Monday 21st of September 2020

very sick leave...

sick leave

Unions have cautiously welcomed the introduction of a pandemic leave disaster payment of $1,500 a fortnight for workers without sick leave who need to self-isolate after a positive Covid-19 test, but said it did not address “the full scale” of the crisis in Victoria.

Scott Morrison announced the payment – which will be jointly funded with states that have declared a state of disaster – on Monday after big business and Australian unions teamed up to demand a more comprehensive right to paid leave to cover workers nationwide.

A further announcement is expected on Tuesday about Australian Defence Personnel assisting with compliance activities in Victoria, as pressure grows on the federal government to help fight Victoria’s Covid-19 crisis.

The prime minister told reporters in Canberra the new payment would be available to all workers without sick leave in Victoria, and would be offered to any state that declared a state of disaster.

The new $1,500 payment is intended to “supplement and support” Victoria’s existing payment system by covering the fortnight of self-isolation after a positive result. Victoria has been offering the same sum to workers with no sick leave or other income, but the scheme was criticised as inadequate by unions and business, which noted it had “minimal take up over recent weeks”.

Victoria will now pick up the bill only for temporary visa-holders who need the payment, while the commonwealth will pay for Australian citizens and residents.

The federal government’s payment would be available if people need to self-isolate multiple times, Morrison said. “[This] means that those who need to self-isolate as a result of an instruction by a public health officer – there is no economic reason for you to go to work.”


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tracking the travellers...

New arrivals to Singapore won’t necessarily have to quarantine at a government facility during the pandemic - some, including residents, will receive an electronic monitoring device that will alert authorities if they leave home.

Singapore announced on Monday it will track incoming travelers coming from a select group of countries - including residents and citizens - with electronic monitoring devices, starting August 11.

Authorities framed the trackers as a positive for travelers, noting they would allow recipients to self-isolate at home instead of quarantining in a government facility. New arrivals will be ordered to activate the devices upon reaching home, at which point they are programmed to alert the authorities should the user try to leave or tamper with the device.


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2/3 of the debt was borrowed before the start of the pandemic...

The claim

Both the Coalition and Labor have in the past argued that paying off Commonwealth debt is a benchmark of economic success in Australian politics.

But Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently warned Australians that his July budget update was going to contain "eye watering numbers around debt and deficit", saying: "The coronavirus has required the Government to spend unprecedented amounts of money to support people in need".

The following day, in an interview with ABC News Breakfast, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the Government must not be allowed to "pull a swiftie" by pretending the red ink in the budget was a consequence of the virus when the vast majority of the debt had piled up beforehand.

"Something like two-thirds of the debt in the budget was borrowed by the Government before this outbreak of COVID-19," Mr Chalmers said.

What do the records show? RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict

Mr Chalmers is correct.

When the Coalition came to power in September 2013, gross debt stood at about $280.3 billion.

That level of debt was largely the consequence of borrowing undertaken by the former Labor government to help cushion Australia from the global financial crisis, which according to the Reserve Bank began around mid-2007.

By the end of January 2020, as Australia began to record its first cases of coronavirus, gross debt was $568.1 billion.

On July 22, 2020, the day before Mr Chalmers made his claim, gross debt stood at $723.4 billion.

The increase in gross debt since the pandemic hit Australia — $155.3 billion — represents 35 per cent of the $443.1 billion of debt borrowed by the Coalition since it came to office.

This is consistent with Mr Chalmers's claim that something like two-thirds of the debt was borrowed by the Government before the outbreak of COVID-19.

For completeness, Fact Check also examined net debt figures, which factor in offsetting financial assets.



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