AT LEAST ONE THING IS FINE IN VICTORIA
Victorian police issued hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines relating to breaches of coronavirus restrictions over the weekend.
On Saturday alone, police issued over $209,800 worth of fines in the course of checking 16,262 vehicles and conducting 4661 spot checks on people at homes, businesses and public places across the state. Altogether, 127 people were fined, for reasons ranging from a house party attended by 30 people in Kyabram, to five people gathering in a public place in Dandenong, to a fishing trip, to a butter chicken run.
The fines accompany the news that from midnight on Wednesday, police in Victoria will be issuing $200 fines to people caught not wearing face masks or coverings “where practicable”.
On Sunday, there were 363 new cases of COVID-19 and three further deaths reported in Victoria.
EAST OF EDEN
Meanwhile, New South Wales recorded 18 new cases on Sunday, leading experts to warn residents against non-essential travel and social gatherings
Acting national Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly warned the potential for virus transmission is higher in NSW than Melbourne.
Kelly said the reproduction rate, currently at 1 in Victoria as a result of ongoing lockdowns, was about 1.4 in NSW.
He was backed by James McCaw, the epidemiologist tracking the pandemic’s spread for federal and state governments, who argued more extreme restrictions could soon be necessary in NSW, given residents had been allowed more freedom of movement and were ignoring social distancing.
A total of eight people have now tested positive for COVID-19 on the NSW south coast, a cluster that is believed to be linked to the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club.
After two infected people dined at the club last week, the Southern NSW Local Health District confirmed on Sunday that six further people had tested positive in the town.
In this atmosphere, border restrictions continue to get tougher — from today, Western Australia’s exemption list for NSW arrivals will only include senior government officials, certain active military personnel, federal MPs and their staff.
Meanwhile, from midnight on Tuesday, NSW will enforce even tighter permit conditions for Victorian travellers wishing to enter the state.
A LOAN AGAIN, NATURALLY
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today announce changes to the $40 billion loan scheme aimed at keeping small and medium businesses afloat through the recession.
The expanded scheme will offer companies four times the amounts previously available, up to $1 million, and the repayment period will be extended from three to five years. Employers initially applied for just $1.5 billion of the $40 billion on offer from the original scheme.
Around 3.5 million businesses will be covered by the scheme.
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SEEKER KEEPER SOLDIER SPY
The government is being slightly more tight-lipped about what the “overhauled” JobKeeper program will look like. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed on Sky News on Sunday that the government would continue income support — with “some adjustments to the scheme to make sure it is appropriate for the next phase” — beyond the program’s original expiry date at the end of September, for businesses that “genuinely need it”.
Labor, the Greens, social services groups and the union movement are all arguing the scheme should stay in place. If only there were, I don’t know, some kind of process by which the government could debate the appropriate content and application of the scheme during the months to come?
Incidentally, Cormann didn’t clarify whether businesses that “genuinely need” JobKeeper will continue to include elite private schools, which, according to The Sunday Herald Sun, have received millions of dollars in JobKeeper subsidies.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
TRUMP: I’ll be right eventually. I will be right eventually. You know I said, ‘It’s going to disappear’. I’ll say it again.
WALLACE: But does that — does that discredit you?
TRUMP: It’s going to disappear and I’ll be right. I don’t think so.
TRUMP: I don’t think so. I don’t think so. You know why? Because I’ve been right probably more than anybody else.
Donald Trump and Chris Wallace
The US President, actually interrogated by his erstwhile buddies at Fox News triples down on his assertion that COVID-19 will just “disappear” one day.
Cash is dead — long live the card. Or so we’re led to be believe by data showing virus-wary consumers and businesses turning their backs on cash and embracing tap-and-go as the default payment method in cities and towns across Australia. But one indicator suggests cash remains popular for a particular purpose — and that reflects just how worried Australians are.
Having kept the palace updated on the political situation at a level of such detail that he asked whether it was perhaps too much for Her Majesty, [John Kerr‘s letter] entirely leaves out matters pertaining to national security — and to the unity of the Commonwealth. Why would that be?
Although widely condemned by ALP members, [Adem] Somyurek’s actions reflect a broader culture that sees sexism and corruption reinforced by such behaviour being tolerated at a student politics level.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Remaking our newsrooms — Madeline Hayman-Reber (The Saturday Paper): “In the media, several Aboriginal journalists have recently brought the issue of the lack of cultural diversity and sensitivity in newsrooms, and the broader industry, to the forefront of this conversation – a conversation that we, as Aboriginal journalists, have been having forever, but one the rest of Australia is only now even close to being ready to engage with.”
The economy can’t fully recover until the virus is gone — Ross Gittins (The Age): “It also follows that Sydney and Melbourne have had — and always will have — the greatest infection problem, simply because they’re the country’s two main international gateways. While ever there’s some doubt about the effectiveness of these two’s quarantine arrangements, the other states are justified in closing their borders to the south-eastern reprobates. Better four states virus-free than none.”
Palace letters: The Whitlam dismissal is still in dispute — George Williams (The Australian): “[John] Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam government using a reserve power that may or may not exist remains an open wound in Australia’s democracy. Since the Dismissal, parliaments have avoided a like scenario by refusing to block the budget bills, thereby heading off another constitutional crisis. This, though, is only an act of self-restraint. Any future parliament can repeat the events of 1975 …”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The COVID-19 hotel quarantine inquiry will hold its first livestreamed public hearing
Disgraced former politician Salim Mehajer is scheduled to face trial on various charges.
Federal parliamentary inquiry into temporary migration to hear from education and home affairs departments.