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We fact checked Pauline Hanson on deaths of vaccinated people in the UK. Here’s what we found

CoronaCheck is RMIT ABC Fact Check's weekly email newsletter dedicated to fighting the misinformation infodemic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

You can read the latest edition below, and subscribe to have the next newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

CoronaCheck #94

In this week's newsletter, we take Pauline Hanson to task over a flawed statistic she shared while speaking at a rally in Queensland last weekend.

We also address claims that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is being used to cover up vaccine side-effects and fact check Anthony Albanese on Australian internet speeds.

Why Pauline Hanson's vaccine stats are misleading One Nation leader made claims about COVID-19 vaccines which were missing critical context.(ABC News: Jed Cooper)

Despite failing to win approval in parliament for her anti-vaccination mandate bill in recent weeks, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is continuing to campaign against such measures, speaking at a so-called "freedom" rally last weekend in Broadwater, Queensland.

"In England, now it's stated that more people are dying with COVID who are double-vaxxed than unvaxxed," Senator Hanson told the assembled crowd. "It is a fact."

The latest data published by the UK Health Security Agency shows that of 3,726 COVID-19 deaths over a three-week period to November 21, 2,903 were people fully vaccinated against the disease, compared to 708 unvaccinated people.

However, those figures do not mean that vaccinated people are at a higher risk of death from COVID-19.

The UK report also provides the rate of death per 100,000 people in each group.

That data reveals that the rate of death among unvaccinated people across the UK was higher for every age bracket when compared to those who were double-dosed.

According to Tony Blakely, an epidemiologist at the University of Melbourne, when it came to being infected with the Delta variant of coronavirus, fully vaccinated people were around 90 per cent less likely to die than those who weren't vaccinated.

"We can say mathematically if vaccination reduces your chance of death by, say, 90 per cent, then once more than 90 per cent of the population is vaccinated you would expect the [number of] deaths among the vaccinated and unvaccinated to be similar," Professor Blakely said in an email.

He noted that high rates of natural COVID-19 infection in the UK community added complexity.

"For example, if 90 per cent of the population are vaccinated and, of the remaining 10 per cent half of them (that is, 5 per cent of total population) have already had a natural infection, they will be better protected than the vaccinated," he explained.

"So, because an increasing fraction of the unvaccinated have had an infection in the past, this will tip more of the infections, hospitalisations and deaths to be among the vaccinated.

"But the bottom line remains — the unvaccinated have a much much higher chance of death on their first infection than do the vaccinated."

Additionally, in footnotes attached to its data, the UK agency notes that vaccinations were prioritised for individuals who were more vulnerable to catching COVID-19, while "individuals in risk groups may be more at risk of hospitalisation or death due to non-COVID-19 causes, and thus may be hospitalised or die with COVID-19 rather than because of COVID-19".

No, the Omicron virus variant is not a massive cover-up of vaccine side-effects The emergence of the Omicron variant has prompted a wave of bans on travel from southern African nations.(Reuters: Sumaya Hisham)

With planned easings of border restrictions postponed and quarantine for returned travellers re-established, the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has evidently alarmed health officials and governments.

Online, however, some social media posters have suggested that the variant is a global ruse designed to cover up cases of serious adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines.

A screenshot from an Indian tech company blog forms the basis for such claims, with the image highlighting a list citing "a number of heart-related complications" including "heart failure, arrhythmias, heart inflammation and blood clots" among potential symptoms of an Omicron infection.

According to those alleging a cover-up, these symptoms match known side-effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

"So after a year of covering-up mass [vaccine] casualties with BLOOD CLOTS, HEART INFLAMMATION & HEART FAILURE, they try to tell us that the new Omicron variant causes BLOOD CLOTS, HEART INFLAMMATION & HEART FAILURE???," one Twitter user wrote alongside the screenshot.

But as an administrator of the tech blog has since clarified, the post did not identify any COVID-19 symptoms, including heart complications, unique to the Omicron variant.

Read our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

"All the symptoms mentioned are already existing with the coronavirus," the administrator wrote in a comment on the blog post, which has since been updated to remove the references to heart-related symptoms.

"Just type the Symptoms of the Coronavirus in your browser and you can find all these symptoms on many trusted health or news Portals. I haven't mentioned anything new here."

Indeed, as Jason Kovacic, the executive director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, told Fact Check, COVID-19 could affect the heart and cardiovascular system in a number of ways.

"These include blood clots, increased inflammation, heart failure and heart rhythm problems," Professor Kovacic wrote.

"A heart attack can also be triggered in several ways by COVID-19 infection, including by small blood clots in the arteries to the heart, due to the massive inflammatory response seen with COVID-19 infection causing a ‘plaque rupture' that is the usual cause of myocardial infection, or via other ways."

As for whether Omicron specifically led to heart-related symptoms, Professor Kovacic explained that there was "very little data about the nature" of infections caused by the variant.

"As far as we are aware, there are no data yet about the effects of the Omicron variant on the heart and whether its effects are more severe, similar, or less severe than other variants."

He added that for the vast majority of the population, the benefits of vaccination against COVID-19 "overwhelmingly" outweighed any potential risks.

"Myocarditis/pericarditis has been reported to occur in 12.6 cases per million doses of the second-dose mRNA vaccine among those 12 to 39 years of age," Professor Kovacic noted.

"However, myocarditis/pericarditis is more likely to be seen following COVID-19, with one study showing rates as high as 450 cases per million in males under 20 years of age."

No, a 'detox' won't undo your vaccination Borax can't reverse a vaccination but it can be toxic.(ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)

Anti-vaxxers who have reluctantly agreed to get the COVID-19 jab are seeking out unproven treatments to "detoxify" their bodies, with potentially uncomfortable results.

As NBC reports, a video viewed hundreds of thousands of times on TikTok before being removed claimed that people can "detox" from "the vaxx" by soaking in a bath containing minerals such as borax — a common cleaning agent that may cause eye and skin irritation and is poisonous if ingested.

The video was created by Dr Carrie Madej, who describes herself as "an osteopathic internal medicine doctor" and has previously been caught out by fact checkers at PolitiFact for falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines contain "RNA-modifying transhumanism-nano-technology".

Though the original video has been deleted, it lives on through TikTok's "duets" feature, which allows users to react to and record their own videos alongside the original.

In one such video, seen by Fact Check, Madej says her bath will take care of radiation poisoning and pesticides, and that the borax will "take nanotechnology out of you".

Other users have made their own videos spruiking similar recipes.

These baths have been promoted through Australian Telegram channels alongside other supposed cures to detox from the COVID-19 "spike protein" — a harmless protein that is produced then destroyed by the body following vaccination, in the case of the vaccines available in Australia.

So, can a "detox" undo the vaccination itself?

Dr Kylie Quinn, an immunologist with RMIT University, told Fact Check that trying to detox the body of a vaccine was like trying to put "the genie back in the bottle", and that it was not possible to "make your immune system forget" the series of events triggered by a vaccination inside the body's cells.

Similarly, NBC quoted virologist Angela Rasmussenas as saying it was "just not physically possible" to undo the vaccine process.

In a statement published on her website, Dr Madej claims: "I have never stated that I can detox anyone from the current jabs".

"The detox was never specific for a jab or vaccine, and I have always advised not to take the jabs since … no one knows how to detox from them."

In other news: Anthony Albanese's claims on Australia's broadband speed ranking

In a joint news release, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland recently attacked the Coalition's National Broadband model, accusing the government of compromising download speeds by relying on outdated copper wire technology.

"For nearly a decade, the Liberal and Nationals' oversight of the NBN has been a masterclass in technological incompetence and mismanagement causing Australia to trail behind other developed countries, slipping to 59th in the world on average broadband speeds," the statement read.

Fact Check this week found that claim checks out.

Fact check: Broadband speeds

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says Australia's has slipped to 59th in the world in the average broadband speed rankings. Is he correct? RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

Read more

According to Ookla's Speedtest Global Index — a source that experts quoted as the industry standard — Australia ranked 59th out of 180 nations in average broadband download speeds.

Ookla has also recently published a measure of "median" download speeds which the organisation notes better represents a user's likely experience. On this basis, Australia ranked slightly higher at 54.

Experts told Fact Check that Australia's ranking had slipped over the Coalition's term, as suggested by Mr Albanese.

Edited by Ellen McCutchan, with thanks to David Campbell and Olivia Thomson

Got a fact that needs checking? Tweet us @ABCFactCheck or send us an email at

This newsletter is supported by funding from the Judith Nielson Institute for Journalism and Ideas(Judith Nielson Institute)What you need to know about coronavirus:

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Don Dale’s staffing crisis led to more ‘cage-like’ lockdowns, report finds

Staffing shortages at Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre led to young people being held in "cage-like" conditions for extended lockdowns, a monitoring report has found.

Key points:

  • The Northern Territory's Children's Commissioner visits Don Dale to monitor conditions
  • Her monitoring report notes staff shortages in February saw extended 'cage-like' lockdowns
  • However, the NT government says Don Dale is not currently understaffed

The report from the Northern Territory Children's Commissioner, Sally Sievers, relates to a snapshot in time — February this year — before recent surges in youth detention numbers.

Ms Sievers found "significant" staffing shortages at Don Dale during this period had resulted in extended lockdowns of young people in their rooms.

A monitoring visit to Don Dale in April found that young people in the facility's H block were living in a "cage-like setting, with minimal trauma-informed responses" from youth justice officers.

Despite assurances from the Northern Territory government that staffing levels have improved since then, Ms Sievers told the ABC she had current concerns about the use of lockdowns.

"I'm not seeing the change from February to now in particular blocks," Ms Sievers said.

"There's particular blocks where only half of the wing is out at the same time.

"There are blocks where children don't go to education, they stay in their blocks."

The Northern Territory Children's Commissioner Sally Sievers monitors conditions inside Don Dale.(ABC News: Felicity James)

Ms Sievers said the situation was different at the Alice Springs detention centre, where all children go to the Owen Springs Education Centre.

"It's got smaller numbers and there are some benefits," Ms Sievers said.

"The space that they have for activities, the staff are mixing with the young people all the time."

On "any given day" in February Don Dale was short-staffed, the monitoring report found.

It found the centre was short between two to five full-time staff most days, depending on the need for hospital escorts and whether overtime shifts had been accepted.

The report found that, overall, there was a failure to put in place a therapeutic model of care at Don Dale.

Boy, 10, held in Don Dale amid spike in detainees

Tougher bail laws trigger a dramatic increase in the number of young people held in detention in the Northern Territory, with the government putting a police watch house on stand-by to cope with demand.

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"With the right model, the right training for staff, the staff will be safer and the children will be safer and will actually start to turn things around for themselves," Ms Sievers said.

"That will, ultimately, mean that the Northern Territory community is safer."

Don Dale's superintendent advised, at the time of the report, that recruitment was underway for 30 full-time and up to 15 casual staff.

In a statement, Territory Families Minister Kate Worden said 56 youth justice officers had graduated this year and had been deployed across Don Dale and the Alice Springs detention centres.

Ms Worden said there were about 140 staff across all facilities but a breakdown of staffing figures for Don Dale was not provided.

"We're not short-staffed," a spokeswoman for Ms Worden said.

Ms Sievers's monitoring report found more frequent recruitment to fill a smaller number of positions would have been a better approach.

"The recruitment of a large cohort of staff is not ideal in the context of the Northern Territory," the report said.

The Northern Territory government promised to close the current Don Dale, in-line with royal commission recommendations.(ABC News: Felicity James)

Her report also found an increase in reported assaults against staff, low staff morale and high staff turnover.

In the report, one senior youth justice officer explained why they thought workers were leaving.

"There are some highly skilled workers that I have witnessed doing great work within the centre," the officer said. "However, those staff members [who] are passionate about making a positive change for young people and [who] want to practise from a trauma-informed, therapeutic way become frustrated and eventually move."

One young person also spoke in the report about lockdowns.

"When we go in lockdown ,the workers just go and sit in the office and wait. The music guy came in yesterday … but we couldn't do it because of lockdown," he said in the report.

Another detainee was asked about cultural programs inside Don Dale.

"Staff need training to understand our culture and how we respond when we are sick for our families," they said.

"Maybe, if we could just talk to our families, it would help. We need [our] old men to come so we can chat with them."

The Territory's government has expanded plans for its new Don Dale centre, from 30 to 40 rooms.(ABC News: Hamish Harty)

Ms Sievers said there was a steady increase in the number of young people under the age of 14 being locked up, made worse by the NT's youth bail changes that removed police discretion.

She said this was "more troubling" than the increase in numbers.

"It's totally not evidence-based and this is what we said would happen," she said.

"The damage often happens with that first contact."

Ms Sievers said more investment in child and family centres — for example those at Larapinta in Alice Springs and in Palmerston — was needed.

"We're actually paying the cost for years and years of not putting enough money into youth and family services," Ms Sievers said.

Since the 2017 youth detention royal commission, the Children's Commissioner and her staff have been permitted to regularly visit and monitor conditions inside the Don Dale and Alice Springs facilities.

However, the monitoring role has not been locked into legislation, as the royal commission recommended, and relies on the goodwill of government agencies.

"That was one of the things I had hoped to achieve in the short time I've been in the role, but it still hasn't been achieved," Ms Sievers said.


When Chloe fell into a campfire, drunk at the age of six, her parents were taking illicit drugs

Hundreds of vulnerable children suffering from significant trauma are being left on waiting lists across the country, as child safety experts struggle to keep up with the demand for crucial services.

Key points:

  • Some 5,000 children have accessed child protection services on the Gold Coast this year alone
  • Child abuse experts say school can be a "sanctuary" for many children living in abusive households
  • Child protection referrals jumped by 30 per cent since the onset of the pandemic

Referrals to leading national child protection organisation Act For Kids have skyrocketed by 30 per cent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating what experts call a "shadow" pandemic.

More than 480,000 reports were made to child protection authorities last year.

Tom McIntyre from Act For Kids said one in 32 children across the country were currently accessing child protection services.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

"48,000 of those were substantiated as children who have suffered harm of some sort," he said.

"A lot of families were already under pressure and struggling and experiencing vulnerability, so add to that lockdowns where you know the families are restricted and there's more pressure at home, more financial pressure.

"There's just so much more impacting on their wellbeing and ability to cope with the vulnerability that they're experiencing.

"We've got 100 kids on our waitlist for intensive therapy services across Australia."

He said the organisation works with children who have experienced trauma and helps them heal by delivering psychology, speech, occupational and family therapies.

But Mr McIntyre said the organisation cannot meet the current demand.

Tom McIntyre from Act For Kids says one in 32 Australian children were currently accessing child protection services.Childhood trauma causing developmental 'glitches'

Eight-year-old Chloe* described being neglected by her parents, often forced to live out of cars and under bridges.

She fell into a campfire after drinking alcohol at the age of six, while her parents were using illicit substances.

She suffered serious burns and was taken from the care of her parents and placed into the child protection system.

Psychologist Miranda Bain said her carers had brought her to Act for Kids where she now accesses the organisation's integrated therapy service.

Psychologist Miranda Bain(ABC News: Mark Leonardi)

"She came into our service and needed to have music therapy, to work on things like rhythm," Ms Bain said.

"We've also engaged in theraplay activities with her, which is an evidence-based model, which is well-researched about increasing attachment and connectivity and relationship.

"It's actually helping her to also engage in trusting relationships at school.

"At the moment, she doesn't attend school for a full day, because that's too much for her to regulate.

"She's very young still, developmentally. We do know that when trauma occurs, we often have almost like glitches.

"So the development stops at that point, particularly around the social and emotional side of things."

Increases in emotional abuse over pandemic

In Queensland, the Gold Coast region has been hit hardest by the "shadow pandemic".

Nearly 5,000 children accessed services from Act for Kids during the last financial year, but hundreds remain on the waiting list.

Cairns with 3,300 children, Townsville with 1,275 children and Mackay with 1,762 children were the other Queensland regions also heavily impacted by lengthy wait times.

New generic image – NOT VICTIM, mock photo.

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in Queensland have put a significant strain on many at-risk children being put on waiting lists and unable to access to vital services(ABC News: Dean Caton)

Psychologist Miranda Bain said the pandemic has impacted children and families in various ways.

"In Queensland, we haven't experienced as many lockdowns as in other states, but we've still experienced the impact socially and emotionally, particularly for kids," Ms Bain said.

"What we have certainly seen is an increase in emotional abuse and neglect during this time and increased experiences where kids have been at home for long periods, been exposed to domestic violence and to adults in their world misusing substances."

No reprieve from 'chaotic' family life

Ms Bain also stressed the "'shadow pandemic" would likely become worse with school holidays and the Christmas period just around the corner.

"School is the sanctuary for a lot of kids and it's a place where they're able to be themselves and not be looking over their shoulder for criticism," she said.

Want more local news?

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"I think one of the difficulties that we have seen historically over the Christmas break is that's the longest break from school and so [for some] children their worlds do become very small if the parents don't have strong supportive social engagement themselves.

"We do see increased worries for children in relation to already, I guess, difficult, chaotic households."

She said this time of the year was a chance for parents and families to take stock and reflect on how lucky they are.

"We know that children have had huge losses this year, without being able to see extended family with learning to have relationships via a screen, that's very different for children."

*Names have been changed to protect identity


US stocks rebound as Boeing surges and investors buy the dip

Wall Street has rebounded after a week of wild swings, with investors buying up battered shares.

Key points:

  • The Dow Jones index rose 1.9pc to 34,678, the S&P 500 rose 1.6pc to 4,585, while the Nasdaq  Composite rose 0.8pc to 15,381
  • The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.6pc to 7,129, the DAX in Germany fell 1.4pc to 15,263, and the CAC 40 in Paris fell 1.3pc to 6,796.
  • The ASX SPI 200 rose 0.9pc to 7,283, while the Australian dollar fell 0.2pc to around 70.91 US cents

The Australian market is set to follow suit, with the futures index, the ASX SPI 200, up 0.9 per cent to 7,283. 

Meantime, the Australian dollar was down 0.2 per cent to about 70.91 US cents at 7:10am AEDT.

It fell to 70.64 US cents this week.

US shares rallied, with aircraft maker Boeing surging after saying it had made progress in getting Chinese approval of its 737 MAX plane. 

China's aviation authority has issued an airworthiness directive on the aircraft that will help pave the way for the 737 MAX's return to service in China after two and a half years. 

China's aviation regulator was the first to ground the aircraft in 2019 after two deadly crashes.

The market recovered ground lost yesterday, which saw a steep sell-off in the last hour of trade on worries about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the upcoming withdrawal of stimulus by the US central bank. 

Value stocks, economically sensitive smaller stocks and transport firms did the best, with travel and hospitality stocks also bouncing back. 

 "Obviously, there's concern about Omicron but there's a feeling that infections aren't as severe as initially thought," Oliver Pursche, from Wealthspire Advisors in New York, said.

"Second, economic data, particularly labour data, is coming out on the strong side."

At 7:10am AEDT, the Dow Jones index was up 1.9 per cent or 651 points to 34,678, the S&P 500 rose 1.6 per cent to 4,585, while the Nasdaq  Composite rose 0.8 per cent to 15,381. 

Jobless claims fall 

New claims for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week and lay-offs fell to the lowest level in more than 28 years. 

Claims rose by 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 222,000 for the ending November 27. 

They dropped in the week before to 194,000, the lowest since 1969.

That probably indicates people have found work in a tight labour market or exhausted their benefits.

A US Chamber of Commerce survey showed many Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic had not returned to work.

There were 10.4 million job openings at the end of September.

The total number of people receiving unemployment benefits was 2.31 million in mid-November.

Investors will now turn to the latest official US unemployment figures, which are out tonight. 

Economists expect non-farm payrolls to have increased by 550,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate is expected to have fallen from 4.6 per cent to 4.5 per cent. 

European stocks 

European shares lost ground as countries ramped up restrictions to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. 

The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.6 per cent to 7,129, the DAX in Germany fell 1.4 per cent to 15,263, and the CAC 40 in Paris fell 1.3 per cent to 6,796.

Oil prices are higher, with Brent Crude up 1.9 per cent to $US70.17 a barrel, while spot gold has fallen 0.8 per cent to $US1,767.79 an ounce.

OPEC and other major oil producers maintained their regular oil production increase of 400,000 barrels a day at a meeting overnight. 


Morrison is walking among landmines, and this week shows how dangerously one can detonate

In a sensational end to a grotty final 2021 sitting week, former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller's claim a minister had acted violently towards her was carefully timed to underline Kate Jenkins' scathing indictment of the parliamentary workplace.

Education Minister Alan Tudge was forced to stand aside after Miller — who returned to Parliament House to make her statement — accused him of kicking her out of bed when her phone rang at 4am.

She said it happened during a 2017 work trip, when she and Tudge were in a hotel in Kalgoorlie, where then-PM Malcolm Turnbull was also staying.

Miller was Tudge's media adviser. The two had what Miller has described as a consensual affair, but now says was more complicated: "It was [an] emotionally — and on one occasion, physically — abusive relationship."

It's notable how different Scott Morrison's reaction has been to this Miller allegation, compared with her earlier complaints about Tudge, made last year on the ABC's Four Corners.

Former staffer Rachelle Miller speaks to the media during a press conference at parliament house on Thursday.(AAP: Lukas Coch)

Morrison pushed those aside, dismissing them as history that had been dealt with. In this instance, he immediately referred the matter to an investigation, to be conducted by Vivienne Thom, former inspector-general of intelligence and security.

Admittedly Miller has now gone a step further in accusing Tudge — who flatly denies the claim — of violence.

But the political difference is the timing. Miller's allegation follows all that has come out this year about bad behaviour in Parliament House — triggered by Brittany Higgins' allegation she was raped in 2019 — and now documented in the 452-page Jenkins report.

PM walking among landmines

On issues relating to women, Morrison walks among landmines. Thursday's Miller claim showed how dangerously, and unexpectedly, one can detonate.

It's hard to know the extent to which Morrison's so-called "women's problem" will cost him votes at the election.

But one seat where woman power might be significant is the Sydney marginal electorate of Wentworth, where independent candidate Allegra Spender — the late Carla Zampatti's daughter — is being backed by female corporate high-flyers, including Christine Holgate, the former Australia Post boss.

Holgate accused Morrison of bullying with his extraordinary parliamentary attack on her over rewarding employees with Cartier watches. What goes around comes around.

Education Minister Alan Tudge stands aside amid abuse allegations

The Prime Minister tells parliament that Education Minister Alan Tudge has stood aside after a former Liberal staffer made fresh claims against him, alleging she was in an emotionally, and on one occasion, physically abusive relationship with him. 

Read more

The Sex Discrimination Commissioner's description of a noxious political workplace was on show at every turn this week.

Immediately after Tuesday's release of her report, opposition and government indulged in mutual sledging in question time.

In the Senate, Victorian Liberal David Van was accused of making dog noises when independent Jacqui Lambie was speaking. He apologised for interjecting but denied he'd made any animal sound.

On Wednesday, Greens senator Lidia Thorpe made a particularly offensive remark to NSW Liberal Hollie Hughes, saying during an altercation, "at least I keep my legs shut".

Hughes, on Thursday, said she took from this "that had I kept my legs shut, I wouldn't have a child with autism". Thorpe, who'd apologised, denied the suggestion she was referring to Hughes' family.

Hughes told Sky: "Everyone — MPs, senators, staffers, everybody — needs to hold themselves to account. We're adults. This is a professional working environment and people should behave that way."

To which one might say, "If only". And, more to the point, one might ask: "Well, why don't they?"

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 2 minutes 4 seconds2m 4s The Prime Minister has told Parliament that Alan Tudge has agreed to stand asideExplanations are not excuses

The Jenkins report has multiple recommendations that are based on a forensic review of the culture of the parliamentary workplace.

While both government and opposition loudly lamented the situation she documented, neither has committed to full implementation of what she has proposed.

Jenkins digs down to the many drivers and risk factors contributing to bullying and sexual harassment, which she identifies as including power imbalances, gender inequality, lack of accountability, bad leadership, confusion about standards, long hours, stress, alcohol, travel and a work-hard-play-hard mentality.

What are the key takeaways from the review into parliament's work culture?

These are the key recommendations from the review into the workplace culture in federal parliament sparked by Brittany Higgins's allegations.

Read more

Miller's account of the Kalgoorlie night appears to have involved a number of these.

But explanations are not excuses, and it's hard to go beyond a very basic point.

While many parliamentarians — who are at the centre of the Parliament House "ecosystem" — behave well, too many simply don't believe they need to follow the standards the community has the right to expect of them.

If they conducted themselves properly, as well as setting high standards for their staff, Parliament House would be on its way to becoming a half-decent workplace.

One point that's been made is that politicians, in taking on staff and running their offices, are their own small businesses, but they don't have the skill set to run these businesses.

That task might be unfamiliar for them, but surely not that hard to get on top of. At least that might be the view of many small-business people around the country, who have to confront their own — albeit different and often more difficult — challenges.

And as for the bad conduct in the chambers, there is just no excuse. It shows massive disrespect to those who pay the parliamentarians' salaries.

Kate Jenkins made 28 recommendations to help improve the culture and support systems in federal parliament.(ABC News)Taking no chances ahead of the election

For Scott Morrison, the past fortnight has been deeply frustrating, as well as politically risky.

Coalition rebels helped stymie the government's legislate program, such as it was.

A House of Representatives vote on the Religious Discrimination Bill had to be put off to prevent a revolt by moderate Liberals. This bill will now face two inquiries over the summer.

The government's promise to introduce legislation for an integrity commission has been turned into a farce by the PM.

On the back of the ICAC investigation of former NSW premier Gladys Berijiklian, Morrison has dug in behind the unrevised model, indicating he won't bring in the legislation because Labor won't agree to that model, which is widely criticised as flawed.

Anthony Albanese is expected to finally release Labor's much-awaited climate policy on Friday.(ABC News: Adam Kennedy)

After everything that has happened this week, and what hasn't been able to happen, you'd wonder why the government would want parliament to sit again before the election.

Sittings never work politically for this government and, unless it can get its two rebel senators and the two Hanson senators to lift their boycotts on government legislation — they are protesting against the refusal to override state vaccine mandates — and calm other rebels, legislation that was contested will not get through.

Queensland Liberal Gerard Rennick — asked on Thursday whether he would continue his boycott into next year — said it would depend on what the federal government did on the mandates between now and then. Hanson's spokesman had a similar message.

If you think this is rats jumping off a sinking political ship, think again

The departure of some of the nation's most high-profile politicians on the eve of an election easily lends itself to the suggestion of rats fleeing a sinking ship. But as the last poll showed, it's not over until the votes are cast.

Read more

The draft sitting calendar for 2022, issued this week, has parliament returning in February, and a March 29 budget.

Morrison can always tear this up in favour of a March election but he'd obviously prefer a budget to set him up for a May poll.

However, Health Minister Greg Hunt and former minister Christian Porter were taking no chances, this week both announcing they are not running again.

It might have been a momentous week — in a bad way — but the conversation will abruptly change on Friday, when Labor finally releases its much-awaited climate policy.

It's stating the obvious to say this is a big day for the opposition, which has had an internal debate over whether to make the policy small target — only a little different from the government's — or to go for something bolder, to amp up the differentiation on the climate issue.

On Sunday, Anthony Albanese will hold a rally, where he will likely make a further policy announcement.

"We will make sure we are kicking with the wind in the fourth quarter," Albanese likes to say.

Between now and mid-December, when he is intending to go on holidays, the crowd will be watching how well the opposition leader connects boot and ball.

Michelle Grattan is a professorial fellow at the University of Canberra and chief political correspondent at The Conversation, where this article first appeared.


They’re barely visible, but these tiny IVF coral ‘babies’ are breathing new life onto desolate reefs

Plumes of tiny white particles fall like underwater snow over the remnants of this reef.

It is the first sign of new coral life here in years.

Once a vibrant expanse of underwater colour, this site on the Great Barrier Reef was obliterated during a severe tropical cyclone nearly five years ago.

Now, a team of researchers and tour guides is floating on the surface above the reef.

Armed with a few boats, special pontoon structures and some patience, they're confident it can be revived.

Floating nursery pools nestled among the Whitsunday islands store the coral spawn while it 'grows'.(Supplied: Johnny Gaskell)IVF for coral

The process began a week ago, during a spectacular spawning event that saw trillions of coral egg and sperm bundles released into the water.

The annual phenomenon was recorded off the coast of centres including Cairns and Airlie Beach.

Trillions of egg and sperm are released in a stunning haze of orange and red during a coral spawning event.(Supplied: Johnny Gaskell)

Whitsunday tourism operators and scientists from groups including the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Southern Cross University were there for the occasion.

"What we're trying to do is collect the eggs from parts of the Whitsundays that have significant coral spawning events and then bring the eggs to parts … where there's not much coral," said marine biologist with Reef Catchments, Johnny Gaskell.

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Dr Mark Gibbs, principal engineer at AIMS, said the spawn was transferred into floating nursery pools stationed kilometres away to develop into larvae.

"We're stopping them from being washed to sea and depositing them right on the reef," Dr Gibbs said.

After about six days the larvae is funnelled onto reef systems damaged by bleaching or cyclones, such as the reef off Black Island in the Whitsundays.

The team sit around the edges of the floating nursery, lifting the mesh to 'funnel' the larvae onto the reef below. (ABC Tropical North: Angel Parsons )

This is known as coral IVF, a process pioneered by Queensland professor Peter Harrison.

"A few people around the world are trying this now, but a lot of the development has come from Australia," Dr Gibbs said.

"They've all, to my knowledge, been done by researchers.

"This is the only program I know about where we're effectively taking it out of the lab and using the tourism industry to do it."

The program, funded by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, has been trialled at a few sites off the Queensland coast since 2016, and has been scaled up with the help of locals.

As well as sites off Black Island, the larvae is also deploying off of Lizard Island north of Cairns. 

The team have been living aboard a vessel owned by a local tourism company at Black Island.(Supplied: Johnny Gaskell)All hands on deck

It's hoped the local tourism sector will play a key role in this type of reef restoration in coming years – providing businesses alternative income streams and upskilling staff in reef regeneration.

"One of the problems with this method is coral spawns once or twice a year, when it happens we need people and vessels to do it," Dr Gibbs said.

Working hard to collect millions of coral sperm and eggs – not your typical 'night out' in the Whitsundays. (Supplied: Johnny Gaskell)

"There's an existing pool of people and vessels in the tourism industry.

"This project is about developing the equipment and testing the methods with participants, which are traditional owners and the tourism industry.

"The dream I have is that this happens all over the Great Barrier Reef, the pools we use are in sheds and then every year, groups of local people come out and do it without my input."

"It's all very inexpensive, accessible equipment."

Tour operators such as Michela Veltri are heavily involved in the project, which is upskilling staff and offering alternative income streams. (ABC Tropical North: Angel Parsons )

Michela Veltri works as a deckhand at an adventure tourism company.

She, like many other local staff, jumped at the chance to get involved.

"There are still some amazing places to go snorkelling and diving in the Whitsundays," she said.

"But if you look at some of the other areas that were exposed on the northern parts of the islands, they're not recovering very well."

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How viable is this restoration?

Few have spent as much time underwater in the Whitsundays as marine biologist Johnny Gaskell.

He has seen the impacts of bleaching and cyclone damage first hand, but said many parts of the reef were still teeming with life and hope.

Marine biologist Johnny Gaskell says the coral IVF technique is showing promising results. (ABC Tropical North: Angel Parsons )

"Ever since Cyclone Debbie, the Whitsundays has less coral cover than it did … but there are plenty of sites to go have a look," Mr Gaskell said.

"To fight the big impacts like climate change, small-scale restoration has no chance.

"But to try and increase the recovery of local tourism sites, that's where restoration really becomes an important part of the recovery process."

Once fertilised, the coral spawn develops into swimming larvae over about six days. (Supplied: Johnny Gaskell)

It can take about three to four years for decent corals to form after the larvae is released.

The first microscopic larvae deployed using this technique on Heron Island in 2016 has grown to dinner-plate size.

Four different tourism businesses pitched in with this latest project on the Whitsundays. 

While usually competitors, it was a rare chance to work together.

And Dr Mark Gibbs said it was a great success.

"That gives me confidence we have got this method very close to a stage where we can hand it over," he said. 


The Loop: Why Rachelle Miller spoke out, Patty Mills wins top award and is Australia emitting undisclosed methane?

Good morning, it's Friday, December 3. Here's what you need to get going today.

One thing to know right now: Rachelle Miller says she made her allegations about Alan Tudge not for revenge  Former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller says she is speaking out so other women in politics can be heard.(Four Corners)

It took a bruising year after former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller first told her story about minister Alan Tudge for her to finally be heard, and for him to face consequences and stand aside.

Ms Miller received a call from the Prime Minister's chief of staff, John Kunkel, just before Question Time yesterday, to say that Scott Morrison had asked the education minister to stand aside pending an investigation into Ms Miller's allegations that their relationship was abusive.

If Ms Miller needed support, she says Mr Kunkel assured her, she should just reach out.

Mr Tudge "completely and utterly rejects" the allegations of abuse, although he has admitted to the consensual affair, which he says he regrets deeply.

Mr Kunkel's phone call to Ms Miller marked a stark change in the government's response from when Ms Miller first told her story for Four Corners' Inside the Canberra Bubble story in November 2020. After that, she says, she heard nothing.

Keep reading Louise MIlligan's analysis here.

One thing you'll be hearing about today: How satellites are challenging Australia's official greenhouse gas emission figures

Using satellite imagery from the European Space Agency combined with meteorological data and atmospheric models, Christian Lelong, the director of natural resources at geospatial analytics firm Kayrros, has been able to measure methane leaks from the fossil fuel industry around the world.

What he has found above Queensland's coal-rich Bowen Basin raises serious questions about whether Australia has been accurately reporting its greenhouse gas emissions to international bodies.

A map provided by Kayrros shows the distribution of methane hotspots detected in Australia since 2019 and associated with coal mining.(Supplied: Kayrros/Sentinel-5P data)Also: Patty Mills has won a top Australian sporting honour 

Patty Mills has become the first basketballer to win The Don Award, after his inspiring performance led the Boomers to a maiden medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Don is presented annually at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards to the athlete or team whose deeds most inspired the nation over the past 12 months.

Is there anything Mills can't do? 

Patty Mills had a superb Olympic campaign for the Boomers.(ABC RN: Jeremy Story Carter)News while you snoozed

Let's get you up to speed.

Meghan Markle had sued the publisher of the Mail on Sunday and the MailOnline website for breach of privacy and copyright.(Reuters: Ian Vogle)

The news Australians are searching for

  • Powerball – One lucky ticketholder in Western Australia claimed the Powerball jackpot, winning the entire $80 million prize.
  • Ghislaine Maxwell – it's the fourth day of Maxwell's sex trafficking trial. A former house manager has testified the British socialite was the "lady of the house" at now-deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach estate.

A courtroom sketch shows Ghislaine Maxwell watching the testimony of a witness.(AP)

  • Alec Baldwin– The actor had an interview with the US ABC's network which airs today. What we know so far is that Baldwin says he did not pull the trigger on the prop gun which fired and killed a cinematographer on the set of the film, Rust.

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 50 seconds1m 50s Alec Baldwin says he would "never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger".One more thing: It's Friday which means there's a news quiz! Donald Trump, Rihanna and Bob Katter were in the news this week. But do you know why?

Will you be declared a national hero for your efforts or will you be unceremoniously thrown out?

Test yourself to find out

That's it for now

We'll be back later with a wrap of all the big news from today. 




Lajamanu on edge after first confirmed COVID case, but vaccination rates have suddenly ‘really shifted’

Vaccination rates in Lajamanu have surged as NT health authorities race to track down the movements of the remote community's first local COVID case.

The positive case, announced on Thursday, is a fully vaccinated Lajamanu man, 45, bringing the total number of cases linked to the Katherine outbreak to 60.

Lockdown orders were lifted in Lajamanu on Wednesday.

The remote community, located about 560 kilometres south-west of Katherine, is now operating under a lockout. 

Sinon Cooney, chief executive of Katherine West Health Board, said locals were "really worried about COVID being in Lajamanu". 

"We're still trying to understand where this case has been, and we're working closely with NT government and CDC (Centre for Disease Control) around the case and their close contacts out in Laj," he said.

"People are scared that people who are highly vulnerable may get infected and may get sick or at worst, die."

However, he said it was some relief to know the positive case had a low viral load, and that nearby wastewater had recently returned negative COVID results. 

About 40 per cent of the Lajamanu community is currently double-vaccinated, he said, but that rate is set to dramatically improve in coming weeks. 

"The outbreak in Katherine has really shifted the sentiment around vaccinations in Lajamanu," he said, adding about 90 per cent of current residents had now received their first dose.

"If everything progresses in the same direction it has been — I should think in the next two to four weeks — we should be getting very close to that 80 per cent double-dose [target]."

Binjari restrictions eased slightly

The small community of Binjari, near Katherine, has now moved from a hard lockdown to a standard lockdown after wastewater samples and 147 COVID-19 tests came back negative.

Acting Chief Health Officer Charles Pain said despite encouraging signs, it was too risky to move the community into a lockout like Katherine due to the risk of transmission in large households.

Binjari resident Peggy Slater, who was taken to Howard Springs quarantine facility after being identified as a close contact, said the past few weeks had been "a bit hectic, and a bit stressful". 

"Far out, you think with COVID, you just think, 'Who's got it?' and things like that when you're walking around," she said. 

The first-dose vaccination rate in Binjari is now at 100 per cent, according to NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner. 

But Ms Slater said most of the community was "not happy with all the stories they've been hearing" from people outside Binjari who have been spreading vaccine misinformation.

"The main thing is to listen to the Indigenous people that have had the needles, and explaining that, you know, it's not dangerous," she said. 

"It could save your life, basically."

Katherine testing continues

NT health authorities in Katherine are working to find out why wastewater samples taken from the Bicentennial Road catchment in Katherine East continue to test positive to COVID-19.  

At a COVID press conference on Thursday, Health Minister Natasha Fyles said it was possible several close contacts in Katherine had developed the coronavirus, which may explain the positive wastewater results.

Dr Pain urged residents to get tested for COVID, saying "testing rates have not been up to the levels that I would hope". 


CCTV shows NT police officer grabbing Aboriginal man in wheelchair by the throat during arrest

Footage of a police officer forcefully grabbing an Aboriginal man in a wheelchair by the throat during an arrest has been shown to a Darwin court, as lawyers challenge the man's convictions for assaulting police.

Key points: 

  • Darius Cebu was found guilty in the Darwin Local Court of assaulting police during an arrest in 2019
  • Aboriginal legal aid lawyers are appealing the findings in the Northern Territory Supreme Court
  • The local court judge found the level of force used was warranted, but defence lawyers say it was unlawful

The CCTV footage, recorded in the Palmerston CBD in August 2019, shows Darius Cebu being chased across Goyder Square by three police officers who believed he had stolen alcohol from a bottle shop.

After taking two bottles from Cebu, the footage shows a male officer grabbing him by the neck with a force that tips his wheelchair back, and spinning him around.

The vision shows Cebu then appearing to argue with the male officer before wheeling himself a few metres away, swinging his arm at a female officer before he is stopped again and handcuffed.

In June a Darwin Local Court judge found Cebu guilty of assaulting police during the arrest and later spitting at an officer while in custody.

But lawyers for the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) this week challenged those findings in the Northern Territory Supreme Court, which has now granted the ABC's application to access the CCTV footage.

A Darwin Local Court judge found the level of force used in the arrest was warranted. ((Supplied) )

Barrister Patrick Coleridge told the court there was no evidence for a claim made by police and the prosecution that Cebu was trying to grab an officer's taser during the arrest.

He argued the initial police search of Cebu was unlawful because the alcohol in his possession was given to him by other people and there was no evidence he had stolen it, and described the level of force used by the officers as a violation and abuse of power.

"It was not just improper, it was unlawful, a crime. That crime carries a significant term of imprisonment," he said.

Prosecutor David Castor argued the officers involved acted within their powers and the search and arrest of Cebu was lawful.

The court heard that during the proceedings in the local court, the male officer involved said the level of force used was a mistake, but the judge found the conduct was warranted.

Mr Castor said the local court correctly found that Cebu's assault on police could not be considered to have been "caused" by the male officer's use of force because it came too long afterwards.

But Mr Coleridge said the assaults by Cebu were a response to police "misconduct" and "reflected the anger to what had been done to him by someone with so much more power than him."

The Northern Territory's mandatory sentencing regime applies to any charges of assaulting a police officer. 

Cebu's sentencing hearing in the local court has been adjourned until a decision on the appeal is made.

Mr Coleridge argued the court should consider previous cases, which he said showed poor conduct by police increased the likelihood of retaliatory behaviour by people who were under arrest.

"In those circumstances, your honour, there is a powerful public interest in deterring this conduct that increases rates of incarceration," he said.


‘There was no reason to open us so early’: SA epidemiologist says the state should have waited a few weeks

The South Australian government has defended its COVID-19 communications and management processes as the state's first cluster since opening its borders grows.

Key points:

  • SA has recorded its first COVID-19 cluster since opening its borders to NSW, Victoria and the ACT
  • Health authorities say they will no longer list all exposure sites publicly 
  • One epidemiologist says the state should have waited a few weeks to open up 

Health authorities will not be giving as much detail about cases and exposure sites — or putting as many people into quarantine — as they have in previous outbreaks.

But they have introduced new testing requirements for New South Wales visitors because of the Omicron variant.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said on Thursday that the state was moving from "what was an elimination strategy to a suppression strategy".

"And that takes a bit of a mind shift for all of us, including my team in CDCB (Communicable Disease Control Branch)," she said.

Nicola Spurrier says exposure sites will be listed if they are of "particular concern".(ABC News)

"In the past we would have put huge numbers of people into quarantine and we would have listed public exposure sites … but we are in a different phase now that we've got a high number of people vaccinated in our community."

That includes not listing Oceanview College at Taperoo as a public exposure site – even though the school has been closed and will stay shut until the end of the year.

A staff member who went to the Norwood super-spreader event tested positive after attending a professional development day there.

SA Department for Education chief executive officer Rick Persse said it looked like "a fair few of our staff are going to be impacted as close contacts".

"We're going to have to flip to an online learning environment for next week," he said.

"It was actually a student-free day, so we think the risk to kids is really, really small."

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic

The office of the state's peak business body — which advises employers about dealing with COVID-19 — has been another public exposure location, after a positive case attended an induction evening.

Business SA chief executive Martin Haese.(ABC News)

"To literally be one of the first organisations in the state to be impacted by the COVID scare within our own premises I must say is a steep learning curve," Business SA chief executive officer Martin Haese said.

The growing list of exposure sites has led to long testing queues, but the government said capacity was being increased.

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Genomic testing to determine if any of the state's cases are the Omicron variant are underway, with the results expected in a few days.

The state's 18 cases have led to some concern locally and interstate, with WA closing its border to SA last night.

University of South Australia epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said the number of cases from the cluster was still below the Doherty Institute modelling relied upon by governments.

"The number of cases we have, even with this 18 today, is well below," Professor Esterman said on Thursday.

"So I think we don't need to panic at this stage, even though it was a big number today."

Adrian Esterman says not requiring interstate travellers to show proof of a negative test when borders first opened was a "mistake".(ABC News)

But he said the initial failure to require interstate arrivals to show a negative test before travelling – something the government introduced on Monday — was a mistake.

"Why they didn't do that in the first place is beyond me," he said.

"It was a mistake they made, they're probably ruing it now, but I think we're in a reasonably good situation to take account of the cases coming in future."

Professor Esterman said SA Health's management of the pandemic was generally very good, but that he had advised against reopening the borders until more people were vaccinated.

"There was no reason to open us so early," he said.

"Our vaccination rate wasn't even at 80 per cent of 16 and over when we opened up, and another two or three weeks would have given us a much higher vaccination rate and better able to withstand any major outbreaks."

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 4 minutes 58 seconds4m 58s Heavily mutated Omicron variant puts scientist on alertWhat you need to know about coronavirus:

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Get up to speed on all the coronavirus news from across Australia. 

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Live updates2m ago2 minutes agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 9:31pm

Audience comment by Jo

Hi Jess. My son turns 21 today in Sydney. And tonight we are having ALL the family over. It’s the first time my parents will have seen all their kids and grandkids in nearly 2 years. And my other son had his last HSC exam yesterday and heads off to schoolies tomorrow. Pretty excited! 😀

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3m ago3 minutes agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 9:31pm

By Alicia Nally

We still don't know much about Omicron What’s the latest on Omricon in terms of whether it is a more serious sickness? I think it’s good we’ve all lowered our focus on case numbers and looking more at hospitalisations to gauge what measures we need to put in place… so just wondering if Omricon is more or less likely to land someone in hospital


Hey Worried, it is a tough time at the moment, but the scientists and experts are madly trying to map this new variant and work out what it does.

This story gives you a good rundown.

So does this one.

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22m ago22 minutes agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 9:11pm

By Alicia Nally

First press conference of the day!

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly and Health Minister Greg Hunt will speak at 9:30am AEDT.

That's 8:30am in Queensland, 9am in Adelaide and Darwin and 6:30am in Perth!

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29m ago29 minutes agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 9:05pm

By Alicia Nally

This is what y'all are doing this weekendWe’re putting up the Christmas tree this weekend. For covid safety it will wear a mask.

-Lil Ms Sunshine State

Good morning Alicia 🙂 Not very exciting, but I'll be working…Still from home, but working…I took most of last week off and went to Newcastle or my bday

-NattyTop if the morning to you Alicia and all the blog team at ABC! This weekend we begin school holidays (for our school) in regional VIC! This means after weeks and months at home having ALL the kids home learning, they'll be ALL back home again! Oh well, with cases popping up at school regularly and my youngest yet to be vaxxed up (11 years old), safer at the moment. Take care everyone, happy days, school holidays to all the families out there in the blog audience. Have a fabulous, safe, fun and festive season.

-Optimistic in Vic! Off to Sydney to see friends for the first time in months (from Melbourne) for the weekend – joys of open borders!

-Travelling finally

And, I am so glad to hear this:

So very pleased that here in SA we managed a planned wedding for our daughter and new son-in-law on Wednesday 1st December, such a lovely day and everything went as planned

-SA wedding done Wednesday Share post

39m ago39 minutes agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 8:54pm

By Alicia Nally

'There was no reason to open us so early': SA epidemiologist says the state should have waited a few weeksABC News

The South Australian government has defended its COVID-19 communications and management processes as the state's first cluster since opening its borders grows.

Health authorities will not be giving as much detail about cases and exposure sites — or putting as many people into quarantine — as they have in previous outbreaks.

But they have introduced new testing requirements for New South Wales visitors because of the Omicron variant.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said on Thursday that the state was moving from "what was an elimination strategy to a suppression strategy".

Eric Tlozek has the whole story right here.

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55m ago55 minutes agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 8:39pm

By Alicia Nally

ACT's overhaul of COVID-19 emergency laws is neither controversial nor as necessary as Victoria's legislationAAP

Outside Victoria's parliament last month, protesters hanged an effigy of state Premier Daniel Andrews, furious at his proposed COVID-19 management laws.

In the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday, draft laws were tabled that share some of the Victorian legislation's aims.

But Canberrans won't be gathering to demand ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr's head (literally or figuratively). They probably won't even write a stern letter.

Both bills allow these jurisdictions to end the public health emergencies put in place when the coronavirus pandemic began last year.

Both governments say the legislation will allow them to respond to the disease more efficiently, without using emergency powers.

However, the proposed ACT changes are neither as controversial nor, strictly speaking, as necessary as Victoria's. Here's why.

Story here by Markus Mannheim and Rosie King

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1h ago1 hours agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 8:26pm

By Alicia Nally

Days before Fiji was due to open, the world discovered Omicron. The island paradise welcomed tourists anywayABC News

Just when it seems safe to finally book that trip, COVID comes along and delivers a fresh blow.

When the Omicron variant emerged over the weekend, travel plans were disrupted, changes were quickly made to Australia's border, and anyone who was about to confirm tickets to a faraway place might have had a second thought.

For nearly two years, a small island nation and neighbour to Australia has been hanging on these moments.

Fiji has pushed to get its vaccination rate to more than 90 per cent and has come up with a model for international travel that requires travellers to stay in the same place for a few days, but also feels nothing like quarantine.

A lot was riding on December 1, when the first international flights were due to touch down in Nadi.

Then, just a few days beforehand, the Omicron variant appeared.

And while individual plans being disrupted is one thing, what they mean collectively to an entire country is something else.

The decision was made to proceed.

Emily Clark and Fletcher Yeung have all the details here.

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1h ago1 hours agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 8:16pm

By Alicia Nally

Here is the link to yesterday's blog

Yep, right here.

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1h ago1 hours agoThu 2 Dec 2021 at 8:14pm

By Alicia Nally

Welcome to the ABC News coronavirus live blog for Friday, December 3, 2021

Alicia Nally here to take you through this morning's news.

I hope everyone is well.

Do let me know what's coming up for your weekend — and how you're going to spend it COVID-safely!

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Live: NSW Now: Five men charged during investigation into disappearance of Sydney model

Here's what you need to know this morning.

Charges in missing woman investigation Revelle Balmain's belongings were found around the streets of Kingsford after she vanished.(Supplied: NSW Police)

Five people have been charged and an alleged criminal syndicate has been shut down as part of a renewed investigation into the disappearance of model Revelle Balmain.

Ms Balmain was 22 when she was last seen in the Kingsford area in Sydney's eastern suburbs in 1994.

She was working as a part-time escort at the time. Although a client of hers was once investigated, no-one has been charged over her disappearance.

But as part of renewed work on the case, police have found and dismantled an alleged criminal syndicate operating across Sydney.

The group was allegedly involved in the cultivation and supply of prohibited drugs, as well as the coordinated theft and on-sale of luxury goods.

Officers searched properties at Maroubra, Randwick and Surry Hills yesterday and arrested five men aged between 50 and 65.

They were all refused bail and will front court in Sydney today.

Parents of Omicron-positive child wait for test results A number of venues in Chatswood are now considered exposure sites.(ABC News)

Health authorities are waiting on test results that will determine if a couple infected with COVID-19 have the Omicron variant. 

Urgent genomic sequencing was ordered after the couple's child, who is too young to be vaccinated, tested positive for the new strain.

The family travelled on flight QR908 from Doha to Sydney on November 23 but had not been to southern Africa, prompting NSW Health to suspect transmission occurred on the flight. 

A number of venues visited by the family in Chatswood on Sydney's lower north shore have been listed as exposure sites.

Anyone who was at these venues is considered a close contact and is advised to get tested and isolate until receiving a negative result.

HSC exams wrap up today The food technology paper will bring this year's HSC exam period to a close.(ABC News)

The four-week HSC exam period comes to an end today for more than 65,000 year 12 students, with the final paper commencing this morning.

For the past two years, students have faced lockdowns and intermittent homeschooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also delayed the start of the exams by a month.

But when the food technology paper finishes at 12:30pm, secondary schooling will end for the class of 2021.

NSW Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said none of the 110 exams was cancelled despite the ongoing pandemic.

Students are expected to get their ATARs on January 20, with their HSC results released on January 24.

Rail strike to cause major disruption NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union members are refusing to operate some models of trains.(Supplied: Transport for NSW)

Train services will be impacted throughout December as Sydney Trains and its workers continue to clash over employment conditions. 

On December 7, services will run at 25 per cent capacity and commuters have been warned to plan ahead.

NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union members are refusing to operate select models including Waratah, Millennium and OSCAR trains, which Transport for NSW says account for 70 per cent of the fleet.

Services will be reduced on the following lines: T1 North Shore and Western, T2 Inner West and Leppington, T3 Bankstown (Liverpool to Circular Quay via Bankstown), T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra, T7 Olympic Park and the T8 Airport and South Line.

There will be no services on the T5 Cumberland Line.

Other industrial action planned for December includes cleaning bans and excessive horn blowing.

Pre-poll for council elections ends today Tomorrow 124 of the state's 128 councils go to the polls.(ABC News)

Today is the last day of pre-polling ahead of this weekend's NSW local government elections.

Almost every NSW resident has to vote by tomorrow afternoon when 124 of the state's 128 councils go to the polls.

New mayors will be voted in by the public in 35 local government areas, while inner-west residents will be asked whether they want to split up a council that was amalgamated in 2016.

Chronic illnesses on the rise in the bush NSW Farmers Association says a lack of primary care is leading to long-term health issues.(Supplied: National Rural Health Alliance)

The NSW Farmers Association says the stripping back of medical services in remote and rural towns is leading to more chronic illnesses in country communities. 

The lobby group is one of 17 witnesses due to give evidence at today's hearing of a parliamentary inquiry. It will warn the distances and costs involved in receiving health care have become major barriers.

Spokesperson Sarah Thompson said a study had found rural and remote residents did not see doctors as often as their city counterparts. 

"They also deal with three times the prevalence of avoidable chronic illnesses," Ms Thompson said.

"I mean, it doesn't take Einstein to figure out that if you don't have access to this early level of primary care, that you're going to have issues down the track."

Friday's weather:

Sunny morning, cloudy afternoon








Indigenous man flees town after seeing video of cop threatening to ‘flog’ him

The family of an Indigenous man says he has fled a remote south-west Queensland town fearing for his safety after a local police officer threatened to "flog" and "hurt" him.

Key points:

  • The man's father says the threats have left his whole family in fear
  • He doubts his son will return home for Christmas without some kind of assurance he will not be harmed
  • Police say they are conducting internal inquiries

Video footage has emerged of the policeman in the remote town of Cunnamulla making threats against the 28-year-old man to his sister, Jacinta Munn, sparking informal internal inquiries within the Queensland Police Service (QPS).

The man's family and an Indigenous rights expert are calling for immediate action to make him feel safe enough to return home.

The footage, captured about two weeks ago, shows the Cunnamulla officer in the driver's seat of the marked police car, asking Ms Munn if she had seen her older brother.

His family said police were looking for him over "about $40 worth of stolen Keno tickets", but police would not comment on the circumstances.

The police officer can be seen sitting in the driver's seat of a marked car in the video.(Supplied)

"If he comes to me, it looks a lot better for him, because either way he's being arrested," the officer says in the video.

"If you do see him, tell him to come see me before I find him, or else I'll flog him."

Ms Munn replies: "Well, he'll get charged — I don't think you can flog him."

"No, no, I'm just going to hurt him a little," the officer says.

The 28-year-old's father says he can't see his son coming back to Cunnamulla for Christmas.(ABC Western Queensland: Blythe Moore)'He won't come back'

The man's father, Darryn Munn, says the threats have scared the entire family.

"When you have a police officer, that is out there to protect and serve, say that they want to bash your son, I fear for not just his life, but all of my family," he said.

Mr Munn said that from the way the officer was "giggling" in the video, he doubted he was going to merely "fairy tap" his son if he carried the threat out.

"I feared that he was going to give my son an ultimate hiding, the way he was smirking at that," Mr Munn said.

"If my son's done wrong, then take him, but don't threaten him along the way."

Mr Munn said when his son left town after he saw the footage.

"Once he got that footage, he said, 'I'm outta here, I'm gone' — and sure enough, the next day I didn't see my son again," he said.

"I haven't seen him yet.

"Mightn't have Christmas together this year because of that, because he won't come back to Cunnamulla, I can say that with confidence."

Queensland Police said its South West District Office is conducting internal inquiries into the video. (ABC News: Giulio Saggin  file photo)Internal inquiries underway

In a statement, the QPS said the South West District Office was aware of the video footage and was conducting further internal inquiries.

"The Queensland Police Service (QPS) expects all sworn members and civilian staff to adhere to the QPS Integrity Framework and the Queensland Public Service Code of Conduct," a spokesperson said.

"Every QPS member is expected to treat all members of the public with respect."

Chelsea Watego says police should act swiftly in response to the video.(Supplied: University of Queensland)

Indigenous academic Chelsea Watego said it was "hardly surprising to see those kinds of remarks" from a QPS officer.

"I think what is quite telling is that in a post-Black Lives Matter movement that a police officer could be so comfortable making those comments repeatedly," she said.

"It speaks to the free licence the Queensland Police Service have."

Police said no formal complaint had been made to its Ethical Standards Command.

But Dr Watego said the QPS had enough information to act immediately.

"Given the QPS have seen the footage, they surely must act, independently of any formal complaint process," she said.

"There is no investigation needed here, because the footage says it all, and I don't know how the Queensland Police Service cannot act swiftly on this, cannot take action and hold one of their members accountable for their [alleged] misconduct.

"It just seems to me bizarre, though it's telling of the QPS, beyond the officer, about the culture of violence that they clearly still support."

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Woodside faces new legal challenge over Scarborough gas

Conservationists have doubled down on their determination to fight Woodside's plan to build the $16.5 billion Scarborough gas project over concerns about its projected greenhouse gas emissions.

Key points:

  • WA's Conservation Council this week launched its second legal action over the project
  • A report found the domestic gas supply would be surplus to projected requirements
  • Another report found gas would continue to be important as renewables increased

The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) this week launched its second legal action targeting the WA government's management of the project's approvals over a number of years — in particular, how greenhouse gas emissions were considered.

Just days before Christmas, the WA Supreme Court will hear another CCWA challenge, this time to Scarborough's environmental approvals, which it argues were unlawful because they did not adequately consider the project's impact on the climate.

But WA Premier Mark McGowan appears to want to shift this battle to a different arena.

Woodside's Pluto LNG gas facility on the Burrup Peninsula, north of Karratha.(Supplied)

Aside from his eyebrow-raising comments about the possibility of state intervention if the approvals were found to be invalid, he highlighted the importance of keeping "the lights on".

"We can't have scores of industries close down because of a court ruling, so the state government will do what it has to do to make sure industries stay open," Mr McGowan said when asked about the legal action.

"Other industries or other projects have received approvals that this might have an implication for.

"We want to keep the lights on and make sure our hospitals continue to function."

Projected domestic supply would exceed demand

So just how important is Scarborough — Australia's biggest oil and gas project in a decade — to keeping WA's lights on?

The Scarborough project involves piping gas from the Scarborough gas fields to an expanded Pluto facility on the Burrup Peninsula for processing. 

Scarborough is slated to start production in 2026, with most of its gas headed to overseas markets like Japan and South Korea.

But it will also produce domestic gas.

According to a new analysis by climate scientist Bill Hare, the extension of Pluto's Train 1 and construction of Train 2 will increase domestic gas production from 25 to 250 terajoules a day.

Bill Hare says the additional gas supply would be well above projected demand throughout the next decade.(ABC News: Claire Moodie)

Of this, 125 Tj/day will be supplied to Perdaman's proposed urea plant on the Burrup Peninsula and 40 Tj/day to Woodside's planned H2Perth project, south of Perth, to create hydrogen and ammonia from gas.

"[The] project would effectively add 20 per cent to the domestic gas (DomGas) supply in WA, well above the projected demand throughout the next decade," his report said.

"These additional fossil gas resources lock-in a significant new demand for gas that does not presently exist, adding substantially to state emissions."

Dr Hare, who received support from the CCWA for the study, said WA did not need Scarborough gas to keep the lights on because there would be more renewable energy options by the time it was available.

"We've got renewables, we've got battery storage and we've got coming availability of hydrogen," he said.

"So really on the time scale of a decade or so, we could be 100 per cent renewable in the electricity space by the early 2030s, as are other places.

"So we don't need the gas for that."

The most current data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) shows that gas supply is expected to meet forecast demand in WA until 2029.

This prediction does not include Scarborough — which was only given the final go-ahead last month — and will be updated in coming weeks.

Gas to play 'significant' role despite growth of renewables

Most of WA's domestic gas supply is used for industrial purposes, with only 12 per cent used for electricity generation.

The AEMO expects gas demand to grow by about 0.7 per cent each year, due to industry requirements, although demand from WA's main electricity network — the south-west Interconnected System — is tipped to fall by about 0.4 per cent annually. 

A federal government report published in October showed WA's electricity market emissions were expected to decrease by 2030 because it would be using more renewable energy, particularly rooftop solar.

But the report, titled 'Australia's Emissions Projections 2021', also said gas would continue to play a significant role, even as the share of renewables in electricity generation was tipped to increase from 15 per cent in 2019 to 45 per cent in 2030.

"Gas generation continues to support reliability in the [WA Wholesale Electricity Market], and is projected to be the single biggest fuel source throughout the decade," it said.

"Baseload gas generation is projected to be at a similar level by 2030 as 2019, while coal generation declines."

Tony Wood says the role of gas in the energy mix will diminish as renewables become cheaper.(Supplied: YouTube)

Grattan Institute energy program director Tony Wood said WA was the most gas-intensive state in the country due to the demands of industry and power generation. 

"We know that power generation can be solved with renewables but not completely because we haven't yet worked out what we do when the sun goes down," he said.

Mr Wood said gas would continue to play a role in the energy mix but this would diminish as renewables became cheaper.

"This need for gas is going to go on for some time," he said.

"Maybe the use of gas as the fundamental ongoing source of electricity most of the time is replaced by renewables, however you still need gas to back up the renewables until you've got a solution to the storage issue."


Everything you need to know about the Bathurst 1000

The Supercars season will roar towards its conclusion this weekend at Mount Panorama as part of a six-day festival of motorsport, culminating with the 161-lap Bathurst 1000 on Sunday.

It's the 61st time the Great Race has been run around the historic Bathurst course and has all the makings of a classic, with this year's Supercars champion hoping to go back-to-back and an Aussie motorsport legend looking for one last tilt at glory.

Here's everything you need to know about this year's Bathurst 1000.

When is Bathurst 1000? The iconic Bathurst circuit will be echoing with the sounds of Supercars this weekend.(AAP: Edge Photographics/Mark Horsburgh)

The six-day motorsport extravaganza kicked off on the Mountain on Tuesday, with a full range of support categories in action.

The Supercars don't get on course until Thursday's first and second practices, at 10am AEDT and 4:25pm AEDT (for co-drivers only).

There are two more practices on Friday before qualifying at 4:35pm AEDT.

Saturday features another couple of practice sessions before the always dramatic top 10 shootout at 5:05pm AEDT.

Then, on Sunday, this year's Great Race will get underway at the latest time ever, 12:15pm AEDT.

How long is Bathurst 1000?

The race is exactly as advertised, 1,000 kilometres of flat-out racing around the iconic 6.213km course.

That's 161 laps of intense racing, which often features plenty of crashes as well as desperately tense tactical battles as teams try to work out pit strategies and conserve their tyres on the hugely demanding, undulating circuit.

How long the actual race goes for depends on a whole host of factors, including the amount of wet weather and the number of safety car periods, but you can be pretty safe in thinking it will run for about six or seven hours.

Who is in contention? Shane van Gisbergen, right, will be hoping to go back-to-back on the mountain with Garth Tander.(AAP: Edge Photographics/Mark Horsburgh)

Flying Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen has an unassailable 337-point lead in the Supercars championship, which should indicate just how good he has been this season.

Van Gisbergen also won last year's race with Garth Tander, who he'll partner with again this year in one of the strongest pairings on the grid.

Retiring Supercars legend Jamie Whincup will once again partner with Craig Lowndes, with the three-time winning pairing hoping for one last hurrah on Supercars' biggest stage.

As for returning partnerships from last year, that's it.

None of the other 23 teams raced together last year due to a variety of factors, including border closures.

Scott McLaughlin, left, will not be racing at this year's Bathurst 1000.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

2019 Bathurst winner and now IndyCar driver, Scott McLaughlin is one of those who will be absent this year.

Some of the combinations to look out for are the two all-brother pairings of Will and Alex Davison and Jake and Kurt Kostecki, as well as the oldest and youngest pairing in history: 19-year-old Broc Feeney and 57-year-old, two-time-winner, Russell Ingall.

Ford vs Holden?

Only once in the last six seasons has a Ford won the Great Race.

That was when Scott McLaughlin and Alex Prémat claimed the race in dramatic and controversial circumstances in 2019.

In fact, Holden has won seven of the last 10 races at the Bathurst 1000, a dominance that could yet continue this year.

Anton de Pasquale has won five of the 11 most recent races at Sydney Motorsport Park.(Getty Images: Daniel Kalisz)

However, Anton de Pasquale has been in excellent form in his Shell V-Power Ford Mustang since racing resumed at the Sydney Motorsport Park at the end of October.

Of the 11 races at the Eastern Creek venue, Pasquale won five.

He will partner with Tony D'Alberto.

In the other Shell V-Power Racing Team entry, Will Davison — who won the final race in Sydney two weeks ago and came second last year with Cameron Waters — will also be keen to show what he can do alongside his brother, Alex.

Is it going to rain? Rain played havoc at the last Sydney SuperNight race.(Getty Images: Daniel Kalisz)

The forecast currently says no.

Despite the entire east coast copping an absolute drenching over the last week or so, and rain falling intermittently throughout the week, the Bureau of Meteorology is suggesting there will be just 20 per cent chance of rain on Sunday.

That's not to say there won't be drama though.

Since 1987, there have been just two races that have not had to have the safety car deployed: 1989 and 1991.

The most number of times the safety car has been deployed in a single race is 13 in 2000.

How do I watch it?

You can follow all the action from Bathurst in our live blog from 11am AEDT.

If you want to watch the action, check out Fox Sports or Kayo.

You can also catch the race on free-to-air with Channel 7 or 7plus.


Higher prices predicted for watermelons, chilli after torrential rain destroys summer crops

Australians are set to pay a premium for popular summer produce, including watermelons and chillies, with widespread storms destroying crops across Queensland.

Key points:

  • Prices are set to spike following significant crop losses
  • Growers are unable to use heavy machinery due to the saturated ground 
  • The group Melons Australia says more support is needed for growers hit by disaster

The deluge has made harvest difficult in some regions, with parts of Bundaberg receiving record-breaking totals in the past two weeks.

The wet weather has saturated growers' properties, making it difficult to operate heavy machinery.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers managing director Bree Grima said the impact of the rainfall on local crops was devastating.

"We have been calling out for rain for many years now and we seem to have received an awful lot," she said.

"Some growers are reporting well over 600 millimetres in the past two weeks.

"For those producers with crops in the ground, they're reporting up to 85 per cent losses for those crops.

Some growers have recorded up to 85 per cent in crop losses. (ABC Wide Bay: Jake Kearnan)

"Too much rainfall can result in a lot of fruit splitting and those products just simply have to be left behind in the paddock – they're simply no good for consumption."

Watermelons hit hard

Ms Grima said watermelon growers were reporting significant crop losses.

"We've got some beautiful watermelons that were coming out of the region, their season had only just started," she said.

"Our lychees will be starting in a couple of weeks, we will then be going into our mango season, those crops are looking really good.

"But we need the tap to be turned off to allow those products to get to the end of their crop cycle."

Austchilli's David De Paoli has had to start throwing out some of his crops due to the chillies splitting.(ABC Wide Bay: Jake Kearnan)Chilli growers hope for reprieve

Chilli growers have been forced to revert to traditional methods of hand picking, with the saturated ground making it impossible to use heavy machinery.

The water is causing chillies to split and some crops have already being thrown out.

A shortage of chillies in supermarkets is predicted just after Christmas.(ABC Wide Bay: Jake Kearnan)

Austchilli managing director David De Paoli said the ground was not getting a chance to dry out.

"If it rains, we deal with it, but when it keeps raining that's when the difficulty comes," he said.

"Our heavy machinery is sitting in the shed and we're now in the workshop trying to design equipment that uses human horsepower to pull it along.

"That's how bad it is to get these crops off.

"There is going to be a big shortage in supermarkets, maybe just after Christmas – it will drive the prices up."

'Life just isn't fair sometimes'

Melons Australia executive officer Johnathon Davey said growers needed more support.

"We are wanting to sit down and work through some sort of support and assistance mechanism with the Queensland government to work out and have that developed in consultation with industry," he said.

"That needs to be done on a farm-by-farm approach because they're not all impacted or at the same level and progression in their season as each other.

"There is no ability for melon growers to take out insurance on natural events that happen like this.

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"One grower I spoke with this morning has been growing melons for 35 years and this is the worst impact that they have ever seen from weather.

"Life just isn't fair sometimes."


Elective surgery patients in Queensland may require COVID test

Elective surgery patients may require a negative COVID-19 test in the 72 hours before their procedures under options being discussed within Queensland Health to reduce the risk of hospital transmission.

Key points:

  • Acting CHO Peter Aitken stressed no directive or timeline had been scheduled for the elective surgery screening tests
  • Dr Aitken said some elective surgery patients in Victoria had ended up spreading COVID-19 across hospital wards before screening tests were introduced there
  • Pathology Queensland is undertaking its biggest staff recruitment drive in years to take pressure off its 36 laboratories ahead of the anticipated jump in COVID testing

The testing proposal is one of a raft of measures being considered as the state prepares to move into the "living with the virus" phase, when COVID-19 case numbers will mount.

Acting Queensland Chief Health Officer Peter Aitken stressed no directive or timeline had been scheduled for the elective surgery screening tests but confirmed they were on the table as part of detailed plans to protect patients and hospital staff from COVID.

"As we get much higher rates of COVID in the community … there becomes an increased role for screening tests," Dr Aitken said.

"Part of the role of that is to make sure that people who are asymptomatic, but have COVID, are picked up … to minimise the risks of anyone coming in and spreading COVID across a ward.

"There's no real need to do that at the moment. But it's something we've made plans for, and we will consider, as COVID case numbers in the community pick up."

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicRule will benefit patients, CHO says

Dr Aitken said some elective surgery patients in Victoria had ended up spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, across hospital wards before screening tests were introduced there.

He said if a Queensland elective surgery needed to be rescheduled because of COVID-19, it would be done "in the best interests of the individual".

How will Queensland reopen its borders?

Will you and your loved ones be able to unite this festive season under Queensland's border deadline plans? Here's a quick guide.

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"The last thing you would want … is to have someone try and recover from surgery as well as fight COVID," Dr Aitken said.

"There's only so many things people's immune systems can juggle at once."

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Chris Perry, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, supported the screening tests to protect hospitals, health workers and patients, but said "we would have to see the detail".

"It does have merit," Dr Perry said.

COVID-19 testing in Queensland is likely to spike significantly after border restrictions ease further when the state reaches 80 per cent of residents aged 16 years and older being fully vaccinated, expected in the middle of next week.

Recruitment drive underway in bid to take pressure off labs A COVID-19 testing lab.(ABC News: Mark Leonardi)

Pathology Queensland is undertaking its biggest staff recruitment drive in years to take pressure off its 36 laboratories ahead of the anticipated jump in COVID testing.

Most of the 78 additional full-time equivalent jobs for scientists and laboratory assistants will be in regional Queensland centres.

COVID-19 virus case numbers, hospitalisations and intensive care unit admissions are also likely to swell in Queensland as quarantine requirements for travellers are reduced once the state hits the 80 per cent double vaccination target.

Read more about the Omicron variant:

When the 78 new staff members are recruited, Pathology Queensland will have boosted its manpower by 8.5 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic from a full-time equivalent workforce of about 2,000 people.

Pathology workers have been among the most stretched health workers in Queensland during the pandemic, with the number of COVID-19 tests being performed throughout the state expected to surpass 5 million this month.

More than a third of those have been performed by Pathology Queensland, the remainder in private laboratories.

Queensland Health senior molecular scientist Ian Mackay described COVID-19 as "the most tested disease in world history", representing a huge increase in workload for pathology staff on top of normal testing requirements.

Queensland COVID-19 snapshot

In the past 24 hours:

  • Locally acquired cases: 1
  • Other sources: 2
  • Tests: 10,349

Queensland's vaccine rollout (percentage of those aged 16+):

  • First dose: 86.7 per cent
  • Second dose: 76.8 per cent

Latest case information from Queensland Health.

The biggest testing day of the pandemic in Queensland so far saw 52,000 COVID swabs analysed on August 4, during the state's Indooroopilly cluster, with an average turnaround time of under 24 hours for results.

Dr Mackay, who manages the only Queensland laboratory focusing solely on coronavirus testing, based at Herston, in Brisbane's inner north, predicted test numbers could surpass the recent highs at some stage next year as case numbers inevitably increase.

"Demand for testing will rise significantly as case numbers grow," he said. "This virus is definitely coming our way. It's coming from down south and it soon will be coming from international sites as well.

"If you're not vaccinated, you will be seeing the worst of the effects of SARS-CoV-2, and the worst types of COVID, including hospitalisation and death."

'Keeping Queenslanders safe'Loading

Dr Mackay said the Herston laboratory, which opened in March, had decreased the turnaround time for COVID-19 results, giving people peace of mind and allowing contact tracers to head off further transmission.

"That's been key to keeping Queenslanders safe," he said.

During the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, Pathology Queensland and Queensland Health's Forensic and Scientific Services (FSS) moved quickly to develop a PCR test for the virus.

Initially, FSS's public health virology laboratory at Coopers Plains, in Brisbane's south, was the only facility able to process COVID-19 samples.

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But Pathology Queensland general manager Brett Bricknell said high-volume PCR testing had since been rolled out to 10 of the state's largest laboratories co-located with public hospitals, including in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay, Hervey Bay and Toowoomba.

Mr Bricknell said capacity was being increased again in preparation for the expected spike in testing as borders reopen, to include round-the-clock testing at the state's biggest hospitals and additional high-volume PCR instruments in Bundaberg and at the Queensland Children's Hospital.

He said Pathology Queensland had also worked with the federal government and the Kirby Institute to introduce rapid PCR testing into 19 of the state's remote communities, including Weipa, Mornington Island, Lockhart River, Aurukun, Doomadgee and Thursday Island.

"It will be crucial in an outbreak that you've got the ability, initially, to detect the urgent cases," Mr Bricknell said.

Queensland has so far recorded 2,133 cases of COVID-19, including seven people who have died.

What you need to know about coronavirus:

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Emergency alert issued for Chinchilla, as rain finally clears across southern Queensland

An emergency alert has been issued for Chinchilla, north west of Brisbane, with residents sandbagging as floodwaters peak in Charleys Creek.

Key points:

  • The McIntyre River is set to peak this evening, putting Goondiwindi residents on high alert
  • Inglewood businesses are surveying thousands of dollars worth of damage
  • Queensland has recorded its wettest November since 2010 

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service issued the warning late last night that properties may be flooded, however Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh said there appeared to be no inundation at this stage.

Charleys Creek peaked at a moderate level, at over 5 metres this morning, and was expected to subside over the coming days.

"While [the floodwater] is in our streets and our yards, I don't think at this stage there's no houses that have been severely impacted," Mr McVeigh said.

"We got an alert to the community to have their flood [plans] in place so they're ready to move.

"I don't want to alarm anyone but I think the situation is at its peak but watching it over the next few hours."

It has stopped raining over the Western Downs town today, however showers may return tomorrow.

Mr McVeigh said the local catchments was now saturated and any rain would lead to more flooding.

"While it's great to have such beautiful rain, the impact of floodwaters is certainly one we're concerned about," he said.

"We've had situations with children going into the flooded waters and had to rescued, and one of things we want to avoid is in a tragedy in our community."

Meanwhile, floodwaters that inundated Inglewood earlier this week are due to peak in border town Goondiwindi.

The Macinytre River is due to hit 10.7 metres later today, a level just above the 2011 floods.

Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg says authorities had little time to respond to evacuation orders in Inglewood.(ABC News: Stephen Cavenagh)

The Goondiwindi Regional Council said the levee would not be breached at that level, but the local disaster management group was planning for "all eventualities."

Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg said the water would hopefully clear by the time more rain arrived next week.

"If there's any rainfall after that it takes a significant period of time to get through this community and down to there, so the fact that we've actually had a chance for the rivers to peak and start to dissipate buys us some degree of capacity if we get more rainfall next weekend," he said.

"We just say to people we need to plan, we need a state of readiness and we need to be prepared to react."

Crews mop up a muddy home in Inglewood after floodwaters receded.(ABC News: Ashleigh Stevenson)Sodden earth ripe for flash flooding

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said it would be mostly fine today where the bulk of the rain fell this week.

However, it warned isolated storms across already-sodden catchment areas could lead to more flooding next week.

Preparing for a flood

You often don't have much warning, but if you live in an area that could be affected by a flood it's important to make preparations. Here's a list of things you should do to get ready if the worst happens.

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BOM meteorologist Pieter Classen said many parts of south-east Queensland received more than 200 millimetres of rain in the past few days, and Greater Brisbane could see flash flooding early next week when rain returned.

"Thankfully, we will see a bit of a reprieve over the weekend," he said.

"We do see a bit of a deterioration potentially towards the end of the weekend again over southern parts of Queensland where catchments are very saturated at the moment."

Yelarbon residents still waiting to get home

Authorities are continuing to monitor the situation at Yelarbon after locals were evacuated on Wednesday.

Police will look at whether it will be safe for residents to return home after assessing the condition of local roads.

Meanwhile, the clean-up has begun in Inglewood where properties were inundated earlier this week.

Inglewood newsagent Trisha-Lee Christy says the flooding left her shop and home sodden.(ABC News: Ashleigh Stevenson)

Inglewood newsagent Trisha-Lee Christy said she was asleep at 10pm on Tuesday when her daughter woke her and told her they needed to evacuate.

She said she felt devastated when she saw the damage to her business and home.

"I am just trying to think of the positive aspects of things that weren't damaged. Things that were saveable," Ms Christy said.

"I have the shop and a residence at the back area adjoining and my daughter lives right at the back in another area.

"It just went right through probably 12 inches high at the highest point. Just mud and slush and debris."


Ms Christy said the local community and SES had been wonderful in rallying people to help.

"We've probably had 30 to 35 people here today helping us," she said.

"It is a beautiful community Inglewood. I just love it here … and when you have something this devastating happen as well, that is when you realise just how special they are."

Supermarket operator Kim Rush said it was hard to survey the extent of the damage to her shop but suspected fridge motors had blown.

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"We have been so busy getting the dirt out that I haven't really gauged the tally of the equipment lost," Ms Rush said.

"It's the silt. It's in everywhere, in everything. I think thousands of dollars [of losses]."

Ms Rush said local police officers helped her get access back to her store, which she hoped would be open again soon.

"We've all got the same mess, some more than others. We will get through it," she said.


Hobartians mopping up after intense storms, power outages

Hobartians are mopping up this morning following thunderstorms that brought heavy rain and hail to the Tasmanian capital and parts of the state's south-east.


Last night, 15.4 millimetres of rain fell at Hobart in just half an hour, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.

State Emergency Services (SES) assistant director of operations Leon Smith said several roads were cut off due to flash flooding.

"Unfortunately, we did witness people not heeding our advice and entering those floodwaters — quite dangerous in a lot of instances," he said.

"We saw stormwater of significance, to a point where … everything had been dislodged out of the stormwater system."

The SES said it responded to about 45 calls for help in just two hours.

Brook Oakley from the BOM said the state saw "intense storms", "damaging wind gusts" of around 120 kilometres per hour and "large hail", which was "unusual for any time of year".

"The most noteworthy thing about yesterday was the intensity of the rainfall — how much rain actually few in a short period of time," she said.


"Weather is going to be more settled over the next few days, but we are expecting a cold day tomorrow."

Lyn Southon posted to ABC Hobart's Facebook page: "Worst storm I have ever seen! We ended up with a new water feature … in our sun room."

TasNetworks said about 30,000 homes lost power.

Some said it was "the worst storm" they'd seen in Tasmania.(Supplied: Samantha Jane) Thunderstorms brought hail and heavy rain to Hobart last night.(Supplied: Belinda Townsend) The State Emergency Services responded to around 45 calls for help in just two hours.(Supplied: Angela Fell)


There were winners, losers and big losers amongst Australia’s universities last year — and the ‘big eight’ didn’t escape

Leo Tolstoy's famous opening to Anna Karenina reads: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

The Russian master was writing in 1877, but in 2021 it's an apt description of Australia's university family — and the pandemic’s uneven impact on it.

Some universities have actually increased revenue since the pandemic began, yet the heads of some other families — the vice-chancellors — are deeply unhappy.

The reasons why are complex, and it's not just down to the loss of international students.

One university had a pandemic response plan in the bottom drawer and prospered (yes, they'd workshopped it before 2020), while others have suffered.

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic

Students, too, feel they're missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime rite of passage, persistently questioning why so much of campus life remains remote, even as lockdowns are lifted.

In 2020, Australian universities lost 5.1 per cent of 2019 revenue. 

Some lost much, much more.

The winners 

According to analysis of the 2020 annual reports of 37 of Australia's 39 public universities conducted by the University of Melbourne, just eight universities increased revenue.

That happy list includes the three South Australian universities (some of which went ahead with redundancies anyway), Australian Catholic University and four regional schools (Charles Darwin University, the University of Southern Queensland, Sunshine Coast University and the University of New England).

The University of Adelaide is the only member of the "group of eight" universities — the top-ranked institutions which do the lion's share of Australia's research — to make the cut.

The University of Adelaide increased its revenue.(ABC News: Dean Faulkner)

These eight universities also fared best when it came to changes to the government funding universities receive for domestic students.

Yet for the most part they still held classes remotely, raising questions over the true motivation behind this decision.

As education reporter covering the beat over the past two pandemic years, remote learning has been the number one concern raised by students and their families

The small losers 

There were 14 universities that lost less than the 5.1 per cent average. It's still a loss, but their financial picture is better than many others.

This list includes three "group of eight" universities and a large number of technical and outer suburban or regional institutions, including: 

  • Sydney University
  • The University of Queensland
  • Monash University
  • UTS
  • RMIT 
  • Macquarie University
  • Western Sydney University
  • Swinburne University  
  • The University of Victoria
  • Newcastle University
  • James Cook University 
  • Murdoch University
  • Edith Cowan University

Despite these universities having fared better than others, relatively speaking, face-to-face classes were still few and far between — a scenario which left many students eyeing the balance sheets in frustration. 

The big losers 

The statistical outlier is the Australian National University, which lost 17.4 per cent of its revenue. 

Its vice-chancellor told the ABC in March it was "bleeding to death" after missing out on extra money in the 2021 budget.

It is one of four "group of eight" universities in financial trouble, with the University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales and the University of Western Australia also on the list. 

Remember, they do the lion's share of research — the type of research that was critical during COVID — so their financial position is important.

The other universities suffering the worst of the financial trouble are

  • Griffith University
  • Curtin University
  • Southern Cross University
  • The University of Tasmania 
  • Charles Sturt University 
  • Central Queensland University 
  • Wollongong University
  • Deakin University
  • Federation University
  • La Trobe University
  • The Queensland University of Technology.

There's a reasonable mix of regional and metro campuses across all three lists, but perhaps the biggest trend is the strife for the research universities.

What does it all mean?

The now former federal education minister Alan Tudge, who yesterday stood aside after a former Liberal staffer made fresh claims against him, had announced about $10 million in new money for industry research partnerships.

But at the same time the department gave almost triple that ($27.8 million) in fee relief to private universities.

Mr Tudge also called for Australian universities to emulate Stanford University in the US — famously the birthplace of Google — and "come out of their ivory towers" to partner industry.

The Australian government wants universities to connect to industry, like what is seen in the US.

 (AP: Jeff Chiu)

But some critics in the sector say the aspiration falls short of being a "plan".

Stanford University sits on an endowment of over $40 billion, just short of Australia's total spend of $41.5 billion for the entire tertiary sector, including TAFE, in the 2020 financial year.

Stanford University educates about 6,000 undergraduates (one tenth of some Australian universities) while Australia's spend contributes to an estimated 1.08 million domestic tertiary students, according to the Education Department's latest figures, which are for 2019.

Many Australian institutions rely on international partners to fund research and there's clearly a long term systemic funding model where cash from international students is the sector's only real answer.

In the same comments about Stanford University, Mr Tudge remarked on the huge increase in the volume of academic papers, from 23,000 in 2000 to more than 100,000 in 2020.

Can change occur? 

Privately, university leaders bemoan the large volume of "low quality" or "repetitive research" with one vice-chancellor cringing at "the millionth paper on gender in Jane Austen's England".

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But there's little they can do about it as things stand.

Most enterprise bargaining agreements require universities to roster their full-time staff.

That's not including the casual and fixed-term staff that often make up more than 50 per cent of the head count.

And most have a 40:40:20 split, meaning 40 per cent of time is spent on research, 40 per cent is spent on teaching and 20 per cent on administration. 

That means everyone is a teacher and researcher despite some being better suited to one or the other.

It's been a long-held ambition of some vice-chancellors to change this, but they'll be up against a powerful, heavily unionised workforce.

If there's a time for university leaders to bring that fight on, it'll be 2022, when enterprise bargaining negotiations resume in earnest.

But one thing is for certain: 2022 will be a busy year for all university families.


Nathan was once told he’d never run his own business — now he’s doing it with the support of a major corporate

When Nathan Johnston was younger, people told him he was "dreaming" when he talked about starting his own business.

Key points:

  • Nathan Johnston created a fully accessible social media platform from his dining room table
  • The platform will be launched today, to mark International Day of People with Disability
  • Australia's Disability Strategy will include tools to encourage more employers to hire people with disability

The 27-year-old lives with cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and cannot read or write.

"All those hurtful things that got said to me by several different people, all of that's driven me to where I'm at right now," Mr Johnston said.

"It made me a bit angry — but it made me more determined."

But today, on International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), his dream will become a reality, as he launches a social media platform with support from a major corporate.

Mr Johnston lives on a property on the far south coast of NSW, just outside of the Bega Valley.

He uses screen-reading technology to navigate his computer and phone.

From isolation to connection Unable to attend his usual activities, Nathan felt more isolated during the pandemic.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

When the pandemic began last year, Mr Johnston went through a "rough patch" as he found himself more isolated than usual and unable to attend his normal activities.

Working from his dining room table, he created a fully accessible social media platform called Disability Club.

"A lot of people [with disability] have trouble navigating mainstream social media, as some of the content is inaccessible," he said.

"It jumps up and down on my phone when my screen reader is on, and some of the buttons and icons aren't compatible."

Nathan created Disability Club from his dining room table.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Mr Johnston entered his concept for Disability Club in an innovation competition and was awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Broadband Network.

The money has fast-tracked web development for the platform and taken Disability Club to the "next level".

Individuals, with and without disability, can join Disability Club for free, but corporates and disability service providers will pay a fee, eventually providing Mr Johnston with an income.

"I want to start making a living for myself whilst helping other people like myself," Mr Johnston said.

"Disability Club is all-inclusive, it means people can connect with family and friends, hear about news in the sector and connect with services."

New disability strategy and advisory council

Employment of people with disability is one of five targeted areas in Australia's Disability Strategy 2021-31, which will be released today to mark IDPwD.

International Day of People with Disability

Find out how you can get involved this year on the IDPwD website.

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Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the 4.4 million Australians living with disability should have the same opportunities as anyone else — and employment was one of the most important issues.

"We know that a lot of employers, when we speak to them, say that they are happy to employ somebody with a disability, but that's not translating into people actually employing people," she said.

Senator Ruston said employers would be given the "tools" to make them "less reluctant and resistant to employing people with disability in the future".

The strategy includes funding for the National Disability Data Asset to measure the impact of services and programs accessed by people with disability.

Nathan is excited for the future, and hopes there are bigger things to come.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Other areas targeted in the strategy include education; inclusive homes and communities; justice; and community attitudes.

A Disability Advisory Council, headed by Disability Discrimination Commissioner Ben Gauntlett along with others with lived experience, will measure the effectiveness of the strategy.

'Bigger things to come'

Mr Johnston admitted he was "shocked" at the support he had received for Disability Club.

"First I want to get everyone in Australia on board, whether it's free members or corporate members, and then I want to take it international," he said.

To mark IDPwD, Mr Johnston will take part in an official launch of the platform with guests from the NBN and other sponsors.

Along with Disability Club, Mr Johnston has also developed a music streaming platform, DME3, for musicians with disability.

"I'm excited for the future and feel like there are bigger things to come," he said.

Nathan says Disability Club will not tolerate any "nasty" content.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Mr Johnston said it was important on IDPwD — and every day — that he and other people with disability were treated like everyone else.

"It makes me feel quite proud and warm inside to know I'm getting treated equally," he said.

"No matter what your dreams are, no matter what capabilities you have got, if you've got the support of your family and friends in whatever you do, then you can do it."

ABC is partnering with International Day of People with Disability to celebrate the contributions and achievements of the 4.4 million Australians with disability.


Friday News Quiz: Rhianna, Trump and Katter were in the headlines this week. Only one was kicked out a bar

Reckon you've kept across all the big headlines of the week? 

Rightio then, smarty pants. Test yourself!



‘Moving towards COVID-normal’: ACT to overhaul state of emergency laws, but don’t expect Victorian-style protests

Outside Victoria's parliament last month, protesters hanged an effigy of state Premier Daniel Andrews, furious at his proposed COVID-19 management laws.

In the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday, draft laws were tabled that share some of the Victorian legislation's aims.

But Canberrans won't be gathering to demand ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr's head (literally or figuratively). They probably won't even write a stern letter.

Both bills allow these jurisdictions to end the public health emergencies put in place when the coronavirus pandemic began last year.

Both governments say the legislation will allow them to respond to the disease more efficiently, without using emergency powers.

However, the proposed ACT changes are neither as controversial nor, strictly speaking, as necessary as Victoria's. Here's why.

Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak

Big differences between Victorian and ACT lawsSpace to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 57 seconds1m 57s Andrews government passes contentious laws through upper house

The Victorian government was in a bind: its declared health emergency was days away from ending, and it had no means to extend the powers that allowed it to enforce COVID-19 restrictions.

In a state where thousands of new cases of the disease are announced every day, a potential disaster loomed.

In contrast, the ACT's state of emergency can be extended for 90 days at a time, as many times as needed.

Indeed, the ACT's Public Health Act was changed earlier this year so that it better suited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemic

There are other vast differences between the Victorian and ACT laws.

In Victoria, health emergencies are declared by the state's chief health officer, and need to be renewed every 28 days. The recent change allows Mr Andrews (as opposed to the chief health officer) to declare a COVID-19 pandemic, and his health minister to make the relevant public health orders.

In the ACT,  the Health Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, is already the person who makes emergency declarations. The ACT bill will allow her to also make "COVID-19 management declarations", which are, in effect, declarations of something like a health emergency (but called something else).

So why bother changing the ACT laws? ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith will not gain extra powers under the proposed change.(ABC News: Greg Nelson)

On the face of it, there is no straightforward answer to this question. The ACT government could continue to respond to the pandemic using the laws it has.

Nor will the ACT gain any obvious efficiencies: the government will still need to issue public health directions, as it does now, and the COVID-19 declaration will still need to be extended every 90 days.

However, the government says it doesn't make sense to keep calling the situation in Canberra a "state of emergency".

Ms Stephen-Smith said the new legislation would allow a "step down" from this language.

"We know that this global pandemic isn't over but we also know that we've got such a high vaccination rate [in the ACT]," she said.

"What this bill enables us to do is to respond specifically to COVID-19 with ongoing, baseline, public health measures."

That will include rules such as mask-wearing and social distancing where needed, as well as orders for people to isolate and quarantine — which, at present, rely on emergency powers.

"I don't believe we're going to be in what could justifiably be called an 'emergency' as we move into 2022," Ms Stephen-Smith said.

"We're now moving towards a 'COVID-normal'."

Where are Canberra's protesters? The ACT has been relatively free of anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protests.(Supplied.)

The ACT government clearly had an eye on the Victorian brouhaha when it drafted its legislation.

Most of the anger in that state was targeted at the lack of proposed oversight of how Mr Andrews and his ministry would make declarations and health orders.

As a result, significant changes were made to the Victorian legislation before the state's parliament passed it yesterday.

The ACT legislation pre-empts some of the debate to the south.

The ACT government must consult with the chief health officer and human rights commissioner before making a COVID-19 management declaration or public health directive, and must publish the advice it receives.

People subject to isolation or quarantine orders can appeal against those orders, including to an independent arbitrator.

Nor will the government be able to impose lockdowns or curfews on Canberrans under this legislation: they will be used during public health emergencies only.

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As for protests, Canberrans have proved throughout the pandemic that they are relatively compliant; the ACT simply doesn't have large pockets of vaccine-hesitant residents.

Yet, while angry crowds are unlikely to gather outside the Legislative Assembly, not everyone is thrilled at the way the proposed changes were announced.

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said the Canberra Liberals had supported public health measures throughout the pandemic, but the government seemed to be taking that for granted.

She said few — if any — people outside the government had been consulted.

"The concerns that have been raised in Victoria, where there seemed to be a power grab or overreach from the Labor government, is something that we need to make absolutely sure [does not happen] in this jurisdiction," Ms Lee said.

ACT Law Society president Elizabeth Carroll also expressed concern.

"We are very disappointed that the ACT government has chosen not to consult with us, especially given what happened with the Victorian bill," she said.

Ms Carroll said a cursory look at the draft laws revealed several potential problems, such as a lack of exemptions from vaccination mandates for vulnerable people.

The bill is likely to be debated in the Assembly in March next year. If it passed into law, it will expire after 18 months.

What you need to know about coronavirus:


Rachelle Miller says she made her allegations about Alan Tudge not for revenge, but so that other women can be heard

It took a bruising year after former Liberal staffer Rachelle Miller first told her story about minister Alan Tudge for her to finally be heard, and for him to face consequences and stand aside.  

Ms Miller received a call from the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, John Kunkel, just before Question Time yesterday, to say that Scott Morrison had asked the education minister to stand aside pending an investigation into Ms Miller’s allegations that their relationship was abusive.

If Ms Miller needed support, she says Mr Kunkel assured her, she should just reach out.

Mr Tudge "completely and utterly rejects" the allegations of abuse, although he has admitted to the consensual affair, which he says he regrets deeply.

Mr Kunkel's phone call to Ms Miller marked a stark change in the government's response from when Ms Miller first told her story for Four Corners' Inside the Canberra Bubble story in November 2020. After that, she says, she heard nothing.

At the time, the Prime Minister publicly batted away Ms Miller's description of the Tudge affair and its consequences, talking about "human frailty".

"I think Australians understand human frailty, and I think they understand the people who work in this place are just as human as anyone else and subject to the same vulnerabilities and frailties as anyone," Mr Morrison told reporters.

Ms Miller, like Brittany Higgins after her, felt certain that the government would brief against her – I have been told by journalistic colleagues that they did. She lost people who had been colleagues, whom she had thought were friends.

"When I spoke out, not a single person from this government contacted me to see if I was OK," Ms Miller said in a speech to reporters in Parliament's Mural Hall.

Former staffer Rachelle Miller speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House on Thursday.(AAP: Lukas Coch)

"One female chief of staff sent me a text. That was it."

But after Ms Miller came forward in her Mural Hall speech with a scarifying allegation of abuse by Mr Tudge, the Prime Minster was forced to act, describing the allegation as "deeply concerning".

It was a story Rachelle Miller had avoided making public to this point because it had made her feel so ashamed.

For me, and for her, it had always crystallised the nature of the power imbalance between ministers and their female staff, and how even a consensual affair could be extremely problematic.

Ms Miller regrets having an affair with Mr Tudge.

"It was about 4am and a morning media producer was calling about the front-page story, wanting to line up an interview with the minister," Ms Miller said in the speech.

"I felt someone kicking the side of my hip and leg as I tried to sit up in the bed.

"It was the minister. He was furious, telling me to 'get the f*** out' of his bed.

"I quickly told the producer I would call her back. I then realised I was completely naked. He continued to kick me until I fell off the side of the bed and ended up on the floor.

"I searched around in the dark for my clothes.

"He was yelling at me that my phone had woken him up. He needed to get more sleep. He told me to 'get the f*** out' of his room and make sure that no-one saw me."

Alan Tudge also regretted the affair.(Supplied)

Mr Tudge put out a statement on Thursday saying the allegations were "wrong, did not happen and are contradicted by her own written words to me".

A few days ago, Rachelle Miller contacted me to say that she was thinking about making a speech at parliament and that she planned to make public this allegation.

She had finally decided she had nothing to hide because, she told me, it was the truth, it happened.

It took standing in front of cameras and describing a very private and humiliating allegation — being kicked out of bed by her former boss — for her to be heard.

Rachelle Miller returned to Parliament House to speak out about her allegations. (AAP/ Lukas Coch)

She was comforted by the release of the report by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins into sexual harassment, bullying and sexism in the parliamentary workplace, because the stories told in the report echoed her own experience.

"A lack of clear standards of conduct, limited accountability and power imbalances, combine with the high-intensity, high stakes nature of the work, the pursuit of political power and advantage, the frequent blurring of personal and professional life and the intense loyalty to political parties to create specific risk factors unique to this workplace," Ms Jenkins wrote.

The day after the Jenkins report came the announcement of the retirement from politics of former attorney-general Christian Porter — the other key protagonist in Inside the Canberra Bubble.

Mr Porter had been accused of rape by a woman who had taken her life after going to the police, an allegation described in our companion story, Bursting the Canberra Bubble.

Mr Porter denied the allegations and sued the ABC and myself for defamation, before deciding to discontinue the case in May.

His political demise came after he stepped down from the front bench after failing to reveal the identity of his financial backers in a so-called "blind trust" that had paid for his substantial legal bills.

Christian Porter and Alan Tudge both featured in the Four Corners investigation.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Associate professor Chris Wallace, from the University of Canberra's 5050 By 2030 Foundation, yesterday described Inside the Canberra Bubble as kicking off "an extraordinary year of gender revelations" and as the impetus which, ultimately, led to the Jenkins report.

"[The story] talked about the sexual mores, harassment, adverse consequences for women, in this case staffers, who were prone to imbalances of power," he said.

"Inside The Canberra Bubble goes to air and there's suddenly a lot of focus on male privilege at Parliament House."


Then, survivor advocate Grace Tame was made Australian of the Year.

Shortly after, Brittany Higgins came forward to journalists Samantha Maiden and Lisa Wilkinson to allege rape by another staffer at Parliament House.

That inspired thousands of Australian women around the country to march for justice, and was, Dr Wallace says, the final impetus to call the inquiry.

Australian of the Year Grace Tame speaking at the Women's March 4 Justice in Hobart.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

When our story came out, last November, the difference in the reactions of male and female journalists and commentators in Canberra was instructive.

With a few exceptions, the men thought that Inside the Canberra Bubble was much ado about nothing.

But women in Canberra had been both experiencing and hearing about these sorts of stories for years, and they said so. They, like the female politicians and staffers, were sick of it.

It's been a hard year for everyone involved.

It's tempting for some people to think that the political demise of Alan Tudge and Christian Porter might be cause for celebration.

But the whole saga remains sad for everyone involved – Mr Tudge and Mr Porter and their families included.

And if this is cast as a victory, it still remains a hollow one for women.

Ms Miller wants the Liberal Party to change its attitudes towards women.(Four Corners)

Rachelle Miller has lost her much-loved political career and still struggles with the trauma of that.

Many other female staffers across the political spectrum have left politics after what they endured in parliament's halls.

I have repeatedly heard from journalists in Canberra that Rachelle Miller was a sound political operator and a good head.

Over many hours of conversations with her over the past year and a half, that has always been my experience.

She paid a heavy price for her affair with Alan Tudge.

He, on the other hand, was promoted, until now.

Rachelle Miller has had to speak about embarrassing and humiliating personal details to be heard.

"This is not about revenge," she said on Thursday.

"It has never been about that.

"I still sometimes feel sorry for him.

"It's about ensuring that no-one else goes through this in this workplace.

"It's about changing a system that allowed this to happen."

We can all only hope that after all of the political and personal damage wrought during this sorry saga, that Rachelle Miller is right.


An eight-hour year and hot enough to melt iron — this planet’s ‘not somewhere you’d want to go on holidays’

A small planet that is as dense as pure iron has been discovered hurtling around a nearby star like a cannonball.

Key points:

  • Astronomers are searching for small rocky planets that may resemble Earth, but these are hard to find
  • Now a team has discovered planet smaller than Earth that zips around its star in less than eight hours
  • The planet is so dense it is likely to be mainly made up of pure iron ,like Mercury

The rocky planet, which lies about 30 light-years away in the constellation of Vela, is about three quarters of the size of Earth and half as massive.

Dubbed GJ 367 b, the little world takes less than eight hours to orbit a red dwarf star half the size of our Sun. 

It's the smallest fast-moving planet that we've got the precise measurements of, said Kristine Lam of the German Aerospace Center, who led the international team that made the discovery.

"This is a unique object with a short orbital period and a high density," Dr Lam said.

While it may not be the densest exoplanet ever discovered, her team's measurements, reported in the journal Science, indicate it is denser than any rocky planet in our Solar System.  

Its high density suggests the planet is dominated by an iron-rich core, like Mercury.

"This is like an iron ball planet orbiting out there," Dr Lam said.

Winks and wobbles give planet away

Small worlds that zip around their suns in less than 24 hours — known as ultra-short period planets — are very hard to detect.

"This discovery paves the way for future exoplanet scientists to find smaller and smaller planets, hopefully like something in our Solar System, or something completely different," Dr Lam said.

The first hint of this extraordinary planet came as dips in light around a star detected by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in 2019. 

Fleeting winks of light created by the planet passing in front of the star gave the scientists an indication of the planet's radius.

"To confirm this signal was a planet, we needed to go through a lot of rigorous ground-based follow up observations in order to check whether this was real," Dr Lam said.

The planet was discovered by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), but it took two years to confirm.(Supplied: MIT )

The team used the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) in Chile to measure how much the star wobbled back and forth to work out the planet's mass.

The ability to measure the mass of such a small planet with such precision was an "incredible achievement," said Jonti Horner, an exoplanet hunter at the University of Southern Queensland who was not involved in the study.

"That we can measure this star that is 290 trillion kilometres away, and we can measure the speed with the precision of 80 centimetres per second to detect this planet, is astonishing," Professor Horner said.

"[The star's wobble] is almost slower than walking pace."

The team calculated the planet's density by combining the radius with the mass.

A bigger version of Mercury?

Professor Horner said the planet's discovery was a reminder of the cataclysmic forces that created our Solar System.

"You're probably looking at a bigger version of Mercury," he said.

The planet Mercury orbits the Sun every 88 days.(Supplied: NASA)

About 80 per cent of the Solar System's smallest planet is taken up by a metallic core, making it the second densest planet after Earth.  

The core of the newly discovered planet is estimated to take up a similar proportion to Mercury.

But with a density of about 8.106 grams per cubic centimetres, the planet is much denser than either Mercury or Earth.

It's unclear how such a dense planet formed, but like Mercury, it may have been hit by something else when it was young, which stripped off most of its outer layers.

"Mercury was initially twice as big it is today, and that collision stripped away the mantle and the crust, leaving just a core and a little bit of rubble on top," Professor Horner said.

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Temperatures on Mercury can reach up to 178 degrees Celsius, but that's a walk in the park compared with the newly found planet.

Ripping around at speeds of about 240 kilometres per second, it is much closer to its red dwarf star than Mercury, which takes 88 days to go around our Sun.

"It's so close to the star that any atmosphere that it's got would have been stripped away," Professor Horner said.

The lack of atmosphere would contribute to GJ 367b's apparent density.

It also means temperatures on the planet are predicted to reach up to 1,500 degrees Celsius — hot enough to melt iron.

And it's probably locked in position with one side permanently facing its star, while the other is exposed to the vacuum of space and has no light coming in.

"You can imagine this little rocky world that is baked on one side and frozen on the other," Professor Horner said.

"Obviously, it's not somewhere you'd want to go on your holidays."

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Channel One will restart the Pole Miracles show

The legendary TV game “ Field of Miracles '' will be restarted next year, the press service of Channel One said.

It is clarified that the broadcaster did not renew the contract with the producer of the project, the VID TV company. The conclusion of a new agreement turned out to be impractical due to the changed conditions.

In exchange, Channel One agreed to acquire from the American company CBS the official rights to the TV show Wheel Of Fortune. It was its format that originally formed the basis for Fields of Miracles.

From January 2022, the show Our Field of Miracles will begin airing on Fridays. Leonid Yakubovich will remain the host.

“ A new stage begins, into which we enter with great experience, love for our work and respect for the viewer '', & ndash; commented the People's Artist of Russia.


Frost and slush. Troops in the Arctic will receive a unique all-terrain vehicle-armored personnel carrier

Combined arms formations of the Russian Armed Forces, which are based in the Arctic, will receive a DT-BTR tracked carrier. Thanks to its special design, this technique shows excellent cross-country ability, especially in wetlands and in the arctic zone. It is positioned as a technique for transporting personnel of a motorized rifle squad and its fire support in the harsh natural and climatic conditions of the Arctic, Siberia and the Far East. & nbsp; understood the features of this all-terrain vehicle.

Arctic & mdash; territory of strategic importance for Russia. But to work in the Far North, special equipment is needed. Moreover, both civil and military. A unique two-link lightly armored vehicle, which will soon receive the Arctic troops of the Russian Federation, is designed to transport servicemen and provide them with powerful fire support. The development belongs to Uralvagonzavod.

& nbsp; The DT-BTR combat vehicle is designed to transport personnel of a motorized rifle squad and its fire support in the harsh climatic conditions of the Arctic, Siberia and the Far East. It was first shown on Channel One, and now Krasnaya Zvezda reminded about the transfer of the car to the Arctic.

& nbsp; The word “ two-link '' in the name denotes two elements articulated with each other. The first element & mdash; where the power plant is located, the control compartment. The second element & mdash; the place where the main troop compartment or various weapons systems are located. The first link will have a crew of three: a driver-mechanic, a gunner-operator and a commander. The second link will accommodate 9 paratroopers.

& nbsp; According to the developers, this technique shows excellent passability, especially in wetlands and in the arctic zone.

& nbsp; In the summer, the car underwent various tests at the 38th Research Institute of Armored Weapons and Equipment of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation near Moscow. Were shown footage of her undermining and checking how she can protect the crew when the enemy uses napalm. During the tests, portions of napalm were decomposed on the tank, which were set on fire and successfully burned, while the military man and the correspondent stood on the tank and carefully watched this action, surrounded by flames. As a result, the armored personnel carrier (and the testers too) passed the tests successfully.

The combat vehicle can carry a motorized rifle squad of nine people, the landing force is located in the second link, three more crew members are in the first.

Combat weight – 25,000 kg. Engine power – 500 HP The maximum speed reaches 60 km/h on land and 6 km/h on water. It is possible to force water barriers by swimming. The all-terrain vehicle can overcome ditches up to 2.7 m wide and a vertical wall one meter high. The vehicle can take an ascent or descent with a steepness of up to 35 degrees, a slope of at least 20 degrees.

& nbsp; The armored personnel carrier can be operated at temperatures up to minus 50 degrees Celsius.

& nbsp; As part of weapons & ndash; 30-mm cannon, 7.62-mm machine gun and anti-tank complex “ Cornet ''. The most advanced scopes allow you to effectively fire at any time of the day and in all weather conditions. In addition, there is a variant of the module with the 12.7-mm Utes machine gun. The roof of the second link of the vehicle is equipped with an active protection complex, which increases its survivability in the conditions of modern combat operations.

& nbsp; Adoption of the “ Arctic tank '' will significantly increase the capabilities of subdivisions operating in the Arctic, experts say.

& nbsp; In addition, Russian specialists have developed a REM-GT recovery vehicle based on the DT-30PM all-terrain vehicle. It is intended for & nbsp; maintenance of military equipment.

& nbsp; Wheeled all-terrain vehicles of the Lyubertsy enterprise “ Trekol '' are most widely used as civilian vehicles. These are kind of overgrown jeeps on low-pressure tires. They are capable of operating at temperatures ranging from minus 45 to plus 45 degrees, while providing maximum passenger comfort. Moreover, they have excellent cross-country ability. “ Trekol '' really will go everywhere: it will pass on ice, in deep snow, in a swamp and even on water, because, among other things, it is an amphibian.

& nbsp; Another option for civilians is the product of the KamAZ enterprise, which is called & mdash; “ Arctic ''. These are powerful cargo all-terrain vehicles operating at temperatures up to minus 60 degrees. In the Arctic a living module is provided in which the crew can spend at least three days. There are beds, a shower, a toilet, a sink, and a kind of kitchen where you can warm up food. The residential module is equipped with a heater and air conditioner. Satellite communication can be used to communicate with the outside world.


What are the most popular vehicles developed on the basis of the Tiger armored car?

Special armored vehicles 'Tiger' became the basis of the car park of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Guard of other law enforcement agencies, and & nbsp; are also supplied for & nbsp; export. For & nbsp; 15 & nbsp; years was collected in & nbsp; a total of about three thousand “ Tigers ''. There are more than 20 & nbsp; modifications of this car, including & nbsp; with combat modules and & nbsp; anti-tank systems. Since according to the & nbsp; Chinese calendar, the next will be the year of the tiger, AIF. ru & nbsp; recalls the most beloved by security officials options for this armored car. & nbsp;

Which of & nbsp; is the Tiger armored car?

& laquo; Tiger & raquo; & nbsp; & mdash; multipurpose off-road vehicle, armored car, army off-road vehicle. It is & nbsp; designed to transport people (up to & nbsp; 10 & nbsp; people) and & nbsp; various goods on & nbsp; roads and & nbsp; off-road. Independent torsion bar suspension of all wheels and & nbsp; powerful engine provide the car with exceptional cross-country ability on & nbsp; off-road and & nbsp; speed up to & nbsp; 140 & nbsp; km/h on & nbsp; highway & nbsp; & mdash; almost the maximum speed of the Zhiguli. “ Tiger '', like a large cat, knows how to swim & nbsp; & mdash; it is & nbsp; able to force water barriers up to & nbsp; 1.2 & nbsp; m.

The car is equipped with a power steering, which makes it easier to control. In the & nbsp; side walls of the Tiger there are loopholes, in the & nbsp; roof & nbsp; & mdash; two hatches, in the & nbsp; salon, in addition to accommodating the crew, there are places for installing a radio station and & nbsp; blocker of radio-controlled explosive devices.

On & nbsp; & laquo; Tiger & raquo; additionally can be installed: air conditioning, audio system, power windows, additional heater, anti-lock braking system. However, all variants of “ Tiger '' made so that more “ special stages '' could be installed on & nbsp ;.

The Raid version features a modified front end with modern LED headlights. Shooters firing from the roof received collapsible armor protection. A lattice rack is also installed for the transport of special property. There were special search lights and & nbsp; infrared searchlights. Improves visibility and & nbsp; system of circular video review with & nbsp; saving information on the hard disk.

B & nbsp; what is the difference between the Tiger-M?

B & nbsp; the design of the Tiger-M car; many improvements have been made aimed at & nbsp; increasing their & nbsp; operational properties, reliability, ergonomics, bulletproof and & nbsp; mine protection.

The body armor of multipurpose and & nbsp; special purpose vehicles protects the crew, main components and & nbsp; units during circular fire from an AKM submachine gun bullet & nbsp; PS caliber 7.62 & nbsp; mm and & nbsp; from & nbsp; AK-74 submachine gun bullet & nbsp; PS caliber 5.4 mm , which corresponds, approximately, to level 1 & nbsp; ballistic protection according to & nbsp; STANAG 4569.

In & nbsp; as standard equipment, a centralized tire inflation system is installed on the car, which allows the driver to change the tire pressure on the & nbsp; course in & nbsp; depending on & nbsp; road conditions, an electric winch with & nbsp; traction force of 4000 kg and a ventilation installation & nbsp;

Large internal reserved volume of the Tiger-M car in & nbsp; combined with & nbsp; high carrying capacity, security and & nbsp; maneuverability allow you to use this machine in & nbsp; as a base for mounting the widest range of weapon systems, reconnaissance, communications, electronic warfare and & nbsp; other equipment.

Special design solutions ensure the protection of personnel (with & nbsp; maintaining high survivability and & nbsp; mobility) when detonating 0.6 & nbsp; kg of explosive under the wheel and/or under the bottom of the armored vehicle.

'Tiger' for special forces

Special purpose vehicle 'Tigr-M SPN' developed on the & nbsp; basis of Tiger-M in the & nbsp; interests of the special forces of power structures.

The first thing I would like & nbsp; to note & nbsp; & mdash; in the & nbsp; headquarters configuration in the & nbsp; car there is an air conditioner & nbsp; & mdash; security officials need comfortable conditions.

“ Tiger-M SPN '' used in reconnaissance, escorting and & nbsp; convoy protection, patrolling, fire support of units in the course of combined arms combat, during special and & nbsp; anti-terrorist operations. Externally, the armored car is not & nbsp; different from & nbsp; other cars of the family & nbsp; & mdash; apparently, so that no one & nbsp; would guess about & nbsp; belonging to special forces.

The main improvements were made inside the armored car, where the outboard weapons, ammunition for & nbsp; it, special equipment and & nbsp; communication facilities are located.

The use by the crew of the standard armament of motorized rifle units allows it to be used both from the & nbsp; vehicle and & nbsp; autonomously. For firing from the & nbsp; armored car, a rotary platform with & nbsp; mounts for installing weapons and & nbsp; a double-leaf hatch is mounted on the roof of the hull. The single-volume three-door welded armored body of the vehicle provides ballistic protection of the occupants of the & nbsp; third class.

What are the features of the Tiger “ SBM ''?

Special armored vehicle (SBM) “ Tiger '' is intended for the transportation of personnel, escorting and & nbsp; convoy protection, patrolling, fire support of units (by airborne troops from the & nbsp; machine) when performing search and rescue and & nbsp; special operations.

SBM 'Tiger' combines the qualities of an all-terrain vehicle and a high-speed maneuverable vehicle. It has an independent torsion bar suspension, which allows it to reach the highest possible speeds when driving over rough terrain, while maintaining a high level of comfort for the crew and the transported troops. It is allowed to operate the machine on & nbsp; all types of roads and & nbsp; terrain with & nbsp; a trailer with a gross weight of up to & nbsp; 2500 & nbsp; kg.

The machine can be additionally installed on & nbsp; a device for shooting non-lethal special equipment; video monitoring tools; communications and & nbsp; navigation; a device for blocking radio-controlled explosive devices and & nbsp; other equipment providing the performance of special tasks.

Armor of the SBM “ Tiger '' hull; holds a hit of 7.62 & nbsp; mm bullets with & nbsp; TUS (heat-strengthened core) fired from an & nbsp; AKM machine gun with & nbsp; a distance of 10 & nbsp; meters.


“Hit! Hit her! ” Who was shot in the case of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya and why?

Plot World history with Andrey Sidorchik

On November 29, 1941, a girl was executed in the village of Petrishchevo near Moscow. Neither the Germans nor the locals knew her real name. Calling herself Tanya, she steadfastly withstood all the torments and until the last minute told the locals: “ We will win anyway. ''

“ They hung her up, but she kept threatening them … ''

These dying words of hers were heard. Two months later, a local resident, one of those whom the Germans drove to watch the execution, will tell the front-line correspondent Pyotr Lidov : “ She was hanged, and she was speaking. She was hanged, and she kept threatening them … & raquo; & nbsp;

The journalist, shocked by this story no less than an elderly peasant, will begin his investigation, which will reveal the name of the heroine to the whole country: Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya .

Nothing ended on that terrible November day. The fight against those who would like to execute Zoya again continues to this day. How many insults she was subjected to, what myths they did not invent about her …

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the death of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, Russian historian Boris Sokolov In an interview with the Znak portal, he said: “ Two residents of the village of Petrishchevo were shot not because they betrayed Zoya, but because they beat her and scolded her for the fire that had started, because of which their houses were damaged. I think that the execution was an excessively harsh punishment for them, even by the standards of that time. Maybe they could have been exiled. But to shoot & mdash; this is overkill. ''

Who exactly and for what was shot in the case of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya?

The end of the 332nd regiment

Soviet intelligence found that units of the 332nd infantry regiment of the 197th infantry division were stationed in the village of Petrishchevo. The regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ludwig Rüderer … According to one of the versions, Rüderer personally participated in the interrogations of Zoe and gave orders for torture. This information, however, is not confirmed. But it has been reliably established that Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was tortured and hanged by soldiers and officers of the 332nd Infantry Regiment.

In the fall of 1943, in the battles near Smolensk, the 197th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht was defeated.

Military correspondent of the newspaper “ Forward to the enemy! '' Major Valleys wrote on October 3, 1943 about the fate of the 332nd regiment: “ In the battles near the village of Verdino, the German regiment of our Zoya's executioners was finally defeated. Hundreds of Hitler's corpses were left in torn up bunkers and trenches. When the captured non-commissioned officer of the regiment was asked what he knew about the execution of the young partisan, he, trembling with fear, babbled:

& mdash; It was not me who did it, it was Rüderer, Rüderer …

Another soldier captured the other day during interrogation stated that in the 332nd regiment from those who were near Moscow, participated in the execution of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, only several people … & raquo;

In the same place, near Smolensk, previously unknown evidence of the massacre of Zoya was found. In the area of ​​the village of Potapovo, when examining the corpse of a killed German officer, five photographs were found. They depicted the execution of the girl in all details.

The division defeated near Smolensk was reorganized by the Nazis, but did not last long. The 197th Division and its 332nd Infantry Regiment were finally defeated in the summer of 1944 during Operation Bagration.

Traitor in the squad

In addition to the Germans, four of our compatriots are directly related to the case of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya: Vasily Klubkov , Semyon Sviridov , Agrafena Smirnova and Fedosya Solina .

Vasily Klubkov was part of the group of the Red Army soldier Provorov, which operated in the German rear at the same time as the group of the Red Army soldier Krainov, which included Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. In the course of the task, the groups united, and ultimately three fighters appeared in the area of ​​the village of Petrishchevo: Krainov, Kosmodemyanskaya and Klubkov.

Kosmodemyanskaya and Klubkov were captured by the Germans, but the young man, unlike Zoya, began to testify, and then completely agreed to cooperate with the Nazis. Historians argue about whether Klubkov gave evidence to the fascists about Zoya or not, which he later personally confessed to. The fact of his consent to cooperate with the Germans is indisputable. After undergoing accelerated training, Klubkov was thrown into Soviet territory, where he soon showed up at the headquarters of his detachment, saying that he had managed to escape after being detained by the Germans.

Klubkov was caught on contradictions in his testimony, and at the end of February 1942 he was arrested. During the interrogation, the 18-year-old boy confessed honestly: he agreed to cooperate with the Germans, because he was afraid of being shot. On April 3, 1942, the military tribunal of the Western Front sentenced Vasily Klubkov to death. Thirteen days later, the sentence was carried out.

“ I didn’t receive any other remuneration from the Germans besides the wine treats ”

Semyon Sviridov, before the war, a lumberjack at the Vereysky forestry enterprise, became the elder under the Germans. By the way, not everyone who was appointed as headmen was in reality traitors. Sometimes the peasants in this position managed to help the partisans, risking their own lives. But Sviridov was a classic headman who collaborated with the Nazis, as they say, not out of fear, but out of conscience.

In the testimony given in May 1942, Semyon Sviridov said: “ The German translator called me to the headquarters of the German command, which was located in my house, tied a white bandage on my left arm and told me to be on duty at night near my house and watch the partisans leaving the forest and heading towards the village, while warning me: “ As soon as you notice the partisans, immediately report to the headquarters of the German command ''. Having received this instruction, I set out to carry it out. I was on duty only in the vicinity of my house, in the garden between the trees. I stood for about two hours, I noticed one partisan coming from the forest from Tarusa (swamp) towards the village. I waited a little, when he came closer to the shed in which the German soldiers were housed, and immediately reported this to the headquarters of the German command to the translator, the latter sent a detachment of soldiers who surrounded the shed and detained the partisan Tanya (Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya) there, brought her to the house of Sedova Maria Ivanovna & raquo ;.

About the remuneration Sviridov said the following: “ I did not receive any other remuneration from the Germans besides the wine treats. ''

“Come on, I'll show you who burned you.”

There are two left: Agrafena Smirnova and Fedosya Solina. What is their role in this story?

Residents of the village of Petrishchevo talked about this moment very reluctantly. Rather, at first they generally passed over this topic in silence. But then they still let it slip: over the “ partisan Tanya '' not only the Germans mocked.

Everyone who was present at the execution of Zoya became witnesses of the act of Agrafena Smirnova. When the Germans brought the mutilated girl to the scaffold and she began to talk about the need to fight the Nazis, Smirnova hit her in the legs with a stick, shouting: “ Who have you hurt? She burned down my house, but did nothing to the Germans … & raquo; & nbsp;

Agrafena Smirnova was the mistress of one of the houses that were set on fire by a partisan in the village of Petrishchevo. From the first day of the occupation of the village, German officers were located in Smirnova's house.

In her testimony at the investigation on May 12, 1942, the woman described her actions as follows: “The day after the fire I was at my burnt house, citizen Solina came up to me and said:“ Come on, I'll show you who burned you. ” After these words she said, we went together to the house of Petrushina. Entering the house, we saw the partisan Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, guarded by German soldiers, and Solina and I began to scold her, except for swearing at Kosmodemyanskaya, I swung my mitten twice, and Solina hit her with her hand. Further, Petrushina did not allow us to mock the partisan, who kicked us out of her house. ''

'Smirnova took the cast iron with slops on the floor and threw it at Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya'

59-year-old worker of the collective farm “ March 8 '' Fedosya Solina herself was not a fire victim. Two other owners of houses burned down in Petrishchev & mdash; Solntsev and Karelova, & mdash; they did not take part in bullying the girl. The Germans brought Ivan Solntsev to Zoya and said: “ Hit her! '' The elderly man did not raise his hand against the partisan, although the reaction of the Nazis to their unwillingness to participate in the execution was unpredictable. On the other hand, Smirnova and Solina broke away in full.

From the testimony of the witness Praskovya Petrushina (Kulik) : “ At about 10 pm German soldiers brought a beaten Russian young girl to my house, as it later turned out, it was Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. She spent the night in my house, guarded by German soldiers. The next morning, Smirnova Agrafena and Solina Fedosya came to my house, and as soon as they entered, they began to scold and insult in every possible way the exhausted Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya lying near the stove, approaching her to hit her. I did not let them near Zoya and began to drive them out of the house. Smirnova A. before leaving the house took the cast iron with slops on the floor and threw it into Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya. After a while, even more people came to my house, with whom Solina and Smirnova came a second time. Solina F.V. and Smirnova A. made their way through the crowd of people to Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, and then A. Smirnova began to beat her, insulting her with all sorts of bad words. Solina F.V., being with Smirnova, waved her arms and shouted angrily: & bdquo; Beat! Hit her! '' While insulting with all sorts of bad words the partisan Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya lying near the stove. ''

Not everyone saw the disgusting scene in the house, unlike the mockery at the scaffold.

“ If only we knew, citizen judge ''

Journalist Pavel Nilin , who was present at the trial of Agrafena Smirnova, wrote in the essay “ Meanness '': “ She stands before the tribunal, blinks from the sun, moves her lips, exposing yellow, eaten, time-worn fangs, and, confused, gives testimony.

& mdash; I did not beat her, citizen judge. They are making a slap on me. I didn't hit her. I just hit her with my mittened hand. And the cast iron was small with slops. This, just to say, the iron was average. I stood near the bench where she was lying, and I cried over her tearfully. I was very sorry.

& mdash; Whom did you feel sorry for? & mdash; the judge asks.

& mdash; Well, what about whom? I felt sorry for my house. It burned down, but what about … ''

And then, according to Nilin, the defendant said the following: “ If only we knew, citizen judge. We are ignorant, inexperienced, illiterate. ''

Solina and Smirnova in November 1941 were sure that the end of Soviet power had come, and decided to commit their little revenge. Who exactly did they take revenge on in the person of Zoya: the regime, Stalin , their own dissolute life? & Nbsp;


When at the turn of the 1980s & mdash; In the 1990s, the debunking of Soviet heroes began, they clung to the story with Solina and Smirnova with both hands. It was even claimed that the inhabitants of the village of Petrishchevo were going to lynch the partisan arsonist themselves. But these statements had nothing to do with reality.

The peasants perfectly understood what kind of houses and why Soviet partisans were setting fire to. So the discussion about the admissibility and effectiveness of such measures began not in 1941, but decades later, and among those who very vaguely imagined the true realities of the time when the enemy stood at the walls of Moscow.

The cost of human meanness is peacetime and wartime are different. Agrafena Smirnova was sentenced to death on June 17, 1942, Fedosya Solina & mdash; September 4, 1942.

They had a choice, and they decided their own destiny & mdash; then, in November 1941.

By the way, the name of Fedosya Solina can be found in the data bank of the Memorial organization recognized by the foreign agent; among the “ victims of political terror in the USSR. ''

As you can see, like is reaching for like even after 80 years.


Putin called the timing of the appearance in service of a new hypersonic missile

The new sea-launched missiles will enter service in early 2022. According to Putin, Russia began to create such weapons in response to threats from NATO


The sea-based Zircon hypersonic missile will put into service in Russia early next year, President Vladimir Putin said at the VTB Capital forum “ Russia is calling! ''.

“We can do it now. We have successfully tested, and from the beginning of the year, we will be in service with a sea-based hypersonic missile [with a developed speed] of Mach nine '', & mdash; said Putin.

According to him, Russia was forced to start developing hypersonic weapons in response to the actions of NATO, the infrastructure of which “ fit '' to the Russian borders. Putin noted that elements of an anti-missile defense system, in particular Mk-4 launchers, were deployed in Poland and Romania. “ They can be delivered and '' Tomahawks '' & mdash; shock systems. This poses threats to us', & mdash; said Putin.

“ In response, we were forced to start developing new hypersonic weapons. This is our answer & raquo;, & mdash; the president added.

He noted that Russia could create the same threats in response. “We can do it now. & lt; … & gt ;. Flight time before those who give orders [to NATO], & mdash; five minutes '', & mdash; said Putin.

That “ Zircon '' will enter service soon, Putin announced at the end of June. The Ministry of Defense reported on several successful missile launches from the side of the Northern Fleet frigate Admiral Gorshkov. In early October, Zircon first launched from a submarine.

The Pentagon declared the Russian missile test a threat, and the Zircon itself was declared a threat. They called it a “ destabilizing factor '' because this weapon system, according to the US military, can carry a nuclear charge.

The Zircon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile. is being developed by NPO Mashinostroyenia. Its exact technical characteristics have not been disclosed, but it is known that it is capable of speeds up to Mach 8 (more than 9.5 thousand km/h). “ Zircon '' it is planned to equip both surface ships and submarines. The missile can hit sea and ground targets at a maximum range of 500 km.

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