Daily News Roundup

June 15, 2020



Inland rail from Brisbane to Melbourne and a second underwater power cable to Tasmania are among projects given priority status by the Commonwealth Government in a bid to fast-track jobs on major infrastructure works.

In a speech at the National Press Club today, the Prime Minister outlined more details of the Government’s JobMaker plan, including increased spending on infrastructure and major projects.

Scott Morrison announced the plan last month, saying its purpose would be to get Australian businesses “out of ICU” after coronavirus restrictions led to many taking significant hits to their bottom lines and relying on the Government’s JobKeeper scheme to stay afloat.

That includes a priority list of 15 major projects to be fast-tracked under an agreement by the Commonwealth, states and territories to speed up the approval process,

It is a decision which, Mr Morrison told the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) at its State of the Nation Conference in Canberra, would support “over 66,000 direct and indirect jobs”.

“Under our new approach, this investment, and most importantly these jobs, will be brought to market earlier by targeting a 50 per cent reduction in Commonwealth assessment and approval times for major projects, from an average of 3.5 years to 21 months,” he said.

Mr Morrison also outlined some of the 15 projects, including the $10 billion inland rail project from Melbourne to Brisbane, the Marinus Link between Tasmania and Victoria and the expansion of Olympic Dam in South Australia.

The list also includes emergency town water projects in New South Wales and a number of road, rail and iron ore projects in Western Australia.


The police officer who shot dead a black man in the US city of Atlanta has been sacked after protesters set fire to the fast-food restaurant where the man was killed.

Rayshard Brooks, 27, had fallen asleep in his car while waiting in the drive-through lane of a Wendy’s outlet south of the city centre on Friday night.

Police say after failing an alcohol test Mr Brooks resisted arrest and took an officer’s taser during a struggle, reports Reuters and the ABC.

Video of the incident shows Mr Brooks running away from the officers before he is shot.

Police released a statement saying officer Garrett Rolfe had been fired following the shooting.

Another officer involved in the incident, Devin Bronsan, was put on administrative leave.

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee’s ban on protests — including kneeling in support of anti-racism — is a breach of human rights, according to the Global Athlete group.

The group has called on Olympic and Paralympic officials to move immediately to abolish the rule, opening up the ability for athletes to make genuine acts of protest without penalty.

Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas”.

Athletes breaking the rules are subject to discipline on a case-by-case basis and the IOC issued guidelines in January clarifying that banned protests included taking a knee.

“The IOC and IPC’s (International Paralympic Committee) recent statement that athletes who ‘take a knee’ … will face bans is a clear breach of human rights,” Global Athlete, an international athlete-led movement that aims to inspire change in world sport, said in a statement.


Women across Switzerland screamed for a minute during a national protest, demanding equal treatment and an end to violence at the hands of men.

On Sunday (local time), Thousands of marchers in Geneva and other Swiss cities screamed at 3:24pm — the time of day when women technically start working for no pay given the country’s gender wage gap.

They also staged a flash mob and held a minute’s silence for women killed by husbands or boyfriends.

Last year, half a million Swiss protesters marched to highlight the nation’s poor record on women’s rights.

This year’s version of what organisers call the Women’s Strike was more subdued given coronavirus restrictions.

“For me, it is emotional, because I scream for me, but I also scream for my sisters and brothers, I scream for all the other children who lost a mother or a father, and I also scream for my mother, who would have screamed if she was still here,” said Roxanne Errico, a 19-year-old student who said her mother was killed by her violent boyfriend.

Switzerland has a high quality of life but lags other developed economies in women’s pay and workplace equality.


Victorian Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek has quit state Cabinet after accusations of branch stacking and a recording of him using offensive language was made public.

An investigation by The Age and Nine’s 60 Minutes, aired last night, alleged the Upper House MP handed over thousands of dollars in cash and used parliamentary employees to create fake branch members and amass political influence within the Australian Labor Party.

The program also aired alleged recordings in which he disparaged Gabrielle Williams, the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence.

Mr Somyurek has released the following statement:

“This morning I advised the Premier of my resignation as a Minister.

“It follows publication of numerous personal and private conversations between myself and a long term friend and factional ally of mine.

“It is clear that I was taped and surveilled in a Federal electorate office without my knowledge and that this material was published without my knowledge of its existence or my consent.

“I will be taking steps to seek a police investigation into these matters.

“With respect to allegations made around memberships of the party, I reject those and will be providing a rigorous defence during any party process.

“The conversations published without my knowledge or consent were with someone who I trusted about internal party matters.

“There are many robust discussions that occur on any given day in the Labor Party across all factions.

“However, I accept and take full responsibility for the fact that my language on a number of occasions was simply not appropriate.

“While Ms Williams and I have been at odds factionally for many years, I should not have used the language I did about her and I apologise to her unequivocally.

“Further, I am deeply sorry for language I used regarding highly valued and exceptional young people who are members of the LGBTI community.

“These comments have quite rightly cost me my job”.

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