Daily News Roundup

July 1, 2020

 

WEDNESDAY JULY 1

Six institutions, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have been publicly named by the Federal Government for failing to sign up to the National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

Organisations had until last night to join the program, with the Commonwealth promising to not only reveal those which refused to take part, but also cut them off from future federal funding and consider ways to cut their charitable status.

The six institutions are Australian Air League, Boys’ Brigade NSW, Fairbridge Restored Limited, Lakes Entrance Pony Club, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Kenja Communications.

There are 55 applications from victims of child sexual abuse that cannot currently be processed as a result of the six groups failing to sign up.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston was scathing as she urged the organisations to think about the consequences of not joining.

“Think about the reputational damage by you saying, as an organisation, that despite having a history of working with children, despite having applications against your organisation for child sexual abuse, you still refuse to accept your moral obligation and responsibility to come forward and allow these people the small thing of a bit of redress and a small amount of money to acknowledge that they actually have had wrongs committed against them,” she told the ABC’s AM program.

“I don’t understand how any organisation can take that kind of course of action, so I’ll be calling on them to actually rethink their position.”

The Commonwealth and state and territory governments have all signed up to the scheme — covering any abuse that happened within their institutions.

In total, 224 non-government institutions have agreed to take part in the scheme, while another 156 have signalled their intention to join.

Jehovah’s Witnesses argued it did not have the “institutional settings” needed to be covered by the National Redress Scheme.

Six institutions, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses, have been publicly named by the Federal Government for failing to sign up to the National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse.

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The Government’s paid parental leave (PPL) scheme is changing from today, but it still does not include superannuation payments that advocates say are key to securing women’s long-term financial security, reports the ABC.

Earlier this month, Parliament passed changes to the Federal Government’s PPL scheme meaning people could take the last six weeks of their leave more flexibly instead of in one block.

Despite recommendations by a number of advocacy groups, the changes did not include adding superannuation payments to the scheme, something Labor promised to do if it won the last election.

While it is not currently in the Coalition’s plans to include superannuation in the near future, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the Government was “open to discussion about further opportunities for improvement” of the legislation.

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The United States’ top infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, is “very concerned” that the country could soon be recording 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.

Meanwhile the European Union (EU) has confirmed Australia is on its list of 14 countries whose citizens will be allowed to visit the bloc from today.

Dr Fauci warned his country is now recording more than 40,000 coronavirus cases a day and the figure could soon more than double.

“I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned,” Dr Fauci told a Senate hearing on reopening schools and workplaces.

He cited scenes of people socialising in crowds, often without masks, as one of the reasons for his fears.

Having previously relaxed restrictions, states such as Texas, Florida and California are now closing beaches and bars and rolling back restaurant capacity in some cases.

Los Angeles has announced it will close beaches and ban fireworks displays over the Fourth of July weekend.

New Jersey’s Governor said he was postponing restarting indoor dining because people had not been wearing masks or complying with other social-distancing rules.

However in Florida, Walt Disney World is forging ahead with plans to reopen on July 11, despite a spike in confirmed cases in the past week.

The state, which has recorded more than 3,500 deaths, on Tuesday reported more than 6,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Hospital intensive care units there are starting to fill up.

On Monday, the city of Jacksonville, where US President Donald Trump is expected to accept the Republican nomination in August, made wearing masks mandatory.