We’ve all made it through another day to land on Tuesday, where the parties will hold their meetings and the Coalition will tell us how it’s doing the mostest on climate, despite the IPCC report.
It’s that sort of day. You can feel it.
But while we’re on eyebrow raising topics, there is this story from Luke Henriques-Gomes that I hope everyone gets a chance to read today:
The federal government has sent more than 11,000 people Centrelink debt letters worth a total of $32m claiming they were overpaid due to jobkeeper, while resisting calls to claw back money from businesses who got the wage subsidy and then made a profit.
Services Australia has told senate estimates 11,771 people have had a debt raised “after the completion of a review of their income support payments and the jobkeeper income that was paid to them by their employer”.
So a day after the government fought (and won) a change from the Senate to stop businesses who received jobkeeper and didn’t need it (as well as how much they paid) from becoming public, we learn that the government is chasing employees of businesses which received jobkeeper for debts. But the businesses are fine, even if they used the funds for dividends and bonuses, which we know some of them did.
Meanwhile, NSW is still struggling to keep a lid on its Covid outbreak, with large parts of the regions now in lockdown. The Hunter and upper Hunter, Tamworth, Armidale and now the northern rivers, which includes Byron Bay, have been locked down after Covid cases were discovered.
Gladys Berejiklian is concentrating on vaccination as the way out, with the lockdown not seemingly focused on getting to zero cases, but instead acting as a speed hump for infections. But the rest of the states seem inclined to keep NSW cordoned off until the nation reaches the 70% to 80% vaccination target, if Australia’s largest state keeps seeing case numbers in the hundreds, while continuing to spread beyond Sydney.
We’ll bring you all the updates, both political and covid, as the day rolls on. Mike Bowers is on assignment, so you have Amy Remeikis at the moment, with Katharine Murphy, Paul Karp, Daniel Hurst and Sarah Martin at your disposal.
There is a bit to get through already, so grab your coffee (I am on number three) and let’s get into it.