Queensland Brisbane covid-19 test
(Image: AAP/Darren England)

POSITIVE RESULTS ARE A NEGATIVE THING

The partner of a Brisbane hotel cleaner infected with the UK variant of COVID-19 has tested positive after going into quarantine on January 7, the ABC reports, with restrictions nonetheless easing across Greater Brisbane last night and Queensland Health reporting three new exposure sites:

  • Nextra Sunnybank Hills Newsagent, Tuesday January 5, 8-8:15am
  • Bunnings Warehouse in Acacia Ridge, Tuesday January 5, 2-2:40pm
  • Sunnybank Cellars on Hellawell Road, Sunnybank Hills, Wednesday January 6, 2:05-2:15pm.

Elsewhere, Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has again ramped up pressure on the New South Wales government to pursue elimination after Sydney recorded three new cases, while The Guardian explains NSW Health yesterday added 17 new exposure sites across January 2-8 in Arndell Park (notably the Blacktown Workers Sports Club), Ashfield, Brookvale, Campsie, Hurlstone Park, Lakemba, Warriewood, and a return train journey between Hurlstone Park and Bankstown.

The cases come as WA maintains hard borders with Queensland, NSW, and Victoria, while the latter announced a new colour-coded permit system where greater Brisbane and Sydney remain banned “red zones” while regional NSW was moved to an “orange zone” where travel is allowed with testing and isolation (and, according to ABC, hotel quarantine for some unlucky early travellers).

In other domestic COVID-19 news:

  • Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said a child who attended a Melbourne early learning centre then later tested positive in Israel may be a false positive, but the close contacts are still isolating and the centre has closed (ABC)
  • While Queensland, NSW, and WA have announced plans to reduce caps on international arrivals, the Northern Territory has agreed to increase its intake from 500 to 850 people per fortnight (ABC)
  • Restaurant and Catering chief executive Wes Lambert has called on premiers to introduce vouchers for the hospitality sector after state borders flattened a normally-lucrative holiday season (The Australian $).

PS: In a story you’d be forgiven for having completely blanked on, the ABC reports that Clive Palmer is still suing McGowan for alleged defamation despite his office issuing a statement on Sunday that the action had been withdrawn.

DON THROUGH THE MOTIONS

Following threats by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring an impeachment resolution to the floor this week unless Mike Pence invokes the 25th Amendment against Donald Trump, CNN reports that Democrats have formally unveiled the document charging the president with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in last week’s riots.

The impeachment article, which marks the party’s first step to bringing a potential impeachment vote, cites Trump’s repeated, made-up claims that he won the election, his speech to the crowd on January 6 ahead of their takeover of Capitol Hill, and his call urging the Georgia Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win.

The news comes as The New York Times reports that Republicans have objected to a resolution calling on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, meaning that the House would have to call a full vote on the measure on Tuesday. If Pence, who is believed to be opposed to the move, does not intervene “within 24 hours” and the president does not resign, the House will move as early as Wednesday to vote on the impeachment resolution.

Elsewhere, the New York State Bar Association announced it is investigating Rudy Giuliani over his  role in the “violent uprising”, while, amid a slew of new Capitol Hill arrests, The Guardian reports the US army is investigating a psychological operations officer for leading a group of people from North Carolina to the instigating Washington rally.

KOALATY CONTROL

Finally, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that koala advocates have slammed the Berejiklian government for backing without qualification just 11 of an upper house inquiry into the animal’s habitat and population’s 42 recommendations, with the government offering “support in principle” to 17 others and simply “noting” the remaining 14.

Months after the state government almost imploded over habitat land use laws it ultimately ditched, NSW Greens MP and chair of the committee Cate Faehrmann has said many key recommendations to prevent a 2050 state extinction crisis appear to have been rejected outright, for example urgently investigating the “utilisation of core koala habitat on private land and in state forests to replenish koala habitat lost in the bushfires”.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

[Journalist]: Not only is George Christensen spouting conspiracy theories, he’s falling in line with Donald Trump on election fraud claims in the US, gone against medical advice by pushing hydroxychloroquine during as a pandemic … Why shouldn’t he be counselled for pushing false claims and what are essentially non-medical advice to thousands of followers?

Well George Christensen’s also supported the Mackay Ring Road. George Christensen has also supported water infrastructure projects in north Queensland [goes on like this for a while] … And uh I know that George Christensen’s heart is in the right place, again I say I am not in favour of censorship!

Michael McCormack

In the latest reminder that Australia is probably all good to handle the exact causes of last week’s siege on Capitol Hill, our acting prime minister starts his first day on the job by equating those events to Black Lives Matter “race riots” and answering a question on a colleague’s conspiracy theories with a list of his support for local infrastructure.

CRIKEY RECAP

Why impeach Trump? To stop him from ever running again

“What is the point of impeaching Donald Trump?

“With only days left in Trump’s term, there is barely any time remaining for the Senate to conduct a trial and vote on impeachment before the inauguration of president-elect Biden on January 20. The Senate is in recess until January 19. An early recall of the chamber to consider impeachment would require the unanimous consent of all senators, which is all but inconceivable.”


After Twitter, Facebook and Parler, Trumpists head to a new platform

“Many Trump supporters have turned to the encrypted app Telegram as an ongoing contact point, as major tech companies act to limit the spread of the kind of violent rhetoric that led to the storming of the US Capitol and the deaths of five people.

“The indefinite removal of Donald Trump from Twitter and Facebook initially resulted in the migration of Trump supporters to Parler, an alternative platform that is less stringently moderated.”


Racism is woven into the very DNA of Australian cricket

“The alleged racial abuse aimed Indian players at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Sunday is just the latest incident in Australia’s various sporting codes. There is an investigation ongoing into the precise nature of the incident, but Australia’s history gives us no reason to doubt the Indian players’ claims.

“To pick a handful of incidents: bananas were thrown at West Indian-born Englishman Gladstone Small (which would be echoed nearly 30 years later in the treatment of AFL player Eddie Betts); the ‘go home curry munchers’ banners; the hectoring of Adam Goodes for having the temerity to point out racial slurs.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Threat from bushfire which hit town of Lucindale downgraded as firefighters monitor area

Australian government experts mull over COVID vaccine in pregnancy

Former Leighton COO David Savage arrested in Sydney ($)

Superannuation sector does not present a market concentration threat, says ACCC

Frydenberg rejects $300m Chinese bid for Probuild ($)

Indigenous leaders upbeat on voice report ($)

Indian-Australian cricket fan ejected from SCG heard no racial abuse

WA set to bank $1.5b more in iron ore royalties than predicted to almost double forecast budget surplus ($)

Origin and Neoen plan $1bn batteries for NSW power plants ($)

Unimpressed Clive Palmer ‘won’t spend one dollar’ on WA election

US designation of Yemeni Houthis as terrorists ‘will worsen humanitarian crisis’

Israel announces new illegal settler homes in occupied West Bank

THE COMMENTARIAT

Sydney MP Craig Kelly’s job is to represent Hughes but he’s pushing manic fringe craziness insteadJenna Price (The Sydney Morning Herald): “[Craig Kelly’s] page is mostly filled with manic fringe craziness. Just last week he said on Facebook that Marxists engaged in a highly coordinated ‘false flag’ operation on the Capitol and relied on a later retracted story in notorious Trumpist rag The Washington Times. He has touted ivermectin as more effective than all the COVID vaccines and for months and months boosted hydroxychloroquine.”

UK can do better than copy us on migration ($) — Judith Sloan (The Australian): “Now that Britain is no longer part of the European Union, EU citizens will not have the automatic right to move to the UK to work and/or settle. In its place, the UK government is instituting an immigration policy framework that has several features in common with our own. Prior to the last election, Boris Johnson pledged to ‘take steps to ensure that the Australian-style immigration system is in place … by lowering the number of unskilled immigrants who have been able to come here with no jobs lined up, the system will remove a major force that puts downward pressure on wages’.”

A mob attacked the Capitol for Trump. Now what? Mike Giglio (The Intercept): “I spent the last year talking with people from militant groups on the American right and always driving toward the same question: And then what? You’re armed and trained and linked up with your outfit. And then what? You’re ready to stand up to the leftist mob or defend Donald Trump from the inevitable attempt to steal the election. And then what? You’ll fight if you have to. OK, and then what?”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

It’s time to book your next dose of Crikey.

Through the week, news comes at you fast. Every day there’s a new disaster, depressing numbers or a scandal to doom-scroll to. It’s exhausting, and not good for your health.

Book your next dose of Crikey to get on top of it all. Subscribe now and get your first 12 weeks for $12. And you’ll help us too, because every dollar we get helps us dig even deeper.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.