Morrison government tax relief package has given $7 billion to Australians

New treasury analysis has demonstrated the Morrison government’s tax relief package has helped put an extra $7 billion in the pockets of nearly eight million Australians in the last six months, according to Sky News political reporter Trudy McIntosh.

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Scott Morrison is about to become the billion-dollar man when it comes to wasting public money on taxpayer funded advertising.

Taxpayers have spent $913 million on advertising since the year the Government took office and at the current rate Scott Morrison will crack the $1 billion mark this year.

Scott Morrison’s gift to Australia is a trillion-dollar debt and a billion-dollar bill for self-promotion.

His obsession is marketing, photo-ops and favours for Liberal mates, rather than delivering for Australians.

For example, in 18 months Mr Morrison has failed to invest a cent from his $4 billion fund for bushfire relief and natural disaster mitigation. But as communities affected by last year’s bushfires continue to struggle, he has given a former Coalition staffer $190,000 to produce video material for his bushfire response marketing.

He has splashed $15 million on the “Our Comeback” economic campaign this financial year, based on $1 million worth of research by a Liberal mate.

In another indication of his warped priorities, Mr Morrison recently announced plans for a $24 million Coronavirus vaccine marketing campaign before he had even finalised plans for the actual roll-out of the vaccine.

Then there was the $140 million pre-election advertising blitz in 2018-19, which included $15.9 million towards the dud “Powering Forward” campaign later criticised by the Australian National Audit Office.

Mr Morrison’s professional background is marketing. First as Treasurer, and now as Prime Minister, he has made an artform of using public money on self-promotion.

He treats taxpayers’ money as though it is the Liberal Party’s money.

Mr Morrison’s obsession with advertising is matched only by his propensity to make grand announcements but fail to deliver.

Scott Morrison is always there for the photo-op but never there for the follow up.





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With the news overnight that Julian Assange has been denied bail, Greens Foreign Affairs spokesperson Senator Janet Rice has called on Prime Minister Morrison to act to ensure his wellbeing, and signalled that she will seek to involve the Australian Senate to act on his behalf.

Senator Rice said:

“I call on Mr Morrison to show some courage and pick up the phone to speak directly to both UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston to ensure Mr Assange’s wellbeing; and to US President-elect Joe Biden to drop the charges against him.

“It is a massive and tragic irony that the judgement has been made to not extradite Mr Assange because of risk of suicide, yet he is still being subject to onoging indefinite detention in the brutal conditions of Belmarsh prison.

“I urge Mr Morrison to heed the calls from Amnesty International who have said the decision to deny Julian Assange’s request for bail has rendered his continued detention ‘arbitrary’.

“If Mr. Assange is still being detained when Parliament resumes next month, I will request that  the Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT) seek an urgent meeting with the incoming US Ambassador to Australia as soon as they arrive on our shores to discuss this case further.

“The US charges against Julian Assange must also be seen in the light of the chaos and insurrection in Washington overnight. It is the same President Trump who has incited his followers with baseless claims of conspiracy and fraud who is going after Assange, a whistleblower who exposed corruption and war crimes.

“Australia needs to speak out against the madness and attacks on democracy that have been the hallmarks of the Trump presidency, and that should include speaking up for the rights of an Australian citizen who should be being treated as a hero not a criminal.

“Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and therefore the responsibility of our government. He has suffered enough. The Australian Government must say ‘enough is enough’ and intervene to ensure his safety,” Senator Rice said.

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Scott Morrison announces COVID vaccine rollout; NSW, Victoria record zero COVID-19 cases; Chadstone, MCG labeled exposure sites; SCG Test attendance ban increased,

“We apologise and acknowledge the inconvenience, but that inconvenience is nothing compared to a third wave, because that will be so hard for every single Victorian. We need to do everything we can do to stop that.”

An online portal for those in NSW seeking an exemption to come back to Victoria launched yesterday, with around 800 people applying for an exemption so far through that means.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said he was “still pretty concerned” about the situation in Victoria when it comes to the virus, despite no cases being reported on Wednesday, due to the remaining Vermont South mystery case.

“When he acquired it, it was probably going back into before Christmas now. We are coming back into 14 days after that,” he said on Thursday.

“We would hope with 180,000 tests completed, if there was anyone else that has been infected by that person, it would have shown up by now. But we do need to make sure everyone is tested. It would ideally be nice to find where that (case) came from.”

He said it was currently “impossible” to decipher if the case was separate from the Black Rock cluster, where a number of people were infected after visiting the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in the Melbourne beachside suburbs on December 21.

The housemate of the man in his 30s who tested positive on Wednesday is now showing symptoms, but test results are still pending.

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NSW, Victoria record zero COVID-19 cases; Chadstone, MCG labeled exposure sites; SCG Test attendance ban increased, Scott Morrison calls national cabinet meeting

“We need to run this to ground now … it’s important we use this time to locate any potential cases of coronavirus anywhere in Victoria,” Mr Weimar said.

“We ask you to come forward and get tested now, if you were at Zara on Boxing Day, particularly if you were feeling unwell on Boxing Day.”

That advice relates to anyone who attended Zara between 6am and 1.30pm on December 26.

There remain 28 COVID-19 cases connected to the Black Rock cluster, with 27 of those currently active. The drop of three active cases reported today has been in people in hotel quarantine.

Around 1300 people considered close contacts of positive cases are currently in isolation, with another 1300 secondary contacts also isolating.

Premier Daniel Andrews said that group of people are “doing their isolation for all of us”. “They are spending these holiday weeks locked up at home. It is critically important people observe that … isolation period,” he said.

He said if new cases occurred in Victoria, but the affected people were already in isolation, they are “not a great concern to us, except for the case’s wellbeing”.

There have been 140,000 tests completed with Victoria over the last five days.

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Scott Morrison proposes ‘pathway home’ for 2,000 Victorians stranded in NSW | Victoria

Scott Morrison has signalled the federal government will assist more than 2,000 Victorians stranded in New South Wales due to the New Year’s Day lockout.

In interviews with 3AW and 2GB on Tuesday, the Australian prime minister revealed he had spoken to Victorian premier Daniel Andrews on Monday night about developing a “better pathway home” for people unable to return home before the hard border closure was imposed on New Year’s Day.

Morrison said the commonwealth respected the states’ rights to set public health policies including border measures but would help make them as “painless as possible” by identifying Covid-free areas of NSW.

However, Victoria’s police minister, Lisa Neville, rejected the need for any changes to the state’s “tough” border policy or exemptions process.

Neville said the number of exemption applications had risen to 2,798 by Tuesday, with 57 requested granted. Another 153 were told they did not need to apply because they were emergency workers or required urgent medical care.

The prime minister’s conciliatory approach contrasted that of Darren Chester, a senior Victorian in the federal cabinet, who accused the Andrews government of “precipitously” shutting the border which was “unfair” because parts of NSW were previously described as a green zone.

In his Monday night phone call with Andrews, Morrison noted that wastewater testing had shown no trace of Covid outside greater Sydney and other hotspots.

“For all of rural and regional NSW it remains as rural and regional Victoria does and indeed metropolitan Melbourne, substantively. So that’s an opportunity for the Victorian government to continue to work through those issues.

“They are matters for them, I’m happy to talk to the Victorian premier and provide what support we can to see if we can get a better pathway home for Victorians.”

The prime minister added that he understood Chester’s “frustration” with Victorian border policies and it “would be great to see these things move in the other direction soon” given both the NSW and Victorian governments were successfully “getting on top” of fresh coronavirus outbreaks.

On 2GB, Morrison said the federal government had spent much of 2020 arguing for a nationally consistent approach on border closures but the constitution did not allow it to impose a uniform approach on the states.

He argued the federal government wanted to avoid “dumbing down” the approach to the “lowest common denominator”, in which states with less restrictive policies such as NSW become “more closed up”.

Morrison praised jurisdictions that had taken a “hotspot approach” by only banning travel from Sydney, including Tasmania, the Northern Territory, the ACT and Queensland, which he said had taken a different view in 2020.

The Coalition government has been under mounting pressure to accelerate the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines in Australia, largely prompted by Anthony Albanese’s call for the rollout in March to be brought forward closer to the anticipated approval in January.

Morrison responded that countries including Israel and the United Kingdom had given emergency approval to vaccines due to “catastrophic” coronavirus infections, which Australia does not face.

Morrison accused Albanese of “quite an uninformed view” on vaccines because – even after approvals were granted – further testing is required on the batches of vaccines to be delivered across the country.

“We don’t just tick it off and then take a wild guess at what people then put in people’s arms – there is further testing that takes place after the TGA approval and that has to be done properly.

“The Pfizer vaccine for example has to be transferred at minus 70 degrees, so there are logistics and distribution issues … There is a lot of work that’s being done.

“Australians rightly want the vaccine to be safe and … timely, and that’s what we’re working to deliver.”

Labor’s shadow health minister, Chris Bowen, said the government was giving “excuses” after it said Australia was “at the front of the queue” for the vaccine which was “simply not true”.

He referred to comments by health minister, Greg Hunt, that testing batches will cause a “two-week delay” not a two-month delay.

“The fact of the matter is there’s one reason for this delay – it’s because the government was slow to get a deal,” Bowen said.

Earlier, Morrison said he had spoken to the NSW government and believed it had made “sensible decisions based on medical advice” and it was “great” the Sydney Test can proceed.

In both interviews Morrison played down the prospects of a federal election in 2021 but did not rule it out. Morrison told 3AW his view had not changed since he said his intention was not to call an early election.

An election is not due until 2022, with Morrison adding: “I have enough to do in 2021.”

On 2GB, Morrison launched a counter-attack against Labor for complaining about cuts to the jobkeeper wage subsidy and coronavirus supplement on jobseeker.

Morrison said jobkeeper had been a “temporary, targeted and proportionate measure” that had already provided $77bn and would continue until March.

Morrison argued the economy is “finding its own feet again” and economic supports should not “hold back the business-led recovery”.

He claimed warnings of a “cliff” and “calamity” when supports were reduced in September had not eventuated, with 450,000 businesses graduating from jobkeeper.

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Daniel Andrews and Scott Morrison discuss border situation as thousands remain stranded in NSW

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken with Premier Daniel Andrews as thousands of Victorians remain stranded in NSW.

More than 2300 applications have been made for exemptions to cross the NSW border after it slammed shut on Friday night, with only 175 processed on Sunday.

The leaders discussed the unfolding border situation and other COVID-19 issues over the phone on Monday night.

The prime minister said the federal government was willing to provide support “to get a better pathway home for Victorians as soon as possible”, noting wastewater testing had shown no trace of coronavirus outside of metropolitan Sydney and other known hotspot areas.

“So all of regional, rural NSW remains as rural and regional Victoria does and indeed metropolitan Melbourne substantively,” Mr Morrison told 3AW on Tuesday.

“That’s an opportunity, I think, for Victoria’s government to continue to work through those issues.”

Victorian federal MP Darren Chester has criticised the sudden border closure and urged Victorian health authorities to show compassion.

Mr Morrison understands his frustration, but respects the state government’s right to dictate public health and border rules.

“It would be great to see these things move in the other direction soon, particularly given the success that’s been had in both in NSW and Victoria,” the prime minister said.

“What we’re seeing in relation to both these outbreaks, when you compare it to what happened earlier in the year, they’re getting on top of this.

“The systems are working.”

His comments come as it emerged a stranded family with a child with disability and another with special needs are among those seeking an exemption to return from NSW.

Former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten says he will be “hitting the phones” on Tuesday after the mother of an 11-year-old child with disability contacted him in a bid to expedite the family’s return from the NSW south coast.

He said the exemption system “doesn’t seem to be working the way it should” and implored Victoria’s health department to speed up the assessment process, which is taking up to 48 hours.

“Let’s just get it done quickly,” Mr Shorten told Nine’s Today program.

“A whole lot of Victorians on holiday (have been) caught off guard, no chance to sort this out.

“We need now the administrative follow-up to help make sure people are not stranded in some really tough circumstances, like the lady I’m talking about.”

Victoria recorded three new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Tuesday for a third straight day, along with another case in hotel quarantine.

The new cases came from 32,544 tests, marginally higher than Monday’s figure with wait times reducing significantly as testing capacity ramped up further.

Testing commander Jeroen Weimar is confident the Black Rock coronavirus cluster is on a “very positive trajectory”.

As of Monday, 24 cases were directly linked to the outbreak – all connected to the Buffalo Smile Thai restaurant in bayside Melbourne and linked back to a cluster in NSW.

More than 1000 primary and secondary contacts are isolating and a growing number of exposure sites have been identified.

New locations were added on Monday in Albert Park, Bentleigh, Brighton, Emerald, Frankston, Keysborough, Melbourne, Nunawading, Springvale.

The state’s number of active cases stands at 38.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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NSW will be left to pick up the tab if Scott Morrison cuts JobSeeker

What will this look like? How will it play out across NSW? We can expect to see more people without a permanent and safe place to live. Our already shamefully high homelessness numbers (the highest in the country) will swell by close to 25 per cent across the state, much higher still in particular locations.

And our overburdened, stretched-to-the-limit specialist homelessness services – which for 2019/20 supported over 70,000 clients in NSW, 26 per cent more than they were funded for – will be put under even more strain.

As more families experience housing stress, demand for social housing will grow, adding to NSW’s impossible waitlist of 50,000 and waiting times of up to 10 years in far too many regions.

We will see more children and young people at risk of harm as a result of diminishing resources and rising pressures in households impacted by job loss. Yet our child protection system is failing to adequately respond to notified families as it is, with over two thirds of cases closed before any follow up action is taken.


Educational attainment will drop off, with young people from the most disadvantaged economic groups most at risk of the lifetime consequences that will follow. Our already exhausted teachers will face the struggle of turning these results around.

Levels of poor mental health in the community will increase as a result of rising unemployment, with young women particularly vulnerable. Sadly, the modelling also predicts an increase in suicide rates with communities already experiencing poverty and marginalisation most at risk. But as highlighted by the Productivity Commission’s recent scathing assessment, our mental health system is spectacularly unsuccessful at providing easy-to-access community-based support to prevent people’s situations escalating to crisis.

This means that our hospital emergency departments, homeless shelters and other parts of the service system will continue to be left to deal with ever growing numbers of people with significant mental health conditions.

These poor outcomes are not predicted to occur many years down the track – they are months away from happening, and a reduced JobSeeker rate will be a primary contributor. The cost to the NSW budget, to our under-resourced social services sector and to our communities will be considerable and long lasting.

The federal government has the ability to lessen levels of disadvantage and the terrible flow-on impacts to individuals, families, the service system and the state’s coffers.

All state and territory governments should demand that the federal government step up and play its part instead of passing the buck and operating under the false assumption that decreasing JobSeeker saves money.

The federal government’s new year’s resolution should be to take more responsibility for the management of the pandemic, and support the most vulnerable in the community by keeping JobSeeker at a rate that enables people to meet their basic needs.

Joanna Quilty is the chief executive of the NSW Council of Social Service.

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Scott Morrison and Paul Kelly have given their first coronavirus update for 2021. Here’s what they said

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly have given their first coronavirus update of 2021.

They covered an array of topics, including the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the outbreak in Sydney, and an update on how many Australians stuck overseas made it home in the last quarter of 2020.

If catching a federal press conference wasn’t your first priority on day one of 2021, but now you want to know what you’ve missed, we’ve got you covered.

The vaccine roadmap plan hasn’t changed

Despite the outbreak in Sydney and new cases in Victoria, Mr Morrison reiterated the rollout for the coronavirus vaccine in Australia would be beginning as planned in March 2021.

“On the vaccine, you don’t rush the [rollout],” he said. “That’s very dangerous for Australians. Those who suggest that, I think it’s a naive suggestion.

“Public health is our number one priority.

Mr Morrison reiterated that Australia was in a comparatively good position compared to the rest of the world.

“There’s been no approval given in an advanced jurisdiction for the [AstraZeneca] vaccine — there have been emergency authorisations given,” he said.

“In countries like the UK, there’s hundreds of people dying a day. Australia is not in that situation. 

“So, we’re being careful to ensure that we dot all the I’s and we cross all the T’s to ensure this vaccine is safe and able to be distributed across the Australian population.”

The vaccine isn’t a ‘magic bullet’

In any case, Professor Kelly said the coronavirus vaccine would not be a “magic bullet immediately”.

“When the vaccines are found to be safe and effective, they will be rolled out in Australia, starting with those priority groups.

“We need to roll it out through the whole community [in 2021], and I really encourage people to come forward when it’s available to get that vaccine.”

43 per cent of part of northern beaches got tested during a critical week

Professor Kelly said testing in the NSW northern beaches hotspot was “enormous” during the critical week leading up to December 21.

“Just a real callout to the northern beaches — in the week up to December 21 … 43 per cent of the population of the northern part of the Northern Beaches were tested in that week,” he said.

New figures on returning Australians

The Prime Minister announced the new figure of how many Australians have returned home from overseas.

“The figures on December 30 was that 63,109 Australians were able to get home by the end of the year from September 18,” he said. 

“As you know, that is more than double the number we had as our target of just around 26,000 back in September.”

Encouraging results of Victoria’s new contract tracing system

Mr Morrison said Victoria’s new contact tracing system was showing positive results.

“And we are seeing them getting on top of that information very quickly which is assisting them in managing this most recent outbreak in Victoria.”

PM reiterates preference for ‘hotspot’ border restrictions

Mr Morrison again indicated he preferred a hotspot approach to border closures, rather than hard border restrictions on states as a whole.

“I welcome the approach we have seen from Queensland most recently,” he said.

“They have adopted that hotspot around Greater Sydney.

“I think people know my view about the great approach the Northern Territory has taken for all throughout this crisis.

“Tasmania similarly continues to treat Victoria and New South Wales on a hotspot basis. I think that is a constructive way and I welcome that approach.”

However, the Prime Minister said he could relate to people who were personally affected by border closures.

“One of the reasons my family and I remain in the ACT is because I need to be in Canberra and if I were to go to Sydney at present it would mean I would not be able to return here,” he said.

“As a result, we are remaining here because this is where I need to be able to be with Paul and the many other advisers and others who are managing these most recent sets of events.”

There are currently no active coronavirus cases in aged care

Of the 217 current active coronavirus cases in Australia, none are in aged care.

“We have no active cases in aged care across the entire country, including New South Wales,” the Prime Minister said.

Professor Kelly said lessons learned during the aged care coronavirus response in 2020 would be implemented in 2021.

“[We are taking] a very precautionary approach using all of those learnings we have learned through the long year of 2020.”

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Promise of COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 headlines New Year’s message from Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has delivered a video message to Australians marking the end of 2020, thanking healthcare workers, business owners and others for their sacrifices during the year.

He pledged that COVID vaccinations would be available to all Australians in 2021 and they would be a “key step to our recovery in 2021”.

“I want to thank all Australians who have sacrificed so much, served so greatly, and even now continue in their steadfast dedication to their duty at this time,” he said.

Filmed at The Lodge in Canberra, the Prime Minister said Australia must stay vigilant “as we continue our comeback”.

Twelve months ago Mr Morrison delivered a message at the height of the country’s Black Summer of bushfires praising the spirit of Australians.

Today the country faces perhaps an even greater challenge, but he again heaped praise on his constituents.

“Even though I know there are a lot more challenges ahead of us in 2021, I have the hope, and I have the optimism and the confidence in my fellow Australians, in you, about our country,” he said.

Recovery flagged

He said that around 80 per cent of jobs lost in the pandemic have already been recovered and 450,000 businesses have graduated from JobKeeper, taking two million Australians off income support.

“That’s real signs of progress,” he said, declaring the path ahead was “stronger, safer, together”.

The Prime Minister’s dog Buddy also featured in the video, walking around a fountain behind Mr Morrison.

Mr Morrison concluded by wishing Australians “a very happy, a very safe and a prosperous new year from my family to yours”.

“God bless you Australia, and thank you.”

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