border airport
(Image: Unsplash/Yolanda Sun)

SORRY STATE OF AFFAIRS

Health authorities have identified more than two dozen exposure sites in New South Wales and Queensland after a woman left Melbourne during lockdown on Tuesday, June 1 before testing positive for COVID-19 on the Sunshine Coast yesterday.

The woman, who Guardian Australia explains could be a recovered case, apparently travelled through Gillenbah, Forbes, Dubbo, Moree, Goondiwindi, Toowoomba, Kings Beach, Moffat Beach, Caloundra, and Buddina before arriving in Baringa on Tuesday, June 9.

Coincidentally, Jacinda Ardern has also had to warn of “consequences” for people found to break New Zealand’s border controls after three other Melburnians were caught last week trying to enter the country via Sydney.

The news comes after the Victorian government announced Melbourne’s restrictions will ease slightly on Friday. The ABC reports that, facing criticism from groups such as gym owners, chief health officer Brett Sutton has unpacked why some remaining restrictions may look “out of accord” with those being eased i.e. “cumulative risk” of house gatherings, aerosol risks in gyms.

The city yesterday recorded just one new case along with several new exposure sites, including the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility and venues across Bundoora,  Maribyrnong, North Melbourne, Reservoir, South Melbourne, and Thomastown.

PS: In more positive news, radio ads paid for by Clive Palmer and slammed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for falsely claiming vaccinations had caused hundreds of deaths have been pulled.

JAPAN BACKS AUSTRALIA AGAINST CHINA’S ‘COERCION’

According to the ABC, Japan has backed the Australian government’s campaign against China’s “economic coercion” in a detailed joint statement released by Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton and their Japanese counterparts — Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi — following a meeting via video link.

The joint release, which comes before Scott Morrison heads to Singapore today and Britain tomorrow for a “G7-plus” meeting, suggests Beijing’s informal trade sanctions on Australia have destabilised the international system. It also voices “serious concerns” over reports of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and touches on several other issues such as Myanmar, defence cooperation, and tensions in the South China Sea and East China Sea.

PS: For some much-needed context, check out the AFR’s ($) investigation into the origins of the Coalition’s post-2016 diplomacy U-turn on China, or The New Daily’s recent look at fallout from one of the series’ core findings: “that domestic political advantage is now the key driver of our China policy”.

NO RESOLUTION ON RESOLUTION

Finally, after Queensland Labor’s state conference backed a resolution condemning ­Israel’s ongoing “annexation by stealth of Palestinian land” and incitement of recent violence through forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque worshippers, The Australian ($) reports that former foreign minister Bob Carr has slammed suggestions of growing anti-Semitism in Labor as “an attempt to close down criticism of Israel by kicking up a debate that took place in British Labor”.

Carr’s comments come after opposition foreign affairs spokesperson Penny Wong condemned the resolution, arguing that “viewing any conflict from only one perspective will not advance the cause of peace,” along with co-convener of the Australia Israel Labor Dialogue Adam Slonim.

The news follows Israel’s mass arrest of Palestinian activists and journalists, which, as Al Jazeera reports, comes amid a “reinvigorated peaceful resistance” following the Israel-Hamas ceasefire.

And facing the end of 12 years in power and an ongoing corruption trial, Benjamin Netanyahu has begun pressuring Knesset members not to vote for a new government on Sunday.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Your editorial, headlined ‘Greatest Enemy of Truth is Those Who Conspire to Lie’ (The Australian, 8 June, 2021) is a disgrace. After paragraphs lauding the highest goal in journalism — ‘to expose wrongdoing in public life’ — you proceed to castigate in the most vicious terms the work of two fine ABC journalists, and to accuse them, in a piece absolutely devoid of evidence or example, of ‘bad, lazy, deceitful journalism’.

‘Many senior people at The Australian know well the work, the habits, and the hubris of Sally Neighbour and Louise Milligan,’ you bloviate…

Jonathan Holmes

Strangely, after issuing an unsubstantiated and nakedly partisan attack on two Four Corners journalists ($), those stalwarts of free speech editing The Australian chose not to publish a response by the former Media Watch host, who has since put it up on Twitter.

CRIKEY RECAP

Aged care workforce: the slow-motion catastrophe we’re watching without action

“Australian policymakers have long known they have a major problem with our aged care workforce, and they’ve known what the solutions are. But they’ve failed to act for over a decade, despite constant reviews and studies detailing the challenge. The result has been an aged care system that is an insult to senior Australians, who have been abused, rorted and neglected in their final years and allowed to die in their hundreds when COVID reached our shores.”


Proposed powers for charity head are an ‘unconstitutional overreach’

“The charity commissioner has more power than the Australian Securities and Investments Commission commissioner and the commissioner of taxation and, if proposed reforms are passed, will soon be able to penalise charities if their members are suspected of committing minor offences (such as not moving on when directed by police, or trespassing) even if they’re never charged.

“It’s been deemed an unconstitutional overreach by many in the sector, as well as unnecessary: in Senate estimates it was revealed only two ‘activist’ charities lost their charity status for breaking the law, yet 59,000 charities will be affected by the reforms.”


A global crime sting and a Morrison lie pave the way for Australians to lose even more of their privacy

“When Scott Morrison took the podium to tell the world about Australia’s role in an audacious international crime sting, he also took the opportunity to play politics.

“The prime minister, flanked by the Australian Federal Police commissioner and a representative for the FBI, didn’t let the truth get in the way of an attempt to wedge his opposition on national security.

“Morrison spruiked three bills before the parliament as necessary for Australia’s border security, and pointed his finger at Labor as an obstacle to their passage: ‘It’s time that these three bills get bipartisan support through the parliament so the commissioner and the other commissioners around the country can better do their jobs.’”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

NSW Blues win State of Origin series opener 50-6 against Queensland Maroons

The Victoria government is going to funnel a sneaky $50m into the horse racing industry

‘Deeply concerning’: Summary of Witness J case could have been published three years ago

Six Australians charged by FBI over alleged links to underworld app An0m

‘Priceless’ Burrup Peninsula rock art at risk as monitoring halted by disputes ($)

Matildas coach keen to restore belief before Tokyo Olympics

ABC logo used at police shooting range in South Australia

Cold snap brings snow and bitter weather to eastern Australia

Wanneroo mayor Tracey Roberts frontrunner to be Labor Party’s candidate to take on Christian Porter ($)

UN warns of ‘mass deaths’ in Myanmar after 100,000 flee fighting

Five-storey building collapses mid-demolition in Gwangju, South Korea, killing nine and injuring others

THE COMMENTARIAT

Until we face up to the lie that underpins our treatment of refugees, Tharnicaa and children like her will suffer Sisonke Msimang (Guardian Australia): “If the minister manages to get them out of detention, many Australians will breathe a sigh of relief and consider themselves morally vindicated. Many Australians desperately want to see themselves as decent people, despite the immigration policies their governments have adopted. This is understandable. No nation likes to think of itself as racist, mean-spirited and xenophobic, even when its policies are clearly all of those things.”

Court fight over Labor’s future could decide the next PM ($) — Tom Minear (Herald Sun): “The action has been a year in the making, since Anthony Albanese and Daniel Andrews orchestrated a federal takeover of Labor’s Victorian branch, in response to the branch-stacking scandal that engulfed factional powerbroker Adem Somyurek. Depending on their attachment to Somyurek, most Labor people accepted the need for change. What was controversial was the scale of the intervention, which suspended the voting rights of grassroots members and affiliated unions until 2023.”

Albanese can take leaf out of Abbott playbook ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “Imagine if Tony Abbott had been opposition leader during a pandemic and there had been yet another quarantine leak from an ill-equipped hotel in one state that then led to a lockdown in another. If Abbott had been leader last Thursday, after the bell rang to suspend parliament for a week, he would have flown to Adelaide the next day for a doorstop outside the Playford Medi-Hotel, where one guest received an unwelcome gift he then passed on to others.”

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Sydney

  • A vigil will be held at Hyde Park for Tharnicaa Murugappan and the Bileola family detained on Christmas Island, with speakers to include Craig Foster, Mehreen Faruqi, Kristina Keneally, Kerryn Phelps, and more. The ASRC will also hold a snap calling party against Coalition MPs from 12:30-1:30pm AEST.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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