Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has said he does not accept there is “a prima facie case, let alone a conclusive case” that Australia has dumped unwanted barley in the Chinese market.
Addressing an ongoing situation between China and Australian grain growers, where the world power has threatened to impose tariffs on barley imported from Australia, Mr Birmingham said Australia operated “firmly in a globally competitive way” and is in the process of demonstrating that to the Chinese government in their investigation.
“It’s still got around a week to go, and we will use this remaining time to put the strongest possible case forward,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
The Trade Minister backed his government’s push for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, a move which has soured Australian-Chinese relations.
“We’ve had a situation where hundreds of thousands of people around the world have lost their lives, millions of people have lost their jobs, and billions of people have had their lives disrupted, and the least the world should expect from that is that there is a transparent inquiry,” he said.
Mr Birmingham and his colleagues are back at Parliament today, where Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will provide a statement on the economy on what would have been the announcement of the federal budget.
Mr Birmingham said the speech would provide “a real message for all Australians, that we are still all in this together”, stressing the need for people to adhere to their state or territory’s social distancing restrictions in order to allow for further economic reopening.
“If we can work through all of those stages [of reopening], it will be worth around $9.4 billion a month in additional economic activity across Australia,” he said.
He repeated his government’s principles that the fiscal response to COVID-19 must be “targeted, proportionate [and] time-limited”.
“You can’t have a society function where lots of people don’t go to work and government is just paying out billions of dollars of money on the never-never,” he said.
“We’ve got to find a way to bring it back to the equilibrium. But that first and foremost relies on Australians sticking to those basics of hand hygiene and social distancing.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino will be addressing the media at 7.45am this morning.
The pair are expected to announce a plan to return children in the state to classrooms, after Mr Andrews said yesterday that the state was open to bringing back face-to-face teaching before the end of term, but no plan had been confirmed so his position, for the sake of clarity for parents, was that it would not occur.
It was hoped by some that the schools announcement would come as part of the easing of restrictions in the state announced yesterday. From Wednesday, Victorians can have five visitors to a home and caps on funeral and wedding attendees have been increased.
Children in NSW and Queensland returned to classrooms on a staggered basis yesterday, with social distancing measures in place.
Twitter will begin warning users when a tweet contains disputed or misleading information about the coronavirus.
The new rule is the latest in a wave of stricter policies tech companies are rolling out to confront an outbreak of virus-related misinformation.
Twitter will take a case-by-case approach to how it decides which tweets are labelled and will only remove posts that are harmful, company leaders said on Monday, the Associated Press reports.
NSW Parliament will sit for one day today, to pass the Berejiklian government’s emergency coronavirus package.
However, one of the package’s measures has received a thumbs down from the opposition.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet wants to temporarily cease mandatory monthly updates of the state’s finances, in a move Labor says is designed to conceal the full impact of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lisa Visentin reports.
The proposed change would mean the Treasurer is not obligated to provide a monthly update until October next year.
NSW shadow treasurer Walt Secord confirmed Labor would attempt to block or amend the provision in the upper house, where the government needs five votes from the crossbench to pass legislation.
Russia has counted a record-high of 11,656 new coronavirus cases, taking the country’s tally to 221,344: the world’s third-highest. Only Spain and the United States have recorded more cases than Russia.
The case jump came just as President Vladimir Putin announced an easing of the country’s six-week lockdown.
This graph shows how Russian cases have grown since the start of the month (remember, the numbers on this graph are the new cases recorded each day, not a cumulative total).
The UK government has given a tentative green light for the Premier League to return from June 1, AAP reports.
A government document, entitled Our Chance to Rebuild, has said sport could resume as part of the second stage of the plan if sufficient progress is made in limiting the spread of the virus.
Matches would also be played behind closed doors, as was the case when the Korean K League became the first competition to resume last Friday.
Representatives of the 20 Premier League clubs met on Monday to discuss the prospect of salvaging the 2019/20 season which has at least nine games left to play.
Etihad Airways will offer flights from Melbourne to London, with transit via Abu Dhabi, from May 15.
In postings on its Twitter account, the airway also said it will offer London to Melbourne flights via Abu Dhabi from May 21. It will then start to offer flights in the opposite direction.
Etihad said it had implemented an “an extensive sanitisation and safety programme” on flights and at airports, and recommended face masks for travellers.
“On board, we’ll make sure you are seated with as much space as possible between every guest, and we’ll offer our food and drinks service in line with important COVID-19 guidelines,” a statement on Etihad’s website said.
Passengers will remain on board at Abu Dhabi.
Additional safety and security measures will be in place at the destination and passengers will be required to self-quarantine, the airline said.
Good morning, this is Mary Ward taking over the blog. Here’s what’s making news on the front page of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
We will be bringing you live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia and abroad throughout the day.
Federal Parliament resumes today, on what – as previously mentioned – would have been the announcement of the federal budget. Instead, that has been postponed to October and Mr Frydenberg will formally address Parliament to advocate for kickstarting the nation’s economy once again. So, a different kind of second Tuesday in May (although, for the Press Gallery, the lockdown might be a source of familiar comfort).
Good morning, if you are just joining us, here are the main developments overnight:
- There are more than 4.1 million total cases around the world, with more than 283,000 deaths.
- On Q&A on Monday night, not once did Premiers Gladys Berejiklian, Daniel Andrews or Annastacia Palaszczuk criticise each other, instead urging for unprecedented times to be met with unprecedented politics.
- However, in response to a question asking how the NSW government could be trusted to manage other outbreaks after the Ruby Princess debacle, Ms Berejiklian said she could not promise there won’t be further mistakes and that states “have to pick ourselves up and move forward”.
- Wuhan has reported its first cluster of coronavirus infections since a lockdown on the city, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, was lifted a month ago, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence.
After six weeks of nationwide lockdown, Russia on Monday counted a record-high of 11,656 new coronavirus cases, taking the country’s tally to 221,344.
Hospitals are facing shortages of drugs needed to operate ventilators, lowering the capacity of intensive care units to respond to surge in COVID-19 patients.
And that’s it from me, I’m handing over to Mary Ward who will take you through the day’s developments.