The Lowitja Institute has called on the federal government to commit to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-led solutions in the wake of the budget.
CEO Dr Janine Mohamed said First Nations people and organisations had wanted to see significant investment in the national agreement on Closing the Gap outlined in yesterday’s budget. She said she hoped that spending would be announced when the implementation plan was released in a few months.
Mohamed said the budget was a missed opportunity:
The budget could have been a significant and important opportunity to comprehensively invest in historical truth-telling as called for through the Uluru Statement from the Heart …
[It] could have been a landmark document that reflected the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic response, in that supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations to lead will bring about much better outcomes.
Specifically, we need to see a targeted investment in research led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers and organisations and a prioritisation of our workforce across all areas, including prioritising STEM scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
We will not be able to deliver the outcomes required to close the gap without supporting the leadership of community-led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander initiatives.
Mohamed said the Lowitja Institute did welcome the focus on building the Indigenous aged care workforce, support for ongoing Covid-19 responses by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, and funding for suicide prevention. She also welcomed the National Health and Medical Research Council grant of $10m over five years for a National First Nations Research Network.
It’s Calla Wahlquist here, less funny than promised but I’ll do my best.
Let’s go to Perth briefly. Western Australian police have issued a statement on an alleged money laundering incident that involved $695,000 in cash being hidden in the spare tyre of a Volkswagen Golf.
I’m not entirely sure how that would work – I’ve no idea of the volume of $695,000 in cash but in my head it’s significantly larger than one spare tyre.
Police say they executed a search warrant on a Volkswagen at a national freight yard in Forrestfield on Monday and found $645,140 in cash “concealed in the spare tyre”. The Golf had been bound for Sydney.
Later on Monday they arrested a 23-year-old man at a motel in Bentley and charged him with laundering property or money from the proceeds of a major crime.
The man had flown to Perth from Sydney on Friday. He appeared in court in Perth yesterday and was remanded to face court again on 18 May.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the post-budget reaction day. I am going to hand over to the amazing Calla Wahlquist, who is much smarter than me, and also very funny, to take you through the rest of the evening.
I’ll be back mid-morning tomorrow, as it’s Labor’s budget reply day, which Anthony Albanese will be delivering at 7.30pm and I’ll take you through all of that, so I’m getting a little bit of the morning off.
But you will be well covered, so don’t worry about that.
Thanks again to everyone who joined me today – and enjoy your time with Calla!
As always – please, take care of you.
If you are still struggling to understand what exactly this budget does, Murph has you covered:
Labor says budget ‘ignored’ and ‘fobbed off’ key aged care issues
Labor has accused the the Morrison government of leaving key aged care issues “ignored” and “fobbed off” in its response to the sector’s royal commission outlined in Tuesday’s federal budget.
The opposition aged care services spokeswoman, Clare O’Neil, says the $17.7bn to be spent over five years “falls way short” of what the sector needs.
O’Neil is particularly scathing of the government’s plan to attract enough workers into the industry to support increases to care, arguing not enough has been done to boost wages and conditions.
“Nothing will really change without reform to the workforce. There was nothing to improve wages for overstretched, undervalued aged care workers.
“How do we attract the needed 700,000 workers to the sector when these workers remain some of the lowest paid in our economy?”
O’Neil has also warned she does not believe the government’s allocated spend for home care packages will be enough to clear the 100,000-strong waitlist, saying the commitment to fund 80,000 packages means “the maths simply don’t add up”.
O’Neil also criticised the government’s decision not to accept recommendations for more care minutes and requirements for registered nurses at facilities.
Aged care advocates also hold concerns the government’s plan will keep some parts of the sector vulnerable.
Jacqui Lambie is on the ABC – she has spoken about the budget, don’t worry – but she is also giving a cat update – Onslow is still missing.
Lambie rescued Onslow at the start of the pandemic to keep her dad company. She says her dad is beginning to fret, so if anyone in Tasmania has seen Onslow, please let them know.
Simon Birmingham also said he would like to see the international border open earlier than the middle of next year (which is when Treasury assumes it will reopen).
Government MPs have been saying that for a bit – as always, it will depend on the health advice.
On the best health advice every time. Like we said, we use the best judgment, health advice, at the time to close our borders to China, then we did the same in relation to Italy, to Iran and ultimately the rest of the world. Now we will take the same safe approach to reopening the borders.
The most important assumption in the budget is we continually suppress Covid-19. That’s what’s allowing Australia’s economy to be back operating at such a strong speed and level of recovery and to have guaranteed so many jobs of Australians. That is why we need to maintain those important protections around our international borders for as long as is necessary there to save lives but also to save businesses and jobs.
Which makes these comments from Simon Birmingham interesting.
He was asked by Patricia Karvelas why there was no funding for a commonwealth purpose-built quarantine facility in the budget.
Hotels were not built for quarantine. With more concerns about how airborne the virus is, it’s an issue. And there is every chance people will be quarantined upon returning from international travel for the next three years or so.
PK: The prime minister has been quite positive about this Victorian quarantine facility. What sort of timeframe are we talking about for that to get approval?
We’ve only recently received the proposal from Victoria. We acknowledged that it’s a more detailed proposal than any other ideas that people have come up with and so we’ve committed firmly to work our way through that proposal and to work with the Victorian government …
PK: Can you give me some indication because obviously to get, you know, the construction under way, you need to have quite a tight deadline for making the decision?
We’ll make the decision in a timely way. These things we have to work through all the relevant issues with the state government. We have a quarantine system that is highly effective across Australia at present …
PK: And when there is a leakage it causes maximum disruption.
Certainly, can you guarantee me any other facility wouldn’t have leakage that could cause such disruption?
Well, the [commonwealth] Howard Springs facility has had no leakage, at this stage …
At this stage. Because a challenge in relation to any international arrivals is ultimately you have human interactions that occur and from human interactions you can end up with transmission by human error or by other factors that occur. Let’s not pretend that there is an absolutely bulletproof scenario short of having nobody arrive in the country and I don’t hear anybody [saying we should].
PK: Do you urge other state governments to do as Victoria has done and put forward a comprehensive proposal like this?
I think that is a matter for state governments …
PK: But would you like to see them do it?
No, that’s a matter for state governments in their judgment. We’ve indicated how we are reacting constructively to their proposals. We are on the budget and haven’t had a lot of questions about that in these interviews …
Victorian authorities have confirmed through genome testing that the state’s latest case of Covid was sourced in a South Australian quarantine hotel.
Simon Birmingham is the latest minister trying to mop up the ‘will we be vaccinated by the end of the year or won’t we’ assumption in the budget.
The assumption that Treasury has made is that everyone who wants a vaccine will have one by the end of the year.
Josh Frydenberg said that would be ‘two’ doses.
Scott Morrison says the assumption is not government policy.
So it’s day one and it’s all a bit of a mess.
Anyways, here is Birmingham with Patricia Karvelas:
PK: Do you expect all Australians to be vaccinated by the end of this year?
Well, no Patricia. The current vaccines [don’t] extend to children. There’ll always be those who decline vaccines. And it will depend on the take-up by Australians. I urge all Australians to follow the health advice and get vaccines when they’re able to do so.
We have around 170m doses of vaccines the government has contracted for supply and delivery.
We’re expecting to see a real surge in those through the back end of this year. There’s no secret there have been two particular setbacks in the vaccine delivery, the first one being the delayed supply of vaccines contracted to come from Europe. The second one, of course, being the changed advice about the eligibility of AstraZeneca to over-50s. But the plan is for vaccines available for all Australians by the end of the year.
PK: So they’re available but you can’t guarantee that all Australians will be vaccinated by the end of the year?
I can’t guarantee the behaviour of Australians or choices of all Australians …
PK: Will every adult who wants to be vaccinated be able to be vaccinated by the end of the year?
We hope, everything going to plan, Australians who make that choice will be vaccinated.
PK: That’s what I’m trying to nut out – will adult Australians, by the end of the year, both doses, can you guarantee it?
I appreciate you’re looking for an iron-clad, rock-solid, 100% guarantee. What we’ve seen in the vaccine rollout to date, not just domestically, but internationally, there are complexities involved. We are ensuring there are vaccines for Australians by the end of the year.
PK: With respect, why have it in the budget by the end of the year if you can’t guarantee it will?
The budget is framed on a number of ways around assumptions that enable you to make those budget expectations. We have framed what we think are reasonable assumptions that will be achieved in the budget but we’re being realistic with Australians as well.
Around the world you will see changes to the vaccine available for children. The Therapeutic Goods Administration will look closely, probably are looking closely, I am sure, will assess that strategy. That may mean a subsequent change to the vaccine strategy. There is the likelihood that booster vaccines will need to be available. Vaccine doesn’t end at a magical point in time. It will be ongoing.
PK: No, but my question was specific about adults, both doses, by the end of the year. You’re saying you can’t guarantee that timeframe. Based on the budget estimates of when people are likely to be vaccinated by, why the six-month delay until the middle of next year until your international borders start opening?
It’s about taking a conservative approach around estimates. We want to make sure the budget has credibility at all levels. That’s been acknowledged by the ratings agencies and their commentaries around the world about this budget that’s been handed down. The type of assumptions we’ve used to underpin it, be it in relation to opening up the borders or in relation to iron ore prices are realistic, cautious assumptions put in place so the budget has genuine integrity going forward.
Jacqui Lambie has lost her cat.
(The Mercury first reported this, but it is also on her facebook.)
Unlike when I joked about my dad being kidnapped the other week, this is very real. Onslow has been missing for a few weeks now, and we’re worried for him. So if you see a cat with a suitcase in NW Tasmania, tell him to get his arse back home.
She shares a picture of her ‘pain in the arse’ cat on her facebook page – Onslow, I hope you make it home.
Mike Bowers has been out and about today:
We’re told Anthony Albanese’s making a ‘zero’ and it was aimed at Peter Dutton.
Still, best to just avoid this symbol now, given its connotations with white power groups.