Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Morrison unveils reduced JobKeeper

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to today announce the extension of JobKeeper to March 28 at a reduced fortnightly rate, with further cuts for part time workers, casuals, and JobSeeker claimants. The Australian reports the new rate will be $1200. Morrison will make the announcement with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, following the completion of a Treasury review of the JobKeeper scheme, which found almost $30 billion had been paid to workers. JobKeeper was due to expire in September. The review claimed the flat $1500 wage subsidy dampened incentives to work, although the federal government’s previous claims about this were based on limited anecdotal evidence. Eligibility criteria will be tightened for both JobKeeper and JobSeeker. Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers called on the government to release the full Treasury advice to ensure an informed debate on the new payment rates.  A collection of 60 charity groups, unions and social services have called for the JobSeeker boost to be made permanent. 

An Australian Special Air Service Regiment raid in 2013 that sought to assassinate a Taliban member allegedly killed another man with the same name, reports ABC Investigations. The Imam of the village of Nawjoy, Mawlawi Sher Mohammad, had that morning been teaching the village’s children, before later in the day being taken to a stable and shot by SAS soldiers, locals claim. The Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force is conducting an inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed by Australian special forces. An Australian Defence Force spokesperson said: “It is not appropriate for Defence to comment on matters that may or may not be the subject of the Afghanistan Inquiry.”

Tim Wilson provided assistance to the Institute of Public Affairs and solicited endorsement for his 2016 Liberal preselection battle while in the office of human rights commissioner, according to emails released through freedom of information laws to an anonymous applicant. Guardian Australia reports the now Liberal MP used his official human rights commission email account to arrange an international speaker for an IPA event, organise his own attendance at IPA donor functions, and ask for a political endorsement from a person who approached him in his capacity as human rights commissioner. Wilson told The Guardian the emails were “utterly irrelevant”.

The International Cricket Council has announced that the men’s Twenty20 World Cup, which was scheduled to begin in Australia in October, has been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The tournament will instead begin in October 2021. The postponement has led to revision of the international cricket calendar to accommodate bilateral series postponed everywhere since March except in England.


“The National Archives of Australia was urgently searching late this week for at least three missing letters sent between then governor-general Sir John Kerr and Queen Elizabeth II around the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975. The missing correspondence is part of the ‘palace letters’, made public following a 10-year battle between the archives and historian Jenny Hocking.”


“As a second wave of infections takes hold, Scott Morrison’s performance in the top job is being questioned in a way it hasn’t been since the summer bushfires. The prime minister went out of his way to be seen watching his NRL team, Cronulla, get thrashed by the Penrith Panthers last Saturday at Kogarah Oval, surrounded by assorted fans ... At a time when community transmission is ramping up, there was the predictable and immediate censure on social media.”


“Morrison is right not to label Beijing as a rival, as the White House has recently done. But intelligence agencies believe that China poses a serious – and potentially existential – threat to Australia ... As a result, Australia’s approach to China is two-faced: it publicly embraces China as a ‘comprehensive strategic partner’ and in the shadows wages a campaign to keep it at a distance. But this approach is not helping to improve ties with China and it leaves the Australian public confused and sceptical about its own government’s intentions.”


“Over a million people bought masks from chemists over the weekend, which means that many places are deeply sold out, so here are some nifty ways to make your own reusable face mask.”


“Melburnians have rushed into stores such as Spotlight and Lincraft to stock up on elastic, fabric and even sewing machines as the Victorian government's mandatory mask order prompts residents to have a go at making their own ... Dean Sunshine, owner of Brunswick-based textiles store Rathdowne Fabrics ... had been forced to implement supermarket-like buying restrictions on the amount of fabric he was selling to each customer and had also placed an order for another four thousand metres of elastic.”


“Let's face it. We are all stuck indoors. And it's going to be a while till we travel again. Window Swap is here to fill that deep void in our wanderlust hearts by allowing us to look through someone else's window, somewhere in the world, for a while.”

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