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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
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Three Royal Australian Navy have escaped with only minor injuries after they were forced to ditch their helicopter in the Philippine Sea. This has lead the Nacy to temporarily paused the flying operations of the MH-60R Seahawk fleet while the cause of the crash is investigated.
According to a statement from the Department of Defence the crew of the MH-60R Seahawk helicopter were doing a routine flight over the Philippine sea last night when “the crew conducted an emergency landing in the water”.
HMAS Brisbane, the boat that the helicopter was operating from, deployed sea boats and rescued the crew around 20 minutes later.
The three members received first aid for minor injuries once they were safely returned to the ship.
Here is what commander of the Australian fleet, rear admiral Mark Hammond had to say:
Two Victorian MPs will put forward an amendment on Thursday in a bid to allow them to attend state parliament without providing proof of vaccination.
The Liberal Democrats Tim Quilty and David Limbrick want PCR and rapid antigen tests used instead of proof of vaccination when admitting members to parliament.
They say the amendment will “safeguard” health and safety while averting the “undemocratic” move of preventing MPs who do not wish to provide their health information from voting on legislation.
The pair say the amendment echoes schemes announced by the state government for level crossings and the Royal Melbourne hospital.
The amendment is expected to be discussed in parliament later on Thursday.
Australia’s coronavirus vaccine rollout boss insists the gap is closing between immunisation rates of Indigenous people and the broader population, reports AAP.
Just 42.3% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have received both doses compared with 64.4% of the general population aged 16 and over.
The gap between first doses is even greater.
More than 83% of over-16s have received one shot among the broader population, while the figure is just 57.5% among Indigenous people.
Vaccine rollout co-ordinator, John Frewen, told a Senate hearing on Thursday the rollout was now catching up.
Frewen said the discrepancy was the government’s primary concern.
Of particular worry were Indigenous vaccination rates in Western Australia, where the state has some of the lowest levels of overall coverage.
Similar vaccine strategies rolled out to Indigenous communities in western NSW and northern Queensland are also set to be enacted in remote WA areas, such as door-to-door activities or pop-up hubs.
Labor has blamed the Morrison government for a supply shortage which significantly hampered the Indigenous vaccine rollout.
Frewen said that vaccine hesitancy, misinformation and complacency were also significant factors in lower immunisation rates.
The committee was told there had been stories of some members of the Aboriginal population believing the vaccine would reduce someone’s Indigeneity.
Australia’s four big banks appear to be split over their decision to mandate vaccines for staff.
Sydney-based Westpac and Commonwealth Bank have both released statements this morning confirming they will require all employees to be fully vaccinated.
Westpac CEO Peter King said:
In a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesperson from the Commonwealth Bank confirmed it would be doing the same.
However, Melbourne-based NAB and ANZ have stated previously that they are satisfied with vaccine uptake among their staff and do not feel the need to make them mandatory, at least for the time being.
Bruce Lehrmann’s criminal case for the alleged rape of former Morrison government staffer Brittany Higgins has been adjourned until 5 November.Bruce Lehrmann’s criminal case for the alleged rape of former Morrison government staffer Brittany Higgins has been adjourned until 5 November.
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. 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.
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.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.
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”.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 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.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 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.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. 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: 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.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 brief of evidence was passed to the director of public prosecutions in June.
A quick update from Tasmania.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.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.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.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.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: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.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:A CSL spokesperson released the following statement:
Now, let’s talk about how we are going to helping our Pacific neighbours.Now, let’s talk about how we are going to helping our Pacific neighbours.
Greg Hunt: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: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: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!):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: