The Victorian government has shut down construction in lockdown areas of the state for two weeks, following aggressive, violent protests outside the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union’s Melbourne headquarters yesterday The Age reports.
The state government has cited a rise in COVID-19 transmissions and problems with compliance on building sites as the reason for the temporary shutdown.
“We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation,” Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said.
There's more to Crikey than you think.
Get more Crikey for just
The decision to shut down the $22 billion industry came after a day of open revolt among union members. Reportedly furious at the state government’s decision to mandate vaccines on building sites from this week, the mob smashed windows and hurled abuse at CFMEU boss John Setka. Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus said the protests were “orchestrated by violent right-wing extremists and anti-vaccination activists”.
And while Setka attracted the ire of rioters, who called him a “snake” and “Dan Andrews’ b*tch,” the state’s four building unions hit back at the Andrews government’s “heavy-handed” vaccine mandate, which they said had driven many people towards the anti-vax movement.
TRIP AND FALLOUT
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will touch down in the United States today, ahead of meetings with US President Joe Biden and Britain’s Boris Johnson. The talks will culminate in a first in-person meeting between all four Quad security dialogue leaders — Morrison and Biden, alongside India’s Narendra Modi, and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga, according to NCA Newswire.
Morrison’s trip comes amid the fallout from last week’s announcement Australia was acquiring nuclear submarines as part of the AUKUS strategic partnership with the US and UK, tearing up an existing contract with French manufacturer Naval Group. After making its anger at the Morrison government abundantly clear, France has indicated it won’t impede a Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the European Union, The Australian Financial Review reports. And acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce (a truly chilling phrase) says Australia didn’t have to prove its affection for the French because “tens of thousands of Australians died on French soil” during the world wars.
Meanwhile, AUKUS is causing anxiety in South-East Asia, where Australian ambassadors are working to reassure Indonesian and Malaysian leaders that it won’t cause an arms race that would bring more instability to their regions, per the ABC.
While AUKUS and the nuclear submarine pivot has received tentative support from the opposition benches, veteran Labor Senator Kim Carr has demanded a Senate inquiry into the pact, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
SAFE AS HOUSES
Here’s one way to get wealthy Liberal-voting boomers to care more about climate change: talk about how it might affect the property market. Analysis from the Reserve Bank of Australia found climate change could slash property prices across some of Sydney’s poshest suburbs, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Because most bank lending in Australia is for mortgages, it means more risk for the banking sector, risk which is heightened by rising insurance costs in climate-affected areas. Separate work from the RBA cited in the same article found Australia’s coal and LNG sectors could struggle with exports to Asian markets, as China, South Korea, and Japan work to reduce their emissions.
Meanwhile, the suburbs the RBA’s report mentions are places like Lane Cove on Sydney’s north shore, in the kinds of affluent electorates climate-focused independents are hoping to snatch from the Liberals. One such area is Malcolm Turnbull’s old seat of Wentworth, in Sydney’s East, where local Liberal MP Dave Sharma just backed an emissions reduction target of 40-45% by 2035, far more ambitious than his Coalition colleagues, The Australian reports.
Yep, he has had a bad day at the wicket, no doubt about that, and that issue has been dealt with.
The Deputy Prime Minister backs Christian Porter to return to the ministry, just a day after the former attorney-general quit cabinet over revelations a blind trust helped pay his legal fees for a short-lived defamation action against the ABC. Joyce reckons Porter’s done “nothing illegal” and could make a comeback, something he’d know about all too well. Porter, who sued over allegations he was the subject of a historic rape complaint (a complaint he strongly denies), faced an investigation over whether he had breached ministerial standards.
“Porter is required by resolution of the House to provide a statement relating to, inter alia, ‘gifts valued at more than $750 received from official sources, or at more than $300 where received from other than official sources provided that a gift received by a member, the member’s spouse/partner or dependent children from family members or personal friends in a purely personal capacity need not be registered unless the member judges that an appearance of conflict of interest may be seen to exist’.”
“The French response might seem like a bit of overheated Gallic histrionics. Actually there are many ways France can screw us. Paris’ anger could scupper the government’s hopes for a free trade agreement with the European Union. The French are already calling on other countries in the bloc to reconsider the deal. France was meant to play a key role in those negotiations. Now it will not.
“One sticking point for FTA negotiations is the EU’s proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism, where tariffs will be placed on imports based on emissions. Tensions with France could make it harder for Australia to overcome a growing gulf with the EU on climate, particularly ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.”
“When independent candidate Cathy McGowan and her group ‘Voices for Indi’ wrested the seat from the Liberal Party in 2013, she started a revolution. The model of her victory — a genuine grass-roots, community-led campaign — has been followed by electorates all over Australia. There are now about 40 ‘Voices’ groups focused on getting around the impasse on climate change and political integrity by electing an independent.
“The latest electorate to formally nominate an independent candidate is North Sydney, which contains some of the richest postcodes in the country. It’s an electorate which has voted for an independent before — the legendary Ted Mack served as a local councillor, NSW MP and ultimately federal MP between 1974 and 1996.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Here’s why ‘no jab no entry’ is not discrimination — Liam Elphick (The Age): “Some people claim that vaccine mandates are discriminatory. They are wrong. ‘No jab, no entry’ policies do not constitute discrimination. Here’s why.
“It is true that distinctions are being made about access to certain venues on the basis of vaccination status. But not every distinction is ‘discrimination’. We make legitimate distinctions between people daily, especially based on individual choices and actions. An employee with a good work ethic may get promoted over a person who does not have a good work ethic. No one would consider this to be discrimination.”
We must re-open as Big Australia, not Fortress Australia — Michael Fullilove (The Australian Financial Review): “As other developed countries re-open, Australia — an open-minded nation of immigrants and travellers, with a long-held belief in globalisation — remains closed to the world. Both the acquisition and the early rollout of vaccines were flawed. And somehow Australians, known for being adventurous and laconic, allowed ourselves to be spooked by extremely rare vaccine side effects. Usually a curious and intrepid people, we became hesitant and fearful.
“National unity curdled into interstate rivalry. State loyalties re-emerged — along with state borders. We also became insular. We forgot that Australian security and prosperity depends on engagement with the world. The risk is that when COVID-19 recedes, it leaves behind a smaller Australia.”
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE
WHAT’S ON TODAY
A Senate select committee’s inquiry into the government’s pandemic response will hear from former deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth, Australian Medical Association President Omar Khorshid and other experts.
The Parliamentary Budget Office will release its report expanding on medium-term fiscal projections for 2021-22.
Experts in suicide prevention will meet at the 31st World Congress on the Gold Coast held by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
The trial of Benjamin Hoffman, charged with four counts of murder over a mass shooting in 2019, commences.