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Budget 2021: how do the speeches from Australia’s major parties compare? – video | Australia news From “World news | The Guardian”


How do Australia’s two major parties compare on key policies after the federal budget was delivered? Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivered his budget address on Tuesday, pledging his budget spend would allow Australia to bounce back from a Covid recession by extending tax cuts for business and workers as well as providing a multibillion-dollar boost to aged care, childcare and espousing his government’s plans for housing. In response, opposition leader Anthony Albanese says Labor will establish a new $10bn social housing fund to build 30,000 affordable homes for vulnerable Australians in addition to reforming childcare and aged care







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Australia’s Victoria On Alert After First COVID-19 Case In Two Months From “NDTV News – World-news”



Australia has reported just over 29,900 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic beganSydney, Australia: Australia’s second most populous state reported a locally acquired COVID-19 case for the first time in more than two months on Tuesday, sending authorities scrambling to find the source of the infection amid concern about a new outbreak.A man in his 30s, who returned from India in mid-April and completed mandatory two-week hotel quarantine in neighbouring South Australia, tested positive for the virus after developing symptoms over the weekend, authorities said.Health workers had interviewed the man and urged people he had been in contact with to self-isolate and get tested. They also published a list of locations exposed to the virus.Though Australia has largely eradicated the virus with border closures, Victoria has had most of the coronavirus cases and deaths and spent much of 2020 in lockdown.”There is definitely a sense of complacency creeping in,” Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters.”We haven’t had really significant outbreaks for some time and people drop their guard, people go about life as if we haven’t been through the 15 months we have all been through. But it is a reminder that we need to be on guard.”Victoria had no immediate plans to elevate social distancing or mask-wearing rules, said Sutton, adding it was possible the man caught the virus in quarantine in Australia and not in India.There were no other cases reported in Victoria or in New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state, which tightened its virus-protection rules last week when a couple tested positive without a known source.The new Victorian case rekindled calls for the federal government to play a more active role in the hotel quarantine system, which is administered by the states.”We are going to need a strong border control and a strong quarantine control likely for years,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said at the news conference.”We cannot continue to have a situation where it is the states disproportionately bearing the load.”Australia has reported just over 29,900 novel coronavirus cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began.It closed its borders to all but citizens and permanent residents in March last year and international arrivals, except from New Zealand, spend two weeks in hotel quarantine at their own expense.(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)







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Australia’s anti-war movement is depleted – who will stop the march to the ‘drums of war’? | Jeff Sparrow From “World news | The Guardian”



A war with China would be unthinkable – but no one should believe it couldn’t happen.“Many estimate that we have three to five years before conflict begins.” That was the grim message from senator Jim Molan in his recent piece for the Australian.We might dismiss such prognostications as an effort by a former military leader to scare up some more defence spending. Yet Molan correctly identifies the underlying dynamic of the US-China relationship: namely, an ongoing struggle for regional influence between a United States in economic decline and an increasingly ascendant China.As he says, “the second-most powerful nation (China) wants to overtake the most powerful nation (the US). This has happened 16 times in the past 500 years and war has resulted on 12 of those occasions.”Sydney University scholar David Brophy argues that the long-term Australian reliance on US power in the Asia Pacific makes local elites particularly terrified about the consequence of a US withdrawal from the region. As a result, the rhetoric from Australian politicians and military leaders might be seen as directed as much at the Americans as at the Chinese – an attempt to goad Biden into a more aggressive stance.In a way, though, that doesn’t really matter.In politics, the mask becomes the face. Irrespective of intentions, rhetorical posturing becomes genuine belligerence once it’s understood as such by the other side.In a deeply unstable situation, verbal confrontations take on a momentum of their own, particularly with the leaders of both powers pandering to constituencies hopped up on nationalist bluster.And that’s not the biggest reason to worry.Lack of vibrant left spells dangerThe post-911 invasions should have proved – if any proof were needed – that military intervention only worsens conditions for people living under oppressive regimes. The campaign against the Taliban did not liberate the women of Afghanistan; the overthrow of Saddam Hussein plunged Iraq further into misery.Yet, once again, some on the left have fallen in behind the rhetoric of the right; persuaded by the oppression in Xinjiang, the brutality in Hong Kong and the general authoritarianism of the Chinese rulers, some of those who might be counted on to oppose war have come to believe that there’s something progressive in backing a military build-up.As a result, the resources upon which an anti-war movement might draw are much depleted, ideologically and organisationally.The danger in the current moment doesn’t, then, pertain simply to the strength of the forces pushing towards a confrontation between two nuclear armed nations but also to the weakness of those who would prevent it.Eighteen years ago, we saw how a relatively small group of neoconservatives, initially centred on the Project for the New American Century, could make war happen, gradually persuading most of the western elite to back their unhinged plans for Iraq.Their real opposition came from elsewhere.On 15 February 2003, some 10 million people took to the streets of hundreds of cities across the world. Contemplating the largest one-day anti-war mobilisation in human history, Patrick Tyler from the New York Times wrote of a clash between the “two super powers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion.”In that showdown, the US eventually prevailed, unleashing a catastrophic invasion that killed hundreds of thousands of people and set in train a series of disasters are still reverberating around the region.That’s why there’s no room for complacency.Today’s militarists understand that the anti-war campaigns of the past relied on the organisational muscle of the trade unions – and that unions are at their weakest state in 150 years. They also know that the social movements arising from the new left of the 60s have more of a presence in universities and NGOs than they do on the streets.So who will stop the march to conflict?In the next period, the tension between Australia, the US and China will almost certainly increase, with more of the now-familiar tit-for-tat provocations. The lack of a vibrant left makes the situation extraordinarily dangerous, with the more gung-ho politicians feeling little pressure to restrain themselves.That’s why we should take Molan seriously.He wants three to five years to prepare for war.The same brief timeline applies to those who want peace. If we are to prevent this madness, we need to get organised – and quickly.







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China says it will “indefinitely suspend” all activities under the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue due to Australia’s ”Cold War mindset and ideological discrimination” : worldnews From “World News”



“Ideological discimination”. Let’s just get this out of the way. To discriminate literally means to discern the differences between things. That’s where the phrase “discriminating taste” comes from. If you hire a more intelligent candidate, you’ve just disciminated on the basis of intelligence. What this is not is unjust discrimination, which is what people get upset about, meting out different behavior on the basis of irrelevant differences.I can think of no version of discrimination more justified than ideological discrimination. You’re not born with your ideology. It’s not an immutable characteristic. If your ideology is bloodthirsty nationalism, I feel entirely justified in discriminating on that basis. That treatment is earned.







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Australia’s NSW scrambles after locally-acquired COVID case | Coronavirus pandemic News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



Man from Sydney’s eastern suburbs is first to acquire the virus locally in more than a month.Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) on Wednesday has reported its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month, sending authorities rushing to trace the source of the virus.
A man in his 50s who tested positive for the new coronavirus had visited a cinema, restaurants, a service station and a butcher in Sydney’s eastern suburbs while not knowing he was infectious, authorities said on Wednesday.
The infected person has not travelled overseas recently and does not work in a high-risk job such as in hotel quarantine or hospitals, NSW state Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters in Sydney.
“So all of the usual routes where we would expect someone to have acquired the infection are not clear,” Chant said. Close contacts have been asked to undergo tests and self-isolate.
Australia has largely contained the coronavirus outbreak through snap lockdowns, border controls and speedy contact-tracing systems, with just over 29,800 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began.
It has reported zero cases on most days this year.







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Australia’s India travel ban: does the health justification stack up and is the move legal? | Australia news From “World news | The Guardian”



At the weekend, the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, announced the government would bar people – including citizens and permanent residents – from coming to Australia from India.The decision prompted a storm of criticism, including from the Australian Human Rights Commission, as Australians came to grips with an extreme use of a power most didn’t know existed.So how did the ban come about, is it justified by medical advice, and could it be challenged legally?What is the India travel ban?On 27 April, the Australian government announced it was suspending all travel from India until 15 May, due to the increase in Covid cases in hotel quarantine from people arriving from India.Despite the ban, a flight from Doha arrived in Australia later in the week carrying passengers who had transited through Qatar from India, including cricketers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson.Following a national security committee of cabinet meeting, on Friday the government alerted national cabinet to its plan and then, at 11.50pm, made a determination to close the loophole.Passengers arrive in Sydney off a Qatar Airways flight on 1 May. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty ImagesWhat does the determination do?The determination states that a person cannot fly to Australia if they have been in India in the previous 14 days.There are a few exemptions for health workers, crew, freight workers, diplomats and defence force personnel. The determination expires on 15 May but is not disallowable before then.How can they do that?The determination is made under section 477 of the Biosecurity Act, which gives the federal health minister, Greg Hunt, extraordinary powers in the event of “a human biosecurity emergency period”. Determinations are subject to a range of safeguards. They must be effective, appropriate and adapted to achieve their purpose; no more restrictive or intrusive than is required in the circumstances; and apply only as long as necessary.What are the penalties?Section 479 of the Biosecurity Act contains maximum penalties of five years imprisonment or $66,600, or both, for breaching a determination.On Monday, Hunt noted the act passed in 2015 with bipartisan support, and the penalties are contained in the act not his determination.What is the medical case for the ban?In advice published on Monday, the chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly, said India had been identified a “high-risk” country as it had 18.3 million positive Covid-19 cases, including 379,257 new infections and 3,645 deaths in the week to 29 April 2021.He said:
Following the introduction of pre-departure testing and changes to international arrival caps in late January 2021, overseas acquired cases among air arrivals fell from approximately 1.0% to approximately 0.5% in February 2021. This proportion has since increased, with approximately 1.8% of recent air arrivals being identified as cases (19-25 April 2021). Since late March 2021, there has been a sharp increase in the number and proportion of overseas acquired cases that were reported as acquiring their infection in India; over 50% of overseas acquired cases since mid-April 2021 were acquired in India.
Despite Hunt describing Australia’s hotel quarantine system as the best in the world, Kelly advised that Covid leaking “presents a significant risk to the Australian community”.Epidemiologists have questioned the ban, noting that India has fewer coronavirus cases per capita than either the United States or the United Kingdom during their respective Covid peaks.But Kelly advised of “emerging risks” with respect to India, including the rapid increase and likely under-reporting of cases; high rates of Covid-19 detected from arrivals from India; and a high proportion of variants of concern.Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The GuardianIn ABC interviews, Kelly explained the US and UK experienced their peaks earlier in the pandemic and since then Australia had set a limit of a 2% positivity rate in hotel quarantine, which is imperilled by the outbreak in India.Hunt told reporters on Monday that the number of people in hotel quarantine from India with Covid had increased from 14 in February, to 38 in March, to 210 in April.“In Howard Springs alone we saw a seven-fold increase in cases,” he said. “Across the country, we saw a 1,500% increase in cases.”Is the ban legal?There are two ways the travel ban could be challenged: first, on the basis the determination is unlawful because it breaches safeguards in section 477 of the Biosecurity Act; or secondly, that it is unconstitutional.Both Melbourne University’s Prof Cheryl Saunders and Sydney University’s Prof Anne Twomey agree the former is the better argument.Saunders said a plaintiff could argue the ban was disproportionate and therefore failed the test of being “no more restrictive or intrusive than is required in the circumstances”.“There is also a question about whether the legislation or the determination is apt as it applies to citizens,” Saunders told Guardian Australia.She said a plaintiff could argue the law needed to be more explicit if it was intended to allow Australians to be barred from entering Australia and the “pretty extreme” criminal penalties could support the view it didn’t.Twomey said any challenge was most likely to turn on whether the health minister could “reasonably be satisfied” of the requirements – including that the ban was effective, appropriate and adapted to its purpose and no more intrusive than necessary.Twomey said a constitutional case would have to clear two hurdles: first, establishing that citizens have an implied right to enter Australia; and secondly, whether that right was absolute or could be qualified to protect public health.Covid care facility in New Delhi on 2 May, 2021. Photograph: Getty ImagesThat would be “difficult”, especially given the “cautious” approach on public health the court took in upholding the Western Australian interstate travel ban, she said.Some legal commentators have suggested it is also arguable the commonwealth has no constitutional head of power for the travel ban, although Twomey suggested the quarantine, migration and nationhood heads of power likely supported it.Did the government get legal advice?The health department secretary, Prof Brendan Murphy, told Senate estimates on Monday the health department did receive legal advice.Hunt referred questions about legal advice to the attorney general, declining to say if the solicitor general had provided it and whether the government would release it.“I received all of my advice in relation to this on Friday evening and responded immediately,” Hunt told reporters. He said the government was of the “strong, clear, absolute belief” the ban was legal.Is this unprecedented?In his advice, Kelly noted the travel ban would be “the first time that such a determination has been used to prevent Australian citizens and permanent residents entering Australia”.While not necessarily contradicting him on that point, Hunt had a very different emphasis at his press conference on Monday – noting the government had banned flights from China earlier in the pandemic and more recently from Papua New Guinea.Hunt noted the Biosecurity Act had been used to protect remote communities and introduce pre-departure testing and international mask requirements, restrictions on cruise vessels, and the outbound travel ban. More recently, a determination was used to ban Australians from onward travel from New Zealand when the travel bubble opened.Hunt said nobody had been prosecuted in Australia “to the best of my knowledge” under the measures.Twomey said the determination was not “completely unprecedented” as the federal government had powers to issue temporary exclusion orders to prevent terrorist suspects from returning to Australia even if they were Australian citizens.







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