We are at the halfway mark for the first parliamentary sitting since June and it already feels like a year has passed. Today, the government will introduce the jobkeeper extension legislation, which will pass, with Labor’s support. But any tapering of the rate doesn’t need to be done through legislation – that is easily achieved through regulation.
Josh Frydenberg said 400,000 Victorians were unemployed during yesterday’s question time – across Australia, that figure is more than a million – but the government is still to commit to extending the jobseeker Covid unemployment supplement beyond its slated December end date.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Tony Abbott has a new job
Daniel Andrews has a fight on his hands after announcing he wanted to extend Victoria’s state of emergency declaration, which is due to expire in mid-September. That is the last extension of the declaration, which allows police more powers, as well as give public health officials extraordinary powers, including restrictions on movements. The other states can extend their declarations (or in the case of NSW, just change health regulations to grant the powers it wants) but Victoria has a maximum of six months written into its legislation. It wants to extend that maximum time period a state of emergency can be declared to a year. That doesn’t mean lockdown will be extended though.
The extension legislation has become the flashpoint in tensions between the federal government and Victoria to explode. In yesterday’s question time, federal ministers, including the prime minister, lined up to criticise Victoria’s handling of the pandemic.
That is a marked break from the bipartisan ‘we are all in this together’ narrative Scott Morrison had publicly been pushing (altho
ugh its not the first time the federal MPs had criticised Andrews, or the first time stories critical of the Victorian response had been briefed out)But keep an eye on that.
In NSW, small amounts of community transmission continue to keep authorities on their toes.
Late yesterday, NSW Health sent out this alert:
NSW Health is investigating two cases of COVID-19 who attended City Tattersalls Fitness Centre on Pitt Street. Anyone who attended this venue on August 19, 21 or 23 should be alert for symptoms, and if any develop get tested and self-isolate immediately. NSW Health is working closely with City Tattersalls Fitness Centre to directly contact close contacts.
NSW Health is also alerting people who may have been to 300 George Street Sydney on August 19, 20, 21 or 24 to be alert for symptoms, and if any develop to get tested and self-isolate immediately, after one of the cases worked here while infectious.
Queensland is also keeping an eye on community transmission as contact tracers rush to get a lid on a cluster which popped up late last week, after an employee at a youth detention centre tested positive for Covid. Genomic testing is still underway, but the strain of the newest infection is the same as one of the women who went to Melbourne and skipped out on quarantine after allegedly lying on her border declaration pass. That, as the Queensland CMO Dr Jeannette Young said yesterday doesn’t mean a link – that strain is the most common one in Melbourne at the moment – so more testing is underway. But Queensland thinks it might have missed a case of community transmission, which is why everyone with symptoms is being asked to get a test.
We’ll bring you all the day’s politics and Covid news as it happens. You have Amy Remeikis with you for the day. I’m about to get my third coffee for the morning, and then we’ll get into it.
Source: The Guardian