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Australia Covid live news update: Sydney braces for possible tornado activity; TGA approves rapid antigen self tests Australia Covid live news update: BoM warning as storm hits Sydney; power outages in northern NSW; TGA approves rapid antigen self tests
(32 minutes later)
Follow all the day’s news liveFollow all the day’s news live
Severe thunderstorm warnings have just been listed for parts of Queensland. Meanwhile, the tornado warning has been downgraded in NSW.
What a whirlwind!
A Senate committee chaired by Liberal Claire Chandler has rejected One Nation’s bill proposing introduction of voter identification laws.In December 2018, the government backed voter ID laws in a review of the 2016 election.
One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts tried to take that proposal of the joint standing committee on electoral matters and turn it into a private senator’s bill.In a report released on Thursday the Senate finance and public administration committee recommended the bill not be passed. It said:
So, no backdown from the Coalition on voter ID laws, just: this isn’t the way to do it.
In additional comments both Labor and the Greens set out their opposition to voter ID laws on the basis they would disenfranchise vulnerable voters.Labor senators said:
The NSW rural fire service is reporting hundreds of lightning strikes as a result of the storms sweeping the state.
Power outages have been reported in Bensville, Blackwall, Booker Bay and surrounding suburbs following the storms.
#SydneyStorm is now trending on Twitter, though the chance of a tornado has been downgraded.
For more details head to the Bureau of Meteorology’s website.
It is not yet clear whether this is storm related.It is not yet clear whether this is storm related.
On Tuesday, Guardian Australia published a story on the increased likelihood of a wet and windy summer as a result of La Niña event.On Tuesday, Guardian Australia published a story on the increased likelihood of a wet and windy summer as a result of La Niña event.
A serious amount of hail falling in Sydney right now.A serious amount of hail falling in Sydney right now.
The Bureau of Meteorology is now reporting there are risks of “tornado activity” added to the current storm in western Sydney.The Bureau of Meteorology is now reporting there are risks of “tornado activity” added to the current storm in western Sydney.
There is currently a “detailed severe thunderstorm” warning of possible tornadoes, destructive winds, giant hailstones and heavy rainfall listed for parts of Blue Mountains/Hawkesbury, Greater Newcastle, Gosford/Wyong, Sydney and Greater Wollongong areas:There is currently a “detailed severe thunderstorm” warning of possible tornadoes, destructive winds, giant hailstones and heavy rainfall listed for parts of Blue Mountains/Hawkesbury, Greater Newcastle, Gosford/Wyong, Sydney and Greater Wollongong areas:
The Royal Commission into the casino operator licence will hand its final report to the governor of Victoria tomorrow after months of public hearings examining whether Crown Melbourne is suitable to hold a casino licence.The Royal Commission into the casino operator licence will hand its final report to the governor of Victoria tomorrow after months of public hearings examining whether Crown Melbourne is suitable to hold a casino licence.
The Victorian government says the final report and the government’s response will be released prior to the end of this month, an approach “similar to that taken by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority to the final report of the Bergin inquiry earlier this year”.The Victorian government says the final report and the government’s response will be released prior to the end of this month, an approach “similar to that taken by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority to the final report of the Bergin inquiry earlier this year”.
Minister for consumer affairs, gaming and liquor regulation Melissa Horne:Minister for consumer affairs, gaming and liquor regulation Melissa Horne:
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has released a statement on Anthony Byrne resigning from the PJCIS, noting his service on the committee since 2005.Labor leader Anthony Albanese has released a statement on Anthony Byrne resigning from the PJCIS, noting his service on the committee since 2005.
He said:He said:
On Tuesday Byrne, the federal MP for the south-east Melbourne seat of Holt, gave evidence to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, revealing he authorised taxpayer-funded office staff to complete political work, and used a “kitty” to pay for memberships in breach of party rules.On Tuesday Byrne, the federal MP for the south-east Melbourne seat of Holt, gave evidence to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, revealing he authorised taxpayer-funded office staff to complete political work, and used a “kitty” to pay for memberships in breach of party rules.
Byrne also admitted to employing two “Turkish” men as electorate office staff as part of a deal with factional powerbroker – and then-ally – Adem Somyurek, despite one of the men never showing up for work while drawing a taxpayer-funded salary.Byrne also admitted to employing two “Turkish” men as electorate office staff as part of a deal with factional powerbroker – and then-ally – Adem Somyurek, despite one of the men never showing up for work while drawing a taxpayer-funded salary.
Despite that evidence, Albanese had said earlier in the week it was “not appropriate” to pre-empt Ibac findings, effectively backing Byrne to stay.Albanese also revealed he will recommend that Jenny McAllister now become the committee’s deputy chair and that Peter Khalil join the PJCIS, suggesting both would make “outstanding contributions” to its work.Despite that evidence, Albanese had said earlier in the week it was “not appropriate” to pre-empt Ibac findings, effectively backing Byrne to stay.Albanese also revealed he will recommend that Jenny McAllister now become the committee’s deputy chair and that Peter Khalil join the PJCIS, suggesting both would make “outstanding contributions” to its work.
Member for Holt Anthony Byrne, under pressure for alleged branch stacking being investigated by Ibac has just resigned his position as deputy chair of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.Member for Holt Anthony Byrne, under pressure for alleged branch stacking being investigated by Ibac has just resigned his position as deputy chair of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.
His full statement:His full statement:
Sydneysiders won’t be able to travel to regional NSW when 80% double dose targets are met, Nine News is reporting.
The Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) has approved three Covid-19 rapid antigen self tests for home use in Australia from 1 November.
It includes two oral fluid tests and one nasal swab test. Results of the rapid tests are expected within 15 minutes.
Rapid antigen testing is expected to become a key additional layer in community protection from Covid-19 once states open up.
The tests are already being used in some quarantine facilities and aged care homes.
Mining company Kepco has sought special leave in the high court to appeal a decision by the NSW independent planning commission (IPC) to reject its proposed coalmine in the Bylong valley.
The special leave application was lodged this week and comes after the company lost earlier appeals in the NSW land and environment court and the court of appeal.The NSW IPC rejected the mine in 2019 citing the unacceptable impact the mine would have on farming land and the environment – including through greenhouse gas emissions – as well as the costs to future generations.
The Bylong Valley Protection Alliancee, which joined the previous to defend the IPC’s ruling, says it “will once again join the legal fight to stop the mine, more than two years after it was first rejected”.
Environmental Defenders Office managing lawyer Rana Koroglu is representing the alliance:
Koroglu said it was astounding South Korean mining company Kepco was still pursuing the proposal on the eve of the Glasgow climate summit and when South Korea had recently made strong commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emission.
Phillip Kennedy, the president of the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance said:
Comment was sought from Kepco.
The NSW IPC declined to comment while legal proceedings continue.
If you missed this story this morning, it makes for alarming reading.
Australia has 200 fewer intensive care beds than at the start of the pandemic.
We’ve been reporting in recent weeks on a push by the federal government to exempt the Future Fund from freedom of information laws. The government is proposing to shield the Future Fund from any FOI that asks for material relating to its investment activities.
Given the Future Fund’s core purpose is investing as Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, that’s quite a broad exemption. The stated purpose of the changes is to give external investment managers, who the Future Fund works with regularly, confidence that sensitive commercial information won’t be made public.
Critics say the changes were triggered by an FOI that revealed the Future Fund was investing in an Adani company linked to the Myanmar military.
A parliamentary inquiry has just finished considering the bill and has recommended that it be passed, saying it was “persuaded that the Future Fund would remain subject to a sufficient level of scrutiny and oversight through a number of other robust transparency and accountability arrangements”.
In a separate report, Labor said the FOI exemptions were too broad, hypocritical, and at odds with disclosure requirements on other institutional investors, like superannuation funds. Greens senator Nick McKim said the rationale for the FOI exemption was “bunkum” and accused the government of engaging in a cover up of the Future Fund’s controversial investments.
Centre for Independent Studies executive director Tom Switzer has become a member of the Liberal Democrats.
The party has espoused controversial views on Covid-19 restrictions, calling for the removal of QR codes and mask wearing by Christmas, as well as the end of lockdowns.
They are currently seeking to launch a high court challenge against new laws which could force the party to change its name less than 12 months out from the next federal election.
In NSW, opposition leader Chris Minns has questioned premier Dominic Perrottet on the resignation of MP Melanie Gibbons yesterday.
Minns:
Perrottet:
Australia and more than 100 other countries have pledged to work toward a post 2020 global deal for nature that aims to reverse losses of biodiversity.
The environment minister, Sussan Ley, signed the Kunming Declaration overnight, which is something of a statement of intent by countries as they work towards a major new agreement for nature.
The talks are happening as part of a United Nations conference - known as Cop15 or “the other Cop” - as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
It doesn’t get nearly the same level of attention as global climate talks but these are the most significant nature talks in a decade.
Countries are negotiating a new framework to try to halt the decline of ecosystems worldwide and put nature on the path to recovery by 2030.
After this week’s virtual meeting, there will be further meetings in the new year before countries meet in Kunming in China in April 2022 to hopefully reach a new agreement.
The Kunming Declaration signed overnight is basically a signal that countries hope to reach a significant deal. It calls for “urgent and significant action” across all sectors of the economy and society to preserve nature and use it sustainably.
It pledges countries to increase the area of protected land and sea and ensure that nature is factored into policy and economic decision making.
Countries have not yet signed on to any targets but it is hoped the final deal will see countries agree to protecting 30% of land and of sea areas globally.
Australia supports the global target but has not said if it will make such a commitment domestically.
Ley:
The greens environment spokeswoman Sarah-Hanson Young has called on the government to commit to a domestic target.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a warning severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near the area west of Picton, the Lithgow district and the southern reaches of Lake Burragorang this afternoon: