CUMMINGS AND GOINGS
Amidst strict quarantine rules, CNN reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to sack senior adviser and Brexit mastermind Dominic Cummings over multiple lockdown breaches.
Despite calls from Tory MPs for Cummings’ resignation, Johnson said Cummings had “no alternative” but to drive 420km across England to stay with his parents while his wife was sick with COVID-19 symptoms. He did not, however, explain Cummings’ other alleged travels in and out of north England.
WELL AT LEAST SOMEONE WILL BE PUNISHED: Following Johnson’s address, Sky News reports that the government will investigate a (now deleted) tweet from the Official Civil Service account reading “Arrogant and offensive. Can you imagine having to work with these truth twisters?”.
COALITION STANDS FIRM ON JOBKEEPER
According to The New Daily, a number of economists have called on the Morrison government to reinvest the $60 billion saved through undersubscription to the JobKeeper wage subsidy, either to the more than 1 million casual workers who were deemed ineligible or to other under-served areas.
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However, writing in The Australian ($) today, Josh Frydenberg has again maintained “there are no plans for wholesale changes to the eligibility criteria under JobKeeper”.
FUN FACT: That op-ed mentions “JobSeeker” and “long-term casuals” once, “Labor” five times, and “Disability Support Pension/temporary visas holders/undocumented workers” a total zero times.
POLITICAL PRESSURE RAMPS UP CLIMATE ACTION
Ahead of the Royal Commission into the Black Summer bushfires, The Guardian reports that six in ten Eden-Monaro respondents to a new GetUp poll believe the Coalition is not doing enough to tackle climate change.
However, with a coalition of 15 industry and community groups set to call for dual climate action and economic stimulus today, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Energy Minister Angus Taylor will not make any cuts under the “safeguard mechanism” mandatory lest it turn into a carbon tax.
BUT WILL THEY LISTEN TO MINERS? Over at The Australian ($), the Minerals Council of Australia are calling for yet another cut to company tax and faster project approvals to unlock “$100 billion” in resource investment.
Finally, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has indicated that a trans-Tasman “travel bubble” could be created between NSW, Victoria and New Zealand even if Queensland holds out with state border controls.
STATE WRAP: VIC’S NEW SCHEDULE AND NSW’S $50M ARTS PACKAGE
- Victoria announced a new timeline for reopening the state, the most significant change being an increase in indoor and outdoor gatherings and cultural, sporting and community spaces to 20 people from midnight Sunday, 31 May.
- The NSW government launched a $50 million COVID-19 ‘Rescue and Restart’ package for the state’s arts and cultural sector, and announced state beauty and nail salons can reopen with other businesses from 1 June.
- The Queensland government welcomed the Study Queensland Luhrmann Appeal, a donation campaign launched by Lilly Luhrmann — daughter of film legend Baz — to be run in partnership with the state’s lead international education unit Study Queensland, charity “warehouse” GIVIT, and the Queensland Government Care Army.
- Ahead of biosecurity restrictions easing on 5 June, the NT government will today launch intra-Territory tourism campaign ‘Time to be a Territorian’.
- The South Australian government announced the $5 million Nature-Based Tourism Co-Investment Fund, to run under the existing $22 million Parks 2025 program to fast-track recovery after both coronavirus restrictions and bushfires devastated much of the state.
- Tasmania outlined an expansion of the state’s mobile testing sites and cohort categories for targeted testing, and will expand their ‘Click & Collect’ service across more libraries this week.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Because of the perceptions of conflict of interest [Nev Power] has stepped back from participating in board meetings and will not participate in the decisions of the board [of Strike Energy].
A spokesperson for the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission
Two days after a commission stacked with gas execs recommends the solution to a recession be more gas, the chair addresses conflict of interest concerns by skipping a few board meetings. Problem solved!
“By the time he died, David Harris had lost access to all but one of the services which had kept him in this world. Bounced from service to service as programs were defunded — sometimes referred to some that didn’t even exist — the amount of care and contact Harris had with the community was cut back at every step.”
What lies beneath must be resurfaced — or the media is not doing its job to expose power and corruption
“If Donald Trump announced he was going to hand money to a major fossil fuel company, which happened to be a large Republican donor and whose former executives worked in his administration, what would you think?
“What if it was money from an allocation notionally for reducing carbon emissions, and it was for something that actually involved greater fossil fuel use?”
“On Monday, biotech company Moderna’s claim of positive results in COVID-19 vaccine trials was covered in various degrees of breathlessness on Fox News, NBC, CNN and PBS. In Australia, there were stories in the ABC and The Sydney Morning Herald (and a mention in Crikey).
“Billions of dollars were added to the value of the company almost instantly. Its shares jumped almost 20%.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Not so fast: why bullet trains can’t revive NSW’s regions or relieve the pressure on Sydney — Marion Terrill (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Faster regional trains were never likely to take much pressure off Sydney, nor revitalise regional cities and towns. And a new Grattan Institute report shows that is even more true now. Some regional rail upgrades may be worthwhile, but the label of ‘fiscal stimulus’ is not a licence to abandon cost-benefit discipline.”
Coronavirus: Cynical Palaszczuk exploits fear to save jobs … hers ($) — Nick Cater (The Australian): “Yet we have reached the point in the Queensland electoral cycle where the only jobs that seem to matter are those of the governing party and its salaried acolytes. The Premier – who is also Minister for Trade – seems indifferent to the jobs at risk from severing the economic artery that runs across the 69th parallel.”
Millions left to starve despite $60 billion in government’s back pocket — Asher Moses (Voice of Action): “Frydenberg also remains committed to reducing the Jobseeker dole payment in September to the $40 a day poverty level it was at before the crisis. This will be a hard line to maintain as only last week Deputy Treasurer Michael Sukkar said hypothetically if Jobkeeper was only supporting 3 million people (rather than the 6 million thought to be on it at the time) then there would be a case for ‘wholesale changes’ to Jobkeeper eligibility.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements during the 2019-20 bushfire season will hold an electronic public hearing.
Queensland and NSW
All students can return to school for face-to-face learning from today.