GRACosway Weekly Wrap Up

  • Australia’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 6,500, while recoveries overtook active cases this week.
  • The Government will look to trial a week of Federal Parliament in May.
  • A coronavirus Bluetooth tracking app will be rolled out as the Government looks to ease social distancing restrictions.
  • Eminent Barrister Bret Walker SC will lead a special commission of inquiry into the Ruby Princess cruise ship which is linked to hundreds of coronavirus cases.
  • National Cabinet agreed on seven ‘national principles’ for schools during COVID-19.
  • The High Court has ruled the AFP warrant used to search News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home was invalid.
  • The Federal Government has announced $50 million in support for regional media.

Flattening the curve

Political leaders have praised Australians for their social distancing efforts over the Easter long weekend, lifting hopes that restrictions may soon be relaxed. The PM confirmed the National Cabinet is planning the next major stage of the coronavirus response, however warned current restrictions will be in place for at least another four weeks. Mr Morrison also clarified that any easing of restrictions must be done gradually to avoid a second wave of infections.

IMF forecasts grim outlook

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned Australia is likely to endure its most significant economic hit since the onset of the Great Depression, estimating the economy will contract by around 6.7 per cent this year. According to the IMF, unemployment is expected to average 7.6 per cent, increasing to 8.9 per cent in 2021. However, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg criticised the IMF’s grim outlook, saying it doesn’t take into account the Coalition’s JobKeeper wage subsidy program.

PM under pressure to consider WHO funding

A group of Coalition backbenchers has called for a review of Australia’s contributions to the World Health Organisation. The calls come after US President Donald Trump froze payments to the organisation over its initial management of the coronavirus. Liberal backbencher Dave Sharma said Australia should condition future funding contributions on “necessary reforms”. The PM said Australia will not halt or cut funding to the WHO due to its “important work” in the Pacific and elsewhere, however said he would continue to push for reforms within the organisation, labelling its decision to reopen wet markets in Wuhan “unfathomable”.


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