Australian News

Border closure decision hated by 20 million Aussies

Of all the rules that Australia’s states and territories have introduced since the COVID-19 pandemic struck seven months ago, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s hard border closure has been one of the most contentious.

From breakfast television hosts and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Ms Palaszczuk’s NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, a barrage of criticism has been flung at the Sunshine State’s call to keep its southern neighbours locked out for the better part of 2020.

Ms Palaszczuk, who will seek her third term as Premier on October 31, has been dubbed the “Queensland version of Donald Trump … building the wall keeping all of the Mexicans out from down south”, destroying jobs and the economy by maintaining her “silly” and “cruel” stance.

“It’s not evidence-based. It’s simply I think off the back of her election. She wants to look tough for Queensland residents,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said earlier this month.

“If she keeps this up and we don’t have a vaccine, we don’t have a treatment, this could go on for years. This is a silly game you shouldn’t be playing. She’s playing with people’s lives.”

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Despite the rest of Australia hating the rule, Queenslanders have come out in support of the closure – which won’t be going anywhere, even if Ms Palaszczuk isn’t re-elected.

The latest Newspoll, conducted for The Australianin mid-September, found that 53 per cent of voters found the border controls “about right” – compared with 37 per cent, who said the restrictions were “too strict”.

Under the rule, Queensland won’t reopen to NSW or Victoria until the states have gone 28 days straight without any cases of community transmission.

When asked last week if she thought that was “achievable”, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said her party would follow the health advice.

“The health advice is that it is 28 days … we accept that advice,” Ms Frecklington told reporters in Townsville.

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However, Ms Frecklington said while she accepts the guideline, her stance on the borders was different.

“I have always said it can’t be set and forget … I’ve always said that borders shouldn’t be closed for a day longer than they need to be,” she said.

“But that is current health advice and we accept that.”

She chimed in on Mr Hazzard’s calls that Ms Palaszczuk was “playing politics with the border and playing politics with the pandemic”.

“With me as premier, you would have a premier that would make decisions with compassion, consistency and common sense,” she said.

The PM said yesterday that while Ms Palaszczuk’s hard border closure had decimated Queensland’s tourism and hospitality industries, Ms Frecklington “has a plan to get Queenslanders working again”.

“The real difference I think is whether someone’s actually got a plan to get Queenslanders back into jobs,” he told reporters.

“(Deb has) thought very carefully about the way that Queensland can grow back out of this COVID-19 recession.”

RELATED: Palaszczuk’s ‘cruel’ move a stroke of genius

Queensland was pegged to at last reopen to NSW on November 1 – the day after the election – but a growing number of cases of community transmission in the latter state could throw the decision into jeopardy.

The Courier Mailreports that the chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young will make the call the week before the slated reopening, based on the latest information.

Dr Young told reporters last Friday that while NSW had made “extremely good” progress in tracing the latest clusters, “we need to wait a bit longer (to decide) whether or not we need to change the plan to open to NSW. At the moment, it’s planned for November 1.”

“We will continue to monitor … although they are finding the contacts … they are getting continuing cases. So we will have to watch and see what happens,” she said.

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Australian News

Google must pay for news in France in ‘important decision’

The Australian competition watchdog has welcomed an “important decision” by French authorities that will force Google to pay publishers for the news they use.

The landmark decision by the Paris Court of Appeal came after Google threatened to remove all French news from its search results rather than pay its makers for their work, and just weeks after Google announced plans to set its own price to reimburse publishers in selected countries, including neighbouring Germany.

The decision was also handed down as Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission was expected to make recommendations for a news bargaining code that could see Google and Facebook reimburse Australian publishers for the use of their products.

The French decision is widely being viewed as another step towards that change in Europe and around the world.

The French Competition Authority initially won its case to see Google negotiate “in good faith” with news organisations over payment for their work in April this year.

The Autorité de la Concurrence had expected negotiations to conclude within three months, until Google appealed the Judgement.

But the French appeals court ruled against Google overnight, dismissing claims it was adequately compensating news companies by sending traffic to their websites.

In a statement, Google said the company would now strive to “reach an agreement with the French publishers and press agencies”.

“We appealed to get legal clarity on some parts of the order and we will now review the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal.”

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said he had been watching the European ruling closely.

“We welcome this important decision and continue to engage with competition regulators around the world, including the French Competition Authority, on these issues,” Mr Sims said.


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Mr Sims has previously said the ACCC has held discussions with its overseas counterparts on the issue of compensation for news media, but Australia had chosen a different approach than many of its peers, focusing on a lack of competition rather than breaches of copyright.

Google is still advertising its opposition to Australia’s proposed laws, and is currently running ads on social media claiming the laws would make “what was a level playing field … uneven”.

The trillion-dollar internet firm last week announced a plan to pay some publishers in Brazil and Germany for the use of their news in a new product called the Google News Showcase in the coming months, with a $1.4 billion backing.

But Google Australia and New Zealand managing director Mel Silva said the company had suspended plans to bring the product to Australia so it could assess the ACCC’s proposed law.

“As we work to understand the impacts of the news media bargaining code on partnerships and products, we have put this project on pause for now,” she said.

Google’s Australian arm reported $4.8 billion in gross revenue last year, including $4.3 billion in advertising alone.

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Australian News

Super Netball fans upset with Queensland Firebirds’ decision not to play Jemma Mi Mi in Indigenous Round

The Queensland Firebirds’ decision not to use Super Netball’s only Indigenous player during their Indigenous Round match has attracted criticism on Twitter.

Jemma Mi Mi, who was on the Firebirds’ bench, did not take the court in the 64-58 victory over Melbourne Vixens in Cairns on Sunday afternoon.

A Firebirds spokesperson said the club would not comment about the decision not to use Mi Mi against the Vixens.

Mi Mi featured in Super Netball’s promotion of its Indigenous Round, which began in Townsville on Wednesday evening and concluded with the Firebirds-Vixens match.

The competition’s official broadcaster, the Nine Network, drew attention to the fact Mi Mi did not get on the court during its broadcast and on its Twitter account devoted to Super Netball coverage.


The club’s decision not to play Mi Mi off the bench was questioned by a number of Twitter users, with some suggesting her role in the promotion of the Indigenous Round amounted to an act of tokenism.


Jessica Currie tweeted: “Jemma Mi Mi has done a lot of heavy lifting this week with interviews and talking about the pressure of being a role model for her people. And she doesn’t get on court.”


Sports broadcaster Brad Cooke expressed disgust with the decision made by Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke, calling on the club to “do better”.

“I hope Roselee Jencke truly regrets her decision to not play Jemma Mi Mi, the only Indigenous Super Netball player in the league, during Indigenous round,” he tweeted.

“I’m filthy.”

Another Twitter user, Jacqui Lawson, wrote she was disappointed that Mi Mi did not play during Super Netball’s Indigenous Round.

“So disrespectful to her and the Indigenous community,” she tweeted.


Mi Mi, 24, has made nine appearances for the Firebirds this season.

She debuted for the Firebirds in Super Netball in 2017 and two years later was named in the Australia A Development team.


“When I first, I guess, found out I was the only Indigenous athlete in the Super Netball competition I was pretty surprised,” Mi Mi told the ABC prior to Super Netball’s Indigenous Round.

“Because I guess I know there is so much Indigenous talent out there. I’ve learnt now to really own that responsibility and take on that pressure.”

The Newcastle-born Mi Mi is also a former Australian touch football representative.

Super Netball described its Indigenous Round as a “Women’s Ceremony — a gathering of many journeys at the same destination”.

The eight teams wore outfits inspired by Indigenous artwork, and the match ball used during the round was designed by Wurundjeri and Yorta-Yorta woman Simone Thomson.

Vixens go down ahead of finals

The Firebirds, last season’s wooden spooners, earned their third win from their past four matches while handing the Vixens — Super Netball’s minor premiers — just their second loss of the season.

Firebirds goal shooter Romelda Aiken finished with 45 goals but the victory was built on the defensive efforts of Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner, along with Gabi Simpson’s leadership from wing defence.

“I guess it’s been building all season, it’s great that we can finally get out here and we’re all really connected and doing our own job,” Jenner said.

With the minor premiership firmly in their keeping, the Vixens allowed Liz Watson to sit out for a second-straight match with an ankle complaint, while Caitlin Thwaites started the match on the bench.

Thwaites came into the contest after the Firebirds led 18-12 at quarter-time and swung momentum to the Vixens with a barrage of super shots to cut Queensland’s lead to two points approaching half-time.

A late two-pointer from Tippah Dwan handed the Firebirds a 35-31 advantage at half-time but the Vixens answered with six of the first seven goals of the third term to take the lead.

The Firebirds then steadied to edge ahead 48-44 at three-quarter time then opened the fourth term with five goals in a row to complete the upset win.

A Queensland Firebirds Super Netball player reaches out to catch the ball with both hands.
Romelda Aiken was among the Firebirds’ best with 45 goals.(AAP: Albert Perez)

They finish their season against Collingwood Magpies in Brisbane on Saturday, while the Vixens face the Lightning on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday in a clash that will determine second spot on the ladder.

The Lightning are holding down second but are only two points ahead of the Fever, who conclude their regular season against Adelaide Thunderbirds in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Fever will secure second spot if they beat the Thunderbirds, and the Lightning lose to the Vixens.

NSW Swifts round out the top four.


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Australian News

Pensioners will get payment boost but no JobSeeker decision

Older Australians on the age pension will reportedly get a payment boost within weeks but those relying on unemployed benefits won’t learn if they will get a permanent increase to their payments for months.

More than 1.6 million people on JobSeeker payments will likely have to wait until closer to Christmas to find out if the Morrison Government will extend the coronavirus supplement into next year.

To deal with the pandemic, Morrison Government boosted the base fortnightly unemployment benefit of about $560 with a $550 fortnightly supplement this year but this is due to end on September 24. After this time a reduced supplement of $250 a fortnight will be paid until December.

Many were hoping the government would reveal in the October Budget whether it would increase the rate of the unemployment benefit permanently, providing certainty about payments next year, however, this now seems unlikely.

While Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told the Sydney Morning Herald that it was “highly likely” the coronavirus supplement will be extended, the government is expected to hold off making a decision until closer to Christmas.

Senator Rushton did reveal the October Budget would include a boost to the age pension. This could be in the form of a one-off payment or ongoing increase, although this has not been confirmed.

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia has urged the Morrison Government to provide an extra $750 stimulus payment to pensioners after it was revealed that lower costs of living meant pension payments would not rise in September because the indexation rate was falling.

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However, COTA has pointed out that pensioners were covering increased costs because of the coronavirus, due to a reduced number of “specials” or “discounts” to the ticket price for many food items, as well as extra costs of home delivery.

“While the CPI (consumer price index) has gone down because of the impact of items like childcare this does not help age pensioners,” COTA chief executive Ian Yates said.

“There are range of other pressures on low income people in this pandemic, such as transport costs when it’s not safe to travel on public transport. Pensioners live very close to the poverty line, and in private rental, below it.

“And while the two previous $750 payments have been very welcome, pensioners have ended up with less income in this period than people on the increased level of JobSeeker.

“Accordingly, we urge the Government to provide an additional $750 stimulus payment as part of your economic stimulus measures, for the benefit of both pensioners and the economy.”

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Australian News

AFL grand final host decision looming as Premiership Cup loaded onto flight to Queensland

The AFL Premiership Cup is heading to Queensland as AFL bosses prepare to announce where the grand final will be held.

Two secure cases with AFL branding were seen getting wheeled through Melbourne Airport this afternoon and were put on a flight to the Gold Coast.

An AFL official confirmed the Premiership Cup was encased within.

The AFL Commission is currently on the Gold Coast for a meeting to decide the venue for the 2020 grand final, with Brisbane’s Gabba firming as a favourite.

Perth Stadium and Adelaide Oval are the other major options, although the league did receive a pitch from New South Wales on Thursday.

Last week, the AFL announced the decider would be played on October 24, and it is expected to reveal the host city this week.

The 15th round of the compressed 18-week home-and-away season kicks off tonight, with a rest week for all teams before four weeks of finals.

More to come.

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Australian News

Schoolies Qld: Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision

The fate of Schoolies 2020 could be announced today, with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk earlier this week revealing her government was “carefully considering its response to the event”.

The annual Gold Coast event, held in November, has yet to be called off, despite calls from local mayor Tom Tate and some health workers.

Gold Coast Health workers told The Bulletin they were concerned about managing an influx of revellers without the usual backup as staff are stationed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, Ms Palaszczuk said she wanted to have further conversations with Cr Tate and Queensland Police, but was expected to announce her decision today.

It follows Cr Tate calling for the event to be cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis, saying “My position remains the same, I’m still asking Schoolies to stay home this year because we need everyone to be safe and cautious right now.”

“However, the final decision on the Schoolies safety response is one for the Premier,” he said.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said whatever happened, “Schoolies won’t look like Schoolies this year”, but the government was working to find other ways for young people to celebrate the end of their schooling.

“We know this is another burden on year 12s after they’ve already had a tough year,” he told ABC radio this morning.

“But it will be impossible to do Schoolies the way we usually do. It won’t look like it normally does.”

It comes as more cases of COVID-19 are expected to be confirmed over the coming days, after a cluster formed in western Brisbane last week.

Eleven people are now linked to the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre Cluster, and authorities are trying to link a new case confirmed yesterday with the cluster.

Two cases were announced on Thursday, one a returned traveller and the other a Queensland Corrective Services Academy trainer in his 60s, who works at Wacol and lives in Forest Lake.

As a result, more than 7000 prisoners across the state are in lockdown and 25 close contacts are in isolation.

“We can’t identify a clear link with the Detention Centre, however this person lives in Forest Lake and works in Wacol, both locations where other cases in the cluster are known to live in or work,” Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

There are fears undetected cases are spreading the virus throughout the community, prompting calls from the Premier and chief health minister to “keep getting tested”.

It comes as Mr Miles said it was unlikely new restrictions on gatherings in the state would be repealed anytime soon.

“Until we get to the bottom of these mystery cases or until we manage to suppress any further community transmission, those restrictions will stay in place,” he said.

It comes as seven new locations were added to Queensland Health’s contact tracing alert, including:

  • August 16, 4pm-4.10pm: Puma Fuel, Wacol
  • August 22, 10.30am-10.45am: Petbarn, Browns Plains
  • August 22, 10.45am-11.15am: Bunnings, Browns Plains
  • August 22, 11.15am-11.35am: The Good Guys, Browns Plains
  • August 23, 5pm-5.15pm” Coles at Forest Lake Shopping Centre
  • August 24, 9am-9.45am: The Good Guys, Oxley
  • August 24, 10am-10.30am: Woolworths at the Station, Oxley.

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Australian News

The AFL grand final could be in Perth, Brisbane or Adelaide, and the decision may decide the premiership

The complaints of non-Victorian AFL clubs about the MCG’s iron-clad contractual grip on the grand final are both understandable and, at least in a competitive sense, also largely unjustified.

There is an obvious case that when the V in VFL was replaced by a supposedly all-encompassing A, the grand final should have been rotated between competing cities.

Yet 18 times a non-Victorian team has played against a Victorian team in the grand final and the scoreboard stands Victoria 9, Not Victoria 9 — hardly a BigVwash.

You might argue that those non-Victorian teams that have triumphed at the MCG had to be even better than a local team to overcome the disadvantage of travelling to play at a notionally hostile location.

Dom Sheed, Jeremy McGovern and Tom Barrass hold the AFL premiership trophy in front of Eagles fans
The Eagles beat an MCG tenant in Collingwood in the 2018 grand final.(AAP: Julian Smith)

Richmond’s return to the grand final in 2017 attracted the most passionate and one-sided grand final crowd in recent memory, although that hardly accounted for the 48-point thumping of the overwhelmed Adelaide Crows.

Sydney Swans fans still quietly seethe about some of the umpiring decisions in the 2016 grand final, having been cast as ugly ducklings in the Western Bulldogs’ romantic drought-breaking premiership tale.

But it is doubtful this was due to any “noise of affirmation” from the Bulldogs crowd, which was matched by the Swans’ travelling fans and old South Melbourne faithful, and more the consequence of a couple of old-fashioned howlers.

Again, this is not to suggest Victorian teams do not enjoy some advantage or that there has been no case to rotate the biggest game in a notionally national competition. But you would be hard pressed making a case the grand final venue has had a significant impact on results over three decades.

Now, fulfilling the prophecy that it would take a Biblical pestilence for Victorians to relinquish “their grand final”, it seems certain the decider will be played elsewhere.

Accordingly, the alternative hosts are making their cases citing logistical possibilities, coronavirus-time services to the code and righteous historical claims to bolster their arguments.

The Queensland hub gives the Gabba the inside running. This would be both a reward for services rendered by the Palaszczuk Government and a timely promotional vehicle in the northern market — especially given the struggles of the lamentable Brisbane Broncos.

A Brisbane Lions AFL players runs for the ball as two Western Bulldogs opponents look on.
The Lions, who are in the premiership hunt, would be significantly boosted by a long stay at the Gabba.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

Stately Adelaide Oval makes a strong claim as a picturesque venue in an immensely proud footy state — one containing the largest number of anti-Victorian conspiracy theorists who, no doubt, believe the AFL Commission will decide the grand final venue on a grassy knoll.

The West Australian Government played hardball with the AFL in early negotiations about border closures and current quarantine restrictions make Perth a problematic destination for a single game.

Yet the imposing Perth Stadium presents as a logical and even righteous venue, given West Coast was the first team to take the premiership cup across state lines and the burden of travel the Eagles have endured throughout their proud history.

Underlying each bid is a largely unspoken factor that will press the populist buttons of the politicians putting forward their state’s cases to the AFL, knowing they could win enormous favour among local footy fans.

Port Adelaide, Brisbane and West Coast are among the leading premiership contenders in a season when they could be handed the potentially defining advantage of a home grand final.

“Hold on a minute!” the most parochial of non-Victorian fans will cry. “Didn’t you just say the MCG did not provide a significant advantage for Victorian clubs in grand finals? Why would this be any different?”

The answer lies in the factors that have brought relative equity to a competition where the disparities in club concentration, travel and stadium use create constant anguish about allegedly unfair fixturing.

As Port Adelaide players walk off the field, a large crowd of fans cheer and hold flags and banners
Even a smaller crowd of Power fans can produce plenty of noise, as they did in Port’s win over Richmond.(AAP: David Mariuz)

Simply put, Melbourne clubs play many of their games against fellow Melbourne clubs in largely neutral venues, while the non-Victorian teams are compensated for greater travel by their genuine home ground advantage.

Data junkies can mine past fixtures in search of anomalies. Yet for all the time wasted by fans quibbling about the supposed imbalance of their club’s fixture, it has seldom, if ever, had a discernible influence on the make-up of the finals or the destination of the cup.

The corporatisation of the grand final means the MCG hums and occasionally roars on its biggest footy day. But it usually lacks the ferocious atmosphere of other occasions, particularly preliminary final day, when it is packed with the most invested fans.

But with borders closed, it seems likely the Gabba, Perth Stadium or Adelaide Oval will be fully populated with home fans and we could have a raucous parochial atmosphere now seldom seen at AFL grand finals.

There isn’t a team that would relish playing West Coast in Perth, where Eagles fans have never seen an opposition player or adverse umpiring decision they didn’t want to boo.

Only 10,000 attended Saturday night’s epic Adelaide Over encounter between Port Adelaide and Richmond on Saturday. However when the umpires short-changed the Power late in the second quarter it sounded more like 55,000.

Brisbane seems just short of premiership contention if their competitors bring the kind of brutal pressure that can expose the slightest weakness. But if the entire finals series is played in the Queensland hub it could be a different story.

Any of these cities would fully deserve an AFL Grand Final. Sweetening the deal is the possibility flag favouritism could be thrown in with the hosting rights.

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Local News - Victoria

Behrouz Boochani decision shows respect for international law

Billions of dollars of expenditure wasted
New Zealand’s acceptance of Behrouz Boochani’s claim to refugee status makes me sad. Not for him, of course. No, I am sad because the Australian government has caused him (and others) an immense amount of suffering. And for what? If you look at it in purely dollar terms, according to the Refugee Council of Australia keeping asylum seekers offshore has cost more than a billion dollars a year. In the 2018-19 financial year, the cost to hold someone in detention in Australia was more than $350,000 a year. Can we hope to see the system of incarceration begin to fray further, with pressure mounting on the Morrison government to take up New Zealand’s offer to resettle ‘‘our’’ asylum seekers?
Fiona Colin, Malvern East

Grace and honour in the face of suffering
In the recent past, we watched New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern respond to disasters, massacres and pandemics with grace, honour, respect, humanity and strength. New Zealand recognised the validity of Behrouz Boochani’s asylum claim and granted him a visa. Ardern and New Zealand demonstrate repeatedly how a nation, a leader, a people can display strength wrapped in humanity.
Judy Bamberger, O’Connor, ACT


Unable to report violence
Congratulations to John Silvester (‘‘The scandal behind locked doors’’, 25/7) and the perceptive and compassionate comments by Dean McWhirter, the policeman who informed the article. It’s about 40 years since I escaped and this is the first time I’ve read something about family violence that has not been judgmental. McWhirter calls family violence the tragedy no one understands, yet he seems to understand a great deal including that the victim is often unable to report anything. Prompted by Silvester’s article, I have tried to imagine what lockdown world would have been like. There would have been no escape. No quiet moments, no normal moments. I used to crawl under the bed to catch lost sleep and pretend to be working if he came home. Only in lockdown, he would always be home. More alcohol, more abuse, more violence and no escape. Constant fear. Not a moment of freedom. How awful. Please, when you see it or hear it call the police. She doesn’t because she can’t. A visit or two from the police will often break the cycle. Your phone call may well reduce her terror and misery. It could help save a family. It could even save a life.
Diana Thurbon, Keysborough

Rights and responsibilities
The coronavirus spread in Victoria has clearly revealed some of what occurs when people put their ‘‘rights’’ ahead of responsibilities. This attitude is seen in people claiming it is their right to go where they please, and/or not to comply with directions aimed at limiting the virus spread. There is no thought for the care of others. To our detriment, this attitude is becoming more prevalent.
John Weymouth, Ringwood East

Worried about climate
I’m really worried about global warming. Global warming is more serious than people think, even with COVID-19 going on. Greenhouse gases are still forming a blanket of air pollution over the world, trapping the heat in. That heat is melting arctic habitat, causing water levels to rise. Populated land is sinking, homes are being lost. There are island refugees – unlucky people whose islands are sunken. We can help stop that. My idea is to make all cars electric, and petrol stations can all have solar panels on the roofs. Those solar panels can capture enough energy to charge the cars so we can basically make solar-powered cars, and people who work at petrol stations won’t lose their jobs.
Benjamin Hines, 10, Heathmont

Women’s sport MIA
For a while, it seemed as though the media was making a strong attempt to promote gender equality in sport. The sports section had a reasonable balance of articles on women’s and men’s sporting issues. This has been changing over the past few months. I’m not sure that there is any reason to blame COVID-19 for this. A recent online edition of The Age made no mention of women’s sport. One article, on the possibility of staging the 2021 Australian Open, could perhaps be seen to apply to both men and women. Why has there been this backwards step?
Jane Trimble, Airlie Beach, Qld

Social division
We are lucky that Josh Frydenberg is an admirer of Thatcher and Reagan and is looking to their models to see us through this looming recession. The US and Britain are coping so well unlike Germany. Really, what does it take for us to recognise a failed model that created such wide social divisions?
Roger Dunscombe, Richmond

Poor economics
So, Thatcher and Reagan are Treasurer Frydenberg’s inspiration. God help us. I think Josh should read the history of the impact of those leaders. Certainly, Thatcher stimulated Britain’s economy but at immense expense to the poor. Reagan’s economics were a disaster.
Barry Buskens, Beaumaris

A forbidden brand
‘‘Coon’’ as a cheese brand has now been cancelled due to ‘‘coon’’ being a racist slur against African Americans and, by extension, other ‘‘people of colour’’. Will this particular combination of letters now be a forbidden word in any usage? Others apart from Coon cheese inventor, Edward William Coon, have this vilified word as their surname.

Rather than banning a word deemed offensive, how about turning it into a defiant statement of identity. Words are given power when they are cancelled: the power of what is forbidden, of what dare not speak its name. Instead, a word can be appropriated by the group it seeks to denigrate, and those who would cause injury and hurt, can find their verbal weapon has been either neutralised, or erected as a strong shield against their assault.
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East

Have-nots who spend
John Lithgow (Letters, 26/7) asks what the critics of the proposed tax cuts don’t understand? What we don’t understand is why the government would prioritise spending on the haves (the taxpayers) who are just as likely to save their tax cuts as spend them, over the have-nots (those on benefits) who spend all the dollars that come their way. Leaving aside the issue of fairness, increasing benefits to the have-nots is far more effective in stimulating spending.
Linda Skinner, Mooroolbark

Life became complicated
The aged care crisis (Editorial, 25/7) is not a product of the pandemic, but has arisen acutely at this time, after years of federal government neglect and ineffective and underfunded action. In the 1940s and ’50s, it was common for grandma or grandpa to live with a daughter. But life became more complicated when women pursued careers outside the home, and medical know-how expanded exponentially, extending lifespans.

Aged care homes sprang up, mainly initiated by religious groups, benevolent societies and local municipalities. But with federal backing, and only light-touch oversight, companies saw easy profits and quickly became dominant players. The Howard government abolished mandatory staffing ratios. Staff training and salaries were minimal, and aged care became a lucrative industry.
Now with COVID-19, the chickens are coming home to roost. And who will care well for the ageing who are dying without dignity?
Neil Wilkinson, Mont Albert

Local council stimulus
To counter the downturn in employment during this pandemic, I propose job creation run by
local government, using Commonwealth money. Councils already have many ‘‘shovel ready’’ small projects they would like to complete but lack the finance to do so. We should encourage every council to prepare a list of works that could employ the unemployed in their area. Local governments would need at least one full-time employee to run the scheme and should have guidelines for KPI supplied by the federal government. A minimum wage for 20 hours’ work isn’t much above the dole, so a little extra money spent would result in a massive nationwide benefit. This, for many people, would replace the dole.

More people working means more money in the economy, leading to a faster recovery. This is a far better economic stimulus because not only do we get millions of hours of work to improve our nation, we get money directly to the lowest paid in our society.
Graham Allen, Mount Pleasant

Hard work and loyalty
Paying the price for a casualised workforce (Letters, 25/7). Quite the opposite, Mark Bennett. Too many times I have heard of young casual workers who, when offered the choice, have opted to remain as casual workers on a higher hourly rate, rather than the security of part-time (lower hourly rate with pro rata sick leave and annual leave). And all too quickly did our young casual workers realise that with the guaranteed $1500 JobKeeper allowance every fortnight, chasing extra shifts is silly and if you ring in sick a couple of hours before your shift, well, eh, you still get the $1500. Sorry, I’m with Ita Buttrose. Young casual shift workers have never had it so good and maybe a lesson in loyalty, resilience and good old-fashioned hard work wouldn’t go astray.
Tim Habben, Hawthorn

Pooled tests not new
The suggestion by Helen Kamil to pool patient’s samples for
COVID-19 testing (Letters, 25/7) is not a new idea. Pooling has been regularly used in laboratories here and overseas when mass testing of clinical material is required and a sensitive test method is available. But testing pools containing up to 64 samples as suggested runs the risk that individual samples with low levels of the virus will go undetected. My understanding is that Victorian laboratories are testing pools containing a maximum of four patient samples. This greatly reduces the possibility that COVID-19-positive samples will be missed.

When community transmission rates are increasing, there is an increased likelihood that many pools will yield a positive result. This necessitates the retesting of every sample in these pools to determine those contributing to this result. When pool sizes are large (32 or more), the likelihood of a positive result increases, with the consequence that the turnaround time for individual patient’s test results also increases. This comes at a time when contact tracing of infected individuals is critical.
Dr Chris Birch, Surrey Hills

A special kind of care
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Aged care does require ‘‘a special kind of person’’, even heroic, as stated by Gail Greatorex (Letters, 25/7). However, staff with Certificate III qualifications can’t deliver good quality care, and will have no hope of managing
COVID-19 infection control if they lack the skills and knowledge essential for caring for elderly people with complex conditions. Not only do they need more than ‘‘adequate’’ staffing ratios, these staff also need greatly improved education plus close supervision and guidance from registered nurses and doctors with geriatric and infection-control training.
Sophie Cuttriss, Inverloch




Perhaps we could adopt the Japanese custom of a curt nod or a slight bow to acknowledge each other. The wearing of masks is considered a common courtesy in Japan.
Dee McLarty, Eagle Point

Had COVID-19 test at 10am on Thursday. Negative result notice by text at 11.36am on Saturday. Happy with the speed and the result.
David Allen, Bayswater North

Great news for anyone who doesn’t like wearing a mask. Just dangle it around your neck, and as long as you sip a takeaway coffee or puff on a ciggie, you and others will be protected. Apparently.
Mark Lewis, Ascot Vale

As the virus spreads through aged care, authorities must monitor disability accommodation, where good hygiene and social distancing are difficult to implement.
Phil Lipshut, Elsternwick

I view with suspicion anything Steve Bannon does. He’s the man who delivered Trump the presidency.
Linelle Gibson, Williamstown

Since it appears that Trump was only joking when he put his hand up for the presidency (The Sunday Age, 26/7), it now appears the joke’s on those who voted for him.
Henry Herzog, St Kilda East

Gore Vidal noted he was born in the US and after 9/11 lived in Bush’s ‘‘Homeland’’. Judging by Federal Police activity in Portland, he fortunately didn’t live long enough to experience Trump’s Fatherland.
Moray Byrne, Edithvale

Tax conundrum
John Lithgow (Letters, 26/7) supports tax cuts as they will boost the economy. Logically then we should abolish all taxes. Oh but wait – we need some taxes to pay our politicians.
Dave Torr, Werribee

Memo Alastair Clarkson: Nobody likes a poor loser, so suck it up and soldier on.
John Paine, Kew East

Our ABC is the ‘‘ugly duckling’’ to our government. Maybe now they realise it’s really the (Norman) swan.
Myra Fisher, Brighton East

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Australian News

T20 World Cup postponed to next year, no decision on whether India or Australia will host

The Twenty20 World Cup, set to be held in Australia in October-November this year, has been postponed by the ICC due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The ICC has been exploring contingency plans since Cricket Australia (CA) acknowledged the logistical challenges involved in staging a 16-team tournament amid travel and other restrictions this year.

As a result, there will be back-to-back men’s T20 World Cups in 2021 and 2022 before the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023.

“The decision … was taken after careful consideration of all of the options available to us and gives us the best possible opportunity of delivering two safe and successful T20 World Cups for fans around the world,” ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said in a statement.

David Warner, without a helmet, shakes hands with Steve Smith.
Australia would have been serious contenders on home soil.(AAP: Dan Peled)

“It’s been a challenging time for everyone,” CA interim CEO, Nick Hockley said.

“We are confident that with this decision, we will give ourselves the best chance to safely welcome fans into the outstanding venues across the country to enjoy watching the world’s best men’s cricketers compete in this major global event in either 2021 or 2022.

“Cricket Australia now looks forward to hosting a safe and successful summer of bi-lateral cricket.”

In the original calendar, India was scheduled to host the 2021 edition of the Twenty20 World Cup.

The ICC did not specify the hosting order and a spokesman told Reuters the governing body was yet to finalise, between India and Australia, who will host which edition.

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) is keen to stage the 2021 edition to avoid hosting back-to-back ICC events in 2022 and 2023.

It has resented the uncertainty around this year’s World Cup which, it feels, created a scheduling headache for the cricket boards already bruised by the pandemic’s financial impact.

The BCCI has also been open about its plans to stage its delayed Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition in the now-vacant October-November slot, something former Australian captain Allan Border earlier described as little more than a “money grab”.

India has over a million confirmed coronavirus cases, with 27,497 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“Our members now have the clarity they need around event windows to enable them to reschedule lost bilateral and domestic cricket,” Sawhney said.

CA has already cancelled its home limited-overs series against Zimbabwe in August, and is eyeing off a potential limited-overs tour of England instead.

The ICC said it would continue to evaluate the situation while preparing for the 2021 women’s 50-overs World Cup, which is scheduled in New Zealand from February 6.

Australia’s women’s team won its version of the T20 World Cup in front of more than 86,000 fans at the MCG in February.


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Australian News

Gold Coast Suns won’t rush decision on treatment for Matt Rowell’s AFL shoulder injury

The Gold Coast Suns are taking a cautious approach to treating Matt Rowell’s shoulder injury, as concerns grow the teenager is facing season-ending reconstructive surgery.

Scans today confirmed Rowell dislocated his right shoulder during Saturday’s 37-point defeat to Geelong at Kardinia Park.

The 2019 number one draft pick, who had been on fire for the Suns in their three matches prior to the Cats fixture, sustained the damage in a tackle by Geelong’s Brandan Parfitt during the opening quarter.

The midfielder has since flown with the squad to Wollongong, where the Suns will spend the next two weeks.

Amid reports the club is debating whether or not to put Rowell under the knife, Suns football manager Jon Haines said there was no hurry on finalising the 19-year-old’s treatment plan.


“What we’ll do now is take a little bit of time to assess those options, assess the views and have a good chat about it,” Haines said.

“We don’t feel like we have to rush the decision. We understand there is a high level of interest in it, but we also want to make sure we make the right decision for Matt and that will be done in consultation with Matt and his family.

Haines said Rowell would remain with the Suns squad for the time being during their New South Wales stay.

“He’s frustrated and disappointed obviously, but that’s the type of person he is,” he said.

“Depending on what path we take with our decision, we’ll make a decision on whether he stays here or not.”

Former Suns captain and Cats great Gary Ablett sustained a similar injury while playing for Gold Coast in 2014 and missed the rest of the season after opting for reconstruction surgery.

Ablett, who played for the Cats against the Suns on Saturday, has offered to provide advice to Rowell.


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