New South Wales health authorities have overnight identified several new COVID-19 exposure sites in Bondi, Bondi Junction, North Ryde, Redfern, Vaucluse and Zetland, dating between Friday June 11 and Tuesday June 15, as the ABC reports both a driver for international flight crews and his household contact have now tested positive.
As genomic sequencers aim to identify the source of the two cases and Queensland Health issues a quarantine direction for NSW venues, anyone who attended the following two sites in particular has been asked to contact NSW Health, get tested and self-isolate for 14 days:
- Bondi Junction’s Event Cinemas, Sunday, 1.30-4pm for a screening of the Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
- Bus 200, from Bondi Junction interchange to Blue St, North Sydney (near North Sydney station), Tuesday, departed approximately 4.25pm, arrived approximately 5pm.
New Victorian sites have also been added in Airport West, Brunswick, Coburg North, Hadfield, Melbourne, Pascoe Vale, Southbank, and South Melbourne, dating back to Friday, after the state government announced three new cases.
While officials warned there are likely still cases circulating in the community, the government will still ease certain restrictions from midnight tonight, e.g. two visitors allowed to homes, masks no longer mandatory outside unless 1.5 metres distance is not possible, travel allowed to alpine resorts following a negative test result.
And according to The Age, the state’s weekly supply of Pfizer vaccines will be slashed by 20,000 doses from July, after briefly being raised by the Commonwealth from 71,000 to 105,000, just as demand ramps up among newly-eligible 40-to-49-year-olds for second doses.
PS: In the latest from the SafeWA app controversy, Mark McGowan has alleged emergency legislation had to be introduced after Western Australian police refused to back down from accessing the check-in data.
ANOTHER GREAT WEEK OF AUSTRALIAN POLITICS
The Coalition, One Nation and Jacqui Lambie have teamed up to block a bill from being introduced in the Senate that would set up an independent inquiry into historical rape allegations denied by Christian Porter, The New Daily explains, with architect of the private member’s legislation Greens Senator Larissa Waters slamming the “virtually unprecedented” gag tactic.
In a busy day for federal politics:
- The Morrison government brought forward a surprise Senate motion last night to debate its superannuation package — which includes controversial measures e.g. “stapling” workers to their accounts, subjecting funds to investment benchmark tests, and empowering the government to intervene in funds’ spending with regulations — in a move that could see the bills debated today. It would likely pass, with the Coalition gaining Centre Alliance support (AFR $), while Labor has warned it could include a deal with 67-year-old Pauline Hanson to give higher concessional contributions for those aged 67 and above (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Peter Dutton has been ordered to attend mediation with refugee activist Shane Bazzi after a Federal Court judge said the defamation case over a tweet labelling the defence minister a “rape apologist” was not up there with the court’s biggest and could be settled pre-trial (Guardian Australia)
- The Fair Work Commission has determined minimum wages will rise by $18.80 a week, although the Australian Council of Trade Unions has expressed disappointment at the decision to delay the boost for aviation, fitness, tourism, and certain retail workers until November 1 (SBS)
- Attorney-General Michaelia Cash is set to bring a major rewrite of the Religious Discrimination Bill to parliament by December, potentially avoiding an early 2022 election campaign (The Australian $); while it is unclear how it will differ from Porter’s first crack, it is worth noting Cash and Linda Reynolds split with most Coalition colleagues on Tuesday to back One Nation’s motion calling for a ban on transgender children accessing medical treatment.
PS: In state politics, the New South Wales government is set to announce an extra $380 million for the state’s five renewable energy zones in next Tuesday’s budget.
Finally, the ABC reports that, a week after violent storms lashed parts of Victoria, about 3000 residents of the Dandenong Ranges are expected to be without power for another three weeks, right in the dead of winter.
Energy provider AusNet has apologised to residents and announced a revised estimate that power should be returned by July 10, after earlier announcing the bulk of the state would be reconnected by this Sunday.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
While Labor will be supporting this bill, we’re certainly not happy with how it has been delivered.
The Labor senator yesterday unpacked a series of legitimate issues with the Coalition’s latest rushed, anti-privacy power grab — this time the Online Safety Bill, which would empower the government to delete your nudes — before suggesting that, in true “opposition” fashion, the party will probably vote for it as is.
“A Facebook group boasting more than 33,000 members run by popular Australian YouTuber Friendlyjordies has finally been banned — for having a picture of Adolf Hitler. Friendlyjordies’ videos have been watched more than 130 million times.
“After starting out making parody videos, Friendlyjordies — real name Jordan Shanks — has become increasingly political in his content over the years, culminating last year in the production of multiple videos criticising the conduct of NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who has subsequently launched defamation proceedings against the YouTuber.”
“The Australian Christian Lobby is back, holding a series of meetings with politicians, spending on Facebook ads, and going on a hiring blitz in a plan to get favourable religious discrimination laws passed and make its presence felt ahead of the next election.
“ACL boss Martyn Iles was in Canberra yesterday for talks with Coalition MPs about the Religious Discrimination Bill, a one-time priority of the Morrison government which had stalled before the pandemic drove attention elsewhere.”
“Because the government keeps producing ‘free trade agreements’ and lauding them as historic achievements, and because the media continues to report these as major economic achievements in spite of no evidence of any kind, Crikey finds itself in an quandary: we can either keep writing the same article every time there’s a trade deal, or we can do one, simple, you-beaut guide to these things that will cover all future “free trade agreements”. You just need to print this off and stick it on the fridge for handy reference.”
THE CRIKEY PAYWALL IS DOWN
Here’s the latest from the Crikey vault, enjoy them while they’re unlocked!
“Journalists have apparently purged themselves of the memory of how hysterical the campaign against Gillard was — the incessant headlines, the acres of newsprint, the stories The Australian got wrong and had to retract, Gillard standing for hour-long press conferences dealing with questions until journalists gave up, exhausted. It wasn’t just News Corp — Fairfax and the ABC joined in, though like the Murdoch press none could actually put together a specific allegation of wrongdoing.
“Now, of course, many in the media — many of the same journalists and commentators who hounded Gillard — lament the ‘trial by media’ of Porter.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Ben Roberts-Smith case about to change register as cross-examination begins — Deborah Snow (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Up until this point in the Ben Roberts-Smith defamation case, it has been the former soldier’s opportunity to give the best possible account of himself, unchallenged by the other side. That opportunity ends on Thursday when Nicholas Owens, SC, the lead barrister for the respondents (The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times) begins his cross-examination — a process that could keep Roberts-Smith on the witness stand for another week or more.”
PM tries to smother fire but it’s a hose he needs ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “Scott Morrison may be counting his blessings that he has not been here to face questions on a number of serious matters, but it would have been better for him if he had dealt with them before he left rather than leave them fester. There is the matter of the Murugappan family, which is only partly resolved. The very least that could be done has been done by allowing the family to reunite in Perth where four-year-old Tharnicaa is recovering from a serious illness.”
Appropriate terminology for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people — it’s complicated. — Luke Pearson (IndigenousX): “We get to do some really amazing and important work but wherever we go, regardless of the scope of work, some non-Indigenous person will invariably ask something along the lines of ‘What is the most appropriate term to refer to Indigenous people in Australia?’ I get asked about it so often that it is usually our first interactive session when we do our anti-racism workshops and our communications workshops. People who ask this question are usually hoping for a checklist of dos and don’ts, or better yet a one or two word answer but the best I can do in that short a word count is ‘It’s complicated’.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
The auditor-general will table a report on regulation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The Australia Institute will hold a “Politics in the Pub” event with author Bri Lee on her new book Who Gets to be Smart.
Labor’s resources spokesperson Madeleine King will speak at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference to criticise climate activists that “demonise all fossil fuels” and pledge the party would support opening new gas fields and carbon capture and storage.