POLICE VIOLENCE ESCALATES OVER NEW PROTESTS
Protests sparked by the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd erupted over the weekend across at least 30 American states, with CNN reporting that cities such as Atlanta, New York and Washington have experienced mostly peaceful protests as well as outbreaks of vandalism, fires and violence. In Detroit, another man has been fatally shot after an unknown suspect fired shots into a crowd from a vehicle.
The surge in Black Lives Matter protests come after the officer videoed holding his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, Derek Chauvin, was on Friday charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter; Floyd’s family has since called for first-degree charges and the charging of all four officers involved in Floyd’s death.
AUSTRALIA TO MARCH: Here in Australia — where we have recorded at least one Indigenous death in custody per a month since 1991, as The Guardian reported last year — Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance has planned solidarity marches in Melbourne and Brisbane this Saturday.
After breaking Twitter’s rules for glorifying violence over the US protests, Donald Trump has announced that he will not order the military to get involved. However, The Nation reports that the military is reportedly monitoring demonstrations in at least seven US states.
For their part, members of the police and national guard have reacted in a completely normal fashion by:
- tear-gassing, beating, shoving, tasering, and firing non-lethal pellets at protestors, reporters and/or residents filming from their own property;
- pulling a complying man’s COVID-19 mask off in order to pepper spray him (New York);
- driving a vehicle into crowds (New York);
- pepper spraying African-American congresswoman Joyce Beatty (Columbus);
- allegedly macing a little girl (Seattle);
- beating Sixteen Candles’ heartthrob John Cusack and his bike (Chicago);
- joining protesters (New Jersey); and
- back in Minneapolis arresting journalists including one Nine team and — before getting around to the officer very clearly shown killing Floyd — black CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his TV crew.
DRUGS FOR MATES
According to The Guardian, the federal government has given major pathology companies lucrative COVID-19 contracts via limited tenders, protected their closed collection centres from takeovers, increased subsidies after industry lobbying, waived regular registration fees and promised additional assistance outside of JobKeeper.
In an unrelated bit of happenstance, The Age reports that a website set up by Nationals MP George Christensen to back his push for a China-COVID inquiry is linked to a business promoting sugar pills to treat urinary tract infections.
WHAT NEXT FOR STIMULUS? As The Australian ($) and The New Daily report, the Morrison government plans to sign off on a fourth stimulus package this week that could include home renovation grants, home buyer grants, and $1.75b in federal funding to the NSW government to fast-track construction of the Western Sydney Airport metro rail line service.
ROBODEBT WAS UNLAWFUL, SORRY-NOT-SORRY
Finally, as The New Daily reports, former Labor leader and Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten has hit out at the federal government for acting like a “legalised mafia” over Robodebt, after Attorney-General Christian Porter admitted the scheme was unlawful and flawed but refused to apologise for it.
That Insiders interview followed the government’s Friday afternoon news drop that $720 million will be refunded for about 470,000 falsely-claimed welfare payments, and came just a few hours before, as The Guardian reports, they confirmed mutual obligations will resume for jobseekers from 9 June.
STATE WRAP: QUEENSLAND NEW ROADMAP FOR REMOTE COMMUNITIES
- Following consultation with state Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, the Queensland government unveiled a three-stage plan to ease quarantine restrictions in remote communities; key to the new roadmap will be transitioning from federal government-designated biosecurity areas to state-based arrangements under Chief Health Officer directions. Two other state updates include:
- unlimited intrastate travel from midday today — excluding those biosecurity or restricted zones for Indigenous communities — and increased capacity for bars, restaurants and cafes from 10 to 20 people; and
- a target of 25% of all government purchases to come from state small and medium sized businesses from July 1, a target that will be extended to 30% by June 30, 2022.
- The NSW Government has announced a $3 billion Infrastructure and Job Acceleration Fund — which includes around $800 million redirected from the now-cancelled refurbishment of Stadium Australia — to be used for smaller, shovel-ready projects aimed at creating up to an extra 20,000 jobs.
- Victoria extended their State of Emergency another three weeks, until June 21. This comes after the government announced plans on Friday to solidify the “if you can work from home, you must work from home” rule as a new directive from the Chief Health Officer;
- From today, Tasmanian hospitals will allow visits between 2pm and 6pm, with a maximum of one visitor per patient at a time for most areas.
- Additionally, the state will this week introduce the Building and Construction (Regulatory Reform Amendments) Bill, a “red tape cutting” bill that includes legislative timeframes for the permit process for energy, water, sewerage services, and some planning processes that are not currently subject to any timeframes.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
[to American protestors]: I really appreciate you giving your perspective mate, because people in Australia don’t have the understanding of the history of police killings and things here.
Just six days after a WA police officer pleaded not guilty to murdering Aboriginal woman Joyce Clarke, the Today Show‘s US correspondent captures an embarrassingly-Australian level of bewilderment over racial violence.
“Beijing’s swift action to tighten its grip on the once-freewheeling financial centre of Hong Kong has handed Australia yet another problem in its increasingly fractured relationship with the People’s Republic of China.
“To make matters worse, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wants to remove Hong Kong’s special status for trade and investment.”
“Just who — or what — is a Scott Morrison? That’s the question that Australia’s media have been grappling with over the past seven days as Morrison attempts a narrative reset, the PM twisting from pivot to pivot in the face of the challenges of the post-COVID times.
“He’s not the first politician to wrestle that particular greasy pig. But he’s the first prime minister to try it through a fractured media where News Corp has exchanged public power wielded through its tabloid front pages for inner-party influence delivered by its Sky commentary and op-eds in The Australian.”
“As Australian media reels from the dismantling of its regional newspaper business, can I dare to suggest that perhaps it is not all Rupert Murdoch’s fault.
“I’m not saying News Corp’s decision was anything but its own, or that the company didn’t make mistakes. I’m simply saying that it is not alone. Nor even first. Just the biggest.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
We must bear witness to black deaths in our own country — Amy McQuire (Substack/The Canberra Times): “On Tuesday, the police officer charged with the murder of Aboriginal woman Joyce Clarke entered a not guilty plea. You may not have heard about it. In a search of the Factiva database over the past three months, I found only one article on Ms Clarke’s death — an AAP wire story that privileges the quote of the WA commissioner police over that of Ms Clarke’s community (‘it was, the report said, ‘one of the saddest days’ in his career). Earlier today, NITV published a piece quoting Ms Clarke’s mother.”
Unis must put free speech above power and profit ($) — Jennifer Oriel (The Australian): “An Australian university that suspends a student for protesting against Chinese Communist Party influence is neither Australian nor a university. On Friday, a University of Queensland panel decided to bar student Drew Pavlou until 2022. It prevents the politics student from completing his final year. Thus far, UQ has protected the faceless cowards who made the appalling decision.”
You may have just had the most expensive coffee of your life — Andrew Charlton (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Early access to superannuation has formed part of the Morrison government’s support package to help households through COVID-19. But new data shows the policy is not working as planned. For thousands of Australians, instead of tempering the crisis, the withdrawal of retirement savings will ensure its effects are felt for decades to come.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Today is National Reconciliation Day.