AGED CARE RESPONSE
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, national cabinet will today discuss an aged care response plan that, under a Health Department incentive scheme, would offer state nurses, personal care workers, and cleaners $5000 payments, accommodation and transport to move to locked-down Melbourne.
The paper also notes that the federal government warned providers in June to prepare for 100% staff shortages — an interesting revelation considering criticisms from the royal commission over workforce planning — and comes as Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck claims they had not anticipated the Victorian health department removing entire workforces all at once in directives “issued with 24 hours notice, which did not occur in NSW”.
In a series of other revelations today:
- Nurses have spoken at the hotel quarantine inquiry of a lack of personal protective equipment, bureaucrats telling suicidal guests to stop being “dramatic’’, and a health official advising them not to swab a COVID-positive guest so that the “patient could leave quarantine early” (Herald Sun)
- Two security companies have been investigated after a NSW audit found they had illegally subcontracted some of their hotel quarantine security work (Sydney Morning Herald)
- A writ delivered to the operators of St. Basil’s Home for the Aged ahead of an expected class action alleges that the home allowed staff and residents to move around freely and to not wear PPE despite the COVID-19 risk (The Guardian).
PS: Also at today’s national cabinet meeting, The Australian ($) reports that Scott Morrison will push a consistent framework for state border issues such as medical access and cross-boundary farms.
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FIRE THE BANNONS!
The ABC reports that Steve Bannon — the former campaign adviser to Donald Trump and head of far-right news website Breitbart — has been arrested and charged with defrauding Trump supporters after allegedly funnelling funds from the “We Build the Wall” campaign for personal use.
In more bad news for Trump, CNN notes that a federal judge has ruled that New York state prosecutors could have access to his accounting records as part of a criminal investigation.
While Trump has already appealed to stop the subpoena from being enforced next week, the decision means that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance could reach the records before the presidential election.
According to The Australian ($), lawyers acting for the ABC’s Emma Alberici have accused editorial managers of kowtowing to consistent personal complaints by Malcolm Turnbull and senior ministers — specifically following personal calls to ABC news director Gaven Morris — and subsequently trying to silence her reporting so as not to upset the government.
Alberici was targeted in the ongoing 250 job cuts — born from an $84 million, three-year funding cut Communications Minister Paul Fletcher continues to spin as a nominal (v real) funding boost — and is due to launch a memoir the paper notes should be highly critical of the ABC’s internal culture. She has also apparently settled her Fair Work Commission dispute with the broadcaster.
PS: While both The Oz and Turnbull today make repeated, unsubstantiated assertions that Alberici’s 2018 analysis of company tax payments contained “factual errors” and “misunderstandings, Crikey has repeatedly noted that the piece effectively survives every attempt to discredit it — including from the ABC itself, which tried to reframe it as an opinion piece.
Give the original — a guide to why there’s no evidence to support the Turnbull government’s claim that a corporate tax rate would increase investment and wages — a read at Pearls and Irritations.
FINALLY SOME GOOD NEWS
Finally, in our weekly, singular dose of good news, NITV reports that the ACT Legislative Assembly has voted to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10, to 14, making it Australia’s first jurisdiction to agree to bring the laws up to United Nations standards.
The news comes almost a month after the state and territory attorneys-general decided to kick the can down the road until a 2021 report drops, with NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman declaring at the time the state government was not convinced 10-year-olds should not be imprisoned.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
As [Clive Palmer] lists on his website or somewhere, his hobby is litigation, so he seems to enjoy that.
The WA premier reacts to news that, after launching both a border challenge and $30 billion compensation claim against the state, Clive Palmer is personally suing him for defamation. We’d ask what else the Mineralogy boss could do to be less popular in that state, but, well, you read the quote.
“Yesterday, a triumphant Scott Morrison announced that Australians could be among the first in the world to get a long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine would be free. And it would come soon.
“Good news — except there were many caveats. The federal government has signed a letter of intent with AstraZeneca, the Anglo-Swedish company which is working with researchers at Oxford University to produce what is, so far, a front-runner in the international vaccine race. “
“While the prime minister’s office diligently beavered away on a media release about a ‘deal’ to “secure” a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, 12 more elderly Australians, all aged care residents in Victoria, were dying from the virus. They now join 245 aged care fatalities in Victoria.”
“Beneath the euphoria of the government’s announcement this week that it had ‘secured a deal’ to supply a COVID-19 vaccine to all Australians, there were signs of the political lobbying machine at work.
“All drug companies have powerful government relations squads to help grease the wheels of power, and AstraZeneca is no different.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Labor’s four years in power has been a disappointment for the Territory ($) — Election editorial (NT News): “When Labor won the 2016 election with a huge majority, decimating the CLP to just two seats, some political commentators said the result meant Labor’s reign in the Northern Territory would last at least eight years. But a day before the 2020 election, their hold on power is hanging by a thread. Under siege from a resurgent CLP and the new kid on the block, Territory Alliance, Chief Minister Michael Gunner and Labor are in for the fight of their lives to retain power.”
Bordering on dangerous: the economic case against opening states — Rosalind Dixon and Richard Holden (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The past week has seen numerous stories of the harsh effects of border closures on NSW residents living near the border with Victoria and Queensland. Residents are reportedly spending significant time on gaining the permits they need to go about their daily lives.”
Racism still exists in social work today – we need more Black faces in the profession — Jacynta Krakouer (IndigenousX/The Guardian): “Social work has a fraught relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Its origins in Australia stem from religious organisations such as the Sisters of Charitywhich was founded by Mary Aikenhead in Ireland. These charitable sisters were not professionally trained. Instead, they were religious, middle class, white ‘do-gooder’ women who often swooped in as saviours for the poor.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Senate COVID-19 inquiry will hear from Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck, Department of Health, and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Former Fortescue Metals boss, current Strike Energy board member and head of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission Nev Power will speak on “Success and Leadership” at the Hyatt Regency Perth.