MOMENT OF TRUTH: SO WHEN DO WE CALL IT A COUP?
As Joe Biden’s lead breaks the 5 million mark, Nine reports that the Trump administration is continuing to block the handover of power, with Rudy Giuliani tweeting the campaign has “sued to invalidate hundreds of thousands of fraudulent ballots in the Western District of Michigan”.
The news comes after election officials from all 50 states told The New York Times ($) there were no irregularities that affected the outcome, while The Washington Post ($) reports that a Pennsylvania postal worker has admitted to making up allegations of vote tampering and that he received $130,000 from GOP donors.
Elsewhere, CNN reports that several Trump loyalists have been “burrowed” into defence and security positions, while some officials have resigned in the wake of Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s termination.
US THIRD WAVE SPIRALS OUT OF CONTROL
As the Trump campaign doubles down on those conspiracies, The New York Times reports that the White House coronavirus taskforce is practically silent in the face of a rapidly growing, record-breaking third wave.
America’s Strategic National Stockpile has only 115 million N95 masks — far short of the 300 million the administration had hoped to obtain by now — while average new daily infections have topped 116,000, average daily deaths near 1000, and COVID-19 hospitalisations broke a record high of 61,964 on Tuesday. The only response from Donald Trump thus far has been to feign outrage that news of Pfizer’s early vaccine data came after the election.
And while Congress is yet to budge on a second stimulus package (the Democrat-controlled House has actually passed two, but who’s counting) The Hill reports that the Republican-led Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed a $696 billion Pentagon spending bill for the fiscal year.
PS: On the local front, the ABC reports that Australia had recorded three days of no new local cases before a South Australian woman yesterday tested positive for the second time. She has been classified as “active” as officials investigate whether she is “shedding” the virus or has actually been re-infected.
WHY NOT JUST CALL IT JOBTAKER
According to The Guardian, One Nation has backflipped on an earlier vote and teamed up with the Morrison government to reject legislative safeguards against workers being fired or losing hours as part of the “JobMaker” credit scheme for workers aged 35 and under.
The news came on a busy day in Australian politics, with the Greens securing a Senate inquiry into media diversity following Kevin Rudd’s record-breaking petition for a News Corp royal commission (The New Daily); Labor instituting their own bonk ban (The Guardian); and the Coalition’s attempt to axe responsible lending laws set to face an uphill Senate battle after Labor jumped on direct pleas from banking royal commission victims to Josh Frydenberg to retain rules that, were they in place, probably would have stopped the GFC (AFR $).
At the state level, Victorian Labor is preparing to expel at least 1800 members — or more than 10% of its state membership – in one of the most significant branch-stacking purges in recent history (The Age); the NSW government will provide more than $273 million in next Tuesday’s budget to boost trade and expand its overseas presence (The Sydney Morning Herald); and NT Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro has labelled the NT’s budget the worst in the territory’s history, in a reply speech that called for better private investment policies but did not offer any long-term revenue plans (ABC).
FINAL PRO-DEMOCRACY POLITICIANS STEP DOWN IN HONG KONG
Finally, the ABC reports that all of Hong Kong’s remaining pro-democracy, opposition politicians have announced they will resign in protest against the dismissal of four of their colleagues from the city’s Legislative Council.
In the latest sign of China’s control over the city, the Jinping government adopted a resolution earlier in the day allowing Hong Kong’s executive to bypass courts when expelling legislators deemed to be advocating Hong Kong independence, colluding with foreign forces, or threatening national security.
The Chinese government welcomed the disqualification of the four MPs, labelling the group “unpatriotic” troublemakers, while Hong Kong’s (China-backed) leader Carrie Lam has denied the Legislative Council will become a “rubber stamp” parliament.
The resignations will leave Hong Kong’s legislature with only pro-Beijing MPs.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
There are many places and circumstances to appropriately display the flags of our nations, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. The government believes that the Australian national flag, that represents all Australians, is the only appropriate flag to be flown in the Senate chamber.
Because nothing represents Australians like the Union Jack and only the Union Jack, the Liberal party shuts down a small gesture to hang the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in the Senate. Happy NAIDOC week but.
“You’re a female lawyer, one of thousands across Australia. On Monday night you watched Four Corners reveal that Attorney-General Christian Porter — your ultimate boss — has a history of misogynistic behaviour and allegedly engaged in an extramarital affair with a staffer. How do you feel?”
“Yes, Donald Trump’s behaviour has been so monstrous, so destructive of democratic norms and institutions that it seems unthinkable any Americans would have voted for him, let alone 71 million. But Americans, especially Republican Americans, are more different from Australians than you think.”
“While the planet continues to heat up — 2020 may yet be the hottest year ever and will be in the top five hottest years — and the government continues to deny climate change and the need for climate action, Labor is busily demonstrating that the Coalition isn’t the only side torn between basic science and the demands of fossil-fuel donors.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Sorry, but Christian Porter is no Bob Hawke ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “Whatever leadership ambitions Christian Porter may have had — or others had held for him — evaporated Monday night. Terrible stories had already been filtering across from the west. Then when accounts began to swirl of an incident in a bar in Canberra, the most politicised city in Australia, where everybody knows you even if you don’t know them, people began looking more closely at Porter.”
Interviewing the far-right is bad, so why do journalists keep doing it? — Jim Malo (Junkee): “Donald Trump’s election loss has been punctuated by a sharp end to the media’s repetition of his lies. Even as he was thrashing at the podium on election night, lashing out at imagined enemies, and vowing to fight his losing result — the media in the US finally turned away. In most cases, news networks in the USA began cutting away from his speech once he started lying. ”
A girl of 13, starving: it’s a glimpse into Australia’s disadvantage and how governments are failing — John Hewson (The Sydney Morning Herald): “When school reopened for term 4, Katlyn* returned to Learning Ground, deathly white, stick thin. The 13-year-old held onto the wall to help her walk. On further investigation we found she was suffering from starvation. We realised it was impossible for her to go to school. This experience really challenged me. It was hard to believe this was western Sydney, Australia, in 2020. How could it be in such a wealthy country?”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Peter Gutwein will deliver Tasmania’s budget in state parliament at around 3pm.
Creators of the ABC TV series Retrograde will speak in conversation on Wheeler Centre panel “Future in Retrograde: Storytelling and Inclusion on Screen”.
Today is the opening night for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.