What we learned today, Tuesday 21 September

OK and we will leave it there for tonight, perhaps to take a chance to process it all.

Here’s what we learned today:

  • Police say up to 2,000 protesters descended on Melbourne’s CBD after yesterday attacking the CFMEU office. Protesters walked to the top of the West Gate Bridge, injuring three officers, with 62 arrests made.
  • The Victoria police commissioner, Shane Patton, has warned protesters to stay away from the CBD tomorrow, saying officers will have “different strategies” then.
  • Ballina, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads have been plunged into lockdown from 5pm today for seven days after an infected Sydney traveller spent time in the area.
  • NSW recorded 1,022 new locally acquired cases and 10 deaths overnight.
  • Children under 18 in NSW will be able to catch up with each other in groups of three as part of the introduction of a “friends bubble”.
  • Victoria recorded 603 local Covid cases and one death.
  • The ACT recorded 16 local Covid cases.
  • The Australian Medical Association has said that doctors have backed vaccinating children aged between five and 11 against coronavirus in schools as early as next year.
  • On his way to New York, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, said there will be no opportunity to meet with the French president on his trip.


Patton has said “it was not a protest”, instead calling it an “affray” and a “violent disorder coming together.”

He has said police are looking into whether they can lay more serious charges to organisers, once they are identified.

Patton repeats that it was a “difficult” and “challenging” environment, referring to the protesters’ lack of organisation and leadership as part of the challenge in handling the crowd.

We’re talking about 2,000 angry people, intent on going somewhere. You would need thousands of police to do that, it’s just not practical. So, we had a significant number there, we had 500 police today. And those police did a fantastic job in really challenging circumstances.

It may not appear that way, but when you’ve got a couple of thousand angry people traipsing around town, intent on confronting police, intent on going anywhere and without leadership, it defies logic for any police organisation to be able to respond to that and control the direction of the crowd.


Patton has outlined the injuries to police, saying one has suffered a rolled ankle, another a hyper-extended knee, and another was hit by a rock on the shin.

Thankfully very minor injuries, but injuries they should not have sustained if not for the conduct, the illegal conduct of this illegal protest.

Patton says Police have “intelligence” that there may be a repeat protest tomorrow, and he urges people to stay away.

No one benefits from this type of conduct, we will be out in force again, I can assure you of that.

I won’t disclose what our tactics will be tomorrow, but they will be different.

Please, I implore you, do not do this.

Do not come into the city.

Please just stay home, we do not want a confrontation.


Patton has said police needed to use rubber pellets as a necessity to deal with the situation.

He spoke about the fear people would have felt on the Westgate bridge, and said police are aware of some damage done to people’s cars, but are investigating.

That’s so inconsiderate. When you think of what they’ve done, people with kids in the cars potentially, women, children, adults just going about their business. Essential workers.

All of them placed in threatening circumstances. But apart from being threatening, the inconvenience these people have caused the city through their ill-considered conduct.

Again, it just reinforces the disgraceful conduct they have displaced, and their preparedness to hide in the crowd.


Vic Police Commissioner: 62 arrests made, said protesters were cowards

The Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton has slammed the conduct of protesters today, saying the police prioritised community safety over any other action.

He said 62 arrests were made, and that investigations are ongoing.

Patton said they were still unsure if any community members have been injured.

We saw property damage to police cars.

We saw large groups of men - angry men, converging on policing vehicles, threatening them, and committing criminal damage on cars, throwing objects. We saw flares lit (and) thrown at police. We saw bottles thrown, rocks thrown.

This was totally unacceptable conduct.

Crowds like this, are for cowards. Cowards who seek to hide their identity and conduct other activities, other things. But if they were by themselves, they wouldn’t have the courage to do.

The type of activities committed by these cowards today was disgraceful.


Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton has just stepped up to give an update.

Need a quick run down of everything that went down at today’s protest? Look no further than Josh Taylor’s report here:

Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge in response to the scenes in Melbourne pic.twitter.com/9fcSkB74pA

— Gavin Coote (@GavinCoote) September 21, 2021

So we’re expecting to hear from Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton at 7:30pm.


Labor leader Anthony Albanese has weighed in on twitter, condemning today’s protests on behalf of the party:

On behalf of @australianlabor, I wholly condemn the actions of those people who assaulted journalists, police officers, and members of the public.

This violent behaviour risks the health and safety of others and jeopardises Victoria’s efforts to safely re-open.

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) September 21, 2021

I welcome the strong condemnation of the violence from right across the @unionsaustralia movement.

Police officers and journalists are workers too. Nobody deserves to be assaulted at work.

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) September 21, 2021

So earlier today, federal health minister Greg Hunt announced that he had written to Pfizer, asking them for data on the effectiveness of the vaccine on young kids.

The company announced that trials into the use of its vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 had shown it was effective at preventing infection and produced minimal side effects.

In a letter to the pharmaceutical giant, Hunt said if granted approval by the TGA, young people would be given a priority:

I am heartened by your advice that trials of the Pfizer vaccine are showing promise in children under the age of 12 years of age.

I note the announcement that Pfizer International is now intending to apply for regulatory approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 12. I encourage and invite Pfizer to submit a parallel application to the TGA for Australian regulatory approval at the earliest possible time.


Production company ITV Studios Australia have confirmed to the ABC that one of its crew members working on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! was the positive case that led to the snap lockdown in Byron and Tweed.

ITV said the crew member was fully vaccinated and wore PPE while at work. The woman is an essential worker, but reportedly did not follow stay at home orders while filming in the Northern Rivers.


Andrews: There is no excuse for this terrible behaviour

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has released a short statement, slamming the protesters today and yesterday, saying their actions have only increased the risk of the virus spreading.

There is no excuse for the terrible behaviour we have seen in our city over the last two days.

Acts of violence and disruption won’t result in one less case of Covid – in fact it only helps the virus to spread.

Thank you to the brave men and women of Victoria police for their work today – and every day – to keep our community safe.

We know vaccinations are our only ticket out of this pandemic. There is no other way.

For those who think violence is the answer, I ask that you think of your fellow Victorians – doing the right thing over many months, following the advice of our health experts.

We have come too far to turn back now.

Please spare a thought for our healthcare workers who are working such long hours looking after patients, many who are struggling to breathe.

The more of us who get vaccinated, the fewer of us who will end up in hospital.

It’s as simple as that.


This is what some parts of Melbourne look like right now:

This is the heart of Melbourne tonight. @9NewsMelb @9NewsAUS pic.twitter.com/cz3d4qeSBC

— Reid Butler (@reid_butler9) September 21, 2021

Joining in the fray, the firefighters union has lashed out at “opportunists” protesting in Melbourne.

United Firefighters Union (UFU) secretary Peter Marshall condemned the protesters and attacks on police and emergency services:

The violence must stop. It is disgraceful to see opportunists hijack genuine frustration and concern among workers for their own entertainment.

Their callous disregard for the health and safety of their fellow Victorians shows they are not trade unionists.

Throughout this pandemic, professional firefighters have continued to respond to emergencies.

It’s an insult to their work, and to the efforts of every frontline worker, to see these protesters so selfishly ignore the rules.

However, in a final statement, the UFU urged their members to get vaccinated, but said it does not support the mandating of vacciantions.

Victoria police’s chief commissioner Shane Patton, also confirmed that officers today used pepper balls, foam baton rounds, smoke bombs and stinger grenades which “deploy rubber pellets”:

These crowd control equipment munitions were necessary and they are necessary, because we can’t allow this type of conduct to go on.

Currently, as I said, this event, this unlawful gathering, this protest is still unfolding. And we’re confronting and making arrests as we stand here at this moment.

We will stop this protest.

And we will then step back and investigate and hold those to account who need to be held to account.


Victoria police say 44 people arrested after 1,000-2,000 attended protest

Chief commissioner Shane Patton of the Victorian police is speaking now, and described the protests as a very “challenging” environment for police.

Police have confirmed that between 1,000 and 2,000 people protested today, that three police officers and one journalist were injured.

That’s totally unacceptable. No person, be it police officer, be it journalist, anyone, no one should come to work and be suffered injuries at the expense of people who claim to be protesting for freedom.

The representative confirmed that 44 people were arrested, and that more arrests are due.


Victoria police are holding a press conference right now.


Police and protestors back out the front of CFMEU HQ. @10NewsFirstMelb pic.twitter.com/yyv8IG58uo

— Patrick Murrell (@pamurrell) September 21, 2021

Federal assistant treasurer and housing minister Michael Sukkar has told ABC Radio he is “dismayed” by the protesters in Melbourne, condemning them and implying the protesters were being influenced by external forces:

I don’t like any of these protests.

I mean, I’m a very proud Victorian. I am very dismayed when I see these protests. I sometimes feel dismayed as to, you know, where these sorts of actions and activities come from. Because it’s not something we’ve seen here in Victoria before.


This is a shocking video, but I am not sure of the context or the timing, but as a reflection on the protest, pretty terrifying:

This is seriously out of control and someone is going to get hurt. #GoHome now #Melbourne #protests pic.twitter.com/jgbpIKWMQx

— Níal Ó Fionnagáin (@NialFinegan) September 21, 2021

The Community and Public Sector Union has called for the “insanity to end” in a statement condemning the “violent behaviour from some extremists” at the protests today and yesterday.

In a statement, the CPSU says efforts to vaccinate construction workers are being “undermined” by the actions of the protesters:

Their efforts are being undermined by the thoughtless and thuggish behaviour of extremist individuals.

Many of whom are not union members and many of whom have actively sought to undermine and destroy the work of unions for many years.


So, CFMEU boss Dave Noonan is in a bit of a back and forth with the ABC’s Patricia Karvelas about the makeup of today’s protest.

Noonan is insistent that these protests are an attempt to “co-opt” the union, that a majority of the attendees are “anti-vaccination extremists” and “far right and neo-Nazi groups”.

But Karvelas pushed Noonan on that point, saying there were reports that “at least half” of the protesters are “genuinely” construction workers and tradies.

Noonan was dismissive:

There are a handful but I think if you look on the social media, you will see there is a very coordinated social media campaign. Some say it originates out of Germany where there are - there is some coordination of global right-wing groups.

Yesterday, we had a range of neo-Nazi groups that were mingling in that crowd and, frankly, anyone who says that there is a large number of construction or a majority of construction workers in it that, they have got it wrong.

There is no way that half the people there were members of the union.

I’m not saying there is none, there were some tradespeople there, some union members, but they were few. What they are doing has nothing to do with unionism, it has everything to do with fear and misinformation, and being manipulated by some very sinister right-wing causes.

When asked how he can tell who is and isn’t a “genuine” tradie, Noonan scoffs and points to his 30 years in the construction industry:

If you are wearing a $5 high-vis that you bought at the supermarket, I mean, if you have been in construction all of your life, most of your adult life, which I have, you know.

There is a very, very significant number of people that aren’t construction workers. It was an orchestrated attack on the union yesterday.


Protesters are walking in the direction of oncoming traffic to evade a line of riot police waiting for them as they return from the West Gate freeway.

They are continuing to yell obscenities about Dan Andrews.

The police have begun firing rubber bullets at the crowd.


Riot squad police are awaiting protesters as they make their way back down the West Gate freeway.


Just building on Caitlin’s post about protesters singing Daryl Braithwaite’s classic song, Horses, you can see the rendition for yourself here:

Behold pic.twitter.com/wGDC0iLNi1

— Blacky J (@BundjalungBud) September 21, 2021


Sally McManus, national secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, has released a video on Twitter saying the group “will not be intimidated” and that Australian Unions have been aware of far-right groups “targeting” unions:

From a couple of months ago, we have been very aware that there’s been a targeting of unions, not just construction unions, but blue-collar unions, around the issue of mandates, and about vaccinations, around lockdowns and mask wearing.

And this is coordinated, and it is coordinated by some extremist groups, the same people who are organising those rallies on the weekend.

McManus goes on to say these “extremist groups” are working to “get unions on their side.”

The union movement in this country will not be intimidated by them. We will put safety first, we support people getting vaccinated.

We will not be intimidated by extremists.@sallymcmanus #ausunions pic.twitter.com/vPQ7WXh1Ub

— Australian Unions (@unionsaustralia) September 21, 2021


Protesters have stopped to gather on the West Gate for a dance party of sorts.

They are now alternating between singing along to The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army and chanting “every day”.

Lots of clapping and whistles.


Protesters have broken into impromptu song on the West Gate after someone began playing Daryl Braithwaite’s Horses on loudspeaker. Someone has also let off a flare.


NSW 83 per cent first dose, 54.2 per cent second dose. Should reach 70 per cent double dose about October 7 and 80 per cent before October 20 at this rate. And likely go over 85 per cent.

— Andrew Clennell (@aclennell) September 21, 2021

Good afternoon, and a quick thanks to Ben Doherty and Matilda Boseley for holding down the fort this morning.

Mostafa Rachwani with you this afternoon and heading into the evening, I’ll be keeping an eye on where those Melbourne protestors end up, as they navigate their way through the city’s highways.

I’m handing over now to my estimable colleague Mostafa Rachwani, who will guide you through this afternoon.

All eyes are on the Melbourne protesters, and just how far they are going to walk, before they suddenly realise they left their cars back in the city.


#BREAKING: Protesters are on the West Gate Bridge. @6NewsAU pic.twitter.com/05sg1g1AIc

— Leonardo Puglisi (@Leo_Puglisi6) September 21, 2021

Melbourne protesters are continuing to march across the city and have blocked traffic in both directions on the West Gate Freeway. https://t.co/BEv1Va6TfK #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/ltBNlM4ijL

— 7NEWS Melbourne (@7NewsMelbourne) September 21, 2021

Victoria Police have confirmed the West Gate freeway is blocked in both directions near Montague Street due to protestors marching on the freeway:

Exit the freeway as soon as possible. If you’re inbound exit at Todd Road. If you’re outbound from the Domain Tunnel exit at Power Street or Kings Way.

Protestors are continuing to chant “fuck the jab” as they march.

The West Gate Freeway is closed in both directions between Williamstown Road and the Monash Freeway, due to protesters. Inbound traffic will be sent off at Williamstown Road. Drivers on the Monash Freeway inbound will exit at Punt Road with the Domain Tunnel closed. #victraffic https://t.co/Ss2ak48zPp

— VicTraffic (@VicTraffic) September 21, 2021


The protest mob has now stopped traffic on the West Gate Freeway @9NewsMelb #Covid19Vic #CovidVictoria pic.twitter.com/umvAiRajhU

— Tom Kelly (@tpwkelly) September 21, 2021

When will they ‘run out of Melbourne cliches...’

With thanks to the D-Gen (and apologies to Things of Stone and Wood)

https://t.co/zmuU4HVNVO pic.twitter.com/CflPQLKPEu

— Huw Parkinson (@rabbitandcoffee) September 21, 2021

Hearing that protesters have blocked the West Gate freeway, and motorists are being told to exit the freeway as soon as possible.

And from our reporter Caitlin Cassidy:

Protesters have jumped atop a slowly moving truck as they continue to make their way down the freeway.

Music is playing from the truck, as demonstrators continue to chant “every day”.


We are watching this developing situation closely.

An asylum seeker has been forcibly taken from immigration detention on to a plane, and removed from Australia back to his country of origin, a south-east European country, in defiance of an interim measure from the UN Human Rights Committee.

The human rights committee issued an interim measures document yesterday, which required Australia not to remove the man because of significant concerns he would face harm in his home country.

In May this year, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said Australia should release the man, who has been in detention for eight years, into the community.

There are significant sensitivities around this case. The man is seriously unwell - he weighs only 50 kilograms, and cannot walk more than a few steps unaided - and there are concerns his chronic illness will not be treated if he is removed from Australia.

He is unvaccinated, and the current Covid outbreak in his homeland is so severe, much of the country has been ordered into lockdown.

#BREAKING Our client has been seriously ill for 2 years, the #UN has made 3 urgent interventions (inc overnight) on his behalf, he hasn’t been medically assessed in person and yet he’s being deported. Right now.
WTF #Australia https://t.co/bpyXbNbELq via @YouTube

— Human Rights for All (@HumanRights4A) September 21, 2021


AMA on vaccinations for young children

Doctors have backed vaccinating children aged between five and 11 against coronavirus in schools as early as next year.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Omar Khorshid told a Senate inquiry on Tuesday a rollout for younger children would depend on clinical trials and regulatory approval.

“I suspect that a school-based vaccine program will take place next year because it will take that long for various approvals to come through and we need to have vaccine supply,” he said.

Pfizer has signalled it will seek regulatory approval in the US, Europe and elsewhere for its shot to be used on children aged five to 11 after promising clinical trial results.

The pharmaceutical giant says the vaccine produced a strong immune response, matching previous observations in 16- to 29-year-olds.

Khorshid said Australia’s expert immunisation panel would have to approve vaccines for younger children.

“The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation would also need to decide if it is recommended for that age group,” he said.

“That’s based on the science and data.”

Federal President of the Australian Medical Association Omar Khorshid
Federal President of the Australian Medical Association Omar Khorshid Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Children aged between 12 and 15-years old are eligible to get Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but a jab has yet to be approved for younger children.

Khorshid said information from pharmaceutical companies had indicated clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines for children between five and 11 had been going well.

However, information is still to be determined about dosage levels for younger people.

Lieutenant General John Frewen, who is overseeing the vaccine rollout, previously canvassed the idea of school-based coronavirus vaccine programs.

Latest figures show more than 14% of children aged between 12 and 15 have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine.

Twelve year-old Harry Goodison receives a Pfizer Covid vaccination at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne
Twelve year-old Harry Goodison receives a Pfizer Covid vaccination at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne Photograph: Daniel Pockett/EPA

Khorshid said Australia’s vaccine rollout was heading into more positive territory, as states and territories ramped up the number of doses administered.

“We do appear to be on track for the entire eligible population to be vaccinated by the end of the year, or a little earlier,” he said.

“Given where we were a few months ago, it’s a testament to the enormous effort in the community.

“This is our pathway out of restrictions to join the rest of the world.”

More than 72% of eligible residents over 16 have received their first dose while 47% are fully vaccinated.

Protestors are now heading towards the M1 freeway in South Melbourne in the hundreds, shutting down traffic.

Thousands of demonstrators are making their way to the freeway in Docklands. Unimpeded by police, they chant “fuck the jab”, light flares and fly CFMEU flags @theage pic.twitter.com/eygcKIhCSe

— David Estcourt (@davidestcourt) September 21, 2021


Vaccinate the children: Professor Mary-Louise McLaws

Professor Mary-Louise McLaws has told the Covid committee it was “highly inadvisable” for Australia to base its policy and national plan on modelling, given they can’t fully account for “geography, behaviours, and unknowns”.

Instead, Australia should be looking to the experience of countries like Singapore, where children’s infection rates shot up after easing restrictions.

McLaws thinks Australia should be revamping its vaccination program to target children and young adults, given the higher rates of infection in those age groups.

She cites the fact people aged zero to 19 now make up 25% of the caseload. Although Covid is less severe in young people, she noted that 11% of people in that age group still end up in hospital and 5% in ICU.

McLaws blames the fact Australia “didn’t have enough vaccine” for younger age groups, meaning those aged below 39 are “at the back of the queue”, with eligibility only open since August and more recently for those aged 12-15.

We need a priority line for 12-39 year olds – they are the ones that will acquire Covid and spread it. The 40+ aged group will be at 70% vaccination rates in a few days ... In 24 days we could open, based on a model. That basically means the 12-39 year olds will be at high risk, they’re not going to get any protection to get at least 70% for another 46 days.

I would ask the government to reconsider and not open immediately until that group gets that double dosing and it should be done rapidly.

RSPCA Victoria has released a statement in response to reports a dog was allegedly kicked at protests against mandatory vaccinations in the construction sector yesterday, confirming it is “currently investigating” the matter as a “priority”.

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg:

“Animal cruelty is never acceptable under any circumstances and RSPCA Victoria considers all cases of animal cruelty high priority. It was disturbing to see the footage which appeared to show intentional cruelty inflicted on a defenceless animal. I assure the Victorian community that RSPCA Victoria’s Inspectorate is investigating this alleged case of cruelty with the intention of holding the perpetrator accountable to the full extent of the law. There is no excuse for any animal to be subjected to abuse and we want to send the strong message that we will continue to hold people to account for such behaviour.”

Under Section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTAA), it is illegal to abuse, beat, worry, torment or terrify an animal and anyone found guilty of this offence is liable for a maximum penalty of $45,435 or 12 months’ imprisonment.

Disturbing video: A dog is kicked during a brief fight between several men outside the CFMEU. It broke up quickly as police stepped in. pic.twitter.com/QVXbJ43Glv

— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) September 20, 2021

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation is scathing of the protestors, telling them to “stop thinking only of themselves, stop the violence, and put the health and welfare of the Victorian community first”.

“Nurses, midwives and carers are exhausted and frustrated as they watch protestors fight for their right to overwhelm our health system,” secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick says.

'The ANMF (Vic Branch) is calling on city protesters to stop thinking only of themselves, stop the violence and put the health and welfare of the Victorian community first.' - a statement from Lisa Fitzpatrick, ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary #springst #ausunions #covid19vic pic.twitter.com/NuHDb6OjkI

— ANMF (Vic Branch) (@anmfvic) September 21, 2021

Rubber bullets reportedly fired at Melbourne protestors

More on the protests from AAP:

Rubber bullets have reportedly been fired at an angry mob protesting mandated Covid-19 vaccinations for the construction industry and other health restrictions.

Hundreds of protesters, many wearing hi-vis gear, started their second day of protests outside Melbourne’s CFMEU headquarters before moving on to Parliament, after warnings from the riot squad.

Police outside Victoria’s parliament house
Police outside Victoria’s parliament house Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

They have since made their way back to the CFMEU offices, with the large crowd stretching back to the Queen Victoria Market.

Police riot squad officers, supported by the mounted branch, had warned the group to stay back and reportedly fired some rubber bullets into the crowd, while empty bottles and cans were thrown back at police.

The crowd then walked towards the police line with hands raised chanting “you serve us”.

Protesters made their way to parliament just before noon before making their way to Flinders Street station.

Empty cans of rum and cola lay strewn across the road outside Parliament once the crowd dispersed.

Flares and fireworks were fired off by protesters as they marched up Swanston Street and a news crew has been assaulted.

Protestors marched across Melbourne’s CBD
Protestors marched across Melbourne’s CBD Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Not long before they started marching from near the CFMEU office in the morning, police had told them to back down and leave.

“Attention, this is a police public order warning. You have previously been directed to leave,” an officer inside a line of riot police and officers on horseback told the crowd.

“Leave now or force may be used. No further warnings will be given.”

The rally is opposing a Victorian government mandate requiring all construction workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

The group were chanting “fuck the jab” and “fuck off (premier) Dan Andrews” but were blocked from accessing the CFMEU offices by a line of police officers.

On Monday, riot police were called in to disperse a group of about 500 protesters, who threw bottles at Victorian CFMEU construction secretary John Setka and smashed the office’s door down.

Setka said the protesters were not all CFMEU members and blamed “neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists” for hijacking the event.

“There was a small minority of construction workers, some of them when it all got violent just walked away from it. It was hijacked by the professional protesters,” Setka told the ABC.

He said the CFMEU was “pro-vax” but had always supported freedom of choice.

Monday’s violent protest outside the CFMEU headquarters
Monday’s violent protest outside the CFMEU headquarters Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Setka urged the Victorian government to tackle misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

Federal member for Maribyrnong and former union leader and Bill Shorten said he believed a group of professional troublemakers were to blame for Monday’s “shocking violence”.

“I never thought I would see a scene where you have people who call themselves Nazis using encrypted message systems to bring in a rent-a-crowd,” he told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

On Monday night, the state government announced the industry would be shut down from Tuesday for two weeks in metropolitan Melbourne, City of Ballarat, City of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire.

All worksites will need to demonstrate compliance with health directions before reopening.

This includes a requirement for workers to show evidence of having had at least one dose of a vaccine before they return to work on 5 October.


Protestors are continuing their march through Melbourne’s CBD. They have just circled back to Flinders Street Railway Station amidst riot police on horseback.

A string of police officers guard the steps to Flinders Street, armed with what looks like pepper spray.

Water bottles are being thrown at the police, with calls of “boo” throughout the crowd.

Anti-lockdown, anti-vaccination protests in Melbourne’s CBD continue for a second day
Anti-lockdown, anti-vaccination protests in Melbourne’s CBD continue for a second day Photograph: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images


Further north still... (and not Covid).

Justin Trudeau’s government looks set to be returned in elections in Canada, the national broadcaster says. Not sure on a minority or majority yet. Trudeau has, predictably, won his seat of Papineau (in Montreal).

BREAKING: Justin Trudeau’s Liberals will form government, CBC News projects. It is still unclear whether it will be a minority or majority.

— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) September 21, 2021

Some more information on the ‘friends bubble’ for under-18s in NSW.

You can pick two, and only two, friends.

Choose wisely young people.

From 12 noon today, 21 September, people aged 18 years and under who live in stay at home areas and areas of concern across NSW can create a bubble of three friends and visit each other’s homes for play and activity.

More info: https://t.co/KjNbOtLAYc pic.twitter.com/mv6GINP1ie

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) September 21, 2021

✅ Each child can have two designated friends come to their house. These two friends must always be the same, creating a three-person “friends bubble” (friends can’t be a member of another social bubble)

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) September 21, 2021

✅ All people older than 18 years in all the households must be fully vaccinated
✅ The friends must reside within 5km of each other or in the same LGA
✅ If parents/carers are dropping children off, they must not stay to interact with other parents or carers

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) September 21, 2021

NB Point 3. Don’t even think about saying ‘hello’ Mum and Dad. (You’re so embarrassing anyway!)


Afternoon all, we will keep watching the protests in Melbourne.

But heading north briefly, to Queensland, and the debate over the threshold for opening up. The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has said debate over a 90% threshold for re-opening borders was “misinformation”.

Let me clear this misinformation up. #covid19 pic.twitter.com/GSj5Ra3RYR

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 21, 2021

With that, I shall leave you for today, and pass you over to Ben Doherty who will keep bringing you all the updates from today’s protests and Covid-19 news.

See you tomorrow.


Seven news reporter Paul Dowsley has been stuck once again at the Melbourne protests, this by someone throwing a can at his head.

The moment @paul_dowsley is hit (again) this time with a can of drink. pic.twitter.com/jywumGU81O

— Blake Johnson (@BlakeJohnson) September 21, 2021

Canberra has notched up another 16 coronavirus infections as the ACT boosts mental health funding to help get residents through lockdown, reports Georgie Moore from AAP.

Of Tuesday’s cases, nine were linked to known sources, and at least 11 were in the community for part of their infectious period.

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr has announced an additional $14m to boost immediate and longer-term mental health services.

This includes boosted support for people with eating disorders, alcohol and drug services, and Indigenous and social housing residents.

It is one of the most challenging times our community has faced.

The territory’s lockdown is scheduled to run until 15 October.


#DEVELOPING: Protestors are now gathering at Flinders Street Station after making their way down Bourke Street. #9News pic.twitter.com/ilEW1k2ede

— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) September 21, 2021

For those who reckon there are no right-wing activists - there are Trump flags and Proud Boys tshirts in the crowd

Lots of people who seem to be genuine tradies, but it's certainly supplemented by other groups

The groups are also not necessarily mutually exclusive @theage https://t.co/HYIUfqf8mn pic.twitter.com/zwcNVqIfoJ

— Paul Sakkal (@paulsakkal) September 21, 2021

Not a totally well-organised protest then...

For those playing along at home, I’ve walked 5km chasing after this mob. They are walking around in circles.

— Callum Godde (@calgodde) September 21, 2021

Crazy when you think about it, construction is a male dominated field, nursing is female dominated, which has higher risk working conditions and definitely more to complain about? And which are protesting at the moment?

— b-roke (@middleclassBG) September 21, 2021

The protesters have made their way across most of the Melbourne CBD now, heading towards Flinder’s St Station.

Police and protesters meeting at flinders street station after a march through the city.things are about to get very tense. Flares being lit. Rolling coverage @9NewsMelb now. pic.twitter.com/CknL3yDw11

— Gillian Lantouris (@gillianlant) September 21, 2021

Back up to Queensland for a second:

Liberal National Party leader David Crisafulli has called on the premier to set a vaccine coverage target for reopening like other states:

"Everyday Queenslanders are somewhere between 70% to 90% confused because there are figures that change every time you turn on the TV."

— @MartySilk (@MartySilkHack) September 21, 2021

Nick Coatsworth 'cautiously optimistic' about future

The former deputy chief medical officer, Nick Coatsworth, has told the Covid-19 committee that his message on Australia’s response to Covid-19 is one of “cautious optimism”.

Coatsworth, who is now executive director of medical services at Canberra hospital, said Australia is in a “very different” position in 2021. NSW, Victoria and the ACT are managing Covid outbreaks, Australia has “increasing but not yet optimal” vaccination rates” and other Covid treatments are improving.

Coatsworth cited treatments such as antibody drug sotrovimab, and improved learning around techniques like “proning” (lying patients on their front). Coatsworth noted that vaccination “won’t be mandatory for everyone” so it’s significant that treatments are improving for those who will acquire Covid-19. The length of stay of patients in Covid wards is now shorter, he said.

Coatsworth explained sotrovimab binds to the virus, drawing them to the attention of the immune system to prevent them reproducing to prevent serious illness.

Coatsworth said:

My message is cautious optimism: it’s time to inject a little more optimism [into debate]. Covid was a disease that was terribly scary in 2020, and it remains scary, but moving forward we can develop a lot of confidence, that provided health systems can provide access to care for Covid and non-Covid pathologies [we will be OK].


McManus was asked while speaking to the ABC if she or any other union heads were concerned about their safety at the moment.

Look, we would always take the precautions we need to. I will say this. Union leaders and the trade union movement in Australia will not be intimidated around this issue and certainly not by these people. We will not.

We will stand by our principles which is about people’s safety and their health.

We will keep pushing that and we will not do what these people want and that is basically adopt their crazy, dangerous ideas.

There is nothing that is going to stop us doing our jobs.



But also remember that this industry is already on 25% reductions. There is no doubt there are a lot of working people that are hurting because of the pandemic absolutely.

Really what is happening is that instead of all people uniting to support people and to get us through the other side and part of that is making sure we are not spreading the virus and part of that is getting vaccination numbers, what they are doing is jumping on it to cause division and in the end that is going to lead to a situation that will be in lockdown longer.

For sure, there are a lot of people under economic stress at the moment, people can either take a role which is about uniting people and getting us through to the other side, or they can go about sowing lies and hate and division and unfortunately that is what some of these extremists are doing.


National secretary of the Australian council of trade unions, Sally McManus is speaking to ABC about these, apparently, tradie-led protests in Melbourne.

She maintains far-right groups make up the main force of the demonstration:

This process has been called for, led and promoted by far right groups and anti-vax groups.

What we are seeing happening is a march being led around the city and obviously without masks, obviously congregating like they did yesterday in big numbers, and we hope that that does not turn violent.

This is an example of these groups hijacking concerns that some people have in the community are spreading lies, misinformation and lies about the vaccine all to further their own ends. In the end these lies are really, really dangerous and the only way to minimise illness in this pandemic is through the vaccine.

When people start believing these lies they are told it is a threat to them and their family and the whole community.


Melbourne’s CBD right now feels very very strange pic.twitter.com/VqTdNYzzOK

— Christie Cooper (@ChristieCooper7) September 21, 2021

Protesters are starting to move away from state parliament and down Bourke St. Another flare has been lit. pic.twitter.com/VVSgjIpL4Y

— Callum Godde (@calgodde) September 21, 2021

Protestors continue to chant “every day” as they march down Bourke St. @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/gltFNrrQVS

— Suzan Delibasic (@suzandelibasic) September 21, 2021

New Zealand records 14 new local Covid-19 cases

New Zealand reported 14 new cases of Covid-19 in its outbreak today, all but one of which have been linked to existing infections.

There are now 1,085 cases in the outbreak, 790 of which have now recovered.

The results come as Auckland prepares to shift from alert level four to alert level three – a lower level of lockdown restrictions, that allows businesses to open for contactless pickup or delivery. The rest of the country is at level two – no longer in lockdown, but with some restrictions on gathering size and mask-wearing.

In New Zealand, 71.6% of the eligible population (those aged 12 and over) have had at least one dose of the vaccine, and 37.8% are fully vaccinated.


Western Australia has launched a $3.6m Covid-19 vaccine advertising campaign which promises to “take the audience on an emotional journey” – a journey which hopefully ends with WA catching up to the rest of the country in vaccination rates.

Says premier Mark McGowan:

The vital campaign serves as a poignant reminder that vaccination is the way out of the Covid-19 pandemic and that we should all roll up for WA and work together to get life back to what we know and love, and safeguard what we’re so lucky to have.

McGowan said his government’s “strong approach” to Covid-19 “has put WA in a fortunate position to host a historic 2021 AFL grand final”, and “what better event to highlight the importance of vaccines than at the grand final”.

All eyes will be on WA this week as we host a historic AFL grand final as well as one of the biggest agricultural shows in the nation and see life in WA as it was before the pandemic – that’s why it’s so important we protect what we have, with high levels of vaccination.

The agricultural show he mentions is the Perth Royal Show, which isn’t really a nation-stopper.

Anyway. There’ll be a booking stand outside Optus Stadium on Saturday, and the ad will be played on the big screens in the stadium before the game.

And the ad features the WA symphony orchestra doing a version of What a wonderful world, which is lovely, and stars Sheree, a Nyiyaparli and Banjima woman who is studying nursing. (The government press release didn’t give a surname.)

It really is very nice. You can watch it here.


Here is that clip. I’ll see if I can get you a better version.

@Channel7 news reporter @paul_dowsley was attacked and drenched in liquid he believes to be urine. Some got in his mouth pic.twitter.com/n9fdUxPM8d

— Asher Wolf (@Asher_Wolf) September 21, 2021

More on the alleged assault of news reporter Paul Dowsley, from the secretary of the Victorian trade halls council.

@paul_dowsley was just assaulted and covered with urine by these anti-vax thugs.

Paul is a worker doing his job.

Attacking him is disgusting. We condemn this.

Every worker should come home safely. pic.twitter.com/AdDViuWVYE

— Luke Hilakari (@lhilakari) September 21, 2021

News reporter allegedly assaulted at Melbourne protests

At least one media person has allegedly been assaulted at the Melbourne protests.

Here is 7 News reporter Paul Dowsley speaking just now during a live cross:

To put it lightly, I’m not a fighter, I’ve never thrown a punch in my life, so in those situations I thought I’d be quick to make a move but that guy came in ... to my side very quickly and clearly exposed to live on air so I did my best to get out of what felt like a headlock.

And my colleague Rick who was standing on a seat trying to get an elevated [camera] shot jumped down with his camera and came to my assistance. Some other people [came] in and [tried to] break that up so they did try to defuse it and I will give credit to some protesters who stopped in the minutes after to check I was OK and one made a point of telling me that’s not what they were about and he was disgusted by any attack like that on media.

And as I say, I’m more than happy to hear your views, more than happy to talk to you about what your feelings are. I want to talk to you about what your views are but in this case, I wasn’t given the opportunity to speak in a civil way with that man, he certainly did not behave in a civil way with me.


ACT records 16 local Covid-19 cases

There is so much going on but the ACT leaders have just stood up for their daily press conference. I’ll bring you all the updates as soon as I can but for now there have been 16 new local cases in the territory:

ACT COVID-19 update (21 September 2021):
New cases today: 16
Active cases: 227
Total recovered cases: 414
Total cases: 641
Negative test results (past 24 hours): 2,993
In hospital: 10 pic.twitter.com/nEFh7Q7oVB

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) September 21, 2021


Here are some overhead shots of those massive crowds at the Melbourne protest.

#DEVELOPING: Protesters wearing hi-vis gear have lit flares and are wandering through Melbourne's CBD after gathering outside the CFMEU headquarters. #9News

Follow LIVE: https://t.co/5OqqM3B5GY pic.twitter.com/We31UUtycl

— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) September 21, 2021

Give teenage kids a shot at vaccination before opening, AMA says

Omar Khorshid told the Covid-19 committee that the AMA believes 12- to 15-year-olds who want to be vaccinated should be able to “before any substantial opening up so they’re not exposed to risk before they have had the opportunity” to be vaccinated.

The AMA doesn’t have a position on whether children should be included in the 70% and 80% reopening targets but Khorshid noted the Doherty Institute model says there is “not a lot of difference” if kids are in or out. “That doesn’t tell us what decision we should make as a society,” he said.

Earlier, Khorshid noted that despite some preliminary results saying that younger children can be given Pfizer, there is no definitive medical advice on that – no vaccines are yet approved for 11 and under in Australia.

Khorshid said younger children should be protected through “risk mitigation”, including better ventilation in schools and vaccination of school staff and their parents.


Well, here is some cheerier news!

Up to 50 people at private functions are now allowed on dance floors in South Australia.

BREAKING: Dancing is back at private functions in SA, up to 50 people will be able to hit the dance floor from midnight on Thursday.💃🕺🏼 @abcadelaide pic.twitter.com/Yu88XW8wgP

— Sarah Mullins (née Hancock) (@sarahmullins) September 21, 2021


Protestors are continuing to block traffic and trams as they march along the CBD. @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/6ZLktiu3IO

— Suzan Delibasic (@suzandelibasic) September 21, 2021

It seems the Melbourne protesters are headed towards the state parliament building, where lines of mounted police and officers in riot gear are lined up.


Stay-at-home orders will be introduced for the Kempsey, Byron Shire and Tweed LGAs from 5pm today for seven days due to an increased COVID-19 public health risk.

For full details, visit: https://t.co/Y0aG3X6wFw pic.twitter.com/Hvj3xwMia1

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) September 21, 2021

Routine healthcare is being compromised, AMA president warns

Omar Khorshid, the Australian Medical Association president, has warned that Australia’s healthcare system “already operating at beyond its capacity before the pandemic” is starting to see “compromises of routine healthcare”.

At the Senate Covid-19 Committee, Khorshid said this could be seen in elective surgery cancellations, private hospitals acting as surge capacity for Covid, particularly in NSW, and in care delayed. GPs have done their best to remain open and offer telehealth but some patients have stayed away.

He warned that non-Covid healthcare “has deteriorated” and this will have “significant impacts” on Australians for years to come:

We want to see society reopen, for normal to return. Our health system was not ready for this pandemic, it has done a lot to prepare at acute end, but we haven’t prepared it to deal with routine healthcare while dealing with Covid healthcare.

We are worried that as we open up the cracks will widen, and we face very significant impacts particularly if we open too fast or go too far acting ahead of vaccination rates. We have to aim for the highest possible vaccination rates. We should be easing out cautiously, slowly and looking at results before moving to the next phase of opening up.


Back to the Melbourne protest and for the last 10 or 15 minutes it seems the group has been on the move, marching speedily down the main road.

Here is one of the protesters holding a rubber bullet, although it’s unclear if this was fired during today’s standoff.

A protester holds a police rubber bullet


Victoria’s treasurer Tim Pallas is speaking more about the protests and construction lockdown now:

It’s a sad day, I think, in many ways, for a lot of the construction industry workers, a lot of people who have been doing the right thing.

Unfortunately because of abhorrent behaviour and what we’ve seen, there is a need for the government to intervene and take strong action consistent with the chief health officer’s orders in order to protect the community but also to protect those workers, their workmates and families.

What we’re seeing is a consequence of these events is the construction industry is effectively amplifying and spreading the virus into communities, particularly in the north and west of Melbourne but also the south-east and then back into other workplaces ...

So we put the industry on notice, you’ll recall, a week ago that we needed to see a substantial improvement and we made it very clear then that the permitted worker status would be reviewed if they were failed to be adhered to.

Since then, we’ve seen poor compliance and further transmission sites being identified and that just cannot continue. We can’t simply have an industry as one of the focal points, one of the greater areas of activity of the virus spread in the community not adhering to the safe requirements for work that we put in place.


Victorian government 'left with no choice' but to pause construction, health minister says

Martin Foley is directly addressing the decision to suspend the construction sector for two weeks that came through last night. He says ongoing Covid outbreaks seeding into the regions and poor levels of compliance have played into the decision.

There are now 403 cases directly linked to construction across 186 construction sites.


We’ve talked about Covid outbreaks on construction sites, one particular site so far having more than 150 direct cases linked to its operation. We have referred to multiple cases seeding from metropolitan Melbourne into the regions, given the highly mobile and young permitted workforce that has been the construction sector for the past 18 months.

We have also reflected on poor levels of compliance with health directions and poor levels of application of CovidSafe principles and practices in multiple work places, big, small and in between.

The public health team was left with no choice but to hit the pause button and continue working with the sector over these next two weeks to improve compliance, to improve Covid safety in the industry and slow the spread of the virus so as to protect that workforce, their families, the communities they live in and the wider Victorian community.

Construction workers at a protest at Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union headquarters in Melbourne
Construction workers at a protest at Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union headquarters in Melbourne. Photograph: James Ross/AAP


Victorian press conference:

Martin Foley is turning to the vaccine rollout, which has expanded to 12- to 15-year-olds: 73.4% of Victorians have now received the first dose of a vaccine; 44.4% are fully vaccinated:

Fifty-two thousand children and rising have had their first vaccine in that 12-15 age group. Some 57,000 plus people made bookings through the state-run clinics yesterday and many more I’m sure through the GP network.

We have more than 4,900 AstraZeneca and 6,200 Pfizer vaccine appointments in the system in the state-run clinics ready to be booked now over the next seven days and I would urge Victorians to come forward and fill those, as they have been at record levels as quickly as they possibly can.


Brad Hazzard is asked if the Byron Bay case is a local:

As I understand it’s somebody who has travelled into the area with an appropriate permit and had actually had both a rapid antigen test and a PCR test.

It’s one of the problems – and we’ve talked about this before. Rapid antigen tests have a certain degree of efficiency and they don’t always show up and in this case it didn’t.

A PCR test then showed later that there was positive case which is good. The person did what was needed in that accepts but again it’s a balancing act as to how you deal with this, particularly when people go for work reasons.


NSW press conference:

Deputy CHO Dr Marianne Gale:

Currently, in hospital, we have 1,266 people with Covid-19 admitted. 244 people in intensive care and 118 people who are currently requiring support. Of those 244 people in ICU, 181 have not been vaccinated.

Fifty-four people have received the first dose and nine people have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.


Victoria reaches 6,000 active Covid-19 cases

Victorian press conference:

Victorian health minister Martin Foley and chief health officer Brett Sutton are up now, confirming that there have been 603 new local cases overnight, and, sadly, one further death – a woman in her 70s from the Hume region.

There are now 6,000 active cases across the state.

There are 241 people being treated in hospital with Covid-19, including 60 in intensive care and 39 on ventilators. As of yesterday, 85% of cases in hospital had not received a vaccine, 13% were partially vaccinated and three were fully vaccinated.

There were 40,811 vaccine doses administered across state-run hubs, and 48,829 test results received.


NSW enlists 'pester power' to get parents vaccinated

It seems NSW Health is employing a similar vaccination tactic to supermarkets that put the school stationery right opposite the lollies and chocolate: harnessing the power of pestering children.

Brad Hazzard:

One child will be able to choose two children and then of course in another household it would be a different. There will be cumulative effects but not huge and we recognise that. It’s the balance.

I’ve got to say I think the fact that both adult families from which the young people will come have to be double vaccinated will acts as a further incentive for us all to make sure everybody gets double vaccinated. It’s just the reality.

If you’ve ever been a parent you know that what your kids want, they’ll pester till you get it. I was pestered many times. I’m sure if I were still at that stage, I’d be pestered if I weren’t vaccinated and that’s a good thing.


Riot police gearing up and getting ready to go in. @10NewsFirstMelb pic.twitter.com/EX7w0n3vzs

— Patrick Murrell (@pamurrell) September 21, 2021

Tensions really do appear to be heating up at the Melbourne protests:

This man, who claims to be an ex police officer, is yelling at police members “is it worth dying here today?” @ACurrentAffair9 @9NewsAUS pic.twitter.com/G87NMSOEfx

— Sam Cucchiara (@SamCucchiara9) September 21, 2021


NSW press conference:

Fifteen-year-old Alyssa is speaking now about the positive impact the new school holiday bubbles will have on young people:

I know that lockdown has been incredibly hard for everyone lately. However, children and young people definitely want to do the right thing and also be able to socialise because lockdown is incredibly isolating for everyone.

Helping everyone feel connected will undoubtedly benefit their mental health in this time and for children and young people will this will impacted their studies because I know from personal experience that there is a lot of lack of motivation regarding schooling due to lockdown and not being able to see our friends.

Children and young people at the moment want to do the right thing but we also want to stay connected. Therefore being able to socialise whilst also abide by the new rules through the friendship travel bubble will definitely help us all greatly at the moment.


NSW press conference:

Deputy chief health officer Marriane Gale is giving detail of the 10 people who died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours:

In terms of the deaths that we’re reporting today ... we’re aware of 10 people who have passed away.

Six of those individuals were from south-western Sydney, one person from western Sydney, one person from south-eastern Sydney, one was a resident of northern Sydney, and one person from Sydney’s north-west area.

Of the 10 individuals who sadly passed away, six were not vaccinated, two people had received one dose and two people had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Among the 10 deaths that we’re reporting today was a woman in her 90s from western Sydney who is sadly the third death linked to an outbreak at the Hardi Guildford aged care facility and she sadly passed away at Westmead hospital.

Among the 10 are also a man in his 80s from Sydney’s north-west who died at Hornsby hospital, which is where he acquired his infection.

Also among the 10 is a man in his 80s from south-western Sydney, who passed away at Concord hospital and who acquired his infection at Canterbury hospital.

There have now been 255 Covid-19 related deaths in New South Wales since 16 June and 311 since the start of the pandemic.


Melbourne protests:

Riot police have given protesters on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Victoria Parade in Melbourne’s CBD a final warning.

The protesters, who number more than 100 are chanting “freedom”, “fake news” and the national anthem.


This ... doesn’t seem ideal.

I just got off the phone to the Mayor of Byron Shire. He had to hang up to listen to the presser because NSW Health doesn't appear to give local leaders a heads up if their region is about to go into lockdown. #covid91nsw

— Isobel Roe (@isobelroe) September 21, 2021


More from the Melbourne protests:

Heavily armed police arrive and equip themselves with gas masks. The police edging forward towards the protesters as they chant “freedom”. @9NewsMelb pic.twitter.com/dLW7php7d4

— Gillian Lantouris (@gillianlant) September 21, 2021

They’re being warned. pic.twitter.com/qzi4XE5P0l

— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) September 21, 2021

Protestors have been told to move back by police, with groups now firing back chanting “everyday”. @theheraldsun pic.twitter.com/petOC63zNM

— Suzan Delibasic (@suzandelibasic) September 21, 2021

Gosh, we move on quickly from large areas of the state locking down nowadays!

Brad Hazzard is now talking about these new school holiday bubbles for children:

I’m absolutely delighted that crisis cabinet has accepted the proposition that because our vaccination rates have now reached such a high level that it’s now acceptable for a limited number of young people to be able to come to one of their friend’s houses and to be able to stay there and do what young people want to do ...

It will basically be you can have the same two young people coming over to one person so that’s a bubble of three, effectively – that will be the friendship group that can be in the house. Of course, not forgetting that we do have the five people, children or adults or whatever have you, outside as well.


Tweed, Byron Bay and Kempsey LGAs to lockdown from 5pm

Brad Hazzard has confirmed that the Tweed, Byron Bay and Kempsey LGAs will go into lockdown from 5pm tonight:

Lockdowns: unfortunately, we’ve had some cases in the northern part of the state. In Tweed and Byron Bay and Kempsey. And so there will be lockdown arrangements entered into from 5pm this afternoon in each of those local government areas. I have actually spoken with the local members of parliament and other community leaders and there’s a general understanding of the need for those lockdowns.

It will be initially for seven days. And it will be reviewed. Public health will be out encouraging, obviously, testing and I certainly, as health minister, encourage everybody in those areas to take this very seriously.

So far, those areas have been kept relatively safe but we need the community to keep getting tested so that the public health team can be very, very certain of what we need to do at the expiration of those seven days. Please go out and get tested and go and get vaccinated obviously. Get vaccinated.

People are seen in Byron Bay, New South Wales
People are seen in Byron Bay, New South Wales Photograph: Jason O’Brien/AAP


Brad Hazzard says vaccinations have started to have a real effect on the state’s case numbers:

Locally acquired cases, to 8pm last night, 1,022 cases. So slightly more than yesterday, but still well down on the peak numbers that we had about a week ago.

The cases predominantly are still in western Sydney and south-western Sydney but we also have very high vaccination rates in south-western Sydney and western Sydney, and I just want to thank everybody in western Sydney and south-western Sydney for coming out and getting, obviously, vaccinated in vast numbers and that is obviously starting to make a real difference for us.


NSW recorded 1,022 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. pic.twitter.com/d2zAFIGXmo

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) September 21, 2021

Brad Hazzard:

Well, the good news is vaccinations, one dose in New South Wales have reached 82.5% and two doses, we’re now at 53%.

I just want to thank everybody who is coming out in great numbers to make sure that all of us, right across our community, are kept safe. Tests to 8pm last night – there were 121,661 tests. So, again, I want to thank the entire community.


NSW records 1,022 local Covid-19 cases and 10 deaths

NSW health minister Brad Hazzard is speaking now: he has confirmed that the state recorded 1,022 cases overnight.

Sadly, 10 people infected with Covid-19 have died.


We are just standing by now for the NSW press conference where health minister Brad Hazzard will announce the daily numbers.

The NSW-Queensland border bubble is also under threat with the revelation a person with Covid-19 was infectious in several northern NSW communities for two days.

The northern NSW local health district confirmed last night a person had tested positive for the virus on Monday.

Deputy premier John Barilaro said the Tweed and Byron areas may need to be locked down, with an announcement due at today’s press conference.

The infected person flew from Sydney to Ballina on Virgin Flight VA 1141 on Saturday and was infectious in the Byron, Ballina and Tweed areas until the positive test result on Monday.


Here is the new Western Australian campaign encouraging people to roll up their sleeves and get the jab:

There is only one way out of the pandemic - to get life back to what we know and love, and safeguard what we’re so lucky to have.

For your friends, your family, and your community - it's time to roll up. pic.twitter.com/YmehmnsMm2

— Mark McGowan (@MarkMcGowanMP) September 21, 2021


Riot police have arrived. pic.twitter.com/DH57yzQT9j

— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) September 21, 2021

Speaking of absent premiers on days of significant unrest ...

At this stage no plans for Premier @DanielAndrewsMP to front media today https://t.co/2Yhyd6xphe

— Michael Fowler (@michaelfowler08) September 21, 2021


Mounted police moving in slowly towards protestors. @10NewsFirstMelb pic.twitter.com/lXOYdT09V9

— Patrick Murrell (@pamurrell) September 21, 2021

'Friends bubble' created for children to allow visits in time for school holidays @GladysB #nswpol pic.twitter.com/CzDLb7KUTA

— Political Alert (@political_alert) September 20, 2021

Victorians, a heads-up: you will be hearing from your health minister, treasurer and chief health officer at 11.15am when they step up for the daily press conference.


Did Christopher Nolan direct this?

Police say they will be advancing down Elizabeth St towards the protesters. pic.twitter.com/FnEcB5aEC4

— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) September 21, 2021


It’s blog treat time!

ONLY IN CANBERRA. From David Boyd 📸 pic.twitter.com/KFc5Qmg4hw

— Julian Abbott 💉💉 (@JulianBAbbott) September 20, 2021

Here’s look at some of the messages surrounding today’s gathering on the social media app Telegram, via the New Daily political editor Josh Butler:

Seems like protests at Melbourne’s CFMEU are about to heat up. The event has been heavily promoted in “freedom rally” and anti-vaxxer groups on Telegram and elsewhere today and yesterday pic.twitter.com/biBkT7ftjc

— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) September 21, 2021

Some protesters are aware of how it’s starting to look (and quite upset that politicians/unions are pointing out that a lot of yesterday’s protesters were anti-vaxxer or right-wing groups) pic.twitter.com/XUZke06zk7

— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) September 21, 2021


Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has denied reports that her state will not open up until 90% double vaccination, labelling them “misinformation”:

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has lashed out at misinformation online about vaccines.

She was also asked about a News Corp report that Qld would wait until 90% vaccination coverage to open the borders:

"That is misinformation," she says.

— @MartySilk (@MartySilkHack) September 21, 2021


Protesters have begun shouting “fuck the jab” as they gather near the CFMEU offices in the Melbourne CBD:

LANGUAGE WARNING: Around 150 protesters have gathered at the corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Pde @9NewsMelb pic.twitter.com/0F56AbSlcv

— Neary Ty (@NearyTy_9) September 21, 2021


Crowds are very much growing in Melbourne:

Crowd of hi-vis growing rapidly. 5 minutes ago there was no one on that corner. @10NewsFirstMelb pic.twitter.com/3AqcjUhqsA

— Patrick Murrell (@pamurrell) September 20, 2021


Queensland to 'wait and see' how NSW deals with Byron Bay case

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she will wait and see how NSW reacts to the Covid-19 case discovered in the border communities of Byron Bay, Tweed Heads and Ballina before she makes any call on the border bubble:

I’ve just been advised by Dr Young is that there are some concerns about a case at the moment in Byron Bay.

We are going to wait to see what New South Wales does at 11am, and we’ll listen to the advice from New South Wales. But we just need to be ready if New South Wales does anything in relation to that Byron Bay area.

So please listen to updates from Queensland Health following the New South Wales press conference. So we’ll keep everyone updated in relation to that.


Protesters and police gathering outside the CFMEU building ahead of a 10am protest. pic.twitter.com/2Re2JxFite

— Paul Dowsley (@paul_dowsley) September 21, 2021

Queensland records no new Covid-19 cases

Annastacia Palaszczuk is speaking now.

She has confirmed the state has recorded no local Covid-19 cases, although she noted that the Byron Bay case just south of the border is concerning.

Tuesday 21 September – coronavirus cases in Queensland:

0 new locally acquired cases.

1 new overseas acquired case - detected in hotel quarantine.#covid19 pic.twitter.com/w2N6thl3EM

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) September 21, 2021


Victorian union boss John Setka has vowed that some protesters “won’t have a job to come back to when this is over” while speaking with Melbourne radio station 3AW about yesterday’s disturbances outside the CFMEU offices:

Also this, just now on @3AW693:
Setka says they’ve got people checking footage and photos.. ”We’ve identified people and there will be consequences of this. Some of them won’t have a job to come back to when this is over..”

— Heidi Murphy (@heidimur) September 20, 2021


There’s a huge police presence outside the CFMEU offices this morning. At least one person has already been moved on:

A man is moved on by police outside the CFMEU headquarters. Police checked his worker permit which allegedly expired last month. @9NewsMelb pic.twitter.com/YhTdUtVBBu

— Neary Ty (@NearyTy_9) September 20, 2021


It doesn’t look as though NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will be at the press conference today, which is interesting given the expected lockdown announcement for several northern NSW communities.

Minister for Health Brad Hazzard and NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Marianne Gale will provide an update on COVID-19. They will be joined by Zoe Robinson, NSW Advocate for Children and Young People at 11:00am #COVID19nsw

— Political Alert (@political_alert) September 20, 2021


NSW kids can socialise in bubbles of three

Children under 18 in NSW will be able to catch up with each other in groups of three, in a concession to families during the school holidays, reports Tiffanie Turnbull from AAP.

Deputy premier John Barilaro told the Nine Network on Tuesday that the crisis cabinet agreed last night to offer relief to families after much of the state has endured months of lockdown and home schooling:

We’re in school holidays. Kids have done it really, really tough, parents have done it tough ... The mental strain, the wellbeing of our kids is important.

So the crisis committee made a decision that we’ll allow those kids to come together, just like we have the adult single bubbles.

Children don’t have to be vaccinated but they must stay in the same trio of friends.


Despite Scott Morrison telling reporters from New York today that it would be “naive” to think that France could have somehow been pre-warned about the ditching of the diesel submarine deal in favour of the US’s nuclear-powered offer, Anthony Albanese still says the diplomatic situation could have been handled better:

Well, if you look at the reports in the New York Times, they indicate that United States officials are concerned that Australia didn’t do enough to negotiate and treat France with respect with regard to the changed arrangements that we’ve entered into. Common courtesy between friends requires more openness.

Now, there are obviously some matters which needed to remain confidential, matters of either national security interests or a commercial interest but, at the same time, it’s quite extraordinary that France was visited by our prime minister, face-to-face meeting, not long ago, and no indication it would appear was given to our friends in France.

That’s important and it’s an important neighbour, of course, in the Indo-Pacific as well that has a presence here and has had for a long period of time. Friends need to treat each other with respect and the prime minister needs to make sure that he concentrates not just on the announcement but on the details around announcements as well.


Anthony Albanese:

A blind trust is not where people can give money to a member of parliament without declaring it. This is a clear breach of the pecuniary interest guidelines. It will render them completely irrelevant if this is allowed to stand.

And that’s why Christian Porter’s position is simply untenable and Barnaby Joyce just shows that, once again, a reminder that he has no integrity. That he’s someone who shouldn’t be in a position of being acting prime minister if this is his attitude.


Anthony Albanese is not holding back this morning when it comes to his criticisms of Christian Porter and the issue of the MP’s blind trust.


Barnaby Joyce mentioned that people, even in jail, get second chances. Does Christian Porter deserve a second chance?


How many chances does this bloke need? This government is full of people with second, third and fourth chances.

This is a government led by, today, the country is led by Barnaby Joyce. We have Christian Porter staying in parliament. We have Andrew Laming staying in parliament. We have Stuart Robert and Sussan Ley who have been returned to the cabinet. This is a scandal-ridden government at the end of its third term that needs a period in opposition to get its act together, to get some perspective.

Anyone who looks at Christian Porter accepting up to $1m from anonymous donors to pay a private legal bill knows that it’s just wrong. This is a very simple, clear-cut black-and-white issue, right and wrong.

It is wrong to receive anonymous donations as a member of parliament. It is wrong to pretend that you don’t know where it’s come from and it’s wrong to continue to sit in the parliament and to deflect blame for what is Christian Porter’s own actions in taking legal action against the ABC.


Labor is using Scott Morrison’s trip to the US to try to apply pressure on the prime minister to commit to net zero emissions by 2050.

Anthony Albanese is speaking now:

We need to commit to net zero emissions by 2050 and, when Scott Morrison is in the United States, he could talk to President Biden about why it is that President Biden is leading world action, why it is that the United States recognises that good action on climate change is positive for jobs as well as lowering energy prices and lowering emissions.

Australia is a pariah on the world stage as a hold-out, as one of the only developed countries that is holding out from committing to net zero emissions by 2050 and we need a pathway to get there.


Former Labor leader and opposition frontbencher Bill Shorten seemed to be in agreement with John Setka on the “rent-a-crowd” nature of yesterday violent protests outside the CFMEU offices, suggesting people had simply bought “$2 high vis” on their way to the event.

Here’s what he had to say to the Today show this morning:

I was shocked. I reached out to a couple of people I know who work in the building unions to find out last night if they were safe and what happened.

And I noticed in your introduction you said these were workers turning on their own union. There were some construction workers in the crowd, according to my sources. But there were a lot of other just professional trouble-makers.

I never thought I’d see a scene where you have people who call themselves Nazis using encrypted message systems to bring in rent-a-crowd. Some of those people in the crowd were construction workers but others, I’m reliably informed, were fake tradies.

They’d been down to the Reject Shop and got themselves a $2 hi-vis hoodies so they could pretend they were construction. This is all because the construction unions have been responsible, have been running radio ads, have been encouraging people to get vaccinated and that doesn’t suit the hard right or the extremist agenda of some trouble-makers.

It was shocking violence against people who’ve been showing leadership in the construction industry.


Union boss blames neo-Nazi and anti-vax 'rent-a-crowds' for violent protests

Union bosses have doubled down on their stance that yesterday’s violent protesters were not, in fact, mostly angry unionists but instead were far-right agitators and anti-vaccination activists.

Here is what Victorian CFMEU construction secretary John Sekta had to say when speaking to the Nine Network this morning:

There was a sprinkling of construction workers there of our members and the rest were just people, I wouldn’t even know who they are. You couldn’t even talk. We tried to keep it all calm, and it just got out of control.

People started throwing bottles. Some of them were fighting amongst themselves. You know, once they started throwing the bottles, that was it we just said this is too dangerous, let’s move back in. It just got out of control from there. The crowd grew bigger.

All the rent-a-crowds were there, professional protesters. It got out of control.

Setka was asked in there were “actual neo-Nazis in the crowd”.

He said:

I believe there was. I wouldn’t know one if I fell over one, to be quite honest, but my understanding is, yes, there’s a few of them anti-vaxxer activists in there, who are not union members, they’re not from our industry. And they’re the ones you see at all the protests.

So like I said, it just got out of control. Then they were consuming a whole heap of alcohol. Thanks to these morons, 300,000 Victorians are sitting at home for at least the next couple of weeks, could drag out even longer.

Police at yesterday’s protest at the CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne
Police at yesterday’s protest at the CFMEU headquarters in Melbourne. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images


Speaking of the likely northern NSW lockdowns, Ballina MP Tamara Smith has told the ABC she wants tighter restrictions preventing people travelling up from Sydney to the region:

We’re sitting ducks if suddenly they say, right everybody, off you go to the regions. Because we don’t even know with the modelling ...

Let’s say, best-case scenario, we’re all sitting at 80% double dose, what does that mean for us in terms of the number of ICU beds and the number of cases that you might still have?


Lockdown likely for Ballina, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads from 5pm

There is lots of chatter around that the northern NSW communities of Ballina, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads could go into lockdown from 5pm today after an infected Sydney traveller spent time in the area.

Deputy premier John Barilaro confirmed during media appearances this morning that it was on the cards.

We will likely get confirmation of this at the NSW presser at 11am, although given that this would spell the end of the border bubble arrangements in the area, I’d say it’s likely Annastacia Palaszczuk will be able to shed some light on this too when she steps up at 10am.

Tweed likely going into lockdown at 5pm. Border bubble to burst. Infected Syd traveller spent three days in Ballina, Byron and Tweed, visiting Kingscliff Beach Hotel on Sun. NSW Premier set to confirm snap lockdown at this mornings press conf. @TheTodayShow @9NewsQueensland

— Mia Glover (@miaglover_9) September 20, 2021


Labor and transparency experts have rubbished claims that MPs and senators may not be required to declare the source of gifts, a loophole that could make further action against Christian Porter more difficult.

Porter resigned from the Morrison government ministry on Sunday but Labor has demanded he pay back the legal fees part paid by a blind trust or else disclose the source of the funds.

Labor has decided to refer the matter to the privileges committee for a ruling and possible sanction for failing to disclose more details of the gift. But the push could be thwarted by the fact rules governing the register of MPs’ interests do not appear to explicitly require donors of gifts to be named.

You can read the full report below:


Victoria records 603 local Covid cases and one death

The Victorian numbers are out and they are not good.

There are new 603 local Covid-19 cases today, the highest for this outbreak and fast approaching the highest the state has ever recorded.

Sadly, one more person infected with Covid-19 has died.

Reported yesterday: 603 new local cases and 0 cases acquired overseas.
- 40,811 vaccines administered
- 48,829 test results received
- Sadly, 1 person with COVID-19 has died

More later: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/SFzVIY0S4K

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) September 20, 2021


Speaking of the Victorian construction industry shutdown, the Master Builders Association of Victoria isn’t happy at all.

Chief executive Rebecca Casson released a statement this morning labelling the move a “bitter blow for the vast majority of building and construction industry businesses which have done the right thing over the past 18 months”:

We understand the position the Victorian government is in.

However, we can also see the frustration that this decision brings, especially shutting down our industry one day after announcing a roadmap to Covid normal.

Working with others, we have fought tirelessly since the beginning of the pandemic to keep our industry safe and open.

However, our industry’s right to continue to work comes with significant responsibilities. And it’s disappointing that a minority of our sector has not taken this obligation seriously enough.

We condemn the actions of the rioters we’ve seen in Melbourne in recent days. They do not represent our industry, nor do they speak for our workforce ...

Every single day that our industry is shut down, the projected figures suggest $455m will be lost in revenue. And $63m lost in wages as well.

Once these two weeks are over, it is vital that our industry moves beyond shutdowns.


Let’s get back to Australia for a second and have a think about the Victorian and New South Wales reopening plans.

The amazing Melissa Davey has all the details, comparing and contrasting the two state’s roadmaps:

The two jurisdictions grappling with the most severe Covid outbreaks, New South Wales and Victoria, have revealed their plans for reopening, providing those living with lockdown with some sense of what the future may hold.

Both states will ease some restrictions once 70% of the eligible population age 16 and above are fully vaccinated, with further easing at 80%. But when will those targets be reached, and how and why do the plans differ?

You can read her full explainer below:



Prime minister, do you fear the decision has put the EU free trade agreement with Australia at risk?

Scott Morrison:

Well, I can only ... I suppose, quote the foreign affairs chief from the European Commission, who said you don’t mix apples and pears. I think that’s a pretty good summary of the situation.

I mean, these issues will be worked through in the weeks and months ahead. It’s not an easy thing to do, to get an agreement with the European Union on trade, I think everyone understands that.

The Canadians have been trying to secure one for some time. They’ve not made much progress there. But we wish them well with that. But these issues are not easy to arrive at. There are many other factors that come into it.

Once we work through, tomorrow is a good opportunity to further discuss and explain the necessary decision that Australia had to take.


No opportunity to meet with French president, Scott Morrison says

The PM says he will have no opportunity to speak with (an extremely annoyed) French president Emmanuel Macron before meeting the rest of the European leaders, despite the US president meeting him.

Scott Morrison:

No, there’s not an opportunity for that at this time. I’m sure that opportunity will come in time. Right now I understand the disappointment and they’re working through the consultations with their ambassador’s return to Paris and we’ll be patient with that.

Importantly we’ll continue to engage with Asean leaders. I spoke to [Indoneasian] President Widodo on the way here. We have had a very warm conversation, I was able to reassure him on the issues on nonproliferation.

What Australia does is contribute to the peace and stability of the region. And that’s our record. We have been able to establish a dialogue partnership with Asean for the first time. Under our government. And that provides a good channel to further understand the steps that Australia necessarily has to take.

I mean, all countries have to take decisions in their interests, all countries in the region understand that. There’s now the opportunity given it has been announced to provide further explanations and that’s that’s exactly why we are going and I expect they’re [the explanations] are going to be warming received.

French president Emmanuel Macron welcomes Scott Morrison in front of the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on 15 June
French president Emmanuel Macron welcomes Scott Morrison in front of the Élysée Palace in Paris on 15 June. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters


You know how I’ve been referring to Barnaby Joyce as the “acting prime minister” all morning, well that’s because the actual prime minister is in New York now for the Quad leaders’ summit.

His plane has just touched down and he is chatting to reporters on the tarmac, mostly about how furious France is with us now that we have backed out of the $90bn submarine deal.


The European countries are meeting here in New York tonight to consider what they do in response to the axing of the French subs deal. Shouldn’t there be more diplomatic groundwork done before the announcement was made?

Scott Morrison:

They’re meeting about a number of issues. The foreign minister and the defence minister had discussions with representatives from the commission and the union. I would simply say this: it was always going to be a difficult decision. And it had to be a decision taken in a very secure environment. It would be naive to think a decision of this nature was not going to cause disappointment, obviously, to the French. We understand that. We totally acknowledge that. And we knew that would be the case. And it was not possible for us to be able to discuss such secure issues in relation to our dealings with other countries at the time.

I made it very clear, I made it very clear a conventional submarine would no longer be meeting our strategic interests and what we needed those boats to do. That was communicated many months ago. To suggest that somehow, this decision could have been taken without causing this disappointment, I think would be very naive.


My lovely Queensland folks, we will be hearing from your leader at 10am today.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will hold a press conference at 10am

— @MartySilk (@MartySilkHack) September 20, 2021

Now you might remember I mentioned that yesterday protests really ramped up when two union officials, including Victorian construction branch secretary John Setka, came outside the Elizabeth Street office to speak to protesters.

Setka has just spoken to ABC radio about the protests and, while he condemned the action, he said some of the government Covid-19 safety measures, including the shutting down of tea rooms, were unreasonable:

It’s a big mess. You had a big pile of dirt, you’ve got 1,300 people on the block as we have at the Lara prison. I mean, we’re still people, you’ve been waiting for four hours, you deserve to have a cup of tea and a sandwich.

You can’t actually do it standing up in the middle of the dirt paddock, that’s the reality of it.

In an office environment you could sit at your desk and you could have good tea and you and your lunch in there and in a hospital environment you could walk down the hallway there’s little tables and chairs. It’s spread out everywhere, a construction site isn’t like that.

And people have actually got to take that into consideration. You’re going to have to walk on a site to actually see what we’re talking about some sites. You can do it, but the majority of sites, it is just impractical and it hasn’t been thought out very well.

John Setka
John Setka. Photograph: Kelly Barnes/AAP


Just jumping back to the CFMEU protests in Melbourne, there are fears that these scenes could be repeated today (and, according to some protesters, every day until the mandatory vaccine rules have changed).

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil told the ABC she hoped that this would not occur:

I would hope that nobody takes that reprehensible step to repeat what was disgraceful acts of violence against the CFMEU office here in Melbourne. It’s the time when we need to be thinking really carefully about how we work together to act faithfully, to ensure public safety, our community safety, and family safety. These sorts of protests and violent actions do nothing to help that ...

O’Neil conceded that while there were union members present, she is confident that rightwing extremists were involved:

We know that’s the case. It was orchestrated by rightwing extremists. That’s something we’ve seen the targeting of other blue-collar unions over the last few months. And this is something that is really the worst thing that could happen in terms of working people.

What unions stand for is safety. Safety for people at work, and safety for our families. And to have people try and use the union movement to cause division and spread misinformation is something that we will never accept. And we’ll never be intimidated by these people.

We know what’s in the best interests of workers is for everyone to try to get vaccinated as quickly as they can. That’s what is going to lead us out of lockdowns. That’s what is going to save and support jobs. That’s going to make sure the people we love are safe.

And we’re also concerned about the people who work in our health system, health workers doing an extraordinary job. It’s going to get tougher, we know already, for them, from now on in, anything that makes their job harder is something that we will fight against.

Michele O’Neil
ACTU president Michele O’Neil. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP


OK, here is a little blog treat for the morning. A video of everyone’s least favourite Bachelor (and I’m told a rugby player of some kind), the Honey Badger, rescuing a sheep from a barbed-wire fence.

Look at them run at the end! (The sheep not the Honey Badger.)

🦡❤️ Honey Badger to the rescue!

That little 'baaa' at the end was definitely a 'thanks mate'

(Via Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins) pic.twitter.com/YVYjoh6D9k

— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) September 20, 2021


A vulnerable Indigenous inmate who prison officers allegedly depicted hanging from a noose on a prison whiteboard is suing the ACT government, alleging the drawing was a “vile and racist caricature” of “another Indigenous person they wished to see die in custody”.

In May 2018 correctional officers at the ACT’s jail, the Alexander Maconochie centre, allegedly drew what appeared to be a game of hangman on a staff whiteboard. The man depicted hanging from the noose was an Indigenous inmate who has mental health issues and had previously attempted suicide.

A boat was shown sailing past with one of the passengers depicted as saying “yay”.

In proceedings lodged in the ACT supreme court, the man’s lawyers, Ken Cush & Associates, say the whiteboard and the hangman picture were used as a “vehicle to ridicule, degrade, disrespect, and vilify the plaintiff amongst the correctional officers and detainees in the AMC”. They say the image was a “humiliating, disrespectful, degrading and hurtful parody”.

You can read the full report from Christopher Knaus and Lorena Allam below:


This is interesting. Former deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth has hit out against “zero Covid academics” and those who suggest children in primary school should wear masks in classrooms:

No masks on kids in classrooms. Period. Evidence doesn’t support it. Vaccinated adults the best protection for kids. Zero COVID academics should leave our kids alone. #backtoschool #auspol #covid19nsw #covid19vic

— Dr. Nick Coatsworth (@nick_coatsworth) September 20, 2021


The acting prime minister ruffled a few feathers yesterday after he stated he believed Christian Porter would eventually be back on the frontbench after time in political purgatory.

The former attorney general quit as a minister on Sunday after revealing some of his legal fees from a defamation action against the ABC were paid by anonymous sources and he was unable to reveal their identity.

ABC News Breakfast host Lisa Millar today questioned those comments:

Does that mean you think it’s acceptable for an MP, a backbencher, to have taken anonymous donations?

Barnaby Joyce:

Well, what I say, Lisa, is this – in all careers, even if a person goes to jail, there’s a time when they come out and we believe they get a second chance. We don’t condemn them forever.

We don’t just kick someone to the curb and never pick them up again. It’s not the Australian lexicon, it’s not what we do. You have your time in Coventry and Christian will, we hope after that you get an opportunity again.

You would want me to say to you or any other person out there, you don’t take a driver’s licence off someone forever, you give them a period without it and give it back to them.

I just think it’s odd we’re going to throw this person to the waste paper basket forever. He’s been an incredibly capable minister at a state and federal level, yesterday, he’s had a very bad day at the wicket, which I keep repeats.


He still has the money, the details with it are still unknown, while he may be in Coventry, until those issues are resolved, aren’t there still legitimate questions that people deserve to have answered?


It’s a legitimate parliamentary process if they wish to go through it and that’s the privileges committee. I hear the Labor party is going to utilise that and that’s completely and utterly their right.

Christian Porter
Christian Porter. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Barnaby Joyce says he isn’t totally convinced by the union’s suggestion that the protests yesterday were not truly caused by union members, but instead had been infiltrated by rightwing extremists and anti-vaccination advocates:

I don’t really curry favour with that idea. I don’t think those guys we saw on television will be influenced by antivaxxers. I think they have got their own ideas in their own mind.

What we’ve got to say to any person [who uses] violence and those sort of actions in a public space, [it] just scares people, and you lose support ...

It’s not a matter if they’re infiltrated by antivaxxers or not. I do care about actions on a public street that scare people. And that’s what the concern is here.


Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce is on ABC News Breakfast and has just been asked for his views on the violent CFMEU protests and the subsequent state government shutdown of the construction industry.

Joyce, who is standing in a paddock somewhere, is making it clear that this ban has nothing to do with him, and in fact, is Labor’s problem:

Well, I’m going to have to leave that to the Victorian government, because it’s not a decision that the federal government made. This falls in the remit of the state governments. It’s their orders, their health order.

Now, in regards what is happening within the CFMEU, I don’t know. I don’t have the answer to that question. I think that’s something for Terry Butler or Penny Wong, who have a close association with that group.

We just don’t want violence. I think it scares people and achieves very little but raising people’s antagonisms because they think it’s unruly and threatening.

Barnaby Joyce
Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Good morning everyone, it’s Matilda Boseley here and let’s dive right into Tuesday.

So obviously the first thing we need to talk about were those violent protests outside the CFMEU union offices in Melbourne yesterday, which have now prompted the government to institute a two-week shutdown of the construction industry.

The closure was announced last night after the building was damaged and riot police deployed in chaotic scenes, using rubber bullets and pepper spray to quell the crowd.

Only critical infrastructure, including hospitals and ongoing level crossing removal works, will continue during the shutdown, giving time for the workforce to get vaccinated.

Here is what Victoria’s treasurer Tim Pallas had to say about it:

We’ve been clear: if you don’t follow the rules, we won’t hesitate to take action – we have seen widespread noncompliance across the industry and that’s why we’re taking necessary steps to protect every single Victorian.

We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation.

Union officials say Monday’s protesters were not actually CFMEU members, instead claiming that neo-Nazis and rightwing extremists had hijacked the event.

The protest escalated when two union officials, including Victorian construction branch secretary John Sekta, came outside the Elizabeth Street office to speak to protesters just before midday and were met with boos and jeers.

Once Setka went back inside, the protesters smashed a glass door to the building.

Some said they would come to the CFMEU office every day until the union bowed to their demands. But we shall have to wait and see what eventuates.

Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce has just spoken about this situation on ABC so let’s get going and I’ll bring you his comments.



Mostafa Rachwani, Ben Doherty and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Australia Covid live news update: Walgett and seven other LGAs in regional NSW follow Dubbo into snap seven-day lockdown
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

11, Aug, 2021 @10:01 AM

Article image
Berejiklian unveils path out of lockdown; Morrison denies Pfizer procurement issues – as it happened
Today’s news as it unfolded

Josh Taylor and Matilda Boseley

09, Sep, 2021 @8:48 AM

Article image
NSW records 935 cases and four deaths; protests over mandatory construction jabs in Melbourne – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Ben Doherty and Matilda Boseley

20, Sep, 2021 @9:46 AM

Article image
Australia news live: Victoria and NSW report no new locally acquired cases
Push for Queensland to open borders as Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand border closure will remain in place. This blog is now closed

Elias Visontay (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

05, Nov, 2020 @8:07 AM

Article image
TGA grants provisional determination of Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 – as it happened
Man who breached quarantine in Hobart tests positive; Royal Children’s hospital in Melbourne on high alert. This blog is now closed

Caitlin Cassidy and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

13, Oct, 2021 @7:46 AM

Article image
Andrews extends lockdown while NSW reports record cases – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Luke Henriques-Gomes and Matilda Boseley (earlier)

16, Aug, 2021 @8:47 AM

Article image
Net zero debate dominates question time; nine confirmed Covid cases in Melbourne detention hotel – as it happened
Follow all today’s news

Elias Visontay (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

19, Oct, 2021 @8:20 AM

Article image
NSW reports 1,220 cases and eight deaths; Victoria premier attacks ‘secret’ vaccine allocations to Sydney – As it happened
The day’s news as it unfolded

Mostafa Rachwani and Matilda Boseley

07, Sep, 2021 @9:40 AM

Article image
Some children aged 12 to 15 eligible for vaccine; NSW confirms 207 cases and 15th death – as it happened
Follow latest updates

Naaman Zhou (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

02, Aug, 2021 @9:11 AM

Article image
Over 50% of Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated; Berejiklian reopening plans coming ‘next week’ – as it happened
All the day’s news, as it happened

Tory Shepherd and Justine Landis-Hanley

26, Sep, 2021 @7:57 AM