Australia Panicked PM tries to reverse a dog-whistle amid quarantine incompetence
Good morning, early birds. Leaked report reveals Victoria's third lockdown was sparked by swabbing in an open doorway, and the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament has been suspended indefinitely, leaving more than 30 Australian players, coaches, and staff in limbo. It's the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.Additionally, a senior bureaucrat managing infection prevention across the quarantine program, Matiu Bush, has been reported to authorities twice since March after defying a Defence Force request for a mandatory test and breaching infection-control protocols ($).
Political irony doesn’t get much better than this: Scott Morrison having to interrupt his promotion of a new third-of-a-billion dollar package to invest in systems to protect Australia’s cattle from external biosecurity threats, to put out a firestorm over his criminalisation of Australians returning from India. All of which is the product of his failure to invest in systems to protect Australians themselves from external biosecurity threats.
When even hard-right commentators and the Institute of Public Affairs are attacking you, you know you’ve crossed some hitherto-unknown line of offensiveness — and that’s why Scott Morrison, who hoped to devote yesterday afternoon and this morning to a cattle-slaughtering conference in Rockhampton, suddenly felt the urge to do both major breakfast TV shows today to defend his criminalisation as non-racist.
COVID quarantine villages could house returning Australians from overseas hotspots
The WA mining industry has been building camps for workers for half a century. Now it wants to use that expertise to help the country contain the risk of COVID-19.Businesses which normally build remote accommodation camps for the resources industry are fine-tuning proposals, estimating the cost of the quarantine hubs to be anywhere between $80 million and $200 million.
Let’s tackle that first. India’s current level of active cases, according to Worldometer’s, is 2481 per 1 million people. The widespread assumption, however, is that due to lack of testing, the actual level of active cases is much higher. Let’s quadruple the number to 10,000 per 1 million. Or even quintuple it to 12,500. How does that place India internationally? Still far lower than the United States, where the level is, despite extensive vaccination and a significant drop since the Trump administration was kicked out, at over 20,000 per million.
Some other notable countries are above the Indian level — France (over 13,000); the Netherlands (12,900), Sweden (14,000); Hungary (23,000).
India COVID travel ban shows nation's quarantine system ‘is not working': AMA
The Australian Medical Association and leading infectious diseases experts say opportunities to improve or expand Australia's hotel quarantine system have been missed.The Australian Medical Association and leading infectious diseases experts say the Federal Government's controversial ban on Australians returning home from India under threat of imprisonment is an acknowledgment the nation's hotel quarantine system "is not working".
But it is only arrivals from India that prompted Greg Hunt on Saturday to declare inthat “failure to comply with an emergency determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015 may incur a civil penalty of 300 penalty units, five years’ imprisonment, or both.”
But in trying to dismiss the questioning of the criminalisation, Morrison told one of his breakfast interlocutors today “the likelihood of anything like that occurring is pretty much zero”.
So, who is right — Morrison or Hunt? If the chances of it occurring are zero, why did Hunt say it at all? Is anything Hunt says in a media release only provisional until the prime minister corrects it? The whole thing looks like a dog-whistle that exploded in the user’s mouth when he tried to blow it.
It’s unhelpful for Morrison, of course, that’s it’s not merely otherwise profileless brown Australian citizen affected by the criminalisation, but Australian cricket figures, like Michael Slater, who accused Morrison of having blood on his hands.
Ant McPartlin joins fiancée Anne-Marie Corbett for a dog walk
The TV presenter, 45, looked content with fiancée Anne-Marie Corbett, 43, as they enjoyed a low-key dog walk in a London park on Friday. The TV presenter, 45, kept things casual in a navy jacket and black sunglasses, while his bride-to-be, 43, added a bright splash of colour with a pink padded coat. © Provided by Daily Mail ( The Saturday Night Takeaway star teamed his jacket with blue jeans and jazzy trainers as he got some fresh air with his partner.While Anne-Marie teamed her coat with blue joggers, hot pink socks and trainers.
Not merely did the government create this firestorm about racism all by itself, it is the author of the disastrous situation it now finds itself in insisting that Australians remain in harm’s way in India — many of them people who have been trying to come home for the best part of a year.
It is Morrison’s government that has refused to invest in appropriate COVID-19 quarantine facilities, leaving the heavy lifting of quarantine to state governments, in spite of s.51 of the constitution, which clearly makes quarantine a Commonwealth responsibility.
And it is the Morrison government that has dragged its heels on bringing home stranded Australians, despite the PM’s commitment last September to “get as many people home, if not all of them, by Christmas”. More than 36,000 Australiansthree months after that deadline — the most in the UK and India.
As with the vaccine rollout, the extra time the Morrison government has had due to Australia’s ability to contain the virus effectively has been wasted. No quarantine facilities have been built. Tens of thousands of Australians remained stranded despite celebrities, business figures and former and serving Coalition ministers being able to come and go from the country, often without hotel quarantining.
That leaves the government stewing in a poisonous mix of incompetence, complacency and racism, and panicking that it’s been called out on it, even by its allies. It’s announcing more money for beef biosecurity while the lack of biosecurity for returning humans is causing havoc.
Michael Slater makes a fair point. If one of the 9000 stranded Australians in India contract COVID and die or suffer permanent injury as a result of the government’s refusal to bring them home and provide adequate facilities for their arrival, who’s fault is that? Will Morrison accept responsibility for it?
The likelihood of anything like that occurring is pretty much zero.
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Merlino names Mickleham pet complex as state's preferred alternative hotel quarantine facility .
The 144-hectare site will be retrofitted with single-storey cabins and will be able to accommodate 500 passengers at any one time, with the ability to scale up to 3000 beds. The cost of constructing the complex would total $200 million, Mr Merlino said, and a 3000-bed facility would cost up to $700 million.Mr Merlino said the federal government should build the facility and own it, similar to the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory."Ultimately this project requires the approval of the Commonwealth," he said.The site is a 25 minutes drive from Melbourne Airport, next to the Hume Highway.