STATE OF AFFAIRS
NSW reported 16 new cases yesterday the SMH reports — a “pleasing” result according to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as 13 of those were already in isolation. The number of exposure sites in Sydney passed 300 late last night, and now includes a Coles at Maroubra, a Hillsdale Woolworths, and several bus routes, NSW Health tweeted.
In Queensland, the list of exposure sites has ballooned to 200, the Brisbane Times reports, after Sunday saw several added: New Farm Cafe & Deli, stores at both Westfield Garden City and Chermside, and a Bunnings in Underwood. Sunday saw three new cases recorded in the Sunshine State, with two linked to the Portuguese restaurant cluster, though one of these will be included in today’s numbers as it fell outside the daily reporting cut-off.
In Victoria, the National Mental Health Commission boss Christine Morgan told the Herald Sun that pandemic fatigue is sweeping the nation, suggesting Victorians may have been “significantly affected” during the pandemic, alongside Greater Sydneysiders who are now staring down another five days of lockdown. Victoria recorded no new cases yesterday.
Western Australia recorded one new case yesterday, two days after Perth and Peel emerged from a four-day snap lockdown. The man (who was the partner of another known case) is in quarantine and poses no risk, the ABC reports.
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FIGHT FOR FLIGHT
International airlines could suspend services to Australia from next week, Guardian Australia reports, after Friday’s national cabinet saw international arrivals slashed by 50% — from 6070 to 3035 inbound travellers a week.
It’s a gut-wrenching blow for 34,000 overseas Australians who are waiting to return home. The arrival cap is likely to remain in place until the start of next year.
Board of Airline Representatives of Australia boss Barry Abrams, has dismissed suggestions that the industry was price-gouging (the price of flights to Australia spiked after Friday’s announcement). He told Guardian Australia it costs $10,000 an hour to run a regular passenger flight.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce says the four-phase plan is not enough for the airline industry to plan for restarted international travel, the AFR reports. The movement from phase to phase is dependent upon as-yet-unannounced vaccination rates, but Joyce says the unclear timelines were difficult “psychologically”.
NEW APPROACH DOESN’T ADD UP
School events and sport will be cancelled in NSW, the SMH reports, while new rules will be introduced for school drop-offs and pick-ups amid the latest outbreak. NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell says home learning is not on the table and kids will be back in the classroom next week when school holidays come to a close.
The Australian ($) is reporting that dozens of senior mathematics professionals from several high-profile universities have slammed a move to emphasise a problem-solving approach over foundational maths knowledge in schools. Professors and academics from Monash University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, UNSW and University of Sydney have signed an open letter to the board of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, asking them to dump the changes.
It’s NAIDOC week! This year’s theme is Heal Country, which feels particularly poignant during the pandemic, but remains a timelessly crucial sentiment for Australia’s First Peoples. SBS News published a cracking read about Torres Strait Islanders fighting for climate justice. Check out this map from AIATSIS which shows you what First Nations land you are living on, and learn about languages by checking out this great resource called Gambay, as featured on the ABC.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
At this time, it is my understanding that about a third of our [aged care] staff are vaccinated.
The government’s sluggish vaccination rollout for aged care workers is under the spotlight after SummitCare’s chief operating officer responded to the facility’s five COVID-19 cases — consisting of three residents and two staff members. 96% of the residents are fully vaccinated.
“Crikey has long criticised Dutton in his previous roles. And, of course, he is a bogyman of the Twitterati and the left. But at this moment, from a poor set of options, on balance he would do a better job of providing reassurance to Australians than anyone else in the government.
“Dutton would also arrest what is an increasingly alarming slide back into state power, with the state leaders now wielding more power than at any time in recent decades, and dictating key elements of national policy. He would more effectively reverse this centrifugal flow of power away from Canberra than Morrison, who appears blithely unaware that he is barely first among equals when it comes to real power in pandemic Australia.”
“Premiers went into the national cabinet meeting with harsh demands around vaccination goals and international arrival caps, calling for new targets to address the COVID-19 outbreaks.
“But the meeting — on the surface, at least — seems to have appeased several premiers. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr tweeted that there was an “outbreak of peace and harmony in the federation”, while SA Premier Steven Marshall called the meeting “excellent” and “respectful”. So what was decided?”
Snakes in the garden: how bureaucracy is tearing out a community’s culture and connection by the roots
“This is the fight of the future. It’s no longer against crazy freeways or wholesale neighbourhood demolitions; it’s against the social planners — either well-meaning, obsessed with their own power, or both — with their arid conception of “social engagement” and their addiction to the tabula rasa, to planing life flat to start again the great failed idea of the 20th century, the false path. It’s that versus the messy, untidy, rich, various, grounded, earthy, spontaneous pursuit of life — the uneven way. Don’t try and trick us out of the garden with snakes. That never ends well. And if you do try, then what have you become?”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Andrews’ return reveals growing disparity between style and substance — John Pesutto (The Age): “The signs are redolent of a government that appears to be in the grip of its own complacency and sense of invincibility. In a notable misstep, the premier said on radio, when questioned about blowouts in major projects: “Anyone who’s done a kitchen reno, for heaven’s sake, knows these things are challenging.” So, accuse the public of being as bad at managing their own household budgets as the government is at managing public money?”
Covid-19: No masking feelings of euphoria as Britain opens up — Jacquelin Magnay (The Australian) ($): “This week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to reveal plans to ditch the mandatory use of masks, do away with contact tracing and drop social distancing guidelines from July 19 — not that a lot of people are taking notice of the rules any more … Yet on Friday Britain had nearly 30,000 new COVID-19 cases. On a per head of population basis, that’s the equivalent of having around 10,000 cases in Australia. The virus has not gone away, yet the country is feeling euphoric and celebratory. The shackles are off. The reason? Vaccinations.”
A psychiatrist’s life is nothing like a Woody Allen film. I treat cancer, trauma and stroke patients — Saretta Lee (Guardian Australia): “I was at a small airport heading home from my regular clinic in a rural town. Like many Australian towns it’s a friendly place where everyone welcomes you warmly, sharing casual banter. He pretended to lie down on the row of airport seats but was prevented by the molded plastic armrests … At the end of an intense day’s consulting, the light banter at the country airport was a welcome break. But if they knew what it’s really like to carefully, tentatively step through past traumas with a psychiatrist, they would probably have ventured some other repartee.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Readings’ Christine Gordon is in conversation via webinar with Caroline de Costa, the first female professor of obstetrics and gynecology in Australia. De Costa has authored a new book, The Women’s Doc, which shares humorous and poignant stories from the labour ward and the frontline of campaigns for women’s reproductive rights.
Ben Shaw discusses new evidence for Lapita-Papuan interaction in New Guinea’s Massim islands, exploring how the region became one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse landmasses on earth.
For NAIDOC Week, join Indigenous artist Tashara Roberts for “Heal Country Tree Planting”, featuring food and medicinal flora.
Head along to a free screening in Kensington of High Ground (2020), the story of an Indigenous man who teams up with an ex-soldier to track down the most dangerous warrior in the Northern Territory — his uncle.
Curators of the Indigenous Art Program are hosting a walking tour of Brisbane to showcase artworks around the city.
Poet Dennis Haskill interviews Noongar elder and raconteur Alf Taylor, who overcame his childhood trauma to become a widely acclaimed writer and poet.