TWIST OF SKATE
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, three members of the Australian Olympic skateboarding team, including a 13-year-old athlete, have tested positive to COVID-19 after travelling to the US for a qualifying event. The two skaters and a coach are now out of the running for the Olympics.
The news comes after the Morrison government yesterday pledged a supply of two million Pfizer doses each week from the start of October, although Health Minister Greg Hunt reiterated “people should not wait” and the government has offered no guarantees that over-50s will be prioritised for Pfizer.
Today, The Australian ($) reports that Scott Morrison will take a draft proposal for travel exemptions that exempt vaccinated people from state border restrictions to national cabinet next week.
And in the latest round of calls for the government to take action on addressing vaccine hesitancy, public health experts have called on the government to begin reporting vaccine uptake by age group.
BEATINGS AT AL-AQSA MOSQUE
Just days into a fragile ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank, Al Jazeera reports that dozens of Israeli settlers and heavily-armed special forces have entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after police allegedly assaulted worshippers during dawn prayers and — according to Palestinian news agency WAFA — “excessively beat” them in order to clear the way.
Israeli police, who also allegedly assaulted worshippers on Friday just hours after the ceasefire was announced, have also begun banning worshippers under the age of 45 from entering the mosque. Assaults at the mosque — Islam’s third-holiest site — helped spark the 11-day conflict in early May.
New South Wales Labor has begun soul-searching after losing the Upper Hunter byelection, with the ABC reporting the Nationals have secured a historic 2.8% swing and lead 55.4-44.6 following preference counts from 45 of the 48 count centres.
Opposition leader Jodi McKay said she was “devastated” but blaming the loss of voters — a rarity for a byelection, which tend to disadvantage incumbents — on leadership alone was a “cop out”. Analysis by The Sydney Morning Herald notes that while McKay pointed to the shock federal election loss in 2019 as a turning point for the state party, she could not identify the “structural issues” nor how they could be fixed.
The Daily Telegraph ($) reports that some senior figures, including McKay’s opponents, have conceded they do not want to repeat bloody political knifings but hope an “orderly transition” can be orchestrated.
Meanwhile, the Nationals’ win in coal country has only empowered national counterparts such as Matt Canavan against “woke concepts like net zero emissions” ($). However, Guardian Australia notes Labor’s eight-point fall in its primary vote appears to have come mainly from the loss of progressive voters to independent Kirsty O’Connell, who secured 8.6% and ran as the only candidate advocating a transition from coalmining.
One Nation also performed well, winning 13.8% of the primary vote largely at the expense of the other right-leaning party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.
PS: In other state political news, The Australian ($) reports that the Independent Commission Against Corruption is expanding its investigation into the conduct of Daryl Maguire, the former Wagga Wagga MP and then-secret partner of Gladys Berejiklian. The watchdog has written to senior officials, including staff within the premier’s office, to demand documents, computers, and other items.
PPS: The potential for emboldened climate denialism risks further isolating Australia on the world stage, with The New Daily explaining that the world’s powerhouse economies, the G7, announced on Friday they would stop international financing for coal projects.
DEBT IT BE
According to the SMH, next month’s delayed intergenerational report will not only highlight the pandemic’s devastating economic impact — i.e. huge levels of debt over the next 40 years, a less productive economy, and a smaller, older population — but correct optimistic assumptions and abandoned policies from Joe Hockey’s 2015 report and account for a ramp up in aged care and health services.
Elsewhere, just three of the 56 leading economists surveyed by the Economic Society of Australia and The Conversation give the 2021-22 budget an A, but 41% awarded it either an A or a B, with a consensus praising the government for abandoning the “debt and deficit” furphy while criticising its execution. In one example, consultant Nicki Hutley argued a bigger boost to JobSeeker would have achieved much more than the $7.8 billion one-year extension of the low and middle income tax offset.
The news comes as Scott Morrison, seeking to capitalise on the Nationals’ Upper Hunter win, claimed to The Australian ($) that working class “aspirational” values are more aligned with the Coalition than Labor.
PS: Morrison also plans to end that “lamington” tax offset but persevere with stage three tax cuts for upper and middle-income earners, which are set to cost about $17 billion a year from 2024-25.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I’ve been very clear to the chiefs that I will not tolerate discrimination. But we are not pursuing a woke agenda.
Our task is to build up the morale in the Australian Defence Force and these woke agendas don’t help.
Because there’s nothing quite as depressing as a rainbow, the new defence minister bans public servants and soldiers from holding events with “particular clothes in celebration” of, in this instance, LGBTIQ rights.
How the spirit moves true believers into opening their wallets so the windows of heaven can open to them
“This week Hillsong’s ‘global’ pastor, Brian Houston, was forced to publicly confront scandal which has erupted in the US after one of its high profile celebrity pastors, Carl Lentz, confessed to cheating on his wife. In a string of scandals, another (married) pastor reportedly resigned after allegedly sexting a church volunteer, its Dallas, Texas church was closed after reports emerged of its pastors’ lavish lifestyle. That came on top of reports that one of Hillsong’s senior Australian administrators had indecently assaulted the daughter of a US pastor.”
“The fusion of the older policy with the newer conditions have made the number and spread of settlements so large so as to destroy the West Bank as a unit. There is no chance of removing them as there was in Gaza. Centre-right-wing parties would never do it, and if whatever Left coalition is current today tried it would be out of power. Sections of the military would mutiny against any order, and Israel would inch closer to some form of post-democratic political form (it has already inched someway towards that).
“So it’s not the one-state solution that is the undergraduate fantasy; it’s the two-state solution that has become the dream.”
“Sometimes changes of acronyms reflect more than just bureaucratic nomenclature. Mystery aircraft, which have been seen since humans first took to the skies, are no longer UFOs. They’re UAPs — for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.
“A difference without a distinction, perhaps, but central to how it’s now legitimate to discuss what on earth, or beyond, flying objects, moving at incredible speed and in apparent defiance of basic laws of aerodynamics, actually are.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Scott Morrison’s simple pitch is a proven election winner ($) — Geoff Chambers (The Australian): “Scott Morrison’s election-winning mantra of ‘fair go for those who have a go’ will underpin the Coalition’s strategy to eat further into Labor’s traditional heartlands in the suburbs and regions. The Prime Minister has adopted John Howard’s pragmatic approach in appealing to aspirational Australians – the suburban family, blue-collar worker, first-home buyer and small business owner. It is a simple pitch and proven winning formula.”
Melbourne should fuck Murdoch off out of town — Dave Milner (The Shot): “The brains of ordinary people have endured a post-truth battering for many years now: the assault on stable reality that was the Trump presidency and its thus far consequence-free failed seditious coup climax; the ongoing misery of the coronavirus pandemic and much of humanity’s decision to handle it in a homicidal manner; the suicidal death throes of flailing empire that is Brexit; and the Morrison government’s largely pointless, surprisingly cum-stained stay in Australia’s Parliament House.”
Who is the media really for? — Sarah Jones (Intelligencer): “But it would be a mistake to reduce either Wilder’s firing or the persistence of Cuomo to a story about cancel culture. The phenomenon is obviously one-sided; the outrage, bogus. This is really a story about journalism and an industry that has abdicated its most basic responsibilities. The Associated Press has claimed that Wilder violated its social-media policies, though she says her bosses were unable to tell her how. In the absence of a substantive reason to fire Wilder, another explanation presents itself: The AP capitulated to a bad-faith political campaign. In doing so, it betrayed its very reason to exist. Wilder’s political opinions have no bearing on her ability to gather news. The AP showed it is not impartial after all; it can be persuaded, if only from the right.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Budget estimates will this week examine “Environment and Communications”; “Finance and Public Administration”; “Legal and Constitutional Affairs”; and “Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport”.
Frontline domestic and family violence workers from Newcastle will display 150 white dresses, symbolising the lives of women murdered in domestic violence, at the lawn of Parliament House.