(Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

FOUR COVID-19 CASES IN SA

The ABC reports that four people including a prison worker have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Mawson Lakes Primary School and Preschool in Adelaide’s northern suburbs will close today after a student was identified as a close contact, while the Western Australian government has directed all South Australian travellers to get tested and quarantine less than 48 hours after it reopened its state border.

In other local COVID-19 news, The Age reports that Dan Andrews flagged that any future loosening of mask requirements would first apply to Victorians spending time alone outside, while The Guardian reports that a Coverscan study in the UK has found that young and previously healthy people with ongoing COVID-19 symptoms are showing signs of at least mild damage to multiple organs four months after their initial infection.

PS: In preparation for future pandemics, The Age reports that the federal government will today sign a $1 billion agreement with Seqirus, the influenza vaccines arm of Australian biotech company CSL, to produce influenza and antivenom medical products in Melbourne.

MONEY BUSINESS

According to The Australian ($), NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet will launch a budget on Tuesday that will take five years to return to surplus and leans heavily on cheap debt for major infrastructure projects and ongoing stimulus.

The budget reportedly forecasts that the state’s unemployment rate will hit its highest level in 23 years — 7.5% — by Christmas and will not return to pre-pandemic levels until mid-2024, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The news comes after the Victorian government yesterday announced a record $5.3 billion for social housing and, as The Age notes, $870 million for the state’s “broken” mental health system.

PS: In analysis that shouldn’t really surprise anyone, the Grattan Institute’s latest report “Flame out: the future of natural gas” finds the Morrison government’s “gas-led recovery” will do nothing to arrest gas’ inevitable decline in industry or homes. As The Age explains, the report also finds the energy source is not going to get any cheaper on Australia’s east coast and state governments should put a moratorium on connecting gas in new homes.

MOMENT OF TRUTH: YEAH BUT NO

Finally, The New York Times’ election blog notes that Donald Trump appeared to briefly acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory — tweeting, in a series of false allegations, that “He won because the Election was Rigged” — but quickly self-corrected less than two hours later, insisting that “I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go.”

Top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has also hit out at the Trump administration for blocking the coronavirus taskforce from meeting with Biden’s transition team, a step he believes to be critically important to curbing the pandemic. Additionally, The Washington Post (via BusinessInsider) reports Trump has not met with the taskforce himself in five months.

The news comes as The Guardian reports the country recorded 166,555 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday — down on the record 184,000+ on Friday but still America’s second-highest daily total and a 12th day in a row above 100,000 — as thousands of Trump supporters attended the “Million Maga March” in DC, where, Al Jazeera notes, some clashed with counter-demonstrators early on Sunday with several fistfights, at least one stabbing, and 20 people arrested.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Boy, did we screw up! What a mess!

Charles Koch

The 85-year-old billionaire is awfully embarrassed about stoking US partisanship by throwing millions at the far-right Tea Party and/or against climate science/health care/environmental regulations/progressive tax policies. It’s a big list. He’s not embarrassed enough not to donate US$440,000 to a run-off campaign for Georgia senator David Perdue — a Republican who bought stock in a PPE company the day he received a classified COVID-19 briefing — but otherwise really, seriously dedicated to “building bridges across partisan divides”.

CRIKEY RECAP

An autocrat refuses to step down. His sycophants support him. Is this a coup?

“Well, here it is. The loudest democracy in the world has an infantile celebrity refusing to concede the presidency.

“In his final weeks in office, Donald Trump is acting more and more like a tin-pot, banana-republic strongman: stacking key departments, sacking his defence secretary, replacing staff with loyal acolytes, hiding in his palace and refusing to allow the machinery of democracy to work.”


What do Labor’s denialists know that the world’s biggest energy companies don’t?

“This week should have been a target-rich environment for Labor.

“There was the government’s reluctance to say anything about Trump’s attempted coup.

“There was Four Corners‘ exposure of Alan Tudge and Christian Porter, and David Crowe’s revelation of Rachelle Miller’s complaints about Tudge and Michaelia Cash.

“There was Morrison’s slashing of the JobSeeker supplement. And the AFP Association delivering a ferocious assault to Christian Porter’s joke of an integrity body, pointing out there was one much tougher rule for police and one much softer rule for politicians.”


Foxtel’s government begging bowl is brimming with goodies

“How much has pay TV operator Foxtel received in one-off government handouts over the past three years? $40 million? $50 million? Or is it closer to $67 million? No one quite knows.

“What we do know, after an extensive freedom of information (FOI) request reported by the ABC on Friday, is that the struggling News Corp-controlled television company gets concierge treatment from the federal government on a scale unavailable to almost any other Australian media organisation.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Campers flee to safety as bushfire rolls through Fraser Island

Killings of Afghans ‘happened all the time’

Leaked KPMG email warned retirement age covered by discrimination law ($)

‘Was someone out to get me? I don’t know’: Nine boss says relationship forced resignation

Government MPs put tax deductions for childcare fees on the table

Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission to present final report to Chief Minister within a fortnight ($)

Aged care residents found to be at greater risk in for-profit homes than government-run ones

Major tennis events from around Australia to be moved to Victoria ($)

‘Touch and go’: Stress levels rising for one in four mortgage holiday customers

The secret $53m Sydney land deal that has left NSW taxpayers with an even bigger clean-up bill

THE COMMENTARIAT

The harm JobMaker will do to women and older workers far outweighs any benefitsEmma Dawson (The New Daily): “The Morrison government’s JobMaker hiring-subsidy scheme has passed the Parliament — rushed through after its measures aimed at getting unemployed Australians under 35 back into work were subjected to a very short inquiry by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee. Multiple submissions, including Per Capita’s, noted the focus on younger Australians likely to experience long-term economic scarring due to high levels of unemployment early in their careers was welcome, but should not have come at the expense of support for older workers.”

ABC and Guardian lobby for failed rich ex-PMs over jobs for workers ($) — Chris Mitchell (The Australian): “Each worth several hundred million dollars, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are among the richest people to have served in the Australian federal parliament. Both are calling for a royal commission into media diversity, in effect because News Corp journalists report on widely held concerns that government climate change plans could cost jobs in manufacturing and mining.”

Labor’s Anthony Albanese is not a friend of Australia’s left — and he never wasNicholas Daniel (Jacobin): “In the wake of Bill Shorten’s defeat in the 2019 federal election, commentators speculated that the Australian Labor Party might be on the verge of its own Miliband Moment. Although a Corbyn-style left-wing takeover was not on the agenda, many still believed that the ALP was on the cusp of a leftward shift, and that the leadership of uninspiring machine men would soon be a thing of the past. Nearly two years later, however, Labor has shifted to the right under the leadership of a seasoned apparatchik, Anthony Albanese.”

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The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • Author Philip Salom will speak in-conversation on a Readings Zoom event to discuss his new novel, The Fifth Season, with essayist and literary critic James Ley.

Australia

  • The Family Matters Report 2020, which investigates the national crisis of continuing and growing removals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, will be launched in an online event with Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt, shadow minister Linda Burey and Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe.

Peter Fray

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