The Andrews government cannot identify any legislation it needed to override, but experts say that is the point.When Daniel Andrews signed a declaration for a state of disaster in Victoria at 1.43pm on Sunday, it was a part of a final salvo in a battle to control a resurgent and invisible enemy.
The federal government has announced a royal commission into violence, neglect and abuse of people in the disability care sector. News Corp reported on Monday that $527 million had been allocated to the commission in this week’s budget, the most ever devoted to a royal commission. People with Disability Australia co-chief executive Matthew Bowden said the funding was justified as “the scope is very big so the funding needs to reflect that”. Writing on Facebook on Monday, West Australian Greens senator Jordon Steele-John said the commission was made possible “because of the disability activists who fought tirelessly, alongside our Greens movement, to see justice done”.
More than 70 per cent of religiously motivated hate crimes in New South Wales are directed at Muslims, according to a new study of NSW Police Force data. A Picture of Bias Crime in New South Wales, a study drawing on NSW Police reports on hate crimes from 2013 to 2016, found that “people from Asian, Indian/Pakistani and Muslim backgrounds are the most likely victims to report bias crime” and that there was “an increase of approximately 20 per cent in religiously-motivated cases against Muslim victims”. Sydney Institute of Criminology professor Gail Mason, who authored a journal article about the study, told SBS that “governments and police need to be putting the resources into analysing that data so that we actually know what's happening in the problem of hate crime”.
An inquiry into the federal government’s awarding of a multimillion-dollar contract to a secretive company once based out of a shack on Kangaroo Island has been expanded to investigate all contracts covering Australia’s offshore detention program. In a letter to shadow immigration minister Shayne Neumann on Monday, Commonwealth auditor-general Grant Hehir confirmed that his office would investigate contracts worth up to $1 billion between the department of home affairs and private companies to provide security, medical, transport and accommodation services at Australian-run offshore detention camps. In January, the Australian Financial Review reported ($) that the federal government had extended a $423 million security contract with the Paladin Group, despite the company’s director, Craig Thrupp, reportedly leaving a “string of bad debts and failed contracts across Asia”.
And the National Roads and Motorists’ Association has called for a ban on new petrol and diesel-fuelled cars within the next decade. Speaking to the ABC’s Four Corners on Monday, NRMA chief executive Rohan Lund said “our targets here need to be a bit more aggressive than what we're seeing in other markets”, as governments in Europe and the United Kingdom have already legislated phase-outs of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. The call coincided with federal Labor’s pledge on Monday to increase the number of electric vehicles on Australian roads. Just 0.2 per cent of cars in Australia are electric, compared to 49.2 per cent in Norway.