Australia live news update: Labor climate target ‘not based on the science', Greens say; RBA leaves cash rate at record low

LIVE – Updated at 05:39

Follow all the day’s news.

 

05:39

Good afternoon all, Mostafa Rachwani back again, with a quick thanks to Caitlin Cassidy for holding the blog down. Much going on, so lets dive in.

 

05:39

More from Glass on the investigation into the Victorian government’s border scheme. She emphasises she was not critiquing the scheme itself, but the manner in which it was applied, particularly as case numbers in Victoria continued to rise:

I didn’t examine every single application, and I couldn’t say whether all of those should have been approved, whether they were legitimate. So I am not suggesting that every decision made by the department was unfair, and I think it is really important that I acknowledge what a fraught environment the department was working in. Trying to deal with a global health crisis.

But the examples we saw in this investigation, the people who spoke to us, the complaints we received, just suggested a lack of compassion, you know, a lack of acknowledgement that some people needed to cross the border and needed to have their individual circumstances taken into account. It seemed that the department was putting much more resources into stopping people getting home, than helping them cross the border safely.

 

05:38

Ombudsman Deborah Glass is appearing on ABC Afternoon Briefing, discussing her damning report on the Victorian government’s border exemption scheme.

An investigation into the scheme found only 8% of applications were granted between July and September:

What we saw was a lot of people whose applications didn’t get through to approval at all. We saw a lot of people stranded across the border, because in this bureaucratic merry-go-round where they were asked to supply reams of paperwork which was wholly impractical, people who had to nominate a travel date, but when the travel date passed because the application wasn’t processed in time, found their applications had expired. The list is endless. The angst and the distress that this caused to so many was palpable.

 

05:38

With that, I will hand the baton back to Mostafa Rachwani.

Before I go, nobody asked, but I’m team Tasmania or the ACT for the fifth Ashes test.

 

05:36

Former Nationals leader Michael McCormack is up on Afternoon Briefing responding to his colleague George Christensen’s appearance on right wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s InfoWars.

Christensen, among other things, laughed when Jones compared Australia’s Covid quarantine to an Auschwitz concentration camp during the program.

McCormack said he watched all 36 minutes of the show, a 36 minutes he would “never get back”:

I watched the 36 minute show, 36 minutes of my life I won’t get back, and very much George could be speaking about all the great things happening in Australia today, he could be telling American viewers about the fact that we have saved lives and projected livelihoods through this global pandemic, but no, he chose to condemn our country, he chose to rubbish our country on the world stage, and for that I think he should be condemned.

Greens leader says Labor’s climate target ‘not based on the science’

05:16

Greens leader Adam Bandt has addressed questions over the party’s balance of power in the lead-up to the election.

Labor has ruled out strengthening its 2030 climate target if it is forced to negotiate with other parties to form a minority government. Its current targets would reduce emissions by 43% by 2030, which the Greens have argued is too low.

Bandt says the Greens don’t want to block Labor’s climate policy, but “improve and pass it”.

Labor says they’ll keep the same amount of coal in the system as the Liberals, but that’s not something to be proud of, it’s a recipe for climate collapse. Labor’s plan needs fixing, because it doesn’t shut coal-fired power stations, won’t reduce coal and gas exports and backs the Betaloo methane gas bomb.

We’re not about blocking Labor’s climate legislation, we’ll improve and pass it. Likewise, Labor should not let their idea of the perfect be the enemy of the good. The reality is Labor’s climate target is not based on the science. Labor doesn’t want to phase out coal-fired power stations and don’t want to address the pollution from coal and gas exports.

I know Labor says their climate policy is a take it or leave it thing, but I think you can file that under ‘things politicians say during an election campaign’. If the people elect a range of voices to parliament, the next government will have to respect that. People are sick of this kind of macho ‘it’s my way or the highway’ politics, especially with something as important as climate. I think Labor’s attitude will turn people off. There is a lot of agreement between us and Labor on renewables … but there’s more work to do on coal and gas.

Related: Labor rules out post-election climate deals, dismissing Coalition scare campaign

 

05:04

Residents from a Melbourne aged care home struck by Covid appeared malnourished, dehydrated and “barely conscious” after being transferred to a hospital, an inquest has been told and AAP’s Gus McCubbing reports.

Outbreak managers replaced the entire St Basil’s Home for the Aged staff with an emergency workforce on 22 July last year, during Melbourne’s second wave. Within hours of the handover, inexperienced nursing staff were struggling to care for the mostly Greek-speaking residents, who had already missed meals and medicine.

The inquest into the Covid deaths of 45 St Basil’s residents and another five residents who likely died of neglect has heard evidence from Victoria Atkinson, who handled the intake of 10 residents evacuated from the Fawkner facility to Bellbird Private Hospital on 25 July.

Atkinson said the Blackburn South hospital was converted into a Covid ward within six hours, having only been told St Basil’s residents would arrive the day before. Bellbird staff had to try to learn Greek after St Basil’s residents arrived without identification or medical history.

Atkinson:

The majority of the patients were soiled on arrival and had pressure injuries and appeared malnourished and dehydrated. Patients were deeply unconscious, had low oxygen level sand were unrousable. There was evidence of poor hygiene care. None were transported with oxygen supplementation. All required intravenous fluids for a number of days.

St Basil’s recorded its first Covid case on 9 July before staff were replaced by a commonwealth-sourced surge workforce on 22 July.

Related: ‘Utter exhaustion’: wellbeing of St Basil’s aged care residents so compromised one senior nurse refused to return

 

05:00 Christopher Knaus

There’s just been a potentially significant development in the case against Bernard Collaery.

Collaery has been fighting an attempt by the attorney general Michaelia Cash to introduce new secret evidence to attempt to convince the court to hold part of his trial behind closed doors.

You might remember that in October, Collaery had a major win in the Australian Capital Territory court of appeal, which overturned secrecy orders hiding significant elements of his case from the public. But lawyers for Cash are now attempting to put fresh evidence, which Collaery cannot see, before a judge to justify the secrecy, saying that the national security situation has changed significantly in the more than 12 months that the court of appeal took to deliver its judgment.

Collaery’s lawyers opposed the move, saying it was hugely unfair and would create a never-ending “vortex” of delay and secrecy.

Justice David Mossop has just ruled that the government cannot update its evidence or add new evidence in the way that it had desired. But Mossop said the government can, if it wishes, make a new application under the National Security Information (NSI) Act to hide parts of the trial, which would take account of the changed national security circumstances.

Collaery is facing trial for his alleged role in revealing an Australian intelligence operation that bugged the offices of the Timor-Leste government during 2004 oil and gas negotiations. He and his client Witness K, a former spy, helped Timor-Leste mount a case before the international courts on behalf of Timor-Leste.

 

04:51

An update from the protests in New South Wales, where public teachers and principals have been rallying in the Sydney CBD. Those who remain on the streets are braver than I as it’s now bucketing down.

The Teachers Federation Union has been calling for more competitive salaries, more sustainable workloads and greater job security.

They want a pay increase up to 7.5% a year to reverse the decline in teachers’ wages compared with other professions.

What a day! More than 15,000 teachers and principals have filled Macquarie St! #MoreThanThanks pic.twitter.com/2PiI2ZrrHe

— Teachers Federation (@TeachersFed) December 7, 2021

Reserve Bank of Australia leaves cash rate at record-low 0.1%

04:51 Peter Hannam

As expected the Reserve Bank of Australia has left its cash rate target at the record-low 0.1% annual rate that it has sat at since November 2020, when the central bank slashed borrowing costs to aid the pandemic-hit economy.

The general comments remain upbeat about the revival of economic activity as lockdowns related to the Delta Covid strain end.

Philip Lowe, the RBA governor, said in a statement:

Household consumption is rebounding strongly and the outlook for business investment has improved.

The emergence of the Omicron strain is a new source of uncertainty, but it is not expected to derail the recovery. The economy is expected to return to its pre-Delta path in the first half of 2022.

Commentators will note that the language remains one of patience in terms of lifting the interest rate, should inflation gather pace. Lowe doesn’t expect that to happen soon.

“While inflation has picked up, it remains low in underlying terms. Inflation pressures are also less than they are in many other countries, not least because of the only modest wages growth in Australia,” he said.

“The Board will not increase the cash rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the 2 to 3 per cent target range.”

The bank has put a 2024 time stamp on that, with a proviso of 2023 if there was an inflation surge. Markets, though, have predicted a mid-2022 starting point for official rates to start rising.

Australia live news update: Labor climate target ‘not based on the science’, Greens say; RBA leaves cash rate at record low
© Provided by The Guardian Rain falls in Sydney today as a pedestrian walks past the Reserve Back of Australia’s head office. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

One other notable point: the RBA is sticking with plans to keep buying $4bn worth of government debt each week until at least mid-February. There had been some expectation that it might stop sooner.

By them, the RBA will be the proud owner of $350bn (yes, billion) in federal, state and territory debt. What happens to that in the future will be interesting.

Anyway, short of some unforeseen calamity, the RBA board won’t meet again until February 1.

 

04:42

Two people infected with COVID-19 from Victoria’s Aboriginal community, have sadly passed away. A 68yo woman and a 73yo man.

These are the first deaths of Indigenous people in Victoria with coronavirus.

— Jedda Costa (@CostaJedda) December 7, 2021

 

04:41

AFP said police had been investigating Foster for more than six months and his eventual arrest was subject to “a whole heap of things and information”.

Queensland police will now seek to extradite him to the state where he will be subject to judicial proceedings.

 

04:33

In Canberra, the Australian federal police (AFP) are providing an update on the arrest of wanted fugitive Peter Foster.

The 59-year-old man was arrested at a house near Gisborne in the Macedon Ranges and is currently being assessed at the Royal Melbourne Hospital for a medical condition. AFP said he was living “comfortably” at his location:

Mr Foster was arrested on the Queensland arrest warrant following his failure to appear in court in May this year, in relation to an allegation of a $2 million fraud. Since that time, the AFP has been working with the police service in trying to locate and apprehend Mr Foster.

During the execution of the warrant today, Mr Foster … disclosed a medical condition and he was subsequently converted to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he is currently being assessed for his medical condition. The AFP will work tirelessly to apprehend organised criminals of this kind and this should serve as a warning to all criminals that there is nowhere to hide.

Read Ben Butler’s story here:

Related: Fugitive Peter Foster arrested in Victoria six months after failing to appear in court

South Australia records four new Covid cases

04:33

Two cases are linked to the Norwood cluster and two arrived from interstate.

#Breaking: South Australia Records Four New COVID-19 Cases

This includes two new cases from the Norwood cluster.

Two cases have arrived from interstate. pic.twitter.com/FDwxOl38DB

— 10 News First Adelaide (@10NewsFirstAdl) December 7, 2021

 

04:29

Genomic sequencing is underway to determine if an overseas arrival in hotel quarantine in Victoria has been infected with the Omicron variant.

The traveller, who is fully vaccinated, arrived from the Netherlands via Abu Dhabi and has been in hotel quarantine since arriving on 3 December.

They had returned a negative PCR test initially, but subsequently tested positive with the finding of S gene dropout, indicative of the new variant.

The traveller has not been in the community since arriving, with the source of the infection still under investigations. Health authorities say all other passengers on the flight will be assessed and tested.

 

04:22

In other news, it’s heartening to discover Jim Chalmers’ life is full of deeply rewarding, fridge-worthy memories:

Surely this is some kind of Australian record for the number of photos on one household fridge #auspol @JEChalmers pic.twitter.com/aAXfJhy8ur

— Paul Osborne (@osbornep) December 7, 2021

 

03:55

Stood-down Collingwood Football Club player Jordan De Goey will appear by video-link on Thursday morning after he was charged with assault in New York in late October.

De Goey has been suspended indefinitely from training or playing with the club since the incident. He said he would “vigorously deny” the charges.

A time has been locked in for Jordan De Goey’s NYC court hearing.

It’s definitely going ahead.

And De Goey will appear by video Thursday morning melbourne time. @7NewsMelbourne

— Tom Browne (@TomBrowne7) December 7, 2021

 

03:49

It’s beginning to feel a bit like groundhog day over here on the east coast:

A cloudband and associated surface trough stretching from Qld to Vic is bringing the risk of severe thunderstorms across eastern NSW and inland Qld today. This may lead to flash flooding, damaging winds and small to large hail. pic.twitter.com/kn289U1iZU

— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) December 7, 2021

#Thunderstorms are heading for #Sydney & will move across from the west to east. Make sure you keep a close eye on the radar & warnings as the risk of #thunderstorms will continue this afternoon & evening. Conditions can change quickly, drive safehttps://t.co/swGZ6BSLY0@NSWSES pic.twitter.com/pg8XUc4KNS

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 7, 2021

 

03:45

And with that I will be taking a short break from the blog, but leaving you in the capable hands of Caitlin Cassidy.

Nationals deputy says ‘conversations are happening’ about Olympics boycott

03:34 Daniel Hurst

The deputy leader of the Nationals, David Littleproud, says “conversations are happening” within the Australian government about whether to follow the US in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Littleproud, the agriculture minister, addressed reporters in Canberra today and left the impression that a decision was not about to be announced. He said the Australian government respected the Biden administration’s decision “but we will make our own” decision:

“That’ll be a decision for cabinet as we move forward and obviously National Security Committee will make those determinations, and I understand that those conversations are happening. But obviously I can’t make any comment beyond that and I’ll leave that obviously to the prime minister and the foreign minister.”

Asked about calls from within the government to follow suit, Littleproud said there would be “divergent views” but backbenchers were not privy to information before the cabinet and its national security committee.

“So it’s important that we let that decision process take place while our National Security Committee get to that determination, and I’m sure the prime minister will make a determination with that committee in due course.”

Earlier today the minister for sport, Richard Colbeck, reaffirmed the government’s holding line: “A decision on commonwealth representation at the Beijing Winter Olympics is yet to be made.”

 

03:12

⚠️⛈️Update to Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Damaging Winds, Heavy Rainfall and Large Hail are a possibility with thunderstorms in the warning area. #Thunderstorms will remain a risk today. Warnings and radar: https://t.co/gxn1SdIsYY@NSWSES pic.twitter.com/efXHCa5pal

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 7, 2021

 

03:01

The ABC is reporting that WA Police have dropped a fraud charge against a nurse in Perth, who was accused of falsely recording giving a teenager the Covid vaccine.

Police prosecutors reportedly dropped the charges at the Perth Magistrates Court today, although no reason was given.

We’ll bring you more as it comes to light, but you can read on the last update on the story from last month in the link below:

Related: Western Australia nurse who allegedly faked giving Covid vaccine to teenager charged

 

02:59

A survey by the Red Cross has found women and younger people are feeling lonelier going into the holiday season.

The survey of 1,000 people found 36 % of 18- to 29-year-olds citing border closures as a concern, more than any other age group, and with 44% of that group experiencing loneliness compared to 33 per cent of all respondents.

The survey also found a similar percentage were feeling lonelier leading into the holiday season.

Forty per cent of women reported loneliness compared with 26% of men.

Red Cross volunteering director Penny Harrison told the AAP the results weren’t a shock considering the year of lockdowns we’ve experienced.

It’s also apparent that younger people are worried about possible border closures keeping them from family and friends.

Pick up the phone and reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken to this year or check in on a neighbour who lives alone.

NSW teachers’ strike closes nearly 400 public schools

02:36

Thousands of New South Wales public school teachers have rallied at NSW parliament as part of a campaign of statewide industrial action to push for better pay and conditions.

Teachers from Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains gathered at Hyde Park in Sydney’s city centre on Tuesday, before marching to parliament.

Many of those on strike were wearing red T-shirts and carrying placards supporting the NSW Teachers Federation, which organised the action that closed almost 400 state schools for 24 hours.

The teachers say the government has failed to address unsustainable workloads, uncompetitive salaries and staff shortages.

They want a pay increase up to 7.5% a year to reverse the decline in teachers’ wages compared with other professions.

Related: NSW teachers strike as train and bus services services hit by industrial action

Australia live news update: Labor climate target ‘not based on the science’, Greens say; RBA leaves cash rate at record low
© Provided by The Guardian Thousands of teachers strike outside NSW parliament on Tuesday. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images

Fifth Ashes Test reportedly to go up for state bidding war

02:34 Emma Kemp

It looks as if states will have a formal avenue to continue jostling for the right to host the fifth Ashes Test after the venue was put out to tender overnight.

Less than a day after Cricket Australia confirmed it was pulling the plug on holding the series finale at Perth’s Optus Stadium due to the strict Covid-19 border policies imposed in Western Australia, the ABC is reporting tender documents have been sent out to all state and territory cricket associations as well as governments and venues.

Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra have all expressed a willingness to host the match, scheduled to start on 14 January. Hobart was considered the marginal favourite ahead of Melbourne, though Bellerive Oval has a limited capacity compared with larger venues such as the MCG, SCG, Adelaide Oval and the Gabba.

One of the main criteria is reportedly the capacity to host a day-night Test, which could mean a second pink-ball Test this series – the second Test at Adelaide Oval will also be played under lights. That would presumably provide some compensation for broadcasters, who would have drawn a larger evening audience for the Perth Test given the time difference with the east coast.

CA said on Monday that extensive talks with the WA government and WA Cricket had failed to ensure the series finale against England could be played as planned at Optus Stadium.

Australia live news update: Labor climate target ‘not based on the science’, Greens say; RBA leaves cash rate at record low
© Provided by The Guardian The MCG is one of the venues putting forward its case to host the fifth Ashes Test. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

 

02:32

Good afternoon, Mostafa Rachwani with you this afternoon. A quick thanks to Elias Visontay and Matilda Boseley for their stellar work earlier today. There is still much to get through, so let’s dive in.

 

02:32

Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner is providing a Covid update, after announcing a local toddler had tested positive on Monday.

Gunner said “for the positive local case we announced yesterday, there have been 30 close contacts identified across three households in Katherine East”.

Seven of those close contacts, in addition to the positive case announced yesterday, have been transferred to the Howard Springs centre for national resilience.

Gunner reiterated that positive wastewater detections of Covid mean “it is very likely there are more cases in that area”.

Meanwhile, the community of Lajamanu will come out of lockdown later today and move to lesser restrictions.

Katherine – which has had restrictions for more than a month – is set to come out of lockout tomorrow, however a final decision on that is still to be made.

 

02:25

With that, I’ll pass you over to my colleague Mostafa Rachwani who will take you through the next part of the day.

 

02:23

#Breaking Infamous conman Peter Foster has been arrested by the AFP near Gisborne in Victoria… more than six months after vanishing when he was granted bail by a NSW court. More @dailytelegraph

— josh hanrahan (@jhanraDT) December 7, 2021

 

02:08

In case you missed it earlier today, the latest Guardian Essential poll has found that voters in New South Wales remain sympathetic to Gladys Berejiklian despite the former premier having to front the state’s anti-corruption commission to answer serious questions.

My colleague Katharine Murphy has filed this report on what voters in NSW think of Berejiklian, and of Scott Morrison’s repeated criticism of the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac).

Related: Guardian Essential poll: NSW voters sympathetic to Gladys Berejiklian despite Icac probe

 

01:41

A man who allegedly pointed a gun at a university security guard has been arrested in Melbourne, reports AAP.

Police were called to Swinburne University’s Croydon campus, in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, just before 10.30am on Tuesday.

Specialist police along with uniformed officers quickly responded and cordoned off the area, arresting the man shortly after.

 

01:31

With that, I shall hand you over to the fantastic Elias Visontay who will guide you through the afternoon of news.

See you tomorrow, love you, bye!

 

01:23

On this day in 2017, legislation to allow same-sex marriage passed the Australian Parliament.

In 2020, same-sex marriages accounted for 3.7% (almost 1 in 25) of the total number of marriages. pic.twitter.com/hig1KqFxYO

— Australian Bureau of Statistics (@ABSStats) December 6, 2021

Man arrested after alleged firearm threat at a Melbourne university

01:23

A man has been arrested in Melbourne after allegedly pointing a firearm at the security staff of an educational campus in eastern Melbourne.

Here is what the police have said so far:

Police were called following reports a man pointed a firearm at a security staff member on the Norton Road campus shortly before 10.30am.

Specialist police along with uniformed officers quickly responded and cordoned off the area arresting the man shortly after.

The man was arrested without incident, no one was injured and police are not searching for anyone else in relation to the incident.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

 

01:22

“Don’t be seduced by these larger states,” says Tasmania’s Premier Peter Gutwein to Cricket Australia. He says hosting the fifth Ashes test in Tasmania would “make history” #politas

— Monte Bovill (@MonteBovill) December 7, 2021

 

01:21 Tory Shepherd

There are now 37 cases of Omicron in Australia, chief medical officer Paul Kelly has confirmed – and only 10 of those are associated with overseas travel.

Kelly has provided an update to a senate select committee inquiry into the Australian government’s response to the Covid pandemic.

He also said that, as the pandemic continues and new variants emerge, they would run out of Greek alphabet letters to name them after, and would turn to stars and constellations instead.

 

01:15

Wow. Shocking new statistics from the @ABSStats on sexual harassment in Australia.

53% of women and 25% of men have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime.

The prevalence of sexual harassment increased between 2012 and 2016 for both men and women. https://t.co/gJggpM2JRF

— Brittany Higgins (@BrittHiggins_) December 7, 2021

 

01:12

This is from about 45 minutes ago, I’m hearing crowds have since begun to disperse, but a fair turnout at the NSW strike protests today.

Teachers rally outside parliament now wrapping up. One of the biggest for a long time. @2GB873 pic.twitter.com/tUikJDedc3

— Clinton Maynard (@ClintMaynard2GB) December 7, 2021

 

01:11

⚠️Minor #Flood Warning updated for the #MurrumbidgeeRiver. Minor flooding occurring at #Narrandera, #DarlingtonPoint and #HayTown. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/QdJNygqGNL

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 7, 2021

Qantas expects to operate at 115% of pre-Covid capacity by April

01:08 Elias Visontay

Qantas expects to operate at 115% of its pre-Covid capacity by April, with a summer of increased airline competition and relaxed border rules set to see lower airfare prices for Australians.

Speaking at the Centre for Aviation (CAPA) summit in Sydney on Tuesday, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce explained the airline’s “approach with capacity is not to make money like we did pre-Covid”, and that instead the company would prioritise returning its fleet to the air and getting its staff – many of who remain stood-down – back to work.

Joyce also revealed that Qantas had seen a “surge” in bookings in the 24 hours since the Queensland government announced it would bring forward key border rule relaxations this month.

Joyce was also asked about the airline’s sustainability and emissions plans given the aviation industry’s high-polluting business model. While Joyce said airlines still needed to respond to consumer demand to fly, he announced the airline would begin purchasing sustainable aviation fuel before Christmas this year.

The signal of cheaper fares comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its annual Airline Competition report on Tuesday, which predicts “millions of Australians are set to benefit from increased competition and cheaper airfares on Australia’s busiest routes”.

The ACCC notes the high level of competition between Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Rex, and the entrance of a new budget carrier – Bonza – next year, as well as reopened state borders, will lead to cheaper fares.

 

01:04

Thousands of Victorians were unjustly and inhumanely denied a Covid19 border exemption to return home to farewell dying loved ones, attend medical appointments, care for sick family members or start jobs, reports AAP.

That is the finding of an investigation by the Victorian ombudsman into the Department of Health’s NSW border exemption scheme.

Ombudsman Deborah Glass said the decision to shut the border to Covid-stricken Sydney and others parts of NSW in July left thousands stranded and unable to get an exemption.

Of 33,252 applications from 9 July to 14 September, when the probe was launched, only 8% were granted.

In all, the watchdog received 315 complaints including from stranded souls paying double rent with no job, internet-less caravanning pensioners who were asked for documents they did not have, and a farmer afraid of having to destroy her animals when she could not get home.

Glass did not criticise the border closure call, finding it was lawful and needed to protect people in the face of a public health emergency. But she hit out at the narrow use of discretion, lack of reasons for refusals and delegation of decision-making.

She wrote in the report released on Tuesday:

The overwhelming majority of applications did not get to a decision maker at all, and the guidance did not change even as case numbers in Victoria grew and the risks evolved…

The consequences of that were vast, and unfair, for many thousands of people stuck across the border.

Despite scaling up its exemption team from 20 staff in July to 285 by early September, those responsible for categorising and prioritising applications were expected to complete 50 per hour or one every 30 seconds.

Ms Glass said people felt caught up in a “bureaucratic nightmare”.

 

00:55

⚠️ Minor to Major #Flood Warning updated for the #MacquarieRiver. Major occurring at #WarrenTown. Minor occurring at #WellingtonBridge and #Narromine. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/VnZIGyej4I

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 7, 2021

 

00:45

NSW secretary for the Transport Workers Union, Richard Olsen, has spoken at the strike protests in the Sydney CBD.

These bus drivers have been relentless over the past few years throughout all the pandemic in ensuring that all essential workers get to and from work. Risking not only their own lives but their families to ensure that everyone who needs transport gets transport to and from where they need to go.

We stand in solidarity with all the bus drivers in region three to ensure that they can get what they deserve to, they have worked under an inferior enterprise agreement, not an industry-standard agreement but an inferior agreement for the past three years.

That has been out of its nominal term for well over six months, yet the company is still not prepared to meet. And they are certainly not putting anything on the table for the bus drivers to consider.

Moving forward as a reasonable industry agreement, we call on transit system to immediately put an offer on the table and [if they fail] to do so we call on the state government to intervene, after all they are the economic employer we must stand up and we must take this fight on.

We cannot allow a company like this to pocket the thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars that the state government has paid them. It should have already been in the pockets of these bus drivers. We cannot allow the company to get away with that nor the state government.

 

00:35

⛈️Storm forecast for Tue 7/12: More showers and thunderstorms for #Qld today. Severe thunderstorms may develop in the yellow zone, with heavy rain the main risk for the Central Highlands & Coalfields. #Comet had 70mm in 1 hour last night. Warnings at https://t.co/FBmpsInT9o pic.twitter.com/181WPyhYEW

— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) December 7, 2021

 

00:28

NEW: For domestic travellers who need a day five PCR test in Queensland

– Public testing sites will be open over Christmas and New Year

– People facing logistical issues can get a test on day six

– You only have to self-isolate while waiting for results if you have symptoms

— @MartySilk (@MartySilkHack) December 7, 2021

Alleged Brisbane gunman dies in hospital

00:27

A gunman has died in hospital after being shot by police following a six-hour siege in Brisbane’s south, reports AAP.

The standoff began on Monday around 1.20pm at a business on Compton Road at Stretton after officers responded to reports of a disturbance.

But the situation escalated and police negotiators were called in at around 3pm after surrounding businesses were evacuated and an exclusion zone set up.

Five members of the public had been locked inside the business in a room separate from the man.

Queensland Police said in a statement on Tuesday:

It will be alleged about 7.30pm, the man raised his firearm at police and was shot.

The 48-year-old Woodridge man was taken to hospital in a critical condition but later died. The five members of the public were assessed by paramedics and gave statements to police.

No one else was injured.

The Queensland Police Ethical Standards Command is investigating, with the assistance of the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Three new Omicron cases detected in ACT, six Covid-19 infections overall

00:27

Three new cases of Covid-19 linked to the Omicron variant have been detected in the ACT, reports AAP’s Andrew Brown.

It takes the number of Omicron cases in the national capital to five.

Of the new cases, two are household close contacts, while the third is a casual contact.

The new Omicron infections were first identified as being a positive case several days ago, but genomic testing had only just been completed confirming they were linked to the new variant.

It comes as three additional cases were detected in Canberra in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, but none of those infections were linked to Omicron.

The daily case number is one of the lowest single-day figures in the ACT since Canberra was forced into lockdown in August.

 

00:25

In case anyone was wondering what was going on in South Australia, basically, the premier is just simping over Zac Efron, and honestly, same.

Photos of Hollywood sensation Zac Efron in outback #SouthAustralia have been released alongside the trailer for his film GOLD, which will premiere on Stan, 26 Jan.

We’re investing in our screen sector to attract big names to SA, drive economic activity and create #SAjobs. pic.twitter.com/xbPzCviEWD

— Steven Marshall, MP (@marshall_steven) December 6, 2021

 

00:22

⚠️ Public Health Alert ⚠️

New contact tracing locations in:

📍 Buddina

📍 Maroochydore

Full details: https://t.co/sDcoTgRvQ3 pic.twitter.com/N0h40SbQ6C

— Queensland Health (@qldhealth) December 7, 2021

 

00:21

A neat summary of the federal politics news this morning.

Enjoying another day of the endless cycle of George Christensen pic.twitter.com/7c5zk3T1sY

— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) December 6, 2021

 

00:16

She has confirmed that if there’s a COVID-19 case in a Queensland venue after December 17, it will have to close down for a deep-clean.

— @MartySilk (@MartySilkHack) December 7, 2021

 

00:14

Here is what the Greens have to say about the NSW teacher’s strike today:

Solidarity with all the teachers striking around NSW today.

When governments ignore the facts, the only option is to act.

For teachers, for students, and for classrooms.#MoreThanThanks

— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) December 7, 2021

 

00:09

⚠️ #Moderate #Flood Warning issued for the #BoganRiver at #Mudall. The Bogan River at Mudall may reach the moderate flood level (3.00 m) during Wednesday. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/2BjYoFbY8Q

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 6, 2021

 

00:08 Andrew Gregory

Viagra could be a useful treatment against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a US study.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of age-related dementia, affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Despite mounting numbers of cases, however, there is currently no effective treatment.

Using a large gene-mapping network, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic integrated genetic and other data to determine which of more than 1,600 Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs could be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. They gave higher scores to drugs that target both amyloid and tau – two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s – compared with drugs that targeted just one or the other.

You can read the full report below:

Related: Viagra could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, study finds

 

00:02 Peter Hannam

It’s that first Tuesday in the month, and that means the Reserve Bank of Australia’s board meets to announce its cash rates decision.

Well, the board members do take a break over summer (unless there’s a financial meltdown, or its opposite, a meltup?) and so won’t be back to torment us until early February. (Checks calendar: 1 February, in fact.)

Anyway, today’s decision won’t change the official rate at its record 0.1%. The cash rate target was cut in November 2020 and the focus of pundits will be any signs of when the RBA might lift that rate.

So far, the bank has been keen to stress its patience about not lifting the cash rate until inflation is firmly within it 2%-3% a year range, and talked about 2024 as the aim.

Surging global inflation has possibly pulled that back to 2023.

Also of interest (so to speak) will be comments about whether the RBA is going to stop buying up government debt before its planned binge winds up in February. By then, the RBA will be the proud owner of about 40% of government debt, which it will one day have decide what to do with.

In the meantime, most economic indicators are showing consumers are cashed up and ready to spend, and that job ads are on the rise.

An ANZ Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence report out this morning showed that confidence added another 1.4% in the past week, while inflationary expectations remain steady on a four-week rolling average.

A factoid of the day is also from the ANZ. It notes how household consumption as a proportion of the economy has dived to about 51% down from 55% before the pandemic.

With $200bn plus in extra savings and job security looking better by the day (Omicron, permitting), that low ratio is set for a big rebound, most economists think, which could end up surprising the RBA in a way that won’t be great for interest rates.

Seems like household consumption peaked at about 56.5% in 2011, perhaps when the carbon price introduction was offset by income support.

Australia live news update: Labor climate target ‘not based on the science’, Greens say; RBA leaves cash rate at record low
© Provided by The Guardian A pedestrian walks past the Reserve Back of Australia head office in Sydney. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

 

00:01

Federal Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh has slammed National leader Barnaby Joyce’s muted response to MP George Christensen appearing on far-right commentator Alex Jones’ web show.

A spokesperson for Joyce, who is currently overseas, said that “while the deputy prime minister doesn’t agree with the comments made, Mr Christensen has the right to say what he believes”.

Leigh:

Once you’re playing footsies with Alex Jones, one of the great conspiracy theorists of the age, you’ve really got to worry about what George Christensen is doing.

And Barnaby Joyce still seems to have an inability to really recognise he’s the deputy prime minister. He said after the Glasgow meetings that the Nationals hadn’t signed up to net zero by 2050, as though they’re not in Coalition with the government. And now he’s often in Britain, on some private enterprise.

I think Australians just want him to do his day job, to focus on the needs of Australians, the pressures households are facing and the importance of tackling climate change…

You can be sure if it was somebody on the left of politics, Scott Morrison would be out there quick as a flash having a go at them, saying that they ought to be denounced. But when it’s George Christensen or it’s Craig Kelly, people like that seem to get a free pass from the prime minister.

 

06 Dec 2021 23:54

⚠️ #Moderate to Major Flood Warning issued for the Namoi River at #Bugilbone and #Goangra. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/JF7ZOZppLh

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 6, 2021

Queensland records one new local case of Covid-19

06 Dec 2021 23:50

In case it wasn’t clear from the posts on the Queensland health minister’s presser before, the sunshine state has recorded one new case of Covid-19.

The person is on the Gold Coast and linked to existing cases, recently travelled to NSW and deputy chief medical officer Peter Aitken says they may well be the source of the cluster.

Queensland, there’s one new COVID-19 case to report, locally acquired and linked to a previously confirmed case.

87.37% of Queenslanders have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccination, and 78.67% have received two doses. pic.twitter.com/ApThB0E03T

— Yvette D’Ath MP (@YvetteDAth) December 6, 2021

Controversial Vic pandemic powers bill becomes law

06 Dec 2021 23:47

As expected the controversial Victorian pandemic powers bill which sparked weeks of protests in Melbourne has officially passed through parliament and has become law.

BREAKING: The contentious Pandemic Management bill passed by @VicParliament is now Law. The @VicGovernor has this morning given Royal Assent to the legislation. @10NewsFirstMelb #springst

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) December 6, 2021

Ten News is reporting that premier Daniel Andrews is likely to declare a pandemic under the new act, ahead of the current state of emergence expiring next week.

 

06 Dec 2021 23:46

D’ath says Queensland will extend the criminal offence of spitting, coughing or sneezing on essential workers deliberately to include all workers at businesses which require patrons to be vaccinated.

There is another thing that we are going to do to support workers and businesses as well. In April last year we extended the offence of spitting, coughing or sneezing deliberately on people or threatening to do so, we extended that to retail workers because we know they saw appalling behaviour while they tried to just get on with doing their job and serving the community.

Because these workers and every one of the businesses that we are mandating the vaccination are doing their job to keep you safe and to ensure people are vaccinated, we want to protect them from this sort of behaviour.

We will be extending this offence to protect all workers in all businesses that are bound by this public health directive. That means if you behave in this way, then you can see an on the spot fine of $1,378.50 or, if your offence is such that the police choose to take you to court, it could be a $13,785 fine or up to six months imprisonment.

There’s other offences that are already covered under the criminal code as well but we believe it’s important to send a very clear message that these workers are here to do their job, to serve you, to make sure you enjoy your experience at these wonderful venues but we have a responsibility to protect them as well.

Queensland announces plans for businesses

06 Dec 2021 23:45

The Queensland health minister is out about today to officially announce which businesses will only be allowed to serve vaccinated patrons from 17 December, after the state’s border opens next week.

As we have announced previously, those sites are vulnerable settings, aged care, hospitals, prisons, disability services, the staff must be vaccinated and all visitors must be fully vaccinated to enter those sites and I am saying visitors. Not patients to hospitals.

Hospitality venues, hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants, cafes will all be required to have their staff vaccinated by 17 December and also patrons have to be vaccinated to enter those sites.

Indoor entertainment venues, night clubs, indoor live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres, cinemas, outdoor entertainment activities such as reef excursions, sports stadiums, theme parks and festivals where they are ticketed events, folk, arts and music festivals, weddings. You can have a wedding and have unvaccinated people attend but the cap is 20 people at that wedding, otherwise if it is vaccinated only then there is no limit to those attending the weddings.

Queensland government-owned galleries, libraries and museums as well. When it comes to other settings – so essential services, supermarkets, retail stores, public transport places of worship and funerals, the normal Covid Safe plans, density restrictions apply and unvaccinated as well as vaccinated people can attend those.

I have been asked why public transport? This is essential. People need to be go able to go to doctors’ appointments and travel to work. It is important that everyone is entitled to access public transport but if you are on public transport and it is very crowded, we recommend that you wear a mask or you do try to social distance.

National party leaders: ‘We have to condemn’ George Christensen’s appearance on Alex Jones’ web show

06 Dec 2021 23:37

So you might have been following the controversy this morning involving outgoing Nationals MP George Christensen appearing on US far-right commentator Alex Jones’ web series, where he urged viewers to protest outside Australian embassies.

Acting Nationals leader David Littleproud condemned the appearance and has just tweeted to confirm he has spoken to Christensen and the MP “both [Littleproud’s] position and the views of the party room”.

I’ve spoken with George Christensen this morning about his judgement on going on the show.

Some of my comments he agreed with and he understands both my position and the views of the party room.

— David Littleproud MP (@D_LittleproudMP) December 6, 2021

Littleproud spoke to ABC earlier this morning, expressing disapproval over the appearance.

I have to say, we as a National party have to condemn – we respect his right for freedom of speech. But with that comes a responsibility…

We want to work constructively with George, but know that there are limits and there are boundaries that we as federal politicians have to adhere to.

He is a respected member of the party room, and we want to have a conversation with him about respecting the party room back.

 

06 Dec 2021 23:36

Queensland’s health minister, Yevette D’ath says the number of exposure sites on the Gold Coast is likely to grow as authorities try to bring the cluster under control.

I can advise that in relation to the Gold Coast cluster, one of those individuals we advised worked at a private aged care facility. The good news is 89 tests have come back and they have all been negative. Wonderful news for the residents and staff at that aged care facility. Some people may have noticed, and I should say there is likely to be more exposure sites on the Gold Coast going up as we interview this gentleman.

She also explained the reason for Cairns Airport’s recently listing:

We did put the Cairns Airport up as an exposure site. That is because we had an overseas traveller who had travelled through New South Wales, was eligible to come up and fly into Cairns and then to quarantine but they have since tested positive. People on that flight and at the airport are being asked to have a look at the date and times and follow the advice of the public health unit in relation to any testing or any quarantine requirements.

 

06 Dec 2021 23:34

Unions representing New South Wales teachers and public transport workers are blaming the state government for a series of strikes taking place this week.

Thousands of commuters will have to make other travel plans as bus and train drivers take industrial action.

The strikes began on Monday with inner-west Sydney bus drivers walking off the job as part of an ongoing dispute over pay equality.

On Tuesday bus drivers in the city’s south-west are also striking, before the two groups stage a coordinated walkout for two hours during the Friday afternoon peak.

You can read the full report below:

Related: NSW strikes: teachers and transport unions blame government for industrial action

NSW education minister slams teacher strike as ‘incredibly disingenuous’

06 Dec 2021 23:33

Speaking of the teacher strike, here is what the New South Wales education minister, Sarah Mitchell, had to say about it this morning.

Spoiler alert, she is not happy, labelling the industrial action as “incredibly unfair”, and “incredibly disingenuous from the union”:

I’m very disappointed by the decision that’s been made by 200 odd union officials today to take this industrial action and it does a real disservice to our hard-working teaching profession.

It’s pitting teachers, families, and students against each other and I think it’s incredibly frustrating that the union has decided to take this approach. We are negotiating in good faith the current teachers award.

We have a 2.5% offering on the table and we never left the negotiating table. We want to have these discussions with the union through the industrial relations commission. That is the place where the negotiation should be occurring.

We should not be seeing strike action today. The industrial relations commission has ruled this strike action illegal. It’s really important that we support our schools and our school communities and we do everything we can to minimise the disruption when it comes to our students.

I’m very grateful that hundreds of schools are remaining operational today, that great teaching and learning is taking place in the classroom. But I also don’t want to dismiss the disruption that the union is causing.

 

06 Dec 2021 23:25

From a spokesperson for Barnaby Joyce: “A conversation has been had with Mr Christensen. While the Deputy Prime Minister doesn’t agree with the comments made, Mr Christensen has the right to say what he believes.” https://t.co/Xh3jeMvrAX

— Stephanie Dalzell (@steph_dalzell) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 23:11

Reporter:

Speaking to a number of parents since the decision was made about the strike going ahead, some weeks ago, the majority of parents have said they are supportive of teachers going on strike today, they’re supportive of parents having an increase in their pay to improve the staff shortage. What would you say to that?

Mitchell:

Well, I know many parents who are incredibly frustrated by this disruption today, that are making tough choices about not being able to go to work with their children can’t be at school.

I think the reality is that as a government we have our wages policy, we have a 2.5% pay increase on the table, it’s the maximum that we can offer under that wages policy, which means each and every teacher across New South Wales would get a pay rise with that approach.

No one is arguing that teachers [don’t] work hard. We know they do an incredible job. We want to offer the pay rise they’re able to. We want to have an adult conversation with the union in the IRC.

What I get really frustrated about is there are measures and mechanisms in place where that can happen. The strike action today is unnecessary. It serves no purpose, other than to disrupt families right across New South Wales and ultimately it’s our children and their education that will suffer from these actions and it’s incredibly disappointing.

 

06 Dec 2021 23:10

NSW education minister Sarah Mitchell:

Today across New South Wales we’re seeing over 350 schools closed. So students who need to be at school, those who have really challenging family circumstances, aren’t able to be at school today because of this action taken by the union.

In a single day, the union has caused more disruption to our public education system than we’ve seen due to Covid throughout the entirety of this term.

We remain willing to negotiate. We are still at the table when it comes to our 2.5% pay rise. We’re working through those issues in the IRC. That’s where these matters should be debated and discussed and ruled on, not through industrial action.

I’m disappointed and I’m frustrated on behalf of parents, the hundreds of thousands of parents impacted by this decision today, the parents who can’t go to work today because their children can’t go to school.

It’s incredibly unfair, it’s incredibly disingenuous from the union and now is the time to put the interests of our students first. We need to make sure our kids are in the classroom, each and every day, but particularly this year, when we’ve seen what is arguably the most disrupted year in education in our history.

 

06 Dec 2021 23:05

Crowds are on the move in the Sydney CBD as part of the major teacher strike.

Thousands of teachers about to march on State Parliament. @2GB873 pic.twitter.com/107UzJ3ViI

— Clinton Maynard (@ClintMaynard2GB) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 22:56

Victoria’s Ombudsman calls for a public acknowledgement from the state govt that there were “unjust outcomes” from the “narrow exercise of discretion” in the border permit rules Jul-Sept this year.

And says govt should consider ex gratia payments to make up for it.

— Heidi Murphy (@heidimur) December 6, 2021

Australia yet to decide on Olympic diplomatic boycott

06 Dec 2021 22:53 Daniel Hurst

The Australian government says it hasn’t decided yet whether to send commonwealth officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics.

The United States announced overnight it would not send any government officials to the Games in protest over human rights abuses. The Australian government has been watching closely the actions of the US, and it has always been believed it would coordinate any action rather than taking unilateral steps.

A number of Australian politicians – including government backbenchers and also from outside the Coalition – want the Australian government to now follow suit.

We asked the sports minister, Richard Colbeck, for an update on the government’s position, now the US has confirmed it would proceed with a diplomatic boycott.

Colbeck continues to hold to the position that it’s all yet to be decided. He said this morning:

A decision on commonwealth representation at the Beijing Winter Olympics is yet to be made.

 

06 Dec 2021 22:52

⚠️ Minor to Major #Flood Warning updated for the #LachlanRiver. Major likely on Tuesday at #Euabalong and Moderate occurring at #Hillston. See https://t.co/AdztI2rqg1 for details and updates; follow advice from @NSWSES. #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/wqc11ACbg8

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 6, 2021

Victoria’s border permit system as ‘unjust’ and ‘inhumane’: Ombudsman

06 Dec 2021 22:52

The Victorian ombudsman has handed down her finding on the Victorian Covid-19 border permit system, describing it as ‘unjust’ and ‘inhumane’.

She stated that the result was some of the most questionable decisions she’s seen in her seven years in the role.

The narrow exercise of discretion under the border exemption scheme resulted in unjust outcomes and recommended the Government publicly acknowledge the distress caused to affected people…

People complained to the Ombudsman after being refused exemptions to travel to Victoria to farewell loved ones at funerals, attend vital medical appointments, care for sick family members, return home to care for animals, or to start jobs…

Some found themselves facing effective homelessness because they lived in Victoria and could not return

Of the 33,252 exemption applications @VicGovDH received between 9 July and 14 Sept only 8% were granted. @10NewsFirstMelb #springst

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 22:48

I’ll bring you more on this soon, but the Victorian Ombudsman has some choice words on the Victorian permit system.

The @VicOmbudsman has described Victoria’s border permit system as ‘unjust’ and ‘inhumane’ and says the result was some of the most questionable decisions she’s seen in her 7 years. She recommends some fines be withdrawn. @abcmelbourne #springst

— Bridget Rollason (@bridgerollo) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 22:39 Stephanie Convery

Women were doing 21 hours more unpaid work than men a week and experiencing higher levels of psychological distress in the year before the pandemic, a new report has found.

The annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (Hilda) survey is a nationally representative study involving interviews with 17,500 people in 9,500 households.

This year’s report, released on Tuesday and compiled by the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Institute, covers data from 2019, before the massive social and economic upheaval caused by Covid-19.

While household incomes were rising again after years of stagnation, the national snapshot shows poverty was also increasing, and two groups that would be hit hard by the pandemic were already disadvantaged.

You can read the full report from Stephanie Convery and Luke Henriques-Gomes below:

Related: Women do 21 hours more unpaid work than men a week, national survey finds

 

06 Dec 2021 22:37

Here is that chat with Palaszczuk I mentioned earlier.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk hasn’t ruled out snapping shut Queensland’s border again, if necessary, saying she ‘hopes’ it will remain open from next Monday. #9News pic.twitter.com/99cHbk14Xg

— 9News Queensland (@9NewsQueensland) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 22:28 Paul Karp

Labor will extend an olive branch to religious communities through a faith and climate summit on Thursday, Kristina Keneally has revealed.

The ALP’s deputy leader in the Senate announced the outreach effort in a webinar with the Christian lobby group FamilyVoice on Monday evening, in which she also expressed support for every school to require all staff to “live out and profess” its values.

Labor is yet to decide its final position on the religious discrimination bill, pending two parliamentary inquiries to run over summer and report back by 4 February.

Keneally’s comments are noteworthy because overriding state laws with more limited religious exemptions to discrimination law, such as Victoria’s legislation, is one of the key reasons LGBT advocates have urged Labor to block the bill.

You can read the full report below:

Related: Labor reaches out to religious communities with faith and climate summit

 

06 Dec 2021 22:21

Two birds worth $30,000 each have been stolen in a burglary at a home in Melbourne’s south east, with police on the hunt for the thieves, reports AAP.

The valuable scarlet macaws, named Bubba and Pippa, were stolen late last month after the burglars broke into Frankston home through the front door while the owner wasn’t there.

They belonged to her late father and have a highly sentimental value, police said.

Both birds have their flight feathers clipped and anyone with information on their whereabouts is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

 

06 Dec 2021 22:20

Pixar and Queensland Bureau of Meteorology collab?

A wet spring has left catchments saturated across parts of Qld & this means we’re likely to see flooding continue over summer.

Along with @QReconstruction we’ve developed an immersive 3D video that will show you, in vivid detail, exactly how dangerous flood waters are. @QFES pic.twitter.com/yUyeME29Ca

— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) December 6, 2021

Australia under pressure after US announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

06 Dec 2021 22:19 Daniel Hurst

Australia is likely to face growing calls to join a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, after the United States announced overnight it would not send any government officials to the Games in protest over human rights abuses.

Guardian Australia has previously reported the Australian government was watching closely the actions of the US, and that it would likely coordinate any action rather than taking unilateral steps. Even if senior Australian officials shunned the event, it was unclear if and when this would openly be announced.

We are chasing a response from the Australian government today, but the Liberal party senator Eric Abetz has been on ABC radio this morning calling on his government to follow the US move. The independent South Australian senator Rex Patrick also issued a statement this morning urging the Australian government to announce no Australian ministers, senior officials or diplomats would attend the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Patrick said:

This is an important action by the US, especially as the Biden administration’s announcement directly refers to the Chinese government’s ‘ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses’ …

It would be morally wrong for the Australian government to extend any measure of official endorsement to the Chinese Communist regime which has committed and continues to commit gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Yesterday, at the daily press conference in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, responded to Scott Morrison’s comment that Australia was considering a potential diplomatic boycott.

Zhao said the Games were “a grand gathering of global winter sports athletes and fans, rather than a platform for certain politicians’ political stunts”. He said it should be “athletes, instead of politicians clamouring for boycott, that should be in the spotlight”:

Politicians calling for boycott are doing so for their own political interests and posturing. In fact, no one would care about whether these people come or not, and it has no impact whatsoever on the Olympics to be successfully held by Beijing.

 

06 Dec 2021 22:17

A cool, cloudy day for southern #Victoria with max temps 8-10°C below average. Expect a few showers as well, with thunderstorms possible in the NE this afternoon. More mild, dry and sunny inland. Latest weather information; https://t.co/UYVuRwgKlp pic.twitter.com/y1ktiR9j8v

— Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria (@BOM_Vic) December 6, 2021

Victoria records 1,185 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths

06 Dec 2021 22:03

We thank everyone who got vaccinated and tested yesterday.

Our thoughts are with those in hospital, and the families of people who have lost their lives.

More data soon: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/dE6sK8hM9w

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) December 6, 2021

NSW records 260 new Covid-19 cases and two deaths

06 Dec 2021 22:02

NSW #COVID19 update – Tuesday 7 December 2021

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

– 94.7% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

– 92.8% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/Qt1AycJLEJ

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 21:51

Hmmmm, OK, well scratch that, because just 10 minutes later, Palaszczuk has told the Today Show that she “hopes” the border won’t close again.

Host:

Can you guarantee that this is the end of border closures? Are you open now for good?

Palaszczuk:

We hope so. We have been open to most of the states and territories except for NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

We are very confident that our tourism industry, that is exactly the extra injection that they need. It will be great for jobs. I know that everyone is looking forward to welcoming family and friends home who they haven’t seen for a long, long time.

A lot of people out there, and grandparents, have been saying to me they will be seeing their grandchildren for the very first time. It will be a very special time of the year.

Teens in hospital after Vic shark attack

06 Dec 2021 21:41

A suspected shark attack on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula has left two teens in hospital and shut a beach, reports Callum Godde from AAP.

Emergency services were called to Ocean Grove, south east of Geelong, just after 7pm on Monday.

Beach at Ocean Grove closed after two teenage girls were attacked by a shark. They are in a stable condition in hospital. Heroic bystanders who helped saved them coming up ⁦@TheTodayShow⁩ pic.twitter.com/8CyfSL9WbV

— Christine Ahern (@ChristineAhern) December 6, 2021

Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club said the teens were injured by a shark and VicEmergency issued a warning for the shark sighting close to shore.

Off-duty lifesavers and bystanders came to the aid of the teenage boy and girl before they were treated by paramedics and taken to hospital.

Exclusive: Hobbs family which helped two teenagers who were attacked by a shark last night at Ocean Grove ⁦@TheTodayShow⁩ pic.twitter.com/xqVRmsSTxh

— Christine Ahern (@ChristineAhern) December 6, 2021

Salvation Army officer Peter Hobbs wrote on social media that he was out for a paddle when the pair were attacked while in the water nearby.

We could see them splashing but didn’t know what was happening…

We didn’t see the shark, just the splash, but we heard the cries and our family mobilised.

The girl suffered lower body injuries and the boy minor injuries, Ambulance Victoria said.

Both are in a stable condition.

Ocean Grove main beach remains closed.

Life Saving Victoria said in a statement:

Lifesavers have erected a beach closure sign, and we ask people to avoid the area until further notice…

It’s important to remember sharks are a normal part of the marine environment and attacks like tonight’s are rare, so you should be alert but not alarmed.

Queensland will not shut the border again: premier

06 Dec 2021 21:38

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told ABC that once the Queensland border is open, it’s open for good. On an unrelated note, I might just duck off and look at flight prices for the Whitsundays.

We are not shutting the border. We believe that we have the right measures in place and we have the high rate of vaccination.

It is completely different to a year or two years ago when people didn’t have the vaccination rates as well as they have today.

I want everyone to have a good Christmas and I hope we get to see you in our beautiful state soon.

 

06 Dec 2021 21:36

Okay, let’s chat about the Queensland border. Long story short, it’s opening next Monday, with the state set to reach 80% double vaccination sometime this week.

The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk is out and about this morning sharing the good news. She told ABC News Breakfast that the Queensland regional hospital system was prepared for the potential influx of cases.

Everyone is prepared, just as in New South Wales and Victoria. We now have to live with the virus and we have heard from our acting chief health officer yesterday that there will be cases. We have to prepare for that.

It will be a different mind set for Queenslanders because we’re used to hearing zero, zero, time and time again. People haven’t seen their families for some months, if not years and Christmas is a time for families to reunite. I have spoken to grandparents who will see their grandchildren for the very first time. That will be very memorable.

This is the right thing to do, as Australia opens up. We have to be mindful that we are in a pandemic and there’s many Queenslanders that have gone about their jobs, people have gone to school. We haven’t had the long lock downs that you’ve experienced in Melbourne and Sydney and we want to keep it that way. I never thought we would get to a situation where we have, coming into opening up for a pandemic, 80% double dose.

This is a very high vaccination rate. We are the 90% first dose. We want that additional protection to make sure people get the test on day five.

 

06 Dec 2021 21:26

A trough is moving to the western slopes and plains today with showers and thunderstorms expected through the afternoon for many eastern parts of the state. Some of these thunderstorms may become severe. Keep an eye on warnings here: https://t.co/Ss766eSCrL pic.twitter.com/c05XKRiz97

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 6, 2021

Suu Kyi sentence ‘deeply concerning’: Australia

06 Dec 2021 21:12

Australia has joined the US in calling for the release of Myanmar’s deposed democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been sentenced to at least two years in detention, reports AAP.

A Department of foreign affairs spokesperson said:

The sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi is deeply concerning…

Australia continues to call for the release of all those arbitrarily detained in Myanmar, and for a return to the path of democratic transition as soon as possible.

Australia has been a longstanding supporter of Myanmar and its democratic transition.

A court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced Suu Kyi to four years in detention on Monday on charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions.

State television later said the sentence had been reduced to two years in a partial pardon.

The US has branded her conviction and sentence as an affront to democracy and justice and demanded the immediate release of the Nobel laureate and other elected officials detained in a February 1 coup.

United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet also denounced the sentence and called for her immediate release.

The conviction of the State Counsellor following a sham trial in secretive proceedings before a military-controlled court is nothing but politically motivated…

The military is attempting to instrumentalise the courts to remove all political opposition.

In February, Myanmar’s military generals seized power and detained Ms Suu Kyi along with officials from her National League for Democracy party, which won an election in November 2020.

Myanmar president Win Myint has been sentenced to four years’ detention, Myanmar’s state-run broadcaster MRTV reported.

He and Suu Kyi will reportedly serve their sentences where they are currently being detained, the location of which has not been disclosed.

 

06 Dec 2021 21:07 Katharine Murphy

Voters in New South Wales remain sympathetic to Gladys Berejiklian despite the former premier having to front the state’s anti-corruption commission to answer serious questions, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.

Respondents in the survey of 1,094 voters were asked whether or not they agreed with Scott Morrison’s repeated criticism of the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (Icac).

The prime minister has characterised the NSW Icac as a “kangaroo court” and claimed Berejiklian had been hounded out of office.

Voters are split nationally about Morrison’s interventions, with 34% in agreement, 31% disagreeing with his comments, and 36% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. Outside NSW, a number of voters are on the fence about the fracas.

You can read the full report below:

Related: Guardian Essential poll: NSW voters sympathetic to Gladys Berejiklian despite Icac probe

 

06 Dec 2021 20:55

“I’m very proud of the fact that under a Labor government, we will get to 82% renewable energy generation by 2030…but it does not mean that coal fired power will close a day earlier” @Bowenchris

Shadow Minister for Climate Change

— RN Breakfast (@RNBreakfast) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 20:53

Now, as you might remember, the talk of the town is that the former NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, could run for the federal seat of Warringah.

But Chris Bowen says he doesn’t think she could win against the popular incumbent MP Zali Steggall.

I mean, I think if the Liberal Party wants to choose Gladys Berejiklian, that’s a matter for them. I mean, it was an important principle for Gladys Berejiklian, apparently to resign as premier because she was being investigated by the ICAC. But apparently, it’s not [for federal politics].

I think it would show the lack of regard for standards in public life by Scott Morrison. I mean, this is a prime minister who turns a blind eye to poor behaviour and now he is actively providing a character reference for somebody who is under investigation by the ICAC and actively promoting them…

I’m not here to make predictions although if you asked me if I suspect Zali Steggall would be quite comfortable running against Gladys Berejiklian.

We’ll have a great candidate as well for Warringah, but I’m not here to pretend to you that we are the favourites. But I suspect that Zali Steggall will be very happy campaigning against Gladys Berejiklian.

 

06 Dec 2021 20:41

Shadow minister for climate change and energy Chris Bowen is speaking now to ABC radio to talk up Labor’s new climate change policy:

We said we will seek to legislate that target as well as our commitment to net zero by 2050 because that is best practice internationally and provides businesses with the certainty they crave.

 

06 Dec 2021 20:30

Fiji has recorded two cases of the Omicron variant. The pair travelled to Fiji from Nigeria on November 25, a week before the reopening of the border to international travellers. They tested positive to COVID-19 while in a quarantine facility. @SBSNews

— Abbie O’Brien (@AOBrien_news) December 6, 2021

 

06 Dec 2021 20:27 Anne Davies

Legal experts have labelled Scott Morrison’s latest attacks on the New South Wales corruption watchdog “disgraceful” and “stupid”, as the Liberal party ramps up efforts to have Gladys Berejiklian contest the federal seat of Warringah.

On Monday, the prime minister doubled down on his previous comments in parliament last week when he called the Independent Commission Against Corruption a “kangaroo court,” and accused it of trying to “publicly humiliate” the former NSW premier.

“Gladys was put in a position of actually having to stand down and there was no findings of anything,” Morrison said on Monday, in advance of any possible findings by Icac. Berejiklian resigned voluntarily in September, in line with her own ruling that an MP who is a substantial subject of an investigation must stand aside.

You can read the full report below:

Related: Legal experts condemn Scott Morrison’s continuing attacks on Icac as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘stupid’

Good morning

06 Dec 2021 20:19

Good morning, everyone, it’s Matilda Boseley here with you on the blog today and we start off our day, once again, with large-scale strikes in NSW.

This time it’s not just public transport workers but public school teachers and principals as well. (So if you have to read the blog posts in the ad breaks of Paw Patrol, I understand.)

They have accused the government of failing to address unsustainable workloads, uncompetitive salaries and staff shortages.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said yesterday:

The NSW government is concerned about children missing out for one day, but we are concerned about children missing out every day because there simply aren’t enough teachers.

Teachers’ say that workloads are “unmanageable” and a wage cap means their salaries didn’t “reflect the skills or responsibilities they have”. They want a pay increase up to 7.5% a year to “begin to reverse the decline in teachers’ wages compared to other professions”.

This comes after transport strikes began yesterday, with bus drivers in Sydney’s inner west walking off the job in protest of a two-tier wage system that has some workers earning less than others for doing the same job.

This industrial action will continue today with drivers from the city’s south-west going on strike, before drivers from both regions stop work for two hours during the Friday afternoon peak.

Train drivers are also refusing to operate foreign-made trains that run about three-quarters of the services.

Well, I guess this situation at least solves the problem of how public school students are going to get to campus!

OK, without further delay why don’t we jump right into the day? (I suggest reading the blog to your kids in lieu of their formal education.)

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