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Coronavirus Australia live: Victoria records no new Covid cases; Four Corners QAnon episode to air Monday Coronavirus Australia live: Victoria records no new Covid cases; Four Corners QAnon episode to air Monday
(32 minutes later)
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Remember the Mosman collar bomb hoax?
In August 2011, Paul Douglas Peters broke into the home of ex-Australian Rugby Union boss Bill Pulver wearing a balaclava and placed a fake collar bomb around the neck of his teenage daughter Madeleine.
The device remained around her neck for some 10 hours before police determined it was a fake. A document attached to the device demanded an unspecified sum of money and said tampering with it would make it explode.
Peters did not know the Pulver family, and his motive for the act was never clear. In 2012 he was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in jail, with a non-parole period of 10 years.
Now it appears he may soon be released from prison.
AAP reports the State Parole Authority said on Friday that it had accepted expert advice recommending Peters be released to supervised parole.
This included advice from the Serious Offenders Review Council which found Peters was unlikely to reoffend and has suitable post-release plans.
Community Corrections also supported Peters’ release on parole.
The SPA said it intended to grant parole and the matter will be listed for a public review hearing in August. Peters’ non-parole period ends 14 August.
During sentence proceedings in 2012, the court was told Peters suffered from severe depression and bipolar disorder, and that he claimed to have no memory of attaching the device to Pulver’s neck.
He told one psychiatrist he had “no idea” why he chose the Pulver home.
Good afternoon. Some more on the federal court’s approval of a $112m settlement between the Commonwealth and the victims of the Robodebt scheme from Luke Henriques-Gomes.
With that I shall leave you for the week, to go enjoy my newfound Melbourne freedom! (With a mask on of course).
The inimitable Michael McGowan is with you for the afternoon.
An evacuation order for parts of the regional Victorian city of Traralgon has been renewed.
The warning says river level rises are expected on Friday night with major flooding possible on Saturday morning.
In anyone was wondering where my head is at at the moment:
The Greens senator Rachel Siewert, who has long campaigned against the Robodebt scheme, insists the fall out from the government’s failed scheme is not over. She says:
Siewert says a royal commission would ensure a “forensic audit of this mess”.
So wait a second, did that Victorian couple who went to Queensland break the law or not? Well, hmm, it doesn’t seem like Merlino wants to say.
Reporter:
Merlino:
Bill Shorten, who announced the Gordon Legal class action in 2019, says today’s judgment means a Robodebt royal commission is now “inevitable”.
He told Guardian Australia:
Asked about Justice Bernard Murphy’s suggestion the botched scheme was more likely a stuff up than conspiracy, Shorten said:
Shorten also said he had concerns about the senior public servants involved in the administration of the scheme.
A reporter has asked if the state government has considered upgrading ventilation across all public building in order to reduce the chance of large outbreaks requiring lockdowns.A reporter has asked if the state government has considered upgrading ventilation across all public building in order to reduce the chance of large outbreaks requiring lockdowns.
But Merlino seems to think this could be an almost impossibly difficult task.But Merlino seems to think this could be an almost impossibly difficult task.
Gordon Legal, the law firm that brought a class action against the federal government’s robodebt scheme, has welcomed the court’s decision to approve a $112m settlement. Gordon Legal, the law firm that brought a class action against the federal government’s Robodebt scheme, has welcomed the court’s decision to approve a $112m settlement.
Andrew Grech, a Gordon Legal partner, said:Andrew Grech, a Gordon Legal partner, said:
Merlino has been asked about stocks of vaccine:Merlino has been asked about stocks of vaccine:
Merlino can’t promise there will be no more lockdowns once vaccination rates reach a certain level.Merlino can’t promise there will be no more lockdowns once vaccination rates reach a certain level.
Sutton:Sutton:
Sutton has been asked what the state can do to try to avoid lockdowns in the future.Sutton has been asked what the state can do to try to avoid lockdowns in the future.
Sutton said the latest lockdown response came after there were already four generations of transmission.Sutton said the latest lockdown response came after there were already four generations of transmission.
Victoria SES’s Tim Wiebusch has once again urged people never to drive through flood waters, no matter how shallow, after a man was found dead in his submerged car yesterday afternoon.Victoria SES’s Tim Wiebusch has once again urged people never to drive through flood waters, no matter how shallow, after a man was found dead in his submerged car yesterday afternoon.
The federal court has approved a $112 million settlement between the Commonwealth and the victims of the Coalition’s robodebt scheme after what a judge called a “shameful chapter” in public administration.
Handing down his judgment on Friday, Justice Bernard Murphy criticised the federal government for a “massive failure”, saying the court had heard “heartwrenching” stories of pain and anguish from victims of the Centrelink debt recovery scheme.
Under the robodebt scheme, which ran between 2015 and November 2019, the federal government unlawfully raised $1.76bn in debts against 443,000 people, the court was told.
Murphy said the government had pursued around 381,000 people, unlawfully recovering $751m, including through “private debt collectors”, and the court heard one mother link her son’s suicide to the debt recovery program.
Gordon Legal brought a class action on behalf of all victims last year after a court ruling in 2019 paved the way for a wider legal challenge.
The government has agreed to repay at least 381,000 people and wipe all debts, worth $1.76bn, raised using the unlawful method of “income averaging” tax office data to check welfare payments.
The settlement adds $112m in interest payments, which will be shared between around 394,000 victims, depending on the size of their debt and how long they were without their money.
Murphy said:
Murphy said it should have been “obvious” to the senior public servants who designed the scheme that the income averaging method was “unreliable”.
But he did not think there was evidence that proved the government knew the scheme was “unlawful” when it was established, suggesting it was more likely to be a “stuff up” than a “conspiracy”.
About 200,000 people originally included in the class action will not receive any benefit from the settlement.
Murphy said those people’s debts had eventually been substantiated using their own payslips or other evidence, meaning they were valid and had owed the money.
He said they would have needed to show that their debts were “tainted with illegality” to be owed compensation, a claim he said had “weak prospects of success”.
Some 680 people who objected to the settlement will be allowed to opt out.
Murphy said he hoped the judgment would provide “some closure”.
Wiebusch says there may still be significant flooding for regional Victoria ahead.
He said 30 homes were impacted by flood waters around Traralgon, Hazelwood and Maffra.
Okay, time to get an update on the severe weather and flooding events in Victoria that have so far claimed one life.
Tim Wiebusch from the State Emergency Service confirms it’s been a record-breaking weather event:
Sutton says yesterday’s four mystery cases appear to be connected to the Kappa variant outbreak, which is a big relief as the more infectious Delta strain has also been circulating.
The other loose end to tie up in Victoria is the two travellers who tested positive in Queensland.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton said there will still be more cases to come in Victoria.
Acting premier James Merlino came under fire at yesterday’s press conference for the continued pause on elective surgeries in Melbourne.
Now, following a day of zero local cases, he has some news on that front.
While that was happening the Victorian press conference has just begun. Let’s have a look!
OK people, buckle in!
The episode of Four Corners that explores Scott Morrison’s relationship with a QAnon conspiracy theory subscriber will be airing next Monday.
Last week Nine reported the episode had been pulled after being “upwardly referred” to the broadcaster’s managing director, David Anderson, for review. Anderson said the episode was merely being delayed and worked on further.
Now, executive producer Sally Neighbour has tweeted out a preview of the episode, announcing it will air next Monday.
You can read more of our previous coverage on this story and the Four Corners episode here.
Our welfare and inequality reporter Luke Henriques-Gomes is listening in to the Robodebt class action judgement and will be bringing us all the updates.