Weekly Wrap Up
- Leaders will meet today to discuss making National Cabinet permanent going forward.
- News Corp announced it will cease printing 112 suburban and regional mastheads, with 76 moving to digital and 36 closing altogether.
- The United Nations Cop26 Climate Summit – scheduled to be held in Glasgow this November – will likely be postponed until November 2021.
- The Australian Federal Police ruled out pursuing charges against News Corp Journalist Annika Smethurst for publishing stories based on classified government documents.
- Construction work fell 1 per cent in the March quarter, according to new figures released by the ABS.
- RBA Governor Philip Lowe has told the Parliamentary Inquiry into COVID-19 that the hit to the economy has not been as severe as expected.
- New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has revealed plans for a trans-Tasman ‘bubble’ between Australia and NZ may come to fruition by September this year.
- Premier Daniel Andrews has again stressed if Victorians should work from home if possible.
PM unveils JobMaker Plan
This week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison used a speech at the National Press Club to praise Australia’s “tangible success” in tackling coronavirus, and unveiled the Federal Government’s JobMaker Plan which will be used to guide a three to five-year economic recovery from the pandemic. The PM explained the plan will look to incorporate a series of reforms across areas such as skills, taxation, industrial relations, energy and resources, higher education, and manufacturing, among others. The PM’s announcement follows revelations late last week that the cost of the JobKeeper program had been revised down by $60 billion due to a reporting error in estimates of the number of employees likely to access the scheme. The program is now expected to support 3.5 million Australians, down from an estimated six million.
In his address earlier this week, the PM outlined industrial relations as a priority area for reform, and said Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations Christian Porter will work with employers, employees and unions in working groups to look at a series of focus areas. Mr Morrison also revealed that as a further sign of goodwill, the Government has shelved its ‘union-busting’ Ensuring Integrity Bill. However, in comments to the media, Mr Porter said the Government would take industrial relations legislation to parliament by the end of the year, with or without consensus. The PM also focused on skills in his address, and said previous reviews will help in guiding future reform of the VET system.
Border wars continue
Elsewhere, the PM this week called on his state counterparts to justify keeping their borders closed, saying border closures were never part of the expert medical advice and are harming the economy. Despite new figures revealing a potential $2 billion hit to the Queensland economy if borders are to stay closed, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk maintains she will require NSW and Victoria to record no local cases of coronavirus for one month before she reopens the state’s borders. One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson has flagged her intention to lodge a constitutional challenge over the Queensland border closure, while former politician Clive Palmer has lodged documents in the High Court to challenge WA’s border controls.
Next week, Parliament will sit in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.