A classified ASIO intelligence report warns that Australian white supremacists may launch a terrorist attack in a bid to “accelerate the race war”. The report, obtained by The Saturday Paper, details concerns that the far-right movement may commit an attack inspired by the Christchurch terrorist attacks, in which an Australian man killed 51 Muslims. The analysis claims Australia’s far-right has evolved from “loose, fragmented networks” to “highly structured, security aware, and strictly vetted groups, largely consisting of white males”. The document describes how the aspirations of these groups follow a line from recruitment, to preparation, to the establishment of a “white enclave”, to “race war”.
COVID-19: The Morrison government will today unveil a $2.4 billion coronavirus health package, including 100 “pop up” fever clinics, tele-consultation measures, and a communications campaign. The effort comes as queues of people line up outside hospitals for tests, despite not meeting the guidelines recommended for testing. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned “extreme measures” would need to be taken to contain the virus. Meanwhile, the legal arm of Business NSW has told thousands of employers ($) that personal or carers leave was not available for full-time or part-time workers who required isolation but were not yet diagnosed. Globally, Italy is under total lockdown as the country grapples with the spread of COVID-19, but new cases are dropping in China and South Korea.
Trump mixed messages: At least 750 people have been infected by COVID-19 in the United States and 27 have died, with President Donald Trump claiming that the crisis is both a media beat-up and tweeting that it proves “we need the Wall more than ever”. US conservatives have taken to calling COVID-19 the “Wuhan virus” or “China virus”. Meanwhile, six more states go to the polls in the Democratic primary to determine the party’s presidential nominee, with Senator Bernie Sanders seeking to arrest the momentum of former vice-president Joe Biden.
Pell appeal begins: Cardinal George Pell’s appeal bid will begin in Canberra today, where it will be heard by the full bench of the high court. The 78-year-old was jailed for six years last year for sexually abusing two choirboys at Melbourne’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1996. Meanwhile, The Australian reports ($) that Pell may face new sex abuse claims separate from previous convictions.
Submarines criticised: A new report to be launched at the National Press Club today warns that the $80 billion Future Submarine Program is “dangerously off track” and urges the adoption of nuclear submarines. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds rejected the premise of the report and said the new submarines were on schedule for construction to begin in 2023.