Friday, July 03, 2020

Police swarm lockdown suburbs

Melbourne’s locked-down suburbs will be monitored by drones and more than 1000 police, following a record rise in community transmission on Thursday and infections spreading interstate. Police from the specialist critical incident response team will join 24-hour patrols of the hotspots, with authorities to use automatic number plate recognition technology to identify people travelling through restricted areas. People face $1652 fines for breaching restrictions. Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said the state recorded another 77 cases on Thursday, 31 of which had been classed as community transmission. Meanwhile, 50 supermarket workers in Balmain Woolworths in New South Wales have been directed to self-isolate after working beside a man who tested positive for Covid-19 while in hotel quarantine in Melbourne then flew to Sydney and tested positive again. At least five travellers from Victoria's coronavirus hotspots were detected flying into New South Wales on Thursday, the penalty for which is up to an $11,000 fine or six months in jail. Another man, who had tested negative while in hotel lockdown in Victoria, tested positive after flying on to the Northern Territory, prompting contact tracers to alert passengers on the flight.

Hong Kong nationals would have a fast track to resettlement ($) in Australia through the skilled visa program, under an option cabinet will consider next Wednesday. The departments of Home ­Affairs and Foreign Affairs and Trade have prepared options to assist Hong Kong residents wishing to flee controversial new national security laws passed by the mainland Chinese government this week, reports The Australian. About 400 people were arrested in the city for protesting against the new laws. A special safe haven visa is another option, similar to that offered by the United Kingdom to Hong Kong residents. Government lawyers are also looking at the risks the law presents to the 100,000 Australians living in the former British territory and now a special administrative region of China. China's foreign ministry responded by urging Australia to stop interfering in the country’s internal affairs.

Australian unions have warned that the federal government is laying the groundwork for cuts to JobKeeper wage subsidies and JobSeeker unemployment benefits by claiming the unemployed are unwilling to work. Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil told Guardian Australia that the federal government was seeking cover for cuts by “demonising young people … based on anecdotal stories”.  Government claims that boosted welfare payments are prompting people to turn down work was based on comments from only 70 employers out of 2324 surveyed.

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested and charged over allegations she conspired with him to sexually abuse children as young as 14. She faces six counts under the federal indictment, including enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity and perjury. “Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them,” Audrey Strauss, an acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, said on Thursday.


“It took a comedian to ask the serious question that exposes the fundamental flaw in the government’s radical new model for university funding. Tommy Little ... took issue with the main reason advanced by the government for cutting student fees for some university courses, while sharply increasing them for others – that it would shift demand towards areas of expected employment growth, such as teaching and nursing … Little was right, according to Bruce Chapman, the eminent Australian National University economist and architect of Australia’s Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS).”


“There is an uncritical but flawed assumption that Aboriginal people are unquestionably Australian republicans. Professor Marcia Langton ... pointed out that many Aboriginal people in fact have deep respect for the ceremony of the Crown, because our culture understands the power of ritual and symbolism. Such customary protocols speak to the conservatism of culture ... but provide continuity between the past and the present. Today in Australia, an ancient cultural practice relating to the regulation of strangers on country, born of recognition, relatedness and reciprocity, has become a welcoming convention for the nation.”


“I was born at home. My mother was a hippie back then. Growing barrels of pot on the roof, and part of the Community of the Whole Person – an amateur psychotherapy thing. She told a story once about how I’d been a grounding force as a baby, while she was doing a therapy session with a high, damaged person, and she’d been glad I was there. My sister watched the birth, sitting beside the Great Dane.”


“Scott Morrison has launched a scathing attack against Labor in the final sprint of the Eden-Monaro by-election – declaring a vote for the opposition ‘is a vote for uncertainty, chaos and disunity.’”


“NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro told his state Nationals colleagues he had personally voted for Labor ahead of the Liberals in last year's federal election, as a fresh round of Coalition infighting threatens to overrun the final days of the Eden-Monaro byelection.”


“People shared their desire to simply shatter their teeth for a mere taste of the majestic rock ... Amelia explained that crystals looking like food isn’t uncommon. ‘Lots of crystals look surprisingly edible, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen such a convincing chicken tender before,’ Amelia shared. ‘Slices of rhodochrosite can look like like both ham and grapefruit, and dark pink rose quartz plays a good raw meat.’ But Twitter was already one step ahead of her, sharing their other favourite food crystals from cheesecake to potatoes to slabs of meat.”

Max Opray
is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.