The coronavirus omnibus bill passed the Victorian upper house in a late-night sitting last night. A move by the state opposition to add an amendment that would have scrapped the 5km rule failed.
As AAP reports:
The omnibus bill passed around 2am on Wednesday in the Legislative Council after weeks of negotiations between the government and crossbenchers.
There was widespread concern about controversial powers in the bill to detain Victorians over public health orders.
But crossbenchers succeeded in having those measures taken out of the legislation.
The omnibus bill will now go to the lower house, where Labor has a strong majority.
The NSW opposition leader, Jodi McKay, has tweeted the reasons for her no-confidence motion against premier Gladys Berejiklian.
McKay alleged that Berejiklian “turned a blind eye to corruption in her Government by failing to report her knowledge of Daryl Maguire’s business dealings for six and a half years, even after his resignation from parliament in July 2018”.
She failed to report discussions she had with Daryl Maguire, over a number of years, about his business dealings – including congratulating him on the amount of commission he was earning from such deals.
She failed to fulfil her legal obligations under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act to report corrupt conduct, and her obligations under the Ministerial Code of Conduct to manage conflicts of interest in her Government
She has failed to uphold any standards of propriety across all levels of her government
Most importantly, there must be consequences to the Premier’s actions. To simply pretend this didn’t happen, to move on and forget sets a standard I won’t allow.
There are now eight disadvantaged jobseekers – meaning people with significant barriers to employment, including older people and the long-term unemployed – for every entry level position in Australia, according to a report by Anglicare.
More details in this report by Luke Henriques-Gomes:
The Victorian chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, has issued some encouragement to the people of Shepparton.
I just want to jump back to Scott Morrison’s interview on 2GB briefly, because I had to hear this so you do too.
After joining in some vigorous defending of Gladys Berejiklian, host Ben Fordham played Morrison a clip of the US president, Donald Trump, saying at an election rally that he will “kiss everyone in the audience”.
You know, Donald Trump who tested positive for Covid-19 less than two weeks ago, was hospitalised and pumped with an experimental cocktail of drugs, then reportedly returned a negative test yesterday and is now campaigning again? The leader of a country where more than 200,000 people have died of Covid-19? That Donald Trump.
Morrison laughed at the clip, as he was meant to, and then said:
There’s nothing like Donald that’s for sure, but the Australian public is safe from my lips.
Look, I know the US-Australia relationship is held in some esteem, but surely joking about kissing people while out in public less than two weeks after being diagnosed with a disease which has caused more than one million deaths worldwide in less than 10 months is not something which the prime minister of Australia should chuckle about?
Victoria records seven new coronavirus cases and five new deaths.
Victoria has recorded seven new cases of Covid-19 in the past 25 hours, and sadly five more people have died.
The rolling 14-day average is 9.6 for metropolitan Melbourne, and 0.6 in regional Victoria. There have been 14 cases with an unknown source detected in metro areas in the two weeks to 11 October.
Morrison says Berejiklian’s integrity is ‘not in question’
Prime minister Scott Morrison has called in to 2GB radio in Sydney, from Rockhampton. He told host Ben Fordham that he did not have any doubts about premier Gladys Berejiklian’s integrity – and Fordham is 100% on board. He opened the interview with a spiel about how the premier should not be punished for having a dud boyfriend.
She has been very upfront with people and I think very vulnerable with people about it and in that vulnerability there has been I believe great strength. Her integrity is not in question, I don’t think, I have known her for years and I know her form and I know her character.
Right now, NSW needs Gladys Berejiklian more than ever … Gladys Berejiklian has done a great job but she’s human like the rest of us. And the way that she’s owned that – she hasn’t ducked it, she’s owned it and stepped up to it.
Fordham says Berejiklian is dedicated to public office, and Morrison agrees:
She has dedicated her life to this job and she’s a pleasure to work with.
He then added:
And not everybody is as fortunate as others in their personal lives and how these mattes go. Ben, as you know, I have been blessed as you couldn’t believe in these mattes, but I put that down to Jenny.
Fordham suggests that Morrison would be able to sympathise with Berejiklian, saying: “earlier this year you had a really tough time, during the bushfires, there was criticism over a trip you had taken with your family”.
Firstly, what a wonderfully euphemistically way to describe that extremely ill-timed Hawaiian holiday and the even more ill-considered attempt by the PMO to pretend that he was still in the country. Secondly, I’m not sure it’s quite the same as being brought before a corruption inquiry. Morrison however picks up the analogy, saying “you learn from these experiences”.
And if there’s one thing I can say about Gladys if she makes a mistake, she doesn’t do it twice … you learn from your successes and you learn from your mistakes and that’s Gladys’s form.
It would, says Fordham, be like changing the jokey in the middle of the race at the Everest (a horse race on in NSW this week, which I think sponsors 2GB) or deciding to replace the CEO in the middle of a profit-making streak. (The problem with this analogy is that in both cases, allegations of corruption could lead to such a change – although of course Berejikilan has not been personally accused of corruption).
Morrison likes this analogy too.
It would be a bit of a numpty decision, I would have thought. Gladys will press on, she’ll press through.
He then noted that “teams make governments” and applauded treasurer Dom Perrottet for standing by his leader.
Meanwhile, back in NSW, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party says it will not support any legislation in state parliament until premier Gladys Berejiklian steps aside.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers leader Robert Borsak told the ABC:
She should put herself aside now until this is all complete and Icac makes a complete and total report. She has done an excellent job on Covid, NSW is well ahead of the pack as far as that is concerned, but that is not a get out of jail free card on these matters.
This is not necessarily a problem for the NSW government. If the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party joins forces with the Greens, the three independents in the house, and the Labor party, they still have three fewer votes than the Coalition. Still, it’s not a good sign.
WorkSafe Western Australia has released a statement on the death of a construction worker on a building site at Curtin University yesterday.
WorkSafe is investigating the work-related death of a worker on a building site at Curtin University this afternoon.
It is believed that the death is related to the collapse of the roof of a building under construction, and two others are believed to be injured.
WorkSafe thoroughly investigates serious work-related injuries and deaths in WA with a view to preventing future incidents of a similar nature.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said any work-related death was a tragedy, and relayed his sincere condolences to the man’s family.
Leading epidemiologists have told Guardian Australia’s Melbourne bureau chief, Melissa Davey, that Victoria is “obviously failing” to meet its roadmap targets – but that may be because the targets were too ambitious. They the state’s contact tracing system is now up to scratch.
Says University of Melbourne epidemiologist Prof Tony Blakley:
The Victorian road map has as its last two steps, steps you take if eliminating [is your goal]. We are obviously failing to get there, which is a shame. But the point here is that the Victorian department of health and human services had those targets to try and get completely on top of the virus, hopefully … eliminating community transmission.
Given cases are popping up again in New South Wales, and NSW does not believe long periods of elimination of community transmission are possible, this makes it challenging – if not even foolhardy – for Victoria to now go hard for elimination, given where we are at – a stubborn tail.
He said that the daily metrics on contact tracing in Victoria “suggest we are now on par” with New South Wales in that area.
But let’s be clear – a safe opening up will mean a bumpy ride until the vaccine. Without doubt we will have outbreaks between now and then, even if contact tracing is exemplary.
Prof Bruce Thompson, an epidemiologist and the dean of health sciences at Swinburne University, said that Victoria still had four times the number of active cases of NSW. But he said some easing of restrictions, like removing the 5km rule, which was having “small effect” on curbing virus spread, should go ahead.
In Western Australia, the chief health officer, Dr Andy Robertson, will face questioning today about the state’s hard borders, which, according to forecasts used in the state budget, could be closed until at least April 2021.
Robertson will be questioned by the state parliament’s education and health standing committee today about WA’s ability to contain any potential future Covid-19 outbreaks.
More from AAP:
The interstate borders have remained closed for more than six months and the state has recorded no community spread of Covid-19 during that time.
Polls suggest the border closures have largely been popular within WA.
But business groups and West Australians separated from their loved ones are desperate for clarity on when free travel between the states will be allowed.
Robertson has warned that just one community case could spark a large outbreak because WA has largely removed restrictions on physical distancing.
Authorities could be forced to reintroduce some controls if state borders were to reopen, he said.
WA’s state budget, released last week, was built on the assumption that the state’s borders would remain closed until April 1 – after the March election.
But the government says it is just a Treasury assumption and does not reflect government policy, which is based on health advice.
WA has 18 active COVID-19 cases – seven among the Philippines crew of the Vega Dream iron ore bulk carrier, anchored offshore near Port Hedland.
Residents of the regional Victorian town of Shepparton have been urged to get tested for Covid-19 after three people tested positive yesterday, in an outbreak believed to be linked to the Chadstone cluster.
The three positive cases are isolating at home in the town, which is about two hours north of Melbourne, and being monitored by Goulburn Valley Health. A list of locations visited while people were potentially infectious is below. According to the commander of testing and community engagement, Jeroen Weimar:
Extensive contact tracing has commenced by local authorities. We expect as part of that effort, further cases will be discovered.
To everyone locally – even if you haven’t been near these locations – if you feel unwell at all, please get tested as soon as possible and stay at home until you get your results.
The areas visited are:
- Central Tyre Service, Welsford Street Shepparton from Wednesday 30 September to Tuesday 13 October.
- Bunnings Warehouse, Midland Highway Shepparton Friday 2 October.
- McDonalds Shepparton North, 175 Midland Highway Shepparton Saturday 3 October.
- Mooroopna Golf Club Members Bar, Sunday 4 October and Pro Shop and Members Bar Sunday 11 October
- Shepparton Market Place Medical Centre, Midland Highway Shepparton Thursday 8 October
- Lemon Tree Café, Fryers Street Shepparton
- Thai Orchid Restaurant, Nixon Street Shepparton on Wednesday 7 October from 7.00pm to 8.30pm.
- Bombshell Hairdressing, Fryers Street Shepparton on Wednesday 7 October from 9.30am to 10.30am.
From today a new testing site will be set up at the showgrounds.
There are now 35 cases linked to the Chadstone cluster, plus six linked to the connected Kilmore cluster.
Weimar said there were financial payments available for people to stay home while waiting for their test results (details here) and urged anyone in Shepparton, or with family there, to share the message.
These are not the only new cases in regional Victoria – Bairnsdale Secondary College posted on Facebook that they have been advised of a positive case in the school community, but that the person did not come on to school grounds while infectious. Secondary school students, from year seven onwards, only returned to on-site classes this week.
In other news, the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, survived a no-confidence motion brought by the opposition leader, Michael O’Brien, yesterday. This is no real surprise – Labor holds an 11 seat majority in the lower house. The motion lost 44 votes to 23, in a debate that lasted into the night. The opposition called Andrews a “self-centred, egotistical, one-man band”. Andrews called the motion a political stunt.
And speaking of no-confidence motions – the NSW opposition leader, Jodie McKay, will move one against the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, today. We’ll bring you more on that as it happens.
Staying in NSW, health authorities have issued an alert for several venues in southwestern Sydney which were frequented by people who later tested positive to Covid-19. Anyone who attended the following venues is asked to monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately, should they develop:
- Woolworths Oran Park on Wednesday, 30 September, from 5.30pm to 6.30pm; Thursday 8 October from 5.15pm to 6pm, and Friday 9 October from 6pm to 6.30pm.
- Prasadi Nepali restaurant in Emerald Hills on Friday, 2 October, from 3.30pm to 4pm.
- McDonalds Emerald Hills on Friday, 2 October, from 5pm to 5.15pm.
- Aldi Emerald Hills on Friday, 2 October, from 5.30pm to 6.15pm.
- Fantastic Furniture Campbelltown on Friday, 9 October, from 3.30pm to 5.20pm.
- Bunnings Gregory Hills on Tuesday, 6 October, from 7pm to 8pm.
- IKEA Tempe on Wednesday, 7 October, from 1.30pm to 5.30pm.
Let’s crack on. You can follow me on twitter at @callapilla or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org