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Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

BORDER FARCE

As The Australian ($) reports, Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has declared that he sees no medical reason to maintain border shutdowns, and that it will take some time for southern states to meet Queensland’s requirement for four weeks with zero cases.

With WA, SA, NT, Queensland and Victoria still staying put, this has meant a number of truly wild follow-up stories:

  • Pauline Hanson has suggested a High Court challenge against Annastacia Palaszczuk. Hanson has engaged a pro bono constitutional lawyer and called for any Queensland business impacted by border lockdown to contact her office (Courier-Mail $)
  • The head of Canberra Airport Stephen Byron has written to both Queensland and South Australia for an exemption for the ACT, which hasn’t had a new case in two whole weeks (ABC)
  • Victorian tourism operators are “pleading for a date” for intrastate travel from Premier Dan Andrews, after NSW announced the June 1 launch (Herald Sun $)
  • The NT News ($) has ascribed Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s decision to hold off to “the threat from coronavirus-riddled ‘southerners’.”

PS: The Daily Telegraph ($) reports that Gladys Berejiklian has proposed an exception to the travel ban for foreign ­students in a bid to support ­regional universities.

ON THE ROADMAP TO NOWHERE

After a double-whammy of fossil fuel leaders getting paid by the government to recommend fossil projects, the ABC reports that Angus Taylor has released the government’s 30 year Technology Investment Roadmap.

While the discussion paper considers the potential of more than 140 technologies, including hydrogen, renewables, biofuels and (surprise surprise) gas and carbon capture, The Age’s Nick O’Malley notes that it also “includes no goals, no discussion, no prediction of how much less carbon the nation will emit over the coming years should Taylor’s roadmap be followed.”

FURTHER: The Guardian reports that a leaked draft report by a the COVID-19 Commission’s manufacturing taskforce — headed by Dow Chemical executive Andrew Liveris — recommends the Morrison government use taxpayer funds to “create the market” for gas and build fossil fuel infrastructure that would operate for decades. Three for three, baby!

AND TODAY’S DANGEROUS TRUMP NEWS IS…

NY Daily News reports that progressive watchdog the Center for Media and Democracy has obtained a leaked recording of Republican political operatives planning to seek out conservative doctors to serve as mouthpieces for President Donald Trump’s push to reopen the economy, even as COVID-19 rages.

STATE WRAP: MUSIC LIAISON, PLANNING REFORM AND PRISON E-VISITS

  • Yesterday, the Victorian government appointed general manager of the Victorian Music Development Office, Bonnie Dalton, in a newly-launched Music Industry Liaison role to help advise on support measures for the state’s music economy. The government also announced that parliament will return to scheduled sittings from the start of June.
    • Today, The Age reports that the government is planning to expand powers of protective services officers to patrol shopping strips and commercials centres long after the pandemic is over, which seems about right.
  • The Western Australian government introduced the Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2020, which includes 26 planning reforms to “simplify the planning system, cut red tape and increase support for small business” throughout the state’s economic recovery.
  • From Friday June 5, all cafes and restaurants in South Australia will be permitted to seat up to a total of 20 patrons (10 inside and 10 outside) as well as sell alcohol to diners.
  • Tasmania announced that more than 170 inmates at the Risdon Prison facility have now been able to connect with family and friends through virtual visits; one inmate “has even had a virtual visit from his family in the US, the first time he has seen them in over two years”. Which feels like a two year blind spot.
  • Finally, the ACT outlined their three-week, three-stage return to school schedule and launched new playground and park rules focusing on hygiene, physical distancing, the maximum capacity of 10, and just staying home if you’re sick.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

New South Wales had the Ruby Princess — I mean, seriously? And they are trying to give us advice on our borders? Do you think I should listen to them? I’m not listening to them.

Mark McGowan

The most popular premier in Australia ($) is a soft no on reopening borders.

CRIKEY RECAP

‘How are we going to know who’s died?’ The cost of losing regional news

“When the town of Braidwood, near Canberra, lost its local newspaper, some residents asked a very simple journalistic question: ‘How are we going to know who’s died?’

“Obituaries, council notices and local sport — these had been essential in keeping the community informed and connected. Now they were gone.”


Government procured itself a serious problem when it signed up to trade treaty

“Government procurement will be the key tool for onshoring more manufacturing, Industry Minister Karen Andrews will say in a major speech today.

“That speech was, as is now standard practice, handed to newspaper journalists ahead of delivery to get some morning coverage. As is also now standard practice, the speech won’t get proper analysis because it will be old news by the time it is delivered.”


Phone ban push gives Border Force new powers, treats detainees as criminals

“Even the most casual observer of our treatment of asylum seekers might raise an eyebrow at the definitive statement that we can rely on our ABF to exercise its discretion judiciously. For those with more detailed knowledge of what goes on in detention centres, well, we know that that is bullshit.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Casual workers win big on annual leave, sick leave in landmark ruling

Insult to Hannah: Outrage as Senate ends violence inquiry early, without submissions

Cyclone Amphan slams into Indian, Bangladesh coast

Labor Treasurer Tim Pallas lashes out at Morrison government as China deal deadline looms ($)

Insurers back plan for private health plans to cover kids up to age 30

Findings from Afghanistan war crimes investigation will cause ‘distress’ for some elite soldiers, judge warns

Virgin Australia: fresh call for government bailout as stricken airline’s cash reserves dwindle

Pathology groups threatened COVID-19 test ban at height of pandemic

Russia says many coronavirus patients died of other causes, putting its official COVID-19 death toll in doubt

THE COMMENTARIAT

The RBA misread the economic upheaval of the 1970s, and I fear it is againJohn Hewson (The Age): “I have an unnerving feeling of deja vu. I’m thinking of a time when Reserve Bank modelling and resultant forecasts were completely inadequate in the unfolding circumstances, such that it missed the significance of important structural shifts in economic and social relationships. In short, it resulted in it completely misreading the situation, and thereby misinforming the policy process.”

Eden-Monaro: There’s a golden rule about by-elections, but neither party is buying it ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “It is also fair to say that the Opposi­tion Leader has more to lose if he fails than the Prime Minist­er does, despite Albanese’s mates and occasional enemies dismissing suggestions his leadership would be threatened, ostensibly because they all appreciate how difficult it will be to retain the seat. That sounds logical, except polit­icians don’t always behave rationally after a loss, despite what they say beforehand. Even if they do, blows to morale inevitably feed into disunity.”

House Democrats’ HEROES Act is a huge giveaway to the richAndrew Perez (Jacobin): “Instead of covering the uninsured through Medicare or Medicaid, Democrats decided it would be better to pay COBRA premiums through January for people who have lost their health insurance. COBRA is expensive and wouldn’t help Americans who were already uninsured — but the move would deliver more revenue to the health care industry that wants the government to pay top-dollar to keep people on the insurance plans they just lost.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • The COVID-19 Senate inquiry will hear from the Attorney-General’s Department, Fair Work Commission, Fair Work Ombudsman, and Treasury.

Sydney

  • The National Tertiary Education Union will hold a protest convoy to demand relief funding for universities denied international student income by the coronavirus.

  • Casey Donovan will play Drive-In Entertainment’s first, free “drive in concert” at midday in Tempe.

Melbourne

  • Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal academic Alison Whittaker will host a Wheeler Centre digital showcase for Fire Front, a new anthology of First Nations poetry, to feature readings from Tony Birch, Raelee Lancaster, Evelyn Araluen and more.

Australia

  • Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will deliver a digital address to the Rural Press Club.

  • Water Minister Keith Pitt will discuss the future of the Murray Darling Basin at a Rural Press Club of Victoria webinar.

Peter Fray

This crisis will cut hard and deep but one day it will be over.

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Peter Fray
Editor-In-Chief of Crikey

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