GREATER BRISBANE ENTERS LOCKDOWN
Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton and the Redlands have all entered a snap three-day lockdown, which the ABC explains requires residents to only leave their house for the now-standard four reasons — essential shopping; exercise in local areas; work or study that cannot be done from home; and to provide care — and to wear masks outside the home, including in workplaces, on public transport and in rideshare services.
Announced after the city’s caseload for the UK COVID-19 variant jumped from three to seven yesterday, the restrictions also apply to anyone who has visited Greater Brisbane since Saturday March 20. Easter holidays will be brought forward with schools closing across the region from today.
Queensland Health continues to update their list of hotspots, with new close contact spots now including:
- Friday March 26:
- FitStop Gym in Morningside, 6.50- 8am
- Spinnaker Park Café in Callemondah, 10.22-11.23am
- Auckland House in Gladstone Central, 7.23-9.30pm
- Saturday March 27:
- Auckland House in Gladstone Central, 7.23-9.30pm
Several dozen casual spots have also been added to the list, while NSW Health has identified 10 sites across Byron Bay (Friday 26 – Sunday 28) and Suffolk Park (Friday 26 – Saturday 27).
Effectively all states and territories imposed restrictions against travellers from either the region and the entire state yesterday, including Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory.
PS: Note that while both JobKeeper and the above-poverty JobSeeker payments are now officially over, the Morrison government has suspended mutual obligations for the region.
Scott Morrison’s new cabinet will be sworn in today, after Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation and a historical allegation denied by Christian Porter led to a shake-up announced yesterday.
As Crikey detailed yesterday:
- Linda “lying cow” Reynolds moves to Government Services and the NDIS and has been replaced at Defence by Peter “not a monster” Dutton
- Michaelia “too busy to speak with AFP re: possible crimes by her own office” Cash will become attorney-general and minister for industrial relations
- Porter, whose litigation against the ABC created a potential conflict of interest in his role as attorney-general, is demoted to the Industry portfolio
- Stuart “where do we begin” Robert will take Cash’s portfolio of Employment.
- Karen Andrews moves from Industry to Home Affairs
- Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price retains her job and, after a hilarious stint at Environment pre-2019 election, returns to cabinet
- Superannuation Minister Jane Hume, who recently failed to push domestic violence survivors to tap into their super, will take on a role of “Women’s Economic Security” on a women’s taskforce
- Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, who saw thousands return to poverty after briefly doubling the JobSeeker rate, will take on the role of “Women’s Safety”
- Marise Payne will remain minister for women — an office that, as Crikey has tracked, has yet to issue a single media statement over 2021’s parliamentary scandals — and will be in Morrison’s words “effectively the prime minister” of Hume and Ruston’s taskforce
- Payne will be joined by far-right Queensland senator and prominent critic of abortion rights and the “transgender agenda” — which, editor’s note, largely consists of “existing” — Amanda Stoker as an assistant minister.
The Sydney Morning Herald adds that Morrison is also expected to announce the government’s response to the [email protected] report over the next week, which was released a year ago and recommends several new workplace harassment reforms.
Porter, separately, has issued a statement claiming he has “no regrets” over launching his defamation case against the ABC.
PS: In departing comments to the Department of Home Affairs, the suddenly very litigious Dutton alleges no adult asylum seekers remain in offshore detention and that he has removed all children from onshore sites “put there by Labor”. Note: activists protested over the weekend to release more than 100 medivac refugees from hotel detention along with dozens confined to Nauru and Papua New Guinea, while the Biloela family of four — Priya and Nades Murugappan, five-year-old daughter Kopika and three-year-old Tharnicaa — earlier this month celebrated three years in detention.
GETTING THE PICTURE
According to 9News, Queensland woman Crystal White has begun a complaints process with police over allegations Liberal MP Andrew Laming took an indecent photo of her while she was working at a Brisbane landscaping supplies business in 2019.
The report, which specifies that White has only discussed her options with police and there is no formal complaint at this stage, comes after 7.30 explained that the store manager at the time Sean Blinco was yesterday planning to lodge a police complaint of his own.
Laming yesterday alleged that reports of his online behaviour had been “re-invented into harassment” and, as Guardian Australia explains, denied taking a photo under White’s skirt, claiming it was a “completely dignified” picture of her “kneeling in an awkward position, and filling a fridge with an impossible amount of stock, which clearly wasn’t going to fit in the fridge”.
Scott Morrison continues to reject calls to force the LNP to expel Laming, one of which saw the prime minister walk out of a press conference, while The West Australian ($) reports that Coalition women within his government believe the MP should step down immediately. Meanwhile, Amanda Stoker has been tipped to replace Laming at the next election.
PS: For a legal analysis of the allegations, check out The Conversation’s break-down of state and territory laws dealing with inappropriate photography and video recording.
Ahead of Labor’s special policy conference today in Sydney, the ABC reports that Anthony Albanese will make an election pledge to establish a $15 billion “national reconstruction fund” to revitalise Australia’s manufacturing industry and operate in a similar loan and board system as the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The news comes after The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the Health Workers Union yesterday threatened a last-minute injunction to block the online conference because it claims it will be unfairly unrepresented after the party installed the same delegates from the 2018 conference.
The conference is also set to includes debates over free trade agreements — with Guardian Australia reporting that unions are pushing to stop MPs from voting in support of deals it has not negotiated — and Labor’s support for Palestinian statehood, although, as Crikey explored yesterday, the party’s (relatively mild) support for the country is expected to survive a motion from a handful of dissenters.
PS: Albanese’s announcement — which, like most of Morrison’s over the course of his prime ministership, has been dutifully leaked to several outlets ($) — comes days after Greens leader Adam Bandt outlined the party’s demand for any potential power-sharing agreement: 700% renewable energy generation.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
Andrew Laming is out of the Liberal party, so there is nothing more the prime minister can do…
If [Scott Morrison] was really putting his interests ahead, he wouldn’t have asked him to leave the Liberal party, but he has done that, which means he is prepared to put his government at risk to try and fix this problem.
While you wouldn’t know it by Joyce’s Sunrise interview — or host Natalie Barr and Labor backbencher Joel Fitzgibbon’s credulous reactions — Andrew Laming has not quit the Liberal party and Scott Morrison has not asked him to leave.
“When Scott Morrison got sick of hanging out with blokes with a long, ugly history of rape, sexual assault, harassment, trolling and heavy drinking, at least he had his classy rugby league mates to turn to. I mean, after last week the pollies are making the scandal-ridden sexist boofheads at the NRL look positively woke.
“Scotty From Marketing once again showed his genius on Saturday night — not just by attending a footy match, but by being photographed in the changing room afterwards.
“What could be wrong with that, other than everything?”
“Scrambling to stay ahead of the crisis that has engulfed his government, Scott Morrison has unveiled a reshuffled ministerial line up that illustrates the dearth of talent within his parliamentary ranks.
“The two biggest changes are, as expected, the ill Linda “lying cow” Reynolds being replaced at Defence by Peter Dutton, and Michaelia Cash being promoted to attorney-general and minister for industrial relations. Christian Porter, whose litigation against the ABC made his continuation as attorney-general wholly untenable, is demoted to the Industry portfolio.”
“In some ways, Andrew Laming represents the government’s broader trouble with assault and misogyny in the halls of Parliament.
“The flurry of revelations that followed Brittany Higgins coming forward about her alleged rape proved that the prime minister cannot simply wait out these kinds of issues. And the same is true with Laming. It’s become increasingly clear there will always be at least one more allegation, one more scandal, concerning the disgraced member for Bowman.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Blokes will be blokes — Anna Spargo-Ryan (Meanjin): “There has been a particular rhetoric in parliament over the past months. Each time a man (or a Liberal Party woman, which is to say a proxy for the patriarchy) has stood in front of cameras to weep, he has delivered a wink and a nod to others like him, through crocodile tears, as to the true nature of the story. Not that a young woman’s life has been irrevocably changed by a man’s actions, but that a poor, silly fella is being taken to task in front of his mates. Look, he seems to say, you know how blokes are.”
Alcohol ban may be fit and proper response ($) — Nick Hossack and Mal Beacham (The Australian): “Liberal MP Katie Allen and senator Sarah Henderson have called on the government to consider making Parliament House a dry workplace, to ensure high confidence in the behaviours in the nation’s democratic heart. This is a logical response to what we have been reading — alcohol seems to be a common factor in so many incidents, most recently in the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins. Alcohol and drugs have torn their way through sporting world, with devastating impacts on women and the careers of footballers. And it appears to have generally fuelled very poor behaviour in Canberra.”
Australia still addicted to coal despite huge growth in wind and solar — Ketan Joshi (RenewEconomy): “A fascinating duality is emerging for Australia’s power sector. Easily the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, Australia has simultaneously become a global leader in renewable energy deployment and has also remained one of the worst countries in the world in terms of reliance on coal-fired power. It is a strange, fascinating combination.”
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