Millions of Australians are now subject to COVID-19 restrictions, the ABC reports, after:
- New South Wales reported 30 new cases on the first day of a two week lockdown; meanwhile, a Virgin Australia flight attendant, who had completed five flights across Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast while unknowingly infectious, has been identified as a household contact of an infectious worker at Marrickville’s Great Ocean Foods
- Five cases have been linked to the Granites gold mine in Tanami, Central Australia, which yesterday sent Greater Darwin into a 48-hour lockdown after 14 workers who flew to Darwin were not able to be contacted
- One of those miners became Queensland’s third case for the day after flying into Brisbane and travelling to the Sunshine coast; two others confirmed earlier yesterday, a DFO worker and her partner, had been infectious in the community for almost one week; and tighter restrictions returned at 6am this morning, for example the one-person-per-two-square-metres rule for indoor venues
- The ACT has ordered residents to wear masks indoors and on public transport as a preventative measure following spikes in NSW and other states, although there are no known cases in the territory
- New restrictions were imposed on the Perth and Peel regions for at least three days, e.g. mandatory masks indoors and on public transport, after a woman tested positive after visiting New South Wales; Western Australia also created new border controls on arrivals from Queensland, the Northern Territory and the ACT
- Victoria reported no new cases but imposed border restrictions on all previously-mentioned states, while authorities remain on alert following news the aforementioned flight attendant flew Brisbane-Melbourne on June 25 and Melbourne-Sydney June 26
- South Australia has implemented border restrictions for all states and territories bar Tasmania, which has similar restrictions for local government authorities in all regions save SA and ACT.
Dozens of exposure sites have since been identified in New South Wales (five separate alerts were put out yesterday, the latest of which named city venues, Sydney Airport, Olympic Park, and transport routes); Queensland (i.e. Brisbane Airport, CBD, Chapel Hill, Fortitude Valley, Hamilton, Hendra, Indooroopilly, Newstead, Tenerrife, Warwick, West End, and the McDonalds at Glass House Mountains); Western Australia (i.e. Clarkson, Connolly, Currambine, Innaloo, Joondalup, Koondoola, and Mindarie) and Victoria (i.e. Holiday Inn Express Southbank and Melbourne Airport).
Scott Morrison has called emergency national security and national cabinet meetings today, while Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba has slammed the NSW government for failing to inform residents in Saturday morning’s official announcement that they would go into lockdown.
PS: Treasury’s Intergenerational Report will be released today and show long-term damage from the pandemic e.g. federal deficits through to 2060 and hampered migration and population growth.
A RORTING CHANCE?
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has returned supporter Bridget “Sports Rorts” McKenzie to cabinet where, Guardian Australia reports, she takes on the roles of Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education, and replaces detractor Darren Chester as Veterans’ Affairs Minister with New South Wales MP Andrew Gee amid the creation of a royal commission into veteran suicides.
The news comes roughly 18 months after an audit revealed McKenzie and her office diverted millions in taxpayer funds to sports clubs under the Coalition’s marginal seat strategy in the 2019 election, identified in an infamous colour-coded spreadsheet dictated by Scott Morrison’s office and deployed without legal authority. The former sports minister then briefly became the first Morrison-era minister to leave cabinet over a political scandal, when she stepped down over a failure to declare a conflict of interest in a gun club that benefited from the scheme.
Joyce, who as deputy prime minister was last week appointed to the Cabinet Taskforce on the Status of Women despite two denied allegations of sexual harassment, also gave McKenzie responsibilities for drought and emergency management. The role had previously held by deputy leader David Littleproud who remains Agriculture Minister and gains the Northern Australia portfolio.
Keith Pitt retained the water and resources portfolios, but has been removed from cabinet.
PS: Despite recent scandals such as the stalled vaccine rollout and the Nationals’ spill, the latest Newspoll ($) has the Coalition’s primary vote steady and Scott Morrison up a point.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
These changes will provide the strongest female representation in an Australian government cabinet on record, building on the previous record also achieved under my government.
However, it is not just about the size of the female contingent in my cabinet but the skills and the experience they all bring to help us solve our nation’s challenges.
The prime minister brags about female representation in a new cabinet featuring a man accused of rape (who denies the allegations), another accused of sexual harassment (who denies the allegations), and a newly-returned female minister responsible for turning a $100 million sports infrastructure scheme into a Coalition slush fund.
“Former soldier Ben Roberts-Smith is being taken through the circumstances of his marriage breakdown in the Federal Court this morning, through the notes taken by a doctor and a marriage guidance counsellor as well as text messages.
“The Victoria Cross winner told the court that he was technically separated from wife Emma Roberts, even though he stayed overnight (in a separate room) at his marital home two or three nights a week, spent Christmas and New Year together, and even went on a family holiday to Singapore.”
“Note: this article includes discussion of sexual assault and suicide.
“Minister for Industry Christian Porter has previously fought tooth and nail to keep many of the details of the allegation of historic rape made by a woman known as Kate secret. Porter strenuously denies the allegations against him.
“Late last night, a series of court documents including Kate’s full statement submitted to NSW Police in 2020 (which was provided to Crikey in March of this year) detailing the alleged 1988 Sydney rape was released. Also released was a full transcript of Kate’s high school friend Jo Dyer’s interview with Four Corners journalist Louise Milligan last year.”
“After the revelation of the alleged rape of a staffer in a minister’s office, and its gross and abysmal mishandling; after casually dismissed rape accusations levelled against a minister; after yet more details of a deeply toxic and misogynist workplace culture in politics; after gender issues dominating politics for the first third of the year, the verdict arrived this week: nothing has changed.
“An accused sexual harasser is once again deputy prime minister. He joins an industry minister accused of rape, who discontinued his defamation suit against the media outlet that revealed the allegations, and a minister who described a woman allegedly raped in her office as ‘a lying cow’, along with a prime minister who lied to Parliament about the investigation into his own office’s handling of the rape allegation.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
View from the Hill: COVID battle on a knife edge — Michelle Grattan (The Conversation): “The argument Scott Morrison has consistently put — that NSW has a better way of dealing with COVID, by avoiding comprehensive closures — has been blown away by Gladys Berejiklian’s reluctant resort to a lockdown of greater Sydney and other places. In the end, the disease dictates the response, at least if a community wants maximum safety. And it will find the inevitable holes in even a strong defensive fence.”
Productivity, population crucial ($) — Josh Frydenberg (The Australian): “Our population is growing slower and ageing faster than expected. This affects economic growth and workforce participation. In the past, [Intergenerational Reports] have underestimated population growth. In 2002 it was forecast Australia would reach 25 million people in 2040. We got there 20 years earlier. However, this is the first IGR in which population size is being revised downward, a result of COVID.”
Hard lessons: On unis, Coalition has embraced Howard’s way — George Megalogenis (The Sydney Morning Herald; an edited extract of Quarterly Essay, Exit Strategy: Politics after the Pandemic, published today): “Given the gargantuan sums being borrowed and spent on the safety net, no one needed to be worse off. Yet the Morrison government chose to exclude universities from JobKeeper, and also to deny JobSeeker to many of their international students. I asked ministers, former ministers, public servants and vice-chancellors: why were universities singled out? One person familiar with the government’s thinking told me: ‘It’s not that complicated. The government hates universities.’”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Members of the public will be prevented from attending Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation trial until further notice due to COVID-19 restrictions — the trial will instead be broadcast via a video link.