Volume 73 – number 9 – political news

Published 17 April 2020.

Below is a summary of edition no. 9 for 2020. To access the full version you need to subscribe. Click the link to the left to view your subscription options.

Cover from no. 9

The Week in Politics

Yesterday the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer outlined some key measures that could see Australians take a first step back to a normal lifestyle, something that many people are saying should happen quickly as Australia appears to be on top of the virus.

Universities receive a boost

Photo of Education Minister Dan Tehan during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra
Education Minister Dan Tehan said, “If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.” Photo by Rob Keating – http://photos.keatingmedia.com.au)

On April 12 Education Minister Dan Tehan told people to stop binging on Netflix and to instead binge on professional training. 

Beware the calls for National Sovereignty

In his speech to Parliament last week the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said that Australia’s economic recovery would be based on national sovereignty. He did not spell out what this meant, which is unfortunate because vested interests have used it to promote notions of protectionism. It is clear that when recovery occurs the economy will be different to the way it was before the coronavirus crisis but there is no case for using the crisis as a pretext for a radical reshaping of the way it operates.

See Australia first says Birmingham

With the possibility of no overseas travel until 2021 Trade Minister Simon Birmingham (pictured right) has hinted that Australians should be considering a domestic holiday. 

The Trade Minister said, “And there may be a slightly earlier point in time where it becomes feasible to think about domestic travel again.  We’re not there yet but certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, a bit of planning, think about that Aussie break that you might take when we do finally get to the other side of this.”

Government guarantees domestic aviation network

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack. Photo by Rob Keating

The federal government has announced that Qantas and Virgin Australia Groups will operate a minimum domestic network servicing the most critical metropolitan and regional routes in Australia. This involves an initial funding investment of up to $165 million. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack (pictured above) said sustaining Australia’s aviation industry is critical to protecting livelihoods and saving lives and that’s why the Government has acted again today to provide further support.

Vale Ted Evans AC

Prime Minister Scott Morrison released a media statement on Monday 13 April to honour former Treasury Secretary Ted Evans.

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Ted Evans, one of Australia’s great public servants.

Ted began his working life as a linesman with the Postmaster-General’s Department in Ipswich, Queensland. For a decade, he balanced the physical rigours of his work with earning a Honours Degree in Economics from the University of Queensland.

Peter Dutton returns to television and questions China

Photo of Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton at the National Press Club of Australia
Peter Dutton (Photo by Rob Keating)

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton (pictured above) made his return to television last night after having become the first Morrison Government Minister to test positive to coronavirus. He said the virus took a greater toll than expected. He put that down to a heavy workload and not resting, an experience that saw UK Prime Minister end up fighting for life in intensive care.

Dutton was asked about a news story from the US that suggested China grounded flights out of Wuhan to domestic destinations in China however they allowed a flood of international flights from Wuhan.

Elective Surgery return up for discussion

Canberra, Australia – 16 April 2020: Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy during a COVID-19 update with the Prime Minister. Photo by Rob Keating – http://photos.keatingmedia.com.au

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said elective surgery will be discussed at the National Cabinet meeting next Tuesday and there could be some immediate return in that area.   A limitation relating to elective surgery is the availability of sufficient Personal Protective Equipment which the Chief Medical Officer (pictured above) outlined yesterday. Professor Murphy said, “It is very important if we do restart elective activity that we only do it through the confines of our available PPE supplies so it would have been fairly gentle because we have to ensure we have enough protective equipment.” 

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