Covid-19
(Image: AAP/James Gourley)

SICK AND TIRED

At least 150 Victorian health care workers are currently infected with COVID-19, with The Age reporting an increase of 36 cases in the sector in just two days. The state’s record 317 new COVID-19 cases yesterday brings the total number of active cases to 2128, with 109 people in hospital including 29 in intensive care.

Although the state has once again paused category three elective surgeries, the ABC notes that Dan Andrews has rejected a rumoured “Stage Four” lockdown for now — which could include everything from more school and business closures to mandatory masks in public.

However, as the Herald Sun reports, the Victorian government has clarified that “unreasonable travel” for those locked down in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire “would include travel within the restricted area to exercise or outdoor recreation where that type of exercise can be done closer to home,” suggesting that travelling outside of neighbourhoods could result in fines.

Finally, The Age reports that Victoria’s Health Department told a Werribee aged care home in the midst of their outbreak it could not transfer four residents who tested positive to the hospital and would need to manage its own workforce to look after them.

SA UPDATE: With South Australia recording their first case in a fortnight after a Victorian — who had tested negative after flying in from overseas — entered the state, Premier Steven Marshall has announced coronavirus testing will be mandatory for those travelling into the state from Victoria, with anyone entering from midnight on Saturday required to take the test within 24 hours and then again on their 12th day of quarantine.

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

According to The New Daily, the Morrison government will invest $400 million into the Location Incentive program — via JobMaker — to entice filmmakers to the country, after the program helped support forthcoming blockbusters such as Godzilla vs Kong, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

But in less whizz-bang recovery news, the AFR ($) reports that Scott Morrison has flagged extending COVID-19-era exemptions to the Fair Work Act for employers who no longer use JobKeeper, a move that puts him on a collision course with Labor and unions.

The announcements come after new ABS figures put unemployment at a 22-year high of 7.4% — a figure that, as the Sydney Morning Herald notes, would be closer to 12% it included the 230,000 people on JobKeeper and 370,000 who left the job market.

JOBS WATCH: According to The Australian ($), new modelling by Australia’s “Group of Eight” universities forecasts 6700 jobs will be lost as a lack of foreign students creates a $2 billion fiscal cliff.

WHAT’S THE MATTER? CHICKEN?

According to an Age investigation, Labor Party documents detailing allegations of corruption, forgery and branch-stacking were removed from a staffer to former Victorian government minister Marlene Kairouz’s garage and dumped in a suburban chicken shop’s bin just weeks after Victoria’s anti-corruption commission announced a probe into similar allegations facing state ministers.

Tony Peng — the staffer to Kairouz, the ALP powerbroker who resigned following branch-stacking allegations against her and Adem Somyurek — has reportedly blamed his 24-year-old son for removing the documents from the garage and binning them four km away.

REST INSURED

With the US experiencing a second wave so intense that 22 states and two territories have set daily COVID-19 records since July 1 you might be surprised to hear that, according to Axios, health insurer UnitedHealth Group has registered a record $6.6 billion in profits in their second quarter.

Apparently, even after a record 5.4 million workers lost their health insurance due to COVID-19’s economic impact, more Americans held off on going to the doctor or hospital for elective operations, which in turn resulted in fewer medical claims that needed to be paid.

VATICAN TELLS BISHOPS TO REPORT SEXUAL ABUSE

Finally, and only a couple of centuries too late, the Vatican has released a new manual that, although the ABC notes it lacks the force of a new law, directs bishops to report sexual abuse by priests to competent civil authorities.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Earlier today, this account stated that Sarah Henderson had linked Melbourne’s current spike in COVID cases with the BLM protests. Senator Henderson made the comments referenced in that tweet on June 21. She was not referring to Melbourne’s subsequent spike when she made them.

Q+A

In a sure sign of a conspiracy theory hitting saturation point, the ABC’s flagship panel show issues a clarification after spruiking Monday’s episode with a technically-misconstrued BLM dog-whistle. Tip: if they wanted someone much less subtle, maybe bring Eric Abetz back?

CRIKEY RECAP

Suppression versus elimination doesn’t answer the more serious question — when do the borders open?

“Australia is now back into the same debate as it had in April, only with the two sides carrying slightly different standards. Back then, it was full lockdown versus a graduated response. Now it’s elimination versus suppression.

“There are extremists on both sides — some business figures who just want to let the virus rip and let the corpses pile up so they can get back to making money; some progressives who accuse anyone who tries to take economic factors into account of putting money before lives.”


What UNSW’s job cuts mean for the higher education sector

“The University of NSW (UNSW) has announced it will be cutting nearly 500 jobs, in the latest sign of the carnage inflicted on the higher education sector by the pandemic.

“Facing a budget shortfall of $370 million, vice-chancellor Ian Jacobs said that despite cutting discretionary spending and some management salaries, the university still had to find further savings. UNSW will lose about 7.5% of its academic staff, and merge three faculties, in what could be a sign of things to come for universities.”


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

“It’s one of the oldest tricks in the lobbying handbook: if you want favourable regulations, write them yourself.

“The powerful Australian Hotels Association took that to new extremes this week with a promise to introduce new restrictions in New South Wales pubs to allow them to continue to open — even in the face of a growing outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s south west.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Indigenous woman died in jail after nine calls for help, coroner hears

Rooftop solar panel owners could be getting charged fees to sell energy back to the grid

‘Impermissible editing’: federal judge changed reasons for decision

Australia worse than US in proportional support for fossil fuels over clean energy, research shows

Gladstone Park shooting: man shot dead by Victoria police in Melbourne after alleged stabbing

Frustration grows over delayed release of review into Australia’s environmental laws

Pauline Hanson shareholding went under the radar for six months

Manus clan threatens Australian naval base deal ($)

‘Urgent need’: Violent men facing delays in getting help amid pandemic

More remote Indigenous going hungry ($)

South East Asian countries are using the COVID-19 pandemic to silence their critics. But these women are fighting back

Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch’s The Yield wins the Miles Franklin prize

THE COMMENTARIAT

Black Lives Matter – A Brisbane Blacks ManifestoDr Chelsea Bond (IndigenousX): “As the oldest living culture on the planet we are both First Nations and first-raced on this continent and we have a distinct articulation of the global Black Lives Matter movement, one which was best captured at the rally convened by the Brisbane Blacks (Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance and Stop Black Deaths in Custody Committee) on Friday 4th July 2020 in Meanjin. I had the privilege of bearing witness to the testimonies of warriors — warriors that embodied the humility and humanity that is desperately needed in this time, and who theorised far better than any scholar the strategies for Black liberation.”

Psychosis grips China’s lonely communists ($) — John Lee (The Australian): “Today’s pandemic seems to have triggered a strategic and political Communist Party psychosis. The Chinese lone wolf has transformed into the wolf warrior, insulting nations and threatening multiple countries with economic and/or military punishment for perceived insults. From its actions in Hong Kong to the escalation of disputes with Taiwan, Japan, Southeast Asian nations, India, Canada, Britain, Europe and, of course, Australia, any good faith built up over decades is now burned.”

These states’ leaders claim to be ‘pro-life.’ So why are so many of their citizens dying of COVID-19? — Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Time): “When we look closely at the data, the regions where the coronavirus is currently surging are precisely the places where white people have been manipulated by a distorted moral narrative for decades. Ironically, the governors who are most willing to watch their citizens die are the ones who have used “pro-life” rhetoric to compel people of faith to support the narrow interests of corporate greed and white political power. COVID has revealed how the ‘pro-life’ movement is killing us.”

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Northern Territory

  • The territory will open its borders today to most of Australia, excluding Victorian hotspots and Sydney.

Peter Fray

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