Showing posts with label far right politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label far right politics. Show all posts

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Morrison Government's political backers have spoken and plans for biosecurity levy are abandoned



ABC News, 20 May 2020:

After more than a year of lobbying by cement, minerals and freight industry groups, the Federal Government has abandoned a promise that would raise hundreds of millions of dollars to protect Australian farmers from pests and diseases.

In 2018, Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced the Government would raise $325 million over three years through a biosecurity levy.

The Budget outlined a proposed $10.02 biosecurity charge per 20-foot container, and a $1 per tonne levy on bulk imports coming via the sea to be imposed from July 1, 2019, with the funds raised used to detect and screen for exotic pests and diseases.

The 2019 Budget saw that deadline postponed until September 2019, but legislation for the levy was never introduced.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Department of Agriculture Water and Environment said the levy could not be implemented without significant impacts on industry and proposed levy payers.

"A levy will not be progressed and this decision will not impact on the overall biosecurity budget," it said.

The statement thanked the industry working group that consulted on the levy, and said the decision had been made "in consideration of the impact of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 on the economy"….

The Cement Industry Federation was part of a consortium of industry groups including the Minerals Council of Australia, Australasian Railway Association, Australian Chamber of Commerce, Manufacturing Australia, the Australian Logistics Council, and Gas Energy Australia that rejected the proposed levy....


The levy on freight was first proposed by a review of Australia's biosecurity services in 2017, which found widespread agreement that biosecurity was underfunded in Australia.

The decision not to introduce the levy comes as Australian farmers face uncertain trading conditions following years of drought and recent pest incursions, which could cost industry hundreds of millions of dollars.

This year alone, Australian farmers have found new worrying detections of the fall armyworm and banana-destroying Panama disease, while Queensland prawn farmers expected to lose millions to an outbreak of white spot disease.

Meanwhile, the pork industry still fears it could experience an outbreak of the pig-killing African Swine Fever.

The disease spread through Asia, wiped out a quarter of the world's pig population and was recently detected in Papua New Guinea.

If it were to reach Australia, the pork industry estimates it could cost the Australian economy $2 billion.

National Farmers' Federation chief executive Tony Mahar said the decision to axe the levy was a "blow to Australia's farmers".

"The uncertainty this levy proposal has created — particularly given the current circumstances — is a poor look for government," Mr Mahar said.

The Department of Agriculture Water and Environment did not make a spokesperson available, but said Australia's biosecurity systems underpinned $60 billion in agricultural production, $49 billion in agricultural exports and $42 billion in inbound tourism.

Mr Littleproud's office has been contacted for comment.

Monday, 25 May 2020

No two ways about it - 'Scotty From Marketing' Morrison has political egg on his face


In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

Their weapon of choice was China's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had escaped from a research facility in or near Wuhan.

It didn't go unnoticed that this foray into conspiracy theories marched side by side with media statements and outlandish ant-China comments being tweeted by a hypocritical* US President Donald J. Trump, whom Morrision professes to admire and with whom he consults during this pandemic.

Morrison's actions in particular raise the suspicion that he wanted to be seen as a 'world leader' that month because emerging domestic economic news was not encouraging and he saw the need for a political diversion.

Why else would he eschew normal diplomatic channels? Channels which would have allowed him to privately discuss his concerns directly with the Chinese Government.

Well, he certainly got that diversion.

It came in the form of an effective loss of Australia's barley export market in China due to the imposition of 80.5 per cent anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties and limitations on beef exports impacting 35 per cent of the beef trade with China.

But hey! The World Health Assembly issued a resolution eventually signed by 136 co-sponsors out of a total 194 WHO member countries.

Unike the Morrison-Dutton-Payne rhetoric, this measured document carefully refrains from targeting China and focusses on World Health Organisation (WHO) responses to the pandemic and the effectiveness of International Health Regulations

Resolution co-sponsors included both Australia and China. However, after all Trump's yelling and finger pointing, the resolution did not include the United States as a co-sponsor.

This left Scott Morrison with egg on his face. 

Particularly as three days ahead of the 73rd World Health Assembly Conference and four days before the announcement of that high barley tariff, the Australian public learned that China had increased its imports of barley from the United States and sourced additional beef from Russia

It doesn't matter how much Trump blusters about China's initial response to COVID-19 now - it's all for show, always was. The grain deal is done and the U.S. is moving in on our major market.

It would appear that out of the three principal buffoons leading Western democracies - Donald John Trump, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and Scott John Morrison - it is Morrison who is the most foolish when it comes to international relations and the most easily tricked by other buffoons.

Note

* On or about 11 January 2020 China announced the first confirmed death from the novel coronna virus. By 24 January Donald Trump on behalf of the American people was publicly congratulating the Chinese Government on its public health response:




Friday, 22 May 2020

Australian casual employees regularly working full-time hours win paid leave, carer & compassionate leave in Federal Court ruling - Morrison Government threatens to change law to strip new rights away



"All members of the Court have also found that Mr Rossato was not a casual FTM under the 2012 EA, noting that the circumstances of his employment could not be distinguished in a material way from those of Skene. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to restitution of the casual loading which it claimed was included in the hourly rate it had paid to Mr Rossato. The members of the Court have found that there was no relevant mistake, and no failure of consideration such as would support restitutionary relief. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to bring into account the payments of remuneration that it had made to Mr Rossato on the basis that he was a casual employee. That is because the purposes of the payments of remuneration did not have a close correlation to the entitlements that Mr Rossato seeks. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac’s reliance on reg 2.03A of the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) was misplaced. By subregulation (d), the regulation can apply only when the person makes a claim to be paid an amount in lieu of one or more of the relevant NES entitlements. That is not this case as Mr Rossato seeks payment of the NES entitlements, not payments in lieu." [Workpac v Rossato, May 2020]


Yahoo! Finance, 21 May 2020:

Casual employees working full-time hours will be entitled to paid leave, setting back employers around $8 billion in back-pay claims, after a landmark ruling by the Federal Court on Wednesday.

The decision means regular, ongoing casuals will be able to access paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave and paid compassionate leave, and employers cannot claim that 25 per cent pay loadings offset those entitlements.

The ruling in Workpac v Rossato has effectively pulled the pin on the ‘permanent casual’ work model, and means any regular work that is permanent in nature is not genuinely casual, and therefore attracts the same entitlements as permanent staff.

This is a fantastic decision that puts an end to the ‘permanent casual’ rort that has become a scourge in the coal mining industry and across the workforce,” the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union national president Tony Maher said.

It’s a decision that passes the pub test on what it means to be a casual and is consistent with community expectations that casual work is irregular and intermittent.”

Maher called on employers to “stop the nonsense”, and start treating casual employees on permanent hours as if they were permanent.

When a job is full-time, regular and on-going, it is permanent and deserves the security and entitlements that come with permanent work,” Maher said.

Our union has worked hard to clarify the law with this decision and we will now be fighting to restore rights and lost pay for casual labour hire workers across the coal mining industry who have been illegally ripped off.”…….

Industrial relations minister Christian Porter said the decision would have “immediate practical implications for the bottom line of many Australians businesses at a time when so many have taken a huge hit from the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In fact, employers estimate between 1.6 and 2.2 million casuals will be affected, with a back-pay bill of around $8 billion looming.

Porter also flagged a potential appeal….

"Given the potential for this decision to further weaken the economy at a time when so many Australians have lost their jobs, it may also be necessary to consider legislative options."


Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton makes a grab for even more surveillance powers



Crikey, 15 May 2020:

The government’s proposed scheme to enable foreign intelligence services to spy on Australians will enable Australia’s intelligence agencies to circumvent measures designed to protect journalists from unfettered pursuit of their sources.

Labor’s Mark Dreyfus yesterday exposed the loophole, with Home Affairs officials left unable and unwilling to explain why their minister Peter Dutton was proposing a runaround on existing procedures designed to protect journalists’ sources.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020 will to pave the way for agreements between Australia and the United States, and other “like-minded countries”, for the direct accessing of surveillance information, including real-time wiretapping, by intelligence agencies from both counterpart countries. In Australia, such requests would be signed off by members of the Security Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), which is heavily stacked with former Coalition MPs and staffers.

In hearings before the intelligence and security committee yesterday, shadow attorney-general Dreyfus asked Dutton’s bureaucrats why existing protections around accessing the metadata of journalists were not part of the proposed process.

When the Abbott government introduced mass surveillance laws in 2015, the mainstream media belatedly realised that journalists’ phone and IT records would be easily accessed by intelligence and law enforcement agencies under “data retention” laws. In response, a “Journalist Information Warrant” (JIW) process was hastily put together that would require agencies to apply for a special warrant, with more stringent thresholds and procedural safeguards, like a Public Interest Advocate, if agencies wanted to obtain data relating to a journalist’s sources.

No such safeguard exists under the International Production Orders (IPO) process, meaning that if a journalist’s data was held by a US company — such as Google, Apple, Facebook or Microsoft — it could be obtained by ASIO or the Australian Federal Police (AFP) from those companies through an IPO without a Journalist Information Warrant, unlike information held by a local company such as Telstra.

Are you able to tell us why an Australian journalists whose telecoms data is held by a US carrier should have fewer protections than an Australian journalist whose telecoms data is held in Australia?” Dreyfus asked Home Affairs bureaucrats…..

Dreyfus pressed further. The Journalist Information Warrant process was not replicated in this bill, was it, he asked.

It is not replicated,” Warnes had to admit, before insisting an AAT authorisation was enough protection.

Dreyfus went further. “The Journalist Information Warrant process has a public interests monitor provided. There is no such public interest monitor provided in the authorisation process that is provided under this bill is there?”

That’s correct,” the bureaucrat admitted.

So it’s not the same level of protection for journalists whose data is held by a US carrier. It’s a lesser level of protection isn’t it?” said Dreyfus.

Different considerations at play, yes,” Warnes , humiliated, had to admit.

Dreyfus also pointed out that the Journalist Information Warrant process had additional criteria that had to be considered in granting warrants. They weren’t in the IPO scheme, were they?

That’s correct,” Warnes said.

So why should an Australian journalist whose telecoms data is held by a US carrier have fewer protections than an Australian journalist whose telecoms data is held in Australia?”

I don’t have anything further to add,” Warnes said.

Dreyfus told him to come back to the committee with a better explanation for why the loophole was being pursued by the government…..

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

How will up to 7.2 million Australians respond to Scott Morrison's willingness to abandon them in the worst global recession since the Great Depression


"Fiscal measures will need to be scaled up if the stoppages to economic activity are persistent, or the pickup in activity as restrictions are lifted is too weak."  [IMF WORLD ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: THE GREAT LOCKDOWN, April 2020] 

Brisbane Times, 15 May 2020:

Something has changed in the Liberal Party since John Howard was prime minister. Key business lobbies now have such a grip they can frogmarch the government towards political suicide.

It is only weeks since a million Australians lost their jobs by government decree to protect us all from a health crisis. Most are yet to receive their first benefits, but the government has said the guiding principles on the way out will be self-reliance and personal responsibility.


The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have moved in recent weeks to flag that the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs are a short-term aberration and will be returning to their traditional small-government, competitive-individualism philosophy.


‘‘Open markets will be central ... not government,’’ declared the Treasurer on Tuesday. ‘‘The values and principles that have guided us in the past ... encouraging personal responsibility, maximising personal choice, rewarding effort and risk-taking’’ will be central.


It is hard to imagine a more tone-deaf piece of communication to the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are now gripped by sleepless nights about where their next job is going to come from and whether they will lose their houses.


Social movement research has found that you only need 2.5 per cent of people to be in a political movement for it to be large enough to drive major political and social reform. That is enough for everyone to have friends and family involved and to feel personally connected to the issue.


Almost every Australian will have someone they love who has lost a job in the past six weeks. Telling people they are on their own has to be pretty much at the top of the "what not to do list" in the political leadership manual. Yet Scott Morrison is not an idiot or an ideologue, so why is he doing it?


Even if the government was privately planning this approach, you wouldn’t expect the Prime Minister to say it publicly. The announcements suggest he is having to quell his own political storm and there is a pile-on going on behind the scenes. It is the wrong message for most Australians, but it is the right message for those who dictate his grip on power.


Some of it will be the same Coalition ideologues cum powerbrokers who are worried the pandemic response is a symbolic loss. These tribal warriors are not going to let the fact the country is in the grip of an unfolding catastrophe distract them from the red team-blue team contest.


However, they are not the only force in play. Leaders of our largest businesses are embracing the maxim "Don’t waste a good crisis". They are circling the carcass of the not-yet-cold COVID economy, and seeking to take the opportunity to drive through some long-sought-after tax cuts and industrial relations reform.....


One has to wonder how Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg came to believe that the 1. 7 million people expected to be unemployed by September 2020 will fare well going into the worst recession since the Great Depression where the unemployment rate is predicted to be 13 per cent for starters. 

Or why he believes the up to 5.5 million workers, hanging onto insecure jobs which are only guaranteed for as long as businesses are receiving government wage subsidies for their workers, will all keep those jobs when the subsidy ends on 27 September 2020.

This is the changed reality that the Liberal & National parties must face:

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 May 2020







If Scott Morrison continues down this track, what will Christmas look like?

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Thanks a lot Scott Morrison & all those Lib-Nat goons who piled on China once he opened his mouth. The NSW Northern Rivers really appreciates the loss of trade


In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

It didn't take long for National Party backbenchers to join these three Liberal Party ministers and mainstream media reported the situation thus.......   

"But given clear evidence that China is deeply unhappy with Australia’s aggressive calls for an inquiry, in a way that it sees as Australia teaming up with the Trump administration to point the blame at China, the foreign exchange markets are making up their own minds on the prospects of Australia being on the brink of a serious deterioration of ties with our largest trading partner." [The Australian, 13 May 2020] 

"Mr Morrison said Australia could not rule out that the virus escaped­ from a Wuhan lab, but “the most likely (origin) has been in a wildlife wet market”."  [The Australian, 6 May 2020]

"..it was immediately clear that the purpose of the Australian "initiative" was not to conduct a review of benefit to the whole world, but to engage in political warfare with the Chinese state, using failures of organisation and leadership as a stick with which to beat the state. This was underlined by the way in which the first Australian public mention of the need for such an inquiry, along with some words about "accountability and transparency'', came from Peter Dutton, otherwise in a witness protection program avoiding any transparency or accountability for Commonwealth failures to screen several thousand passengers and crew from cruise ships. Marise Payne took the idea further, if with every appearance of playing to a pre-prepared script several days later, before Morrison took extra steps to make the proposals unacceptable to the Chinese by advocating the equivalent of weapons inspectors battering down doors to catch those with secrets to hide."  

"Scott Morrison insists it would be "absolutely nonsense" to suggest the coronavirus started anywhere other than China. The prime minister is pushing ahead with calls for a global inquiry into the origins of the deadly disease despite diplomatic blowback from the Chinese government. "I don't think anybody is in any fantasy land about where it started - it started in China," he told 2GB radio on Friday. "What the world over needs to know - and there's a lot of support for this - is how did it start and what are the lessons to be learned."  [AAP Bulletin Wire, 1 May 2020]

"The Morrison Government is leading the international call for an independent review of the COVID-19 crisis to determine the origin of the virus and if more could have been done to slow its spread."
  [The Mercury, 20 April 2020]


Morrison, Dutton, Payne & Co got the column inches and media attention they craved, but it is rural and regional areas like the NSW Northern Rivers which are bearing the brunt of their total lack of a genuinely diplomatic approach to China on the issue.....

The Daily Examiner, 15 May 2020:

Casino’s Northern Cooperative Meat Company is one of the four Australian abattoirs that China imposed an import ban on this week. 


The black-listing of the three Queensland and one NSW red meat abattoirs is believed to be a “trade war tactic” from Beijing as trade tensions between Australia and Chine rise. There are fears the bans from China come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent investigation into the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. 

Northern Cooperative Meat Company chief executive Simon Stahl revealed the ban on imports relates directly to labelling and product description non-compliances. 

Mr Stahl was uncertain of the short or long term financial impacts to the business, but revealed NCMC production imports ranged from 15 to 25 per cent. 

“It’s too early to tell you about the financial impacts, I couldn’t put a figure on it at this point in time, could be a week, could be a month,” he said. “I’m always optimistic we can satisfy the authorities..... 

Food Leaders Australia general manager Bruce McConnel said it was unknown yet whether the bans were because of a breach of protocol or an act of political retribution. 

“The technical reasons have not been made available,” Mr McConnel said. “We’re not sure whether there has been a breach of protocol or if it’s pure political retaliation. 

“We’re awaiting details on how to alleviate tensions. “It’s not catastrophic, but it is a real issue that needs to be sorted out.” 

Mr McConnel said the banning of the Northern Co-operative Meat Company at Casino was a major concern for smaller beef producers, who use that meatworks to sell to China.

“The government need to get sorted how real are the technical aspects of this and how much is political tension around the relationship with China,” he said....


Friday, 15 May 2020

Law Council of Australia is very concerned with some aspects of Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton's proposed amendments to the Australian Security and Intelligence Act 1975 (Cth) (ASIO Act)


"The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 will modernise ASIO's powers and, in doing so, improve ASIO's capacity to respond to these threats [by]....lowering the minimum age of a questioning subject in relation to a terrorism matter from 16 to 14...empowering the Attorney-General to issue warrants, including orally....allow non-intrusive tracking devices, such as a device placed on a vehicle, or in a person's bag, to be authorised internally...." [Minister for Home Affairs & Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton in House of Representatives Hansard, 13 May 2020]

Law Council of Australia, media release, 13 May 2020:

Statement on proposed amendments to the ASIO Act by Law Council President, Pauline Wright


The Law Council of Australia is very concerned with some aspects of the proposed amendments to the Australian Security and Intelligence Act 1975 (Cth) (ASIO Act) released today in parliament.
If adopted, the amendments would redesign the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation’s (ASIO’s) compulsory questioning warrant regime and repeal its specific detention powers.
It would also make some significant changes to ASIO’s surveillance powers, including permitting warrantless (that is, internally authorised) surveillance in relation to the use of certain tracking devices.
The Law Council welcomes the repeal of the ASIO detention regime in relation to the investigation of terrorism, which is consistent with its longstanding policy position. However, the amendments propose a re-design of the use of questioning warrants and we are concerned that there may be very limited time to scrutinise the proposed laws, which are lengthy, complex and highly intrusive on individual rights.
The proposal to reduce the age of minors who may be subject to questioning from 16 to 14 years and the conferral of powers on police to apprehend and detain persons for the purpose of bringing them in for compulsory questioning also requires detailed scrutiny by the Law Council, amongst the many other amendments.
The Law Council is concerned that the government is now rushing the Bill, despite having had over two years to develop the re-designed questioning legislation since the PJCIS tabled its report in May 2018.
Now there is a sense of urgency given that ASIO’s current questioning powers are due to sunset in 7 September, and the amendments are set to commence by or before that date.
This is not a Bill to be hurried through.
The Law Council will need to carefully scrutinise the Bill and we look forward to providing a comprehensive submission to the inquiry. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Amendment Bill 2020 can be found here.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 May 2020:

With Federal Parliament flat out dealing with the social and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is hardly the right time for a government to introduce legislation giving ASIO the power to question 14-year-old children, interfere with the rights of legal advisers, and enable the tracking of individuals without the need for a warrant..... 

Dutton's law would allow ASIO to seek a warrant so it can question young people aged 14 to 18 if they are a target of an ASIO investigation into politically motivated violence: broad criteria to say the least. 

Then there is a serious attack on the fundamental right of a person, whether they be 14 or 40, to choose their own lawyer when they are subject to investigation by ASIO. The bill allows for a prescribed authority, which is a judge or Administrative Appeals member selected by the government, to stop a person ASIO is seeking to question from contacting their lawyer if "satisfied, based on circumstances relating to the lawyer, that, if the subject is permitted to contact the lawyer, a person involved in activity prejudicial to security may be alerted that the activity is being investigated, or that a record or other thing the subject may be requested to produce might be destroyed, damaged or altered". 

This power is sweeping and allows for hearsay "evidence" to be used. All ASIO would have to do is tell the judge or AAT member that it has heard from "sources" that the lawyer requested by the detainee is a security risk. 

But even if the lawyer passes muster and sits with his or her client, the ASIO officers doing the questioning can have the lawyer removed. The explanatory memorandum of the bill says that can happen, "if the lawyer's conduct is unduly disrupting questioning. This may be the case where, for example, a lawyer repeatedly interrupts questioning (other than to make reasonable requests for clarification or a break to provide advice), in a way that prevents or hinders questions being asked or answered." So if the ASIO officers are badgering or harassing a frightened 14-year-old, or asking questions that are completely irrelevant, they have carte blanche. 

As a lawyer, one hears and reads stories about colleagues in authoritarian states where such powers are given to and used by security agencies, but one never expected it in democratic Australia....

Monday, 11 May 2020

From an Australian prime minister who has never taken a paycut for the last thirteen years comes this callous move....



Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott John Morrison (pictured left) is on a reputed annual salary in excess of $549,229 - plus free, staffed accommodation & other perks. 

He who has been in a top percentile income category for at least the last 13 years, has decided it is time to renew his personal, prosperity doctrine-driven, war on the poor and vulnerable.

By 24 September 2020 approximately 1.75 million Australians between the ages of 15 to 64 years will be reduced to living on between $18 to $40 a day if single or $72 a day if a couple.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 May 2020:

Hundreds of thousands of unemployed Australians face a huge cut in their incomes just before Christmas as the Morrison government prepares to wind back income support despite warnings from the Reserve Bank the economy will not return to its pre-coronavirus size until 2022. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday stood by the government's plans to phase out the coronavirus supplement for JobSeeker recipients and the JobKeeper program from mid-September, saying they came at a significant cost that would have to be borne by future generations.

The Reserve Bank of Australia, releasing its first major economic forecasts since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, expects unemployment to reach 10 per cent in the June quarter and recede only slightly to 9 per cent by the end of the year. 

It forecast the jobless rate, which was at 5.2 per cent in March, to still be at 6.5 per cent by the middle of 2022, saying unemployment will not fall quickly....

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Translating Australia's hard right prime minister in 2020


Scott Morrison makes sure his press conferences are transcribed for posterity at the Prime Minister Of Australia’s Media Centre in a manner which meets with his approval.

There is often some hours lag before a version of any particular press conference is posted online. Though sometimes, as occurred on 5 May, Morrison is not happy with how a press conference panned out and subsitutes a media statement instead.

Probably hoping that nobody will remember to report this:

The Prime Minister concedes #COVID19 infection rates will rise in Australia as restrictions ease to get the economy moving. “Of course, you will see numbers increase,” he says. “That is to be expected.” ⁦[National Affair Editor Hugh Rimington, @10NewsFirst, 5 May 2010]

Due to the time lag at Morrison's media centre, mainstream media usually fills the gap on their own online platforms.

These are the opening paragraphs of a news report on the press conference of Tuesday 5 May 2020.

SBS News, 5 May 2020:

Addressing the media on Tuesday after a historic national cabinet meeting that featured a brief appearance by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Mr Morrison reiterated that one million Australians had lost their job in a single month as a result of the pandemic.

"We now need to get one million Australians back to work, that is the curve we need to address," Mr Morrison said.

"As long as these restrictions are in place, they are costing our economy some $4 billion each week ... it certainly puts enormous pressure, as it should, on the timetable as we seek to move Australia back to that safe economy."…..

For some of the growing number of people who are irritated or angered by the Liar From The Shire’s carriage, demeanor, opinions, obfuscations, downright untruths or chronic refusal to answer journalist’s questions, this barebones news reporting sometimes suffices.

For others, real time social media descriptions of Morrison’s press conferences are preferred.

Here is one example…...

Ingrid M @iMusing, 5 May 2020, Thread commencing at approx. 2:29pm:

prime minister is up. He is focusing on the topic of “getting Australia back to work” today. Heavy breathing. Opening spiel is as usual self-congratulations.

a million out of work, says Morrison. He tips a nod to the Treasurer. Lies that “children are unable to go back to school”. He means many children are not *in classrooms*. The $4 billion a week cost of restrictions figure is going to do a lot heavy lifting here.

getting a million Australians back to work, more than a million Australians have had their claims for jobseeker processed. So given eligibility requirements and the number of pre-roni unemployed people, there are well over one million unemployed now.

Morrison has a slide show. Babbles out a list of sectors and jobs figures. Arts and recreation services, hospitality and food services, the agricultural sector, restaurants and cafes are closed. Note the absence of humans from this rhetoric.

oops, spoke too soon. The grower and the chef got a mention. Morrison says the job losses will be greater in Victoria because the restrictions are stronger so now we can begin to see where that $4 billion a week is. How unpolitical of him.

confidence. I love it when some economist explains the confidence variable to politicians. They never get it, as a predictive nor explanatory factor. Astrology for white dudes.

Christian Porter is up, as IT minister today. Workplace “safety” legislation is his brief, an area the Liberal Party is renowned for deliberately dismantling - see the double dissolution election Turnbull called using the ABCC bill.

babbles a bit about a dynamic and fluid environment whatever. The safe work Australia website is being re-built? Expanded. It will provide a “granular level of detail”. Porter has swallowed a buzzword list today.

I guess the queries function and info on the safework Australia website will be as efficient as jobkeeper application processes ie it will work for applicants whose application is consistent with Liberal Party ideology and political objectives and a clusterfuck for everyone else.

next up is covid committee chair and mining industry CEO Nev Power. Maybe no construction giant grifters whose greed kills workers were available to speak on workplace safety today.

unions are the main repository of workplace safety expertise btw but we have a business guy and couple of politicians from the party of business here instead.

the Morrison goldfish gulp and malapropic garbling is worse than usual today. Why is he so tense?

questions. Who is Greg? He starts with the fucking nonsense the Trump administration is spewing to try and cover for its monumental public health failures.

Morrison obliges by repeating the semiotic anti-Chinese racism terms a number of times.

schools. Morrison says “not opening schools fully is costing jobs and it does cost the economy”. So he has stopped lying about using schools for his political-economic objectives, at least.

Power adds lots of words and not much meaning on businesses adapting as restrictions are eased. Recall the vast majority of businesses - outside hospo - were not closed by official roni restrictions but by going to the wall (or into “hibernation”).

K Murphy asks about the trans Tasman travel bubble and contextualises with federalism - state and territory border closures. Morrison is very defensive. He is essentially telling premiers and chief ministers to open the borders. He *forgets* the trans-Tasman part of the question.

after being reminded, Morrison pretends to answer the trans-Tasman travel bubble question. But other than fetishising the alleged firstness (it isn’t) of the NZ PM being at National Cabinet, there is nothing specific to announce. “We are working co-operatively together” he says.

they have a stronger biosecurity regime and so do we? says Morrison. What does that mean?

Coorey. He is told this is about a covid safe economy (there’s the slogan for the near), Morrison tells him. The $4 billion a week gets another outing. Grattan. Gets a stream of self-congratulatory gibberish. We have tripled our ICU capacity. Okay.

Probyn: you have talked about pubs and restaurants.
Morrison: no I didn’t.
Probyn: well Neville was. When can the two Andrews, I mean the two Dans, legally have a drink together?
Morrison: they can now, just not in a pub. Andrew.




Nev and I, says Morrison quickly. Subtext: don’t wedge me, mate. Andrew.

PvO. His friend was stood down today.
PM indulges some bullshit federalism rhetoric. National cabinet has more to discuss about easing restrictions. Flattening the curve has come at a price.

Looks like no agreement on anything at all was reached in national cabinet today.

asked again about schools, Morrison says it wasn’t on the agenda today. He is happy to “encourage non-state schools by bringing forward funding”. The Premier of Victoria can make decisions about state schools, that’s his bailiwick.
Yes, Morrison said bailiwick.

asked whether he was against Barilaro contesting Eden-Monaro because Barilaro would have been a destabilising force if he won (the Sunday Savva thesis) Morrison says no and no.

okay I’ve had enough. Tl;dr: national cabinet was an unproductive and discordant session today, Morrison is therefore delivering a set piece with his biz CEO mate, which is essentially gaslighting workers and babbling bullshit.