What we learned today, Friday 22 January
Olympic gold medal winner Cathy Freeman has become the latest high-profile critic of Scott Morrison following the prime minister’s comments about Cricket Australia’s initiative to make matches around the date of 26 January more inclusive.
Morrison on Thursday criticised the decision by some Big Bash League clubs to follow CA guidance and drop references to “Australia Day” from promotional material for upcoming matches in a bid to create a safer and more inclusive environment for fans.
The day, referred to as “Invasion Day” by many Indigenous people and others, will instead be referred to by some clubs simply as 26 January.
Morrison said the push by CA was “pretty ordinary” and claimed the date in 1788 “wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those [first fleet] vessels either”.
Freeman, who famously won Olympic gold at the 2000 Games in Sydney and is a prominent Indigenous rights campaigner, rebuked the prime minister’s comments.
“You can’t compare the experiences of those 12 ships that first arrived to this country to what their arrival meant for all generations of Australia’s First Nations people!” Freeman tweeted on Friday.
Morrison, when asked whether he had meant to draw parallels between what Indigenous people suffered as a result of European settlement in 1788 and the experiences of those on the first fleet, said “it was false to take that equivocation”.
“I’ll simply say this: Australia is more than 25m stories; more than 25m. Each of us can trace our stories back into our own Australia, Indigenous Australia, First Nations Australia. All the stories are important. All stories should be respected,” he said.
The news media code is not aimed at making Google and Facebook pay per click on news articles, but to let media companies negotiate fair payment for the value of their content to the platforms, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair, Rod Sims, has told parliament.
The ACCC developed the code in 2020. Sims has told the Senate committee reviewing the draft legislation that what’s being lost in the debate over the code is that it’s not simply a requirement for Google and Facebook to pay per click for news articles.
“Discussions we are aware of have focused on paying upfront lump sum amounts, not per click,” he said.
“What the code does is require the digital platforms to negotiate in good faith over paying news businesses for the value that the digital platforms derive from having news content on their platforms, and participate in arbitration if no agreement is reached.
“Without the code as a backup, commercial deals cannot be made as terms are simply offered on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.”
He said ultimately digital platforms and media companies do want to reach a deal but the code would empower media companies to make proper commercial deals by levelling the playing field.
WA reopens border to NSW and Queensland
Australian travellers with UK strain must isolate for 14 days
The full national cabinet statement is out and gives a bit more context to the decision not to require vaccinations in aged care – for now.
National cabinet agreed the interim AHPPC advice on Covid vaccination and aged care facilities.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has provided advice that state and territory public health orders should not be utilised to require the Covid-19 vaccine for aged care workers at this point.
There is currently a lack of evidence regarding effectiveness at preventing transmission and there is not yet a clear date by which all residents, staff, visitors and carers will have had an opportunity to be vaccinated.
The AHHPC will continue to monitor the situation and will reconsider this matter and provide advice once further evidence becomes available.
Currently, AHPPC believes that commonwealth and jurisdictional efforts should focus on communications to strongly encourage community uptake, which is expected to be high.
The Morrison government is offering fossil fuel companies grants of up to $250,000 to attend industry events as part of a program that is supposed to help the Australian conference industry recover from a coronavirus-induced slump.
A dozen events involving the oil, coal and gas industries are among 150 so far approved by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission as part of the $50m stimulus package.
They include the International Mining and Resources Conference (Imarc), where police action in 2019 to break up a blockade left one protester in hospital.
Bans on travel and social distancing rules smashed the events sector in 2020. Instead of face-to-face conferences, industry bodies and other organisers either held events online or cancelled them altogether.
Announcing the program in September, Scott Morrison said: “Getting business events up and running again will be a critical part of the recovery of our tourism industry, but will also have huge flow-on effects through the entire economy.
“This is not only about supporting events companies and venues, but will also be a shot in the arm for a broad range of businesses and the people they employ – whether it’s accommodation providers, those who build exhibitions, caterers, cleaners or those offering audio-visual services.”
Businesses can claim a grant of half of many of the expenses incurred for both attending a trade show and appearing at one. Costs the government will cover include airfares, accommodation, registration of delegates, and the cost of building, installing and staffing event booths.