IT’S TIME TO ACT ON AGED CARE

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, peak bodies have called on the Morrison government to start reforming the aged care sector after counsel assisting the aged care royal commission submitted a whopping 124 recommendations, including but not limited to mandated staffing ratios, the compulsory registration of workers, a new independent watchdog, and a new Aged Care Act to enshrine universal rights for older people.

The push from groups including the United Workers Union and Health Services Union follows the commission’s special report into COVID-19 — which the government has accepted in full — and Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck’s announcement that the government will consider the final recommendations after the full report is published on February 26, 2021.

As The Monthly documents, Scott Morrison did not commit to any immediate reforms in yesterday’s question time.

PS: Lest anyone think aged care is a uniquely partisan failure, The Conversation has explored how many systemic failures — i.e. inappropriate staff ratios, poor training, costs, the use of chemical or physical restraints etc — have been echoed in over 30 major inquiries and reviews since 1997.

SORT IT OUT, POST-HASTE

The ABC reports that Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate is standing aside after four senior employees were given $3000 Cartier watches as thank you gifts following a 2018 deal with three of the major banks.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has ordered an investigation into the company following the revelations at yesterday’s Senate estimates, which also heard that more than $97 million in bonuses had been handed out to Australia Post employees over the past year.

The news comes as the company faces the potential for a return to pre-COVID delivery requirements by the start of next year, with The New Daily reporting that a bipartisan senate committee has announced it will junk the “Alternating Delivery Model” — which allows Australia Post to halve the frequency of letter in metropolitan areas and cut other services — unless Fletcher can convince them of adequate consultation.

GROWING CONCERNS

Victoria’s health department expects to detect more COVID-19 cases in a growing outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, which The Age notes has resulted in more than 500 people being told to self-isolate, and accounts for all of yesterday’s five new cases.

Elsewhere, the ABC reports the department has referred an employee to Victoria Police for allegedly leaking a draft of the Andrews government’s reopening roadmap to the Herald Sun, a move state political editor Shannon Deery has slammed as “little more than petty payback ($)“.

PS: In other COVID-19 news, The Guardian reports that Finance officials have acknowledged that taxpayer-funded research undertaken by the Liberal’s go-to pollster, Jim Reed, fed into two government advertising campaigns for stimulus measures.

MOMENT OF TRUTH: BARRETT CLEARS PENULTIMATE VOTE

According to The Guardian’s live blog, the US Senate judiciary committee has voted 12-10 to send Amy Coney Barrett to a full Senate vote.

Democrats have been boycotting the hearing entirely, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who famously, successfully blocked Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick for months until after Donald Trump’s inauguration — is now rushing to bring the matter to the Senate floor by Monday.

Hours ahead of the final presidential debate, CNN reports that Joe Biden has pledged to form a bipartisan, nondescript commission to recommend changes to the Supreme Court. He continues to decline questions on whether or not he would expand the court to reduce the Republican’s almost-guaranteed 6-3 dominance.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I was appalled and it is disgraceful and it’s not on. So, immediately, I spoke with ministers and from those discussions, decided that there had to be an independent investigation done by the department, not by Australia Post, and that the chief executive should stand aside immediately.

Scott Morrison

The prime minister that oversaw sports rorts, HelloWorld, “Clovergate”, and a litany of other federal controversies demonstrates he is perfectly capable of holding (unaligned) government officials to account.

CRIKEY RECAP

Biden wins popular vote, Trump the electoral college. Here’s the nightmare scenario

“He’s well behind in the polls, but can Donald Trump pull out a surprise vict- what? You’ve read that article? Six times? Yes, well your correspondent has been off for a while and was all set to return with a staggering contrarian take, and it’s gone and been done, and done.”

“The truth is that there’s so many indicators that Donald Trump is failing in the polls that pundits are now putting in a contrarian take as insurance, pure and simple, in case the universe has become several degrees more screwy than it was in 2016.”


Accountability gap: how the NSW government enables corruption to flourish

“A winter’s day lunch held in July last year overlooking Sydney’s harbour showed off the city at its schmoozing best. It was also a snapshot of the kind of corporate, government and media mash-up which runs NSW, with little real accountability.

“Here was a chance for business leaders to mingle easily with government representatives in a premium networking event. The main attraction was NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who would be expounding on her vision for the state, fireside chat-style with the ABC’s Leigh Sales.”


‘Colourful’ entries for the Spiv-tionary fly in thick and fast

“The hits just keep on coming. We are truly living in a golden age of spiv-speak and shonky language. Here’s a few more entries to the Crikey Spiv-tionary, courtesy of our wonderful readers:

Sufficient substance: A malleable, gel-like state that can be molded to fit various situations. Example: the same relationship can in one telling be likely to lead to marriage and in another not have ‘sufficient substance to be made public’. Thanks for that one, Gladys Berejiklian.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Dyson Heydon: four more ex-staffers accuse former judge of inappropriate behaviour

Premier’s office has no record of Maguire disclosing side hustles

Packer uses his Crown votes to save directors’ pay from protest vote

Aunt of 11-year-old girl who took her own life calls for cycle of silence around sexual abuse to end

‘Christians are not victims’: church leader slams religious freedom bill

Queen innocent over dismissal, Kerr misled palace: Keating ($)

‘That’s just stupid’: Ella fires back at Farr-Jones’s remarks around Indigenous Australians

Australia urged to take in 3000 Pacific Islanders each year to offset impact of climate change

US ICE officers ‘used torture to make Africans sign own deportation orders’

In rare gloves-off moment, Obama calls on voters to hand Trump a clear defeat

THE COMMENTARIAT

Police drones should not be accepted as ‘normal’ ($) — David Limbrick (Herald Sun): “As police helicopters and drones prepare for lift-off over Melbourne this weekend, I fear this could become accepted as ‘COVID normal’, and before we know it, just as plain normal. It shouldn’t be. Is this really how we want to live? Helicopters and drones are a great tool for police when it comes to some tasks involving search and rescue.”

Susan Ryan opened doors that will never close Anthony Albanese (The Sydney Morning Herald): “My last conversation with Susan Ryan was on September 4. It began with the usual pleasantries but typically, she didn’t want to talk about herself. She wanted to talk about others. Susan was concerned about the crisis in aged care that has already led to more than 680 deaths. She pressed the immediate need to increase staff in aged care homes, improve transparency and accountability, and implement long-term reform.”

Queensland’s LNP wants a curfew for kids, but evidence suggests this won’t reduce crimeRick Sarre (The Conversation): “Imposing a curfew may make matters worse. For one thing, proponents are likely to exaggerate the problem, while pretending crime issues will be solved simply by taking unaccompanied children off the streets at night. But the most puzzling incongruity is there is also plenty of evidence to suggest what should be done to alleviate the disorder and dysfunction curfews are designed to address.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Senate estimates will cover Indigenous matters and financial regulators.

  • The national cabinet is expected to meet today.

Victoria

  • Today is AFL Grand Final Day.

Peter Fray

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