Anthony Albanese budget
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

THE LABORS OF ALBANESE

In his budget reply speech, Labor leader Anthony Albanese has pledged to scrap the cap on the childcare subsidy, investigate a long-term plan for a 90% universal subsidy, and invest $20 billion over six years to upgrade Australia’s energy grid to support the renewable transition.

Albanese’s speech — which also emphasised social housing and manufacturing — contrasted his childcare plan with the Coalition’s budget, which offers no new spending for the sector; as the ABC reports, Liberal senator Jane Hume has since argued that removing the cap and moving towards a universal system would shift provider costs and lead to overbookings.

The debate comes two months after the Grattan Institute found that extra $5 billion a year on childcare subsidies would create an $11 billion-a-year increase in GDP from workforce participation, along with $150,000 in higher lifetime earnings for the average Australian mother.

PS: The Western Australian government also released their budget yesterday, which the ABC explains bucked the national trend and forecasts surpluses over the next four years largely thanks to iron ore royalties. The McGowan government also pledged $27 billion for infrastructure and expects to keep its hard border up until sometime between April and June next year.

MOMENT OF TRUTH: WILL WE BE SPARED A SECOND DEBATE?

According to CNN, Donald Trump has told Fox Business he will skip his second debate with Joe Biden after the Commission on Presidential Debates declared the October 15 event will be held virtually following the president’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

Joe Biden’s campaign had agreed to the decision, but Trump — who is trailing in every national poll and as well as a number of key swing states — maintains he is not “going to waste [his] time on a virtual debate” and, pointedly, knocked the fact moderators could “cut you off whenever they want”.

In his first interview since being hospitalised, Trump also falsely attacked Kamala Harris — fresh off her debate with Mike Pence — as a “communist … not a socialist, she’s well beyond a socialist” that wants to “open up the borders to allow killers and murderers and rapists to pour into our country”.

PS: As Jacobin recounted back in August, Harris is much, much closer to Trump’s politics than socialism: back when she worked as California’s attorney general, “she fought to keep innocent people in jail, blocked payouts to the wrongfully convicted, argued for keeping non-violent offenders in jail as a source of cheap labor, withheld evidence that could have freed numerous prisoners, tried to dismiss a suit to end solitary confinement in the state, and denied gender reassignment surgery to trans inmates”.

THE BORDER ULTIMATUM

After NSW recorded eight new locally acquired cases across two separate clusters yesterday, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Gladys Berejiklian has warned restaurants and cafes they face significant penalties and harsher rules if they continue to flout COVID-19 protocols.

The NSW premier, InQueensland reports, also faces an ultimatum from Annastacia Palaszczuk to trace the origin of the state’s first three suspected cases before the Queensland premier decides today on whether or not to rule out the proposed November 1 easing of border restrictions.

In Victoria, the ABC reports the state recorded 11 new cases, while the number of mystery cases in Melbourne has increased from 12 to 14, and a small cluster in the regional town of Kilmore is being investigated.

SHOT THROUGH THE ARTS

Finally, in case you missed it yesterday the ABC reports that the cost of humanities degrees will more than double, after Centre Alliance and One Nation supported the Coalition’s fee changes.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: As Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi recounted in June, a good chunk of our ruling class — including Scott Morrison — studied while university was free, while analysis by Crikey revealed the most popular degrees are arts and law.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Women can take advantage of driving on the new infrastructure and roads.

Anne Ruston

In the wake of a budget that provides table scraps for women, the minister for families and social services offers the best reach since Tony “Minister for Women” Abbott listed killing the carbon price as his portfolio highlight.

CRIKEY RECAP

‘Paltry, tokenistic’: women left behind in the budget

“On International Women’s Day 2019, in an insight into the Coalition’s mindset, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, ‘We want to see women rise. But we don’t want to see women rise only on the basis of others doing worse.’

“This year’s budget goes above and beyond to prove this ethos. Advocacy groups have slammed it, saying the paltry $240.4 million allocated to benefitting women over five years does nothing to address inequalities in Australia’s culture and economy.”


Alan Tudge’s contempt seems to know no bounds. Why is he still a minister?

“It is fair to conclude that acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has a deep contempt for the law.

“What else could motivate him, when the Federal Court has just declared in explicit terms that he committed one form of contempt (wilful disobedience of court orders), to just double down on what the court may see as another — the one it calls ‘scandalising the court’?”


The disability provider, the ex-minister and the government-fuelled gold rush

“Former federal cabinet minister Michael Keenan had barely left parliament last year when he walked into a new role in the lucrative business of specialised disability accommodation (SDA) — a burgeoning property development industry underwritten by federal government funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme and driven by federal policy incentives.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

850 NBN staff paid more than $200,000 amid government pay crackdown

Labor says community grants scheme that received $103m in budget is a Coalition ‘slush fund’

Body of missing Queensland judge Guy Andrew found in bushland near Enoggera Reservoir

NSW deputy premier John Barilaro to lose driving licence – report

James Packer tells Crown inquiry examinations have been ‘painful’ and a ‘shocking experience’

Dick Smith caught in fake cryptocurrency web scam ($)

What are message sticks? Senator Lidia Thorpe continues a long and powerful diplomatic tradition

Deaths of two food delivery riders in Sydney throws spotlight on gig workers’ conditions

West Gate Bridge: Stretch to be jacked up due to movement, Coode Island silt ($)

Nobel Prize in Literature won by American poet Louise Gluck

THE COMMENTARIAT

Budget 2020: Albanese takes ALP back to future ($) — Simon Benson (The Australian): “Anthony Albanese has gone back to the future in an attempt to ­rebrand Labor as a party of ­nation-building vision. He offers the promise of a ­policy platform that will broaden Labor’s constituency built on a legacy of the past. It is an ­acknowledgment of how hopelessly ­detached Labor has become from the aspirations of middle Australia.”

For every 130 girls or women on the planet, one is a modern slaveGrace Forrest (The Sydney Morning Herald): “For most Australians, modern slavery is a foreign concept. Many would assume they’ve never seen it — and if they have, they haven’t recognised it. But slavery is all around us, in the clothes we wear, the toys we buy our children, the food we eat, it has even been discovered in some of our protected institutions.”

Marking 100 episodes of Melbourne’s worst TV show — David Milner (The Shot): “This Saturday Daniel Andrews — dubbed Dictator Dan by the most ravenous sections of our media and the most bored and privileged sections of our bored and privileged — will deliver his 100th coronavirus press conference in a row. Or maybe it’s Sunday? Friday? Genuinely doesn’t matter anymore. 100 episodes. That’s an achievement for anything on TV, even something this awful. It’s a shared community ritual now. A rubbish one. Melbourne’s least comforting source of comfort. The sourdough starter of Lockdown 2.0.”

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WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • Author Richard Flanagan will discuss his new book The Living Sea of Waking Dreams with journalist Jennifer Byrne in a Wheeler Centre webinar. (rescheduled from Monday).

  • The Institute of Public Administration Australia and Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council will host a webinar under their “Caring for Country” series featuring Bunurong Land Council.

Peter Fray

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