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What we know today, Sunday October 11

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Welcome to your serving of the day’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad. Follow this post for live updates through the day.

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Albanese uses SA visit to pitch social housing

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese has used a visit to South Australia on Sunday to highlight the job creation potential of investment in social housing repairs, and the lack of HomeBuilder grants awarded in the state.

Fresh off a budget reply speech last week proposing more social housing support, Albanese visited a Findon social housing precinct, where local resident Nathan Andersen is struggling with a mould outbreak in his roof that he’s been seeking assistance for since March.

“The bathroom that we just saw is a disgrace, and it’s a health risk,”  Albanese said.

” We should be using the opportunity that is there to create jobs immediately by fixing up bathrooms like Nathan’s.”

Albanese noted that only one South Australian had so far been paid the Coalition’s HomeBuilder grant, which was supposed to support the construction sector through the COVID-19 shutdown.

Albanese also backed a proposed new power link from SA to NSW, despite SA Labor’s criticism of the plan.

South Australia records two hotel quarantine cases

South Australia recorded two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.

SA Health reported that a man in his 30s and a man in his 50s, both recently returned from overseas, tested positive in hotel quarantine.

The pair tested positive on their day one test and will remain in isolation.

There are currently five active cases in SA, and 466 people have been cleared of COVID-19.

Victoria quarantine extension for test refusals

Close contacts who refuse a COVID-19 test in Victoria will spend 21 days in quarantine under a new rule.

The state government has announced mandatory quarantine will be extended 10 days for close contacts if they opt not to be tested on day 11 of isolation.

The change will come into effect from 11.59pm on Sunday.

Premier Daniel Andrews said a “very, very high percentage” of people had submitted to testing but the rule was designed to provide authorities with an even more complete picture.

“This is just double checking, triple checking that you haven’t, in fact, still got the virus,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Under another new rule from Sunday, regional Victorian businesses will have to take all reasonable steps to ensure patrons aren’t from Melbourne before seating them.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are only allowed to travel into regional Victoria for permitted reasons, but must abide by the city’s rules while there.

It comes after an infected Melbourne man illegally dined at a Kilmore cafe, sparking a fresh outbreak in regional Victoria.

Victoria’s state of emergency and state of disaster have been extended to 11.59pm on November 8.

But the premier said no one should read the four-week extension as a guide to shifting rules.

“This comes from detailed public health advice, and there will be a time where we do not need to extend these things and I look forward to that day,” he said.

The premier said the board of inquiry into Victoria’s hotel quarantine system had sought from him and his senior staff relevant text message and phone records and they would be handed to the board as soon as possible.

Victoria reported one more death and 12 new cases on Sunday, ending a three-day stretch without a fatality.

Frydenberg committed to 2024 tax cuts

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is “absolutely fully committed” to going ahead with his stage three personal income tax cuts due in 2024, but has yet to make a decision on what the dole payment rate will be at the end of the year.

The treasurer describes stage three – which gets rid of the 37 per cent bracket and reduces the 32.5 per cent bracket down to 30 per cent that creates one tax bracket between $45,000 and $200,000 – as a “big structural reform”.

“This is a very important reform to create a stronger, fairer tax system,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC television’s Insiders program.

Asked why he didn’t bring forward stage three tax cuts to last week’s budget as he did with stage two, Mr Frydenberg said he wanted the “biggest bang for our buck”.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese jumped on the comment, questioning the whole economic policy of the government.

“They don’t have a strategy to grow back the economy,” he told reporters in Adelaide.

The federal budget last week included the bringing forward of stage two tax cuts worth $158 billion aimed at stimulating the economy out of its first recession in nearly 30 years.

The cuts – originally legislated for 2022/23 but now backdated to July this year – were quickly passed by the parliament.

But a survey by thinktank The Australian Institute found more than three-quarters of respondents intend to save at least half of their tax saving.

Caver rescued from remote Tasmanian cave

An injured man has been stretchered out of a remote cave on Tasmania’s west coast after he fell several metres, triggering a complex eight-hour rescue effort.

Police say the 62-year-old Ulverstone man was caving with three friends near Mount Cripps on Saturday when he fell off a ladder inside the narrow cave system and hurt his back, leaving him unable to climb out.

Two of his companions hiked several hours to a point where they could use their mobile phones and raised the alarm.

An emergency response team of around 60 ambulance, police, SES and Northern Caverneers Caving Club members reached the caves about 1am on Sunday.

“It only took about 20 minutes to get from the main entrance of the cave to the injured person, but it took almost eight hours to bring him out,” Police Acting Inspector Dave Chapman told reporters on Sunday.

“It (the rescue) was highly technical – a crawl-in, and then a downward section, and then another downward section with a waterfall in it.”

He said the man – who was suffering from mild hypothermia and a back injury – was constantly monitored by ambulance officers.

“He was unable to move so he had to be stretchered up. It took a lot of a equipment to pull him out.”

Rescuers reached the surface with the injured caver and were met by a rescue helicopter which airlifted the man to Royal Hobart Hospital in a stable condition.

Rudd launches petition against Murdoch

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has launched a petition calling for a royal commission into Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, saying it has become an “arrogant cancer” on the country’s democracy.

In a tweet Mr Rudd said he was urging parliament to set up a royal commission into the abuse of media monopoly in Australia, particularly by the Murdoch media and to make recommendations to maximise media ownership diversity.

“The truth is Murdoch has become a cancer, an arrogant cancer, on our democracy,” Mr Rudd said.

He said 70 per cent of Australia’s print readership was owned by Mr Murdoch and he owned virtually every newspaper in Queensland “which swings so many federal election outcomes”.

Over the last decade in 18 out of 18 federal and state elections “Murdoch has viciously campaigned in support of one side of politics, the Liberal National party, and viciously campaigned against the Australian Labor Party,” Mr Rudd said.

“There’s no such thing as a level playing field any more.”

Mr Rudd said Mr Murdoch had loss-making newspapers in Australia but he kept them to maximise his political power in defence of climate change denial and pursue his commercial interests in relation to the National Broadband Network.

Driver reported over fatal Morphett Vale accident

A 79-year-old Morphett Vale man has been reported for causing death by dangerous driving, after a reversing Kia sedan killed a pedestrian.

Police and emergency services were called to Westmoreland Road after a Kia sedan struck a pedestrian.

The victim, a 37-year-old Christie Downs woman, died at the scene.

The uninjured driver, a 79-year-old Morphett Vale man, was taken to the Flinders Medical Centre as a precaution.

Two other pedestrians injured in the crash have also been taken to the Flinders Medical Centre with minor injuries.

Westmoreland Road was closed while Major Crash Investigators were at the scene but, has since reopened to all traffic.

The woman’s death is the 68th life lost on South Australian roads, compared to 84 this time last year.

South Australians urged to self-assess mental health

South Australia has marked the start of Mental Health Week with the launch of a new app to monitor the wellbeing of people across the state.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute Wellbeing and Resilience Centre (SAHMRI) is launching the Be Well Tracker to allow South Australians to track mental health outcomes, so the data can inform the development of preventive policies.

South Australians will be encouraged to take the self assessment annually during Mental Health Week, which runs until October 17.

The tracker will monitor individual wellbeing, resilience, anxiety, stress, negative mood and health.

SAHMRI has already been using the tool to survey 4000 respondents on a monthly basis since June last year.

The latest results indicate that the mental wellbeing of South Australians has improved since the easing of lockdown restrictions, but that the state is yet to return to fully recover to pre-COVID levels.

Average stress levels dropped in September to 6.8 out of 10, from a high in April 2020 of 7.2 out of 10.

In September last year 2019 South Australians registered an average of 6 out of 10.

The results come as Minister for Health And Wellbeing Stephen Wade on Saturday detailed mental health initiatives to support state residents who have faced challenges through the bushfires and pandemic this year.

“Our soon-to-be launched, nation-first Urgent Mental Health Care Centre, which will be close to the CBD, will help provide more appropriate care than an emergency department for many mental health consumers,” he said.

“The ground-breaking new wellbeing strategy, Open Your World, also launched a dedicated website promoting wellbeing, including tips on staying fit and healthy, activities for kids as well online resources for learning and skill development ranging from language classes to cooking courses.”

PM joins Qld border row as NSW trace cases

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing for Queensland to reopen its border as NSW races to trace two mystery COVID-19 cases.

Queensland has set NSW a benchmark of 28 days without any unlinked community transmission of the virus before the border reopens.

NSW Health are tracing the source of a local outbreak that has infected a Sydney nurse and another person before the border clock is reset.

Scott Morrison took aim at Queensland’s border closure as he hit the hustings in the state election campaign on Saturday.

“You would only have borders in for as long as you absolutely have to have them,” the prime minister said.

“They are not something I suppose to boast of, they are things that are necessary, but are regrettably necessary in many occasions.

“So when you have to have them, well, let’s have them based on medical advice and for only as long as you absolutely have to, because the longer they are there, the more they do stop jobs.”

U.S. President Donald Trump removes a protective mask ahead of speaking at the White House in Washington on Saturday. Photo: Erin Scott/Pool/ABACAPRESS.

Trump holds first event since hospital release

US President Donald Trump has made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after his hospital stay for COVID-19.

Standing alone and not wearing a mask, Trump spoke from the White House balcony on Saturday at an event called “a peaceful protest for law and order”, attended by a few hundred people standing on the lawn below.

Trump appeared to be back to his usual rallying form, boasting about his record and hurling unsubstantiated allegations against his opponents as a packed crowd of supporters chanted “we love you”.

It was the first public event Trump has held since he was released from the hospital on Monday, when some observers watching his return to the White House said he appeared at times to be short of breath.

Scott Atlas, the doctor advising Trump, declined to comment on Trump’s last COVID-19 test when approached by Reuters outside the event cordon. He was not wearing a mask.

National opinion polls show Trump trailing his Democratic challenger Joe Biden by double digits.

Biden meanwhile received a vote of endorsement from teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

The Swedish 17-year-old said in a tweet that she never engages in party politics, but “the upcoming US elections is above and beyond all that”.

“From a climate perspective it’s very far from enough and many of you of course supported other candidates. But, I mean … you know … damn! Just get organized and get everyone to vote #Biden,” she wrote.

Modern slavery ‘entraps 29m women, girls’

A new report estimates that 29 million women and girls are victims of modern slavery, exploited by practices including forced labour, forced marriage, debt-bondage and domestic servitude.

Grace Forrest, co-founder of the Walk Free anti-slavery organisation, told a UN news conference that one in every 130 women and girls is living in modern slavery today.

“We’re seeing normalised exploitation in our economy in transnational supply chains and also in migration pathways,” she said. “The world’s most vulnerable people have been pushed even further into this practice of modern slavery because of COVID-19.”

She said the estimate of women and girls in modern slavery is conservative because it doesn’t account for what’s happened during the pandemic, which has seen “sharp increases of forced and child marriage and exploited work conditions around the world”.

According to the report, titled Stacked Odds, women account for 99 per cent of all victims of forced sexual exploitation, 84 per cent of all victims of forced marriage, and 58 per cent of all victims of forced labour.

Forrest said Walk Free and the UN’s Every Woman Every Child program are launching a global campaign to end child and forced marriage, which 136 countries have yet to criminalise, and the elimination of legalised systems of exploitation such as kefala, which legally binds a migrant worker’s immigration status to an employer or sponsor for their contract period.

The campaign also urges transparency and accountability for multinationals.

“We know that women and girls are experiencing unprecedented levels of exploitation and forced labour in supply chains of the goods we buy and use every day – clothing, coffee, technology,” Forrest said.

Crouch, Stengle suspended for drug bust

Adelaide’s Brad Crouch and Tyson Stengle have been suspended by the AFL for two and four games respectively for being caught with illicit drugs.

The AFL confirmed on Saturday the pair had been found guilty of “conduct unbecoming”, following an investigation into the September incident.

The Crows players will also have a so-called first strike against them under the AFL’s drugs policy and will have to attend a drug and alcohol education course.

Police caught Crouch and Stengle with an illicit drug, understood to be cocaine, in Adelaide’s central business district at 5.15am on September 28.

Police didn’t charge the duo, instead referring them to counselling under a drug diversion program.

In April, the Crows suspended Stengle for four games and fined him $2500 after he was caught drink-driving and driving an unregistered car.

The 21-year-old is due to answer the charges in Adelaide magistrates court later this month.

The AFL said it took that “relatively recent” incident into account when determining the length of Stengle’s suspension.

Meanwhile, Geelong on Saturday evening advanced to a fourth preliminary final in five seasons with a 68-point annihilation of Collingwood.

The Cats held the Magpies to a record-low one scoring shot in the first half and were never challenged in the 15.10 (100) to 5.2 (32) semi-final victory at the Gabba.

The result means the top four will fill the preliminary spots for just the second time in the past six seasons, with Geelong to return to the Gabba to take on Brisbane next Saturday, while Port Adelaide will host Richmond on the Friday at the Adelaide Oval.

Swiatek, Alcott win French Open tennis titles

Securing a first Grand Slam title is supposed to be an arduous task but 19-year-old Iga Swiatek crowned an extraordinary fortnight to win the French Open in a blaze of winners on Saturday, crushing Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1.

Swiatek, who had dropped only 23 games en route to the final, produced another audacious display as she became the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title while announcing herself as a young champion of rare quality.

Unseeded Swiatek, who was ranked 54th at the start of the tournament, is the youngest woman to win the French Open since Monica Seles in 1992.

Meanwhile, Australian Dylan Alcott has enhanced his reputation as one of the all-time greats of wheelchair tennis with an 11th quad singles grand slam triumph at the French Open, defeating his British doubles partner Andy Lapthorne 6-2 6-2.

“To the organisers, thank you I love the clay,” he said. “I didn’t think I liked clay, to be honest. I hate getting dirty. I play well on it. I think I like it now!”

– reporting by InDaily staff, AAP and Reuters

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