THE LONG ROAD AHEAD
Both The Australian ($) and The Guardian report that the federal government will seek a three-stage, two-month timetable to reopen the country — with four-week intervals to track second waves — at today’s national cabinet meeting between governments.
The Oz reports that the floated framework would seek to initially lift bans on outdoor gatherings, intrastate travel, and school shutdowns. Both the Victorian and NSW premiers urged caution ahead of the meeting — which will also debate mental health recovery plans — however The Herald Sun reports that Victoria may allow outdoor activities and gatherings of up to 10 people after the state of emergency ends on Monday.
SEE YOU IN THE NT: While most of the states are preparing for the long haul, The Australian ($) reports that the Northern Territory, the first region to begin lifting restrictions, is planning to import 175,000 litres of beer ahead of pubs and clubs reopening next Friday.
According to The Age, the Melbourne meat processing company at the centre of Victoria’s largest COVID-19 cluster, Cedar Meats, says the Department of Health and Human Services took three days to inform them of a confirmed, early infection.
The department reportedly just informed the labour hire company that supplies workers at the Brooklyn abattoir on April 24. Cedar Meats say that DHHS only made direct contact with them on April 27, when another worker tested positive.
BEATS ONE MONTH: According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a breakdown in communication between NSW Health and state hospitals has seen some patients unable to access results for more than a month.
ANOTHER BAD DAY FOR ANDREW CONSTANCE
After pulling this week’s second about-face on running for Eden-Monaro, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has been dumped from his position as Leader of the House.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Premier Gladys Berejiklian faced pressure from senior Liberals after Constance blamed “white anting” by colleagues, including Deputy Premier and early hopeful for the seat John Barilaro.
COULD YOU POSSIBLY DO WORSE? Nominations for the Eden-Monaro byelection are due today. And look, with Tony Abbott shooting down that rumour, why not give it a go?
NZ RESTRICTIONS MAY EASE
New Zealand’s cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss a potential move to alert level two. Attorney-General David Parker has announced that legislation providing a legal framework for the lower-level restrictions will be introduced next week.
The announcement comes after Crown Law advice was leaked to Newstalk ZB suggesting that, before a subsequent directive was announced one week into the extreme level four lockdown, police only had the power to move people who were congregating in public. Parker argues the leaked document was a draft and “not the considered advice of Crown Law, which was that there was no gap in enforcement powers”.
A HEARING TO WATCH: Because the NZ government refuses to release the full advice, the country’s Solicitor General has, for the first time in history, been summonsed before a Parliamentary committee.
- Victoria has announced an $11.3 million multiculturalism package, which is aimed at helping migrant and asylum seeker communities overcome unique social isolation challenges.
- The NSW government has announced that applications for land tax concessions are now open, and that Bathurst Correctional Centre will receive a $200,000 security upgrade as part of the state’s stimulus package.
- Queensland’s home visit restrictions will ease from Sunday, May 10, when up to five members of one household will be allowed to visit another household. The state has also announced that it will waive payroll tax for JobKeeper payments; as Accountants Daily notes yesterday, this leaves just NT and NSW to clarify whether existing payroll tax relief measures cover JobKeeper.
- South Australia’s government announced that three residents have undertaken cross-border kidney transplants after the state lifted restrictions surrounding the surgery “before our eastern neighbours”. As the ABC reports, SA broke its 14-day coronavirus-free streak with one new case.
- Tasmania released an updated report on initiatives under the Social and Economic Support Package, and announced a 75% spike in EVCREW (emergency volunteers crew) numbers after the state’s $130,000 investment to Volunteering Tasmania.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
“It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an a–hole.” — Axl Rose
“What have you done for the country lately? [Liberia flag]” — US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin
Turns out Guns N’ Roses’ lead singer isn’t a huge fan of the White House’s “travel America, reopen businesses” coronavirus plan. Or, for that matter, Donald Trump playing “Live and Let Die” while touring a mask factory.
“Software engineer Jim Mussared, who says he supports the app and its goal of saving lives, released a detailed account of several significant problems he had discovered in the app and which he advised to the Department of Health and security agencies several days ago.
“One issue, which the Australian app has inherited from its source code, the OpenTrace app, means the app will broadcast the same ID, rather than regularly changing that ID, to certain devices, enabling the app to serve as a de facto tracking device.”
“‘Qantas flags $19 Sydney to Melbourne Jetstar flights.’ Well great, thanks Qantas.
“The flying kangaroo is limping along the ground at the moment, running at 5% of capacity, as are most airlines. There is talk of $89 flights to Perth, but I won’t be taking one, no matter how much they pay me.”
“This morning the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that countries relaxing their coronavirus restrictions too quickly could cause a surge in cases and a return to lockdown.
“In Italy, modelling suggests that even a small ‘return to normal’ with just a 20% increase in mobility could trigger a second wave which might claim more lives than the first.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
We must use this opportunity to reform mental health support — Julia Gillard (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The national cabinet will on Friday consider a COVID-19 mental health response and recovery plan. This is an urgent, essential discussion. A mentally healthy Australia will be fundamental to helping us all deal with and recover from the economic and social aftershocks of the pandemic.”
The ALP can have a picnic in the garden of Eden-Monaro ($) — Graham Richardson (The Australian): “Whenever a traditional bellwether seat is up for grabs, excitement is automatically generated. Eden-Monaro is a classic of the genre. It is generally won narrowly by Labor because of the big majority Labor always receives from the urban end of the electorate.”
We don’t know how long COVID-19 will impact Meeanjin Markets but we’re ready for business — Leesa Watego (Indigenous X/The Guardian): “Never before has there been such diversity of Indigenous people in business. Social media and various online platforms have enabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to become active participants in the small business economy.”