6.13am BST

On that note I will hand over to Naaman Zhou, who will take you through the next few hours.

Stay safe and if you do wear a tin foil hat, ensure you wear an appropriate face mask as well.

6.12am BST

Police call Melbourne anti-lockdown rally ‘batshit crazy nonsense’

A bit more on that anti-lockdown protest in Victoria, following the arrest of a 76-year-old alleged organiser. A top police officer today called the prospective protesters a “tinfoil hat-wearing” brigade.

The Victoria police assistant commissioner, Luke Cornelius, told reporters the rally, planned for 5 September, was organised in protest of Melbourne’s stage four restrictions, among other things.

Participating in this proposed protest would be a serious and blatant breach of the chief health officer’s directions and it jeopardises the health of the entire community.

He told AAP the protest carried a serious risk of undoing the hard work of the vast majority of Victorians:

The tinfoil hat-wearing brigade are alive and well in our community.

They’re taking every opportunity to leverage the current situation to serve their own ridiculous notions about so-called sovereign citizens, about constitutional issues and about how 5G is going to kill your grandkids.

It’s batshit crazy nonsense.

It comes as police deal with a daily protest in suburban Melbourne.

Hundreds of people have been gathering in and around Dandenong’s George Andrews Reserve since Monday. Two people were arrested at Thursday’s assembly, with a total 17 fines issued.

Since Monday, police have made nine arrests and handed out 48 fines at the Dandenong protest.

Cornelius says people are trying to play the “innocent card” when approached by police and wasting their resources.

That’s why this behaviour is so selfish.

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More from that protest at the University of Sydney:

Sophie Loy-Wilson

When I went to a socially distant student rally today against uni cuts, I expected a police presence. I didn’t expect to see young students arrested in front of me and dragged away. Campus is open, classes are face-to-face, and suddenly these students are criminals? pic.twitter.com/pfQgeXCZjs

August 28, 2020

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5.52am BST

Police in Victoria have arrested a person alleged to be one of the organisers of an anti-lockdown protest planned for next Saturday. More than 10,000 people have reportedly indicated they plan to attend the “Freedom Day” rally, although the actual location of the rally hasn’t been made public.

In a statement, Victoria police said:

Police have today arrested a 76-year-old Windsor male following an investigation into the organisation of a protest which is due to occur on Saturday 5 September.

Following the execution of a search warrant, police seized multiple items including two laptops, a computer and two mobile phones.

The male was subsequently charged with incitement, and has been bailed to appear at the Melbourne magistrates court on 8 February 2021.

Gatherings of more than two people, workplaces with Covid-safe plans and households exempted, are banned in Victoria under stage four restrictions, and Victoria is currently under a state of disaster that gives police extraordinary powers to enforce lockdown rules.

The protest seems to have the same confusing collection of ideologies as most anti-lockdown protests to date – no masks, no 5G, somehow Bill Gates’s fault, etc.

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The Australian Greens have welcomed increased English language classes but say that the Coalition’s attempt to expand the values test for new migrants is “unnecessary”.

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, said:

Arbitrary tests don’t make a society more cohesive.

Scott Morrison locks up asylum seekers and Peter Dutton attacks African Australians. Instead of attacking multiculturalism and democracy, Scott Morrison should value them.

Before Scott Morrison tries to enforce this test, he should have to pass it himself. I reckon he’d come undone on questions about the right to protest or freedom from arbitrary detention.

On the language courses, the Greens immigration spokesman, Nick McKim, said:

Regardless of the government’s motivation, we owe it to people who have decided to make Australia their home to help them settle in as best as they can.

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5.26am BST

More on those protests at the University of Sydney:

Padraic Gibson

100+ police, including riot cops and horses, shut down a rally of about 80 students at Sydney Uni today against course and job cuts. Campus is open and my friend left this rally to teach a class of 60 people. This has nothing to do with COVID-19. They will not tolerate dissent. pic.twitter.com/AoQfD2OzkX

August 28, 2020

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5.19am BST

Landlords are not ‘evil unyielding monsters’, say real estate agents

Landlords are the “forgotten people” of the economic slump caused by the coronavirus crisis and are not “evil and unyielding monsters”, Victoria’s peak body representing real estate agents says.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria says the state government’s decision to extend a moratorium on evicting people from their homes to the end of the year shows that “commercial and residential landlords are being left behind and all but forgotten as the government makes decisions on financial support for people impacted by the economic downturn”.

With Melbourne in a hard lockdown due to a second wave of infections, the Victorian government last week extended the eviction moratorium, which covers both residential and commercial tenants, to 31 December. Cash payments of $3,000 are also available to some landlords.

This is all terribly unfair, according to the REIV.

The legislation is now unfairly and squarely biased against those property owners who have worked hard to save and invest to provide for the future of their families.

A property owner’s savings and hard work is somehow of lesser perceived value than that of a tenant.

With unemployment skyrocketing, Victoria’s economy in deep depression and businesses closing down in droves, it is not clear where the REIV thinks landlords are going to get fresh tenants from if they tip the existing ones out on to the streets.

And if they do, they’re likely to get less money – anecdotally, rents have fallen away.
Nor does the statement canvass the obvious solution available to any landlord with a cashflow problem because the rent has stopped: sell the property.

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5.14am BST

Tasmanian state of emergency extended to end of October

The Tasmanian premier, Peter Gutwein, has confirmed that he’s approved an eight-week extension of the state of emergency, which was due to expire on Monday. It will now extend until the end of October.

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5.13am BST

An academic at the University of Sydney has suggested a bit of unequal application of mass gathering rules by the vice-chancellor, Michael Spence.

A protest against student fee hikes was broken up by police, on the grounds that it exceeded the 20-person limit – but tutorials held indoors, with more than 20 students in a classroom, are fine.

David Brophy

Yesterday I had 20+ students in a room for a tutorial. But today, Michael Spence call the riot squad onto campus to shut down a rally against fee hikes, on the grounds that it exceeded the 20 person limit. “Let’s pick ’em off one by one” was what I heard one of the cops say. https://t.co/vHSgNpQf0b

August 28, 2020

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