The organisers of tomorrow’s Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney say they are still trying to “negotiate an alternative plan of gathering in the Domain” to allow the protest to go ahead.
The supreme court yesterday ruled in favour of a police application to prohibit the protest from going ahead.
In a Facebook post, organisers of the rally told supporters:
We are trying to negotiate an alternative plan of gathering in the Domain – Djarrbarrgalli, a huge public space just behind NSW Parliament House. We will be able to spread out there and abide by the Covid-19 regulations if people stay in groups of less than 20. We are still fighting in court for our original plan… If we succeed in court however, we will try and negotiate with police to allow us to alter the Form 1 to begin in the Domain.
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Victorian premier Daniel Andrews will give a press conference at 11am.
The defence minister, Linda Reynolds, and foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, are travelling to the United States to attend the 2020 Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (Ausmin), which are scheduled to take place in Washington on Tuesday.
It is, as a few people have commented, an indication of the seriousness of the issues under discussion that the ministers are travelling to the US at this time to hold the meetings in person, rather than conducting them remotely.
In a joint statement, Reynolds and Payne said:
This 30th Ausmin meeting comes at a critical time, amid significant strategic challenges, and a global pandemic with far-reaching social and economic impacts. Our relationship is built on our shared values, and a shared understanding of the importance of maintaining presence and leadership in our region.
In the face of an increasingly complex and contested regional environment, it is vital we continue working together across the breadth of our relationship.
They said the visit would be conducted with strict adherence to coronavirus safety protocols, and they and their teams will quarantine for 14 days upon return to Australia.
.@MarisePayne and I will travel to the United States to attend the 2020 #AUSMIN in Washington on 28 July, at the invitation of Secretary of State @SecPompeo and Secretary of Defense @EsperDoD. pic.twitter.com/Su3trItZPV
July 24, 2020
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The Australian Council of Attorneys-General will meet today and discuss the campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility.
Children as young as 10 can be charged with a crime and jailed in Australia, while the global median age is 14. A campaign to raise the age, led by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (Natsils) has been gathering steam for several weeks.
A survey conducted by the Australia Institute earlier this month as part of joint research with the Change the Record coalition found that 73% of the 1,012 people polled think the age of criminal responsibility is already higher than 10 years old, with 51% believing it is 14 or older. Only 7% of respondents knew that children in Australia could be charged with a crime from the age of 10.
Fifty-one percent of respondents said they supported raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years old. Only 26% of respondents opposed such a change.
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Prime minister Scott Morrison will hold a press conference at 10.30am.
Queensland is prepared to ‘slam the border shut’ if necessary
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has told reporters this morning that she is prepared to “slam the border shut” to protect Queensland from the growing community transmission of Covid-19 in NSW and Victoria.
There are already restrictions in place for travellers from Victoria and three Sydney local government areas.
More from AAP:
“If there are outbreaks of community transmission or it cannot be sourced or there are clusters, we will not hesitate to declare hotspots or we will not hesitate – if it gets out of control – to slam the border shut,” Palaszczuk told reporters on Monday.
She says any decisions on further hotspots or border closures will be made on the advice of chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young.
“That advice has stood Queensland in a very good position,” the premier said. “Every single day we are monitoring the situation in NSW.”
It follows the winding back of some freedoms in Queensland restaurants, pubs and clubs. All patrons will have to be seated when drinking or eating, the CHO announced on Friday, blindsiding the hospitality industry.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington says business deserved more warning.
“The premier is creating this chaos … at five minutes to midnight the premier is changing the rules and businesses can’t keep up,” Frecklington said. “The businesses are telling me they need lead time. The premier needs to give business more notice in terms of regulations.”
Treasurer Cameron Dick said “complacency is the enemy” and the way to stay on top of the pandemic was to remain vigilant.
“The virus is so unpredictable. It’s only reason for existence is to find another host to infect another person. We just need to monitor it so carefully to ensure when we need to take action we will,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young. Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP
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The deputy national chief medical officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth, told Channel Nine’s Today show this morning that the virus was “deeply embedded within the community in Victoria” and would take some time to control.
These quotes are via AAP. Coatsworth said:
We know that Victorians in those lockdown zones are mixing far less, the movement data shows us we’re about where we were in that first wave when the curve started to flatten.
The other bit of silver lining is that those numbers, whilst deeply concerning, are bouncing between about 350 and 450 a day and certainly we’re not seeing doubling during the week, which has to be a good thing.
A reminder from the Victorian health minister:
Jenny Mikakos MP #StayHomeSaveLives
#COVID19 is not an old persons’ disease. The biggest age group of Victorians diagnosed since 1 July are aged 20-29 years of age & account for a quarter of Victorian cases. And 20% of patients hospitalised in recent days have been aged under 50 years. So please stay home #springst pic.twitter.com/KAlpIke2QE
July 23, 2020
I’ll let you know, as soon as I know, when we can expect the Victorian press conference today. Hopefully the numbers will continue to stabilise.
A bit of international context, to remind us here in Melbourne that it could be worse: Florida recorded 12,199 new cases yesterday, and that’s only that state’s sixth-biggest one-day jump.
You can follow our rolling global coverage here.
Still on the aged care outbreaks, there is a push from within the sector to move residents who test positive to Covid-19 to hospital as a matter of course, rather than on a case-by-case basis.
Patricia Sparrow, the chief executive of Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), an industry body representing aged care facilities, has been calling for this for a few weeks now. ACSA represents about 50 aged care facilities in Victoria that have been linked to at least one positive case, but Sparrow said they have had no fatalities among residents at those facilities at this stage.
She said they are “absolutely looking for state governments to change that policy”.
The South Australian state government has a policy, it’s the only state in the country that I’m aware of that has a policy that means that residents who test positive go to hospital and we think all state governments should do that.
She said a sub-acute hospital facility, as suggested by the Australian Medical Association, could be one solution to ensure people who test positive are moved out of residential aged care facilities immediately.
I think where we’ve got empty beds and where we have got sub-acute services or private hospitals that have capacity, that’s absolutely what should be happening right now.
Sparrow repeated claims that some aged care providers have tried to take residents with Covid-19 to hospital and been turned back.
This is aged care trying to do the right thing. We are not set up as hospitals. We manage infection controls like flu, where there are vaccines and treatments, but we are not set up to the level that hospitals are set up to manage something like coronavirus which is a new virus and deadly in our settings.
Sparrow said aged care facilities are facing staffing difficulties because at least 250 staff have tested positive to Covid-19, and many more are in self-isolation as a close contact.
Up to 30% of aged care staff also work across multiple facilities, but have now been told, as part of efforts to control the spread, that they must be restricted to just one facility.
So the staffing issue is going to get more difficult and we need more staff and we need to use every possible means of bringing in staff who know how to work with older people and can provide that critical support.
Relatives of residents at the St Basil’s Home for the Aged in Victoria wait outside. The facility has had an outbreak of Covid-19. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/EPA
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Labor aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins said the establishment of an aged care response centre in Melbourne is welcome but “sadly too late for some residents, staff and families already impacted”.
In a statement, Collins said:
Why was the Morrison government not doing this work sooner?
We have seen the devastating impact of Covid-19 outbreaks in aged care in Australia and across the globe.
Australia’s aged care system was broken before the Covid-19 pandemic and this is only putting extra stress on the system.
She accused the federal government of failing to audit stocks of PPE in nursing homes, prior to the second wave outbreak in Melbourne.
Labor has repeatedly raised concerns about the availability of PPE in aged care – the Morrison government must now ensure nursing homes have adequate supplies.
The federal aged care minister, Richard Colbeck, told the ABC earlier this morning that there was “no shortage of PPE” in the aged care sector. We have heard differently from some aged care workers this morning, who emailed us on the back of that comment.
If you work in aged care in Victoria and also have a view on the availability of PPE, you can reach me at email@example.com
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