GOVERNMENT PUSHES IR ‘REFORM’
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has identified the first cab off the policy rank in the government’s quest to reverse a “free fall” in business investment: industrial relations reform, aimed at “injecting greater flexibility into the labour market”.
“Our view is that those flexibilities that apply to the employer, and give them the ability to change duties, to change hours and to change the location of staff, should continue, not just for those firms that meet the reapplied eligibility test, but should apply to those firms on JobKeeper right now,” he said.
In case you needed reminding, the vast majority of this second wave comes down to “flexible” (see deregulated) work — casuals who worked while ill because they didn’t have access to sick pay, untrained security guards hired over WhatsApp, and now, underqualified and inadequately trained staff without access to proper PPE at aged care homes.
UNEMPLOYMENT SET TO SOAR
Regardless, the government’s forecasting predicts an extra 240,000 Australians are likely to lose their jobs by Christmas.
The employment rate is expected to hit 9.25% in the December quarter, its highest level since late 1994. The unemployment rate hit 7.4% in June, but would have been considerably higher if the official statistics included the more than half a million people who are either on JobKeeper but not working any hours, or who have left the jobs market altogether.
Economists — and opposition party members — are calling for swift action, with Grattan Institute household finance director Brendan Coates telling the Nine paper the government should consider direct cash payments, spending on public housing and infrastructure investment — and soon.
“There’s a clear need for more traditional fiscal stimulus, if they leave it until October it will be too late,” he said.
BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTEST TO PROCEED REGARDLESS
Organisers of the Black Lives Matter protest planned for next Tuesday in Sydney have said the march will proceed regardless of the outcome of an application by New South Wales police for a prohibition order in the Supreme Court.
The court will rule this morning on an a prohibition order — which doesn’t ban the march outright but leaves attendees exposed to criminal sanction — sought by police on public health grounds.
The Australian iteration of the Black Lives Matter protests have been, predictably, a culture war battleground, with many on the political right taking time out from arguing the lockdown is unnecessary and tyrannical to denounce the protesters for putting everyone’s health at risk.
This continued in the nearly two months since the first round of protests in early June — despite no evidence to show any community transmission in Victoria, and no outbreaks in any other state. All of which suggests that this protest, happening as NSW nervously continues to accrue small but persistent batches of new cases, will not pass quietly either way.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Person, woman, man, camera, TV
The US President proudly repeats a total of five words to prove his mental acuity — “Because I’m cognitively there” — during an interview.
“As Victoria is discovering, and the rest of us may yet discover, COVID-19 is perfectly habituated to a 21st century economy centred around services delivered by outsourced, precarious workforces. Daniel Andrews, whatever his faults, at least recognises the role of insecure work in driving people to continue going to work even if they’re feeling ill, enabling the transmission of the virus. And many of those jobs are in service industries, which exposes more people to potential infection.”
Under questioning from Labor’s Katy Gallagher in the Senate hearing on Wednesday, Gaetjens revealed that he did not consider whether McKenzie had acted lawfully and claimed it was ‘not part of the ministerial standards’. The inquiry also heard that just two people were formally spoken to as part of his investigation. Gaetjens said he had not looked into any role the prime minister or his advisers might have played in deciding where grants were handed out under the scheme.”
“Australians have never been libertarians; we’re a garrison state that became a corporatist semi-social democracy. We’ve always understood that collective action guarantees positive freedom. We know why we’re doing what we’re doing, and not least of COVID-19’s effects has been to further expose the IPA as an alien cult, taken over by the chino Taliban, subsisting on Gina’s money — and consequently unable to steer themselves effectively.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Why Sydney’s Black Lives Matter protests must happen now — Natalie Wolfe (news.com.au): “In relative numbers, a protest of 1300 people, with another 4000 interested in attending, is quite small for a city protest. You’d be hard-pressed to find a protest that’s garnered so much national attention in the past year. The prime minister has addressed the protest numerous times, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is asked about it almost every day and NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has also lashed the protest and will take the organisers to the Supreme Court today in a bid to stop it.”
Jobs pain of nation facing Generation Debt — Paul Kelly (The Australian): “There is one certainty: these numbers reveal a generation-long challenge. But any errors will be on the optimistic side. The risk is that the real unemployment numbers will be higher for longer, and genuine recovery a far longer travail. The forecast of official unemployment peaking at 9.25% before Christmas this year assumes the Victorian lockdown works, that COVID-19 is contained across the nation and that recovery is ignited. The unemployment burden is falling heavily on women, youth, casuals and part-timers.”
Secret trials: our judges need to resist the government’s pressure — Ian Cunliffe (WAToday): “Coyly, the federal government has neither confirmed nor denied the bugging. But if there was no bugging, it would not breach official secrets laws to say there was. The operation was conducted under cover of an aid project — a cruel, modern take on the Trojan horse. The bugging was almost certainly a crime in Timor Leste and, according to written advice of a former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Nick Cowdery, it was likely also criminal under Australian law.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Public hearing of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services inquiry into litigation funding and the regulation of the class action industry inquiry.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to address the National Press Club following Thursday’s budget update
Case management hearing in Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate against the ABC matter.
NSW Supreme Court to hear police challenge to new BLM protest.