MORRISON COMPLAINS TO ABC
According to The Australian ($), the office of the Prime Minister has complained to the ABC over reporting by ABC investigative journalist Dylan Welch about the COVIDSafe app.
Reportedly, the email from media adviser Nick Creevey to ABC news director Gaven Morris complained that Welch’s April 24 report into Amazon’s storage contract was “unnecessarily alarmist”. If you too fear being alarmed, do not check out the follow-up report into other legal avenues the US could pursue to obtain stored data.
BUT DOES THE APP WORK? The news comes after the ABC reported yesterday that, even after 4 million downloads, the app’s tracing capability is not yet available to state and territory health officials.
TEMPORARY VISA TROUBLES
More than 180 community groups have signed an open letter calling on the Morrison government to extend Medicare, JobSeeker, JobKeeper and visa stability to the 1.1 million people residing in Australia on a temporary visa.
The SMH, citing similar concerns over the disability support pension, reports that epidemiologists have also warned that not supporting vulnerable people during pandemics increases their need to be around people to survive — i.e. food, drink, shelter etc — and therefore the risk to personal and public health.
PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING: The news comes as The NT News ($) reports Foodbank NT has had to start sending “anywhere from 350 to 430 hampers a week” to international students.
THE US OPENS UP
Separate reporting mechanisms mean the WHO’s figures differ slightly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the figure is a substantial increase on the previous record — 2471 people on April 23 — and comes as states such as Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas allow non-essential retailers to reopen.
A SCREENING FOR A SCREENING: In one of the more unbelievable examples, Variety reports that two cinemas in Texas will reopen today with “airport security-style check-in”, to include questions over potential household exposure and infrared temperature screening.
- South Australia has recorded its 11th-straight day with zero new cases, and The Australian ($) reports that the state government is set to lift the ban on regional travel within days.
- Victoria has announced a $14 million zoos package to be shared across Zoos Victoria’s three sites. The state also announced that $40 million from the existing business support fund will go towards rent relief for small venues. Plus Victoria Together, the state’s new online arts up, aired its first series “The State Of Music”.
- NSW will roll out 60-minute testing with polymerase chain reaction kits across 29 additional labs for high-risk patients. Following a six-week shutdown, property agents and vendors will also be able to hold traditional inspections and on-site auctions across the state.
- Queensland launched “Boost Your Healthy”, a series of online videos about turning backyards into gyms during the pandemic. It features sports stars Jeff Horn, Gretel Bueta, Susie O’Neill and John Millman.
- Darwin’s Street Art Festival will officially go ahead this month. And, as part of a revamped Territory Day celebration, students will be asked to send in videos to Black Rock Band’s song “Family”.
- Tasmania’s state government has announced a partnership with the federal government that will provide an additional $1.4 million to family and sexual violence groups. The state also announced that a “bigger and better hyperbaric chamber” will open today at the new Department of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine for patient treatment.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
While Australia’s high level of migration played a key role in our economic prosperity, in recent years the shape and size of our intake has hurt many Australian workers, contributing to unemployment, underemployment and low wage growth.
Linking immigration to unemployment hasn’t gone down well with economists, anti-racism groups, or even some Labor colleagues, but at least the opposition’s Home Affairs spokesperson has uh… One Nation on side.
“The ideological right’s absurd, pathetic and self-defeating attack on, and ‘calls’ for the resignation of, Victorian deputy chief medical officer Annaliese van Diemen, represents a new low for this political formation in the period of COVID-19.”
“Crikey can reveal at least 152 community and regional newspapers across Australia have stopped printing in the last month, with many unlikely to restart. This includes titles like the Lower Hunter Valley’s Maitland Mercury, which is 177 years old. The shutdowns amount to around a third of the total number of unique publications in Australia.”
“By promising not to move against accounting giant Deloitte as the administrator, in much the same way that then-ACTU secretary Greg Combet orchestrated the ousting of PwC as the early administrators of Ansett, to be replaced by the union-friendly alternative from the newly formed KordaMentha.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
A very different economy is taking shape ($) — Laura Tingle (AFR): “A specific date for the [Eden-Monaro] byelection — yet to be announced but expected by many in Canberra to come in late June — will become a standard mention in stories about how quickly the economy is deteriorating or improving, how many people have lost their jobs, what restrictions remain on businesses, and what other decisions have been taken by the government.”
We’re paying the price for the government’s deceit — Michael Pascoe (The New Daily): “The federal government would like downloads of the COVIDSafe app to be a guide to loosening the lockdown. Unfortunately, it is starting to look more like a measure of the government’s trust deficit. The government is aiming for at least 10 million downloads for the mobile phone app to be effective in helping control the coronavirus spread. The score so far is less than half that.”
The other death toll from the coronavirus pandemic — Eda Seyhan (Al Jazeera): “Almost three weeks into the lockdown in Nigeria, more people had died at the hands of police enforcing coronavirus restrictions than from the virus itself. Videos of Indian police officers forcing migrant workers to hop and crawl along a road and attacking street vendors went viral. In the US, a group of seven police officers violently dragged a man off a bus for failing to wear a face mask.”