XI AGREES TO COVID INQUIRY
The ABC reports that, at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced support for a “comprehensive review” into the COVID-19 outbreak once the pandemic has been brought under control.
Xi, who maintains his government has acted with “openness and transparency” throughout the pandemic — give or take the arrest of Dr Li Wenliang — also committed US$2 billion ($3.09b) over two years towards the response, and has pledged that any vaccine developed in China would be made globally available.
PS: In entirely unrelated news, China has also slapped Australian barley imports with a five-year, 80% tariff that will effectively wipe-out the domestic sales.
COALITION TO DIRECT CLEAN MONEY TO DIRTY PROJECTS
According to RenewEconomy, Angus Taylor will today release a climate policy review led by former Origin Energy CEO and Business Council of Australia president Grant King.
The government has accepted recommendations for the $2 billion Emission Reduction Fund to be opened up for carbon capture and storage — which, as Crikey has reported for the past decade, remains a failed, expensive Trojan Horse for fossil fuels — and abatement payments for major industrial emitters. Taylor also agreed, in principle, for the CEFC and ARENA to become “technology neutral”, despite “clean energy” literally being in the former’s name.
COVID NOT THE CURE: In case anyone was hoping that locking down roughly 4 billion people might do what governments have otherwise failed to, Scientific American reports the pandemic is forecast to shave roughly 5% off global emissions this year — which is good but still falls short of targets.
THE TROUBLE WITH ANTIBODY TESTS
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity has found that a second batch of antibody tests purchased by the federal government are inaccurate, putting the total cost of inaccurate tests at $18.9 million.
As The Conversation explained last week, challenges with the antibody tests relate to both their accuracy and specificity — i.e. whether they detect SARS-CoV-2, and SARS-CoV-2 alone.
A BRIDGES TOO FAR
Finally, if you think the COVID-19 polls have been rough for Anthony Albanese, spare a thought for poor New Zealand National leader Simon Bridges, who, according to a new Newshub/Reid Research, has seen his support as preferred PM more than halved to 4.5%.
Conversely, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has jumped 20.8 points to a record 59.5 approval rating, while the Labour party could easily govern in their own right at 56.5% to National’s 30.6% and current-coalition partner Greens’ 5.5%.
- Victoria outlined further details on their $2.7 billion Building Works package, a plan to create 3700 direct jobs in education infrastructure, social housing, transports and more.
- In an effort to maintain social distancing as restrictions ease, the NSW government released a COVIDSafe* Transport Plan (*not affiliated with the app). The government will also send all students back to school from May 25 (SMH).
- The Northern Territory government opened the second round of their $1.3 million Sport and Active Recreation Sector Immediate Response and Resilience Package.
- South Australia has outlined that cohorts under the Active Testing Surveillance Framework will include health care workers, residential aged care workers, transport workers, homeless persons, prison inmates, and seasonal workers.
- Finally, the ACT government announced a boost in dog adoptions in April.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
[in response to Ivanka Trump and Elon Musk “taking the red pill”]: Fuck both of you
Co-opt The Matrix creator’s concept for your own weird, far-right political rhetoric at your own risk.
“The economic news out of the US continues to worsen even as the daily death toll once again rises into the thousands. According to a Federal Reserve report on Friday, industrial output fell 11.2% in April, including a 13.7% fall in manufacturing output, the largest decline in the 101-year history of the series.”
“In light of our success various commentators that were ‘lockdown sceptics’ from the start — like Adam Creighton, Henry Ergas and Janet Albrechsten — have suggested we could go ‘too far’ or even reinterpreted the success of non-pharmaceutical interventions in Australia as evidence that we may never have needed lockdowns at all, in the case of Creighton.”
“Last week, Australia’s media whipped out their, um, ambit claims and flopped them on the ACCC’s table for the proposed mandatory code of conduct governing Google and Facebook: the platforms should pay struggling media companies $600 million, said Nine chair Peter Costello. No, not enough! Give us a round billion, thundered local News Corp chief Michael Miller.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
On the brink of peril, Australia is left wondering what the mad sheriff has in mind — Peter Hartcher (The Sydney Morning Herald): “But Canberra sent troops into even the dumbest American wars in the belief that it was paying an insurance premium against the day when Australia needed US help. Now that Australia finds itself facing its most precarious geopolitical situation since World War Two, the insurance policy is looking pretty threadbare.”
Remove these roadblocks and our economy will take off ($) — Judith Sloan (The Australian): “In the post-pandemic era, there will be an urgent need for Australia to achieve greater self-reliance and build more stable supply chains. The cheap and easy route of offshoring activities should come to an end. In turn, this will involve the construction and operation of large-scale projects.”
Greens job and income guarantees seek to end the cruelty of neoliberalism — Asher Moses (Voice of Action): “The Greens’ economic recovery plan, released on Monday, is ambitious in that it focuses not just on increased government stimulus in response to the current crisis but also a fundamental reshaping of the economy to tackle climate change and income inequality.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Senate inquiry into the government’s COVID-19 response will hear from Department of Education, Skills and Employment secretaries.