and cultural animosity to digital surveillance, announced plans to adopt a local version of Singapore’s “TraceTogether” app.

The apps use bluetooth “pings” between de-identified users  — rather than location tracking through GPS — and have received approval from privacy advocates, although time will tell what Australia’s app will look like.

$500 MILLION LIFELINE FOR EXPORTERS

According to The Age, the federal government will today announce a $500 million lifeline for exporters, designed to offer loans of between $250,000 and $50 million — through a capital facility administered by Export Finance Australia — and, potentially, get products back into China as the country begins to open up trade routes.

The Advertiser reported that the federal governments will today face calls for another $1 billion to support the aged care sector — following a total $2.4 billion already — and is working on a “road out” plan that, while dependent on tracking and virus suppression efforts, could reopen businesses in office buildings and sectors such as manufacturing within weeks.

 

BACK TO SCHOOL

Elsewhere, The Australian ($) reports that Scott Morrison will today publish a social media video urging parents to send children back to school. The plea will coincide with the start of term two in Victoria today, where The Age reports parents will have to fill in weekly forms confirming children are not unwell and teachers are scrambling to identify numbers.

WHAT OF QUEENSLAND?: As The Courier-Mail ($) reports, term two for the state next week could include requirements of between two-to-three hours of homeschooling for parents juggling full-time work and teaching.

STATE WRAP: RUBY PRINCESS INQUIRY, NT ELECTION AND WA VACCINE TESTS

Finally, in some of the latest state announcements:

  • The Sydney Morning Herald ($) reports that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has established a special commission of inquiry into the Ruby Princess fiasco, following news that police and coronial investigations could take up to a year;
  • The NT News ($) reports that voters will still be expected to physically vote in the August election, while public events such as regional shows and the RAAF military exercise Pitch Black have been cancelled;
  • The Western Australia government outlined requirements for the new six month rent moratorium, including that tenants will have to back pay any rent they cannot afford during the crisis;
  • Thousands of West Australian healthcare workers will take part in a trial of whether an existing tuberculosis vaccine could act as an effective vaccine according to WAtoday; and
  • According to The Advertiser, millions of masks arrived in South Australia yesterday, but SA Health will review the equipment after a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital contracted the virus despite precautionary measures.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

[On why The New York Times immediately reported sexual assault allegations against US Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, but took 19 days — and until after final competitor Bernie Sanders conceded — to cover those against Democratic nominee Joe Biden]:

Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way.

Dean Baquet

The executive editor of The New York Times implies that a nationwide vote for the person who could replace Donald Trump is not enough of a public forum.

CRIKEY RECAP

Higher education needs a major rethink, not just a funding lifeline

“While the government has given the university sector a lifeline with its Easter funding announcement, the opportunity presented by the pandemic crisis for a fundamental reset in our thinking about higher education and how it is funded risks going begging in a desire to perpetuate the status quo ante of reliance on foreign students.”


Are we seeding a flu crisis later in the year? Looks like we might be

“Our influenza vaccination clinics have gone nuts. At a recent one we administered over 70 flu shots to young and old, to sick and healthy alike. Not surprisingly, stocks are low, but still the people flock in. Demand has been unprecedented (sorry, promise I’ll never use that word again).”


The next COVID challenge: the nation’s mental health

“Increased irritability with people around you. Fear of stepping outside. A fragmented, disrupted sleep pattern punctuated by particularly vivid and unusual dreams.

“All of these are early signs that isolation may be getting under your skin, says Dr Michael Musker, a senior research fellow in mental health and wellbeing at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

WHO warns coronavirus ‘has not peaked’

Virgin Australia considers going into administration as Labor calls for government rescue

Every hand sanitiser maker on earth is fighting for the same materials

Dozens of Australian newspapers stop printing as coronavirus crisis hits advertising

Australian Federal Police officers trialled controversial facial recognition tool Clearview AI

Fires threatening Chernobyl’s former nuclear power plant are mostly extinguished

Energy Minister backs renewables to drive hydrogen industry

Police win fight with CFMMEU over test of right to entry laws

‘Accelerate the endgame’: Obama’s role in wrapping up the primary ($)

Domestic abuse investigation by journalist Jess Hill wins Stella Prize for writing by Australian women

THE COMMENTARIAT

Why Australia’s vice-chancellors need to cut their sky-high salariesTim Dodd (The Australian): “During the next 12 months, leaders of Australia’s universities will be tested as never before, having to reshape their institutions to a new reality in which revenue is billions of dollars lower than last year.”

Like prison? Like home detention? No.Tabitha Lean (IndigenousX): “I’ve spent the best part of last couple of weeks getting cross with people for conflating their voluntary self-isolation with home detention, or worse imprisonment in jail. Some of those people are those closest to me, so it makes things difficult to rationalise particularly given I have written about my experience imprisoned.”

‘We don’t have a king’: Trump, governors in epic power struggleMatthew Knott (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Just as the US appears to be flattening its coronavirus curve, the country has entered a divisive and disturbing new stage in which President Donald Trump and leading governors clash over who is in charge of reopening the country’s economy.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

Peter Fray

This crisis will cut hard and deep but one day it will be over.

What will be left? What do you want to be left?

I know what I want to see: I want to see a thriving, independent and robust Australian-owned news media. I want to see governments, authorities and those with power held to account. I want to see the media held to account too.

Demand for what we do is running high. Thank you. You can help us even more by encouraging others to subscribe — or by subscribing yourself if you haven’t already done so.

If you like what we do, please subscribe.

Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

Support us today