Monday, July 06, 2020

Call to preserve Covid-19 safeguards

The spike in Covid-19 cases in Victoria has prompted the Australian Medical Association to call for a pause in the lifting of restrictions nationally. After a weekend in which Victoria recorded 182 new cases and imposed unprecedented hard lockdowns on nine public housing towers, AMA president Tony Bartone warned that other states should wait until community transmission in Melbourne is under control before further easing restrictions. “Before rushing back to the pub, the footy crowds, or the big weddings and parties, Australia should pause and play it safe until the Melbourne hotspots are back under control,” he said. All active positive infections recorded outside of Victoria were returned travellers in hotel quarantine. 

A forecast released by Deloitte Access Economics on Monday warns that another surge in infections could cost the national economy $100 billion if outbreaks are not contained, reports The New Daily. Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson said consumers would lose confidence in the government’s ability to keep them safe, staying at home and cutting back on spending. The consultancy group expects unemployment to remain above pre-pandemic levels until 2023-24, with Richardson urging for the JobSeeker rate to be permanently boosted to stimulate the economy. New data from AMP Capital shows a recent retreat of key economic indicators after a months-long recovery.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley will today launch a multimillion-dollar Recycling Modernisation Fund, which aims to generate up to 10,000 new jobs and $600 million in recycling investment. The federal and state governments will each contribute $190 million, with a further $200 million to come from the recycling industry. The investment will go into new infrastructure to sort, process and reuse materials. The Council of Australian Governments last year agreed to ban exports of unprocessed waste in 2024, starting with glass exports from January 1 next year.

The University of Melbourne is under pressure to remove an advertisement for the Hong Kong Police Force from its careers website, in the wake of controversial national security laws imposed on the city by Beijing. Hong Kong students studying in Australia have criticised the ad because of police brutality against pro-democracy activists in the city, reports the ABC. The ad also includes a disclaimer from the University of Melbourne: “The listing of this overseas internship or vocational placement on Careers Online is in no way an endorsement by the university of the opportunity.” The University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University removed the ad from their websites in May, according to SBS.


“The federal government has embedded special powers in new Covid-19 laws to make unilateral changes to non-pandemic-related legislation, using what are known as ‘Henry VIII clauses’ – named for the unchecked power they involve. Affected legislation includes the Social Security Act and the Corporations Act, relating to the power to change welfare benefits and arrangements for business.”


“Trump is alarming, but when military helicopters flying at rooftop level and police and national guard in battle gear are deployed to violently clear a public park for the sake of a presidential photo-op, or on national television the president suggests ingesting disinfectant as remedy for coronavirus, it is more alarming that he is still supported by 40 per cent of voters ... As he is now, the gruesome sideshow to a deadly pandemic, so he was in the beginning when any one of a hundred things he said and did should have been enough to give any voter pause, and ten of them sufficient to recognise him for what he is – a crook and a thug conducting a heist.”


“The facts of the case are unfathomable, when you lay them out: the real prospect a journalist could be charged for reporting on credible allegations of war crimes committed by Australian troops. But this is where things now stand, with the Australian Federal Police sending a brief of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, detailing a case against ABC journalist Dan Oakes for his reporting on the ‘Afghan Files’.”


“Labor has declared victory over the Liberals in Eden-Monaro ... On Sunday night, Labor’s Kristy McBain led Liberal challenger Fiona Kotvjos by just over 700 votes, her margin having nearly halved since she claimed the by-election win earlier that afternoon. As it stood, Ms McBain had 50.4 per cent of the two-party vote, taking a slim 0.45 per cent haircut from the 50.85 per cent that retired party-mate Mike Kelly claimed at the 2019 election.”


“SCOMO’S SCORCHER: Popular PM delvers Labor a brutal by-election lesson … hammer blow for Albo in by-election swing.”


“Fans of post-apocalyptic movies look to be better equipped to deal with pandemics, a new study shows. The new research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, suggests that ‘prepper movies’ (aka films that show societal collapse) help viewers be more resilient in the case of a crisis. ‘For the cost of a bad dream one night, you can learn what the world looks like when a pandemic hits,’ said Coltan Scrivner, a psychologist who specialises in morbid curiosity at the University of Chicago.”

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