According to The New Daily, new Treasury analysis forecasts that more Victorian businesses will require JobKeeper in the December and March quarters than the rest of Australia combined, while about 400,000 Victorians are currently receiving JobSeeker including roughly 28,000 since June 26.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday pre-empted the figures with an attack on the Andrews government’s “litany of failures” — he’s even inscribed his line “Victorians need hope. We need to hear more about the road out, than a longer road in” on a generic inspirational quote template — as the Morrison government prepares to push for the JobKeeper extension in parliament this week.
The figures also come after ANU’s Centre for Social Research and Methods found the COVID-19 financial supplement not only kept 2.2 million Australians out of poverty — defined as a weekly disposable income of $416 or less — but almost eliminated it amongst JobSeeker recipients, with rates down from 67% amongst recipients pre-pandemic to less than 7%. As The Australian ($) explains, the Morrison government’s decision to reduce the supplement in October will now push 740,000 people back into poverty.
PS: In another temporary silver lining from the pandemic, The Australian ($) reports that the drop in transport and aviation between April and June led to Australia’s lowest quarterly emissions levels since 1998.
STATE COVID-19 WRAP: MASK UP!
In another bumper day for COVID-19 news:
- According to The Brisbane Times, Queensland’s chief medical officer Dr Jeannette Young has urged residents to wear masks if they can, as the state records another four cases linked to corrective services, and south-east Queensland’s 10 person limit today extends to the Western Downs, South Burnett, Cherbourg, Toowoomba, Goondiwindi, and Southern Downs council areas
- The state government has also launched a $46.5 million mental health campaign
- Similarly, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that NSW’s health department “strongly recommends” commuters wear masks at all times, after two cases linked to the growing Sydney CBD cluster travelled on a bus to the eastern suburbs
- Dan Andrews has warned that, while daily cases are still coming down — even hitting double-digits on Saturday — it is too early in Victoria’s outbreak to plan on reopening; Andrews did note a more concrete plan would be released shortly, detailing not just immediate restrictions but more long-term safety measures (ABC)
- The ABC reports that the Western Australian government won the dubious honour of becoming the first state to solve a quarantine breach with plans for a tracking ankle bracelet.
And across the pond, Auckland today moves from level three restrictions to level two with mandatory face masks on public transport AKA “level two-point-five”.
NOT SUCH A SUPER IDEA
A survey by the Economic Society of Australia and The Conversation of 44 of Australia’s leading economists finds almost half believe the five consecutive hikes in compulsory super contributions — due to start next July and lift the salary-to-super rate from 9.5-to-12% — should be deferred, with only 13 believing the increases should proceed as planned while nine want it abandoned entirely.
The survey — which also found that an even larger majority of economists believe the increase will hit wage growth — comes as the Morrison government considers yet another assault on industry super funds: new laws banning donations to unions and funding for advertising, according to The Australian ($). Weirdly, there’s no such campaign over bank-run retail funds, despite the fact their lower performance rates are in part due to higher customer fees.
A POLL LOT OF SPIN?
The latest Newspoll ($) has Labor and the Coalition deadlocked 50:50, Scott Morrison down two points since early August (but still crushing Anthony Albanese 58-29) and the number of Australians supporting border closures at a whopping 80%.
This being the Oz, those figures are presented with quite a bit of love over Morrison’s efforts to relax border restrictions; namely, that the prime minister has taken “ownership of the aged-care crisis in Victoria” — a crisis that was already a federal responsibility — and that his “frustration with the Queensland government grows after the death of an unborn twin whose NSW mother was refused entry to Queensland for emergency surgery,” — a claim Queensland’s health minister has since denied (The Guardian).
Either way, as The Conversation reports, the Morrison government will aim to form an agreement with national cabinet this Friday over the definition of a hotspot.
ONE DEAD IN BLM-TRUMP CLASHES
According to CNN, a person wearing the insignia of a far-right group has been shot and killed in Portland, Oregon, after a large caravan of Trump supporters clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters.
The city has seen nightly protests since the police killing of George Floyd — which have accelerated following last weekend’s police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin — as well as weeks of counter-protests from far-right organisations.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Of all the countries I’ve lived and travelled in, Australia is the least racist.
The guy who literally wrote a News Corp op-ed decrying “a tidal wave of immigrants [sweeping] away what’s left of our national identity” is simply dumbfounded anyone would want to campaign against Australian racism.
“The terrorist’s manifesto was titled The Great Replacement. It’s a reference to a far-right conspiracy theory which claims white people in the West are undergoing demographic genocide through mass migration and declining birth rates.
“As absurd as the theory is, it’s never too far from the mainstream.
“News Corp’s most widely-syndicated columnist has claimed Australia is being stripped of its identity by a tidal wave of immigrants who are colonising the country and refusing to assimilate.”
“‘Sovereign risk’ isn’t a term you hear much these days. It was thrown around a lot, however inaptly, by the Coalition, mining companies and their media apologists a decade ago in relation to Labor’s mining tax.
“It was employed occasionally by the energy sector in the debate over the government’s proposal to give itself a divestment power in relation to energy companies. And recently Clive Palmer, a long-term abuser of the phrase, has invoked sovereign risk to describe Western Australia’s legal action against his $30 billion damages claim, and been echoed by far right media supporters in doing so.”
“Good Lord, is it talk-about-the-Labor-party-again time already?
“It comes around so quick doesn’t it? What are you getting them this year? I’m hanging a sack on their mantelpiece, and filling it with nuts, since they’ve been so unable to grow one of their own. Okay, last narky joke of the piece.
“But what started the current round? Oh, yeah Joel Fitzgibbon. Joel Coal. Joey the carbon lump. The member for the Hunter Valley got the fright of his life in 2019, when the One Nation candidate gained a 21% vote, and Fitzgibbon suffered a near 10% swing against him, leaving him with a 3% margin.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
WA’s recklessness will prove very costly ($) — Clive Palmer (The Australian): “West Australian Premier and former navy lawyer Mark McGowan, and criminal barrister, first law officer and Attorney-General John Quigley have described the Iron Ore Processing (Mineralogy) Agreement Amendment Act 2020 as ‘extraordinary’ legislation and have pinned their political and legal careers to its success.”
Focus recovery on pink-collar jobs to avoid a pink recession — Jennifer Duke (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Women need a special focus in the Morrison government’s federal budget this October. This isn’t an argument for political correctness but simply economic fact. Australian women have, on average, been financially hurt by the coronavirus in a multitude of measurable ways. Part-time jobs and casual work, largely the realm of women, as well as frontline workers in aged care and health are among those doing it tough in 2020. That’s not to mention childcare, a predominantly female industry, where workers have been cut off from JobKeeper early”
COVID-19 class actions hit Victoria ($) — Jennifer Hewett (The Australian Financial Review): “It didn’t take long for the COVID-19 class action suits to start. Quinn Emmanuel, one of the legal firms prominent in the class action industry, is seeking compensation on behalf of businesses that have suffered losses due to the Victorian government’s mishandling of hotel quarantine.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The press freedom inquiry will hear from Home Affairs, AFP, and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).
NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman will discuss new state defamation laws at the Law Society’s online Thought Leadership event “Defamation reform — in pursuit of balance”.
The hotel quarantine inquiry will resume today.