CHANGE OF STATE
After recording one case on Friday, Queensland hit a year-long record daily total yesterday — nine local infections. Greater Brisbane, including the Gold Coast, Ipswich, and nine others, are locked down until Tuesday but AFR reports the steep case trajectory means it will likely be extended. The rules may be familiar to many by now: only leave home for groceries, healthcare, essential school/work/care or exercise (within 10km of your home). Wondering if you’re an essential worker? ABC delves into the definition.
People living in the south-east are being urged to get a test — just 11,468 tests were carried out on Saturday and authorities want to see that double, The Brisbane Times reports. Among those who’ll be swabbed this week will be Queensland’s MPs and senators, who are supposed to be headed to federal parliament but will be tested and isolated instead. The outbreak, which is now at 18 cases in and around the state’s southeast, could be about to get worse — an infected Brisbane woman flew 614km north to Rockhampton and back and authorities are scrambling to test her contacts.
VAX AND FIGURES
Young women are being vaccinated at a rate of 50% more than men, the SMH reports. It comes as Greater Sydneysiders were told that vaccination rates, not daily case totals, will be the benchmark for easing this lockdown. Yesterday Premier Gladys Berejiklian said if the vaccination rate hits 50% by August 28, the government could unwind restrictions. But there’s a way to go, yet — just 19% of eligible adults are fully vaxxed so far, the paper says.
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News.com.au reports Labor’s Chris Bowen reckons the rules are way too confusing in Greater Sydney — he pointed out that people in hotspots like Fairfield and Blacktown have to wear a mask whenever they leave home “including walking your dogs at 6.30 on a cold morning, when you aren’t going to run into anyone else! … But there exemptions for strenuous exercise (running and cycling etc)”. Bowen said, of the four LGAs he represents, there are three sets of rules, and “even [he] would find it confusing”. Sunday saw 239 new COVID cases, of which 124 were untraceable. One man infected with COVID described it as feeling like “a 200-kilogram man standing on your chest”, ABC reports.
Former PM Tony Abbott was building a relationship with India’s PM Narendra Modi before the former was ousted by Malcolm Turnbull about a decade ago. But the slippery former politician could be about to rekindle the flame — Guardian Australia reports the Morrison government is spending $20,000 to send Abbott on a five-day trade mission. Strides to diversify our trade relationships come amid our increasingly chilly relationship with China — and after Abbott worked on a free trade agreement with India for years, though it never actually eventuated, as the SMH reported.
Abbott, who is also a trade adviser to the British government, had to sign a conflict of interest declaration to be approved for the trip. Unlike his fancy-boy former colleague Mathias Cormann, Abbott will fly commercial and will not be remunerated for the trip, DFAT says. But Labor’s trade spokesperson Madeleine King said she found it “inconceivable” that the government “couldn’t find anyone better to advocate for one of most important trading relationships with the most potential than Tony Abbott — the prime minister they booted out”.
You could be forgiven for waking up a little hoarse after a gold-filled Sunday at the Tokyo games. Swimmer Emma McKeon took the country to new heights yesterday after she became the first Australian Olympian ever to win four gold medals at a single Olympic Games, AFR reports. The Wollongong woman won the women’s freestyle final in record time — before jumping back in the pool less than an hour later to swim in the gold-medal winning relay. McKeon — described by The New York Times as the Olympics’ most decorated swimmer — has 11 Olympic medals, more than icons Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones (both have nine).
Meanwhile, BMX freestyle rider Logan Martin and sailor Matt Wearn won gold medals yesterday too, lifting the country’s total to 14 golds so far. In other gold-related news, overnight two athletics Olympians made history after they shared the top podium for the first time since 1912, as BBC Sport reports. The high-jumping pair took the joint-win instead of taking part in a jump-off.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE
Usually, big corporations jumping on historical moments — like Black Lives Matter — is a cause for cringe. Who can forget Kardashian star Kendall Jenner healing the world with a Pepsi? She certainly hasn’t been able to (though the wads of cash she’s insulated with probably helps). But in the UK, corporations are banding together to encourage more young people to be vaccinated — by offering them free pizza. And free Ubers. And free (or at least discounted) groceries.
The SMH reports that ministers are in talks with dozens of companies about a voucher scheme to incentivise vaccinations among the younger cohort. So far 68% of under-29s have received their first dose, 20 percentage points behind the national vaccination rate. In a sign of the times, the way a person could become eligible for the freebies is via a “selfie” at a vaccine centre, the paper reports. OK — I’ve come full circle on the selfie-loving Kardashians and their ability to help heal the world.
Hoping your Monday is full of cheer.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
As I told you once, I suspect Burnside knows more about the Holocaust and its subsequent trials than you. As a teen, the Holocaust propelled him into a concern for human rights & refugees, which can’t be said of you, Your [sic] just a Hungarian, just a Liberal. #Fraudenberg.
The partner of Julian Burnside, who was criticised for comparing the Israel-Palestine conflict to the Holocaust, waded in to dispel the drama but kind of made it worse. She was addressing Josh Frydenberg, whose mother escaped the Holocaust, after Frydenberg tweeted that he had sent a Holocaust autobiography to Burnside in light of the QC’s now-deleted tweet.
“But if COVID becomes a disease of the unvaccinated here, as it is in the US, it should sharpen our focus on what drives anti-vaccination sentiment, and what our moral stance is toward those who choose not to protect themselves. It’s a separate issue from those who refuse to vaccinate their children — that’s straight child abuse, motivated by crackpot anti-science, conspiracy theories and a bullshit belief that some of the world’s most dangerous diseases are gentle, loving caresses by Mother Nature. Society is justified in undertaking policies to reduce that abuse.
“And as we saw in the lockdown protests last weekend, there’s more than simple(-minded) anti-vax sentiment at work here. Opposition to vaccination has become a tribal marker, an ideological invocation of freedom and a product of often-lurid conspiracy theories. Many of those holding such beliefs have been driven there by the kind of stresses and pressures that have created the polarised, populist political environment that exists across the world, though fortunately to a lesser extent here in Australia.”
“Perhaps they should just rename the New South Wales Premier’s morning COVID press conference the 11 O’Clock Follies. It would be an historic nod to the daily US military war briefings in Saigon during the Vietnam War, which so frustrated the assembled media they dubbed them the Five O’Clock Follies. They were even rekindled during the Iraq War as the Four O’Clock Follies.
“The term is now synonymous with discredited government officials trying to control the narrative or spin a more favourable story with half-truths and carefully selected facts. Now, no one is suggesting that Premier Gladys Berejiklian or her ministers or the poor government officials are deliberately misleading the media — not when they are working so hard to deal with a major health crisis causing unprecedented challenges.”
“The ABC’s concession to conceal most of its own defence was the more interesting move, given what it said about the public broadcaster’s own commitment to transparency in the public interest. Assuming that it was confident that what it had filed with the court was appropriate and solidly backed by evidence — with a legal team headed by Justin Gleeson SC, that’s a fair assumption — it was quite a radical step to then want to withdraw it and keep it from the public forever.
“Porter’s own interest in keeping the material suppressed is not difficult to understand, even without any clue as to what that material is. So it was that his counsel, Bret Walker SC, was the moving force in seeking to convince Justice Jayne Jagot that, so as to prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice, the redacted parts of the defence (and Porter’s reply to the defence) should be removed from the court’s file.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
The Melbourne suburbs where the median house price has fallen (Herald Sun) ($)
Former Nationals MP Michael Johnsen ‘vindicated’ over dropped rape claim (The Australian) ($)
New Zealand apologises for 1970s ‘Dawn Raids’ (Al Jazeera)
Vaccination the gold medal we aspire to — Scott Morrison (The Australian) ($): “There may not be gold medals for being a single parent, running a small business, doing night shift at an emergency department or aged-care facility or volunteering for your local surf lifesaving club or bushfire brigade, but if there were, Australia would be high in the medal tally. This is why I have always been so confident that Australia will pull through this COVID-19 pandemic. We won’t let it beat us. We won’t let our frustration get the better of us. We won’t let negativity overwhelm our optimism. We will just put our heads down and keep pressing on.
“So far, working together, we have done better than almost any other country in the world in saving lives and livelihoods. We haven’t seen anything like this in 100 years. And it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. The overseas evidence clearly shows that if we had the same experience of other advanced economy countries, where their COVID death rate has been almost 40 times greater than in Australia, more than 30,000 additional Australians would have died. Together, we stopped this.”
Why in a country like Australia aren’t we all vaccinated? It’s complicated — Fiona Russell (The SMH): “I was asked by Victor, in an email from Costa Rica, “Why is not everybody vaccinated in Australia now? You’ve had the time and the resources besides one of best public health systems around the globe!” …We have had no professional communication plan that actually inspires people with diverse backgrounds to get vaccinated. As a nation we don’t know what we are aiming for.
“There has been a confusing array of official messages about the AstraZeneca vaccine (which as you know is one of the most widely used vaccines around the world and for many countries their only option). And to be frank, for someone whose day job for two decades has been working in vaccines, even I was confused. The communication void was filled by whoever had the loudest voice and what was heard was AstraZeneca is not good enough and it is not safe. This was deafening. It also ricocheted around the Pacific and PNG.”
How to gaslight a nation and alienate people — Nich Richie (IndigenousX): “In what would be incorrectly referred to as “milkshake ducking” or “tall poppy syndrome” by some people, and more rather it being an example of Australian’s refusal to listen to First Nations voices and the seeming ease to move on from racist controversy, Jon Bernard [Kairouz]’s racist humour was put on display. Through a series of Instagram posts, user Balaluke called out Jon-Bernard by posting a video in which “TikTok Guy” joked that the problem with Redfern, and the wider community, was Aboriginal People. In the video, he corrects himself and says adolescents on the second clip, possibly in a way to avoid direct controversy. However, doubled down on this racism by liking racist comments, with some simply stating “Abos”.
“In no surprise to anyone, it wouldn’t be Jon-Bernard’s racism that would deplatform him. It wouldn’t be the unapologetic interaction with racists either that would cause his fall from grace. Despite so many First Nations voices coming together and requesting people to listen, many Australians would show that Jon-Bernard could be excused of that racism, but not of going to an anti-lockdown protest.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
Housing and Homelessness Minister Michael Sukkar will launch Homelessness Week via a webinar panel discussion with shadow minister Jason Clare and the Greens’ Mehreen Faruqi.
The Grattan Institute will host a webinar briefing on its report on Australia’s best shot at living with COVID-19, with CEO Danielle Wood, health and aged care program director Stephen Duckett, and associate Tom Crowley.
Multicultural Futures will host a free training session hosted by Rika Asaoka to teach cultural responsiveness to WA’s community service providers.
Mike Lefroy discusses the construction of Fremantle Harbour and Kalgoorlie Pipeline at the Boya Community Centre.
ANU’s chancellor and vice-chancellor will launch the ANU by 2025 Strategic Plan in Kambri followed by a BBQ lunch.