DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS
According to the ABC, the Morrison government will extend Medicare-subsidised telehealth sessions for an extra six months, as part of a $2 billion top up to the scheme originally set to wrap up by the end of September.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, the government has also modelled the impacts of bringing forward $158 billion worth of tax cuts — 79%-91% of which The Australia Institute this month found would benefit the richest 20% of Australians — even as it prepares to slash JobSeeker back below poverty rates.
Additionally, The Australian ($) reports that Morrison will restrict JobSeeker eligibility, restart work-for-the-dole programs and reintroduce mutual obligations from September 28.
PS: In another good demonstration of priorities, the ABC notes that the Queensland government will end the eviction moratorium for residential tenants at the end of the month, but extend the measure for commercial leaseholders until December.
CAN WE GET SOME ROOM SERVICE?
The Morrison government will today ask national cabinet members to expand their hotel quarantine capacities to help lift the number of stranded Australians allowed home each week from 4000 to nearly 6000, while The Sydney Morning Herald reports that former health and finance department boss Jane Halton will present a verbal briefing over her review into the state and territory systems.
Dan Andrews is also facing continued pressure at the hotel quarantine inquiry, where The Guardian reports former police commissioner Graham Ashton denied pushing for private security.
PS: Despite Victoria Police already having their pandemic-powers beefed up to cartoonish levels, The Age reports that legislation introduced by the Andrews government earlier this week would allow protective service officers to patrol shopping centres, sporting events and other public gathering with guns after just 12 weeks of training.
UNI JOBS TURMOIL
The AFR ($) reports that it has been another horrific week for the university sector, which, excluded from JobKeeper, has seen RMIT and ANU increase redundancy targets by more that 50%, while others including the University of NSW announced they would have to move to compulsory redundancies after voluntary programs failed to deliver enough savings.
According to The Age, hundreds of the University of Melbourne’s most senior academics have called on the university to pull back its redundancy plans amidst fears of long-term damage; for one sad, new example, Monash University yesterday announced plans to close its Centre for Theatre and Performance.
PS: Strangely, Australia’s official unemployment rate technically fell last month from 7.5% to 6.8%, a shift the ABC explains is down to an increase in “non-employees” i.e. the gig economy.
TRUMP ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
Finally, The Guardian reports that former model Amy Dorris has alleged Donald Trump forced his tongue down her throat and groped her at the 1997 US Open.
Dorris joins a list of over 20 women to have accused the president of sexual assault, according to The Scotsman’s updated list.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
A new citizenship test finally this morning is out now. I’m just wondering this morning, PM, would Dan and Anna pass the mateship test?
The Today co-host “interviews” the prime minister, and suddenly those Fox News suck-ups aren’t quite as funny.
“Rich men sit at a long mahogany table smoking cigars and drinking port as they manage millions of dollars for the board.
“It’s an antiquated, laughable picture — but it wasn’t as far back in history as we’d like to think. And despite the Me Too movement, the boys’ club — on boards, in law, government and sport — is still very much alive, in control, making action against serial sexual harassers difficult”
“As Morrison pivots from his Team Australia moment to politics as usual — at least where state Labor premiers are concerned — the early media enthusiasm for tough public health measures seems to have swivelled with him.
“This is partly the crumbling of media resistance to the thud-thud-thud of News Corp campaigning, partly a follow-the-leader response to Morrison, and partly a parochial defensiveness about the ACT, where so many opinion-makers live.”
“It’s essential that every government initiative, if it is to succeed, has clear targets. The Morrison government’s Hunter Valley gas plan has a clear target: Joel Fitzgibbon, the embattled member for Hunter, whose once safe seat is now marginal after a 21% vote for One Nation last year.
“Fitzgibbon is fighting for his life — and his honour. Hunter is a Labor legacy, held uninterrupted since 1910 by Doc Evatt and two Labor father-son teams: the Jameses and the Fitzgibbons. To avoid being the bloke who lost this dusty jewel in the crown, Fitzgibbon has become a de facto independent within the Labor fold, running a relentless war against Labor policy on coal, renewables etc.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Premier Dan Andrews at risk from his class action fees creation ($) — Chris Merritt (The Australian): “Last November, when the Victorian government introduced contingency fees for class actions, few would have guessed that within a year Premier Dan Andrews and his government would be at risk of being eaten alive by their own creation. Thanks to the ineptitude that has been revealed at the Coate inquiry into Melbourne’s failed hotel quarantine arrangements, class actions alleging government negligence are off to a flying start.”
Defunding the police and abolishing prisons in Australia are not a radical ideas — Robyn Oxley (IndigenousX/The Guardian): “[I]n 2016, we knew that approximately 46% of people in Australians prisons were incarcerated for non-violent offences. The cost of incarceration of people in prisons for non-violent offences equates up to $1.8b nationwide. We need to be looking at redirecting those funds to services that adequately and appropriately address the social issues around non-violent offences.”
For Anthony Albanese, gas is the new Adani — David Crowe (The Age): “Labor found out the hard way at the last election that it cannot be all things to all people when the country splits on whether to dig more coal out of the ground. Bill Shorten spent years trying to hedge on whether the giant Adani coal project should go ahead. Day after day on the campaign trail he dodged on whether he backed the project or not. Queensland voters could read his fancy footwork. They swung to Scott Morrison by 4.3%.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price will attend a ceremony to hand over the seventh Guardian-class patrol boat to Palau for maritime law enforcement.