Australia news live update: diplomat says Omicron travel ban ‘discrimination'; Birmingham supports Berejiklian candidacy; NSW transport strike

LIVE – Updated at 22:12

Follow all the day’s news.

 

22:12

Ivanhoe MP @ACarbinesMP has this morning been sworn in by @VicGovernor as a minister in the Andrews Government, replacing @LukeDonnellan who resigned over branch-stacking claims. @10NewsFirstMelb #springst

— Simon Love (@SimoLove) December 5, 2021

Victoria records 1,073 new Covid-19 cases and six deaths

22:07

Victoria’s daily case numbers are once again above 1,000, with 1,073 new infections recorded in the last reporting period.

Sadly, six people infected with the virus have died.

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/qY3uDBQMt8

— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) December 5, 2021

NSW has recorded 208 new Covid-19 cases overnight

22:06

The NSW numbers are out and the state has recorded 208 new Covid-19 cases but no deaths.

NSW #COVID19 update – Monday 6 December 2021

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

– 94.6% 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/9iJm2JVSUY

— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 5, 2021

 

22:05 Calla Wahlquist

Victorian Labor MP Anthony Carbines will replace Luke Donnellan in premier Daniel Andrews’ cabinet after Donellan, the Age has reported.

Donellan quit cabinet in October after the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission inquiry into branch-stacking heard that he had paid for other people’s party memberships.

Carbines will take on Donellan’s former portfolios of ageing, disabilities, carers and child protection.

 

22:05

I mentioned before that environment minister Sussan Ley has also thrown her support behind the former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s potential candidacy for the federal seat of Warringah; despite the ongoing Icac investigations.

Here she is on ABC a short time ago:

That process will take its course and I don’t want to comment on that process, but what I will say is that just from the people that I represent, they were horrified that this sort of public shaming seemed to be happening on their television screens everyday. So a lot of people reached out to me directly to actually say, “Why is this happening to our premier who’s done so much for us? We’re really quite angry on her behalf.” So I think the feeling is with her, I think she’ll be an outstanding representative and, you know, there’ll be some steps for her to take and processes to go through. But, of course, we’d love to see her in federal parliament.

Host Michael Rowland:

Some people will see that as public shaming, others will see the presentation of cold-hard evidence. We heard the phone taps where she fixed hospital funding for her then boyfriend Daryl Maguire in his seat where she learned about clearly dodgy behaviour but didn’t alert the corruption commission. Do you think it really was just public shaming?

Ley:

What I trust is the voters’ reaction. I was quite surprised with the number of people who came to me and said they really didn’t like this and that’s how they described the process. And, you know, it was pretty awful and it didn’t need to play out in such a way on our TV screens. I don’t think so. But more importantly, I will let that process take its course. I am simply – look, I know Gladys, she’s been an outstanding woman in public life. She has devoted so much of her life to public service, and people understand that and they appreciate that. And they know that she has a contribution to make.

 

22:03

Here’s a little blog treat for you:

I want to know the pure joy that she feels pic.twitter.com/MXo9wQZWDZ

— Owl! at the Library 😴🧙‍♀️ (@SketchesbyBoze) December 5, 2021

Omicron travel ban ‘discrimination’, diplomat says

22:02

Australia’s travel ban to several southern African countries due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant has been labelled as discriminatory by a senior diplomat, reports Andrew Brown from AAP.

South Africa’s high commissioner to Australia Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the ban needed to be overturned, due to large numbers of Omicron cases being detected in other continents, and not just in parts of Africa.

He told ABC Radio this morning:

We believe it is discrimination, because the only difference is these countries (on the travel ban list) are on the African continent …

The ban is unfair, there is no evidence the ban works, the World Health Organization confirms that.

The travel ban to nine southern African nations was instituted in the wake of the Omicron variant being detected.

The detection of Omicron also led to a two-week delay to the return of visa holders without the need for a medical exemption, which is now set to take place from December 15.

Despite the pause on international arrivals, 250 fully vaccinated students will arrive on Monday in Sydney as part of a NSW government pilot program.

The arrivals will still need to isolate in student accommodation for three days.

There have been 15 cases of Omicron detected in NSW, while two have been identified in the ACT and one in the NT.

 

21:35

Federal Environment Minister @sussanley also says she’d love to see @GladysB run for Warringah.

She tells @BreakfastNews lots of people have approached her to express their anger at the ‘public shaming’ of the former NSW Premier at the ICAC.#auspol

— Michael Rowland (@mjrowland68) December 5, 2021

 

21:26

Modernisation of Australia’s electronic surveillance laws @karenandrewsmp https://t.co/vlQanJ8YCE #auspol pic.twitter.com/q9mxrnkM4c

— Political Alert (@political_alert) December 5, 2021

 

21:20 Lisa Cox

A New South Wales government plan to control feral horses in Kosciuszko national park will allow horses to remain in the only known habitat of one of Australia’s most imperilled freshwater fishes and risks pushing the species closer to extinction.

Conservationists say allowing horses to continue to roam around some sections of the park will put vulnerable wildlife and ecosystems at risk.

They include the stocky galaxias, a fish that was listed as critically endangered last year after the 2019-20 bushfires and was named as one of 100 priority animals in the Morrison government’s new threatened species strategy.

You can read the full story below:

Related: NSW plan for Kosciuszko feral horses a threat to endangered freshwater fish

Finance minister supports Berejiklian candidacy

21:16

Despite the NSW Icac not yet handing down its findings concerning the state’s former premier, that hasn’t stopped Simon Birmingham from voicing his support for her rumoured candidacy for the federal seat of Warringah.

ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland:

Would you support Gladys Berejiklian running as the Liberal candidate in Warringah?

Birmingham:

I would love to see Gladys do so, but that is entirely up to her. She has been a friend of mine for many decade and I know that she has immense talent.

Rowland:

You don’t think that there’s an integrity question mark over her head?

Birmingham:

I think that Gladys has shown exceptional leadership in public office and an ability to make tough and difficult decisions when required and she is showing that she is a person of great integrity and I realise the issues that she’s handling at present.

She’ll keep working through. If she has other decisions to make about her future, I’m sure that she’ll make them when she’s ready.

 

21:15

TGA head John Skerritt told ABC News Breakfast that it’s important for children to get vaccinated, now that those aged five to 11 are eligible, partially because it will help protect parents and grandparents from Covid-19:

There are lot of reasons even though they don’t get as sick as adults, they have a pretty strong role in spreading it back to family members and of course that can include parents and also, of greater concern, the grandparents. The older you are, the impacts of getting seriously ill or worse with Covid is greater.

The other reason is just so kids can do what kids are meant to do – go to school, play with their friends, do sport, do exercise, do social things.

We are worried about the mental health impacts on all the lockdowns that children have had over the last couple of years.

And finally – there’s about one in 3,000 children who, even though they mightn’t get all that ill with Covid, have this long-term multi-system inflammatory syndrome where even when they recover from Covid, they can be quite ill for some months with fever, rash, intestinal, heart, neurological issues, even though it’s one in 3,000 of those kids it’s a very serious condition. Lots of reasons to vaccinate young children.

 

21:14

Anthony Albanese is well and truly out on the campaign trail this week – and it seems the polls are behind him.

The latest Newspoll, conducted for the Australian, shows 47% of voters believe Labor will form the next government after an election expected in March or May.

Just 37% expect the Coalition to be returned for a fourth term, reports AAP.

Labor leads the two-party-preferred race over the Coalition, 53 to 47%, on a primary vote of 38%.

And to celebrate the opposition leader’s deputy Richard Marles has been on ABC radio this morning talking up the big man:

I think when it comes to character, there is a chasm, a massive chasm between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese, there’s no doubt about that … I think Australians coming out of the pandemic are looking for a government that will have a plan to create a better future, right now I think what they see with the Morrison government is a government that is consistently behind the play.

 

20:58 Luke Henriques-Gomes

Ian Haywood’s partner is blunt when asked to sum up the couple’s latest battle with the National Disability Insurance Agency.

“They don’t think it is ‘reasonable and necessary’ for Ian to have nursing funding,” Bianca* told Guardian Australia, referring to the key legal test for NDIS funding.

“We think it is reasonable for him to stay home and it is necessary in order for him to live. It’s cheaper for them if he dies.”

Haywood, 43, lives with the terminal illness motor neurone disease and is the latest NDIS participant to speak out about what the federal Labor party and disability advocates claim are “stealth cuts” being seen around the country.

Communicating with Guardian Australia via email as he is non-verbal, Haywood said the NDIS had been funding 24-hour nursing care that allowed him to live at his home on the Mornington Peninsula rather than remaining in hospital.

You can read the full report below:

Related: Terminally ill NDIS participant facing re-hospitalisation after funding cut for 24-hour nurse

 

20:57

Michael Rowland:

Do you agree with the prime minister that, in his words, she was done over by the commission against corruption?

Simon Birmingham:

I think that it is pretty sad when Icacs go out and destroy reputations, do so in pretty murky ways, looking into relationships and other things. There’s …

Rowland:

It was more of the relationship that we were talking about. It was more than her relationship that was brought up, excuse me, minister, at the hearings?

Birmingham:

Michael, the nature of the way in which the New South Wales Icac works, it’s one of the reasons why we’ve presented a very detailed model for a commonwealth integrity commission that absolutely has the power to tackle criminal corruption and to address serious issues.

But doesn’t go and destroy reputations first and then look at the details later.

Rowland:

We’ll see that next year?

Birmingham:

Well, we’ve got the legislation. It’s there. We’ve done the work on it. There’s several hundred pages of it.

 

20:43

As you might have heard, children aged five to 11 now have TGA approval to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine.

Finance minister Simon Birmingham has been out and about this morning discussing the development. Here is is speaking with ABC news breakfast:

We will encourage every Australian to go out and get a vaccine when they’re eligible, and particularly for parents to do that with five- to 11-year-olds.

A conversation that I had over the weekend with my kids and a conversation that we’ve been having for a little while. Everybody should have that chat with their children and make sure that they’re ready for it.

But with 88% of the double dosing in Australia and a strong turnout in the 70s of the 12- to 15-year-olds, we’re now at a point where we’re one of the most highly vaccinated countries in the world.

We’ve got one of the first nationwide booster programs in the world and it will be really great to be able to bring the rest of those school-aged kids on board and have them all vaccinated, pretty much for the very start of term one or close to it.

Security leaders welcome Labor climate policy

20:33 Paul Karp

Former chief of the Australian defence force Retired Admiral Chris Barrie has welcomed Labor’s climate policy announcement on behalf of the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group and urged the Australian government to follow its lead.

In October Guardian Australia reported Barrie’s concerns that Australia’s military will be less ready to confront other security crises if troops are increasingly required to respond to climate-related disasters.

Barrie said:

The Australian Labor Party are facing up to the threat that climate change poses to our future safety and well-being, but the Government remains missing in action on climate-security risks. Our closest allies, including AUKUS partners the USA and UK, have recognised and are acting to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the security of their people and on peaceful relations between nations, yet our own government is falling behind.

In particular, Barrie welcomed that Labor had “adopted key climate and security recommendations from ASLCG’s policy proposals, including committing to an urgent climate risk assessment, which the Group has been strongly advocating for”.

He said:

Climate change remains the most significant threat to our security and we must now act accordingly with the necessary scale and speed of action. It is perplexing that a government that claims to be strong on security issues is weak, and even silent, on the greatest threat to the future security, safety and wellbeing of all Australians.

Good morning

20:25

Good morning, everyone! It’s Matilda Boseley here, back on the blog with you this morning.

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend and are ready for another week of news. At least parliament is over for the year, so I mean, the news can’t be that bad! Right? Right!

First up, if you are in the inner west of Sydney I hope you left plenty of extra time for your bus commute because that’s where the planned widespread strikes across NSW’s public transport sector have begun.

The industrial action was prompted by the ongoing dispute over pay equality and on Tuesday bus drivers in the south-west of Sydney will go on strike too, before the two groups combine to go on strike for two hours during the Friday afternoon peak.

Tomorrow Rail, Tram and Bus Union members won’t be driving foreign-made trains – which run three-quarters of the services on the network. The RTBU has been negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement for months, after the old one expired in May.

The union’s NSW secretary Alex Claassens said:

We don’t like it, but we don’t have any other options at this stage … The good news is that the NSW government can put a halt to this by simply delivering on some basic requests.

Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland says the strikes are disappointing because there have been “more than 40 meetings” between Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink and the union.

Up north, across the border, authorities have warned Queensland’s flood-hit areas that heavy rain is set to return.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned heavy rain was expected to be back mid-week to the three areas of concern in Queensland – the Dawson River near Theodore, the swollen Macintyre River around Goondiwindi and the Condamine River at the township of Condamine.

BOM meteorologist Shane Kennedy told AAP:

For the areas currently in major flooding the rain will return on Wednesday with widespread rainfall, unlike today where it was very isolated.

The Macintyre River peaked at 10.43 metres at Goondiwindi in the state’s south-west border on Saturday, receding to about 10.10 metres yesterday afternoon. It’s the biggest flood in a decade for the town.

The river is expected to remain above the major flood level through to today.

OK, party people, with that, why don’t we jump right into the day?

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