“Some of them thought I was a little bit crazy choosing an alternate kind of lifestyle.”
Said John Bowskill, a vet and computer programmer who moved to Western Oz to grow fresh produce with… fish poo. Hard to understand why his friends were sceptical…
FRUSTRATIONS AS MILLIONS AWAIT LOCKDOWN LIFT
As millions of Aussies wait to see if lockdowns will end as planned, new local cases of COVID were reported yesterday in NSW (24), Queensland (2) and the Northern Territory (1). The locked-down parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory will find out today if they are free to roam, while residents of Western Oz’s Perth and Peel region will stay at home until at least Saturday. Soz Greater Sydney and surrounding regions, you’re in lockdown until 9 July… As for our state and territory leaders, they’ve continued to vent their frustration, and that could make for a tense conversation when they get together for another National Cabinet session today…
WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA?
Cutting the number of people coming to Oz from overseas despite more than 34,000 Aussies still trying to get home. The current cap is 6,370 arrivals a week, with NSW accounting for almost half. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been vocal about it this week. He says the threat of lockdowns will remain as long as international arrivals keep funnelling through hotel quarantine – the source of several COVID outbreaks. He is pushing for a cut of up to 80%. Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszucuk is calling for its cap to be halved, and Western Oz Premier Mark McGowan has voiced similar concern over the “large group of people” leaving the country to travel overseas. Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has said the “first response should not be to close down our borders”. But this morning, The Australian Financial Review (paywall) says the Morrison government is considering calls to cut the current international arrivals cap, and The Australian (paywall) says Morrison will seek a new deal with state leaders on vaccination thresholds to end lockdowns.
AND WHERE DID THE GREAT ASTRAZENECA VACCINE DEBATE GET TO?
There are still differing opinions and confusion after PM Scott Morrison said that under 40yos could get the AstraZeneca shot after consulting a doctor. In a neat piece of timing, the Therapeutic Goods Administration yesterday reported 5 new cases of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. That brings the nation’s total of clotting cases to 69 out of 4.8 million doses administered. And if you’re up for some more stats, 161,390 doses were put in arms on Wednesday – a single-day record. That takes us to 7.8 million shots done, and 7.9% of the population fully vaccinated. Not good enough, said former PM Malcolm Turnbull. “Governments make lots of mistakes of course, as we all do, but this is something that was very doable.”
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ALBANESE'S JOBS PUSH
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will use a speech at the National Press Club in Canberra today to release a “full employment white paper” if Labor wins government in the next election. Reports say one of his first acts will be to call an Australian jobs summit focussing on a post-COVID Australia. Albanese is expected to point to the latest Intergenerational Report, released earlier this week, that forecast weaker economic growth, budget deficits and high debt for some time. “We need to get through this, and we need to look ahead. It’s not good enough to snap back to 2019,” Albanese will say, according to speech notes. Experts will be brought together from across government, industry and the union movement to develop a plan to reduce unemployment and underemployment, with Albanese arguing “we need to think of the labour market more broadly than just the monthly figures”.
OUCH, THAT’S STEEP...
Bad news for house hunters/good news for home sellers… Property prices have continued to climb, rising 1.9% in June. Looking back on the financial year that was, national home values rose 13.5% – the highest rate of growth since 2004, when the early 2000’s housing boom was winding down after a strong growth period. Every capital city posted gains in June, with Hobart leading the pack (3%), followed by Sydney (2.6%) and Melbourne (3%). It’s thanks to strong demand, better than expected economic conditions and record-low interest rates. That and a low number of properties on the market for sale have created some “urgency” among buyers, according to CoreLogic’s Eliza Owen. But things could ease up. The pace of growth at the top end of the market has cooled, which is a “clear sign of a shift in momentum,” she says. Until next month…
XI DOMINATES CHINA’S BIG PARTY
It’s President Xi Jinping’s party, and he’ll have military jet displays, cannon salutes and patriotic songs if he wants to. In an hour-long address before a carefully vetted crowd of 70,000 to mark the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi praised citizens and the party for creating a “new world”. And he pledged to build up China’s military to “firmly defend the nation’s sovereignty”. That includes China’s territories Hong Kong and Macau, which will retain a “high degree of autonomy” as they “accurately implement the principles of ‘One Country, Two Systems’”. And on Taiwan, Xi wants a “peaceful reunification”, so China will “smash” any attempts at formal independence for the island. In a warning to the West, Xi said foreign forces trying to bully the nation will “have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.” Wow-wee did that get the crowd going…
A TRIO OF CELEBRITY LEGAL BATTLES
• A Los Angeles judge yesterday denied pop star Britney Spears’ request to remove her father Jamie from her conservatorship arrangement – and to bring an end to the arrangement in full. Last week she told the court her father was “abusive”, had forced her to work, and would not allow her to have another child. For his part, Jamie Spears has asked the court to investigate the allegations.
• Andrea Constand, the woman who put disgraced comedian Bill Cosby behind bars, says it’s “not only disappointing but of concern” that his sexual assault conviction was quashed. She worries it could discourage sexual assault survivors from seeking justice. Cosby was released from prison yesterday due to a “process violation” in his case.
• Actor James Franco has agreed to pay a US$2.2 million settlement over sexual misconduct claims. The lawsuit was launched last year by 2 former students from his now-defunct Los Angeles film school. They claim they are victims of fraud and that Franco behaved inappropriately during sex scene classes. Franco has repeatedly denied the allegations.
A statue of Princess Diana has been unveiled on what would have been her 60th birthday. The work by Ian Rank-Broadley sits in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, which is said to be one of Diana’s favourite places when she lived there. It was commissioned in 2017 during better times between her sons Wiliam and Harry. ICYMI, the princes aren’t as close as they once were, and the event has raised hopes of a reconciliation. Harry arrived in the UK last week to do a stint in quarantine ahead of the unveiling while Meghan stayed behind to look after their newborn daughter Lilibet. William’s wife Catherine didn’t attend the event either after the guest list was scaled back because of COVID restrictions. Those who attended included Diana’s brother Charles Spencer and the committee that oversaw the statue’s creation. There were no speeches, but William and Harry paid tribute to their mum and thanked those involved in the event. “Every day, we wish she was still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and legacy.”
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
According to the fashion gurus, the longtime staple skinny jeans are a thing of the past. The new craze? Straight leg jeans. If, like us, you’re wondering what the difference is and how to style them, this has you sorted.
For something to watch this weekend, It’s a Sin is equal parts heartbreaking and joyful. Set during the AIDS crisis in Britain in the 1980s, it covers the fears and misunderstandings around it at the time and celebrates youth, freedom and identity. Catch all 5 episodes on Stan.
Feeling a little guilty about all the lockdown baking treats? Our hand is up, so we’ve whipped up this chicken salad with fennel and herbs to get back on track. The best part? You end up with leftover orange paste – a great edition for sauces, salsas and cakes… It’s all about balance, right?
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12.30pm (AEST) – Labor Leader Anthony Albanese addresses the National Press Club – Canberra
National Cabinet meets
ABS Data Release – Lending Indicators, May
World Sports Journalists Day
Birthdays for Larry David (1947), Lindsay Lohan (1986) and Margot Robbie (1990)
• the deaths of Nostradamus (1566), Ernest Hemingway (1961) and James Stewart (1997)
• US President Lyndon Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law (1964)
• the rescue of 12 boys and their coach from a cave in Thailand after being trapped for 9 days (2018)
Independence Day – Belarus
Plastic Bag Free Day
Birthdays for Tom Cruise (1962) and Julian Assange (1971)
• the Battle of Gettysburg (1863)
• Karl Benz driving the first automobile (1886)
• the premiere of Back to the Future (1985)
Independence Day – US
Post Malone’s birthday (1995)
• Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) creating the story of Alice in Wonderland for Alice Liddell on a family boat trip in Oxford (1862)
• the launch of hotmail.com, the first free web-based email service (1996)
• North Korea testing their first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (2017)
• the deaths of Thomas Jefferson (1826), Marie Curie (1934) and Barry White (2003)
• wedding anniversaries for Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne (1982), David and Victoria Beckham (1999) and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis (2015)
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