Good morning, early birds. Victoria has launched a COVID-19 testing blitz across 10 priority suburbs, and ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has reportedly accused Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of lying about the national broadcaster’s efforts to collaborate with SBS. It’s the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.
SEND IN THE VAN-GUARD
In a bid to control community transmission and trace unknown cases, Victoria has launched a free testing blitz for everyone, symptomatic or asymptomatic, across 10 priority suburbs — Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham — complete with a fleet of mobile vans, more than 1000 door-knockers, and new testing clinics opening in Casey Fields, Melbourne Showgrounds and Broadmeadows Central amongst other new sites.
The blitz comes as NSW Health advises a two week quarantine for travellers from Melbourne’s hotspots, and, on the tracing front, news.com.au reports that, two months after launch, COVIDSafe is yet to identify any unknown cases.
RACISM WATCH: Although clusters have emerged everywhere from cruises to schools to factories — thousands in England literally just swarmed beaches in a declared “major incident” — Andrew Bolt has unsurprisingly jumped at an outbreak in Melbourne’s multicultural suburbs for an ad-hoc, “diversity is bad” op-ed Herald Sun has somehow deemed fit to publish.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has accused Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of lying about the national broadcaster’s efforts to collaborate with SBS and slammed the Morrison government’s handling of the $84 million budget cut.
While largely invisible in the public discussion of the ABC’s 250 job losses, Buttrose has reportedly accused Fletcher of twice failing to provide the ABC board and management with data supporting a savings report that proposed closing two broadcast channels and sharing back-office and support services with the SBS.
PS: According to The AFR ($), the Morrison government will respond to this week’s other massive job blitz with an airline assistance scheme consisting of either a JobKeeper extension or tailor-made package.
TURNS OUT THE APOCALYPSE IS EXPENSIVE
According to The Guardian, the Research Bank has joined with more than 60 other central banks in world-first climate risk assessment that warns global GDP could fall by 25% by 2100 if countries don’t significantly ramp up decarbonisation efforts.
YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US
As America hits a “second surge” across states, Reuters reports that the governors of north-east governments New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced quarantine rules for eight high-risk states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.
REVERSE-ROBODEBT: According to The Guardian, the Trump administration has sent almost $1.4 billion in coronavirus support payments to dead people due to a synchronisation failure between the IRS and US treasury, while also not using death records as a filter.
BEND IT LIKE TRANS-TASMAN
Finally, in maybe the first good news this year, the ABC reports that Australia and New Zealand have won an historic joint effort to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The trans-Tasman bid beat out final rival Colombia by 22 votes to 13 at a FIFA council meeting in Zurich overnight.
STATE VIRUS WATCH: QLD LAUNCHES CLINICAL STOCK RESERVE
- The Queensland government announced plans for a Clinical Stock Reserve, to be led by Queensland Health working with departments such as Treasury, the Departments of Premier and Cabinet, Housing and Public Works, Regional Development and Manufacturing, and others
- In the latest federal-state JobMaker infrastructure pledges, $46 million will go towards Tasmanian projects
- The South Australian government announced that, under the global #GoingGreenForParkies campaign celebrating open spaces and parks staff during the pandemic, buildings across Adelaide will be lit up in green until June 30, including Adelaide Oval, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide Town Hall and the Bicentennial Conservatory at Adelaide Botanic Garden.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
There are no cuts … The ABC’s funding is increasing every year. The ABC would be the only media company or organisation in Australia today whose revenue, their funding, is increasing.
In what must be a big relief for 250 redundant staff, the prime minister explains that — unlike the $254 million slashed in 2014 — the ABC’s $84 million indexation freeze is not a budget cut: it’s just money they won’t get anymore.
“As the profound flaws and poor track record of facial recognition become apparent, Australian lawmakers, especially at the state level, look set to be left behind in an international move to block a technology that is already wrecking lives.
“Overnight, Boston banned the technology, following Oakland and San Francisco which banned it last year. Boston’s ban had the support of the Boston police, who declared the technology unreliable. States such as California, New Hampshire, and Oregon have more limited bans and a number of other states have restrictions on its use.”
“Deloitte is only days away from deciding who gets to buy Australia’s second biggest airline, Virgin. But the independence of the accounting firm as administrators of one of the biggest corporate insolvencies in Australian history is in question.
“Crikey understands that Deloitte is the official auditor of a fund held by one of the two remaining bidders, Cyrus Capital Partners, meaning a sale to the company could potentially benefit Deloitte.”
“Strolling in my mind through Rome’s Tivoli Gardens, musing on Chapman’s Homer I… oh look, this article is just a direct communique to Jacqui Lambie (and to the strange DLP-Trendies mix — the Centre Alliance — a bit) but the rest of you can read it if you want.
“Jacqui, here’s why you should vote against Education Minister Dan Tehan’s higher-ed funding proposals, and not even do that peekaboo horse-trading, get a new playground for Ulverstone in exchange for abolishing the Health Department stuff.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Partisanship was never the problem. Labor needs to learn to lead — Ketan Joshi (RenewEconomy): “A few years ago, I came across an old video of a young Anthony Albanese standing his ground on his home turf, in the Inner West, in Sydney. A relatively big crowd of seething, infuriated climate deniers had gathered outside of his electorate office. They were protesting the time Albanese had referred to the anti-carbon-price protest, named the ‘convoy of confidence’, as the ‘convoy of no consequence’.”
Jim Chalmers may be a man with perhaps a better economic plan ($) — Graham Richardson (The Australian): “There can be no argument Scott Morrison is a good manager. Luck has been on his side too — other than the pandemic and its damage to us all. Assuming that no fiasco is on the way, there’s no doubt Labor has an Everest to climb. Australians must be given a convincing reason to vote against the Morrison government. So far that reason has not seen the light of day.”
The ABC and the dance of a thousand cuts — Alan Sunderland (Meanjin): “So here we are again. Shuffling around in the same old dance, performing the steps we all know so well. The Government cuts the ABC’s funding yet again, blandly asserting that times are tough and we all need to live within our means. The public, who love and trust the ABC more than any other media outlet because they see it as their own, express their anger, sadness and fear.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
University and high school students will protest Education Minister Dan Tehan’s decision to double the cost of arts degrees.
Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders will speak at another national cabinet meeting, to include next phase restrictions and reopening arts venues.