SAFE AS HOUSES?
Independent economic modelling from the University of Adelaide and Curtin University argues that 500,000 households would have suffered from “devastating” home affordability or mortgage stress had it not been for JobKeeper, JobSeeker and Coronavirus Supplement payments.
While The Australian‘s report also cites separate Treasury banking analysis that argues that the tapering-off of JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments in September has not yet had an impact on household savings and spending, the university modelling suggests a quarter of those households spared by government payments could return to extreme housing affordability stress when subsidies are withdrawn in 2021.
The modelling joins the Reserve Bank of Australia’s report that JobKeeper saved 700,000 jobs in the early stages of the pandemic. There are concerns that cutting JobSeeker in particular will return many unemployed workers to poverty.
STATES OF PLAY
The South Australian government has instructed all students of Adelaide’s Woodville high school to isolate immediately with every member of their household after a student tested positive for coronavirus. At time of writing, it’s unknown whether the case is linked to the Parafield cluster or, more worryingly, is a sign of wider community transmission.
Elsewhere, now that Victoria’s second COVID-19 wave has officially ended, and the state nears one straight month of zero new cases and zero deaths, the hardline states are beginning to look to the future.
The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service in Queensland issued the notice on Wednesday afternoon that coronavirus had been detected in wastewater from the area.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that infectious persons were, or are still, in the area,” the notice said, while also emphasising the “extremely sensitive” tests did not necessarily mean there were active cases circulating undetected. “People who have recovered from COVID-19 can have live or dead virus in their stool for weeks after recovery.”
The Cairns region is expecting to see an influx of tourists from Sydney and Melbourne once border restrictions lift..
Meanwhile, from December 5, it will be compulsory for Western Australians to check-in at the majority of public venues to improve WA’s contact tracing, in the event the state experiences a coronavirus outbreak.
PRETTY FLY FOR A FINANCE GUY
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended the taxpayer funded jaunt around Europe being undertaken by former finance minister Mathias Cormann as the latter tries to secure the secretary general role at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Cormann is currently traveling the continent in an RAAF plane at a cost of $4300 taxpayer dollars an hour — something that must be particularly galling for the tens of thousands of Australians still stranded overseas in the midst of a global pandemic, as Labor have been at pains to point out.
Morrison told 2GB that if Cormann had taken commercial flights it would have placed him at unacceptable risk of contracting coronavirus.
“There really wasn’t the practical option to use commercial flights in the time we had available, because of COVID,” he said. “If Mathias was flying around on commercial planes he would have got COVID, the risk of that was extremely high.”
Cormann, for his part, is pushing a “vision statement” calling for a “green led recovery” from coronavirus. Which is news to anyone who has kept half an eye of the conspicuous lack of a climate change policy from the government that Cormann spent the last seven years being a key and influential part of.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I believe the COVID-19 pandemic is a stunt designed to enslave humanity and strip us of all of our rights and freedoms … The entire world has fallen under the spell of a satanic, globalist elite.
Professor Thomas Brennan
After being placed on “administrative leave” for, well, a lot of things, a professor of physics and astronomy at Ferris State in Michigan issued a quite staggeringly bananas statement. Apart from the COVID hoax, it touches on the Moon landing (a fake), the N-word (pretty much fine for him to say) and Atom bombs (also fake). We here at Crikey Worm feel it did not get the attention it deserved.
“Not even the catastrophe of last summer shifted the dial. Despite the conflagration that destroyed vast swathes of the east coast, burned billions of animals, killed 34 people directly and several hundred indirectly through smoke inhalation, Australia has actually retreated further from climate action since then, with the government embracing an absurd “gas-led recovery” that will see taxpayer funding being directed to more fossil fuel power infrastructure and discredited carbon capture and storage technology designed to enable the continuation of coal-fired power.”
“A COVID-19 vaccine is finally in sight and governments are working out the logistics of vaccinating entire populations. But no vaccine is 100% safe. Concerns have been raised around how fast the vaccines — which are soon to be distributed worldwide — have been developed. Other countries have compensation schemes to pay out people injured by a vaccine — from minor side effects to serious risks — but what happens in Australia if someone gets sick after being vaccinated?”
“Last week’s stoush on the 45th anniversary of the Whitlam dismissal was all about the Palace Letters between then governor-general Sir John Kerr and the Queen’s functionaries, with duelling books by Professor Jenny Hocking (The Palace Letters) and Paul Kelly and Troy (“the Boy”) Bramston’s The Truth of the Palace Letters. Hocking’s book is the superior volume, though I would say that. The Palace Letters are one of the most extraordinary political troves of modern times, in which the broken, pompous, needy, wheedling governor-general flatters, flaunts, fawns and ultimately succumbs to the blandishments of the royal outfit.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Leaders went MIA as Brereton bombs began to fall on SAS — Nikki Savva (The Australian) “The delayed response from [Scott] Morrison to the Brereton report came at a tele-press conference with Dan Andrews, to announce rail funding for Victoria, which could have been made the previous Monday when the Prime Minister was in Melbourne. Morrison’s office kiboshed that option, choosing Saturday afternoon. It was a safer distance in the media cycle from Brereton, the robodebt debacle and the superannuation report opening the door for the government to overturn a legislated increase and a promise.”
Trump’s coup failed – but US democracy has been given a scare — Julian Borger (The Guardian) “[Donald] Trump made no secret of his gameplan even before the election, and it has come into sharper focus with every madcap day since: cast doubt on the reliability of postal ballots, claim victory on election night before most of them were counted, and then sow enough confusion with allegations, justice department investigations and street mayhem with far-right militias to delay certification of the results.
No wonder China is confused by us — James Laurenceson (The Australian Financial Review) “Contrary to the frequently crude commentary appearing in Chinese state media, Morrison can point to plenty of evidence that Australia is not simply a US lackey. At the same time, he said this week the US alliance was ‘anchored in our shared world view’. How can this be so when the US view of the world is now dominated by perceptions of China being a ‘whole-of-society threat’? No wonder the Chinese embassy in Canberra is confused.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Disability Royal Commission’s report on the impact of COVID-19 on people with disability is expected to be tabled in federal parliament.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency will release its Gender Equality Scorecard for 2019/20.
The Insurance Council of Australia and Master Builders Association will host the first of a series of discussions aimed at strengthening homes and communities against natural disasters, following the natural disaster royal commission.
The Senate committee into the COVID-19 response will hear from senior officials from department of prime minister and cabinet, foreign affairs, home affairs, health, and infrastructure.
Former Health Services Union boss Kathy Jackson, who pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining financial advantage by deception, will be sentenced
Victorian shadow treasurer Louise Staley will present opposition’s budget reply in the Legislative Assembly.
The Australian Museum will be officially reopened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new grand hall.
Disability royal commission will hold a public hearing about the experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families in contact with child protection systems.
Senate inquiry into the road transport industry to hear evidence from groups including the Transport Workers Union.