THE WORD ON SPREAD
New South Wales health authorities have announced dozens of new COVID-19 exposure sites overnight — including in Alexandria, Bankstown, Bondi, Bondi Junction, Casula, Double Bay, East Sydney, Gregory Hills, Kensington, Merrylands, North Sydney, Parramatta, Potts Point, and Randwick — along with news that virus fragments have for the first time been detected at the Bourke sewage treatment plant in the state’s west.
Following news that the virus has spread to the co-worker of a Melbourne man who contracted COVID-19 in Sydney last weekend — at a “super-spreader” party in West Hoxton, according to the ABC — Victorian authorities yesterday added 18 new venues: a Sandringham dry cleaners; shops in Black Rock, Burwood East, Forest Hill, and Oakleigh; and aviation and public transport sites, including Terminal 4 at Melbourne Airport and Flinders Street Station the night of last Sunday, June 20.
Victoria declared all of Greater Sydney and Wollongong red zones as of 1am today, while the new cases have not impacted the easing of restrictions from today e.g. households can now have up to 15 visitors.
Additionally, the ACT have identified two exposure sites for Monday, June 14, which include the National Gallery of Australia from 12-2pm and Canberra City via Dolce Pasticceria, 106 Bunda Street between 2.45-3.15pm.
NSW Police yesterday announced they have broadened their investigation into a limousine driver at the centre of the latest outbreak to include alleged traffic and workplace health and safety offences. Health experts on last night’s episode of Q+A also criticised the state government’s decision not to implement a hard lockdown, which has thus far been avoided on the strength of NSW’s contact tracing capacity.
Elsewhere, Scott Morrison has rejected the Queensland government’s proposal to build a 1000-bed quarantine hub near the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, knocking it back on “key requirements” such as proximity to a hospital. And The Age reports that Morrison has, separately, called on state and territory leaders to reconsider travel exemptions for fully vaccinated people, in order to boost take-up.
PORTER DOCUMENTS RELEASED
Note: this article includes discussion of sexual assault and suicide.
The original 31-page dossier detailing a historical rape allegation denied by Christian Porter has for the first time been made publicly available, along with other Federal Court documents released through litigation that prevented a high-profile barrister, Sue Chrysanthou, from representing the former attorney-general in his defamation case against the ABC.
As The Sydney Morning Herald explains, the trove of documents includes allegedly contemporaneous diary notes written by the woman in question, known as Kate, in which she alleges Porter raped her three times in the early hours of January 10, 1988. Porter strenuously denies the allegations, and recently settled his case against the ABC with only a minor clarification at the end of an instigating, anonymous article.
The documents, which were released yesterday amid vigils commemorating the first anniversary of Kate’s death by suicide, also include a transcript and video of an ABC interview with a friend, Jo Dyer, who enacted the successful case against Chrysanthou.
Finally, in the latest China-Australia tit-for-tat, the ABC reports that Beijing has lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization accusing Canberra of anti-competitive behaviour against its exports of railway wheels, stainless-steel sinks, and wind towers.
As Crikey unpacked last year, domestic outrage over China’s slew of anti-dumping tariffs has been somewhat hypocritical considering Australian governments, keen to protect steel and aluminium smelting industries, have launched 170 investigations mostly dealing with Chinese aluminium and steel producers since 2012.
The news capped off a hell of a final sitting day in Parliament before the winter break, with Scott Morrison asked to explain Barnaby Joyce’s new role in a cabinet group on women’s safety and security considering Joyce’s unresolved, denied allegation of sexual harassment; both the Coalition and Labor voting to replace votes on parliamentary motions with two minute statements; and South Australian Liberal MPs slamming a newly-emboldened federal National Party’s attempt to pull water from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
The science no longer supports SA needing fresh water.
Rising sea levels will mean SA Lower Lakes system will not need environmental water.
The Nationals (amendment talking points)
In logic Australia hasn’t seen since CNNNN campaigned to tilt Australia, a Barnaby Joyce-led National Party attempts to pull water from the Murray-Darling Basin Plan on the basis that South Australia as a state is simply spoiled for fresh and, sooner or later, salt water.
“Corporate Australia has perfected the art of capturing governments and manipulating regulators. Across the banking, mining and gaming industries, legions of lobbyists, government relations managers and PR spinners work diligently every day to push their agendas.
“It’s a hustle that’s usually hidden from view. But thanks to the spectacular downfall of Crown and the three inquiries that have followed, we now have a much clearer picture of how this engine room of influence works.”
“Did Scott Morrison want the last sitting period before the winter recess — some speculate the last sitting period before an early election — to be dominated by topics from when Julia Gillard was prime minister, topics most of us — whether Liberal, Labor, Green, conservative, News Corp, whoever — thought were settled?
“How about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which was legislated in 2012? Sure there’s been debate and changes over how to achieve water savings — with the Coalition preferring to waste money in irrigation infrastructure ahead of water buybacks, and NSW allowing irrigators to rort with impunity — but the broad principle that the system needed to be managed to provide environmental flows along its length and into South Australia has been settled for nearly a decade.”
‘Wandering’ Ben and the flaming laptop: Roberts-Smith defamation trial travels into ‘Rashomon’ territory
“Ben Roberts-Smith allegedly ‘wandered off whenever he wanted and did whatever he wanted’ in Afghanistan, the Federal Court heard this morning, as the former soldier’s defamation case against media organisations continues.
“This allegation was contained within a letter to Roberts-Smith from a colleague who had been questioned during an official inquiry into allegations of ADF war crimes in Afghanistan. Roberts-Smith emphatically denies it.”
THE CRIKEY PAYWALL IS DOWN
Here’s the latest from the Crikey vault, enjoy them while they’re unlocked!
“Always look at the framing of issues by politicians and the media, as a good guide to what they want you to avoid thinking about.
“In relation to the need for an independent inquiry into the allegations against Christian Porter, that framing — being pushed by both the government and a number of high-profile right-wing journalists — is that it’s a simple issue of law and order versus mob rule/trial by media/social media pile-on. Scott Morrison went so far as to suggest a refusal to call an inquiry was because ‘rule of law is essential for liberal democracies’.
“In short, we’re supposed to think of the allegations against Christian Porter as another iteration of the culture wars in which woke mobs try to cancel conservatives — indeed, cancel democracy itself.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
We’re sitting ducks: the case for a short, sharp lockdown to battle Delta variant — Raina MacIntyre (The Sydney Morning Herald): “Here we are on the knife’s edge of a Delta epidemic in Sydney. As always, it was a breach of our borders: this time, one of the forgotten frontline workers, a driver who transports international arrivals to hotels. Airport transport workers are not explicitly named as a priority group among ‘border workers’ in our vaccine rollout, and no systematic attempt has been made to vaccinate them. Despite recent upgrading of protections for health workers, there has been no such move to provide drivers with N95s respirators, nor a plan to address ventilation of transport vehicles. Instead, the infected driver has been potentially criminalised.”
Barnaby Joyce: Messy private lives of MPs not always a turn-off for voters ($) — Graham Richardson (The Australian): “Joyce apparently has a protective shield around him that enables him to deflect all criticism. Nobody has been criticised as much as he and nobody has deserved as much criticism either. Yet, as I sit here watching question time, there he stands at the dispatch box giving as good as he gets. Despite what his enemies may have hoped for, his rather messy private life has never done him a scrap of electoral damage. He represents a very conservative area yet voters there seem to forgive him his peccadillos. Not all politicians generate such loyalty.”
Australia needs to stop locking up 10-year-old children. Raising the age is the right thing to do — Shane Rattenbury (Guardian Australia): “At the age of 10, a child loses four baby teeth a year, can name the months of the year in order and has been given a ‘pen licence’. In Australia, a 10-year-old can also be arrested by police, remanded in custody, convicted by the courts and imprisoned. On Wednesday, the ACT has taken another step towards raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years old, with the release of a discussion paper that lays out the basis for the change and seeks community views on exactly how this change should work.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
Day two of CEDA’s “State of the Nation” conference will hear from NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas among others.