WE’VE HAD ENOUGH CLOSURE
According to The Age, multiple federal government MPs and state politicians along the Victorian-NSW border have joined Qantas and other transport operators in calling on the Berejiklian government to reopen the border, although the NSW premier and some ministers have flagged they will need to wait until the impact of eased restrictions becomes clear.
On this front, Melbourne will today move to a range of eased restrictions including some reopened hospitality, and home visits of two people from the same household. The Nine paper reports the state government is training an army of hundreds of reserve contact tracers and, according to a new Ipsos poll, one-quarter of city respondents are rethinking where they live due to the pandemic.
News of Victoria’s two straight days of zero new cases led to a tense day of Parliament, with The New Daily reporting that Josh Frydenberg slammed the lockdown and cited residents who died by suicide after losing their job, while The Guardian reports that Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has said he does not feel personally responsible for 700 COVID-19 deaths.
On the financial front, the ABC reports that RBA officials have suggested the recession may be over and that Victoria’s lockdown may not have had as large an impact on the national economy as expected, but that more Australians could go into “negative equity”, where the value of their property falls below the outstanding balance on their mortgage, if the recession leads to a large fall in house prices.
PS: In excellent vaccine news, The Guardian reports that phase two trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca drug produced an immune response in participants of all ages.
PPS: As news.com.au reports, Frydenberg’s comments coincided with news that young Victorians presenting to hospital emergency departments with self-harm injuries “increased by 30% during the height of the state’s second wave”. Not mentioned: the impact of bringing JobSeeker back below poverty rates or excluding international students and non-residents from welfare support.
Lifeline: 13 11 14.
THE CHANGING CLIMATE ON CLIMATE CHANGE
According to the ABC, the Australia Institute’s Climate of the Nation report suggests that concerns for climate change is at a record high in Australia since the organisation began tracking attitudes in 2007.
In figures that maybe should not surprise anyone after Black Summer, 80% of respondents believe we are already experiencing problems caused by climate change, while 83% support the closure of coal-fired power stations.
The news comes after Japan announced a 2050 net zero emissions target, a move that joins China’s 2060 plan and, as RenewEconomy explains, means Australia needs to prepare for our two biggest fossil fuel customers cutting imports.
PS: To hear from one of the rare Coalition MPs who both believes in climate change and wants Australia to do something about it beyond “more gas”, see NSW Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean launch the Climate of the Nation report in an online webinar today.
ARRESTS AT DJAB WURRUNG TREES
Around 50 people were arrested yesterday at protests surrounding Victoria’s Djab Wurrung trees, with The Guardian reporting that police allegedly also arrested legal observers. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that “a significant number of protesters were issued with COVID-related fines”, while according to Junkee, police blocked journalists from entering the site and reportedly dislocated the shoulder of a protester while they were being removed from a barrel.
Dan Andrews has again cited road safety in defending Monday’s destruction of the sacred Directions Tree, but the controversy has already cost the state government’s Treaty process, with South West representative of the First People’s Assembly of Victoria Eileen Sissy Austin announcing that trust has been broken and she will stepping down from the Treaty Assembly.
PS: In a stellar day for fans of destruction, the ABC reports that Environment Minister Sussan Ley has approved the clearing of more than 50 hectares of koala habitat in NSW in order to expand a quarry. This comes months after bushfires killed a third of the state’s koala population and a NSW inquiry warned that, barring significant habitat reforms, koalas will become extinct in the state by 2050.
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FLASH FLOODING IN SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND
Thunderstorms are set to resume in Brisbane today, with the ABC reporting the city saw flash flooding yesterday as storms move across South East Queensland.
Emergency crews worked throughout the night, with multiple reports of submerged cars throughout the city and surrounding regions.
MOMENT OF TRUTH: COULD BARRETT STEAL THE ELECTION?
The ABC reports that new Supreme Court judge Amy Coney Barrett is set to immediately preside over a list of contentious petitions to the court, including attempts by Republicans in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania to block efforts to count mail-in ballots that are sent by election day but arrive three days later.
As Slate explains, the Republican judges would endorse an ultraconservative argument rejected in the 2000 Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case that, effectively, would empower the body to veto state courts and electoral boards.
In other legal news, CNN reports that a federal judge has denied the Justice Department’s attempt to quash a defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump by a magazine columnist who has alleged he raped her.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
If others see anything else but the figure 800 that is a reflection on them not me.
The Liberal MP is shocked, simply shocked that anyone would see anything silly in his photo of a
doughnut dick serious tribute to 800 dead Victorians using doughnuts.
Remember, my value is: we look after our mates.
Scott Morrison, September 6 2018
“Everywhere you look in the Morrison government, you see sleaze and self-interest, if not outright corruption. Merely itemising the current scandals on foot is an arduous task.
“The million dollars paid to a Liberal mate for government advertising without the inconvenience of a tender. Christine Holgate’s spending habits at Australia Post, all approved by a Liberal-stacked board. The expenses scandal at ASIC that has already cost that regulator a deputy chairman and is likely to cost it the chairman. The ongoing investigation into the 1000% mark-up on the Leppington Triangle for a Liberal donor.”
“Scott Morrison might be too busy to set up a federal integrity commission, but his government has been going hammer and tongs changing laws which affect business accountability under the cover of COVID-19.
“Insolvent trading laws were relaxed, it became easier to dilute retail shareholders in capital raisings, class actions were banned and now the government is embarking on a rushed consultation process to allow companies to ditch the physical annual general meeting (AGM), moving wholly online.”
“With four days left until Queenslanders go to the polls, the good money is backing a third term for Annastacia Palaszczuk and the ALP.
“That would create a few lines in the history books. Palaszczuk would be on track to knock Peter Beattie off as Queensland’s longest-serving Labor premier since World War II. She would continue her reign as the longest-serving female premier in Australia. And 2020 would take its place in history as the state election won on a federal issue: closing the borders.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
The destruction of a sacred tree on Djab Wurrung country has broken our hearts — Sissy Eileen Austin (The Guardian): “On Monday our biggest nightmare became a cold hard reality. The sounds of chainsaws, excessive police force, the crying of children. We felt defeated as an element of our culturally significant landscape was torn away, taken, gone forever. We are the last generation to ever be in the powerful presence of our directions tree on Djab Wurrung country.”
ASIC shamed in the political dock as Frydenberg considers shake-up ($) — Jennifer Hewett (AFR): “Senate estimates hearings rarely offer riveting viewing. But the implosion at the corporate regulator meant an unusually fascinated audience for Karen Chester’s appearance at Tuesday’s committee hearings. Chester is now acting chair at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission after James Shipton stood aside last Friday pending a review and Chester’s fellow deputy Dan Crennan abruptly quit on Monday.”
Journalism serves democracy. That’s us. — Tim Dunlop (Meanjin): “When I started writing for News Ltd in 2005, at a blog they asked me to develop attached to their news.com.au website, I learned firsthand about the clash of cultures between a traditional, mainstream news organisation, and the sort of audience-engaged model we early bloggers had more or less invented (rare mainstream media exceptions like Margo Kingston’s ‘Web Diary’ at the SMH notwithstanding).”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Senior Fellow at the United States Studies Centre Bruce Wolpe and Executive Director at the Centre for Independent Studies Tom Switzer will discuss the US election with moderator Sabra Lane at the National Press Club.
Senate estimates will examine the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Social Services; Industry, Science, Energy, Resources; and Education, Skills and Employment.
Sky News will host the first of two debates between Annastacia Palaszczuk and LNP leader Deb Frecklington.