Scott Morrison JobKeeper covid-19
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION

In a busy day ahead in the digital Parliament:

  • Labor will reportedly back the Morrison government’s JobKeeper overhaul, which both extends the modified scheme and gives businesses that have at least partially bounced back from the pandemic the power to cut workers’ hours, along with other temporary industrial changes (The Age)
  • The government will introduce their plan to double the cost of arts degrees and other changes, although the Nationals appear to have won concessions for courses in psychology and social work (The Conversation)
  • Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s attempt to amend environmental laws to devolve major project assessments to state governments faces a showdown in the Senate, with the Greens apparently gaining crossbench support for a bloc (The Age).

In other federal news, The Conversation reports that Scott Morrison will today announce a $1 billion plan to accelerate and repurpose defence force funding, aimed at supporting about 4000 jobs including directly within the ADF as well as infrastructure, manufacturing, “defence innovation” and more.

Finally, Assistant Minister for Financial Services Jane Hume will today preview a revised women’s economic security statement at Women’s Super Summit, which she told The Age will address both workforce inequities and the gap between women and men’s superannuation savings.

PS: Because not even a pandemic can change Australian politics too much, The Australian ($) reports that Morrison is trying to cool down yet another tilt at Nationals “leader” Michael McCormack.

A BUNCH OF SUKKARS

In their third investigation into the assistant treasurer in as many days, The Age reports that Michael Sukkar and his office directed and endorsed the employment of factional operatives within Kevin Andrews‘ taxpayer-funded electorate office.

Accordingly to newly-leaked messages, Sukkar both sought the removal and replacement of an electorate officer working under Andrews — who was apparently resisting the employment of the new factional staff — and “ordered a meeting with Mr Andrews where the scheme to place operatives into his office was arranged”.

And in a completely separate branch-stacking scandal from the Victorian Liberals, The Australian ($) reports that the party’s religious right planned to purge and replace seven upper-house sitting MPs, including one frontbencher because he (groan) “had white skin and was male”.

The plot, led in part by former federal Liberal vice-president and factional powerbroker Karina Okotel, even has links to Sukkar, with the Oz reporting that her brother, Joshua Bonney, is being accused of using his former position as an adviser to Sukkar­ to pursue political agendas that favoured Okotel.

TO EXTEND OR NOT EXTEND

According to The Australian ($), Dan Andrews is preparing to compromise with crossbenchers over his proposed 12-month extension of the state of emergency, amidst concerns from civil rights groups and even former federal leader Bill Shorten. For a fun point-counterpoint from crossbench party figures, check out pieces by Fiona Patten (anti-extension) and Derryn Hinch (pro-extension) at The Age.

On other states experiencing outbreaks, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that hundreds of travellers have been removed from Travelodge Sydney on Wentworth Avenue after the quarantine hotel was deemed to be not up to standard, while NSW Health is investigating two cases who attended Pitt Street gym, City Tattersalls Fitness Centre, on multiple occasions over the past week.

And further north, ABC reports that “Queensland’s chief health officer is investigating a ‘missing link’ between the Melbourne trio and the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre cluster” after the state recorded zero new cases yesterday.

PS: In another potential headache for Andrews, The Age reports that Victorian Liberal senator Sarah Henderson is calling on residents to seek compensation if they have lost work from lockdowns.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

About five years ago, I was the victim of a notoriously deadly medical error. I survived, but only to be diagnosed with a rare and terminal bone cancer. You know, the Democrats love to talk about health care being a human right — but a right to what? Well, I’ll tell you. To them, it’s a right to marijuana, opioids, and the right to die with dignity, a politically correct way of saying assisted suicide.

Natalie Harp

The Republican National Convention gets off to a typically normal start. See also: the guy who cast Ohio’s 82 votes for “Donald John President“.

CRIKEY RECAP

How we let down the residents of Newmarch House — and what we failed to learn

“The report into the Newmarch House COVID-19 outbreak provides a rich insight into systemic failure, demonstrating how, despite the best will in the world, 71 people in a Sydney aged care facility became infected.

“It also reveals how the federal government talks a lot, and issues media releases, and blithely insists all is well, when reality is anything but.”


Under COVID-19, sovereign citizens are pulling other conspiracy theorists in

“‘It’s all about rights … Stay together, arm yourself with the truth, become aware of what the law says, and record everything.’

“This message was beamed out in a Facebook live video this month by Melbourne gym owner Nick Patterson, conspiracy theorist and anti-mask proponent.”


Clowns to the left, jokers to the right — and you know where the rest of us are

“Look if you’re going to be a would-be Liberal powerbroker, you absolutely have to have a name like Marcus Bastiaan. Isn’t it great? It’s like being called ‘Person Bastard’ or something.

“It sounds like the name of a firm that makes steel dildos. The aforementioned Bastiaan has now quit the Victorian Liberal Party at the age of 30, having created a powerful network of religious ‘social conservatives’ in branches across the state.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

University of Queensland scientists release coronavirus vaccine pre-clinical trial data, say results show ‘good level of protection’

‘Next fire season is already upon us’: NSW to adopt all recommendations of bushfire inquiry report

Federal Court says hard border best at stopping coronavirus from entering WA in Clive Palmer case

Palm Island community lodges formal complaint against racist media reports

Australia’s chief scientist rejects experts’ letter warning him not to back gas

Unions call on Alan Joyce to resign after Qantas flags more job losses

CEC warns against solar industry review becoming Abbott-style witch hunt

Cleaners take V/Line to court over alleged underpayment

First Look: McGowan Government to unveil plans for $50 million pedestrian and cycle bridge across Swan River ($)

Kremlin brushes off allegations in Navalny’s poisoning

Wisconsin governor promises police reforms after Jacob Blake shooting

THE COMMENTARIAT

Morrison masterfully noncommittal on plan to help those hit hardestRoss Gittins (The Sydney Morning Herald): “When Scott Morrison spoke to the first day of the National Youth Commission’s virtual ‘youth futures summit’ on Monday, he sought to assure the young people that, difficult as the pandemic and the economy are at the moment, there is another side to it, ‘where Australia emerges once again, where we actually do go back to the life that we loved’.”

Prospect of a COVID-19 class-action quandary for ALP mates ($) — Janet Albrechtsen (The Australian): “The prospect of COVID-19 lawsuits against the Victorian government for its shockingly negligent handling of hotel quarantine showcases the toxic mix of problems facing plaintiffs in class actions in Australia. The first issue is whether the Victorian government will do to plaintiffs what West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has done to Clive Palmer — legislate a victim’s legal rights away.”

Social licence: the idea AMP should embrace now David Murray has left the buildingHannah Piterman (The Conversation): “Heads have rolled at AMP, and rightly so. Particularly the head of chairman David Murray, who this week resigned, somewhat unapologetically, over the sexual harassment scandal that has enveloped the embattled Australian financial services giant. As chair, the buck stopped with Murray.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Chinese embassy Minister and Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining will present, “China and Australia — Where to from here?” at the National Press Club.

Melbourne

  • The Victorian COVID-19 inquiry will hear from Attorney-General Jill Hennessy, Corrections Victoria Commissioner Emma Cassar, Police Minister Lisa Neville and Victoria Police Commissioner Shane Patton.

  • Goenpul researcher and writer Aileen Moreton-Robinson will present on the 20th anniversary of her seminal book Talkin’ Up to the White Woman at a Wheeler Centre event.

  • The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation will host policy forum “The Black Lives Matter Movement in the Australian Context”, with Professor Marcia Langton, ABC Europe correspondent Bridget Brennan, CEO of the African Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services Dr Berhan Ahmed, and South Sudanese youth advocate and researcher Adongwot Manyoul.

Launceston, Tasmania

  • The Tasmanian Aboriginal Legal Service and Legal Aid will launch disability program “Your Story”.

Australia

  • The Australia Institute will host webinar event “Pandemic & Mental Health — New Problems and New Ideas” with former Coalition Minister, director of Mind Medicine Australia, and board member of FearLess Andrew Robb.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

What a year. Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW