RESPONDING TO RECESSION
With Australia officially entering its first recession in almost three decades, The Sydney Morning Herald and the AFR ($) report that the Morrison government is considering bringing forward $158 billion worth of personal income tax cuts and business investment incentives in the October budget, as well as the flagged changes to industrial relations and “red tape”.
As the ABC explains, Bureau of Statistics figures show GDP fell 7% for the June quarter — the worst on record — and followed a 0.3% fall in the March quarter; fewer places to spend money also saw household expenditure dropping 12.1% and the household saving rate jumped from 6 to 19.8%.
But despite the economic benefit of financially supporting low-income spenders — and the fact ABS notes the record 2.5% plunge in total wages would have been much worse without JobKeeper — The Guardian reports that the Coalition is holding firm on plans to reduce both the wage subsidy scheme and COVID-19 JobSeeker supplement this month; the Senate also voted against a motion by Greens Senator Rachel Siewert to maintain the current supplement rate of $550 a week.
PS: In the government’s latest turn at shaming the states, the ABC reports that the government has today used modelling predicting a $55 billion tourism hit to slam “disproportionate” approaches to state borders.
PUTIN CRITIC ‘WITHOUT DOUBT’ POISONED
According to the ABC, the German government has announced that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was “without doubt” poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok, a toxin the British government has previously accused Russian agents of using to poison former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in 2018.
As the long-time critic of Vladimir Putin remains in an induced coma in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has declared that Russia must answer “difficult questions” over “the attempted murder through poisoning against a leading Russian opposition figure”.
PS: As the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project unpacked last month, Navalny not only worked in politics up until the government banned him from it in 2018, but has a long history of anti-corruption video journalism that included revealing then-prime minister Dmitri Medvedev’s retail empire.
In another one of those big red warning signs, The Guardian reports that Ballarat resident Zoe Buhler has become the fourth person charged with “incitement” to protest this week as Victoria Police crackdown on so-called “freedom day” anti-lockdown protests.
Buhler, who had created a now-deleted Facebook event to coincide with a Melbourne protest, was arrested in her house. Victoria Police later put out a statement reading, “any gathering of this nature is in blatant breach of the chief health officer’s directions and puts Victorian lives at risk”.
Further north, the ABC reports that the committal hearing into Alice Springs officer Zachary Rolfe has heard he shot Yuendumu teenager Kumanjayi Walker at “very close” range. Another officer gave evidence that both his and Rolfe’s body cameras fell off during the incident.
PS: In the latest from US cops, NPR reports that a man charged with running a drug syndicate was offered a plea deal in July if he named Breonna Taylor — the 26-year-old Black woman who killed by police four months earlier in a home raid — as a member of his alleged gang.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Analysts must be capable of engaging and informing L7 + ER Principals (attorney stakeholders) on sensitive topics that are highly confidential, including labor organising threats against the company…
The $1 trillion company that developed a heat map for workplaces based on their likelihood of unionising, privately pushed to smear a guy they fired for striking amidst COVID-19, and sometimes makes people piss in bottles, seeks to hire intelligence analysts willing to help with all that.
Morrison’s own border closure is inflicting massive economic damage. Why isn’t he talking about that?
“While the Morrison government rails at the states to end border closures and pressures Daniel Andrews to reopen Victoria, its own international border closure is costing hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in lost export revenue.
“The economic damage inflicted by Morrison’s international border closure is invariably absent from the extensive media commentary on and reporting of yet more efforts by the federal government to ‘ramp up’ pressure and ‘turn up the heat’ on state governments over border closures, but is far greater than limits on who can enter Western Australia or Queensland.”
“QBE’s chief executive Pat Regan has been sacked from his lucrative role after a female employee complained about receiving reportedly ‘unwanted messages’ from him.
“But instead of calling what unwanted messages sent from a senior male executive to a mid-level female executive is — sexual harassment — it simply called the allegations an issue of ‘workplace communications’.”
“Crikey has recently published thought-provoking pieces by Adam Schwab on the cost of a lockdown. It is important to assess all benefits and costs of policy decisions: lives saved by the restrictions must be weighed against their human and economic costs.
“But more discussion is needed than simply comparing deaths due to lockdown v deaths due to COVID-19.
“No matter what is mandated, people will adjust their behaviours. Sweden’s economic output shrank by 8.6% in the June quarter, despite its oft-cited light-touch approach. The OECD predicts its economy will contract by 8% in 2020.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Indigenous children are leaving out-of-home care to uncertain futures. This is the support they need — Phillip Mendes, Bernadette Saunders et al (The Conversation): “The Black Lives Matter protests have highlighted concerns about white-dominated systems and structures and the oppression of Indigenous people. Most notable is the high rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody. Another less-publicised but equally significant concern is the large number of Indigenous children in out-of-home care. This is currently estimated at 18,000 children — more than one-third of children in the system.”
Ageing is not the problem. How we deal with it is — Pru Goward (The Sydney Morning Herald): “No second prizes for guessing the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety about residential care. Other than an expansion of regulation that would outdo the Tax Assessment Act but in a fraction of the time, no doubt to improve quality of care, it will recommend a new tax or increased resident fees from those who can pay, or both.”
Scott Morrison has a lot of balls in the air, not to mention a pandemic and rare recession ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “An economy in ruins. A budget being framed in the twilight zone. Premiers staging insolent rebellions. Vulnerable Australians dying because of government neglect. A punch-up with China over sovereignty with whiffs of wedges and politics. Ministers under siege. A looming reshuffle threatening to create more enemies than friends. A tiny reminder from voters via Newspoll of just how fickle they can be, how ephemeral popularity is and how the crisis that enabled the Prime Minister to rebuild his reputation could just as easily trash it again. A man most at ease exercising complete control now surrounded by uncertainty and turbulence.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Qantas workers are set to protest outside Parliament House over outsourcing complaints.