The MPs are starting to arrive ahead of tomorrow’s sitting.
We are about an hour away from Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, making his announcement on how that state will ease lockdowns.
Victoria’s state of emergency expires tonight.
The Eden-Monaro byelection has put the bushfire recovery back on the agenda – and truly, it is beyond time.
There are still many, many families with no accommodation. Insurance issues. Landlines down. Mobile towers down. Closed roads and collapsed bridges.
Cobargo was one of the communities hardest hit.
Andrew Haydon, president of the Cobargo Tourist and Business Association says there is a feeling in the town that people are in “a worse situation now, than they were immediately after the bushfires” and with the pandemic, phone calls to authorities are no longer being returned:
They all seem to think we’ve all got computers, that we’re all living OK again.
There are people still living out of tents.
There are people who don’t have electricity. They don’t understand. They always say, “get on to this website or link or whatever” but it is not happening.
We still have a lot of infrastructure that hasn’t been reconstructed. It’s just – people, it’s making people depressed.
It’s making people angry.
There are people who are quite strong, that as time goes on, they’re having mental health issues, and now with the coronavirus, all of our support, local mental health support, has basically gone.
The locals don’t want to talk to somebody in a glass castle in Sydney. It doesn’t work. Doesn’t work.
US Marines will be returning to the Top End. In case you missed it, Linda Reynolds gave the all-clear (with physical distance caveats) for the annual rotation of US defence troops to commence (it was meant to be in March but was delayed because of Covid).
Just remember, when restrictions are eased, all the health authorities are expecting infection numbers to go up.
The lockdown hasn’t meant Australia has eradicated the virus, just suppressed the infection rate to a point where the health system can cope.
Queensland reports no new cases of Covid-19
No new cases in Queensland
Not sure what the intention was then, or what John Barilaro thought would happen, but here is Murph’s much more elegant take on the whole sorry saga:
NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro has the “full support” of Gladys Berejiklian and the NSW government, despite helping to turn the Coalition’s preselection for Eden-Monaro into an absolute circus, while the rest of the nation was focused on an international pandemic. Helpfully, the Nationals continue to make it all about them, while their communities suffer with poverty, natural disaster, ongoing drought, climate change and shrinking economic and social bases.
Barilaro has already announced he’ll be leaving NSW state politics in 2023, so he seems safe until then, although he has plenty of state colleagues from his own party pretty pissed at him for embarrassing the party (every branch needs its own Barnaby Joyce apparently. Must be in the secret Coalition agreement.)
His federal colleague, David Littleproud, who has the job of bushfire recovery, as well as trying to inject some calm into the Nationals crazy, was not on the “full support’ train when asked about Barilaro on ABC radio this morning:
I think I’ll leave that to the general public, but I don’t think self-indulgence in the middle of pandemics and bushfires is what the public were looking for.
It got away from all of us, we have to accept that, we have to accept the responsibility, understand it, have a good hard look at ourselves and make sure it never happens again.
… Let’s be honest, that is not the behaviour we expect, during these periods or at any time. We are all better than that, they are anomalies, they are outliers, and I know that probably on reflection, it wasn’t what John wanted to see happen and I’ve heard him say that, on other broadcasts, so it is important we learn from this, put it behind us and get on with the job.”
Over the weekend Guardian Australia’s Anne Davies wrote about the men in Gladys Berejiklian’s team who “are indulging in a kind of sabotage that should have been left behind when they graduated from the Young Liberals or Young Nationals”.
Josh Frydenberg and Mathias Cormann will give an economic statement to the parliament tomorrow, laying out what they know so far.
We saw some of that last week in Frydenberg’s press club address.
The Australian Council of Social Services, Dr Cassandra Goldie says people on social security payments cannot be made the scapegoat:
People cannot afford these huge cuts to income support, proposed by the government, which would take us back to the old, brutal rate of Newstart at just $40 a day.
Let’s not forget that on the old Newstart rate, people living on such little money were showering once a week to cut their energy bill, and 90% regularly skipped meals, as shown by our survey last year. The government says it has our backs but going ahead with these severe cuts to income support would be the opposite.
You can read more here about the experts who are calling for the federal government to put aside ideology and establish a permanent equitable safety net for Australians:
And just excuse me a minute as I attempt to wrap my head around this quote. It’s been about 10 minutes and I am still trying to make sense of it, but I have always been a bit slow:
[Bob] Katter said he would spend next week banging on the doors of as many ministers as possible, as well as gaining national publicity for the cause.
“The people that make decisions for Australia out of Canberra live in a bubble and really without slashing into that bubble we will remain under the boot heel of Brisbane,” he said.
Bob Katter says he is being “forced” to travel to Canberra because north Queensland has not been quarantined from the rest of Queensland. From his release:
For two months these North Queenslanders pleaded for a ban on people coming from a high contagion area into a no-contagion area.
We are getting nowhere abusing the women who dictate to Queensland and their public health Tsar, Janette Young* who presides over the Queensland Health Department that sent coronavirus into the Cairns Base Hospital – Northern Australia’s great fortress of protection.
Quite independently of my own efforts nearly 150 doctors, that’s almost every single doctor in North Queensland not employed by the health department, have signed the document urging the quarantining off of regional areas such as North Queensland.
So Janette Young and the two Tsars who run Queensland know more than the accumulated wisdom of over 100 doctors?”
*for the record, it is Dr Jeannette Young
You’ll also find more information on Anthony Albanese’s coming announcement, here (thanks to Daniel Hurst).
A reminder for those looking for international Covid-19 news, you’ll find all you could want, and more, over at our other daily blog:
First stage of restrictions ease in South Australia today
South Australians will also get some sit-down dining establishment time – as long as it is outside.
From today, that state will allow outdoor dining, as well as open community services such as libraries and pools and churches, and reopen university and Tafe facilities for tutorials – but physical distancing restrictions remain in place.
Northern Territory to open pubs, cafes and restaurants on Friday – with restrictions
Michael Gunner just had a chat to ABC News Breakfast.
The Northern Territory will ease restrictions even further from Friday, with residents able to go to a pub, cafe or other dining establishment, and actually sit down for a drink and meal with other patrons (as long as physical distance restrictions are still met and no one stays longer than two hours).
But it will be some time before the borders are opened:
It will be the last thing that we do. I have to say, based on how rest of the country is going, Australia is a success story here compared to the world. They may come down sooner than we think. It is based on how rest of Australia travels and how we can get on top of coronavirus in the rest of the country.