border airport
(Image: Unsplash/Yolanda Sun)

IDEA TAKES FLIGHT

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW government is exploring whether airlines are able to test passengers and staff for COVID-19 ahead of international flights, in a scheme that could prioritise high-risk countries and be adopted in other states and territories for a consistent national approach.

State residents in Batemans Bay and Liverpool have meanwhile been asked to come forward for testing (if symptomatic) following the discovery of virus fragments in local sewage, although curiously, as The Advertiser ($) reports, SA Health is refusing to provide running updates on sewage detection because it would only spread fear.

Meanwhile, the ABC explains that most of Australia has now opened up after South Australians were yesterday allowed to enter both NSW and Victoria without caveats.

On the global front both Germany and South Korea have ramped up restrictions amid fresh waves, while trucks of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have left for all US states ahead of planned arrivals on Monday. The US just recorded its deadliest week since the pandemic started, and country singer Charley Pride yesterday died of complications from the disease at 86.

PS: According to The Age, mental health workers in Victoria have spoken of a growing number of traumatised aged care staff and nurses who are seeking support, in what has been dubbed the hidden “third wave” of the state’s pandemic.

Lifeline: 13 11 14.

GREAT GALL

A leak of the Chinese Communist Party’s 1.95 million-odd membership list to The Australian ($) has revealed the Australian, British, and US consulates in Shanghai have employed CCP members as senior political and government affairs specialists, clerks, economic advisers, and executive assistants.

A government-run recruitment agency has reportedly been placing advisers into at least 10 Western embassies for more than a decade, while the publication ($) has also found that companies ranging from ANZ to manufacturing giant (and Defence Department contractor) Boeing not only employ CCP members but have branches embedded within their Chinese operations.

PS: According to The Guardian, new budget analysis by Deloitte Access Economics has found losses from Chinese tariffs are being offset by rising iron ore prices, and that the Morrison government will consequently announce a smaller deficit than originally forecast.

CLOUDY SKIES AND SILVER LININGS

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for areas stretching from Queensland’s Wide Bay and Burnett regions to the Gold Coast to the New South Wales border, the ABC reports, with gale-force winds, heavy rain, flash flooding, and year-high tides expected to continue across the state over the next few days.

A surface trough deepened off the coast on Saturday and a corresponding low pressure system is forecast to form this morning, while swells across northern NSW the last few days have created fears the erosion that’s plagued Byron Bay’s main beach for months will only get worse.

Meanwhile, The New Daily notes at least one flip side to the storms; they have helped bring the Fraser Island bushfire — which had destroyed almost half of the world heritage-listed area — under control.

PS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged world leaders to declare states of “climate emergency” at the Climate Action Summit — aka that one Scott Morrison was not invited to because of the, y’know, seven years the federal Coalition did effectively less than nothing for climate action.

EMERGENCY BREXIT

Finally, crucial Brexit talks will continue beyond Sunday’s deadline in another attempt to avoid a catastrophic no-deal exit when the UK officially leaves on January 1.

The ABC explains that final sticking points include fishing rights, tariffs, and access to the EU’s single market.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

To believe there is a God without physical evidence, without any empirical reality is a hard call.

To explain why — how come every atom is surrounded by energy shells with a definite electron number, in each shell, I would argue is an even bigger hard call.

The evolutionists, the ‘Taking Christ’s Child Out of Christmas’ mob, they have replaced him with a race for “market share”, or, did you get a good present? They have made Christmas about as uplifting as a gambling addiction.

Evolution gave us Adolf Hitler (23 million dead).

Bob Katter

As far as 2020 holiday messages go, the north Queensland MP’s atheists are ruining Christmas/evolution = capitalism + eugenics/something about the 1914 Xmas truce? rant feels like the least relevant but easily most entertaining.

CRIKEY RECAP

Dan Andrews goes where others fear to tread — taking on the Catholic Church and winning

“Three years ago Daniel Andrews took on the Catholic Church and won. His push for voluntary assisted dying laws seemed to go against every rule in politics — and yet the long feared electoral backlash never happened.

“Indeed the Victorian premier’s popularity increased, despite the huffing and puffing of the church in cahoots with the Murdoch media (which still haven’t forgiven him).”


Tax dodging News Corp continues to rip Australia off — and is subsidised by taxpayers to do so

“Next time you see a News Corp employee or contributor, or a News Corp editorial, opining about fiscal policy in Australia, or how tax revenue should be spent, or how the economy should be run, there’s a simple question to bear in mind.

“How much tax has the foreign-owned Coalition propaganda arm paid in tax in Australia in the five years to 2018-19? During that time News Australia Holdings has earned more than $360 million in profits from nearly $13.1 billion in revenue.”


Politics of corruption twists the Liberals in knots — and haunts NSW Labor

“New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian might be having a rotten end of year with revelations of a secret lover, pork-barrelling and shredded documents, but there’s been no joy for Labor either. For that you can thank the Obeid factor.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hits brakes on euthanasia law ($)

Scam bitcoin ads using unauthorised celebrity images fool tens of thousands of Australians

ABC chair Ita Buttrose will not be sacked over response to Federal Government’s Four Corners questions, Paul Fletcher says

‘Autoantibodies’ may be driving severe COVID cases, study shows

Industry super hits back at Morrison government ‘ideological’ attacks

Indonesia arrests militant linked to Bali Bombing and suspected leader of Jemaah Islamiyah

Prosecutor drops rape charges against defrocked Catholic priest

Chris Bowen flags overhaul of Labor health policy ($)

Clashes in Washington’s streets after pro-Trump rally

Speculation swirls over Ivanka Trump’s potential run for US Senate in Florida

THE COMMENTARIAT

Chance for genuine industrial relations reform thrown under the omnibusDavid Peetz (The Conversation): “When Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the formation of five working groups of employers, unions and government officials in June 2020, he signalled an unexpected twist to industrial relations reform. Some observers anticipated a new politics of consensus — or even an Accord 2.0. The working groups met over several months. They need not have bothered.”

Exposing mystery and menace of Chinese Communist Party membership ($) — Robert Potter and David Robinson (The Australian): “What does it mean to be a member of the Chinese Communist Party today? Is it like being part of the party in Soviet Russia or in 1930s Germany? Are all members “true believers”? Or is it more like a trade union affiliation? The truth is we don’t really know because we’re dealing with a secretive totalitarian regime.”

Chanukah a time for miracles and reconnectionIsabelle Oderberg (The Age): “My children may be the descendants of two attempted genocides, Aboriginal and Jewish, but we never forget in our family, that they are also the descendants of survivors. That those cultures have survived and thrived, is something to be celebrated.”

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