THE STATE OF THINGS
NSW is in the midst of an “absolutely critical” two days, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says, as authorities grapple with the decision to end or extend the stay-home order, currently set to finish Friday, Reuters reports. Sydney’s outbreak grew by 35 yesterday, with seven of those cases having been infectious in the community. Late last night, NSW Health tweeted that a Belfield pharmacy, an Edmondson Park chicken shop, and a Marrickville Chinese restaurant had been added to the list of exposure sites.
The SMH reports the Royal North Shore Hospital is on “red alert” and five wards — renal, general medical, cardiology, neurology and surgical — are closed after an unvaccinated student nurse tested positive. Brett Holmes from the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association told the SMH that more than 500 healthcare workers are in isolation, “probably the largest number of staff we’ve seen forced to isolate”. The ABC reports that staff shortages could be the next bottleneck in the vaccine rollout.
Elsewhere, a Tasmanian man who allegedly fled authorities after being ordered into hotel quarantine has been captured in the WA’s remote north-west, about 1250km north of Perth, The West Australian reports. It’s been six days since Victoria recorded a local COVID-19 case, while in South Australia, where restrictions eased yesterday, borders remained closed to NSW, Queensland, the NT, and WA for now, the ABC reports.
Wondering what it all means? ABC has been charting the COVID-19 spread in Australia since the pandemic began, and it gives a really concise overview of the state of things.
A SWING AND A MISS
The SMH reports that women voters are abandoning the Coalition as the government’s primary female vote fell from 41 to 37% since the last election. The apparent fallout is no surprise after former MP Julia Banks’ revelations about bullying, along with Brittany Higgins’ allegations of rape, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s public rebuke from Australian of the Year Grace Tame.
Labor has benefited from the dwindling, with its primary vote climbing from 33 to 35%, while the independents gained 3%. The survey, which was commissioned by the SMH and The Age from research company Resolve Strategic, found Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese still lagged behind Morrison as a preferred leader by a whopping 23%.
If Resolve Strategic is ringing a bell… it might be because the company and its founder, Jim Reed, made headlines last year after the taxpayer was billed $541,750 for “COVID-19 market research” commissioned by the prime minister’s department. Labor slammed it as “thinly disguised political research” that should have been paid for by the Liberal Party instead, as would be the convention.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will not be deleting an incorrect tweet about AstraZeneca, her office told the Brisbane Times.
Last Thursday, the premier tweeted “Even the UK government won’t allow their under 40s to get the AstraZeneca vaccine”. Hmm, not quite: under-40s in the UK have been offered an alternative to AZ per an independent advisory committee’s advice, but some are still receiving it because it is easier to both transport and store, the BBC reported in May. The premier tweeted the BBC story shortly after, appearing to conflate “won’t allow” with “offered alternatives”. Mere semantics or something more troubling? Analysis from the Financial Times in the UK found 30 to 39-year-olds are at greater risk from severe COVID-19 than from blood clotting.
A LOOK OVERSEAS
Elsewhere in COVID news, in Italy, Europe’s deadliest outbreak is under the microscope as prosecutors look at evidence suggesting COVID-19 was spreading weeks before the first case of local transmission was detected, The Guardian reports. In France, mobile vaccine units are being introduced in popular tourist spots, including beaches, as many people take the entirety of July or August off work (!) to holiday (!!), The Guardian says. And in the UK, people will no longer need to wear face masks or social distance as of July 19, the BBC reports.
Globally yesterday we saw 282,641 new cases and 8612 deaths, but also a whopping 35.7 million vaccinations! That brings the total vaccinations worldwide to 3.22 billion, according to data gathered from the Johns Hopkins University and Our World in Data.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
I fear … it is almost a sense now of The Hunger Games, of people chasing vaccine. And until we get enough vaccine and enough GPs actually at the front line able to provide that vaccine into arms, we will continue to have effectively The Hunger Games going on here in NSW.
NSW’s health minister somewhat lavishly likens his state’s so far non-violent vaccine rollout to a gruesome televised fight to the death in the hit YA film/novel series. May the odds be ever in our favour.
On his selection: minister ignored two prominent women for ABC board spots, picking female mate instead
“Fletcher’s decision to choose an allied candidate over suggested qualified candidates is further evidence of the government’s willingness to shape the supposedly independent public broadcasters. Fletcher’s office did not respond to Crikey questions by deadline.
“In addition to the selection of Mundine for the SBS, the decision to pick Ita Buttrose as the ABC’s chair in 2019 was also a captain’s pick. Buttrose was selected by the government over the three recommended candidates. Buttrose has taken issue with the government’s total control over who is appointed to the ABC board.”
‘Going underground’: former Liberal MP Julia Banks reveals what it takes for women to survive under Morrison’s leadership
“Julia Banks has been called a ‘rich bitch’, a ‘bully’, a ‘nasty’, ‘crazy corporate’ woman who needs to be controlled. She’s been repeatedly questioned about her devotion to motherhood, told she ‘owes’ the Liberal Party, and alleges Prime Minister Scott Morrison tried to hide her away when she did not vote for him during the 2017 leadership spill.
“In her new book, Power Play, Banks lays out the controlling, demeaning and bullying tactics in politics — but occasionally falls prey to the snide sexism she seeks to call out. Speaking exclusively to Crikey, Banks tells of the heightened toxicity and control under Morrison and defends calling out women who bend to bullying.”
It’s the voters, stupid: Simon Birmingham’s honesty about dishonesty exposes the sad state of politics
“But you only need look at last Friday’s news cycle to see the extent of the crisis for the opposition. At the end of one of the most disastrous and damaging weeks for the hapless PM, Albo was fortuitously addressing the National Press Club. Unfortunately, he stuck to his worthy topic of a planned jobs summit should he win power. Talk about off message. Channelling Bob Hawke is all very well but it’s not the 1980s and right now the issue isn’t jobs but finding enough workers.
“If he had an ounce of ‘Albo from marketing’ he would have changed the ‘positive’ speech to a stirring attack, ripping apart the government on that week’s scandals alone: car park rorts; the disgraceful cabinet reshuffle forced on it by an out-of-control deputy PM; and the escalating vaccine crisis.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Parental COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy may be next challenge for vaccination campaigns — Kelly McGuire (The Conversation): “Most importantly, parental vaccine hesitancy may arise from positions of both privilege and marginalization. Members of oppressed groups have not always had the option of declining vaccination in the past. There are historical reasons why certain groups might have cause to distrust public health initiatives sponsored by a state that has devalued their children’s lives.
“In the current context, unequal access and practical difficulties involved in taking time off work to take children to appointments also complicate this question of hesitancy. This is particularly true for mothers, on whom these responsibilities typically fall.”
World’s poor suffer as rich work from home — Adam Creighton (The Australian) ($): “All up, the consequences have been grim. Last year an extra 71 million people were pushed into extreme poverty, living on less than US$1.90 a day, according to the World Bank. The number of people “marching towards starvation” jumped by 135 million, David Beasley, head of the World Food Program, said in December.
“Remittances from workers in the rich countries, which make up around half of private income in poor countries, and tourism, which makes up more than 20% of Gambia’s income, for instance, collapsed.”
Melbourne needs to lift its architecture game — Nicholas Reece (The Age): “But in recent years Melbourne has allowed too many poor developments to be built. Too many towers that are nothing more than spreadsheets in the sky, delivering a profit for developers but leaving the city poorer because of bad design and low-quality materials.
“Too many buildings that are low-grade and bland when newly complete and destined to deteriorate into eyesores over time. Tall towers that set out to be seen from afar but offer nothing to the pedestrians walking the streets of the city. Featureless glass boxes that could be in any city in the world, rather than a city with the character, style and sophistication of Melbourne.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Guardian Australia’s political editor Katharine Murphy is in conversation via webinar with Essential Media’s executive director Pete Lewis, unpacking the big political issues and the latest political polling trends. It’s the latest in The Australian Institute’s webinar series.
Emerging writer Emily Sun is in conversation via webinar with author Alice Pung, following the debut of Sun’s poetry collection Vociferate 詠, which was inspired by diasporic-Asian feminist writers and explores what it means to be Asian-Australian.
The Wheeler Centre is hosting a school holiday event to celebrate Penny Harrison’s new picture book, The Little Coven, including a storytime, Q&A, and a playful workshop.
The Birdsville Big Red Bash 2021 kicks off, with performers Paul Kelly, Kate Ceberano, John Williamson and Tim Finn, plus lots more. It’s billed as the world’s “most remote” music festival, taking place in the Simpson Desert.