covid-19 victoria melbourne holiday inn
A general view of Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport (Image: AAP/Luis Ascui)

THIRD HOLIDAY INN CASE

Victoria’s health department has listed several new potential exposure sites in Sunbury, north-west of Melbourne, as the ABC reports that three people have now tested positive from the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn:

  • Sunbury Square Shopping Centre (specifically Aldente Deli, Bakers Delight, Sushi Sushi, and Asian Star) from 3:40-4:30pm Friday, February 5
  • PJ’s Pet Warehouse, Sunbury from 3:37-4:10pm Friday, February 5
  • Cellarbrations, Sunbury from 6:17-7:02pm Saturday, February 6 and 6:17-7:02pm Sunday, February 7
  • Sunny Life Massage in Sunbury Square Shopping Centre from 4:30-6:30pm Saturday, February 6

Earlier yesterday, Dan Andrews confirmed the quarantine worker who tested positive on Sunday has the “UK variant” of the virus and that the working theory for infections at the hotel is aerosol transmission.

PS: In global news, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the World Health Organisation and Chinese investigators have announced several key findings from a month-long investigation into the origins of COVID-19, including that it was most likely transmitted through an intermediate animal host, although which one remains a mystery; the Wuhan lab theory is “extremely unlikely”; and the virus was likely to have been active outside the city’s market for weeks before cases were first detected.

THE GIG’S UP

According to The Conversation, Labor leader Anthony Albanese will tonight deliver a major policy speech promising to legislate “job security” as a key objective of the Fair Work Act, abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and Registered Organisations Commission, and provide gig economy workers better protections, pay and conditions.

Leaked aspects of the speech come after the opposition pledged not to vote for the Morrison government’s “pro-flexibility” industrial relations package, and after new shadow minister for “government accountability” Kristina Keneally delivered a separate pre-election speech at the National Press Club that The Guardian reports was focused on government rorts and failures i.e. sports rorts, the Leppington triangle sale, Coalition appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Liberal-linked market research and advertising, and the aged care response to COVID-19.

PS: In what had to have been one of the more cringe-ier media stunts, shadow industrial relations minister Tony Burke held a midnight press conference last night to argue the Morrison government’s bill threatens penalty rates.

LITTLEPROUD OF HIMSELF

In another disappointing example of journalists lionising small changes in rhetoric over action, the ABC reports that David Littleproud has issued a “slap down to Nationals backbenchers threatening to cross the floor” over a potential 2050 net-zero target.

A “slap down” that, following threats from Nationals colleagues Matt Canavan and Barnaby Joyce, more accurately amounted to the agriculture minister equating “zealots from both sides” and invoking a “technology not taxes” slogan historically used to justify government inaction. The ABC also incorrectly offers emissions trading schemes as an example of a tax.

In a similarly-fawning piece of journalism, The Sydney Morning Herald reports ministers will “stare down Nats” by not legislating the largely-hypothetical target.

PS: According to the AFR ($), ExxonMobil is expected to announce the closure of its 72-year-old Altona refinery in Victoria today, which comes less than five months after BP pulled the plug on its last remaining refinery in Australia at Kwinana in Western Australia.

MYANMAR PROTESTER SHOT

According to the ABC, a Myanmarese woman “has been shot in the head and is not expected to survive” after police used rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the fourth straight day of protests against the military coup.

At least three other protesters have presented to hospital with wounds believed to have been caused by rubber bullets.

ALL BETS ARE OFF

Finally, after a review by former NSW supreme court judge Patricia Bergin found Crown Resorts was unsuitable to hold a casino licence, The Guardian reports that the company must either submit a major reform program to the NSW regulator, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, or risk losing its casino licence in Sydney and potentially other cities.

Bergin’s report, which Crikey yesterday explained was tabled under parliamentary privilege, does not direct ILGA to do anything but recommends enhanced money-laundering protections, changes to dealings with junket operators that recruit high rollers, and a board clean-out including but not limited to CEO Ken Barton.

ILGA has since suggested it will consider the report at a meetings on February 12 and 17.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I remind people that our recent review, inspired by Black Lives Matter, that part of a six-year journey of our reconciliation action plan was to look to what we need to do in the next 10 years.

People have latched on to my opening line last week, and as a result, I have become a lightning rod for vitriol but have placed the club in a position where it is hard to move forward with our plans.

Eddie McGuire

The now-former Collingwood president pins his resignation to backlash over his (admittedly very weird) pride in the “Do Better” report, rather than, say, a failure to address structural racism or the actual cause of that review – sustained allegations from Héritier Lumumba.

CRIKEY RECAP

Judge slams Porter’s delay in Collaery case

“Another judge has lashed Attorney-General Christian Porter for his obstruction in the government’s prosecution of Bernard Collaery over revelations of ASIS’ illegal spying on Timor-Leste.

“This morning Justice John Burns in the ACT Supreme Court gave his reasons for allowing Collaery’s request for forthcoming trial dates to be vacated in order to accommodate former National Security Monitor Bret Walker SC.”


Urgent action needed to save the city lest we watch it shrivel from COVID’s kiss

“Poor old Melbourne, Grim City, looking sad and battered, a miserable place. And then COVID hit, and there was a lockdown, and it got even worse. Boom boom.

“No, but seriously, the pandemic has knocked the city backwards by decades. When the full lockdown was on last winter, it was like weekends used to be in the ’70s, ghost trams rattling through empty streets of closed shops, as the wind chilled the bones. I loved it, but it wasn’t to everyone’s taste.”


ScoMo’s ‘Top Gun’ moment one more shot in the slow and agonising death of satire

“As a ‘semi-professional visual satirist’ I had mixed feelings when I saw the prime minister ambling into an air force hangar yesterday accompanied by the anthemic sounds of Kenny Loggins’ ’80s smash hit ‘Highway to the Danger Zone’ from the movie Top Gun.

“Sure it was funny. For one thing, Scott Morrison is no Tom Cruise — despite also being a bit out there in his religious beliefs. And sure enough, Twitter blew up, with everyone from Peter van Onselen to @Bushpig254 making gags at ScoMo’s expense.

“But what if it’s all a set-up? What happens to satirists and politics itself when our political leaders start taking the piss out of themselves on an industrial scale?”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Trump’s second impeachment trial begins Tuesday as Democrats prepare a ‘violent crime criminal prosecution’

Ash Barty does not lose a game as she begins Australian Open campaign in ruthless fashion

Civil-liberties groups ask Biden justice dept. to drop Julian Assange case

Facebook bans vaccine conspiracies in COVID-19 misinformation crackdown

‘That’s what is failing’: Call for refocus in Qld youth justice debate

Perth homeless crisis: McGowan Government didn’t have lease on building it spruiked as a solution ($)

Johannes Leak awarded $40,000 commission for Tony Abbott’s official portrait

‘They are merciless’: EU raises threat of sanctions on Russia

Rescuers use bulldozers to open up tunnel where dozens are trapped after Himalayan glacier collapse

THE COMMENTARIAT

Ed, it should never have ended like thisCaroline Wilson (The Age): “Just who got Eddie McGuire in the end will be debated for weeks and maybe months as football’s life cycle moves into another season with another set of stories and heroes and villains. Was it the players – led by a group including Brodie Grundy and Darcy Moore – who were so disappointed by what they witnessed at the press conference last Monday that undid him and those now notorious opening comments that McGuire was still trying to excuse a week later?”

Replace open-ended dole with a time-limited JobMatcher scheme ($) — Steven Hamilton (AFR): “Consider instead an alternative scheme – let’s call it ‘JobMatcher’. For any worker who loses their job, JobMatcher would provide 80% of their former wage for six months, subject to upper and lower limits. By tracking the former wage, it would do a far better job of smoothing the income shock of a temporary unemployment spell than the current, one-size-fits-all payment.”

The government is killing us and the media is their weaponKristin O’Connell (Medium): “The average time on unemployment payments has skyrocketed over the past 5 years. At the beginning of the pandemic it was more than 3 yrs, and we know that’s only going to get worse. That’s why it pushed me past breaking point when I read Steven Hamilton’s ‘opinion’ that us demanding we not be starved is ‘zero-sum thinking’.”

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Australia

  • Labor MP Dr Anne Aly will deliver “The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism”‘ in an online event with the Australia Institute.

Peter Fray

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