covid-19 test
(Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

JUST IN CASE

Victoria’s health department has announced a hotel quarantine worker at Melbourne Airport’s Holiday Inn last night tested positive to COVID-19, after initially testing negative at the end of her shift on Thursday February 4 before returning to work yesterday morning where she later developed symptoms and was retested.

Other Holiday Inn Airport workers and close contacts are being contacted, and three new contact sites have since been announced:

  • Marciano’s Cakes, Maidstone from 9:45-10:25am, Friday February 5
  • Dan Murphy’s, Sunshine from 5:50-6:30pm, Friday February 5; and 6:50-7:30pm, Saturday February 6
  • Off Ya Tree Watergardens, Taylors Lakes from 1:17-1:52pm, Saturday February 6

The news comes just hours after NSW Health issued a precautionary alert for sites in Wollongong and south-eastern Sydney, after a returned overseas traveller tested positive two days after leaving hotel quarantine.

The person was reportedly not showing any symptoms but had been tested on day 16 as part of an enhanced follow-up strategy for returned travellers. NSW Health calls on any visitors to the following two high-risk contact sites to get tested and self-isolate until they receive further advice:

  • Headlands Hotel, Austinmer from 1-3pm, Tuesday February 2
  • Bulli Beach Cafe, Bulli from 1.30-4pm, Saturday February 6

Additionally, the department calls on visitors to the following sites to get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative result:

  • Mootch & Me, Brighton Le Sands from 10:54am-12pm, Tuesday February 2
  • Optus, North Wollongong from 1-1:15pm, Thursday February 4
  • Officeworks, Fairy Meadow from 3:45-4:05pm, Thursday February 4; and 3pm-3:25pm, Friday February 6

Lastly, visitors to the following are urged to monitor their symptoms:

  • Woolworths, Bulli from 9:15-10am, Wednesday February 3
  • Corrimal Memorial Park, Corrimal from 12-1pm, Wednesday February 3
  • Thirroul Beach from 3-4.30pm Wednesday February 3
  • Sublime Point Walking Track, 661 Princes Highway in Madden Plains from 8:30-10am, Thursday February 4
  • Figtree Grove Shopping Centre, specifically Australia Post, Kmart, Blooms The Chemist, Subway from 2-3.30pm, Thursday February 4
  • Fedora Pasta Factory, Fairy Meadow from 3.30-3.35pm, Friday February 5

The news comes as students return to school in Western Australia today, with WAToday reporting that masks are mandatory for secondary students, parents and teachers in the Peel and Perth region.

PS: The New Daily reports that Government Services Minister Stuart Robert has announced plans to make “vaccination certificates” available through MyGov and the Medicare phone app, and hardcopy versions through Services Australia, ahead of requirements to demonstrate immunity for travel and, potentially, other public facilities such as shops.

APOCALYPSE LATER

Two months after the Morrison government confirmed it is not projected to meet even its relatively-paltry 2030 emissions targets, The Guardian reports that Nationals leader Michael McCormack has flagged excluding agriculture from any potential 2050 target of net zero emissions.

While senior ministers briefing The Australian ($) back McCormack’s view, which included extra support for trade-exposed industries, The Age emphasises that peak farm body the National Farmers Federation has already backed the 2050 target and supports an economically-sound pathway were a plan ever developed.

The continued speculation comes three days after the government confirmed it has no plans for subsidies or incentives for electric vehicles in its “Future Fuels” strategy discussion paper.

PS: As The Driven observes, Energy Minister Angus Taylor has again used some dodgy maths to justify not subsidising election vehicles, this time claiming $750 a tonne abatement costs for a “typical EV” that takes no account for charging using renewables directly and, apparently, equates a 1.86 metre Renault electric van with a 1.5 metre compact version.

CUTTING REMARKS

According to correspondence leaked to The Age, Labor leader Anthony Albanese has signalled another shift to a small-target opposition by urging his shadow cabinet to ensure all new policy proposals are offset with spending cuts.

Deputy leader Richard Marles told colleagues last Friday that the leader’s office would this week begin working on priority policy development areas ahead of a possible early election.

It comes after Albanese, touring far north Queensland yesterday, reiterated calls to extend JobKeeper for the tourism sector, The New Daily reports.

PS: One area Albo and could rake it in would be reversing elements of Malcolm Turnbull’s and Scott Morrison’s tax cuts, which, since rolling out in 2017, the Parliamentary Budget Office has found will give the richest fifth of Australians an extra $189 billion by 2030-31 (vs $440 million for the lowest income earners and $50 billion for the middle class).

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

We are not worried, or I’m certainly not worried, about what might happen in 30 years’ time.

Michael McCormack

In flagging he wants agriculture cut from a 2050 net zero emission pledge, the Nationals leader offers a neat explanation for Australia’s eight-years-and-running climate policy vacuum.

CRIKEY RECAP

Albo’s Labor: a party in search of a story about what we are not — but should be

Tanya Plibersek’s corridor encounter with Craig Kelly may have been contrived, but it was no less welcome for that. Quite the contrary. As Plibersek’s inner-city progressive visage towered, Kelly had the demeanour of a wombat pulled from its hole by scientists to have its arse microchipped.”


Memo to national cabinet: here are some alternatives to hotel quarantine

“Australia needs to increase the number of international arrivals we can house in hotel quarantine. The government should not have to choose between making an allowance for a lockdown-defying British pop star over the reported 40,000 Australians stranded overseas and migrants desperately needed for our economic recovery.”


Anti-Chinese sentiment on the rise in Australia as many MPs apply a whitewash

“Nearly half of Australians have negative feelings towards people of Chinese, Sudanese and Iraqi backgrounds, a new report has found.

“The Scanlon Foundation’s 2020 survey into social cohesion found 47% of respondents had a negative view of Chinese people in July last year, up from just 10% a decade ago.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Mark McGowan says prospect of deliberately lit south-west fires ‘disgusting’ as arson squad investigates

Fears for Australian academic Sean Turnell detained in Myanmar days after military coup

Warning that Sydney’s biggest rail project risks costing $27b and opening late

New rules to force irrigators to return 50GL of diverted floodplain waters ($)

David Crisafulli calls for return of breach of bail laws after woman allegedly hit by car chasing stolen vehicle

Jacinta Price sues ABC for ‘racist’ defamation ($)

Premier Mark McGowan maintains sky-high approval rating in exclusive poll despite COVID-19 lockdown, bushfires ($)

Palestinian rights groups urge swift action after ICC ruling

ICE threatened to expose asylum-seekers to COVID-19 if they did not accept deportation

Revealed: Queen lobbied for change in law to hide her private wealth

Himalayan glacier breaks in Uttarakhand, India, leaving up to 150 feared dead in floods

THE COMMENTARIAT

Warning for Labor: the wilderness years could come again ($) — Stephen Loosley (The Australian): “The federal ALP spent nearly a quarter of a century in the political wilderness between the fall of the Chifley government in 1949 and the election of the Whitlam government in 1972. No one in the current ranks of the ALP, of which I have been a member for nearly half a century, should think this long period of impotence in opposition is a unique experience. It can recur.”

The Australian Labor Party needs to ditch neoliberalism instead of doubling downLiam McLoughlin (Jacobin): “In The Write Stuff: Voices of Unity on Labor’s Future, a recently published book of essays by leading Labor Right figures, [Wayne] Swan faults [Elizabeth] Humphrys for supposedly arguing that “Labor’s agenda was no different from the neoliberal agenda of Reagan and Thatcher.” But she didn’t. Rather, Humphrys shows how Australia’s path to neoliberalism was unique.”

Joe Biden’s first foreign policy speech — an expert explains what it means for the worldMichelle Bentley (The Conversation): “Delivering his first major foreign policy speech since taking office on January 20, US president Joe Biden has sent a strong signal to the rest of the world that they will see a very different America on his watch. In a wide-ranging address at the US State Department in Washington, Biden outlined his new foreign policy vision, declaring that — in what has become something of a catch-phrase — ‘America is back.’”

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Sydney

  • Independent MP for Indi Helen Haines, Chair of the Centre for Public Integrity Anthony Whealy, and CEO of Transparency International Serena Lillywhite will discuss “National Integrity Commission: Fact or Fiction?” in an online event from Voices of Wentworth.

Peter Fray

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