CHINA PLANS TO BYPASS HONG KONG GOVERNMENT
Following a year of protests in Hong Kong, the Chinese government will today table a resolution enabling its top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, to pass national security legislation targeting the city-state.
While the exact details are yet to be published, Hong Kong paper the South China Morning Post reports the new bill would ban secessionist and subversive activity, foreign interference, and terrorism. As the ABC reports, Donald Trump has denounced the news, while social media posts are already emerging across Hong Kong urging another round of mass protests.
IS A PANDEMIC REALLY THE TIME: According to SCMP, Hong Kong has, with three exceptions, been free of community transmissions since April 19. Watch that space, post-mass protests.
MORE FUEL TO THE AUS-CHINA FIRE
Amidst an emerging trade war between Australia and China, analysts and industry insiders have told The Age that the Chinese government has begun warning state-owned utilities against purchasing Australian thermal coal and to instead focus on domestic orders.
DANDREWS GOES IT ALONE: According to The Australian ($), FOI documents obtained from the Victorian opposition show Daniel Andrews’ Department of Premier and Cabinet refused DFAT access to details of national security before signing up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative in October 2018.
CLASS ACTION CRACKDOWN
Finally, just two days after Crikey outlined why, in lieu of ASIC growing a spine, class action lawsuits are necessary for major businesses to play fair, The Australian ($) reports that Josh Frydenberg will today announce regulations requiring litigation funders to hold an Australian financial services licence and comply with the managed investment scheme regime.
PS: Sadly, The Guardian reports that the pandemic has forced Christian Porter to delay the draft bill for a Commonwealth Integrity Commission. Priorities!
STATE WRAP: EKKA LONG WEEKEND, VIRTUAL
- Queensland has moved the state’s Ekka Show public holiday from Wednesday August 12 to Friday August 14 to create a one-year-only ‘People’s Long Weekend’ and provide stimulus for the tourism industry.
- The government also announced that they have made more than 100,000 phone calls to seniors across the state to find out how they are going during the crisis, and ask if the Care Army can help.
- The ABC reports that Victoria’s Year 12 students will sit their final exams in November and have results by the end of the year, following weeks of uncertainty.
- Additionally, the government announced a virtual Regional Roundtable series, to be hosted by regional partnerships to understand local impacts of the pandemic, and revealed that 12 new Aboriginal Housing Victoria houses will be built under the new $500 million public and community housing fund, while $35 million will go to upgrades for existing Aboriginal social housing.
- The Western Australian government has established an urgent review of skills, training and workforce development in response to COVID-19.
- The ACT government announced that Libraries ACT’s 20th ‘National Simultaneous Storytime’ will launch online at 11 am on Wednesday 27 May 2020.
- Finally, in just a nice end to the week, the ABC reports that South Australia’s last remaining COVID-19 patient has left Royal Adelaide Hospital.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Lives are being destroyed, and the Premier’s conducting some social experiment here. They could make a call today that the borders could reopen in July, and you would have those tourism operators at least with some light at the end of the tunnel.
The guy who runs offshore refugee camps, tried to deport Indigenous Australians, and locked up a family of four on Christmas Island is worried Queensland’s border restrictions are destroying lives.
“Why the hell would anyone start a regional newspaper in the middle of a pandemic?
“For Michael Waite, there wasn’t a more important time for his home town of Naracoorte in South Australia to have its own paper. Australian Community Media (ACM) had just closed down regional papers across the country.”
“A Senate committee inquiry into domestic violence, established after the murder of Hannah Clarke and her three children in February, wrapped up three months early yesterday without any submissions or public hearings.
“One woman is killed every nine days by a partner, while one in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or previous partner they lived with.”
“Interestingly, the dramatic rise in Morrison’s popularity has not been matched by support for the Coalition. The latest Newspoll has it ahead of Labor by just 51 to 49 on a two-party-preferred basis. That’s a relatively minor change from the pre-pandemic position in January when Labor was ahead by 51 to 49.
“Compare this with the position across the Tasman where the poll numbers for New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Labour Party have both jumped.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
We were prepared to act on COVID-19, but will we do the same on climate? — Waleed Aly (The Sydney Morning Herald): “What exactly do we think of expert advice? It seems an opportune moment to ask because we’re at a point in our COVID-19 experience where it feels as though lots more is up for grabs. Witness, for example, the growing niggle between our various governments as NSW and the Commonwealth pressure Western Australia, South Australia and especially Queensland to open their borders.”
Coronavirus: Daniel Andrews is in a state of half-witted delusion over China ($) — Greg Sheridan (The Australian): “Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, in my view, is behaving foolishly, incompetently and in effective, if not intentional, betrayal of Australia’s national interests in his embrace of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, and in his government’s bad-mouthing of his own country in relation to the series of disputes between Beijing and Canberra.”
Journalists on the ramparts — Hamish McDonald (Inside Story): “Instead of cool rationality, a wave of patriotic flag-waving took hold of senior members of the press gallery, urged on by China hawks in Canberra’s military-industrial circles. The latter notably include Peter Jennings, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, financed by the defence department, military suppliers including Lockheed Martin, BAE, Northrop Grumman, Thales and Raytheon, and the governments of Japan and Taiwan.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Victorian Nationals will hold their state conference.