(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

IT’S NOT SO OPEN AND SHUT

According to The Australian ($), at today’s national cabinet meeting the Morrison government is expected to recommend that state and territory leaders bring July recovery plans forward two weeks if trends towards lower infection rates — sitting at about a weekly average of about 12 — continue.

At the state end of things, the ABC reports that borders, public transport regulations, the future of the cabinet itself, and maybe doing something with that flagged $60 billion JobKeeper funding will all be on the agenda.

DO WHAT THE BOSS SAYS: As The Age reports, the government is under additional pressure to revamp elements of JobKeeper after Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe warned recovery efforts could take years.

CHINA PASSES HONG KONG NATIONAL SECURITY LAW

As the ABC reports, China’s parliament has overwhelmingly approved a new law altering Hong Kong’s mini-constitution to tackle “secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference”.

While condemned by multiple countries for threatening civil protest rights and potentially breaching the document that sets out Hong Kong’s partial autonomy, the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, China intends to enact the law before September.

In a joint statement with the UK, Canada and the United States, Australia expressed its “deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong,” and said imposition of the legislation “would curtail the Hong Kong people’s liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode Hong Kong’s autonomy”.

THEM AND US: As The New York Times reports, the US may now remove Hong Kong’s “special status”, threatening its role as trading hub, and treat the city-state as a part of China.

TRUMP V TWITTER

After Twitter dared fact-check Donald Trump’s demonstrably-false rants about mail-in voting, Reuters reports that the president will issue an executive order directing federal agencies to modify the implementation of ”Section 230,” a law protecting internet companies from liability for user-posted content.

The order also includes a review of “unfair or deceptive practices” by Facebook and Twitter, but, according to constitutional experts, the outward attempt to circumvent both Congress and the courts on Section 230 would likely have little legal effect.

US HITS THE 100K MARK: While Trump has successfully engineered a completely new censorship scandal, it is worth mentioning that America’s death toll has officially passed the 100,000 mark. As NPR reported last week, a recent Columbia University study suggests that 36,000 of those people could have been saved had Trump declared a national emergency even a week before his 15 March announcement.

US MAN KILLED IN PROTESTS

A US man has been fatally shot during protests which began in response to the death of African-American man George Floyd, who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer.

As SBS reports, protests are now in their second day, with police firing tear gas and creating human barricades to keep protesters from climbing a fence surrounding the Third Precinct headquarters.

STATE WRAP: NT EASES QUARANTINE RULES

  • The Northern Territory government announced that, from Monday, June 15, the territory will transition from mandatory, monitored quarantine to mandatory, self-quarantine for interstate visitors.
  • The Queensland government made more than $21 million available for existing initiatives supporting the health and wellbeing of First Nations communities during COVID-19. Separately, Queensland’s Small Business Champion, Maree Adshead, will take on new role of Small Business Commissioner until the end of 2020 to guide the sector’s recovery.
  • The Victorian government launched the Business Adaptation grants program under the Working for Victoria Agriculture Workforce Plan, which offers individual grants of between $10,000 and $300,000 to support food supply chain businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas.
  • Today, the NSW government will announce that up to 50 people will be permitted to attend funerals and places of worship from Monday, and up to 20 people will be able to attend weddings (The SMH)
  • The South Australian government announced that wineries, pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to seek to temporarily change or expand their licensed footprint. Separately, the government enlisted five local companies to produce up to 7000 clear plastic face shields per day to support healthcare workers.
  • Finally, Tasmania announced an additional $50,000 to expand Wine Tasmania’s existing industry engagement projects, which include a range of workshops, presentations, training and resources for wine producers.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Alan [Jones], it’s Roger here. Wanted to wish you all the very best for what’s to come and many congratulations on an amazing 35 year career in the media business. Take care and all the best. Bye.

Roger Federer

The tennis legend/otherwise lovely young man delivers a weirdly lovely message ahead of Alan ‘Cronulla Riots’ Jones’ final, blessed radio slot today.

As science communicator Ketan Joshi has since discovered, Jones also got a message from world’s fastest man Usain Bolt. 2GB has since deleted Federer’s original recording, and, folks, there’s a mystery afoot.

CRIKEY RECAP

Dark day for journalism as Murdoch’s global empire sells democracy down the river

“Australian news journalism has never seen a day as black as today — and not just because News Corp has closed 12 of its 17 regional daily newspapers, leaving Australia with just 20 remaining.

“Today also demonstrates the grotesque power of one company — and one family — to decimate a large slice of a country’s news in a single media release.”


The day newspapers died: don’t expect the survivors to last long

“Today’s News Corp conflagration of the venerable regional mastheads from northern NSW and Queensland marks the tipping point where printed newspapers will now endure as a nostalgic luxury good for those few communities that can afford them.

“Among the 100-plus titles slated for shutting are almost half of all Australia’s regional newspapers — 12 dailies out of its 17, leaving no daily papers along the more than 2000km-long regional strip between Newcastle and Townsville. Only the Gold Coast Bulletin and Courier-Mail in the heavily-populated south-east corner of Queensland will be in between.”


Hope comes in the form of a local terrier

“If the arrival of the internet left regional newspapers staggering and dazed, it will be the fallout from COVID-19 that could finally kill them — after what has already been a long, slow death by a thousand cuts.

“And yet there is hope for maintaining a media voice in our country towns and I am proof of that hope.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Children continue to be at risk of lead exposure in Port Pirie and documents reveal a clean-up plan was unlikely to have any major impact

Unions rebuff casual worker trade-off

Andrews given nod by DFAT on China ($)

Santos cool on COVID-19 taskforce’s $6b gas pipe dream

ClubsNSW tells members some venues can reopen with more than 500 patrons from Monday

‘We’ve kicked the can down the road’: Australian businesses brace for slow recovery

Labor languishing in election states Queensland and WA: Newspoll ($)

Israel seeks quarantine-free travel with Australia by December as gateway to Europe

THE COMMENTARIAT

When Christian met Sally – the match made by a pandemicMichelle Grattan (The Conversation): “On the face of it, they’re chalk and cheese. McManus has spent her whole career in the union movement, from when she was a trainee at the ACTU (Combet was a senior officer there at the time). Porter was bred into a Liberal family (his grandfather served as a Queensland politician, his father as a party official); he became West Australian treasurer before moving to federal parliament.”

A white damsel leveraged racial power and failedRuby Hamad (The New York Times): “Her threats to Mr. Cooper have significance in a society that regards black men as persistent threats to white women. They are a brutal reminder that whatever the actual substance of their dispute, she knew that a single cry for help could bring down the weight of white supremacy on his body.”

‘The Cat’ refused to play and scratched Murdoch’s plan AElizabeth Knight (The Sydney Morning Herald):Rupert Murdoch had a plan A to stop the cash burn from News Corp Australia’s 100 regional and suburban print newspapers. His name was Antony Catalano — the man who a year ago bought a suite of Nine Entertainment’s regional titles for $125 million. But two weeks ago ‘the Cat’, as he is known in media circles, turned tail on negotiations with Murdoch’s News Corp to acquire these assets.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Sydney

  • A ceremony commemorating Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander servicemen and servicewomen will be held at the ANZAC Memorial.

Canberra

  • The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements will hold an electronic public hearing on the 2019-20 bushfire season.