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Australia Covid live news update: BoM warning as storm hits Sydney; power outages in northern NSW; 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
Now that the chance of tornadoes is (hopefully) behind us, we’ll wrap up the blog for the evening. Here’s what we learned today:
Severe thunderstorms have swept Sydney and parts of NSW, causing lightning strikes and power outages. The Bureau of Meteorology initially warned tornadoes may hit western Sydney, but the alert was later downgraded.
Andrew Forrest delivered a National Press Club address lashing out at “rare, fear-mongering” politicians who were resisting net zero targets by 2050. He said Scott Morrison should split from the Nationals if he faced continued opposition.
Australia’s unemployment rate ticked up to 4.6% in September as a further 138,000 jobs were lost due to lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.
Victoria reported a national record of 2,297 Covid-19 new cases overnight, and 11 deaths, but is still on track to reopen at 70% double dose targets. It downgraded the ACT from a ‘red’ zone to an ‘orange’ zone from midnight.
NSW recorded 406 new cases and six further deaths.
The ACT recorded 46 new local cases and one death as Territorians emerge from lockdown from midnight.
The federal health minister, Greg Hunt, has confirmed Pfizer will be allowed to make its case to the TGA for five-to 11-year-olds to be vaccinated with its Covid-19 vaccine. It came as the TGA approved rapid antigen tests for home use.
Bruce Lehrmann’s criminal case for the alleged rape of former Morrison government staffer Brittany Higgins has been adjourned until 5 November.
And the Labor member for Holt, Anthony Byrne, has resigned his position as deputy chair of the federal parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.
Thunderstorms lashing NSW have seen hailstones larger than five centimetres fall and even a tornado warning issued, AAP reports.Thunderstorms lashing NSW have seen hailstones larger than five centimetres fall and even a tornado warning issued, AAP reports.
The storms were most intense over Sydney and the Lower Hunter, but hail was reported all the way between Sydney and Cowra in the state’s central west.The storms were most intense over Sydney and the Lower Hunter, but hail was reported all the way between Sydney and Cowra in the state’s central west.
Those stones mostly measured between three and five centimetres, but some were even larger.Those stones mostly measured between three and five centimetres, but some were even larger.
The conditions over western Sydney were particularly serious, with meteorologists seeing all the ingredients for a “very, very dangerous supercell”, said the Bureau of Meteorology’s Gabrielle Woodhouse.The conditions over western Sydney were particularly serious, with meteorologists seeing all the ingredients for a “very, very dangerous supercell”, said the Bureau of Meteorology’s Gabrielle Woodhouse.
About 4.30pm, the bureau issued a warning for a possible tornado over western Sydney.About 4.30pm, the bureau issued a warning for a possible tornado over western Sydney.
It’s not yet known whether an apparent funnel cloud touched the ground or not.It’s not yet known whether an apparent funnel cloud touched the ground or not.
Woodhouse said the storm was really dangerous.Woodhouse said the storm was really dangerous.
Some 33mm of rain fell at Woodville golf course at Canterbury in about a quarter of an hour.Some 33mm of rain fell at Woodville golf course at Canterbury in about a quarter of an hour.
By Saturday evening, the most dangerous storm had passed out to sea, but the bureau is still warning of threatening storms in the Sydney area and advises residents to monitor the radar on its website.By Saturday evening, the most dangerous storm had passed out to sea, but the bureau is still warning of threatening storms in the Sydney area and advises residents to monitor the radar on its website.
Early-morning thunderstorms deposited up to 30mm of rain on parts of Canberra, with more likely on Thursday evening.Early-morning thunderstorms deposited up to 30mm of rain on parts of Canberra, with more likely on Thursday evening.
More on the power outages following the NSW storms.More on the power outages following the NSW storms.
And the Guardian’s Ben Doherty has found his pot of gold.And the Guardian’s Ben Doherty has found his pot of gold.
In April, Guardian Australia first reported that Bunnings Warehouse was willing to host mass vaccination hubs at its stores.In April, Guardian Australia first reported that Bunnings Warehouse was willing to host mass vaccination hubs at its stores.
At the time, epidemiologists told Guardian Australia the idea could nudge people who did not consider vaccination as a matter of urgency into getting the jab – noting researchers had separately found that Bunnings is considered Australia’s most trusted brand.At the time, epidemiologists told Guardian Australia the idea could nudge people who did not consider vaccination as a matter of urgency into getting the jab – noting researchers had separately found that Bunnings is considered Australia’s most trusted brand.
They also said the spread of stores across suburbs, and carpark facilities, meant the hubs would complement state health offerings.They also said the spread of stores across suburbs, and carpark facilities, meant the hubs would complement state health offerings.
Bunnings’ offer has now been taken up by the Queensland government, as that state’s health authorities seek out ways to ramp up local vaccination rates that are trailing other jurisdictions. You can read our initial report from April here.Bunnings’ offer has now been taken up by the Queensland government, as that state’s health authorities seek out ways to ramp up local vaccination rates that are trailing other jurisdictions. You can read our initial report from April here.
Federal deputy Labor leader Richard Marles won’t be attending parliament next week.Federal deputy Labor leader Richard Marles won’t be attending parliament next week.
This evening, he released a statement confirming he had been at a Tier 1 exposure site last Thursday 7 October:This evening, he released a statement confirming he had been at a Tier 1 exposure site last Thursday 7 October:
Panel beaters are going to have a huge Friday, by any estimates.Panel beaters are going to have a huge Friday, by any estimates.
Nationals MP David Gillespie has spoken to ABC TV about the emissions reduction negotiations in the Coalition, arguing that the Nationals aren’t putting a “pricetag” on net zero but ensuring the policy “won’t disadvantage the whole nation”.Nationals MP David Gillespie has spoken to ABC TV about the emissions reduction negotiations in the Coalition, arguing that the Nationals aren’t putting a “pricetag” on net zero but ensuring the policy “won’t disadvantage the whole nation”.
He said:He said:
Gillespie then labelled net zero by 2050 a “catchphrase”. Host Patricia Karvelas noted, no, it describes what will hopefully become a physical reality that we are not adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.Gillespie then labelled net zero by 2050 a “catchphrase”. Host Patricia Karvelas noted, no, it describes what will hopefully become a physical reality that we are not adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
Gillespie explained that he meant that there would need to be a “replacement source of energy” for fossil fuels, such as high efficiency coal power stations with carbon capture and storage. Oh, but those are still fossil fuels, and that isn’t net zero. The clue is in the catchphrase, I would’ve thought.Gillespie explained that he meant that there would need to be a “replacement source of energy” for fossil fuels, such as high efficiency coal power stations with carbon capture and storage. Oh, but those are still fossil fuels, and that isn’t net zero. The clue is in the catchphrase, I would’ve thought.
Asked if the Coalition could split over the issue, Gillespie replied that “I don’t think that is being countenanced”.Asked if the Coalition could split over the issue, Gillespie replied that “I don’t think that is being countenanced”.
He said:He said:
Good point - at least someone remembers when emissions reduction was job destroying and terrible (when Labor proposed it). Gillespie then spoke about the need for technology like carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen, but they were out of time so the segment ended.Good point - at least someone remembers when emissions reduction was job destroying and terrible (when Labor proposed it). Gillespie then spoke about the need for technology like carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen, but they were out of time so the segment ended.
Check out this time lapse of the NSW storms from Guardian Australia’s Blake Sharp-Wiggins.Check out this time lapse of the NSW storms from Guardian Australia’s Blake Sharp-Wiggins.
Severe thunderstorm warnings have just been listed for parts of Queensland. Meanwhile, the tornado warning has been downgraded in NSW.Severe thunderstorm warnings have just been listed for parts of Queensland. Meanwhile, the tornado warning has been downgraded in NSW.
What a whirlwind!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.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: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.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: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.The NSW rural fire service is reporting hundreds of lightning strikes as a result of the storms sweeping the state.