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(Image: AAP/Bianca De Marchi)

SEARCH FOR MISSING LINK

Victorian contact tracers are still examining how an aged care worker at Arcare Maidstone in Melbourne’s west became infected with COVID-19, with ABC explaining the mystery case has put the facility into lockdown and Greg Hunt announced 53 of 76 residents have consented to be vaccinated.

The worker, who along with residents had received their first but not second jab, was the first mystery case of Victoria’s 40 confirmed cases. The state now has more than 260 exposure sites, including, the Herald Sun reports, Chadstone shopping centre on Wednesday, May 26 from 11.30am-2pm.

The paper also notes that Seddon restaurant Moda Kitchen and Bar is under investigation over accusations it hosted a meal with more than a dozen anti-vaxxers ($), despite the lockdown order.

Elsewhere, the Morrison government continues to rebuff calls for federal assistance, The Age reports, after Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas called for them to match the state’s $250 million business package, even as lockdown makes paying rent impossible for some casual workers.

The Renters And Housing Union — which was formed during last year’s lockdown — has since called on the Victorian government to reinstate the eviction moratorium.

But with JobKeeper gone along with JobSeeker back below poverty rates, Trade Minister Dan Tehan directed out-of-work Victorians to crisis payments limited strictly to those in quarantine. Tehan and acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack both yesterday supported Scott Morrison’s claim the vaccine rollout is “not a race”.

PS: According to an analysis of federal tenders by The Saturday Paper, the Morrison government has a tender for nursing homes to vaccinate aged care staff that doesn’t close until the end of June, and another for vulnerable groups that, despite closing three weeks ago, is still “being evaluated”.

EMISSIONS AT ‘RECORD’ ‘LOW’

New Environment Department figures handily leaked to The Australian ($) before their official release today, show COVID-19 further pushed greenhouse gas emissions down 0.6% in the three months to December 31, creating a record total annual fall of 5%.

Note, however, that Angus Taylor’s claim emissions are at their lowest on record includes negative land-use figures — a unique, John Howard-era provision that the Australia Institute found last week obscures the fact emissions otherwise increased 7% from 2005-18.

Scott Morrison will next month attend a G7 meeting in Cornwall following an invitation by Boris Johnson, after the group agreed last week to end international financing for coal projects by the end of the year.

PS: The Australia Institute is separately in a tit-for-tat in estimates with Resources Minister Keith Pitt over analysis released last Thursday, which suggests funds previously earmarked to return 450 gigalitres of Murray-Darling Basin water to South Australia’s environment may instead be used to upgrade over 1200 bridges and increase water storage capacity in New South Wales irrigation districts.

TERMS OF REFERENCE

Finally, The Australian ($) reports that an internal ABC advisory note has banned reporters using the word “apartheid” in relation to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “because it has a specific meaning in South African history”.

The term was recently used by US progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during recent bombardments in the Gaza Strip, who noted “apartheid” has been adopted in a Human Rights Watch report as well as by the United Nations and Israeli rights group B’Tsele.

The news, as The Intercept reports, comes after several SBS and ABC reporters were asked by management to remove their signatures from an open letter calling on domestic outlets to “do better” coverage of the conflict by actively including Palestinian perspectives and refraining from “both-siderism that equates the victims of a military occupation with its instigators”.

Over in Israel, a 28-day mandate for opposition leader Yair Lapid to form a new government runs out this Wednesday, and, according to Al Jazeera, he is close to putting together a coalition of right, centre, and left parties that would end Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year stretch as prime minister.

PS: A new parliamentary e-petition for the Australian government to sanction Israel following the recent conflict has received 9428 signatures since launching last week.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

When I worked at the ABC, Laura Tingle’s trolling of a prime minister, whether Liberal or Labor, would have been a sackable offence.

Other than personal and family matters and the republication of ABC stories, ABC journalists should not be permitted to publish material on social media unless it is authorised for publication in accordance with the ABC’s editorial standards.

Senator Sarah Henderson

The Liberal senator who once quoted JFK in introducing a very necessary “university free speech bill” reckons ABC reporters should be fired for posting on Twitter. With the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison governments stripping $783 million and counting from the broadcaster, we give it a year or two before the demand is met.

CRIKEY RECAP

No it’s not (only) Morrison’s outbreak

“Another lockdown, from another hotel quarantine failure. Melburnians must endure a week of restrictions because of a failure of quarantine in South Australia.

“And James Merlino, the apparently long-term acting premier of Victoria, is right to blame the federal government for its failures on vaccination and quarantine. But not all the blame lies with Scott Morrison.”


Rich Listers are having a pretty fine pandemic. Only 3 of the top 30 have taken a hit to their wealth

“If ever you needed confirmation that the global pandemic has been much tougher on the poor than the wealthy, go out and buy yourself a copy of today’s The Australian Financial Review 2021 Rich List.

“Of the 200 individuals, families, or couples listed, only 32 have seen a reduction in their estimated wealth.”


George Christensen wonders why ‘lefty gumps’ are interested in his Amazon side hustle. Turns out they’re not alone

“Finance Minister Simon Birmingham and Department of Finance representatives have been questioned over whether MP George Christensen breached parliamentary expenses rules when promoting books for sale on Amazon and seeking donations.

“Labor Senator Tim Ayres used a Senate estimates hearing to inquire about the controversial Queensland LNP politician’s behaviour. Earlier this month, Crikey reported that Christensen had joined Amazon’s Associate program, an affiliate marketing program that would give Christensen a cut of any sales made through hyperlinks that he promoted.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Australian Yang Hengjun proclaims his innocence after Chinese espionage trial

George Christensen compensation ploy thwarted ($)

Target young and high-skilled migrants to boost economy: Grattan

Alarm at secret court scheme in UK-Australia trade deal

Former leader Michael Daley to contest NSW Labor leadership ballot against Chris Minns

The fish and bird species at risk from our failure to manage wetlands

Former Labor MP Emma Husar threatens legal action over sexual harassment claims

Newcastle seawall collapses in heavy swell

Joel Fitzgibbon says rank and file ballots for Labor leader should be scrapped

An arms race in America: Gun buying spiked during the pandemic. It’s still up.

‘Wake up screaming’: Gaza’s children traumatised by Israeli war

THE COMMENTARIAT

Labor women in the wings wait for chance to shineMeredith Burgmann (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Newly released federal data shows that statistically, women lower house MPs serve three years less than their male counterparts. The subsequent opportunity for seniority, promotion and media exposure for male MPs is greatly enhanced. Women parliamentarians are also disproportionately in marginal seats, which means that the amount of time they have to socialise and schmooze potential caucus votes is limited: they are too busy working for the votes of their electorate instead. Other problems include family responsibilities, child-unfriendly hours of operation and numerous late night, early morning and weekend meetings.”

Speed up COVID-19 vaccine rollout to help the economy and the nation ($) — Peter King (The Australian): “Everyone has a role to play, not just government, so we are running a comprehensive awareness campaign to help our people make informed choices and access government information and resources on when and how they can get vaccinated. With a large number of our people now eligible to receive the vaccine, our employees can use their sick leave to attend their vaccination appointments and we’re also allowing people time to rest and recover when necessary. And if governments allow for corporate vaccinations programs going forward, we will run one.”

‘Conditional commitments’: the diplomatic strategy that could make Australia do its fair share on climate changeKatie Steele (The Conversation): “Let’s say there was a conditional commitment that extended to fossil fuel production: Australia would tax our coal production, if China were also to do so. If the free-rider problem is what prevents Australia from doing its fair share on climate change, this should be an attractive way forward. Australia could then play a pivotal diplomatic role in extending the circle of conditional commitments to the other major coal producers in our region, such as India and Indonesia.”

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