PRIVATE SCHOOLS PUSH TO OPEN
The Australian ($) reports that a network of Victorian private schools has called for the ability to reopen campuses in regions largely unaffected by COVID-19, even as Premier Dan Andrews digs in on plans to maintain online learning for the rest of term two.
The call came as federal Education Minister Dan Tehan wrote to all non-government schools offering to bring forward $3.2 billion in national funding to re-open campuses immediately and return to at least 50% face-to-face teaching levels before the end of May.
PRISONS IN LOCKDOWN
According to The Age, Victoria’s Fitzroy Legal Service and Human Rights Law Centre have filed a Supreme Court case against the state government, to be heard today, on behalf of a prisoner with multiple medical conditions fearing a COVID-19 outbreak in jail.
The Andrews government, unlike NSW last month, has thus far resisted calls from legal groups to release vulnerable and/or non-serious offenders amidst the pandemic. While Victoria has not yet recorded a case in prison, a quick scan of Australian case law shows “COVID-19” has been accepted by judges as “exceptional circumstances” in granting bail, amongst other decisions.
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? According to The Legal Aid Society, New York’s Rikers Island prison has jumped from an infection rate of 3% last month to 9.9% today. In Peru, a riot over fears of the virus has left nine people dead.
AUS V CHINA CONTINUES
The Australian Financial Review ($) reports that a comment piece in the Communist Party’s mouthpiece publication, the People’s Daily, has accused Scott Morrison of attempting to deflect domestic “anger” over the pandemic and summer bushfires in campaigning for a COVID-19 probe.
The piece, a rare direct criticism of Morrison, comes shortly after The Guardian reports the objectively much funnier description of Australia as “gum stuck to the bottom of China’s shoe” in a state media outlet.
However, The Age reports that, even as officials from both countries swap intermittent barbs with calls to de-escalate the situation, the ANU has released new research revealing 20 years of flare-ups have not put any lasting dents in the trade relationship.
- Victoria will today announce a relief package for international students worth tens of millions of dollars
- NSW has provided an update on the first round of fast-tracked planning projects launched under the state’s COVID-19 response plan
- Queensland has waived $33.8 million in state land rent, to cover more than 6000 farmers, businesses, tourism operators, and community and sports clubs, for April 1 to September 30
- South Australia has launched the Export Fundamentals Program, a training initiative to be delivered in partnership with employer association Ai Group and provider of trade and export development firm Hydra Consulting. The state also announced that more than 400 nurses and midwives in the public hospital sector have completed training to upskill for a COVID-19 surge.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Finally, in what could be the hardest pill to swallow, the Logies have been cancelled. As he has been more than happy to point out, last year’s Gold Logie winner Tom Gleeson now technically wins another term.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
[Loosely translated from Spanish]: Fumigating beaches in the middle of the breeding season for birds or the development of the invertebrate network that will support coastal fishing and destroy the tourist value of the coastline, is not one of Trump’s ideas. It is happening in Zahara de los Atunes.
“Now is the time, if ever there was a time, for prominent Australians, especially those on the right, who support Julian Assange, to take their defence of him up a gear.
“The WikiLeaks founder, currently on remand in London’s Belmarsh prison, has just had a full hearing of his refusal of extradition to the US delayed for months — possibly until November — because preparation of a defence has been impossible due to COVID-19 restrictions.”
“Please stop analogising climate change and the pandemic. The pandemic is not a parallel of climate change at all — it is a disaster of a very different stripe.
“Climate change is a slow moving juggernaut out to take us down. Pandemics are short sharp flashes that repeat throughout history. Anthropogenic climate change is happening for the first time. Pandemics we have a lot of experience with. “
“There’s another threat the world faces in the wake of coronavirus, one which is also dangerous, highly contagious and has the ability to overwhelm hospitals: superbugs.
“Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are spreading with the speed of coronavirus. COVID-19 patients are being prescribed a steady stream of antibiotics, with around half of those who die testing positive for secondary infections.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
The coronavirus is fast turning Australia into a society of haves and have-nots — Rachel Nolan (The New Daily): “A detailed analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data undertaken by the McKell Institute indicates the current workforce split is about 40/40/20, with 40% of the workforce being knowledge workers, 40% frontline workers and up to 20% unemployed or underemployed.”
Beijing shift was Malcolm Turnbull’s gift to Scott Morrison ($) — Paul Kelly (The Australian): “The transformation of Australian policy towards China was a decisive event under the Turnbull government — it constitutes a personal journey by Malcolm Turnbull in response to an assertive and hostile China that saw a permanent reset in relations, as Scott Morrison is demonstrating.”
Cutting ‘green tape’ may be good politicking, but it’s bad policy. Here are five examples of regulation failure — Ian Wright (The Conversation): “Debate about how Australia will emerge from the coronavirus pandemic is heating up. As part of the economic recovery, business groups have renewed calls to cut ‘green tape’ – environmental regulation that new projects, such as new mines, must follow.”
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Alice Springs, NT
The Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System will hold a public hearing.
Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers will speak on “After the Crisis” at The Australia Institute’s webinar series, “Economics of a Pandemic”.