Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Today by Paddy Manning

Border wars
Premier Palaszczuk hits back at the PM

Image of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Via Twitter

“These border wars have got to stop,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this afternoon, while announcing [$] that the border with NSW and other states and territories would be reopened from July 10 as planned, but the state would remain closed to travellers from Victoria until the spike in new COVID-19 cases has subsided. In a direct crack at Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Palaszczuk continued: “A national leader should have been able to bring all of the states and territories together, and, frankly, I’m a bit sick [of the fact] that Queensland has been singled out as opposed to South Australia and Tasmania, just to name a few. And perhaps if Victoria had been almost self-quarantined or quarantined, then the prime minister could have set a date for all of the other states and territories once Victoria was under control … I’ve been silent for a long time, and I will not be silenced for standing up for what I believe to be right, for the health advice that I’m being provided.” It was strong stuff from Palaszczuk, who also announced an easing of internal social-distancing restrictions, which she said would be worth $1.8 billion per month to the Queensland economy, generating 167,000 extra jobs. “That’s a lot of people that are able to get back into work … and get the economy going in Queensland faster, because of the health response that we have had here.”  

Palaszczuk’s response contrasts with the decision of South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, who has scrapped plans to fully reopen the state’s borders from July 20. As Victoria recorded another 64 cases overnight, Marshall said, “We are increasingly concerned about the outbreaks that are occurring in Victoria, so we are not in a position to remove our border.” A decision about reopening to NSW will be made later in the week, he said. 

At a press conference this afternoon, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed all flights would be diverted for a fortnight and announced strict lockdowns in 10 hotspots – although schools would remain open. Andrews confirmed a failure of hotel quarantine was a prime cause of the “unacceptably high” number of cases.

Like the prime minister himself, state premiers have been riding a wave of popularity thanks to Australia’s comparatively successful pandemic response so far, as confirmed in a Newspoll today. The Australian and a number of its columnists zeroed in on a 13 per cent drop in support for Andrews – although support for the Victorian premier is still high at 72 per cent. Across the board, popular support is overwhelming: WA Premier Mark McGowan and Tasmania’s Peter Gutwein are on 93 per cent; Marshall is on 87 per cent; Palaszczuk has jumped from 72 to 76 per cent; and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian saw a two-point rise to 79 per cent.

Berejiklian, while advising NSW residents to ban Victorian visitors, made a plea for borders to be reopened as her state’s have been the whole time. “Can I put on the record … ironically we’ve already had people from Queensland and WA bring the disease to NSW. So, we’ve already experienced that level of interstate transmission, if you like, and we’ve dealt with it,” said Berejiklian. “And that’s why I say to all the other states, we’ve welcomed all the overseas travellers that live in other states. We’ve even welcomed people who’ve come across your own borders to NSW, who had the disease, and we’ve managed that. There is a path forward, because I don’t want to see further jobs go.”

There remains plenty of evidence of goodwill and cooperation between the states and territories. Today, for example, WA announced that it would assist with remote contact tracing, and that former chief health officer Professor Tarun Weeramanthri would be seconded to Victoria for a month. The national cabinet worked well during the COVID-19 crisis, but that spirit cannot be taken for granted. On the weekend, the prime minister dog-whistled about how Victoria’s Black Lives Matter protests somehow contributed to the state’s latest outbreaks – failing to explain why similar protests around the country didn’t have the same effect. Like the short-lived COVID consensus between both sides of politics and stakeholders in industry, unions and community, the consensus between the country’s first ministers may be breaking down.   

“I’ve been shocked to see how many journalists have been attacked, beaten and detained, just for doing their jobs … It is crucial to democracy that journalists be allowed to do their job freely and safely and that is certainly something we should expect in the world’s greatest democracy.”

Seven Network correspondent Amelia Brace tells the US House Committee on Natural Resources how she was shot at and beaten by police near the White House.

“I’m going to advise the government not to participate in @QandA. One minister and all the rest are political opponents. Better to leave it entirely as a @AustralianLabor @Greens show. The one @LiberalAus guest is only there to be denigrated.”

Former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer dishes out advice after Communications and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher faced some difficult questions on last night’s Q&A.

Dyson Heydon and the misogyny of the law
As allegations mount against former High Court justice Dyson Heydon, Bri Lee has written about the way misogyny and harassment are embedded in the legal profession. She says that may be changing.


The factor by which per-student funding at Victoria’s Catholic and independent schools has grown more quickly than funding at public schools between 2009 and 2018, according to analysis by advocacy group Save Our Schools.

“As part of the approval, Snowy Hydro will invest almost $100 million in biodiversity and environmental enhancements, including establishing an offset fund of up to $73.8m through the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to protect threatened species and deliver long-term conservation outcomes.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Environment Minister Sussan Ley, and Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor announce Commonwealth environmental approval for the Snowy 2.0 hydro project.

The list

“Uluru was a gamechanger. If treaty was the British Crown’s solution to dispossession elsewhere, the Uluru statement is the Australian solution to a very Australian problem. The dialogues sought to inject the one thing that had been decoupled from the recognition process: truth-telling about Australian history. Uluru reoriented Australian reconciliation to where it should be: what is the truth and what does repair look like?

“Farming in Australia largely involves swearing at the weather forecaster and swearing at the farm. There’s the odd fence to fix and ute to bog, but these jobs can usually be completed in time for morning tea. The first time I heard my father use the c-word he was holding a newborn calf in his left hand and a syringe of Ultravac® 5in1 (one jab protects against tetanus, malignant oedema, enterotoxaemia, black disease and blackleg) in his right.”

“It appears Alex Lavelle, who was until the afternoon of June 18 the editor of The Age, did not know his time was up. Just hours before the sudden announcement of his resignation, Lavelle’s executive assistant was emailing small groups of newsroom staff, inviting them to have lunch with the editor. He wanted to discuss their concerns about the paper’s management, which were outlined in a letter signed by almost 70 staff members from the Melbourne newspaper and addressed to Lavelle, Nine newspapers executive editor James Chessell and chief digital and publishing officer Chris Janz. And then Lavelle was gone.”

Paddy Manning

Paddy Manning is contributing editor (politics) at The Monthly and has worked for the ABC, Fairfax, Crikey and The Australian. He is the author of Body Count: How Climate Change Is Killing Us, Inside the Greens and Born To Rule: The Unauthorised Biography of Malcolm Turnbull.


The Monthly Today

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No, ex-minister

Mathias Cormann’s taxpayer-funded job application is a nose-pincher

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NSW breaks through

The country’s biggest state (finally) embraces renewables

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Tick for Narrabri gas

The Morrison government signs off on more fossil fuels

From the front page

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Australia’s emissions targets have been soft – they’re about to get harder

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Morrison’s climate flip

Australia has a lot of catching up to do on emissions reduction

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Song sisters

The soundtrack to documentary ‘Brazen Hussies’ shows a breadth of feeling about women’s liberation in Australia