Ok, Friday is almost over so we are going to shut this blog down. We’ve had big stories from politics, Covid and cricket.
Lets recap the big ones:
- SA premier Steven Marshall refused to dismiss his deputy premier and attorney general Vickie Chapman after the parliament passed a vote of no confidence against her.
- Victorian premier Daniel Andrews condemned Morrison’s comments on protesters, saying he was “double speaking to extremists”.
- NSW recorded 216 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths while Victoria recorded 1,273 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths, NT recorded two and none for Qld.
- Police pumped a creek in search for William Tyrrell.
- SA announced it would open its border next Tuesday.
- New Zealand reported 198 new local Covid-19 cases.
- Rapid antigen Covid testing announced for NSW primary schools.
- Daughter of Victorian crossbench MP allegedly attacked on the streets.
- Tim Paine resigned over text messages.
- Indian prime minister repealed controversial agricultural laws.
It was big day, and I am going to have (a very moderate) drink now.
Until tomorrow – go well team Guardian.
Debate on whether people with mental health conditions should be required to actively seek consent has continued as NSW parliament considers an overhaul of sexual assault laws.
The draft law creates a requirement of “affirmative consent” – meaning people have to say or do something to find out whether their partner consents to a sexual activity, or they could be guilty of sexual assault.
The bill says the affirmative consent requirement does not apply if a person accused of sexual assault was suffering from a cognitive or mental health impairment at the time, if that was a cause of the failure to get consent.
They would still have to believe the other person was consenting.
Attorney general Mark Speakman on Thursday evening said the definitions were developed with forensic mental health experts and consistent with other criminal laws.
“This is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card – an offender with a cognitive impairment or mental health impairment can still be convicted if all elements of the case are established beyond reasonable doubt,” Mr Speakman said.
Labor, the Greens and One Nation are pushing for changes to the exception, which was debated in the upper house on Friday.
A Greens amendment would tweak the bill to provide that the impairment must be “the” cause – rather than “a” cause – of the failure to seek consent. Labor wants it be a “substantial cause”.
If One Nation gets its way, a person would have to show they have a “substantial” cognitive impairment before they could fall within the exception.
A disgraced West Australian public servant who stole more than $27 million from the state and spent lavishly on his obsession with racehorses has been jailed for at least 10 years.
Paul Whyte, 58, admitted masterminding what the WA Corruption and Crime Commission has described as Australia’s biggest corruption by a public servant.
The former high-flyer appeared in the supreme court on Friday via videolink from custody, dressed in prison greens, after pleading guilty to 564 corruption and property laundering charges.
Justice Joseph McGrath sentenced him to 12 years in prison, describing his offending as a “gross breach of trust” which diverted funds from the most disadvantaged members of the community to fund an extravagant lifestyle.
Whyte will be eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
“Your offending was not a single act of stealing but a well-planned and executed theft from the community over an extraordinarily long period,” Justice McGrath said.
Tasmania is offering prizes, including iPads, to 12- to 18-year-olds who get the Covid vaccine.
Premier Peter Gutwein announced a blitz targeting the age group, which has concerningly low vaccine rates.
“If you’re aged 12 to 18 and have had a first or second dose of the vaccine by the 24th, you will be in a draw with a chance to win an iPad and iPhone or an Apple watch,” Gutwein said.
There will be 50 prizes up for grabs.
On the Apple Isle, 84% of Tasmanians over 16 are fully vaccinated, and 92% have had one dose.
But in the 12-15 age group, only 50% are fully vaccinated and 68% have had one dose.
Businesses in Melbourne are shutting their doors tomorrow because of the protest
Police searching for the remains of missing boy William Tyrrell have finished the fifth day of search activity, laying tarpaulin over the search area to protect it from potential rain.
On Friday, there were few developments in Kendall - the town four hours north of Sydney where William went missing from in 2014.
In the morning, police pumped a creek next to the area of bushland they were searching, and found a small piece of light blue cloth about 8cm long.
It was taken in an evidence bag and sent to a police lab in Sydney to be analysed, however its significance to the investigation is unclear.
Forensic teams will return tomorrow as part of the search that will explore two nearby stretches of the bushland.
Australian Cricketers’ Association has put out a statement in relation to the resignation of Tim Paine
Police have combed bushland, drained a creek and excluded a concrete slab from investigations on the fifth day of a renewed search for the remains of missing three-year-old William Tyrrell.
Officers searched an area of bush a kilometre from where the boy disappeared in Kendall on the mid north coast, digging up dirt and draining a shallow creek of water on Friday morning.
The AMA has released a position statement calling for an end to discrimination against people who are LGBTQIA+ in the healthcare system, including patients and healthcare workers.
AMA president Dr Omar Khorshid said the position statement included a call for all state and territory governments to ban coercive “conversion” practices.
“Conversion practices are a blatant example of the discrimination faced by LGBTQIA+ people in Australia and have no place in our society. Currently only Victoria, the ACT and Queensland have legislation in place banning conversion,” Khorshid said.
Khorshid said being LGBTQIA+ was normal, healthy, and representative of the diversity in human sexuality, gender identity, and sex characteristics.
“Many people who are LGBTQIA+ in Australia live happy and healthy lives. However, many experience unacceptable health inequities.”
He said as well as calling for a ban on conversion therapy the position statement included recommendations to the federal government to:
- support mainstream health services to increase cultural safety for people who are LGBTQIA+;
- fund high-quality research on the health outcomes and experiences of people who are LGBTQIA+;
- enhance access to beneficial gender-affirming treatment; and
- add sensitive, evidence-based questions on gender, sexual orientation, and intersex variations to the Australian Census.
“The medical profession should affirm, support and provide care for people who are LGBTQIA+,” he said.
The Morrison government has rejected a call by the Greens and Labor to provide Australia’s live performance sector with an insurance guarantee to guard against future cancellations and border closures due to Covid.
On Friday a report resulting from an inquiry into the feasibility of a new insurance scheme for the performing arts sector was tabled in parliament.
And we’ve got more rain for SA on the way...
Chief Guardian Australia blog boss Matilda Boseley was just speaking on Afternoon Briefing.
PK asked her if the attack on Meddick’s daughter (which is still being investigated by police) signalled heightened tensions in Melbourne over the pandemic bill.
This is what she had to say:
I think after the US insurrection, we’ve all kind of realised that we live in a slightly different world than we thought we live in.
The rules have shifted, and I think hopefully, assuming that this is what happened (that it was politically motivated) maybe this can be the wake-up call for Australian politicians – that this is possible in Australia and this is something that we genuinely have to consider.
Politicians need to be taking a really strong united stance on it.
Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy has joined MPs from all sides of politics in condemning the attack against Meddick’s daughter.
Australia needs to step up on climate change or face the financial and investment consequences, the country’s top economic bureaucrat has warned.
“There may be aspects that do not align with Australia’s national interest,” treasury secretary Steven Kennedy told a briefing on Friday.
“We do not have to like what’s happening but we do have to be engaged and involved.”
He acknowledged powerful forces are now at play in sustainable investment, disclosure and international capital flows.
“Australia will need to take further steps to meet these expectations,” he said at the event hosted by the Centre for Policy Development and research body ClimateWorks.
Macquarie Group chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake said clarity is needed for collaboration between government and business.
“Ultimately what the private sector needs is for the public sector to set the priorities and the targets,” she said.
“Sadly climate change is upon us and we are having extreme weather events, melting of the glaciers, rising sea levels, so there are a lot of communities who are going to be impacted.”
What this blog needs right now is First Dog on the Moon. And oh... look...
Australia is failing to meet its own plastic reduction targets, with just 16% of plastic recovered last year despite more than half of packaging found to be easily recyclable, a new report shows.
The latest progress report released by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (Apco) found plastic recycling has flatlined since a voluntary plan was implemented in 2017.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has also posted on Twitter, saying his “thoughts and wishes” are with Andy Meddick’s daughter.
A rise in sexual assaults linked with online dating apps has led to Queensland police matching with Tinder in a world first safety campaign.
Police commissioner Katarina Carroll says the unique collaboration will provide a safety net for Queenslanders after they swipe right.
Over eight weeks, Queensland users of the app will receive tips to increase awareness on dates as well as reporting and support options.
“What we saw is a clear increase in reporting of online dating and sexual offending,” Carroll said.
“We thought let’s go straight to the source and start having a great discussion on how we make this platform safer for everyone.”
Carroll said Queensland police decided “enough was enough” after a jump in assaults in the state.
Three rapes linked with online app dates had been reported in Queensland in 2008, a figure that rose to 49 by 2019.
The commissioner said sexual assaults were “under-reported” in Queensland due to the perceived stigma of using dating apps.
But she hoped the collaboration would encourage victims to reach out, saying it would help stop perpetrators who were usually repeat offenders.
And while we’re on the weather in NSW ... here is the video from the BoM.
New South Wales is bracing for more potential flooding with heavy rainfall expected to lash much of the east coast over the weekend and possible thunderstorms predicted to hit Sydney.
The city is expected to see up to 50mm of rain on Sunday alone, with rain and thunderstorms also forecast for Saturday and Friday afternoon.
Afghan and Australian rights groups have warned the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan must not be allowed to disrupt or delay Australia’s plan to compensate victims of alleged war crimes.
A key recommendation of the Brereton report, released exactly one year ago, was that the Australian government provide redress to the families of victims, without waiting for prosecutions to conclude.
On Twitter, the PM has commented on the attack on Andy Meddick’s daughter.
In the weeks before Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales emerged from a 106-day lockdown in October, a surge of Covid cases seemed certain to coincide with the easing of restrictions. Experts predicted infections would rise and hospitals braced for a spate of new admissions.
But instead, the opposite happened. Daily Covid cases have dropped and – more than a month after exiting lockdown – the numbers continue to fall.
In other news, here are some photos of politicians in the wild as a timely reminder today is Ausmusic T-shirt day. I’ll be honest, I didn’t peg Tanya Plibersek as an Amyl and the Sniffers fan but I love to be surprised.
Cricket Tasmania has confirmed the allegations against Paine were from a former employee. They only came to Cricket Tasmania’s attention in 2018 when formal charges of theft were laid against that employee. Those charges are still pending.
Indian prime minister repeals controversial agricultural laws
Huge news. Farmers have been camping at Delhi’s border for the past year protesting for the repeal of the laws.
Prime minister Narendra Modi called the reforms, which loosen rules around sale, pricing and storage of farm produce a “watershed moment” for agriculture in India.
But farmers have said the laws would force them into poverty rather than increasing productivity and improving incomes.
The board of Cricket Australia has released a statement confirming Paine will be available for selection in the upcoming Ashes series.
Back to Paine, and it does seem worth reflecting for a moment on the fact Cricket Australia made the decision to back him to become captain in 2018, a year after they became aware the text exchanges happened.
In Paine’s own words:
At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough CA Integrity Unit investigation, throughout which I fully participated in and openly participated in.
That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct.
It will be interesting to see how the move was justified at the time.
Back to the developing story in Victoria, and Andy Meddick’s daughter Kielan confirmed on social media last night she was chased and subsequently attacked for being “political”.
Paine said he will: “Remain a committed member of the Australian cricket team, and look forward with anticipation to what is a huge Ashes tour.”
Paine says he loved his role as captain.
It’s been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s test team.
I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together. To them, I ask for their understanding and forgiveness.
To Australian cricket fans – deeply sorry that my past behaviour has impacted our game on the eve of the Ashes.
For the disappointment, I have caused to fans and the entire cricket community, I apologise. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive family, and it breaks my heart to know how much I’ve let them down ... They have always stood by me, been my most loyal fans, and I’m indebted to them for their support.
I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support.
We thought this incident was behind us and that I could focus entirely on the team, as I have done for the last three or four years. However, I recently became aware that this private text exchange was going to become public.
On reflection, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community.
I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party. I’m sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport.
And I believe that it is the right decision for me to stand down as captain, effective immediately. I do not want this to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes series.
Tim Paine to resign over text messages
Test captain Tim Paine has announced he will resign amid an investigation by Cricket Australia into texts he allegedly sent a woman in 2017.
It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family, and cricket. As background on my decision, nearly four years ago, I was involved in a text exchange with a then colleague.
At the time, the exchange was the subject of a thorough CA Integrity Unit investigation, throughout which I fully participated in and openly participated in.
That investigation and a Cricket Tasmania HR investigation at the same time found that there had been no breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct. Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today.
Test captain Tim Paine is about to hold a press conference in Hobart about his future.
More information on Meddick’s daughter.
Daughter of Victorian crossbench MP attacked on the streets
Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick has released a statement saying his daughter was attacked and taken to hospital last night.
The PMs has been boosted...
Four months after losing her mother to Covid-19, Kathy Bourinaris received a call from her mother’s nursing home offering her a tour.
Staff at St Basil’s Home for the Aged wanted to know if Fotini Atzarakis was still interested in respite care and the family was invited to look around the Fawkner facility.
In New South Wales, Muslim leaders have written to Dominic Perrottet, the premier, angry at a failure to pass new protections from racial vilification.
The NSW parliament last week voted down a Labor bill for greater protections from racial vilification, which was supported by the Greens.
Groups including All Together Now, the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network, the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, and various state Islamic societies say that leaves them with no protections against harassment or vilification.
They say the state’s existing racial vilification laws have been found by courts not to cover Muslims.
The letter to Perrottet warns Muslims are increasingly targeted by white nationalists.
The atrocity of the Christchurch terror attack continues to reverberate in the Australian Muslim community. From any perspective, the scale of the atrocity was unprecedented in Australian or New Zealand history in the loss of life and how those lives were taken. The terrorist was a young man from NSW. An appropriate response would be to prevent such harm from happening again. Yet more than two years on, Muslims have no protection against discrimination or vilification in NSW.
And that’s it for the NT presser – clearly, the health authorities are very concerned it has been spreading silently.
The big message to Territorians right now – get tested, get tested, and some of you should get tested again.
Dr Charles Pain has given a rundown on the wastewater situation:
This community now has signalled a positive test. That has required us now to go into that community and to do a widespread testing and widespread vaccination.
Please cooperate with that. If anybody has got symptoms in that community, please also identify yourselves so that you can be tested.
Gunner is asking people who have previously got tested because they have been at an exposure site to get tested again.
There is another group of people in Katherine who we’re asking to come forward for a test in the next few days. We know that people can test negative for Delta initially, only for it to pop up a few days later.
If you were previously a contact from an exposure site and tested in the past few weeks, we’re asking you to get tested again.”
Gunner said the only way to get through this is to get tested.
“I know that the lines are long – I’m sorry about that. But there is no way around it. I need you to make the testing lines longer. Get tested.
“If you have been to an exposure site, get tested. If you have any of the symptoms I talked about at the start of the week and I’ll repeat them again, even if they’re mild symptoms get tested.”
Gunner said the Territory might be only a few days short of total disaster.
The original source of the Katherine and Robinson River outbreak is the woman from Queensland who had been in Victoria without telling us.
But in a sense, that just makes this mystery even stranger because we still don’t know how it went from that small first cluster to no cases for nine days, and then a second cluster that came from the first.
There is a very real possibility that there are people in Katherine who have Covid and either don’t know it or don’t want to know. And those people have then spread it into the community.
If that is what’s actually happened, best-case scenario – we got lucky that it hasn’t spread any further than what we have caught so far. Worst-case scenario, this has been silently spreading for a week and we’re a day or two away from discovering a disaster.
Gunner said they have found Covid in the wastewater in Binjari Aboriginal community, 15 minutes from Katherine.
“This community is within the Katherine lockdown area. There are about 200 residents in this community. A rapid assessment team has been deployed there this morning and they’re supported by the Aboriginal health service.
“It is our intention to test every single person in the community today and we’ll also get more people vaccinated there today.”
“There was 2,891 tests processed in the Territory in the past 24 hours with three positive. The two new cases in the cluster plus an international arrival at Howard Springs, which was reported last night.
“We expanded our testing capacity in Katherine yesterday and 713 tests were taken in Katherine. We were advised that he close contacts number down to373. There are 13 left to locate. Just so everyone is left and aware, this is a Territory-wide issue.”
“I just want to confirm that the waste water results for all areas outside of Katherine and Howard Springs have come back negative overnight, including negative in Borroloola.
“This is good news. However, there is sill uncertainty about this outbreak.”
Let’s go back to the NT where Gunner has been speaking:
“There have been two new positive cases in the Katherine cluster detected overnight. This takes the cluster to 25 confirmed cases. The new cases are a 33-year-old non-Aboriginal male, and a 59-year-old Aboriginal female.
“The male is a health worker who initially had contact with an earlier positive case as part of the work. He’d already been classified as a close contact. He is, I believe, the first health worker in the Territory to be tested positive for Covid-19.
“The man also has other health issues has been transported to Royal Darwin Hospital for treatment.
“The woman is an associate of one of the positive households but had not been previously identified as a casual contest. She took a Covid test because of her symptoms. I don’t have her vaccination status at this time.”
Looks like NZ journos weren’t given warning about the trade meeting between our two countries today.
NT records two new Covid cases
The Northern Territory has recorded two new cases of Covid, one of which is a healthcare worker, chief minister Michael Gunner said.
The cluster in the NT now stands at 25 confirmed cases.
And I have this NSW public health alert about raw pacific oysters from Coffin Bay in SA.
NSW Health and the NSW Food Authority are investigating an outbreak of Vibrio parahaemolyticus infections linked to the consumption of raw Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay in South Australia.
Epidemiologist and acting director of NSW Health’s enteric investigation branch, Keira Glasgow, urged people across NSW to stop consuming oysters from the Coffin Bay region of South Australia at this time.
“NSW Health is aware of at least 15 people who have been diagnosed with Vibrio parahaemolyticus infection this month,” Glasgow said.
“Those who have been interviewed have reported recently eating raw Pacific oysters, which have been traced back to the Coffin Bay region of South Australia.
“Preliminary laboratory investigation suggests a link to cases identified in other states and territories.”
For those curious, but too scared to Google – symptoms are not pleasant and include: diarrhoea, abdominal cramp, nausea, vomiting, fever and/or headache.
As the full moon rises on Friday night it won’t be as lovely and bright as usual – but it will be fascinating. Across most of Australia the moon will be partially shrouded in Earth’s shadow, so it will undergo a partial lunar eclipse as it rises.
A lunar eclipse happens roughly every six months somewhere on Earth. For most of the year, the moon’s orbit takes it above or below Earth’s shadow but, during an eclipse, the full moon travels through it.
Queensland could reach 80% Covid-19 vaccination coverage as early as 6 December, as the state government continues a war of words with the federal government over mandates.
The latest figures show 83.62 % of eligible Queenslanders have had one jab and 72.9% are fully vaccinated.
Once the 80% target is hit quarantine will be scrapped for all fully vaccinated domestic travellers from virus hotspots who provide a negative PCR test.
Deputy chief health officer Peter Aitken says at the current pace the state could be 80% fully vaccinated well before 17 December and perhaps as early as 6 December.
“It’s a projection so it could be anything between the sixth and the 12th of December, depending on how the vaccination rates go,” he told reporters on Friday.
At 80%, unvaccinated people will also be banned from pubs, cafes and restaurants to cinemas, theatres and stadiums.
Rapid antigen Covid testing for NSW primary schools
Rapid antigen home testing kits will be rolled out to NSW primary schools in a bid to minimise the time children and teachers spend isolating when they are a close contact of a Covid-19 case.
The NSW education minister, Sarah Mitchell, said the tests would help students and staff return to the classroom earlier when schools have positive cases.
NSW Health has advised that close contacts of Covid cases can return to school after seven days, provided they receive a negative PCR test result on day seven of their exposure date and consistent negative rapid antigen test results from day eight to day 14.
Many primary school students – who are too young to be vaccinated – have been forced back to home schooling while isolating for a fortnight when there is a Covid case at school.
After months of learning from home the situation has frustrated parents and children after a return to face-to-face teaching for term four.
ACT records 17 new cases as Canberra hits full vaccination of 97 %
Forensic teams searching for the remains of missing boy William Tyrrell have found a further piece of material in dense bushland, however its significance to the investigation is unclear.
At about 11.30am on Friday – the fifth day of the revived search for William – police found a piece of cloth after pumping a creek next to a patch of bushland they have been sifting through this week.
The cloth was light blue in colour and about 8cm long and rectangular in shape.
Police photographed the location the cloth was found and placed it in a brown evidence bag. It will now be taken to a lab in Sydney to be forensically tested.
Its significance to the investigation is unclear.
On Wednesday, police also found a thread of fabric, which was red and initially compared to the Spiderman costume William was wearing when he disappeared from his foster grandmother’s home in Kendall in 2014.
It is understood that police later formed the view the thread found on Wednesday was not of significance to the investigation, however it is also being analysed in Sydney.
Hello gang! First – a big thanks to Matilda (if you haven’t already, go and watch her TikTok on the VIC pandemic bill – it’s a ripper).
What a morning it’s been. I am going to take you through the rest of Friday’s news.
First up, I want to point you towards this piece by Brigid Delaney, who muses on how house prices are getting in the way of us living our best lives:
With that, I shall hand you over to the amazing Cait Kelly who will see off the week of news with you.
Love you! Bye!
New Zealand reports 198 new local Covid-19 cases
New Zealand has recorded 198 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, across eight regions, bringing the total in the current outbreak to 6532 cases.
A weak positive test has also been recorded in Wellington, and investigations are under way to ascertain if it is an historical case, or the person is in the early stages of the virus.
Of Friday’s cases, 46 are outside of Auckland – 30 in Waikato, five in Northland, six in the Bay of Plenty, two in Lakes, and one each in MidCentral, Wairarapa and Canterbury.
There are 76 people in hospital, and six in intensive care.
The ministry of health says Auckland district health board is on track to reach 90% double vaccination today, making it the first region in the country to hit the milestone. Of the total eligible population over 12 years old, 91% have now had at least one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and 82% are fully inoculated.
New South Australian border rules explained:
Marshall closes the media conference by reaffirming that South Australia is “good to go on Tuesday next week” for the borders reopening.
Now, speaking of the SA border announcement, it is a little confusing, but as far as I can tell here is what the new border rules are:
From Tuesday the same border rules will apply to all of Australia.
The conditions of entry are as follows:
- You must be double vaccinated, under 12 or have a medical exemption.
- You must complete an entry check before travelling.
- Your LGA must have a double vaccination rate about 80%
- If your LGA has a vaccination rate of 80%-90%, you must test negative before travelling.
- If your LGA has a vaccination rate above 90%, you must get a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving.
Now, this isn’t just a critique of Steven Marshall – as every single incumbent politician under the sun is doing this week – but gosh “my message is to go get vaccinated” is being used as a crutch when asked questions they don’t want to answer.
South Australians care about keeping our state safe, care about the jobs, not one person asked about what’s going on in the state parliament .... they are concerned about their lives, their jobs, their futures, they are looking very bright.
My strong message is to go and get vaccinated.
Marshall has reduced the parliamentary committee fining his deputy premier, planning minister and attorney general, Vickie Chapman, and a vote of no confidence being passed again her, to “political shenanigans”, which is ... bold.
My focus today is on health, your focus is on the political shenanigans in parliament.
The people of South Australia want to see South Australia do well. They want to see those borders open ... and that we are delivering.
Marshall’s line on the Chapman situation this morning appears to be “well Labor did it too”
How can the government continue to operate if something is found to have misled the government?
You couldn’t script this kind of hypocrisy before. There was a clear no-confidence vote against Ian Hunter. He was defended and was voted to stay parliament.
How can South Australians have confidence that our government can run appropriately if somebody can be found to mislead the house?
I will make the point that we continue to pass legislation yesterday and are getting on with what is important to the people of South Australia, opening up borders, keeping our economy moving in the right direction and keeping South Australia safe.
That is what I am focused on and I will leave the Labor party and some members of the crossbench that want to play political games, I don’t think anybody in South Australia cares about that*. What they want is for our economy to continue to move ahead. We have more people employed in South Australia than ever before in the history of South Australia. That is my job. Keeping employment height and making sure we can keep our state safe.
*Fact Check: lots of people in South Australia care about this.
SA premier wont ask for deputy's resignation, despite vote of no confidence
OK, on to the Vickie Chapman situation, which you can get up to speed on here, and SA premier Steven Marshall has been asked if he intends to ask the deputy premier for her resignation.
Absolutely not. I have made myself extraordinary clear on the issue of Vickie Chapman for weeks and weeks and weeks. She has 100% support.
Is it appropriate for the governor to be called in?
The governor takes advice from the executive council and me as the premier and I won’t be issuing any advice to remove Vickie Chapman. She does an outstanding job in South Australia. She enjoys my 100% support.
If you are not going to say to remove, what advice is she going to get?
I am not going to provide any advice in regards to Vickie Chapman.
Her excellency does an outstanding job, she was a former high-ranking diplomat. She is adequately to our consideration of many strategic issues. Vickie Chapman is not one of them.
Byron Bay will not be included in this SA border reopening just yet, as they have not reached the 80% double vaccination rate.
But Byron Bay is below 80 and sitting at around 78- 79. They could get there by Tuesday, which would be great. But all the others are somewhere between 80%-100%. Some have very high vaccination base.
That won’t be a requirement for testing the people coming from those LGAs that have got above 90%. That’s why we have this check-in app that will make very simple for people.
However, to enter South Australia you must be double vaccinated, fill out an entry check, and you must be coming from an LGA with a double vaccination rate above 80% (I’m just trying to clarify for you if this is for the 16 and over, or 12 and over vaccination level.)
If you’re in an LGA between 80% and 90%, you have to do a test before you go and, when you are arriving, when it is 90%, a large proportion of the country, you will have to do the test within 72 hours.
Is that just people from NSW and Victoria that will have to apply for an exemption?
All states will have to use the entry check. We are allowing people to come in from some states without any vaccination but that stops as of Tuesday. Next week, it is wonderful right across the country. If you want to come to South Australia, you have to be fully vaccinated. That goes for South Australians wanting to leave the state and to come back in, they need to be double vaccinated.
South Australia's border to open next Tuesday
The SA premier is speaking now, but before we get to the whole “my deputy premier has just had a vote of no confidence passed against her” thing, Steven Marshall has some BIG news about the borders; they will be opening to all states, including Victoria and NSW, from Tuesday.
The good news is, all of Victoria is now above 80% and all of New South Wales apart from one LGA is now also above that 80% vaccination rate. Only the Byron Bay LGA remains below the 80%, they are just a below 80%, we hope they get to the 80%, but this has caused enormous frustration for people who haven’t been sure regarding whether they can come in from next Tuesday or not. The good news is that’s all been clarified now and, as of next Tuesday, we are good to go, those borders will, and people will be able to come into South Australia.
We’re the first jurisdiction in the entire country that is Covid free and lifting borders. There are some risks associated and that is what we are putting these speed humps in the way of the disease taking hold in South Australia. We are doing that because we want to see those vaccination rates climb higher and as we said before, we are keen to get that to 90% as quickly as possible. That offers the ultimate protection for our state.
Morrison declined to comment on disappearance of Chinese tennis star
Morrison has declined to comment on the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who has not been heard from publicly since she alleged on social media that a former vice-premier of China, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her.
I’ve seen some reports on that. I can’t make any further comment on it on the basis that I haven’t received any additional briefings from our agencies on these matters so I don’t think that it would be helpful to add any commentary on that when I’m not familiar with all of the details.
But those reports are, of course, anyone in that situation, based on superficially on the reports that we’ve seen, that would be a cause for concern.
You can read more about the unfolding Shuai situation below:
On that note, NSW actually even decided to move some freedoms for vaccinated people forward in exchange for pushing back the date that unvaccinated residents could enjoy the same set of rules.
Here is Dominic Perrottet’s response to a reporter pointing out that Victorians are now enjoying more freedoms than their NSW counterparts.
We can compare this and compare that. Ultimately, we’ve always been here in NSW about leading the way.
The reality is that there are very little restrictions or very little difference between two square metres and no limit.
As the prime minister said – I don’t like restrictions as much as anyone else. I want to get government out of the way. We primarily believe in freedom and that is a core part of Liberal party philosophy and we had to put restrictions in to keep our people safe. Everyone has done an amazing job, particularly in NSW, in going out, getting vaccinated and now we can open up.
We’ve led the way on bringing back schools. I’m not going to get compared to Victoria when they’ve had more days in lockdown than probably anywhere else in the world.
What we’ve done in NSW is get the balance right. We haven’t always got it right. It’s difficult to make some of these decisions. But we’ll continue to lead, particularly on Chris’s question in relation to schools. We’re looking at that.
We want to make that as easy as possible and we want to get government out of the way. And by December 15, in this state, almost every single restriction will be lifted.
The kinda awkward thing about this press conference is Scott Morrison is condemning (Labor) state governments over the continued use of Covid-19 restrictions and laws that differentiate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated. But here’s the thing, he is standing next to NSW premier Dominic Perrottet whose state ALSO has many of those same laws, and in fact, as of this morning, has slightly stricter laws than Victoria.
States like NSW and Victoria still have some restrictions on the unvaccinated but we have the highest vaccination rates in the country. Do you support restricting the unvaccinated for some time?
What I particularly welcome here in NSWs, and I welcome it also in Victoria, is that they’re setting dates for when government steps back. I think that’s fair and reasonable.
They have to make decisions in accordance with their public health interests. But they’ve got to be able to, as they have done here in NSW, given business and Australians the clear signal that this is not something that they want to continue doing. And this has to come to an end and governments have to step back.
Governments have to start letting go of all of the controls on people’s lives. And I know, particularly the Labor party likes interfering in people’s lives. They like putting up people’s taxes. They like governments controlling with more regulation. I get all that! That’s what they do. That’s not what we like to do. And so there’s a difference of view in that.
A reporter has asked the prime minister if he, like many Australians, have “had a gutful” if anti-vaxxers.
I am the prime minister that actually recommended that we should introduce mandatory vaccines for aged care workers. And I’ve got to tell you – it took me some months, some months, as you’ll recall, for all the state governments to back me in on that and put in the mandatory vaccines for the aged care workers.
For many months, I was saying go out there and get the AstraZeneca vaccine. I wasn’t the one talking down the AstraZeneca vaccine. Others were doing that. I was standing up for the vaccination program and Australia, today, has one of the highest rates of vaccination anywhere in the world.
But we didn’t have to do it by bribing people. We didn’t have to do it by saying that we’re going to pay you to do it. And our position on mandatory vaccines extended only to those who are working in the health sector – particularly those working with the most vulnerable of Australians – in aged care, in disability, working in emergency wards. That’s where we said that the mandatory should be in place.
We said in the rest of the economy, that should be up for businesses to decide. It’s their business and they can decide these issues. We don’t think that government should be telling them who should come in and out of their business.
Reporters continue to press the prime minister on his views on the Victorian protests.
And putting gallows in front of the Victorian state parliament?
And that’s appalling.
So you have sympathy for their frustration but not their actions, is that what you’re saying?
I think that you’re making an assumption that the frustration that Australians feel is only limited to a small group of people who have engaged in violence and threats and intimidation and have worked against the vaccination program.
I have no sympathy with that agenda. But for the broader view of Australians who have done the right thing and got vaccinated, and want to come together again and want their lives back and want governments to stop telling what to do and them stepping forward in their own future. That’s the cause I have sympathy with.
Is it fair to say that you have sympathy?
I have sympathies for Australians who have had a gutful of governments telling what to do over the last two years and I think that they have been very clear on keeping their side of the deal.
And they’ve kept their side of the deal in getting vaccinated ... here in New South Wales, and in Victoria, where I welcome, absolutely, of course, the restoration of the freedoms that have been put there today for Victorians. I think that’s fantastic. That’s what should be happening.
Australians have done their part. It’s now time for them to be able to step forward with their lives and for governments to step back out of their lives. That’s what Liberals believe. That’s what Nationals believe. I know the Labor party has a different view about that. And they will seek to attack us on these issues. That’s fine. That’s politics.
Why did you express sympathy for the protesters?
As I said, I completely and totally and continue to denunciate any violence, any threat, any intimidation. And any suggestion that I have not done that is completely false.
I have been completely clear on that issue. What I’m also very clear about is our national plan. What I’m also very clear about is it’s important that governments keeps their side of the deal.
Do you have sympathy for the demonstrators?
I don’t have sympathy for violence. I don’t have sympathy for intimidation or threats whatsoever. And on those issue, then, of course not. And as I have encouraged people not to participate in that, including those who would number themselves among Liberal party ranks. I said absolutely they shouldn’t be participating in any violence – and any suggestion that I would is blatantly absurd.
Morrison says he 'couldn’t have been clearer' on denouncing violent threats from protesters
Morrison has defended his comment’s yesterday saying he “couldn’t have been clearer”* on denouncing threats of violence, before again reaffirming the need for state premier’s to relax restrictions for the unvaccinated.
I was very clear yesterday in denounciating [sic] any violence, threats or intimidation. That is a plight against anyone. And we have absolutely no truck with that whatsoever. I couldn’t have been clearer about denounciating [sic] the violence and the threats and the intimidation. They have no place in Australia’s public policy debate whatsoever. Whatsoever.
I have consistently said all the way through that there is a deal with Australians. And that deal with Australians, we said, and particularly as we saw here in New South Wales – we said “Come forward and get vaccinated”. Victorians did that. In the ACT, they’ve done that. And in Queensland and Western Australia, we’re increasingly seeing that.
And I said, when we get vaccinated, when we hit those marks that have been set by the scientific experts at 80%, that’s when Australians expect governments to step back and for them to step forward. And that is my government’s view.
I’m going to keep the deal with Australians. I’ve been saying this consistently ever since I put the national plan together and got all of the states and territories to agree with it and we’re going to keep going with that plan. Australians have earned that. They’ve kept their part of the deal. I ensure you that I intend to keep mine.
*Fact check: He probably could have been clearer.
OK, there is LOTS of airport talk happening at this joint Scott Morrison/Dominic Perrottet press conference, so I might duck back in once journalists start on questions about Morrison’s controversial comments yesterday.
I welcome the fact that just like here in New South Wales, in Victoria, they are walking into some new freedoms today. And I want to congratulate the people of Victoria for pushing through, for getting vaccinated, for keeping their side of the deal, and ensuring that now, they are walking into the fact that this Christmas, they can all get around the same table.
And on New Year’s Eve just like here in New South Wales, they’ll be celebrating going into a 2022 that is going to secure Australia’s economic recovery under the sound economic management that our government is well known for.
Victoria’s deputy opposition leader, Peter Walsh, has released an extremely low key statement in response to the government’s deferral of the pandemic bill.
The Victorian government yesterday passed a motion to postpone the vote after attorney-general Jaclyn Symes called for it to be made an urgent bill on Tuesday.
Walsh said it was a “desperate” decision to shut down debate:
It comes two days after the Labor government went against normal procedure to use an urgency provision to force the start of debate. Daniel Andrews is willing ride roughshod over the parliament and democratic processes.
The premier is attempting to deliver himself a blank cheque to lock people down, shut businesses and bring communities to a standstill ... Labor’s bill also attempts to enshrine in legislation that the premier of the day doesn’t need to be transparent or accountable to the parliament, with no mechanism for oversight on decisions made after a pandemic is declared.
This legislation will hand the government greater powers and greater control over Victorians. It must be defeated.
The Coalition has vowed to repeal the bill if elected next year.
If no version of the bill is passed by 15 December, the state of emergency will lapse, potentially placing the government in a situation where they won’t be able to enforce public health orders like mask-wearing and quarantine.
Scott Morrison, decked out in high-vis and hard hat, is speaking from the western Sydney airport construction site, and has once again hammered home the need for Australia to enter its Covid-normal era.
People who are working here, to create the future not just of western Sydney but Australia’s future, right here in western Sydney.
The Australian economy is taking off. That’s what’s happening as we come out of this pandemic. We can’t take our economic recovery for granted. We have to secure that economic recovery. Australians have pushed through in this pandemic.
Australians have kept up their side of the deal. We have had one of the lowest fatality rates through Covid of almost any country in the world. We have had one of the strongest economic performances through the pandemic of any developed advanced economy in the world.
I particularly want to congratulate those in New South Wales and Victoria and the ACT. We have one of the highest vaccination rates of any country in the world. Now, Australians have pushed through to achieve this. And now, what we have to do is secure that economic recovery. That’s what’s at stake.
Wow. I have whiplash! Now the prime minister is speaking from another press conference in NSW!
The PM wants to claim credit at times for vaccination rates but oppose all the measures that have been in place to lift those vaccination rates. The prime minister of course failed to secure enough supply of vaccines, and then has gone about engaging in the word games he played yesterday.
The prime minister needs to clearly and unequivocally condemn the threats of violence that have been made by demonstrators. They have no place in Australian political life. They have no place in the context whereby a range of ministers who I have spoken to, and premiers, have had to shut offices and have security upgraded.
Can I say this as well, in the wake of the murder of a British MP, I certainly had discussions with the appropriate government ministers about security for members of parliament. It is beyond comprehension that the prime minister seems incapable of putting forward a clear and unequivocal condemnation of the threats without then seeking to qualify that condemnation.
This Albanese speech is very much a laundry list of Morrison’s recent (and not so recent) scandals:
And I ask people to think about this. When women marched on Canberra for the March for Justice as a result of issues relating to Brittany Higgins and the alleged assault of a staff member of the government in a ministerial office, the prime minister spoke about March for Justice by standing up in parliament and saying it was lucky they were not met with bullets.
When people marched on the Victorian parliament with gallows, threatening people ... he spoke about how he understands people’s frustration. I ask people to think about that, and whether that represents the leadership that this country needs.
This prime minister also spoke about choice. Well, it is a bit rich coming from a guy who went to Cobargo after the bushfires that devastated this community here in the Blue Mountains as well and forced people to shake his hand.
This is a government that has mandated and had compulsion over a range of issues in industrial relations across the board, and a government that continues to have that approach on a range of issues.
The truth is that state governments have continued to place restrictions, Liberal and Labor, across the country, to keep residents in their states and territories safe. I haven’t been critical of any of those state governments, including the restrictions that have been placed on people here in NSW.
Anthony Albanese is speaking from NSW now, condemning Scott Morrison’s lukewarm condemnation of the threats of violence from Victorian protesters.
What I find extraordinary is the prime minister’s performance yesterday.
The prime minister yesterday failed to unequivocally condemn the violent and extreme statements that we have seen outside the Victorian parliament that consisted of explicit threats against Premier Andrews and other ministers in the Victorian government that included people going along with gallows, speaking about hanging people, and wanting to see people on the end of a noose.
When he made some statements saying that was inappropriate, but then went on to speak about people’s frustrations, he only put the second bit up on his Facebook post. Thereby eliminating any criticism of this activity.
Police pump creek in search for William Tyrrell
Police forensic teams searching for the remains of William Tyrrell are pumping a small creek near bushland and a home they have been focusing on as part of their revived search for the missing boy.
On the fifth day of the new search, police have pumped a creek just off Batar Creek Road in Kendall – the town on the mid north coast of New South Wales where then three-year-old William went missing from his foster grandmother’s home in 2014.
Police will search the creek bed today for evidence, and will also continue searching a larger patch of bushland about 1km from the Kendall home.
While teams used specialist ground penetrating radar technology to search under concrete in the homes garage on Thursday, and looked in the garden earlier in the week, police are now focussing their search efforts on nearby bushland.
Rural Fire service volunteers are helping police clear trees, and together with forensic specialists, cadaver dogs, excavators and electronic sifting machines, detectives are searching for any evidence related to William’s disappearance.
Dozens of officials are working on the search on Friday, with tarpaulin laid over the ground overnight to protect the area from rain.
The investigation is now understood to be considering whether William might have died after falling from the balcony of the foster grandmother’s house.
Queensland records no Covid-19 cases
No Covid for Queensland party people!
Finance minister Simon Birmingham has told Sky News that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Labor state premiers and the leader of the opposition had coordinated their attacks on the prime minister via group chat.
No one has been convicted or fined under laws passed soon after the Christchurch shootings aimed at preventing depictions of terror attacks being distributed online, authorities admit, but they say the threat of prosecution has helped reduce such content.
After the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, which was live-streamed on Facebook and shared across the internet in March 2019, the Australian government quickly passed the Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material (AVM) bill.
The law created new offences for content service providers and hosting services for failing to notify the Australian federal police about, or fail to expeditiously remove, videos depicting “abhorrent violent conduct”. That conduct is defined as videos depicting terrorist acts, murders, attempted murders, torture, rape or kidnapping.
You can read the full report below:
Former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth has come under fire this morning for tweeting that “the saddest thing about the [prop] gallows” that were displayed by protesters outside the Victorian house of parliament was that is allowed those in support of the “bad legislation” to deflect away from actually debating the pandemic powers bill.
An investigation into the disappearance of a three-year-old boy, who spent days lost and alone in rugged bushland before he was discovered metres from his rural NSW home, has chalked the incident up as “misadventure”, reports AAP.
Anthony “AJ” Elfalak, who has autism and is non-verbal, went missing from his family’s sprawling property at Putty about 11.45am on 3 September.
More than 130 people scoured the property, with volunteers helping police on foot and on dirt bikes.
The boy was spotted sitting in a puddle drinking muddy water from a creek on 6 September after surviving three nights in the bush in temperatures as low as 3C.
His relieved family, who feared he had been abducted, were amazed to find he had only minor injuries such as scrapes, nappy rash, and ant bites.
Police at the time said they would continue to investigate the incident, with NSW police superintendent Tracy Chapman saying: “I know everyone has lots of questions.”
In a statement on Friday, a NSW police spokesperson said the probe had concluded after two months.
The incident has been determined to be as a result of misadventure.
Most remaining Covid restrictions in Victoria have now been removed for those who are fully vaccinated, with the state about to hit its 90% vaccinated target.
Just about all restrictions will come off, including capacity and density requirements in a wide variety of venues, but only for those who are fully vaccinated.
Josh Taylor breaks down what the rules will look like in Victoria from Friday.
More from the backdoors of Victorian parliament:
Sheffield Shield delayed after player returns inconclusive Covid-19 test
The Sheffield Shield cricket match between Victoria and NSW, due to start today, has been delayed after a Victorian player possibly tested positive to Covid-19.
A spokesperson for Cricket Australia said player Will Sutherland has returned an inconclusive Covid-19 test which “requires further analysis”.
The Victorian side is isolating until more is known.
Victoria records 1,273 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths
Victoria is once again in excess of 1,000 daily cases with 1,273 new infections recorded overnight.
Sadly eight people with Covid-19 have died in the latest reporting period.
Former Liberal leader John Hewson has joined Labor veteran Barry Jones to endorse a social media-focused advocacy campaign targeting Scott Morrison’s record on integrity matters and climate action in the lead-up to the federal election.
Hewson says the voluntary not-for-profit organisation, the Truth and Integrity project, has some crossover with Climate 200 – an organisation supporting independent candidates focused on the climate crisis to challenge Liberal incumbents in their urban heartland – and with the “voices” community groups modelled on the successful 2013 campaign of independent Cathy McGowan.
The integrity project, modelled in part on the Lincoln project in the United States, will not field political candidates, but will target its advocacy through content produced for social media. One of the people involved in the campaign is Australian film producer Bob Weis.
You can read the full report below:
NSW records 216 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths
NSW has recorded 216 new Covid-19 cases in the latest reporting period.
Sadly three people infected with Covid-19 have died.
Peter Hannam's Friday morning musings
Here’s a Friday thought bubble:
Financial markets and the weather are often treated very separately, and yet they are inextricably linked.
For one thing, computing power has increasingly replaced manual estimations of what’s coming made by people (usually men) with pencils.
Every day news bulletins tell us how the Dow ended or the Australian dollar is trading, and yet few of us are actively trading in either (especially when Covid trapped us in our nations).
Weather typically has a much greater influence on how we are going to live our lives today and plan for the weekend, for instance, than financial details that usually precede the meteorological take for the day.
And weather – particularly the accumulation of it that we know as climate – has critical impacts on our ability to go about our normal lives, access water in the right amounts, avoid heatwaves and grow our food.
That extreme events are going to increase in intensity, duration and frequency because we are energising our atmosphere with greenhouse gases should only increase our interest in weather, and how it will affect our lives and our economies.
So this morning, for instance, if you live in eastern Australia and particularly in NSW, the weather should be of extra interest.
We’ve had months of relatively wet weather over large parts of inland Australia, particularly in NSW. It didn’t take a big rain event to cause major flooding on the Lachlan River, for instance, and there’s more to come this weekend, and a few days later.
You can read more about it here:
What struck me, among other things is the Burrendong Dam, a major dam west of Sydney, is sitting at 129% as of Thursday.
Also of interest is Warragamba, Sydney’s main dam (about 80% of the city’s total capacity – an unusually high ratio) is at 100% too and authorities are using their minimal capability to lower the height by about 1m to create “airspace” ahead of the weekend rain.
Now, the big rain may go further south, and miss Warragamba’s catchment. But the difference between 50 and 100mm over the rain days could mean a small spill or a bit of a bigger one.
We’re not looking at a repeat of March’s floods around Sydney, but with a wetter than usual summer predicted, dam operators are going to be taking every chance to create “airspace” when they can.
Anyway, back to the markets. Nothing much happened overnight, no major news, and no big stats expected in Australia, China or the US.
As you were.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has also been on Sunrise this morning, where he was asked if he felt the prime minister’s comments were “giving anti-vaxxers free rein” as others have suggested.
“I have not come on your program this morning to have an argument with the prime minister,” Andrews said, about to have an argument with the prime minister. “But I will say this”:
He is right to say that we [the government] have been in people’s lives. We have had lockdowns, we have had to do some extraordinary things. This is a one in 100-year event.
Why did we have lockdowns? Because we did not have a vaccine. Who forgot to order the vaccine? It wasn’t state premiers.
I do not need to be lectured by Scott Morrison about these issues. When Victorians stick together, we can achieve anything. And that is what we have done. 90+ percent double dose.
It is a bit rich from the prime minister from Sydney and all too often for Sydney* to be lecturing people about freedom. We have done the hard yards because there was not a vaccine. If there have been a vaccine earlier, when the virus came from Sydney this year, we would not have had needed to lock down.
Anyway, it is not about quarrels between politicians and I do not have time to be arguing with the prime minster. And frankly, I don’t want anything, whether it is violent extremism or doublespeak from the prime minister, I don’t want that to take away from the amazing thing Victorians have done.
*Oooooft! You know things are getting serious when “Sydney” is used as a derogatory term.
If you are keen to figure out what all this uproar in Victoria over the pandemic powers bill is actually about, can I suggest our Guardian TikTok explainer to get you up to speed.
All the basics in 122 seconds!
'Double speaking to extremists': Victorian premier condemns Morrison's comments on protesters
The Victoria premier has accused the prime minister of “double-speaking to extremists” after Scott Morrison stated yesterday that he “understood the frustrations” of the protesters in Victoria, despite some demonstrations including a prop gallows and threats to hang Daniel Andrews. (The prime minister did condemn the threats of violence, but many felt he did not go far enough.)
On the Today show the premier was asked by Karl Stefanovic:
Have you had to increase security and is your family OK?
Look, my family is OK. They are used to some of the difficult part of this job but this job is a great great honour. This is job is challenging, this is a one in 100 year event.
I am not about to go through the double speak. If others choose to do that, that is on them.
That is a fair slight at the PM chasing those votes.
I’m here to be as frank and as clear as I possibly can, be as I hope you’d credit me every time I come on your show, Karl.
I am not here to treat you like you’re French, mate. I am here to say it like I know it to be.
Host Allison Langdon:
How is your relationship with the prime minister at the moment, premier?
It will be a lot better when he stops double speaking to extremists.
SA opposition leader says state could be plunged into a 'constitutional crisis'
OK, jumping back to South Australia where opposition leader Peter Malinauskas has condemned the premier’s decision not to dismiss his deputy premier and attorney general Vicky Chapman after the parliament passed a vote of no confidence against her.
Malinauskas told ABC News Breakfast that this was “a truly extraordinary state of affairs, if not a constitutional crisis”.
It’s an incredibly unfortunate state of affairs in South Australia where premier Steven Marshall has decided to almost literally tear up the rulebook of convention that’s been established over hundreds of years of the Westminster system of government and ignore the parliament’s will [for him to] ask Vickie Chapman to resign her position at deputy premier.
There’s been a motion of no confidence passed in the deputy premier. This is unprecedented. Everybody seems to be putting their fingers in their ears and pretending nothing has happened, particularly the premier himself.
This means that today or some point in the next few days, there is everybody possibility that her excellency, the governor, is likely to be put in the rather awkward position that she receives advice that the parliament has lost confidence in Vickie Chapman but at the same time being told by the premier that she has done nothing wrong.
It’s a truly extraordinary state of affairs, if not a constitutional crisis.
Victorian premier says threats of violence from protesters 'must be called out'
Andrews has been asked if he accepts and understands the frustrations being expressed over the new proposed pandemic power legislation.
What I accept and what I’ve always defended and been a very strong supporter of is people’s right to protest. But if it’s not peaceful, it’s not protest and it’s something very different.
We have seen extremists, rabid anti-vaxxer and others making all sorts of threats, threats against me, my wife and my kids. That is not my focus, this is about every family’s safety and that’s why we have to work together and that’s what Victorians have done.
But you have to call it out.
When you see this sort of appalling behaviour, nothing is less democratic than driving around – wheeling around a set of gallows out the front of Parliament House. That’s wrong. And it should be called out. Not just for my family, for every family.
If Victorians were listening to these rabid extremist anti-vaxxers, then we wouldn’t be standing here today talking about the fact that 90% of Victorians have done what I say is the right thing, got vaccinated. We are not divided by this issue. We are united by it.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews. is also out and about this morning and has hit back at the prime minister’s comments that he understood the frustrations on the (sometimes threatening) protesters in Victoria and the suggestion that premiers should be stepping back from people’s lives.
On the Today show, Andrews was asked if he thinks those comments from the PM were a “dig” at him.
It’s not a matter of having a dig at state governments. You are having a dig at hard-working people who have got vaccinated.
We have had to do lockdowns, as the prime minister said, we had to be in people’s lives because there were no vaccines. And who forgot to order the vaccines? It wasn’t the state governments, so it’s a bit rich to get lectures and it’s rich to take the attention away from every person who deserves it –and that everyone who deserves it – and that everyone who has been vaccinated.
They should be the focus today and every day.
Victoria’s shadow treasurer, David Davis, has come under fire for last week addressing anti-pandemic powers bill protesters, which have since taken on more violent and threatening rhetoric.
He has gone on ABC radio this morning to discuss his position on the demonstrations.
MPs have got to be able to engage with their community and people from every walk of life. We can’t be in a position where you can’t talk to people.
We’re in a position where some of the demonstrators have gone too far and we’ve been critical of those steps ... But right across the nation ... there are many people who are very unhappy with the mismanagement of the pandemic.
The parliament is asserting itself, saying no, we’re actually going to take back control from Daniel Andrews and we’re going to put him on a very short leash because he can’t be left in a position where he can exercise these powers.
In case you missed it yesterday, the South Australian parliament passed a motion of no confidence in the deputy premier, Vickie Chapman, for misleading statements over her refusal of a Kangaroo Island development application, reports Max Opray from AAP.
With 23 MPs voting in favour and 22 against, the vote marks the first time in South Australian history a no-confidence motion has been passed in the lower house against a minister.
The motion secured the support of four crossbenchers, with former Liberal MP Fraser Ellis abstaining from the vote.
Labor MP Stephen Mullighan moved the motion, declaring that Chapman “must resign” after an inquiry found she repeatedly misled parliament about conflicts of interest.
She now is tainted, she now has a proven reputation for misleading this house, and we can no longer have confidence in her for this reason.
Labor MP Andrea Michaels earlier tabled the parliamentary committee’s final report into Ms Chapman’s rejection in August of a $40m timber port on Kangaroo Island, describing her denials of conflicts of interest as “Trumpesque at best”.
Blatant denialism of objective evidence and plain truth does the attorney-general no favour.
Premier Steven Marshall spoke against the motion, pointing to a dissenting report by Liberal MPs that cleared Chapman.
A lot of bluff, a lot of bluster from those opposite, but no cognisant argument that would support this motion.
[Chapman] enjoys my 100% confidence.
The parliamentary committee found Chapman, who is planning minister and attorney general, should be suspended from parliament for nine days and make a public apology.
Chapman and her family have long held property on Kangaroo Island, but she told the committee she had no personal interest in any business or industry.
The report highlighted Chapman’s denial of a pecuniary interest when rejecting the timber port, given it would have led to increased truck movements near a property she owned that was being used periodically as an Airbnb.
The committee also found Chapman had misled parliament by falsely claiming “there is no proposed route past [Kangaroo Island mayor Michael Pengilly’s] house for loads of trucks”, when in fact the route passed next to the property of the mayor, who is a close personal friend of the attorney-general.
Representing Chapman, Frances Nelson QC had argued the idea that “trucks passing proximate to a property owned by her is somehow influencing her decision is again simply ludicrous”.
Michaels said Nelson’s submission sought “to promote the attorney general’s private agenda at best”.
Chapman’s rejection of the port came despite her department ruling the project could go ahead after an assessment found any environmental concerns could be managed.
The committee was made up of two Labor MPs including Michaels, two Liberal MPs, and one independent, in Sam Duluk. The Liberals dissented.
The committee also recommended legislative reforms be considered to address the fact a single decision maker was responsible for deciding the fate of a major development.
In a dissenting statement, the committee’s Liberal MPs Peter Treloar and Matt Cowdrey rejected the findings of the report, arguing the department’s overturned recommendation was “finely balanced” and the attorney general complied with the ministerial code of conduct at all times.
Dutton hits back at acting Chinese ambassador
The defence minister, Peter Dutton, has dismissed the acting Chinese ambassador’s comments as “inflammatory” and “so silly it’s funny”.
China’s acting ambassador to Australia, Wang Xining, told Guardian Australia the Aukus nuclear-powered submarine plan would result in Australia being branded as a “sabre wielder” rather than a “peace defender”. Wang also called on Australian politicians to “refrain from doing anything that’s destructive to our relationship” after Dutton signalled Australia would be likely to participate if the US came to Taiwan’s aid in a conflict with China.
Dutton was asked to respond those aspects of the comments during the defence minister’s weekly appearance on Nine’s Today show this morning. He described the comments as inflammatory and said:
We don’t see it from any other ambassador here in Australia. It’s quite remarkable. It’s not just in Australia, it’s in India, Japan, in most other countries in the world, this type of diplomacy, this provocative sort of comical statements – it’s so silly it’s funny. I think the acting ambassador is reading off a script from the Communist Party. I think most Australians see through the non-productive nature of the comments and they should be dismissed in that same vein.
Read the full story here:
Ummmmm so a warning to WA drivers this morning, if you are travelling along the Kwinana Freeway please watch out for ... *checks notes* ... horses?
Yep, here is the warning I’ve just received from WA police.
There are currently a number of horses on the Kwinana Freeway between Karnup Road and Mundijong Road in Baldivis.
Police and owners from a local property are in attendance and attempting to retrieve the horses.
Peter Dutton has placed the blame for Queensland’s slow vaccination uptake on the premier, who was a vocal critic of the suggestion that young people should take Astra-Zeneca early in the rollout.
Here are his comments on the Today show this morning:
The reason we are behind most other states in the country is because the premier went out and bagged AstraZeneca at a time when other premiers, including Labor premiers, weren’t.
That’s what undermined us from the start and we’ve been well behind the pack for many months. Nothing to do with the comments of the prime minister over the last 24 hours.
The prime minister has stated a perfectly reasonable position. You cannot segregate even a small part of Australian society and we want people to get vaccinated. He’s been very clear about that.
But equally, you could say the premiers who have got a policy of a mandatory vaccination for every Queenslander or every Western Australian, at some stage if you’ve got that policy you’ve got to allow people to come back into society, you want them to be vaccinated, but there’s a small portion who will make a decision not to be.
Dutton says premiers shouldn't 'segregate' the community with wide ranging vaccination laws
Yesterday the prime minister came under fire for two things.
First, many felt that he did not go anywhere near far enough in his condemnation of the violent rhetoric coming out of the Victorian anti-pandemic powers bill protests; even going as far as to say that while there is no place in Australia for threatening the life of the Victorian premier he understood some of the protesters’ frustrations and said the government should take a step back from people’s lives.
Secondly, he took aim at states with wide-ranging vaccinated economy laws, suggesting that, at 80%, an unvaccinated person in Brisbane should be allowed to get a cup of coffee.
This has garnered significant pushback from the Labor, the Queensland premier and Western Australia’s Mark McGowan, with the prime minister accused of “dog-whistling” to anti-vax groups to garner support.
The defence minister, Peter Dutton, has appeared on the Today show this morning and has been asked about his boss’s comments. And, oh no, he has busted out the “S-word”, “segregation”.
Well, I wouldn’t buy the rhetoric of Mark McGowan or Annastacia Palaszczuk. I think the prime minister has made a perfectly sensible remark here. That is, that the states in the plan they’ve signed up to, the commitment they gave to the country is when we got to 80% double vaccination rate we would go back to having to live with this. That is the reality of where we are.
For the premiers to say there’s a small portion, even though we don’t agree with their decision not to be vaccinated, a small proportion of society will never be able to go to a coffee shop or restaurant again but Annastacia Palaszczuk says they can go to Coles but not Bunnings, I just think you cannot segregate a part of the community, even if you disagree with the decision they’ve made and we are moving into a phase now where we have to live with this virus too.
Welcome to Friday
Good morning everyone and welcome to Friday! We finally made it!
It’s Matilda Boseley here and let’s start the day talking about the new freedoms millions of Victorians awoke to this morning.
Almost all of the state’s remaining Covid restrictions lifted just before midnight overnight, as the state quickly approaches 90% full vaccination for those aged 12 and over.
There are no Covid-19 density limits for cafes, bars, restaurants or any other retail or hospitality setting. Dancefloors are back in action and the only limiting factor for how many people you can have over to your home is how popular you are.
Non-essential retail has also joined the state’s vaccinated economy, banning unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people from visiting those shops unless they are aged under 12 years and two months or have a valid exemption.
But the mask mandate isn’t completely gone just yet. While they will no longer be required for customers visiting hospitality venues, workers must continue wearing them.
Masks will not be needed in workplaces such as offices but will be required in primary schools, health, aged care or justice settings. They must also be worn on public transport, ride-shares or taxis, and will remain for a few more weeks in retail.
On the New South Wales mid north coast, the search for the remains of missing three-year-old William Tyrrell is entering its fifth day, as rain threatens to hamper search efforts, with showers and possible thunderstorms are forecast.
On Thursday, Australian federal police officers brought in ground penetrating radar to scan a concrete slab at the Kendall property that belonged to the boy’s foster grandmother.
William disappeared from the property seven years ago, but the slab was laid after that. However, the ABC reports that the slab has since been cleared.
With that why don’t we jump into the day?