DON’T FUCK IT UP: FRYDENBERG
As parliament resumes today, both The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian ($) report that Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today use an economic statement — one that replaces the shelved budget address — to warn that Australians risk billions in dollars if social distancing fails and states are forced to resume shutdowns.
The news comes as KPMG releases a new report suggesting the most severely damaged industries — hospitality and accommodation, air transport, retail and the arts — will take two years to recover losses inflicted by the pandemic; as the ABC reports, the government has also been warned that 21,000 full-time research jobs are at risk but are ineligible for JobKeeper.
LABOR’S PLAN FOR HOUSING: According to the SMH, Labor will push for a National Housing Stimulus Plan driven by superannuation funds and the private sector.
GET BACK TO WORK: BORIS
Over in the UK, where ‘the curve’ has only begun to flatten to around 4,000 new daily cases after highs of 6,000 earlier this month, the BBC and ABC reports that Boris Johnson has created some confusion over a 51-page, disparate plan to reopening the economy.
Johnson, who announced that the “Stay at home” directive to save lives now sits at “Stay alert,” urged people to avoid public transport and stay at home if possible while also claiming those unable to work from home should be “actively encouraged” to return to work; Scotland, Ireland and Wales, at any rate, are sticking to “stay home” until the end of the month.
FOR A FEEL OF THE MOOD: To see what the actual experts think of Johnson’s plan for “a large-scale return to work without the ability to test, trace and isolate risks creating super-spreader events,” check out Oxford epidemiologist David Hunter’s damning Guardian op-ed.
COVIDSAFE BILL TO BE INTRODUCED TO PARLIAMENT
The government will today introduce legislation governing the use of COVIDSafe data, the Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020, to replace Greg Hunt’s regulatory Determination.
As The Conversation unpacked last week, the draft bill also includes some new user protections, such as the ability to individually pursue criminal proceedings over privacy breaches, but includes some outstanding issues i.e. potential loopholes around “positive discrimination” in the rules against coercion.
WHEREFORE TASMANIA?: According to Gizmodo, developers unpacking the app’s source code — all of which has been released by the Digital Transformation Agency save for Amazon’s server data — have discovered that Tasmania is missing on an (apparently unused) string of data.
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- Yesterday, the Victorian government announced that some stay at home measures will be eased from 11.59pm tonight, Tuesday 12 May, including up to five visitors allowed into a home.
- The Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian governments all announced expansions of their current testing efforts to coincide with eased restrictions, i.e. SA Pathology’s new aged care unit.
- Children began returning to school in NSW and Queensland; additionally, the Northern Territory government announced that school attendance has returned to pre-pandemic levels.
- Select NSW courts resumed jury trials yesterday with new social distancing and hygiene requirements.
- Finally, the SA government announced two new family-oriented initiatives:
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
The purpose of politics, as far as I can tell, is to use any means whatsoever within reason, and that’s the question, what is within reason, to raise your party and denigrate the other party.
Dr Gillian Dempsey
In their appeal against Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s successful defamation case, the lawyer for former senator David Leyonhjelm offers a dim — if depressingly accurate — view of Australian politics.
“In the space of four weeks, we’ve learnt there was a ‘significant possibility’ that Pell was innocent of charges that he committed child sex abuse, but that he was mostly guilty of allowing predator priests to keep abusing children under the church’s care.
“The High Court found a jury had not been acting ‘rationally’. A royal commission found Pell’s versions ‘implausible’. All in an era where a priest is only innocent because no victim has yet come forward.”
The minister doth protest too much: China threatens to strike back against Australia’s own protectionism
“Australia’s barley producers are facing significant anti-dumping tariffs by China. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says the government is ‘deeply concerned’ at the ‘bombshell’ news and is threatening to take the matter to the World Trade Organisation.”
“Do you have an opinion about what the government should do after the pandemic? If so, stand in line. Every think tank, lobby group and rent-seeker in the country is currently in Canberra, following Winston Churchill’s supposed advice to ‘never waste a good crisis’.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
How Jack Mundey and his mates saved Sydney — Dr Meredith Burgmann (The Sydney Morning Herald): “A hero of the labour movement and a giant of international environmentalism is gone. John Bernard (Jack) Mundey died on Sunday aged 90. Mundey was the father of urban environmentalism in Australia. Under his inspired leadership, a humble pick-and-shovel union of builders’ labourers changed the way we think about urban planning and saved the face of Sydney that we know today.”
Coronavirus killed May’s Federal Budget. Now three huge hurdles stand in the way of getting back on track — David Taylor (ABC): “Today should have been Budget night, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg fronting the nation for the second time to convey to the nation his plan to balance the books and forge rock-solid path to sustainable economic growth.”
Ita Buttrose’s plea to older Australians: ‘Don’t let pandemic panic steal your vision’ ($) — Ita Buttrose (Herald Sun): “There’s no doubt Australians heeded the message that they needed to socially isolate if we were to slow down the spread of COVID-19 successfully — which we have. However, it seems some Australians have taken the message not to leave home too literally.”
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