PM Scott Morrison: "...COVID-19 outbreak ‘very distressing’ for health and economy"
(See Translation in Arabic section)
Canberra - M E Times Int'l: Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the COVID-19 outbreak within Victorian aged care facilities is “very distressing”, with Victoria’s second wave bringing down the nation’s economy.
The Prime Minister has urged workers to stay home and isolate if they show symptoms, with the COVID-19 blowout in aged-care homes putting at risk both lives and Australia’s swift economic recovery.
“It is clear that the Victorian wave that Australians are now experiencing, that‘s how I honestly have to describe it, there’s not a second wave that’s going across the rest of the country, that is not occurring,” Mr Morrison said.
“There is a significant Victorian wave, but that Victorian wave is impacting the national economy more broadly.”
Labor Party faced with a ‘sad reality under Albanese’
Canberra: There is a “clear chasm” between the Left and Right factions of the Labor Party around coal and climate change according to Peter Gleeson.
He said the “sad reality” facing the Labor is that the party can’t win with Anthony Albanese as leader.
Mr Gleeson said Labor Frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon has “been around the traps a while” and should perhaps be leading the party.
“They’d be a much better chance next time around that’s for sure”.
It comes as Mr Fitzgibbon had told Political Editor Andrew Clennell on Tuesday, he rejected an invitation to speak at a Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) event because he believes people with “Green T-shirts” from it are attempting to infiltrate the party.
“Fitzgibbon is a realist. He knows Labor can’t win until it fixes its problem with blue collared workers,” Mr Gleeson said.
“He knows Australians want Labor to return to its grassroots pro-jobs and pro-blue collar worker mantra”.
“He won’t say this publicly but it is clear that Mr Fitzgibbon is very concerned at the way the Labor Party is going forward”.
‘High alert’: Another 19 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in NSW
Sydney: Nineteen new cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in New South Wales overnight.
Of those, two are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state remained on “high alert” as small clusters continue to grow, particularly in the inner-city suburb of Potts Point.
“NSW remains on high alert, but having said that, I am deeply grateful to all our expert health detectives, our contact tracers, who have done an unbelievable job of identifying venues and establishments where there are cases,” she said.
The US has issued China a firm slap down!
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Australia and the US faced immediate crisis as a result of China’s ambitions and applauded Australia for standing firm against Beijing.
“The United States commends the Morrison government for standing up for democratic values and the rule of law despite intense, continued, coercive pressure from the Chinese Communist Party to bow to Beijing’s wishes,” he said.
“It is unacceptable for Beijing to use exports or student fees as a cajole against Australia. “We stand with our Australian friends.”
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper issued a stern warning to Beijing, saying America had no intention of backing down.
“We will fly, we will sail, and we will operate wherever international law allows, and we will defend the rights of our allies and partners to do the same,” he said. Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne tread a much more diplomatic line, but assured Australia would stand up for democratic rights.
“We reiterated our commitment to holding states to account when they breach international norms and laws, as we have done and will continue to do so in relation to China’s erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong,” she said.
When asked if the United States had pressed Australia to conduct exercises closer to the contested islands and land features controlled by Beijing, Senator Reynolds only said it was a "subject of discussion".
"Our approach remains consistent, we will continue to transit through the region in accordance with international law," she said.
Beijing accuses NZ of 'gross interference' for suspending extradition treaty
Beijing has accused New Zealand of ‘gross interference’ in China’s internal affairs after the nation suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong due to sweeping new national security laws imposed by Beijing.
Chinese officials warned NZ to immediately repair its wrongdoings and stop interfering with Hong Kong and Chinese matters to avoid causing further damage to its relationship with China.
NZ Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the new legislation eroded rule of law principles and undermined the one nation, two systems principle.
Mr Peters said the nation could also no longer trust Hong Kong’s criminal justice system was sufficiently independent of the Chinese communist party.
Beijing announced it would suspend agreements on mutual assistance for criminal matters with Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom after the three nations also suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong.
Conflict with China within a year ‘absolutely credible’
Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Michael Shoebridge says the urgency with which Australia and the US are preparing to deal with potential aggression from China indicates the seriousness of the situation.
Mr Shoebridge said he believed it was “absolutely credible” there would be conflict with China within a year.
“You look at what they (Beijing) are doing in the South China Sea and on the Indian border, they are relentless and aggressive, and they face some opposition,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“There was the Japanese, American and Australian navies in the South China Sea and the PLA navy are being quite aggressive, so yes it’s absolutely credible.”