‘It’s a pretty strong recommendation,’ chief medical officer says of mask wearing
The chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, is speaking on ABC radio, saying Covid hospitalisations are “very close to our peak throughout the entire pandemic”.
Being pressed on why masks haven’t been mandated, Kelly says:
I’m not the person who introduces mandates … I’m not the decision maker.
Asked if he has recommended them, Kelly says he has recommended increased mask use:
I have recommended that we need to increase mask use … We’ve left it there for others to consider the pros and cons of how to do that. It’s a pretty strong recommendation.
‘Best possible combination’: RBA review headed by treasurer’s top three picks
Jim Chalmers says it was a deliberate choice to have majority of women on the panel.
He says it’s the “best possible combination”, with the first three people he asked filling the roles.
He says “anything I can do, I will do” to improve women’s participation in economics.
‘Now is the right time’ for RBA review, treasurer says
Jim Chalmers was on ABC radio this morning revealing what he wants the review of the Reserve Bank of Australia to deliver:
We face a complex and changing economic environment … and now is the right time to ensure we’ve got the world’s best, the most effective central bank.”
The review will report its findings in March.
The treasurer praised the RBA as a “quality institution with quality people” but says no central bank, like no government, gets “everything bang on”.
He says he wants to “make sure institutional arrangements are right.” He’s not interested in “second guessing” the RBA.
He says it’s been a “really long time” since the last review, and not since the current regime was set up in 1990s.
Fake picture deliberate attempt to distract from China’s human rights abuses, report says
A shocking tweet from a senior Chinese Communist party diplomat with a fake picture of an Australian soldier cutting a young person’s throat was a deliberate attempt to distract from human rights abuses in Xinjiang, a new Australian Strategic Policy Institute report says.
And the swift and angry response from then prime minister Scott Morrison was part of the plan, researchers argue.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was tweeting amid criticism over China’s treatment of Uyghurs and in the wake of the Brereton report. Zhang said he was “shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers”.
The ASPI report says this was “whataboutism”. The research shows media interest in the tweet swiftly shot up to become four times greater than media interest in Xinjiang, and the effect lasted for a couple of months.
In the report, Assessing the impact of CCP information operations related to Xinjiang, authors Albert Zhang and Tilla Hoja analysed information including Chinese government documents and speeches, hundreds of thousands of Facebook posts and media articles and millions of tweets.
They found the CCP is using ever more targeted techniques to counter what they call the “lie of the century” – the incarceration of the Uyghur minority – and to spread the propaganda that people there are happy:
This includes using increasingly sophisticated online tactics to deny, distract from and deter revelations or claims of human rights abuses, including the arbitrary detention, mass sterilisation and cultural degradations of minorities in Xinjiang.
It found in the case of tweet, it was an “effective short-term distraction” but only partly successful.
Treasurer announces terms of reference for RBA review
Jim Chalmers has announced the terms of reference of a review of the Reserve Bank of Australia, which will include examining whether changes are needed to the bank’s inflation targets.
It is the first review of the bank since the monetary policy arrangements were set up in the 1990s and will report to government with “clear recommendations” by March.
The review will be lead by three independent experts: Prof Carolyn Wilkins, a former deputy governor to the Bank of Canada; Prof Renee Fry-McKibbin, a leading macroeconomists at the Australian National University; and Dr Gordon de Brouwer, secretary for public sector reform and a long-serving senior public servant.
Chalmers said the review fulfilled the government’s commitment to conduct a broad-based review of how monetary policy was managed in Australia:
This is an important opportunity to ensure that our monetary policy framework is the best it can be, to make the right calls in the interests of the Australian people and their economy.
The review will call for public submissions, and will consider the “RBA’s objectives, mandate, the interaction between monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policy, its governance, culture, operations, and more”.
It will also assess the “continued appropriateness of the inflation targeting framework” of the bank, which is set at between 2% and 3%, and which drives the bank’s cash rate decisions.
It will consider the interaction of monetary policy with fiscal and macroprudential policy, “including during crises and when monetary policy space is limited.”
According to the terms of reference, the panel will also assess the RBA’s “performance in meeting its objectives, including its choice of policy tools, policy implementation, policy communication, and how trade-offs between different objectives have been managed”.
The RBA has faced criticism for a series of rapid increases to the cash rate to try to curb inflation, after previously indicating rates would remain steady until 2024.
As Covid-19 hospitalisations continue to rise across the country, the numbers have become “pretty scary,” Dr Omar Khorshid, the president of the Australian Medical Association says, as Victorian hospitals have seen a 99% increase since 22 June.
The AMA chief has called for mask mandates, but the chief medical officer Paul Kelly still only “strongly suggest[s]” that Australians wear masks, as he encourages working from home.
The government has announced a review into the Reserve Bank of Australia, the first major review into the central bank since the current regime was set up.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers today releases the terms of references for the review, which will examine the RBA’s inflation target, as well as the structure of its board.
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