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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Global COVID-19 cases surpass 5.4 million, Australian death toll stands at 102 - The Sydney Morning Herald
If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
"Today, I want to give the retail sector notice of our intentions to reopen shops, so they too can get ready," Johnson said. "There are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country." The government said shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, would be expected to be able to reopen from June 15, giving them three weeks to prepare. Reuters
Dominic Cummings refuses to apologise for 400km lockdown trip - Sydney Morning Herald
Boris Johnson's chief adviser slapped down demands for his resignation, and revealed damaging new details of his trip to regional England at the peak of Britain's coronavirus lockdown.
"I've seen some of the media over the last couple of days, and I'm not surprised that a lot of people are very angry. I hope and think that today, when Ive actually explained all the circumstances about it, I think people realise this is a very complicated, tricky situation." But in outlining his defence to reporters at Downing Street, Cummings appeared to have confirmed or revealed a number of new breaches. On March 27 - the same day Johnson announced he had tested positive for coronavirus - Cummings was called home by his wife Mary Wakefield, who felt ill. After going home to care for her, Cummings returned to work at Downing Street later that afternoon. Government rules at the time said a family must immediately self-isolate for 14 days if any member of the household had symptoms. That night, Cummings drove Wakefield and their young son five hours north to Durham to stay in a cottage on his mother and father's farm, fearing nobody could care for their child if they both fell ill with the virus. But Cummings admitted on Monday that he did not check whether there were any childcare options in London before the family went to Durham. "I can understand that some people will argue I should have stayed at home in London," Cummings said. "I understand these views, I understand the intense hardship and sacrifice the entire country has gone through. However, I respectfully disagree," he said. "The legal rules inevitably do not cover all circumstances, including those that I found myself in." Cummings also admitted to a separate trip on Easter Sunday in which he, his wife and son undertook a 100-kilometre round trip from his parents' farm to the small town of Barnard Castle. Under pressure to explain that, Cummings claimed COVID-19 had damaged his eyes and he needed to test whether his sight was strong enough to eventually drive back to London. "We decided we should go for a short drive to see if I could drive safely. We drove for roughly half-an-hour and ended up on the outskirts of Barnard Castle town." The family got out of the car and sat by a river, even though they had only one day earlier ended the 14-day mandatory period of self-isolation. They also went there even though Cummings could not stand up only days earlier. The government had repeatedly urged all Brits to stay home and not make unnecessary journeys. The Barnard Castle trip is now the most likely to bring Cummings unstuck. He could not say on Monday how the trip was permitted under Britain's lockdown guidelines at the time. Cummings revealed his child became unwell in Durham in early April and had to be taken to hospital via ambulance. He later tested negative to coronavirus. Cummings conceded he left the cottage he was self-isolating in to go and pick up his wife and child from the hospital the next morning. "There were no taxis. I drove to the hospital, picked them up, then returned home. I did not leave the car or have any contact with anybody at any point on this short trip," he said. Wakefield, a journalist for the Spectator magazine, wrote about the family's coronavirus ordeal after they returned to London in mid-April but never mentioned the trip to Durham, the drive to Barnard Castle or their child's overnight hospitalisation. The saga has infuriated Tory MPs who believe Johnson has made a grave political error in expending political capital to stand by Cummings. Nearly two dozen Tory MPs have publicly demanded Cummings stand down, and Durham police have pledged to investigate his movements in the region. The press conference was thought to be the first held at Downing Street by a government staffer.Credit:PA Cummings said he had not offered his resignation. Asked if he would review his position as the scandal drags on, Cummings replied: "It's up to the Prime Minister." He also said he did not tell Johnson that he was going to Durham before driving there on the night of Friday, March 27. "I did not ask the Prime Minister about this decision. He was ill himself and had huge problems to deal with," Cummings said. A protester holds up a placard which reads 'Why are you above the law?' outside the home of Dominic Cummings.Credit:Getty "Arguably this was a mistake and I understand some will say I should have spoken with the Prime Minister before I decided what to do." Johnson was told in the week starting March 29 that Cummings had made the trip. "At some point during the first week where we were both sick and in bed, I mentioned to him what I had done. Unsurprisingly, given the condition we were in, neither of us remember the conversation in any detail," Cummings said. The hour-long press conference was held in the rose garden at the back of Downing Street and was considered an unprecedented move by a government staffer. Durham's acting police and crime commissioner Simon White backed the conduct of his officers on Monday and said he had ordered an investigation into Cummings' time in the region. In a later press conference, Johnson said Cummings had not dented the public's faith in or adherence to lockdown laws. "I think people will make up their minds about what Mr Cummings had to say," Johnson said. He also said his own eyesight had been affected by coronavirus and it was "plausible" that Cummings' own vision had been affected. The UK's official coronavirus death toll stands at 36,914. Bevan Shields is the Europe correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
WHO pauses trial of hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns - Sydney Morning Herald
The World Health Organisation has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns.
The WHO has previously recommended against using hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent coronavirus infections, except as part of clinical trials. Dr Michael Ryan, WHO's emergencies chief, said there was no indication of any safety problems with hydroxychloroquine in the WHO trial to date, but that statisticians would now analyse the information. "We're just acting on an abundance of caution based on the recent results of all the studies to to ensure that we can continue safely with that arm of the trial," he said. WHO said it expected to have more details within the next two weeks. Last week, Trump announced he was taking hydroxychloroquine although he has not tested positive for COVID-19. His own administration has warned the drug can have deadly side effects, and both the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration warned health professionals last month that the drug should not be used to treat COVID-19 outside of hospital or research settings due to numerous serious side effects that in some cases can be fatal. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are approved for treating lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and for preventing and treating malaria, but no large rigorous tests have found them safe or effective for preventing or treating COVID-19.
A year after Theo's disappearance, Hayez family searches for answers - Sydney Morning Herald
The family of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez is pleading for anyone with information to come forward as the one year anniversary of his disappearance approaches.
They've also set up a new website calling on anyone who was in that part of NSW in May or June of 2019 to come forward. "One year on, we believe that there is much more to Théo's story than has been brought to light," the statement read. A missing persons flyer near a beach.Credit:AAP "Theo's family and friends, those living in Byron Bay and everyone who is concerned for the safety of young travellers are eager for the full story of that night to be understood." Mr Hayez had been on a backpacking gap year around Australia, with Byron Bay the penultimate stop on his months-long tour. He had told his family how keen he was to come home and begin his university studies. After several months, the search was formally ended by the NSW coroner in September. The Byron community was active in the search, with members of the public gathering in the area between Byron Beach and Tallow Beach near Tallows Ridge, where Mr Hayez's phone last pinged. One man even brought a metal detector. Backpacker Theo Hayez was last seen in Byron Bay in May 2019.Credit:Facebook The State Emergency Service, surf lifesaving groups and police dog units have aided in the search, as well as community groups, which have been praised by police. Despite the extensive search efforts of last year, the family has "high hopes" that new evidence could still be brought to light. "We are begging for witnesses to come forward. We continue our plea to anyone who might be withholding information to come forward," the statement read. "We know that many people are struggling at the moment and we are so grateful for all the different ways that people continue to show their support and their love."
Legal challenges to border closures 'have legs', experts say - Sydney Morning Herald
Border restrictions in Queensland and Western Australia are becoming "harder and harder" to justify as COVID-19 cases continue to fall, legal experts argue.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has suggested border restrictions may remain until September, putting her at loggerheads with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday the creation of a bubble or safe travel zone between Australia and New Zealand was not conditional on state border relaxation. "It's contingent on Australia signalling that they are ready," she said. "They may choose to open up while they have some internal border restrictions. They may choose to wait. I see that as a matter for Australia." The Queensland legal challenge, yet to be filed, is expected to be led by a NSW silk acting pro bono for Queensland residents. In a statement of claim, lawyers acting for Mr Palmer and his company Mineralogy say the WA restrictions should be struck down because they contravene section 92 of the Commonwealth Constitution, which provides that trade and movement among the states "shall be absolutely free". A similar argument is expected to be made in the Queensland case. Professor George Williams, a constitutional law expert and Dean of UNSW Law School, said section 92 was "emphatic" but the High Court had recognised some "limited exceptions". "I think a clear one is protecting the community from a pandemic, but even then it's got to be reasonably done. Very likely it was valid at the height of the pandemic, but at some point a line will be crossed," he said. The case will turn on whether the restrictions remain reasonable and necessary, according to medical evidence, and Professor Williams said "we are in a grey area". "Obviously it's getting harder and harder [to justify] but it's not just a function of how many infections there are, it's about the risk," Professor Williams said. Professor Dan Meagher, Professor and Chair in Constitutional Law at Deakin Law School, said any challenge to border restrictions "would certainly have legs", and the states would need to show their response to the pandemic was proportionate. "If a case was in the High Court today on the current facts, there might be a decent chance that the states would succeed," Professor Meagher said. "But if it was held in September and there's strong medical evidence to suggest that community infection levels have become negligible or nothing, then the states would have a very hard time." Liberal National Party MP Warren Entsch, whose electorate includes Cairns, said the tourist industry "fell over a cliff" during the crisis and needed a firm date to recover. "If we keep saying Queenslands shut for business, by the time we do open theyre going to say 'thank you, but no thank you because weve already made commitments for this year'." LNP MP Andrew Wallace said he hoped Ms Palaszczuk was not acting for political reasons. "I genuinely hope the premier is not using this as a political tool to assist her in a re-election bid in October," Mr Wallace said. Tourism operators face ruin if denied the "massive opportunity" to target millions of southern Australians. "The biggest risk is in Queensland losing out to other states with people in NSW and Victoria choosing other destinations such as Byron Bay or opting for a 'staycation' close to home," said John O'Sullivan, the chief executive of Experience Co, an adventure tourism company with interests in Queensland. Steve Edmondson, who owns the Port Douglas-based Sailaway Reef and Island Tours, said he had written twice to Ms Palaszczuk to appeal to her to allow domestic tourism to resume from July. He said the issue was in the "national interest", with operators in Cairns threatening to stage rallies to protest what they see as intransigence on the part of the Queensland Premier. Natassia Wheeler, the chief executive of Tourism Whitsundays, said a recent survey of local businesses had identified losses of $255 million and more than 3000 jobs. Former LNP state leader Lawrence Springborg backed Ms Palaszczuk's decision. "Look, everyone has opinions at the moment, and they are entitled to their opinions, but gee wizz our state and federal governments have done a pretty good job of keeping us safe," the Goondiwindi Council mayor said. Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has given similar support to the Premier. With AAP Michaela Whitbourn is a legal affairs reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald. David Crowe is chief political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Taiwan vows 'necessary' aid to Hong Kong citizens - Sydney Morning Herald
Taiwan's support for Hong Kong comes as that city's security chief described the protests as "terrorism".
Writing on her Facebook page late on Sunday, Tsai said the proposed legislation was a serious threat to Hong Kong's freedoms and judicial independence. Bullets and repression were not the way to deal with the aspirations of Hong Kong's people for freedom and democracy, she said. "In face of the changing situation, the international community has proactively stretched out a helping hand to Hong Kong's people," Tsai wrote. President Tsai Ing-wen.Credit:AP Taiwan would "even more proactively perfect and forge ahead with relevant support work, and provide Hong Kong's people with necessary assistance". Taiwan has no law on refugees that could be applied to Hong Kong protesters who seek asylum on the island. Its laws do promise, though, to help Hong Kong citizens whose safety and liberty are threatened for political reasons. Taiwan's President has offered support for citizens in Hong Kong.Credit:The Age The Hong Kong protests have won widespread sympathy in Taiwan and the support for the protesters by Tsai and her administration have worsened already poor ties between Taipei and Beijing. China has accused supporters of Taiwan independence of colluding with the protesters. China believes Tsai to be a "separatist" bent on declaring the island's formal independence. Tsai says Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name. Hong Kong's security chief described the protests as "terrorism" which was growing in the city, as government departments rallied behind Beijing's plans to introduce the national security laws. Police say they arrested more than 180 people on Sunday, when authorities fired tear gas and water to disperse anti-government protesters as unrest returned to the Chinese-ruled city after months of relative calm. "Terrorism is growing in the city and activities which harm national security, such as 'Hong Kong independence', become more rampant," Secretary for Security John Lee said on Monday. "In just a few months, Hong Kong has changed from one of the safest cities in the world to a city shrouded in the shadow of violence," he said, adding national security laws were needed to safeguard the city's prosperity and stability. The terrorism comments were backed by China's Foreign Ministry Commissioner in Hong Kong, Xie Feng, who told a press conference Monday afternoon that acts during last year's protests were "terrorist" in nature. Xie defended the new national security laws as "right, proper and of greatest urgency". "No country will ever turn blind eye to illegal acts that jeopardise national security," he said. In a return of the unrest that roiled Hong Kong last year, crowds thronged the streets on Sunday in defiance of curbs imposed to contain the coronavirus, amid chants of "Hong Kong independence, the only way out". Such calls are anathema to Beijing, which considers Hong Kong an inalienable part of the country. The proposed new laws stress Beijing's intent "to prevent, stop and punish" such acts. On Monday night, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the US is trying to harm China's national security. He said Beijing had lodged stern representations with Washington over White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien's comments that the security law for Hong Kong could lead to US sanctions. Earlier, in a sign of rising tensions, China Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the United States should give up its "wishful thinking" of changing China, warning that some in America were pushing relations to a "new Cold War". "China has no intention to change the US, nor to mention replace the US It is also wishful thinking for the US to change China," Wang said on Sunday during his annual news briefing on the sidelines of National People's Congress meetings in Beijing. The US-China relationship has worsened dramatically in the past few months as America became one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, which was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The world's two biggest economies have clashed on a range of issues from trade to human rights, with Beijing's latest move to tighten its grip on Hong Kong setting up another showdown between US President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping. "Some US political forces are taking hostage of China-US relations, attempting to push the ties to the brink of so-called 'new Cold War,'" Wang said. "This is dangerous and will endanger global peace." Reuters
Pakistan jet with about 100 on board crashes near Karachi airport - Sydney Morning Herald
"Sir - mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303," the pilot could be heard saying in his final exchange with air traffic controllers.
Police wearing protective masks struggled to clear away crowds in the narrow streets of the crash site in the poor and congested residential area known as Model Colony so ambulances could move through. Police and soldiers cordoned off the area amid the smoke and dust. Pakistan had resumed domestic flights earlier this week ahead of the Eid-al Fitr holiday marking the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. Pakistan has been in a countrywide lockdown since mid-March because of the coronavirus. Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar initially said all aboard died, but two civil aviation officials later said that at least two people survived the crash. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief media. Local TV stations reported three people sitting in the front row of the aircraft survived and showed video of a man on a stretcher they identified as Zafar Masood, the head of the Bank of Punjab. They reported that at least 11 bodies were recovered from the crash site and six people were injured. It was not immediately clear if the casualties were passengers. Pakistan's civil aviation authority said the plane carried 91 passengers and a crew of seven. Earlier, the airport in the north-eastern city of Lahore had said 107 were on board. Civil aviation authority spokesman Abdul Sattar Kokhar said the discrepancy was due to confusion in the chaotic aftermath of the crash. A transmission of the pilot's final exchange with air traffic control, posted on the website LiveATC.net, indicated he had failed to land and was circling around to make another attempt. "We are proceeding direct, sir - we have lost engine," a pilot said. "Confirm your attempt on belly," the air traffic controller said, offering a runway. "Sir - mayday, mayday, mayday, mayday Pakistan 8303," the pilot said before the transmission ended. Witnesses said the Airbus appeared to try to land two or three times. An injured woman is carried away from the site of the crash.Credit:AP A resident of the area, Abdul Rahman, said he saw the aircraft circle at least three times, appearing to try to land before it crashed into several houses. Another witness, Shakeel Ahmed, said: "The aeroplane first hit a mobile tower and crashed over houses." Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted: "Shocked & saddened by the PIA crash... Immediate inquiry will be instituted. Prayers & condolences go to families of the deceased." Airbus did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the crash. The flight from the north-eastern city of Lahore typically lasts about an hour and a half. Soldiers and volunteers at the site of the crash.Credit:AP Airworthiness documents showed the plane last received a government check on November 1, 2019. PIA's chief engineer signed a separate certificate on April 28 saying all maintenance had been conducted. It said "the aircraft is fully airworthy and meets all the safety" standards. Ownership records for the Airbus A320 showed China Eastern Airlines flew the plane from 2004 until 2014. The plane then entered PIA's fleet, leased from GE Capital Aviation Services. Perry Bradley, a spokesman for GE, said the firm was "aware of reports of the accident and is closely monitoring the situation." In Pakistan's most recent deadly crash, 47 people died when a PIA jet smashed into a mountainside in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in 2016. The country's worst plane disaster came in 2010 when an AirBlue flight crashed killing 152 people near Islamabad. AP, Reuters
"Significant error" - Treasury reveals much lower JobKeeper use - The Age
The biggest policy miscalculation in Australian political history has increased pressure on the Morrison government to revisit its JobKeeper wage subsidy.
There was also strong reaction among some Coalition backbenchers about Mr Frydenberg's handling of the issue, particularly the sheer size of the error. The most common mistake was where firms, asked to report the number of employees they expected to go on to JobKeeper, actually reported the amount of money they expected to receive. More than 500 firms with just one eligible worker instead reported "1500", which is the JobKeeper payment per person per fortnight. The mistake was discovered as the Tax Office and Treasury found a major difference between their initial forecast and the amount of cash flowing to businesses to support their staff. Investigations into the problem started at the start of this week. As late as Thursday, Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy told a Senate inquiry that more than 6 million people were being supported by JobKeeper. Mr Frydenberg was formally briefed on Friday. But when Treasury first revealed its estimate of how many people would be supported by JobKeeper, private sector economists raised doubts with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that it would extend to 6.5 million workers. There have also been complaints from small businesses that requirements to use JobKeeper are too onerous, particularly the pre-payment of workers' wages before being reimbursed by the tax office. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on March 30 the scheme was initially forecast to support 6 million workers and cost $130 billion. The Tax Office said expressions of interest filled out by firms after that date confirmed the forecast. Mr Frydenberg would not take responsibility for the issue, describing it as an unintentional reporting error that also showed the economy was doing better than expected. He said the saving was "good news" for taxpayers, pushing back for demands to extend JobKeeper to those initially excluded from the scheme. "We're not making wholesale changes to the JobKeeper program. We'll have a review, as we've always stated, midway through the program, and we'll wait for the results of that review," he said. Labour force figures last week revealed almost 600,000 jobs disappeared in April while hundreds of thousands more Australians have left the jobs market altogether. The big shortfall also casts doubt on official forecasts for the economy. All have been predicated on $130 billion being pumped into the bank accounts of workers over a six month period. The Treasury said it still believed unemployment would still reach 10 per cent by the middle of the year. Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the mistake dwarfed any other costing issue in Australian history, adding the mistakes should have been picked up early in the process. "This is a mistake you could have seen from space, and this is a government that couldn't run a bath, let alone be good economic managers," he said. Universities Australia said the government should look to extend JobKeeper to the nation's tertiary institutions. Labor Leader Anthony Albanese says the size of the problem with JobKeeper was so large "it could be seen from space".Credit:Dan Himbrechts As we have said in recent weeks, without greater support universities face the loss of 21,000 jobs in the next six months and a significant reduction in the essential research undertaken on our campuses," chief executive officer Catriona Jackson said. The Australian Industry Group said the government should address anomalies in JobKeeper, including extending its to low-margin firms that may not have suffered a 30 per cent drop in turnover but are under greater financial stress because of the pandemic. The Migrant Workers Centre said there was now no excuse to "condemn over a million migrant workers to starve when the Morrison Government has $60 billion in its back pocket". JobKeeper and the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement are both due to end in September. Australian Greens' spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said given the shortfall in JobKeeper, there was no excuse for the government to cut JobSeeker payments. "Further, the Government can top up the disability support pension and carer payments so that disabled people and carers can meet the additional costs they are facing because of the pandemic," she said. Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletter Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day's crucial developments at a glance, the numbers you need to know and what our readers are saying. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald's newsletter here and The Age'shere. Shane is a senior economics correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.
Markets Live, Friday, 22 May, 2020 - The Sydney Morning Herald
The ASX has closed lower amid mounting tensions between China and the US, though the index still managed to bank a fourth straight week of gains.
The big miners were also down, even after the promise of increased fiscal spending by China, and supply concerns over COVID-affected Brazil, boosted iron ore prices. Rio Tinto finished 2 per cent lower at $91.30 and BHP lost 0.55 per cent to $34.32. Fortescue Metals edged 0.15 per cent lower to $13.58. The banking giants also fell, with Commonwealth Bank, NAB, ANZ and Westpac each dropping between 0.59 per cent and 1.16 per cent. The health sector badly underperformed as CSL plunged 2.36 per cent to $290.93, the firms lowest price since March 31. A dour turn for oil futures and US futures snuffed out any chance the local market would stage a late comeback. Analysts nominated geopolitical volatility and a tit-for-tat trade brawl as the main culprit for melting away optimism that fuelled a rise on Monday to Wednesday. Markets jumped early in the week on positive signs a COVID-19 vaccine could be in the works, though investors were quick to realise the limited scope of Modernas trials. Europe rose on positive news France and Germany could be coming to a reconciliation over a European recovery fund, though but global sentiment reversed when superpowers throw their weight around. This included moves by Beijing to impose a new security law on Hong Kong, adding pressure to its already strained ties with the US. Australia also found itself in the middle of a trade furore when China slapped new rules on iron ore inspections and reports, and reportedly told power stations told to avoid Australian coal. The moves come as Australia continues to advocate for an inquiry into Chinas handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Whats happened over the course of the week is that hopes have been dashed on what people thought was going to happen, Kerry Craig. Were seeing this familiar old risk of geopolitics and trade which has been dominating the narrative over the past couple of days. Despite back to back sessions in the red, the ASX had enough of a runup to rise for a fourth straight week, adding 1.7 per cent. The index has now climbed for eight of the past nine weeks since it hit a nadir on March 23. CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy noted the ASX had again failed in the 5600 to 5550 zone. The (recent) rally has been at complete odds with the economic damage we are seeing here and around the globe, Mr McCarthy said. So this failure (to break through 5600) again gives me some heart that this period of exuberant optimism is starting to fade.
This is a costings blunder made in political heaven - Sydney Morning Herald
This maths error is probably the biggest mistake of its kind in Australian political history. It could be the biggest opportunity as well.
This could mean adding universities to the program so their staff not just academics, but everyone from cleaners to administrators can join others who already receive $1500 a fortnight in wage subsidies. Or helping more casual workers. It could mean adding some state-owned companies, which are currently blocked from the scheme but are being championed by Labor and some Liberal MPs. It could allow the government to phase out JobKeeper carefully over time rather than ending all payments in the last days of September. And it could make room for a more generous unemployment benefit so the JobSeeker allowance of $1100 a fortnight is not suddenly halved to the old Newstart rate. Morrison originally wanted everything to "snap back" to the old benefits within six months, but he has been less adamant about that timetable in recent weeks. A gentler transition is clearly better for the economy. Frydenberg made a virtue of spending 16.4 per cent of GDP on the total stimulus, but the missing $60 billion means he is not doing as much as he thought. He could spend the money in other ways to gain the same lift. Mistakes with costings usually lead to political pain but this one is different. JobKeeper was designed quickly in an emergency. It was always going to be subject to human error. Speed was crucial but made flaws inevitable. The government says no money was paid to anyone who did not qualify. The mistake was discovered in time.