Weekly Wrap Up
- This week marked the one-year anniversary since the Morrison Government’s election victory.
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison penned an op-ed in The Daily Telegraph, calling for a focus on economic recovery now that the worst of the pandemic is over.
- Figures from the ABS show retail sales have fallen by 17.9 per cent in April.
- Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor has released the Technology Roadmap discussion paper.
- Minister for Industry Karen Andrews addressed the National Press Club on Tuesday and spoke about using government procurement to support local manufacturers.
- The latest Newspoll has the Coalition in front of Labor, 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis. PM Scott Morrison leads Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese as preferred PM 56-29.
COVIDSafe app gets first run
This week saw the first publicly announced use of the COVIDSafe app for contact tracing, as Victorian authorities downloaded a positive patient’s data and identified a close contact who is now in quarantine. Almost six million Australians to date have downloaded the app, which Minister for Health Greg Hunt says remains “key to ensuring a stronger, safer future for Australia”. Australia has now surpassed 101 coronavirus-related deaths, following the 19th death linked to Sydney’s Newmarch House aged care facility.
States hold firm on borders
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian this week urged other Premiers and Chief Ministers to open their borders, arguing interstate travel will play an important part in Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic. Premier Berejiklian also warned her counterparts that other states may miss out on tourism benefits if borders remain closed. WA Premier Mark McGowan labelled Ms Berejiklian’s actions as “bullying”, while QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland would not be lectured by “a state that has the highest numbers in Australia”. Currently, WA, Queensland, SA, Tasmania and the NT have their borders closed, and are yet to announce a timeline to reopen them.
China trade tensions heat up
A motion led by Australia and the European Union to establish an independent review of the coronavirus pandemic passed the World Health Assembly unanimously this week. While China gave its last-minute support, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra labelled Australia’s efforts to take credit for the inquiry “nothing but a joke”. Further highlighting deteriorating relations between the two countries, China this week followed through with its threat to impose 80 per cent tariffs on Australian barley. Reports suggest Chinese officials have compiled a list of Australian goods that may be targeted next, including wine, oatmeal and dairy. Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham said Chinese authorities need to respond to the “unsourced” claim.