10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

(Sam Mooy, Getty Images)

Morning, team. Hope you all had good weekends.

1. Firstly, an update on the situation in Victoria. 49 cases of coronavirus were detected on Saturday, which is the highest daily number since April. The state is currently undergoing a testing blitz, while federal deputy chief medical officer Michael Kidd told reporters this is “not a second wave”.

2. A bit of back and forth over the weekend about JobSeeker. The News Corp papers reported yesterday that the government is considering a $75 weekly increase to the pre-coronavirus dole – far below its current, boosted rate, but above where it was at before the pandemic. Now social services minister Anne Ruston says those reports are wrong, but wouldn’t give much detail on what is actually being considered.

3. JobSeeker and JobKeeper are going to be big questions going forward. Sure, Australia has done pretty well – all things considered – out of the coronavirus thus far, but the government’s clear eagerness to pull the rug out of enhanced social security support as soon as possible could pose serious issues for economic recovery. There is speculation JobKeeper could be altered or extended for particularly hard-hit regions and industries – but Labor is accusing the government of keeping those plans secret until after the Eden-Monaro by-election.

4. The coronavirus spike has led to a commensurate spike in supermarket demand. Call it panic-buying if you like. As a result, Coles and Woolworths have implemented buying restrictions across the country again, and Woolworths has increased online delivery capacity in Victoria.

5. More on the government’s super withdrawal scheme, which is increasingly looking like the most questionably managed part of the coronavirus response. As the ATO flags it will tax or penalise those who withdrew super without facing hardship, questions are raised as to whether it did due diligence in verifying those claims in the first place. We spoke to a number of people who withdrew super, but are worried they may not make the eligibility cut in the end. “When I was approved … I figured I was found to qualify through their system data check,” one told us. “However, now I’m having doubts it may have been approved incorrectly.”

6. Cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 10,000,000 globally, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. More than 25% of the total cases – 2.53 million – come from the United States, which is more than any other country in the world. Nearly half a million people have died globally from the virus.

7. The particularly fraught situation in the US has led to the reimposition of restrictions in some states. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered all bars in the state to close. California did the same for certain counties, including Los Angeles. Miami will close all of its famous beaches for the July 4th weekend.

8. It’s not just the US. The city of Leicester in England could be heading back for lockdown after a surge in coronavirus cases were reported in the last two weeks. The news comes as UK pubs, cafes, and restaurants prepare to reopen on July 4 for the first time since the lockdown began in March.

9. An increasingly widespread advertiser boycott of Facebook is brewing. The social media giant is facing financial pressure as major consumer companies, including Unilever, Coca-Cola, Ben & Jerry’s, and many others pause their ad spend in protest of the way the firm moderates hate speech.

10. This boycott has caused understandable consternation at Facebook. A memo issued by a Facebook VP assured advertisers that the company is serious about addressing the major concerns of civil-rights groups, and the company announced it will now label posts from politicians that break its rules but are ‘newsworthy’ enough to remain on the platform.


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