Victoria case numbers ‘very alarming’: PM
(See Translation in Arabic section)
Melbourne - M E Times Int'l: Prime Minister Scott Morrison says case numbers in Victoria soaring to 723 is “very alarming”.
The state on Thursday recorded its deadliest day with 13 deaths, 10 related to aged care.
Mr Morrison said he supported Premier Daniel Andrews’ move to enforce new restrictions on regional Victoria.
He could not rule out further “restrictions or limitations” to stem the outbreak, however, they would not be applied to other parts of the country.
“We have now been in this lockdown now for some weeks, and we are not getting the results we would hope for,” Mr Morrison said.
“As a result the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary.
“They will come at an impact to the economy – we understand that. But, equally, not containing these outbreaks will have that effect also.”
Mr Morrison said the federal government would share any further advice it had.
As he addressed the media in Canberra on Thursday, the nation’s expert medical panel was discussing ways to assist Victoria.
PM unveils new Closing the Gap targets
Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison has committed to 16 new targets designed to improve indigenous disadvantage, in order to reset the failed Closing the Gap initiative.
The targets will address critical areas such as early childhood, justice reform, education, life expectancy and housing.
The agreement will give Indigenous Australians better involvement in decision making and measuring the progress and success of the targets.
Mr Morrison said the initiative which started under then prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2008 was “worthy” and “deserving of credit” but there was still more to be done to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.
“But I tell you where we start – we start with what we have to do, and then we apply the resources to achieve that,” Mr Morrison said.
Australia must ‘wake up’ to aggressive Chinese expansionism
Sydney: The coronavirus may be threatening the health of some, but aggressive Chinese expansionism is “threatening the security of us all” says Alan Jones.
“The total preoccupation with coronavirus has almost played into China's hands,” Mr Jones said. He said Communist China will exploit Australia’s “economic vulnerability”.
“Our blind commitment to fundamentalist economic ideology has hocked our economic future to China”.
He said China owns dairy farms, beef farms, avocado farms, minerals, water, and the Port of Darwin.
“Do you think it is time we woke up”.
Iran is more likely to respond to ‘quiet diplomacy’ efforts to release jailed Australian
Sydney: The Lowy Insitute’s Rodger Shanahan says the Iranian government is much more likely to react to Australia’s quiet diplomacy approach to free jailed Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert than a “public venting of anger”.
Ms Moore-Gilbert was jailed almost two years ago on charges of espionage, with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade lobbying the Iranian government to release her since using what it calls ‘quiet diplomacy’.
“When you deal with a government like Iran that has jailed one of your citizens, what can you do to pressure the Iranian government who has charged her of espionage,” Mr Shanahan told Andrew Bolt.
“Quiet diplomacy is really what the Iranians are much more likely to react to than public venting of anger.
“It might make us feel a bit better but we’re trying to get a result at the end of the day, not make ourselves feel better.”
Australia-China trade relationship 'incredibly strong' despite geopolitical tension
Sydney: InvestSMART's Evan Lucas says Prime Minister Scott Morrison was entirely correct when he said Australia's trade relationship with China remained "incredibly strong" despite geopolitical tensions.
"Australia's exports to China at one point - in the second quarter - were as high as 42 per cent of our total trade," Mr Lucas said.
"Iron ore will be a major driver in 2021 of our revenue. It will be a major driver for government coffers.
It's still well north of US$100 per tonne."
Mr Lucas attributed Australia's positive trade balance, in part, to Brazil's struggling iron ore industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Economic forecasting suggested China's GDP could grow by eight per cent in 2021.
More Sydney schools, restaurants close as coronavirus clusters grow
Sydney: Sydney's west is on alert as growing clusters force the closure of four schools and several restaurants after possible exposure to coronavirus.
In Sydney's East, Bondi Surf Bather Life Saving Club has been temporarily shut down after four of its members dined at the Apollo restaurant at Pott's Point.
China warns Australia of risks with aligning to the US
Washington: The US and Australia are vowing to strengthen military cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, especially after the meetings between their foreign and defence ministers. Chinese authorities, however, have warned Australia could pay dearly for the action.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds flew to Washington to have meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. After the two-day talks, the allies released a statement accusing China of violating international norms in the South China Sea and criticised China's policies including with Hong Kong.
Payne, however, said Australia had no intention of damaging its bilateral relationship with China. It will also not commit to patrols in conjunction with the US on its freedom of navigation operations.
Analysts critical of the US-Australia stance against China claim Australia wants to be the US' deputy sheriff in the Asia-Pacific. They accuse Australia of jeopardising ties with China.
In the joint statement released on Tuesday, the US and Australia agreed to strengthen defence cooperation. The two nations will cooperate in many military fields including hypersonic, electronic and space-based warfare. The statement also said the two countries intended to create a strategic military fuel reserve in Darwin.
By joining the US in such military activities, Australia is putting its fate into the hands of the US, the Chinese analysts insist. If a military conflict subsequently broke out between China and the US, Australia would also be in line for retaliation from China.
Australia may find itself 'in an exposed and dangerous situation' with China
Melbourne: Melbourne University Professor Michael Wesley says Australia may be left in a "very exposed and dangerous situation" if Joe Biden were to defeat US President Donald Trump in the upcoming election in November.
"There is a possibility, some would say it's a substantial possibility, that Donald Trump will lose this presidential election," Professor Wesley said.
He said if Mr Biden were to become president he could seek to return American foreign policy to a much more "Obama-era" setting where he would seek to find a much more pragmatic relationship with China.
"If that were to be the case and America suddenly changes it's position with China, it could leave Australia in a very exposed and dangerous situation," he said.
China’s increasing aggression is pushing Asian nations towards the US
Sydney: China’s bullying and posturing in South East Asia has swayed the more wavering nations to lean towards the US for strategic support according to Catherine McGregor.
“Most of the ASEAN nations, while they’re intimidated by China, are actually leaning more to the US camp,” she told Alan Jones.
Ms McGregor pointed to Indonesia as an example of a “swing state” in the issue of China and the US’ influence in the region.