What we learned today, Tuesday 12 October:

With that, we’ll wrap up the blog for this evening. Here’s what we learned today:

  • The ACT has confirmed it will exit lockdown from 11.59pm Thursday, with licensed venues returning with caps, public gatherings allowed for up to 25 people and private gatherings of five people. It has also loosened the current border bubble with NSW. The ACT recorded 28 new local Covid-19 cases today.
  • Australia will get a new domestic airline, Bonza, from 2022.
  • Victoria recorded 1,466 new local Covid-19 cases and eight deaths, as the second day of Ibac hearings continued. There have been no surprise resignations today.
  • NSW recorded 360 cases and five deaths as it passed 90% first-vaccination doses among the eligible population. The premier, Dominic Perrottet, today announced further business support as the state emerges from lockdown.
  • Queensland has committed to net zero by 2050. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, is facing increasing pressure to head to the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in three weeks, including from Prince Charles.
  • Queensland has also expanded its vaccination rollout to Bunnings Warehouse stores, on a day the state recorded its seventh consecutive day of no local transmission.
  • And the commonwealth has announced a world-first plan to tackle childhood mental illness among under-12-year-olds.

Updated

Latest from me -- The TGA has rejected two applications to allow oral contraceptives to be sold over the counter, finding patients could be prevented from accessing the “most appropriate” medications without a GP’s expertise. https://t.co/B8TlfktZUS

— Kemal Atlay (@kemal_atlay) October 12, 2021

Two teenagers have been arrested for allegedly killing 14 kangaroos on the New South Wales south coast on the weekend, Wing Kuang reports.

The two boys, both aged 17, have been charged with recklessly beating and killing animals and are due to appear at a children’s court on 22 November, police said today.

On Saturday morning, south coast police received reports that several kangaroos had allegedly been killed in the Long Beach area near Batemans Bay.

Officers and animal welfare volunteers from Wires subsequently found five adult kangaroos and one joey dead on Blairs Road and Sandy Place.

Another seven kangaroos and a joey were later found killed in the Maloneys Beach area.

The police and volunteers located an injured joey, which is now being looked after by a local Wires volunteer. The surviving joey was named Hope.

Wires said:

It is a tragic and senseless act that has left an indelible mark on our dedicated mid-south coast branch volunteers who attended the scene, as well as the local residents.

Locals condemned the “tragic and disturbing” event. Many also thanked the volunteers.

The Animal Justice party MP Mark Pearson, who is also the deputy chair of the NSW parliamentary inquiry into kangaroo health, said the community’s anger was “righteous”:

This act of horrific cruelty is unconscionable and inexcusable and the suffering endured by these kangaroos is unimaginable.

Updated

90.8% of those aged 16+ in NSW have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 75.2% are fully vaccinated.

To get vaccinated, find a walk-in clinic or make a booking: https://t.co/Ej3FSaFpgd

Let’s do this NSW! pic.twitter.com/VrUwWRoutk

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 12, 2021

The likelihood of La Niña occurring this summer has increased from 50% to 70%.

The likelihood of La Niña occurring this summer has increased to 70%, prompting the Bureau of Meteorology to issue a La Niña Alert this afternoon.

More at https://t.co/flH8Ufawsa pic.twitter.com/JbZpnQhQfD

— Weatherzone (@weatherzone) October 12, 2021

Updated

The NSW government is “actively exploring” ways to continue the relationship with Auslan interpreters for Covid-19 updates.

After concerns there were no Auslan interpreters at the last two NSW press conferences, a spokesperson for the NSW Premier told @TheDailyAus: pic.twitter.com/pdP22BREE7

— Billi FitzSimons (@BilliFitzSimons) October 12, 2021

On Drive, @rgloveroz asked Premier @Dom_Perrottet whether NSW's 80 per cent COVID vaccination freedoms may be enabled from this Monday 18 October.

The Premier's response: "There is a prospect of that occurring, Richard."

But the freedoms may be tweaked before Friday.

— ABC Sydney (@abcsydney) October 12, 2021

Dave Sharma sets the record straight. He was not contravening public health orders in NSW by drinking a beer while standing, as photos made it appear.

Sharma tells Patricia Karvelas on Afternoon Briefing he “wasn’t actually drinking”. Karvelas enquires: “was it a shandy?”

Sharma:

I was at a bar with a proprietor and I sat down to drink. I was compliant with the rules.

There is a good feeling at the moment. People are optimistic about the future and see people ... living normally again and enjoying one another’s company and supporting small business, it’s great to see life getting back to normal and I hope Victoria will be not far behind us and the rest of Australia.

Updated

Liberal MP Dave Sharma has echoed Katie Allen’s support for a federal Icac.

He told ABC’s Afternoon Briefing:

It was an election commitment. I think the community and certainly my electorate is keen to see this. I think it would be an important thing to improve the trust of the electorate in the federal political system. I do not think it is broken. I think it can do with some repairs and improvements and I think, if this helps increase public confidence and trust, I am supportive of it and I think it should be delivered this term.

Updated

National children’s commissioner Anne Hollonds just appeared on teh ABC’s Afternoon Briefing, discussing a world-first mental health strategy for children under 12 announced by health minister Greg Hunt this morning.

Hollonds calls it a “huge step forward” for everyone involved:

It’s a matter of seeing them through now ... I can tell you recently, I did some consultations with kids and families around Australia and I heard really shocking stories about families turned away from mental health services with children under 12 who were suicidal and they were sent away and told they cannot be helped.

That is just not OK in this country so we’ve got to get those response services available to that younger age group but we’ve also got to do the upstream reform to prevent the problems getting to that stage.

In this country, adults’s issues dominate centre stage. Children, at best, are peripheral but are often invisible and so we are not naturally accustomed to thinking about the needs of children and recognising that children and young people’s needs are not the same as adults’s need and that sometimes actually it’s better that we listen to them and find out what they need rather than assume we know.

Updated

More on the Queensland government’s expansion of the vaccine to Bunnings Warehouse.

You can have your sausage and...eat it too?

You can get vaccinated at 33 @Bunnings Warehouse stores across Queensland this weekend 👇 pic.twitter.com/57qcuulCt4

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 12, 2021

Some mutual obligations for jobseekers to return in NSW

Some mutual obligations requirements will return for jobseekers in New South Wales from tomorrow.

In a joint statement, the employment minister, Stuart Robert, and social services minister, Anne Ruston, said “contingency arrangements” that had spared jobseekers in NSW from payment suspensions would end at 11.59pm tonight.

Citing the fact NSW had hit the 70% fully vaccinated mark, the government said some mutual obligations will be reintroduced.

For example, providers can choose to make appointments compulsory. New jobseekers must also sign a job plan within two days.

The statement did not specify whether compulsory appointments could be face-to-face, saying only that providers would need to work with jobseekers “update and assist with tailoring job plans to individual circumstances and local health advice”. Guardian Australia has sought further comment.

Under these “phase B” arrangements, job search requirements will remain suspended, while otherwise mandated activities – such as training programs, volunteering and work for the dole – will be voluntary.

All mutual obligations requirements will return when NSW hits the 80% fully vaccinated mark, which the government is calling “phase C”.

The government said other jurisdictions under “contingency arrangements” – currently Victoria and the ACT – will move to “phase B” once they hit 70% fully vaccinated. All mutual obligations will return at the 80% fully vaccinated mark.

The Australian Council of Social Service on Tuesday warned against reintroducing mutual obligations.

“We know that people want to find employment, now is not the time to needlessly put people under further stress,” said chief executive Cassandra Goldie.

Updated

Prime minister Scott Morrison has released a statement in regards to the G20 meeting tonight:

On Tuesday evening, I will participate in a virtual G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Meeting on Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban’s takeover in August, Australia has evacuated around 4,100 people as part of our evacuation operations from Kabul International Airport and helped to secure visa and settlement arrangements for thousands of people from Afghanistan.

It is crucial that the world’s major economies work together to support the people of Afghanistan.

We must be coordinated in our approach to Afghanistan’s immediate humanitarian needs, to demand the Taliban regime ensure safe passage from Afghanistan for foreign citizens and visa holders, and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorism.

I stand with G20 members in supporting international agencies delivering much needed humanitarian assistance on the ground. Australia is committed to helping Afghanistan build a stable and secure future.

I thank Italian prime minister Mario Draghi for convening this important meeting.

Media Statement PM @ScottMorrisonMP : G20 Extraordinary Leaders' Meeting On Afghanistan https://t.co/yikqua6SbE pic.twitter.com/FXtvMrvgH1

— PM&C (@pmc_gov_au) October 12, 2021

Taiwan’s foreign minister says the former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott “must be doing something right” because his speech in Taipei triggered a barrage of criticism from China’s “wolf warriors”.

China said yesterday it had lodged a formal protest with Australia in the wake of Abbott’s remarks - which included warnings that Beijing might “disastrously lash out” amid growing tensions with Taiwan. Abbott, who said he was in Taipei there as a private citizen rather than a government envoy, also said the US and Australia could not stand idly by in the event of a military confrontation.

Joseph Wu, the foreign minister of Taiwan, tweeted a message of support for Abbott today:

We appreciate @HonTonyAbbott's visit to #Taiwan & his great speech at @yushanforum. Of course, the wolf warriors are now shamefully savaging the ex-PM in public. As my friends & colleagues keep telling me, one must be doing something right when the Chinese are unhappy. Bravo! JW https://t.co/rc8wHbSkoH pic.twitter.com/aKLS8xEJYN

— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) October 12, 2021

The tweet came after China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, accused Abbott of “completely confusing black and white” and of making “extremely absurd” comments that “incite confrontation” for “selfish political gain”.

Over the weekend, China’s embassy in Canberra also issued a statement criticising Abbott - “a failed and pitiful politician” - for what it described as his “recent despicable and insane performance in Taiwan”.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Penny Wong, said yesterday she wanted to “register my disappointment with some of the comments by Chinese representatives about Mr Abbott’s speech”, adding that China had displayed “some really worrying behaviour” in recent times.

More on the Ibac hearings, which continued with the questioning of Ellen Schreiber after a lunch break this afternoon.

Schreiber agrees with a contention put to her by Carr (counsel assisting): that she performed factional work while being paid by the taxpayer "not because of any allegiance to the Labor Party, but because that’s what you were told your job was"

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

She never raised concerns about the factional work. She wanted to keep her job. Schreiber says she was convinced she could climb quickly within the party, because she was a woman. Female MPs had been promoted similarly: not because of their talent, but their gender, she says.

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

Australia has passed 31m vaccine doses administered overall.

This daily infographic provides the total number of vaccine doses administered in Australia 🇦🇺 as of 11 October 2021 📅

💻Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccine information here: https://t.co/lsM33j9wMW pic.twitter.com/lNFsvY3b44

— Australian Government Department of Health (@healthgovau) October 12, 2021

Updated

The government has announced some mutual obligation requirements will begin in NSW tomorrow. Providers appointments can be made compulsory and jobseekers must agree to a new job plan or any adjustments to a job plan within two days. pic.twitter.com/lLNNM4P2yY

— Luke Henriques-Gomes (@lukehgomes) October 12, 2021

Compulsory job search activities will remain suspended. It says providers will be "required to work with jobseekers and participants during this Phase B approach period to update and assist with tailoring job plans to individual circumstances and local health advice".

— Luke Henriques-Gomes (@lukehgomes) October 12, 2021

Updated

The search for a missing eight year-old boy involved in a boating accident in WA’s south has entered its third day, AAP’s Michael Ramsey reports.

The boy had been camping with family at Fernhook Falls near Walpole, about 400km southeast of Perth.

He has reported missing on Sunday morning. Police and State Emergency Service volunteers were today continuing to search a section of the river which spans about 200m and includes rapids.

Superintendent Kim Travers said the boy had been kayaking with his family on Saturday without any issues. She said it appeared he was subsequently involved in a boating incident but did not provide further details.

The family are shocked. They are anxious and wanting us to find their boy. The instinctive reaction to a child going missing is for a parent to throw themselves holus-bolus into searching for their child, and that occurred.

It is not known whether the boy can swim. He had been staying with his family in a cabin at the Mount Frankland National Park. With volunteers also scouring dense nearby bushland, there were plans to deploy a drone to search the water. Search conditions have been hampered by poor weather.

Updated

No new active cases in SA

South Australian COVID-19 update 12/10/21. For more information, go to https://t.co/mYnZsGpayo or contact the South Australia COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787. pic.twitter.com/t9vrp0kZg6

— SA Health (@SAHealth) October 12, 2021

Here's the all important forecast of double dose dates in Victoria. @abcmelbourne https://t.co/7S66fXP5ei

— Richard Willingham (@rwillingham) October 12, 2021

Asked in @VicParliament Upper House QT by @DavidDavisMLC "will these crooked ministers be required to pay legal fees," A-G @JaclynSymes says "there are insurance and policies in government that would apply in particular situations, but in relation to qn asked I do not know."

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) October 12, 2021

With the government’s climate plan imminent, and Glasgow just weeks away, this piece from Katharine Murphy and Daniel Hurst is essential reading.

The Indo-Pacific will be a key region for US president Joe Biden to push for more ambitious 2030 climate targets and put pressure on China to strengthen its goals, Australia’s ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos says.

US climate push on Australia and allies aims to ramp up pressure on China, Sinodinos says - as colleagues ask Angus Taylor to bring more detail about the impact of the net zero transition to Cabinet on Wednesday #auspol https://t.co/IEnO2Nrca0

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) October 12, 2021

I can only presume this is intended to be read in the sound of popular tune ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’

Ibac's back, alright!

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

As health minister Martin Foley predicted this morning, Victoria has passed 60% fully vaccination rates.

(16+)

▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▒▒░ NSW 75.23%

▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▒▒░ ACT 74.55%

▓▓▓▓▓▓▒▒░░ TAS 65.44%

▓▓▓▓▓▓▒▒░░ VIC 60.37%

▓▓▓▓▓▒░░░░ NT 56.87%

▓▓▓▓▓▒▒░░░ SA 55.54%

▓▓▓▓▓▒▒░░░ QLD 53.35%

▓▓▓▓▓▒▒░░░ WA 52.54% https://t.co/Ovv1Bl5xzg

— CovidBaseAU 🦠📊🇦🇺 (@covidbaseau) October 12, 2021

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake at sea between the North and South Islands has rattled New Zealanders, AAP’s Ben McKay reports from NZ.

Thousands of Kiwis have reported the tremor, which occurred at 2.55pm NZDT (12.55pm AEDT) today.

More than 17,000 Kiwis reported the quake to monitoring agency GeoNet, including many in Nelson, Wellington and the Kapiti Coast.

The earthquake was quite deep at 150km under the water, and was New Zealand’s strongest since May.

Updated

Some initial details about the reopening of Tasmania’s borders. Premier Peter Gutwein says it’s likely those who want to travel to Tasmania will need to be fully vaccinated and provide a negative test in the 72 hours before they arrive #politas #covid19tas pic.twitter.com/pzlkzx6weo

— Monte Bovill (@MonteBovill) October 12, 2021

The Queensland government has released a statement on a joint agreement with Rio Tinto in transitioning to a net zero economy.

Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk said supporting investment in renewables and hydrogen would be part of Queensland’s plan for economic recovery from Covid-19:

This week we’ve announced one of the world’s largest hydrogen electrolyser manufacturing plants will be built in central Queensland. Today we’re signing a statement of cooperation with Rio Tinto to ensure central Queensland can take advantage of our natural energy advantage and drive employment and economic outcomes from investment in renewable energy projects.

By backing Queensland to become a renewable energy and hydrogen superpower we will create and sustain jobs long into the future.

Deputy premier Steven Miles said the multi-signatory agreement would “ensure that central Queensland becomes one of the first regions in the world to benefit from the massive growth in demand for renewable energy”:

We will ensure that in central Queensland renewable energy is used to power the industries and material that the world will need over the years ahead.This will demonstrate Queensland’s capability and attract investors looking to use clean energy to create their futures and the jobs that come with it.

Together with Rio and with the support of future partners, we will ensure that we can make a valuable product in Queensland and export it to a world hungry for clean manufacturing and sustainable materials.

Rio Tinto divested the last of its coal businesses in 2018 and has committed to reach net zero emissions across its operations by 2050.

Updated

We're on the lunch break. Schreiber has basically been detailing the extensive factional work she says Somyurek made her do while she was employed on the public purse. Some days were 80% spent doing this work, she says.

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

Queensland Parliament votes in favour of net zero by 2050

BREAKING: The Queensland Parliament has just voted in favour of our Government’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. #qldpol

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 12, 2021

New Covid restrictions for MPs returning to parliament

The Department of the House of Representatives has released a statement on how the return to Parliament House will look for the next sitting fortnight, beginning on Monday.

It says the precautionary measures introduced before the last sitting of parliament in August and September will remain in place.

MPs who return to the ACT must comply with the ACT public health directions, and the building will remain closed to the public, excluding essential workers.

Statement has been released on how operations will run at Parliament House for the next sitting fortnight, which will begin on Monday pic.twitter.com/APaKr9n6Co

— Andrew Brown (@AndrewBrownAU) October 12, 2021

Updated

Amid (hopefully), Victorian case numbers trending downwards, it is interesting we didn’t receive a breakdown of case numbers in regional LGAs in today’s press conference.

It appears the Victorian Department of Health’s website is also yet to be updated.

The regional Mitchell Shire and Mildura are both still under stay-at-home orders.

Updated

Not particularly important but funny: Schreiber says Somyurek hired "a feminist" from the Industrial Left faction as a favour to the RTBU. The "feminist" got offended when Somyurek once addressed a meeting of his staff with "hey dudes"

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

SA attempts to clear up confusion over Christmas border arrangements

Back in SA, premier Steven Marshall says health and government officials are all “on the same page” as he attempts to clear up confusion over a future easing of border restrictions, AAP’s Tim Dornin reports.

Marshall met with SA Health boss Chris McGowan and chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier on Tuesday after some mixed messaging on SA’s plans for Christmas.

The premier last week raised the prospect of people from Victoria and NSW entering SA for the festive season without the need to quarantine provided they are double vaccinated.

McGowan cast doubts on that move at a parliamentary hearing on Monday, telling a committee that he was “not aware of any health advice” that there would be no need for fully-vaccinated visitors to quarantine by Christmas.

Spurrier appeared to tread a middle ground in a later media conference, saying there would be arrangements for double-vaccinated people to travel to SA, but some could face testing and some could still be required to isolate. She said the situation was also dependent on virus numbers in Victoria and NSW and the level of risk to SA at the time.

Today, Marshall said while there would still be situations where people would be required to quarantine, for the vast majority it would be a normal Christmas with the double-vaccinated able to come provided vaccination targets were met:

We’ve got to get to that 80% double-vaccinated in the 16 and over first. As soon as we are doing that we can end the punishing state lockdowns and also end those punishing state lock-outs. But it doesn’t mean there won’t be some people who need to have some quarantine if they’ve been to a designated hotspot or maybe they’ve been to an exposure site. All of those details are still being worked through.

Police commissioner Grant Stevens said while there appeared some confusion between what was said by the premier and McGowan, the pair were not “poles apart”. Stevens said the requirements to be placed on certain individuals coming into SA would be designed to ensure the state’s health system was not put under undue pressure:

There’s not going to be one rule for everyone. But it’s important that the work is done based on proper modelling and not just shooting from the hip.

Updated

In @VicParliament #qt @TimSmithMP asks @DanielAndrewsMP are labor ministers and staff called to @ibacVic having legal costs paid for by the taxpayer. Premier says he's not privy to who has been called. @10NewsFirstMelb #springst

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) October 12, 2021

Anthony Byrne, the federal Labor MP, has finished his evidence to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission. His extraordinary testimony on Monday, that he and Luke Donnellan had been involved in paying for memberships in Melbourne’s southeast, led to the resignation of an Andrews government minister by the afternoon.

Luke Donnellan stepped down acknowledging he had broken party rules but emphasising he had never misused public funds.

Byrne was commended by the Ibac commissioner, Robert Redlich QC, for giving evidence “against your best interests”. Redlich said that despite there being some disagreements between Byrne’s version of events and that of Adem Somyurek, he had provided a great deal of knowledge which had assisted the investigation.

Redlich said:

You have acknowledged wrongdoing, you have acknowledged breaches of a number of party rules, and [...] you are to be commended for coming forth and speaking openly about your conduct and those around you.

The work of the commission is considerably enhanced by your willingness to come forward in the way in which you have.

Earlier, Redlich asked Byrne about why, given a 1998 report into branch stacking which recommended changes to the recruitment of party members, and the so-called Red Shirts affair, which found Labor misused public resources, had the party not reformed itself. In relation to the Red Shirts matter, in which the Labor party said it recommended all the Ombudsman’s recommendations, Redlich said:

The ink had hardly dried on the page when the conduct about which you have testified continued, and continued at a level that horrified you?

Byrne responded: “That’s correct commissioner”.

Byrne also agreed with a statement from Redlich that it could be inferred the party lacked the sufficient will to reform “this cultural problem”. Byrne also earlier said that he hoped the Ibac investigation would lead to an overhaul of Labor factional operations.

The hearing is expected to continue on Tuesday afternoon with evidence from Labor staffer Ellen Schreiber, an electorate officer and former ministerial office executive assistant.

Updated

Ellen Schreiber is up giving evidence at the Ibac proceedings.

Ellen Schreiber is giving evidence. She was hired in January 2019 to set up Somyurek's ministerial office.

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

Her title was executive assistant. She had access to Somyurek's ministerial diary.

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

Pop-up vaccination hubs will be established at more than 20 South Australian schools in a six-week blitz to boost lagging Covid-19 immunisation numbers.

SA’s vaccination rates among 12 to 15-year-olds is currently the worst performing in Australia, with some 27% of the age group vaccinated.

The program will begin later this month targeting selected high schools in both metropolitan Adelaide and regional centres, and will be able to deliver first or second Pfizer doses to students, with those under 16 needing consent from their parents.

Health minister Stephen Wade said school staff would be able to use the clinics.

These pop-up clinics will help more young people to get fully vaccinated before the end of the school year and before they reach their end-of-year celebrations. As we move towards our vaccination targets it is crucial that we not only continue to build our statewide vaccination levels, but that we ensure strong vaccination rates across geographical and cultural cohorts across the state.

The school clinics are also expected to be open to local community members on weekends.

Updated

From Friday, Canberrans will be able to visit the much-loved Dog on the Tucker Box in Gundagai arguably one of Australia’s best dog statues.

Expanded cross border travel arrangements with NSW that come into effect on Friday 15 October. pic.twitter.com/3viINYFcWZ

— Andrew Barr MLA (@ABarrMLA) October 12, 2021

Updated

More on the ACT press conference, and some good news for Canberrans.

HEADS UP COAST/SYDNEY CANBERRANS:

Barr says FAQs he gets most are 'When can I go to the coast?' and 'When can I go to Sydney?' (SAME):

"I don't think either of those are likely in the short-term, as in in the next week or so. But they look very likely in November."

🤞😬🥳

— Anna Vidot (@AnnaVidot) October 12, 2021

Andrew Barr has also flagged unvaccinated people are unlikely to be restricted from health services, in part due to the ACT’s extremely high vaccination rates:

I don’t think people should be denied access to essential health services on the basis of their vaccination status ... the number of people this would affect is very small.

Updated

Elliott Charng, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia, has encouraged the Morrison government to support Taiwan’s bid to join a key regional trade pact.

A parliamentary committee is considering how Australia should weigh up various applications to join the CPTPP. China and Taiwan have both said they want to join, as is the UK.

At a parliamentary hearing today, Charng was asked for his view on how the committee should weigh up the merits of Taiwan and other economies’ bids. Charng said the only answer he could provide was that “Taiwan is your first choice to support”.

Charng also signalled that Taiwan also interested in exploring a bilateral trade deal with Australia, in addition to the CPTPP bid.

He noted that the UK had applied to join the CPTPP at the same time as it conducted a bilateral free trade agreement negotiation with Australia. “So, for us, we do have the same mindset.”

Queensland Premier @AnnastaciaMP has moved a motion to support her own government's aim for net zero by 2050.

"Today is the opportunity for every member over there, or most members over there, to stand up ... to hear what you have to say on net zero emissions by 2050."

— @MartySilk (@MartySilkHack) October 12, 2021

It looks like the ACT is moving in the direction of New South Wales regarding daily Covid-19 briefings as they emerge out of lockdown.

Sounds like they're weaning us off briefings, Canberra. CHO notes numbers came out early via email again today. That will continue.

CHO: "These daily numbers are becoming less important with our higher vaccination rates and more movement in the community."

— Anna Vidot (@AnnaVidot) October 12, 2021

CHO: "We are moving towards a COVID Normal, where we will expect to see a level of ongoing community transmission of cases."

— Anna Vidot (@AnnaVidot) October 12, 2021

Updated

Thanks to Matilda Boseley. Ibac is continuing and Covid news is rolling in, so let’s go!

Updated

With that, I shall hand you over to Caitlin Cassidy, who will take you through the afternoon of news.

Updated

Victorian Ibac hearing:

RVDW mutes himself to speak to Somyurek, who he mentioned in the context of the previous conversation re whispering that "sometimes he wished [Somyurek] would slow down"

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

RVDW mutes himself to speak to Somyurek, who he mentioned in the context of the previous conversation re whispering that "sometimes he wished [Somyurek] would slow down"

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

Can I blame Tasmania for leaving VIC and NSW out of this? No? Am I still hurt? Yes.

Travel vouchers of $300 are being offered to travellers from SA, WA and Queensland to encourage them to holiday in Tasmania @abchobart

— Monte Bovill (@MonteBovill) October 12, 2021

⚠️Lockdown to end 11.59pm, Thurs 14 October 2021⚠️
Lockdown will be lifted as of 11.59pm, Thursday 14 October 2021 and with the ACT now at over 70% of 12+ Canberrans fully vaccinated, there will be some further easing to restrictions that will come into effect as lockdown ends. pic.twitter.com/2FG6wRqT37

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) October 12, 2021

Is it just me or do these Ibac hearings have sitcom energy?

Redlich can hear Somyurek whispering to his counsel, Remy can de Wiel QC, instructions.

— Richard Willingham (@rwillingham) October 12, 2021

Champagne #ibacwatts
Redlich: "your client is sitting out of screen, I can hear him whispering instructions to you,"@AdemSomyurek is in the room with his QC cross examining @AnthonyByrne_MP @10NewsFirstMelb #springst

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) October 12, 2021

Pack your bags becuase Thailand plans to fully reopen to vaccinated tourists from countries deemed low risk from 1 November, the country’s leader said, citing the urgent need to save the kingdom’s ailing economy.

Before the pandemic, Thailand attracted nearly 40 million visitors a year drawn to its picturesque beaches and robust nightlife, with tourism making up almost 20% of its national income.

But Covid-related travel restrictions have left the economy battered, contributing to its worst performance in more than 20 years.

Premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha announced Monday the country will be reopening its borders to vaccinated tourists travelling by air from “low risk countries”.

You can read the full report below:

Updated

Jumping back to Victoria:

Asked if it's the calendar date or the vacc target that will decide WHEN we move to next stage of Roadmap in Melbs, the CHO says .. "there's some flexibility".
And says the 80% mark is significant milestone - that's why it's 10 people that day rather than a staged approach.

— Heidi Murphy (@heidimur) October 12, 2021

Updated

Oh, and of course...

sound the "ratfucker" klaxon

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

An update from the Ibac hearings:

Byrne is being cross-examined by Remy van de Wiel QC, for Adem Somyurek. He is being asked about various matters, including text exchanges between himself an Somyurek, when he claimed he could use a four corners "hatchet job" on China to stitch up a candidate

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

They're running through Byrne's history going back to working for Senator Collins in 1996, and the various ethnic groups he worked with: Albanian, Bosnian, Vietnamese, Cambodian. RVDW asserts that one Vietnamese leader gave Byrne 200 members to "do his bidding".

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

And the hearings have closed again. Not sure how long for. When they stop suddenly like this I react similarly to how a spy agency reacts when they lose contact with an agent in the field.

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

Updated

55% fully vaccinated 💪
Keep going #SouthAustralia 👏
Walk-in and get vaccinated today💉

— Steven Marshall, MP (@marshall_steven) October 12, 2021

Hmmmmmmmm.....

At least one group is expecting Morrison in Glasgow - the Commonwealth of Nations has the PM listed as an attendee at a formal 'side-event' at the COP26 talks.https://t.co/HiqDdMdUhP pic.twitter.com/gvPH78COre

— Michael Mazengarb (@MichaelM_ACT) October 12, 2021

The ACT chief minister has foreshadowed significant changes to contact tracing and isolation requirements for close contacts in the territory but did not go into detail.

Tomorrow, I can announce that we will outline changes to the test trace and isolate quarantine arrangements that will apply and will be phased in in the coming weeks and months.

Barr:

Under both the New South Wales and ACT government restrictions, ACT residents still cannot enter NSW unless they are undertaking essential work, accessing a childcare arrangement or providing urgent care to a vulnerable individual. NSW also has a vaccination requirement that excludes unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people from travel and access to non-essential activities.

Work, however, is continuing with the NSW government on common travel arrangements as a vaccination rate of both jurisdictions climb above 80%. Fully vaccinated. These more significant changes are anticipated to come into effect from late October and will be announced ahead of the commencement.

Updated

More travel between ACT and NSW allowed from Friday

Barr says the postcodes allowed to travel into nearby NSW suburbs will be expanded.

From this Friday, the 15 October, the ACT will expand the exemption border postcodes. To allow travel from a large area of immediately surrounding New South Wales.

The expanded postcodes will now cover towns such as Goulburn, Cooma and up towards the snowy region as well as Gundagai. For details, the expanded postcodes will be available on the ACT Covid-19 website.

NSW residents in these regions as well as the border postcodes that are already covered by the existing expanding exemptions will be permitted to travel to and from the ACT to undertake work or study to access schools or essential shopping and healthcare without needing to apply for an exemption.

Residents in these postcodes can also enter the ACT to visit family and friends, under the existing ACT gathering limits whether inside the household or outside.

Updated

Barr:

While non-essential retail will predominantly operate under click and collect or click on deliver services, until 29 October. These businesses can have up to two people from the same household into a retail store at any one time for booked appointments only from this Friday.

This is to allow activities like cars to be test driven and clothes and shoes to be tried on for buyer to purchase.

I encourage ACT businesses to visit the business hop on the Covid-19 website. There are a range of resources there to help you prepare or update with Covdi-19 safety plans.

Here is what will be changing in the ACT from Friday.

Barr:

From this Friday, which is a little over 60 hours away, gathering limits outside will increase to 25 people. Up to five people will be permitted to visit another household.

Licensed venues will be permitted to have five customers across the venue with one per four square metres whichever is the lesser.

Alternatively, 50 patrons can utilise outdoor spaces only or one person per four square metres, whichever is later. We [supporting] business to add additional outdoor public space to allow for up to 50 patrons.

ACT headdresses and personal care services can reopen with up to five clients at one time.

Outdoor sporting team training can resume with up to 25 people in each outdoor space.

Swimming pools we will reopen with 25 swimmers across the venue and only two swimmers per lane allowed.

ACT lockdown will end from 11.59pm Thursday

The ACT chief minister, Andrew Barr, is speaking now and has confirmed that from midnight Friday, the territory’s lockdown will end. But, rather than a “freedom day”, restrictions will ease slowly over the next weeks and months.

The ACT cabinet met yesterday with the chief health officer to confirm the end of the ACT lockdown from this Thursday at 11.59pm. 72% of our eligible population are now vaccinated. Our first-dose levels indicate that this will reach close to 99% fully vaccinated towards the end of November.

Our growing vaccination coverage will provide better protection for our community in the weeks and months ahead as the virus increases its bread throughout the committee. Case numbers are expected to increase as restrictions are eased.

Updated

Ibac is back! We have already had a reference to the dark side of the moon.

— Nino Bucci (@ninobucci) October 12, 2021

Taiwan’s representative in Australia is addressing a parliamentary hearing about Taiwan’s bid to join a key regional trade deal.

Elliott Charng, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia, said Taiwan believed it was a strong candidate to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

China and Taiwan have rival bids to join the CPTPP, with Beijing signalling it opposes Taiwan’s push to join.

Charng said the opposition from China was “not unexpected”, as Beijing sought to prevent Taiwan from participating in international organisations.

He said if Australia supported Taiwan joining the CPTPP, it would send a strong message to business “that your government is determined to help them explore new markets such as with Taiwan”.

He said Taiwan was a “trustworthy partner for Australia” as a democracy and with a commitment to transparency and predictability on trade and investment.

New Zealand records 43 new local Covid-19 cases

New Zealand has reported 43 new cases of Covid-19 today, with 40 in Auckland and three in Waikato. That brings the total cases in the current outbreak to 1,664.

Nineteen of today’s cases have not yet been linked to existing infections in the current outbreak, and 23 – or two-thirds of yesterday’s cases – were infectious in the community. There are 34 cases hospitalised in New Zealand, with five in ICU.

As of today, 48% of New Zealand’s total population are fully vaccinated, or 56% of the eligible population – those aged 12 and over. 80% of the eligible population have had at least one shot, or 68% of the full population.

Updated

Canberra maintaining its reputation as the vaccination capital:

98.2 per cent have received their first dose

72.1 per cent are now fully vaccinated

— Tom McIlroy (@TomMcIlroy) October 12, 2021

The highlight of the IBAC hearings so far.

"dipstick"

— Richard Willingham (@rwillingham) October 12, 2021

The Victorian Ibac hearings into the Labor party has started up again for the day and it’s still federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne in the hot seat.

Nino Bucci will be bringing us all the updates on the blog here, so get yourself a cup of tea and settle in. If yesterday is anything to go by, this will be well worth a watch.

Updated

#ibacwatts hits the leagues of rolling news channels.
Funny what a ministerial resignation does.#springst pic.twitter.com/NBMPbHP4Bs

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) October 12, 2021

Australia has lost a giant with the passing of Holocaust survivor, Eddie Jaku, 101.

He dedicated his life to educating others about the dangers of intolerance & the importance of hope. Scarred by the past, he only looked forward.

May his story be told for generations to come. pic.twitter.com/s3HPXBoqaH

— Josh Frydenberg (@JoshFrydenberg) October 12, 2021

ACT records 28 new Covid-19 cases

The Australian Capital Territory has recorded 28 new local Covid-19 cases.

ACT COVID-19 update (12 October 2021):
◾ New cases today: 28
◾ Active cases: 450
◾ Total recovered cases: 806
◾ Total cases: 1,262
◾ Negative test results (past 24 hours): 1,712
◾ In hospital: 19
◾ Lives lost: 6 pic.twitter.com/uHZbAWpuBr

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) October 12, 2021

Updated

Foley:

Today we are also announcing a record investment of some $255m in support of those frontline hospital, Covid-facing workforces that have been not only dealing with these demands for some months but will now, as we move into a very, very busy period, have to deal with the surge that we will see in cases in our healthcare and hospital system.

We will be establishing a new allowance to better support nurses, paramedics, doctors, and those hard-working people in those front-facing hospital-based Covid facing environments that are really risky, but really important.

Workers in these roles will be eligible for a tiered allowance up to $60 per shift and we see that as continuing on until 10 February 2022.

Updated

Foley says the government has several announcements to make, aimed at strengthening the Victorian hospital system ahead of the state coming out of lockdown.

Firstly, we are investing some $2.5m to recruit up to 1,000 healthcare workers who are currently living overseas as part of a package designed to help to ease the pressure on our hard-working hospital facing staff dealing with Covid. This group were largely be made up of returning Australians who have wanted to come back to our healthcare workforce.

This announcement builds on the work that we have done in recent weeks, having facilitated the arrival of some 130 healthcare workers over the dedicated workplace pathways system. This is the next step to turn on that international pass line of support that has been on hold for the past 21 months.

Updated

Victoria will reach 60% double vaccination today

Health minister Martin Foley says Victorian will undoubtedly reach 60% of the over 15 population full vaccinated today.

We were sitting at, yesterday, 59.8% of the Victorian community had had their second dose..

Clearly, we will pass into the 60% of double dose Victorian community today.

Foley:

Currently, we have 675 people in hospital with COVID, and of those, 144 are in intensive care, and 100 are on a ventilator.

Of the cases in hospital yesterday, just 7% were fully vaccinated. And given the high number of vaccinations throughout our community, the fact that so many were either partially or unvaccinated continues to speak volumes about the importance of being vaccinated to protect yourself and to protect your community.

Victorian Covid-19 update begins

Victorian health minister Martin Foley is up now, giving the state’s daily Covid-19 update.

He starts by giving details of those eight Victorians who died from Covid-19 yesterday.

Eight people lost their lives.

  • A man in his 90s from the Hume area.
  • A man in his 80s from Moonee Valley.
  • A man in his 80s from Monash.
  • A woman in her 70s from Maribyrnong community.
  • A woman in her 80s from Whittlesey.
  • A woman in her 70s and a woman in her 50s from Moreland community.
  • And a man in his 40s from Bayside.

Can I take this opportunity to pass on our deepest condolences to those families, to the friends and to the communities of those people who are passed away. It is a difficult time and our thoughts are with you at this tragic moment.

Updated

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has resumed its hearings into the branch stacking and the misuse of public resources within the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor party.

But the hearings are being done behind closed doors this morning. It is expected that Anthony Byrne, the federal Labor MP, will be cross-examined by lawyers for Adem Somyurek, the state Labor MP who allegedly orchestrated large-scale branch-stacking, this morning.

You can follow along here, where you will also find the transcript from Monday’s hearing. Our report on that hearing is here.

A broader explainer on the investigation is here.

Updated

Queensland records full week of Covid-zero

Queensland has recorded its seventh day of no local Covid-19 cases.

However, three cases have been detected on an international marine vessel in the state’s waters.

Tuesday 12 October – coronavirus cases in Queensland:

0 new locally acquired cases detected in Queensland overnight.

4 new overseas acquired cases - one detected in hotel quarantine and three detected on a marine vessel.#Covid19 pic.twitter.com/LWH2EvwiF8

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 11, 2021

We are just standing by for the Victorian Covid-19 press conference now, where we will hear from the chief health officer.

I reckon the main message of this presser will be “don’t get too excited yet”.

Jab and snag anyone?

The Queensland government is working with Bunning to transform a number of the hardware superstores into pop-up vaccination clinics.

Democracy sausage move aside, it’s time for the freedom sausage’s time in the sun.

BREAKING: Pop-up vaccination clinics are coming to Bunnings. From this Saturday, you can get a Bunnings sausage and vaccine dose at several sites across Queensland 💪 #GetVaccinated pic.twitter.com/NfaZ6nXDxO

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 11, 2021

Here’s the list of participating Bunnings Warehouse stores 👇 pic.twitter.com/BAlwtxdKwD

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) October 11, 2021

Side note: great graphic design choices for this Palaszczuk tweet, but still take a sip of coffee. Even though it’s cool doesn’t mean it’s not extremely weird.

Updated

Vaccines offered to emergency department patients with 'marked success'

Health workers have been offering vaccines to people who present to the emergency department at St Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne, with “marked success”.

In a letter to the editor of the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia, emergency physicians and a pharmacist at St Vincent’s said they hoped it would spur other hospitals to establish similar programs.

The team audited the immunisation status of the 400 patients who presented most frequently to the department, visiting more than six times per year. Only 47% of these patients had received a first vaccine dose compared with 69% of the Victorian population at the time.

They offered eligible patients a Covid vaccine at the time of presentation, with around five patients being vaccinated in the emergency department daily. Doses are provided by the St Vincent’s vaccination centre pharmacy.

The authors wrote:

Very few eligible patients have declined vaccination … these patients are often without smartphones or the internet access required to negotiate online appointments.

We cannot solely offer vaccination where we want or hope people will be.

We must also provide safe and opportunistic immunisations where we know vulnerable people are, including in our emergency departments.

A 2020 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report previously found that 23% of emergency presentations were by people living in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.

Updated

As NSW enters its second day of vaccine-contingent freedoms, I took another look at the persistent problems with the accuracy of records on the Australian Immunisation Register, the commonwealth’s database of vaccine information.

In recent months, Guardian Australia has reported on dozens of cases where fully vaccinated individuals had been left with either incomplete or inaccurate dose information on the (AIR).

A person’s ability to obtain a vaccine certificate – and prove vaccination status to businesses and venues – depends on the data in the AIR. A lot of the problems appeared to stem from NSW, particularly the Olympic Park vaccination hub, where patient information being entered by vaccine teams on the ground was not always matching the records held by the commonwealth.

Where these discrepancies occurred, dose information was not updated to the AIR automatically.

Mistakes could only be corrected through a laborious manual process that often took a month or more. Now, the Sydney Local Health District has overhauled its vaccine record keeping system to address the problem.

A spokesperson told the Guardian:

The district has worked hard at addressing this by improving the validation steps involved when a patient makes a booking to ensure data entered matches with Medicare records. New tools have also been introduced to search for patients with missing records.

Until recently, the accuracy of the AIR has also been undermined by the system’s inability to recognise mixed doses, or AstraZeneca or Pfizer doses administered overseas. Those issues have also been fixed by the federal government.

But the system still won’t recognise vaccines administered overseas if they are either not approved in Australia, or weren’t approved in Australia at the time they were administered abroad.

Updated

Albanese won't call for Anthony Byrne's resignation while Ibac hearings are ongoing

Part of the revelations from yesterday’s hearings was the federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne admitting that both he and Victorian state minister Luke Donnellan allegedly paid Labor party membership fees on behalf of others as part of a “well-entrenched” operation led by former powerbroker Adem Somyurek.

Albanese has now been asked if he expects Byrne to stand down.

Reporter:

You now have someone who has admitted to branch-stacking. Do you think it’s appropriate that he stays in his role?

Albanese:

We will allow the Ibac processes to take their course.

It’s not appropriate to pre-empt their findings and those processes. That’s a very clear thing when you have a legal matter is taking place. We have intervened to make sure that no one can gain any advantage from any improper practices.

Updated

Speaking of the Ibac hearings, here is the federal Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, who has never been keener to point out that he is from Sydney, not Melbourne.

I’m not a member of the Victorian branch. Nor do I have a detailed knowledge of the whole electorate and you’d be surprised if I did.

Since I’ve been the leader of the Labor party, let’s be very clear about the actions that I’ve taken. One of the first actions I took within three weeks was to expel John Setka* from the Labor party.

Once the revelations were given on Channel Nine and 60 Minutes, myself and Daniel Andrews supported intervention into the branch which took over ... and we appointed Steve Bracks and Jenny Macklin as the administrators of the branch. I did that within 48 hours.

* You might remember Setka as “the dude who yelled at the anti-vax protesters outside the CFMEU offices”.

Updated

The Australian ambassador to the US, Arthur Sinodinos, is waiting, just like everyone else, to find out what climate policy Australia will take to Glasgow.

But in a webinar this morning, Sinodinos said Australia had the potential to be “an alternative energy superpower”. The former Coalition government minister and former chief of staff to John Howard also stressed the importance of investors being given certainty across borders.

Joining a webinar organised by the not-for-profit organisation the Coalition for Conservation, Sinodinos said of the government’s internal deliberations in the lead-up to the summit, Cop26:

I mean, there’s obviously work going on at the moment, as you can see from all the newspapers which are talking about it the whole time about what further plan Australia will have. And that will be interesting to see how that plays out.

But the important thing from Australia’s perspective will be also carrying the argument in the context of the Cop around this point about how we work with countries in the region to … multi-lateralise the benefits of new technologies, in a way that is more accessible and affordable to low and middle income countries.

I think that’s going to be important.

Sinodinos noted the Biden administration had increased the US emission reductions target for 2030 “because they argue that to meet the goal of keeping the temperature rise to 1.5C we have to have intermediate targets like that on the way to a net-zero target by 2050”.

He said the US had been “working with us and other countries on how we are more ambitious in dealing with climate change”.

Now let me say in relation to China, the strategy of the US in terms of climate diplomacy has been to say to western countries, to allies and partners, let’s all essentially match, ambition, on climate change, as a way of putting more pressure on China to bring forward its net-zero commitment from 2060 and when emissions will peak. At the moment, they’ve got emissions peaking in 2030, the Americans would like to bring that forward into the 2020s – 2025 for example.

Sinodinos it was still not yet clear that attitude China would take to Cop26.

I don’t think they want to be seen to be doing more in response to American pressure, but they do jealously guard, as they see them, their climate change credentials. So I think a lot of the theatrics of Cop revolve around what China does or does not do. I think the US has done a lot of heavy lifting in the run up to Cop, both in terms of the change in policy here in the US, and also some of its work abroad.

Updated

Not everyone named in Ibac hearings must resign: Victorian premier says

Andrews says that while he expects ministerial responsibility to be upheld, he doesn’t expect every person who speaks at, or is discussed at the Ibac hearings, to resign.

This comes after the premier was questioned last week about him maintaining his position as premier while an Ibac anquiry into his party and cabinet ministers is carried out.

Last week I was asked a series of questions, and I am not having a go at any of you guys for what you have put to me, but I have had things but to me in parliament and outside parliament that was, at least at one level – like the fact that you might assist Ibac, that you might be mentioned at Ibac, all of these things would be enough for you to have to go.

This notion that if you are in any way, you know, in the same postcode as Ibac you would have to resign.

I made it very clear last week that that is not – in that kind of binary sense – the way that this forum works.

They are having hearings, they can’t do it all on one day, that is never the way I would expect them to work so they will be a process, evidence will be led, things will be said, and findings will be made. We will respond to those findings when they are findings, not evidence that has been made.

Updated

The Victorian premier is also keen to point out how young he was when some of the alleged branch-stacking and other Labor scandals were going down.

Plus I will be 50 next year. There was some stuff yesterday about, you know, way back when in 1999, 1996, 1997 when I was, you know, 24 years old.

You know, I know that all of us like to think of ourselves as very important when we are 24 and 25. We really [aren’t].

Updated

Andrews seems keen to distance himself from the factional machinations of the party.

You are drawing me to my faction. I haven’t been to a factional meeting, a caucus meeting or a meeting of the faction for 11 years. Eleven years.

Seriously, I take my responsibilities as the leader of the party to be the leader for the entire party.

Updated

It’s hard to hear the questions at the press conference but it seems Daniel Andrews has been asked for his views, as a Labor party official, on if the party has failed to curb branch-stacking and other under-the-table dealings.

I am fully aware that I was a Labor party official, yes, I am, thank you. And a father, and a husband. Anyway. Look, the key point here is that there have been waves of reform over many decades. Many, many reviews, many, many inquiries, and lots of state conferences where we came together and change the rules.

What we saw in the middle of last year left us with no option at all but to say that there is a cultural problem, there is a problem that will only be remedied by unprecedented action.

For a leader of a party to call for the national branch of the party to intervene, to suspend all of our processes, to make the party in many respects from an administrative point of view, unrecognisable from what it originally is is no small thing.

That, to me, as some think that you point out, and as somebody who is unofficial and somebody who has been here for 19 years, that isn’t lost on me. Significant steps were taken. We have made changes but we may need to go further.

Updated

Andrews was asked more generally about the accusations of branch-stacking within the Labor party.

I have already dealt with those questions. They were asked of me 18 months ago when we made a really important decision, following what I think it is fair to say – we were all shocked at some of the stuff we saw in it, that 60 Minutes report, and the other reporting alongside that.

I don’t want anyone to stick over the fact that based on what became clear, we sought the direct intervention of the national executive to essentially suspend or sideline the democratic process within the Victorian branch of the Labor party.

We have made significant rule changes, we have had administrators in there, we have had a membership ordered which has been across the whole party. That has been very important. If we have to go further as a result of any development over time, then of course we stand ready to do that.

There have been waves and for many decades, but what became clear about 18 months ago meant that we had to go further and we didn’t hesitate.

Updated

The Victorian premier has been asked for his thoughts on the resignation of Luke Donnellan from the cabinet after he was named in the first day of Ibac hearings.

Andrews:

I didn’t expect to get a phone call from him yesterday to tender his resignation, but he made a difficult decision. I thanked him for his service.

I issued a statement yesterday. That statement speaks to a lot of the very good work that he has done as a minister in many different portfolio areas.

Reporter:

You didn’t expect them to resign?

Andrews:

That is not what I said. I did not expect yesterday morning that he would be calling me at lunchtime to tender his resignation. He did. I obviously accepted that.

Updated

In relation to the state’s Covid-19 situation, Andrews says that some of the hardest-hit areas have seen massive surges in vaccinations.

We’ve seen those areas of greatest concern, have a very significant – in fact, a massive turnaround when you think about it. I think Wyndham is at about 90%. It was lower than that just a short time ago, so that is really good news.

The same has been reflected across the north, west and increasingly in the south-west, so I would encourage all Victorians to continue their efforts to get vaccinated, to complete that task because it is our way out of this, that is our focus.

While that trend is positive, we can’t get carried away to think that the danger that the cases present to our health system and to individuals and families somehow over.

Updated

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is speaking now, and right off the bat has made it clear that he won’t be answering questions about the ongoing Ibac hearings.

Just on Ibac-related matters, the hearings are ongoing, it has never been my practice to be a commentator on the subject matter that is directly relevant to that work, or the hearings themselves, so I will not be answering any of those questions today, or at any point until the important work of Ibac is completed.

Not withstanding, I am more than happy to take questions.

Updated

Nearly 60% of people who have died during the New South Wales Delta wave lived in the south-western or western Sydney local health districts, according to data that further underlines a deadly divide in Australia’s experience of the pandemic.

As Melbourne’s case numbers hit record numbers, one of its most disadvantaged local government areas has also had nearly a third of Victoria’s fatalities during Delta, data compiled by Guardian Australia shows.

Guardian analysis has already found areas of Sydney and Melbourne with higher levels of socioeconomic disadvantage have recorded a disproportionate number of cases during the Delta outbreak.

You can read the full report below:

'It's all about confidence' – NSW premier announces new business supports

Now, back to that NSW economic support package that the new premier, Dominic Perrottet, announced today.

A day after the state began to emerge from a near four-month lockdown, Perrottet and treasurer Matt Kean announced a package to support small and medium-sized businesses, hoping to give them the confidence to ramp up trade in time for Christmas.

Perrottet said the announcement was “all about confidence”.

Last year, as we came through the pandemic, business confidence was key – was crucial – to driving economic growth, to ensuring that businesses continued to employ and bring people on.

Eligible businesses with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50m will be able to apply for a grant of up to $20,000 to compensate for loss of perishable stock, or claim $10,000 for reduced capacity to sell non-perishable items, if they are impacted by a lockdown, reports AAP.

As we head into the summer months and Christmas trade ... businesses can go out and invest in their businesses.

The package also includes toll road relief for businesses with an annual wages cost below $1.2m which don’t qualify for payroll tax.

Those businesses will be able to claim road tolls under the small business fees and charges rebate, increased to $2,000.

We know that is really going to support tradies.

Updated

National Mental Health Commission chief executive Christine Morgan is at the press conference and is urging parents not to ignore the warning signs of mental distress in their young children.

Parents really know their kids. So I say to most parents, do listen to your instincts because if you notice something is slightly different in your child, then probably there is.

In particular, I think, look to those areas where the whole of the wellbeing continuum is based around how is our young child functioning?

So how are they enjoying their daily activities? Are they enjoying their daily activities? Are they a bit anxious about going to school? Are they making excuses for not going to school? Are they moody? Are they engaging with their friends?

So it’s through a functional lens you are really looking at how is my child going on a day to day basis. And if I think that my child is different to how he or she normally is, then that’s a time to stop.

Updated

Here is Hunt with the vaccination update, with Australia fast approaching the 70% double-vaccination mark. (For people aged 16 and over, that is.)

We are now at 82.8% first doses. And 63.4% second doses.

And that’s just over 1. 3 million second doses to get to the 70% mark.

So Australians are stepping forward, in extraordinary numbers on a continuing basis.

Updated

Hunt:

So then how do we do it? We do it by moving to a wellbeing focus ... Where it can be more difficult to make a diagnosis in the early days, we focus on wellbeing.

It’s a spectrum. Is a child well or are they coping? Are they struggling? Or are they unwell?

That framework is something that everybody can intuitively understand and access. Then it is backed up by funding. There is over $317m which was announced in preparation for this as part of the budget, and then this is the roadmap with that funding.

And in particular the focus on 15 head-to-health clinics for children. A world-leading initiative in terms of 15 national clinics which will then be backed up by our support through the Medicare system for family visits, the work that’s being done with research and evidence which is all fundamental.

So that $317m package is what underpins this roadmap and the roadmap fleshes it out.

Updated

Commonwealth announces world first plan to tackle childhood mental illness

The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, is now from Canberra, formally announcing a new mental health strategy to help ensure children in need have early access to specialist psychological care.

This national mental wellbeing strategy, aimed at children up to the age of 12, has been touted as the first of its kind in the world.

Hunt:

This pandemic, whilst we have avoided so much of the loss of life that we have seen overseas, whilst we have avoided so much of what was predicted in terms of self-harm, the scars still run deep*.

And that’s why we are bringing together the world-leading national children’s mental health strategy and there are really three parts to it.

There is the challenge, which is recognising that more than 50% of adult-related mental health illnesses begin before a person turns 14. At the same time less than 50% of children’s mental illnesses are properly treated.

And in large part that has been because many have thought that what may be genuine anxiety or depression is simply a bad day. It’s not. It can be an early systemic sign of real pain and real trauma, which can have life-long effects and so today is about addressing those challenges.

*Terrible choice of words, Hunt.

Updated

Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese tells those who criticised him for drinking a freedom frothy yesterday to “lighten up”.

"People should lighten up" says @AlboMP to the scolds who got mad at him for drinking a Freedom Day schooner pic.twitter.com/wxvfh0GOuZ

— Kishor (@kishor_nr) October 11, 2021

A good reminder.

Just a cautionary reminder: one day of falling cases does not make a trend. Encouraging, but not a trend. https://t.co/d1qVTbcVEp

— Callum Godde (@calgodde) October 11, 2021

And here is the NSW graph, which is much more decisively on the descent!

NSW daily case number graph

Updated

Ummmmmm ... Is that a tiny little hook I see in the seven-day rolling average at the end there?

I’ll now be spending the next 30 minutes repeating the mantra “Three days does not make a trend, do not get excited yet. Three days does not make a trend, do not get excited yet,” over and over again.

Thanks, Josh Nicholas for the graph!

Victorian daily case number graph

Updated

More from the back doors of Victoria’s Parliament House this morning.

Shadow A-G @TimSmithMP says any Minister or MP named in @ibacVic and accused of serious allegations should stand down. He says @TimRichardsonMP naming was not adverse.
Says @DanielAndrewsMP should answer to allegations of past branch stacking.@10NewsFirstMelb #springst pic.twitter.com/hzlEOZeUyn

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) October 11, 2021

Updated

Martin Pakula says @LukeDonnellan was a valued colleague & he’s sorry to see him go He says not everyone named at the inquiry should necessarily resign “these things have been happening across both parties for decades & I think the circumstances of everyone is different #springst pic.twitter.com/3iD40GLdw2

— Bridget Rollason (@bridgerollo) October 11, 2021

-0 new overseas acquired cases
-360 new total cases
-766 people in hospital
-155 people in ICU
-5 deaths

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 11, 2021

NSW records 360 new local Covid cases and five deaths

The NSW numbers have also just come through.

The state’s infections are still trending downwards with 360 new cases overnight.

Sadly five people with Covid-19 have died.

NSW #COVID19 UPDATE – TUESDAY 12 OCTOBER 2021

In the 24 hour reporting period to 8pm last night:

-90.4% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
-74% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine
-88,988 tests
-360 new locally acquired cases pic.twitter.com/I6mkgmPUd3

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) October 11, 2021

Updated

7️⃣0️⃣% (16+) fully vaccinated at current rate:

🇦🇺 8 days - Oct 20
NSW: ✅
VIC: 10 - Oct 22
QLD: 27 - Nov 8
WA: 33 - Nov 14
SA: 28 - Nov 9
TAS: 6 - Oct 18
ACT: ✅
NT: 29 - Nov 10

— CovidBaseAU 🦠📊🇦🇺 (@covidbaseau) October 11, 2021

Victoria records 1,466 new local Covid-19 case and eight deaths

The Victorian numbers are in, and, well, they are almost good news.

The daily infections are down with 1,466 recorded.

But there is also very bad news, with the announcement that eight more people infected with the virus have died.

Reported yesterday: 1,466 new local cases and 0 cases acquired overseas.
- 36,383 vaccines administered
- 68,509 test results received
- Sadly, 8 people with COVID-19 have died

More later: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/8DLXRJ9T04

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) October 11, 2021

Updated

Victorian politicians are arriving at Spring Street for parliament this morning, so expect the Ibac reactions to start flooding in.

To start here is the deputy premier, James Merlino, who says he believes Luke Donnellan “did the right thing” when he resigned.

“I think Luke did the right thing,” Deputy Premier @JamesMerlinoMP on @LukeDonnellan ‘s resignation from cabinet. Mr Merlino takes his Disability, Ageing and Carers portfolios. @10NewsFirstMelb #springst pic.twitter.com/f2tlypRiiS

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) October 11, 2021

Updated

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten has told Nine’s Today Show this morning that yesterday’s branch-stacking allegations that led to the resignation of Victorian minister Luke Donnellan reinforce the need for a national anti-corruption watchdog.

This is why we need a federal anti-corruption commission ... people hate seeing this sort of stuff, but frankly, I would rather it be seen and dealt with than covered up.

This isn’t the way that our political party should be operating, and Ibac’s got a fair way to go.

Shorten said the revelations were embarrassing and disappointing for Victorian branch members.

For the vast majority of ALP members ... they will be frustrated and feel betrayed because this is not what the vast majority of ALP members sign up for.

It’s like being hit in the stomach and no wonder people get frustrated with politics when they see these antics, it’s not the way it should be.

The inquiry will continue this morning, and the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, is also likely to be grilled on the scandal when state parliament resumes today.

Updated

I feel like I’m about to curse this, but is it just me or is there not that much news going on this morning? Usually a major state leader or federal minister would have resigned by now.

Updated

Federal health minister Greg Hunt has celebrated Australia’s vaccination rate passing that of major global powers, including the US and the EU.

“We’ve now passed the [United States], we’ve passed Israel, we’ve passed the [European Union] over the weekend, Germany and the OECD,” Hunt told RN Breakfast on Monday.

But is he correct?

At 231 days into the vaccine rollout, Australia still lags behind many OECD nations. More than 50 countries have administered at least one dose to a greater share of their populations. But many of them have much smaller populations than Australia.

All that explained, with the help of graphs and data below:

Updated

If you wanted a full rundown of the Victorian Labor/Icac situation, check out Nino Bucci’s coverage of the hearings yesterday.

Victorian Labor MP Luke Donnellan has resigned from cabinet after an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission hearing heard he had paid for other people’s party memberships.

In explosive evidence given on the first morning of public hearings, federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne said that Donnellan, the Victorian minister for disability, ageing and carers, and the minister for child protection, had paid for party memberships.

Updated

Single-dose #COVID19nsw vaccination rates (15+) now near/past 90% across the #Hunter:

Newcastle 89%, 66.5%DD
Lake Macquarie 95%, 68.9%DD
Maitland 93.7%, 63.3%DD
Cessnock 89.1%, 58.4%DD
Port Stephens 94.9%, 70%DD
Singleton 92.9%, 60.7%DD
Muswellbrook 88.1%, 56.5%DD@nbnnews

— Sam Burbury (@SamBurbury) October 11, 2021

A draft report from the disability royal commission found the federal health department’s approach to the vaccination rollout has been “seriously deficient”, having overlooked people with disabilities in favour of aged care residents.

Laura Murphy-Oates speaks to David Belcher, a disability advocate and city council member in Lake Macquarie, about the difficulty he faced in accessing a Covid-19 vaccination. And inequality editor Luke Henriques-Gomes talks about the failures of the Australian government in protecting some of its most vulnerable populations

You can listen to the latest Full Story episode on your morning commute below:

Updated

OK so “freedom day” has come for NSW, but what comes next?

If you have a spare 100 seconds and want a rundown of how other countries have fared after they opened up can I reccomend the Guardian’s most recent TikTok explainer (which I may or may not have made.)

Check it out below:

Updated

As Scott Morrison’s negotiations with the Nationals over climate policy reach a crunch point, the latest Guardian Essential poll suggests a majority of Australians want the Coalition to set a higher emissions reduction target for 2030 and a net zero target for 2050.

Senior Liberal and Nationals ministers met virtually with Scott Morrison, Barnaby Joyce and senior departmental officials on Monday afternoon to consider potential landing points ahead of the Cop26 talks in Glasgow. The strategy session, which included the leadership group and two other ministers, Angus Taylor and Keith Pitt, followed a meeting of the fractious Nationals party room earlier in the day.

The deliberation ahead of the United Nations-led climate conference in November comes as the latest Guardian Essential survey of 1,097 respondents suggests 68% of the voters sampled support a more ambitious target for 2030 and net zero by 2050, while 13% of the sample did not favour targets and 19% were unsure.

You can read the full report below:

Now I mentioned before that Scott Morrison was tossing up going to the Glasgow climate summit or not. Well, I wonder if the opinion of the Prince of Wales will help make up this mind.

Yep, Prince Charles urged the Australian prime minister to make an appearance during an interview with the BBC.

Charles was taken aback when he was told by the interviewer that Morrison was still on the fence about coming as it would require him to enter quarantine for a fourth time.

Is that what he says?...

Well, that’s what I am trying to say all the time and the point being that this is a last chance saloon, literally...

Because if we don’t really take the decisions which are vital now it’s going to be almost impossible to catch up.

Updated

Australia to get new domestic airline in 2022

Australia will get a new domestic airline from early next year when Bonza expects to take to the skies, taking advantage of an expected boom in air travel in a post-pandemic world, reports AAP.

Bonza, which is backed by a US investment firm and headed by ex-Virgin Blue executive Tim Jordan, is promising “ultra low prices” to travel around the country in 2022.

Bonza’s mission is to encourage more travel by providing more choices and ultra-low fares, particularly into leisure destinations where travel is now often limited to connections via major cities.

Bonza’s ambition is broad but it appears there will be a focus on regional communities, with new routes in the wings.

Bonza will sport white and purple livery on its aircraft and plans to base its headquarters in regional Australia, with the exact location yet to be revealed.

Updated

Scott Morrison likely to attend Cop26 summit in Glasgow – report

This has yet to be independently confirmed by Guardian Australia but would be very interesting if so.

Nine news is reporting that prime minister Scott Morrison is now intending to attend the Glasgow international climate summit, with international borders opening notionally allowing him to isolate for just one week at home upon his return.

The prime minister has previously stated that being forced to undergo a fourth round of two-week quarantine was a key reason that he was still unsure if he would make an appearance at the Cop26 summit.

Nine News understands it's looking likely the Prime Minister will attend the COP26 summit.

The international border to NSW is set to open as early as November 1, so the PM will be able to home quarantine for 7 days after returning from Glasgow. @9NewsAUS

— Eliza Edwards (@ElizaEdNews) October 11, 2021

Updated

Good morning everyone, it’s a lovely day in Melbourne, the sun is shining and I have some economic support package news for you to kick start the day.

It’s Matilda Boseley here with you on the blog this morning, so brew yourself a cup of coffee and settle in.

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet and treasurer Matt Kean are set to unveil a business support package today, aimed at helping the state economy bounce back in the lead-up to Christmas.

This of course comes a day after greater Sydney emerged from its brutal 100-plus days of lockdown.

We should learn all the ins and out of that when the premier likely stands up for a press conference some time this morning.

Down south in Victoria, the state’s Labor government has lost a fourth minister to the branch stacking scandal which has engulfed the party for months.

Minister for child protection, ageing, disability and carers, Luke Donnellan, announced he would step down from premier Daniel Andrews’ cabinet just hours after federal MP Anthony Byrne told an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission inquiry that branch stacking was “out of control” in Victoria.

Victorian MP Luke Donnellan has resigned from cabinet after Ibac heard he paid for other people’s Labor party memberships.
Victorian MP Luke Donnellan has resigned from cabinet after Ibac heard he paid for other people’s Labor party memberships. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Byrne alleged that both he and Donnellan paid Labor party membership fees on behalf of others as part of a “well-entrenched” operation led by former powerbroker Adem Somyurek.

Branch-stacking is not illegal but it is against Labor party rules to pay for other’s memberships.

In a statement, Donnellan said that while he had breached party rules he had “never misused public funds or resources in any way. And this has absolutely nothing to do with my staff”.

There is obviously a heap to get through, so with that, why don’t we jump right into the day.

Updated

Contributors

Caitlin Cassidy and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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