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Australia Covid live news update: Victoria records 2,297 cases, 11 deaths; NSW records 406 cases, six deaths ahead of plan for 80% opening Australia Covid live news update: Victoria records 2,297 cases, 11 deaths; NSW records 406 cases, six deaths ahead of plan for 80% opening
(32 minutes later)
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Hunt has been asked what the government is doing to increase vaccination rates in Indigenous communites, which have generally fallen behind the Australian average. Bruce Lehrmann’s criminal case for the alleged rape of former Morrison government staffer Brittany Higgins has been adjourned until 5 November.
So, Indigenous rates at the moment are 57.5% first dose, 42.3% second dose. And as Pat Turner, who’s the CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, said, it’s not a question of access, it’s very much a question of either hesitancy or confidence. Lehrmann remotely appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday via telephone, but the matter was delayed before it is expected to be committed by consent to the ACT Supreme Court.
Oh and Hunt also has some non-Covid-19 health news for us (I know! I forget that other diseases existed as well!) Lehrmann intends to plead not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent and denies that any form of sexual activity took place. His appearance on Thursday was limited to brief greetings confirming his appearance, greeting the magistrate and confirming he could hear via audio link.
Hunt: Lehrmann’s lawyer, John Korn, sought an adjournment, revealing that the brief he had received from police contained “material in it that I shouldn’t have had”.
Korn told the court he undertook not to read the material, and has not done so. Korn received a hard copy of the correct version of the brief on Tuesday, necessitating a delay of three weeks.
Korn said he would need two weeks to get across the material and would schedule one conference with his client, who is currently in Queensland.
The ACT director of public prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, said it remains “ready to commit” the matter but did not oppose adjournment. Justice Campbell adjourned the matter to 5 November.
The summons, seen by Guardian Australia, alleges one breach of the Crimes Act by Lehrmann for “sexual intercourse with Brittany Higgins, without her consent, and [that he] was reckless as to whether she had consented”. The offence is punishable by up to 12 years in prison.
Higgins alleges that Lehrmann raped her in the parliament house office of the former defence industry minister, Linda Reynolds, in the early hours of 23 March 2019.
In August Lehrmann’s lawyer, John Korn said in a statement:
Australian federal police began investigating the allegation Higgins had been raped by a colleague at Parliament House in 2019 after she made a formal complaint in February.
A brief of evidence was passed to the director of public prosecutions in June.
A quick update from Tasmania.
The Northern Territory government remains in the dark about potential moves by the federal government to scrap a Chinese company’s lease over the Port of Darwin amid national security concerns.
With the defence department edging closer to finishing a review ordered five months ago, Guardian Australia understands the federal government is considering options that go beyond the binary choice of keeping or scrapping the lease.
A third option is to keep the 99-year lease in force but impose additional requirements on the operator, Landbridge Group.
Under critical infrastructure laws that passed the parliament in 2018, the federal government has the power to require a port operator to take specific actions based on security risks.
You can read the full report below:
Just touching on that CSL news. There has been a bit of chatter around that the company, which is responsible for Australia’s domestic AstraZeneca production, may be suspending operations, but the company says this is not the case.
A CSL spokesperson released the following statement:
Now, let’s talk about how we are going to helping our Pacific neighbours.
Greg Hunt:
The health minister is asked what he plans to do if the TGA approves the use of Pfizer for five- to 11-year-olds but the vaccination advisory body Atagi says no:
Greg Hunt has been asked what the government is doing to increase vaccination rates in Indigenous communities, which have generally fallen behind the Australian average:
Oh and Greg Hunt also has some non-Covid-19 health news for us (I know! I forget that other diseases existed as well!):
Hunt has confirmed the Australian vaccination rate (the 16 and over population) now sits at 83.6% first dose and 65.4% double dosed.Hunt has confirmed the Australian vaccination rate (the 16 and over population) now sits at 83.6% first dose and 65.4% double dosed.
Greg Hunt:Greg Hunt:
Federal health minister Greg Hunt has confirmed that Pfizer will be allowed to make its case to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to allow five- to 11-year-olds to be vaccinated with its Covid-19 vaccine:Federal health minister Greg Hunt has confirmed that Pfizer will be allowed to make its case to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to allow five- to 11-year-olds to be vaccinated with its Covid-19 vaccine:
Heads up, looks like opposition leader Anthony Albanese will be speaking at 10am AEDT. That’s just after we are slated to hear from the federal health minister Greg Hunt at 9.30am.
But on the upside, the NSW seven-day rolling average is now in the 400s.
Big thanks to Josh Nicholas for the speedy graph work:
You can see just how dramatic that Victorian case number case jump is on the outbreak graph:
The NSW numbers have also just come through. The state recorded 406 new local cases and, sadly, six people infected with Covid-19 have died.
The Victorian numbers are in and they’re not good. The numbers have jumped by more than 700 cases from yesterday, with 2,297 new infections recorded overnight.
The state also recorded 11 deaths.
Heads up, we should be hearing from federal health minister Greg Hunt in about half an hour:
The federal government is seeking to overturn a landmark high court decision that deemed Aboriginal Australians cannot be aliens and cannot be deported.
The Love and Thoms ruling in February 2020 ranks as the high court’s most significant constitutional decision in years, with the narrow four-to-three judgment prompting Coalition conservatives to lobby for black-letter judges to be appointed.
Just a year and a half later, the commonwealth has revealed it wants the precedent to be overturned after a New Zealand man tried to fight deportation using the Love and Thoms precedent.
Part of Shayne Paul Montgomery’s federal court case seeks to prove that the category of “non-citizen, non-alien” should be extended to people customarily adopted as Aboriginal even if they have no Aboriginal biological descent.
You can read the full report below:
Emissions reduction targets of between 40% and 50% are absolutely necessary for Australia, according to mining magnate Andrew Forrest, reports AAP.
The former Fortescue chief executive also said it would be a “high-profile” declaration of where Australia sits on climate change if Scott Morrison did not attend an upcoming Glasgow summit to address the issue.
Yesterday Forrest outlined billion-dollar plans for green hydrogen production facilities across Australia, including in NSW, Queensland and Tasmania.
Before a final decision on Australia’s net zero emissions policy by the government, Forrest has hit out at MPs who have criticised such proposals as being detrimental to the economy.
He told ABC Radio National this morning:
Much of the criticism of net zero plans have come from senior Nationals MPs, who have said attempts to reduce emissions would impact on regional areas and jobs.
The Nationals will hold a party room meeting on Sunday to discuss the net zero plans.
Nationals Senate leader and cabinet minister Bridget McKenzie said yesterday there would be “no deal unless it is right for the regions”.
Forrest said he had spoken yesterday to deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and McKenzie about the plans for green hydrogen facilities:
Forrest will address the National Press Club at lunchtime.
Just in case you were wondering why Queensland has issued a severe weather warning for today.