Crossroads Hotel COVID-19
(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

MELBOURNE LINKED TO CROSSROADS CLUSTER

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney’s Crossroads Hotel outbreak has been genomically linked to Melbourne cases as the state prepares for community transmission and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian draws a line on adopting an elimination response.

With updates from both Victoria and NSW’s outbreaks coming thick and fast, some morning highlights:

  • The Herald Sun ($) reports that Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) staff failed to alert Australian Food Group after a worker at their Laverton North abattoir tested positive
  • According to The Guardian, all COVID-19-positive residents of Menarock Life Essendon — Melbourne’s most heavily-impacted aged care home — have been moved to hospital as the state faces 35 impacted facilities
  • More than 14,000 doctors and other healthcare workers have signed up for relief work across overstretched Melbourne hospitals, as The Age reports that at least 114 healthcare workers are infected while hospitalisation and ICU rates grow
  • And according to the ABC, four men will face court in Adelaide after allegedly stowing away on an interstate freight train from Melbourne.

THE THEORY THAT WILL NEVER DIE: According to The Australian ($), DHHS has confirmed an as yet undefined link between a “North Melbourne Family” cluster of around 30 cases — which includes two H&M workers who tested positive after attending the June 6 Black Lives Matter protest but were respectively “not infectious at the time of the rally” and “not thought to have acquired the infection from the protest” — and the 242-odd North Melbourne/Flemington towers outbreak.

Crikey has every faith that circuitous, some might say deeply tenuous link will be treated for what it is over at News Corp.

IT’S MY WAY OR THE HUAWEI

Chinese technology company Huawei has been banned from Britain’s 5G network by the UK government, and in a move the ABC reports will cost up to £2 billion ($3.6 billion), existing infrastructure from the Chinese technology giant will be removed. The decision follows sustained lobbying from the Trump administration — as well as from government backbenchers — for Boris Johnson to reverse his initial approval of limited integration.

ON THE HOME FRONT: While the Morrison government has equally led the charge against Huawei, new Australian publication The Klaxon reports the Coalition has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars sending university students on month-long “immersion” trips to the company’s Shenzhen headquarters.

PALACE GUARDS

According to The Age, Buckingham Palace has issued a statement following the release of the Palace Letters by maintaining that Queen Elizabeth II played “no part” in the dismissal of Gough Whitlam, a key claim during the 1975 dismissal that appears to have been supported by a letter to the Queen written on the day by then-governor-general John Kerr.

However as Crikey explored yesterday, the letters demonstrate that Kerr did receive legal advice from the Queen’s private secretary Sir Martin Charteris.

AN EYE FOR AN EYE MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD BLIND

According to the ABC, the federal US Bureau of Prisons has executed white supremacist and convicted murderer Daniel Lewis Lee — the first execution since 2003 after the Trump administration reinstated the death penalty at the federal level. Lee professed his innocence just before being killed by lethal injection.

Elsewhere, a video investigation by The Washington Post has found US police partially blinded eight people on a single day of the George Floyd protests, evidence of which undermines official statements. Six protesters, one photojournalist and a passerby were left partially blind after being hit, during May 30 rallies that spanned California to Ohio, by bean-bag rounds, pepper-balls, and, in one case, a gas canister.

HOW MUCH DOES A NEW EYE COST? For a reminder of just where privatised healthcare gets a country, a study by consumer advocacy group Families USA found that a record 5.4 million American workers lost their health insurance between February and May.

DON’T MIFF OUT

Finally, in just a tiny bit of joy in a city that’s set for at least five more weeks of lockdown, the Melbourne International Film Festival has launched their program for the digital MIFF 68½.

Alternatively, for a more art-deco-cum-black-comedy artistic vision, check out the new Do Not Visit Victoria social media campaign.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Find something new.

The White House’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board

Three months after America hit a record 14.7% unemployment — and with negotiations stalled on a second series of whopping US$1200 stimulus cheques — the White House’s latest ad campaign doesn’t not read like a gigantic middle finger.

CRIKEY RECAP

Palace letters show just how much the Queen knew about the Dismissal

“According to Hocking, letters between Kerr and the palace are key to those two events: the blocking of supply on October 17, and Whitlam’s move to call a half-Senate election around November 6. Five days later, on November 11, the governor-general dismissed the Whitlam government and appointed Fraser caretaker prime minister.

“Hocking describes the volume of correspondence between Kerr and Charteris as ‘dramatic’ and a major departure from the convention of governors-general before and since.”


Conflict of Interest: Crown is part of Australia’s hotel quarantine story, so why is a board member running the hotel inquiry?

“Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wasted no time announcing an inquiry into the botched Victorian scheme earlier this month. And on Friday, Scott Morrison launched a nationwide review of all hotel quarantine arrangements, led by the former health department secretary Jane Halton.

“Halton seems like an obvious choice to lead the nationwide inquiry — an experienced bureaucrat and public servant who was already on the government’s National COVID-19 Coordination Commission and has weathered such storms as the children overboard scandal when she was head of John Howard’s people smuggling task force.


The politics of the pandemic are yet to begin

“While ordinary Australians were worrying about — or taking schadenfreude from — the growing viral outbreak in Victoria last week, the political class stopped to engage in some tea leaf-reading about a by-election in rural NSW.

“Eden-Monaro ended up being won — to the chagrin of many in the press gallery and News Corp — by Labor’s Kristy McBain over Liberal climate denialist Fiona Kotvojs, in what was billed as a test for Labor leader Anthony Albanese.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Government may not repay 200 Centrelink debts raised using ‘unlawful’ method

‘Best doctors and nurses’: Australia leads world in COVID-19 ICU survival rates 

$56 coffee: Cape York food prices a ‘disgrace’ ($)

Workers pay price as gig economy avoids regulations, inquiry finds

Morrison government forges ahead with penalty rate cuts

International students turn to foodbanks as casual work dries up in second Melbourne lockdown

Tech stock bubble warnings rise amid coronavirus rally

Experts deride ‘snake oil’ mental health claims for $498m Australian War Memorial expansion

NZ opposition leader quits just weeks after taking on the job

Health experts: Miami COVID-19 outbreak similar to one seen in Wuhan

US executes convicted murderer Daniel Lewis Lee, the first federal execution in almost two decades

GovExec Daily: How the President’s ‘deep state’ rhetoric affects feds (podcast)

THE COMMENTARIAT

Cutting taxes for the wealthy is the worst possible response to this economic crisisJohn Quiggin (The Conversation): “The primary rationale for early tax cuts is that they will stimulate demand. But the economy’s real problem is not inadequate demand — particularly not on the part of high-income earners. On the contrary, the problem for high-income earners is having a steady income even as many of the things they usually spend on (high-end restaurant meals, interstate and overseas holidays) have become unobtainable.”

Lay Down Sally McManus betrays all her flock ($) — Janet Albrechtsen (The Australian): “Late last week, the ACTU secretary made it clear she would not support the Morrison government bringing forward income tax cuts for Australian workers in the October budget. In effect, she has told workers that she, and the union movement, and their fully funded political arm, the Labor Party, do not believe workers deserve to have more of their own money returned to their pockets because they can’t be trusted to spend it wisely.”

Making the AFL a safer workplace for allCeleste Liddle (Eureka Street): “My mother’s side of the family contains several generations of Collingwood supporters. These were old school Collingwood types — working class white folks that earnt a crust in the many factories which were dotted around the area and now mostly contain luxury apartments. Family tradition continues now — my mother and father have tried to ‘claim’ my nephews and niece for their team and Collingwood is winning out over Geelong, no matter how much my Arrernte father states that the ‘great Polly Farmer’ changed his life.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • ASIC chair James Shipton and other senior officials will appear before the parliamentary joint committee on corporations and financial services.

Sydney

  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will present a CEDA address on her government’s priorities for economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia

  • The Australia Institute and ANTaR will host Sovereignty and Treaty with Professor Megan Davis, National Native Title Council Jamie Lowe, and Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chair Michael Mansell.

Peter Fray

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