WAR CRIMES ADMISSION
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a senior army officer in charge of Australia’s special forces has admitted some elite soldiers committed war crimes in Afghanistan, blaming their actions on “poor moral leadership” in a confidential March briefing to SAS troops.
In the first direct admission of this kind from military officials, Major General Adam Findlay also admitted that war crimes may have been covered up and that, while it may take special forces a decade to recover, the one silver lining of Justice Paul Brereton’s inquiry is that it demonstrates some soldiers have the courage to blow the whistle.
PS: As Israel’s cabinet finalises their plans to illegally annex up to a third of the already-illegally occupied West Bank, it’s worth highlighting that the Australian government last week stood alone with the Marshall Islands in rejecting UN resolutions that recognised Palestinian self-determination and condemned the annexation.
ECONOMY STILL NEEDS A LIFELINE
A new Grattan Institute report argues that the federal government will need to inject another $70-90 billion over the next six months, in order, as The New Daily reports, to survive the post-COVID economic shock and bring unemployment below 5% by mid-2022.
Incidentally, a poll of 22 leading economists by The Conversation suggests Scott Morrison’s vision of growing GDP “more than one percentage point above trend” through to 2025 — or 4% per year — is something of a mirage, with the panel’s annual forecast averaging just 2.4% over the next four years, falling below the long-term trend, and trailing off around 2023.
NEWSPOLL TO THE RESCUE: In better news for the government, the latest post-COVID Newspoll ($) has Morrison jumping two preferred-PM points to 58-26 to Anthony Albanese and the Coalition holding steady 51-49 over Labor. Leaked internal research ahead of Saturday’s Eden-Monaro byelection also reportedly ($) suggests a jump in the Nats’ vote from 6-to-11.5%, potentially putting the Libs in spitting distance.
NO. IT’S THE YOUTH WHO ARE WRONG.
Following comments from Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton that COVID-19 is in part being spread by asymptomatic people below the age of 40, The Age reports that the proportion of infected young adults has jumped from roughly a quarter of all cases in the first peak to about a third of the current caseload.
The news comes after Dan Andrews yesterday announced that returned travellers who refuse testing will have to spend more than three weeks in quarantine, but suggested the rejection rate of about 30% could, in part, be due to parents refusing to have their kids tested.
SOMYUREK WATCH: On the Andrews government’s other ongoing headache, The Age reports that Darebin mayor Susan Rennie and the Victorian Greens have accused disgraced former Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek of effectively rorting the council system with the March shift to single-member wards. For a throwback Monday, check out Somyurek’s “They Really Said That?” quote for evidence that doesn’t not support that allegation.
LOSING MY RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION’S CHARITY STATUS
According to The New Daily, Scott Morrison and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston have threatened to pull the charity status of 25 “reprehensible” religious organisations named in the royal commission that, ahead of a Tuesday deadline, have not signed up to the national redress scheme.
Elsewhere, The Australian ($) reports that the Catholic Church is quietly closing Catholic Professional Standards Ltd — an agency set up in 2017 to enact 60 commission recommendations i.e. audit risks of sex abuse and enforce new child protection standards — and replace it with a new, potentially less-independent body.
TRUMP STILL TRUMP
Finally, in just the two latest White House controversies, CNN reports that Donald Trump has denied receiving an intelligence briefing claiming Russia tried to bribe Taliban fighters to kill US troops, and, separately, deleted a tweet thanking a supporter who, while arguing with anti-Trump protesters, could be heard chanting “white power”.
PS: As America’s second surge exceeds the 2.5 million mark and overwhelms their national health system, The New York Times reports that Vice-President Mike Pence has stuck with Trump’s largely made up claim that the expansion of testing infrastructure, not eased restrictions, is responsible for the spike in cases (and case ratios) throughout the South.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
An editorial which aired during the Credlin program on Friday 26 June at 6pm AEST, incorrectly linked Melbourne’s South Sudanese community to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Peta Credlin and Sky News Australia accept these comments were inaccurate and sincerely apologise for any offence caused by the remarks which have been removed from all platforms.
The far-right broadcaster is very sorry if you’re offended by allegations that their favourite, “poorly assimilated” community spread COVID-19 at an “end-of-Ramadan feast” — not because it’s vile, racist dog-whistling, of course, just that Credlin got caught not checking her facts.
“Is Andrew Bolt actively trying to fall afoul of the Racial Discrimination Act again?
“And now, in a particularly vile piece, he’s argued that ‘tribalism’ has made Australia weaker, because some of the suburbs in Melbourne experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases have an above-average number of overseas-born residents.”
“But the roots of this current spike, which has hit large migrant and refugee families, could lie in the cultural blind spots that have hindered our pandemic response from the very start.
“Primarily white health experts, politicians and bureaucrats consistently failed to speak to culturally and linguistically diverse communities in a sensitive and appropriate way.
“And Victorians are now paying the price.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Covering black deaths in Australia led me to a breakdown, but that’s the position this country puts Aboriginal journalists in — Allan Clarke (ABC): “Rarely are deaths in custody presented in context; rarely is our culture presented in context; rarely is our history presented in context. For Aboriginal journalists like me, when we begin our careers, we’re expected to take a saw and hack parts of our soul and our lived experiences until they fall away just to get a bloodied foot in the door.”
ABC’s leaders refuse to make real-world cuts ($) — Chris Mitchell (The Australian): “Last week’s Five-Year Plan 2020-2025 reads like high-level jargon cooked up between the ABC marketing department and a commercial market research company to try to fool the federal government into believing real change is under way. It’s replete with motherhood statements about serving audiences but not strong on actual cuts.
Government must spend more to support recovery — Brendan Coates and Danielle Wood (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Qantas laid off 6000 workers last week. Deloitte is cutting 700 jobs. Unless governments act, there’s going to be a lot more of this. Australian governments must urgently develop an economic transition plan for the next six to 12 months.”
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will speak in an interactive CEDA livestream along with other global health leaders on how COVID-19 will transform health care and health systems.
The Wheeler Centre will host livestream event We Are Nemeses: Talking Experimental Comedy with comedians Vidya Rajan and Alistair Baldwin.
The first public hearing for Tasmania’s parliamentary inquiry into the state government’s economic and health response to the COVID-19 pandemic will hear from Premier Peter Gutwein, Treasury Secretary Tony Ferrall and Chief of Staff Andrew Finch.