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What we know today, Tuesday October 13


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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One new COVID-19 case for SA

South Australia has recorded one new case of COVID-19 today.

SA Health says today’s case is a woman in her 20s who recently returned from overseas.

The department says the woman has been in a medi-hotel since her arrival and poses no public health risk.

SA sentence discount laws pass parliament

New laws to cut sentence discounts for serious offenders who plead guilty in South Australia have passed State Parliament.

The measures cut the maximum discount from 40 per cent to 25 per cent for early pleas.

The legislation also requires the courts to consider a number of factors when determining how much a sentence should be reduced including whether the person concealed their crime, the strength of the case against them and if the facts were disputed in any way.

Discounts on sentences for major indictable offences, such as manslaughter, causing death by dangerous driving or rape, will now range from five to 25 per cent, depending on the time of the guilty plea.

The bill passed the Upper House late today and Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the legislation would be enacted as soon as possible.

It includes transition arrangements to deal with people already before the courts who may have just entered a plea or who are about to.

Chapman said the 40 per cent discount, first proposed by the previous Labor government in 2010, was always too much and was more lenient than any other sentencing regime across the country.

“That was completely unacceptable to us then, and it remains so now,” she said.

But the Opposition accused the Government of dragging the chain in getting the reforms passed.

Chapman said there would be a cost to the changes with offenders potentially spending more time in jail.

But she said that had to be balanced with public expectations of what period some people should spend behind bars.

The government’s changes reflect recommendations from a recent review of SA’s sentencing laws by former Supreme Court justice Brian Martin.

Trump back on campaign trail

US President Donald Trump has returned to the campaign trail for the first time since contracting the coronavirus in an effort to stage a late comeback in the election’s final stretch.

“It’s great to be back in my home state, Florida, to make my official return to the campaign trail,” Trump declared in front of a crowd of thousands of supporters standing shoulder-to-shoulder, mostly without masks.

Trump said that, after being given experimental medication and other VIP treatment, he’s feeling great and glad he no longer needs to be concerned about infection because he’s now “immune”.

“I feel so powerful,” Trump said on Monday, displaying no obvious signs of lingering infection.

“I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women … everybody. I’ll just give ya a big fat kiss.”

Top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said those who recover from COVID-19 are likely to be immune for a limited period of time, but there are cases emerging of people getting reinfected weeks or months later.

With three weeks to go before election day, Trump – whose doctor said on Monday for the first time that he had received a negative test for COVID-19 – is pushing to correct a stubborn deficit in national and battleground state polling.

Florida is seen as critical to his re-election chances.

Trump narrowly beat 2016 rival Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state by just over 112,000 votes.

Some recent polls have suggested a close race in Florida, while others have put Democrat Joe Biden ahead.

Trump’s Sanford rally was his first stop in a busy week that will include events in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Vic virus plateau continues ahead of no-confidence vote

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to face a no-confidence vote when parliament resumes today. Photo: AAP/James Ross

Victoria has recorded 12 new coronavirus cases, stretching the state’s run of days with double-figure case numbers to six.

There was also one death, taking the state toll to 811 and the national figure to 899.

Melbourne’s 14-day rolling case average has risen back to 10 and the city’s mystery cases are also up by two to 13. The regional figures remain steady at 0.4 and none.

Premier Daniel Andrews concedes Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown will likely be redrawn and restrictions could be eased with daily COVID-19 figures in the teens.

Andrews is expected to face a no-confidence motion as parliament resumes today.

The premier’s right-hand man Chris Eccles quit yesterday after phone records revealed he spoke to the head of police as the state’s hotel quarantine program was hastily set up on March 27.

Despite having no memory of the call, the former Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary insists he did not convey a decision about using private security to former Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton.

The premier said he was “shocked” when he learned Eccles had made the call and agreed with his decision to resign.

Eccles is the second key public official to quit amid the inquiry into the botched program, with former health minister Jenny Mikakos resigning last month.

The flaws in the hotel quarantine system are believed to be responsible for the state’s second wave of COVID-19

The Victorian Liberals and Nationals plan to go on the offensive as parliament resumes, moving a no-confidence motion against Andrews over his handling of the pandemic.

The opposition only has one chance to move a motion of no confidence in the premier each parliamentary term and will have to wait until after the 2022 state election if it fails.

SA’s Australians of the Year named

Racism crusader Tanya Hosch has been named the SA Australian of the Year at a ceremony last night.

The Golden Grove woman, 49, is the first Indigenous person and second woman appointed to the AFL executive. Hosch has held leadership roles in sport, the arts, culture, social justice and public policy.

One of the pre-eminent Indigenous leaders pursuing constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Nations people, her leadership is transforming the AFL – advancing women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and gender-diverse Australians.

Hosch championed the first Indigenous player statue of Nicky Winmar, instigated a review of anti-vilification policy within the code and helped secure an apology for Adam Goodes from the AFL.

She drove a new respect and responsibility policy enabling women to seek redress for unacceptable behaviour and a world-first gender diversity policy for a contact sport.  In 2020, she also drove a hugely successful social media campaign aimed at informing and protecting Indigenous communities from COIVID-19.

Disability advocate Professor Richard Bruggemann, 76, was named the 2021 SA Senior Australian of the Year.

Bruggemann has provided expert advice to governments on disability services, legislation, inclusion and rights. He is a dedicated volunteer, has sat on more than 20 non-government boards and committees, and is a prolific writer on topics of concern for the disability community.

This year, he was called on by the South Australian Government to join the special taskforce investigating the tragic death of cerebral palsy sufferer, Ann Marie Smith.

Social entrepreneur Isobel Marshall was named the 2021 SA Young Australian of the Year. At just 18 years of age, Isobel launched a social enterprise business to help women around the world break down stigma around menstruation and gain greater access to hygiene products.

With business partner Eloise Hall, she co-founded TABOO after crowdfunding $56,000 to launch their range of products in August 2019.

TABOO sells high quality, ethically sourced, organic cotton pads and tampons to an Australian market, with 100 per cent of net profits going to One Girls – a charity providing education programs for girls and women in Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Locally, Isobel and TABOO have partnered with Vinnies Women’s Crisis centre, providing free access to pads and tampons for women who require emergency accommodation in South Australia.

Pressure mounts on NSW Premier to resign

Pressure is mounting on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to resign. Picture: Joel Carrett/AAP

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian insists she has “stuffed up” personally but not professionally in having a relationship with a disgraced ex-MP, as she fights to keep her job.

Berejiklian yesterday revealed her relationship with former Wagga Wagga member Daryl Maguire, spanning several years, at a corruption probe into his business dealings.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has accused Maguire of using his public office and parliamentary resources to improperly gain a benefit for himself or for G8way International – a company he allegedly “effectively controlled”.

He was forced to quit Berejiklian’s government in 2018 after a separate ICAC inquiry.

But, despite her “close personal relationship” with Maguire, Berejiklian repeatedly insisted she had little knowledge of his interests.

“I stuffed up in my personal life,” she told reporters later on Monday afternoon.

“Had I known then what I know now, clearly I would not have made those personal decisions.”

Berejiklian earlier on Monday told the inquiry Maguire was a “big talker” who came up with “pie in the sky” schemes and “a lot of the time I would have ignored or disregarded what he said as fanciful”.

Recordings of phone calls between the pair played at the hearing, in which Maguire discusses various business deals, appeared to contradict the premier.

The phone calls also forced Berejiklian to deny she had deliberately distanced herself from Maguire’s affairs in an attempt at self-preservation.

Fronting the inquiry and having her relationship revealed so sensationally in a public forum has been a “personal nightmare”, she later said.

Opposition Leader Jodi McKay said she did not buy Berejiklian’s story, and the premier must resign.

“This premier is a fraud and today she’s been unmasked,” McKay said.

Berejiklian had been privy to Mr Maguire’s “dodgy dealing” and had maintained her relationship until long after his resignation in 2018, she argued.

As the inquiry continues on Tuesday, Labor will move a motion of no confidence in the premier, which would need support from government MPs who have so far united behind her.

It has been a terrible month for the coalition government, with deputy premier John Barilaro still weathering the fallout from the embarrassing koala policy stoush and copping criticism over speeding fines.

Cement truck death forces Hills road closure

An Adelaide Hills road will remain closed this morning following a fatal concrete truck crash in Picadilly yesterday afternoon.

Police and emergency crews responded to reports that the truck had rolled and hit a tree on Spring Gully Road about 12.45pm yesterday.

The driver and sole occupant, a 30-year-old man from Parafield Gardens, died at the scene.

Spring Gully Road will remain closed between Old Carey Gully Road and Lampert Place due to damage caused to the road surface. Diversions are in place to allow road repair works to begin this morning, Diversions are in place.

The man’s death is the 69th life lost on our roads this year as compared to 85 for the same time last year.

Tourism Australia’s COVID-safe holiday push

Aussies are being urged to plan and book a COVID-safe holiday in different parts of Australia as part of a new domestic tourism push aimed at providing a much-needed boost to our cities, tourism regions, airlines and tourism businesses.

Starring Australian personalities, Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake, a new Tourism Australia campaign is focussed on encouraging Australians to plan and book trips to parts of our country where it is safe and possible to do so.

The campaign follows the launch of a teaser video voiced by Blake across Tourism Australia’s social and digital channels, which takes viewers on a journey across some of Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes and reminds them of the undeniably unique aspects of our country.

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the ramping up of domestic campaign activity from Tourism Australia formed part of the government’s plan to help the industry rebound.

“Tourism employs one in 13 Australians and is the backbone of so many businesses across Australia, but the industry has been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis,” the SA Senator said.

“With restrictions easing and some interstate borders opening-up again, the best support that can be given to the industry is for Aussies to make bookings and undertake COVID-safe trips.

“We are urging Australians to support our airlines and airports, tour operators, hire car companies and accommodation providers, while also giving people the chance to enjoy some of the incredible experiences our country has to offer.”

SA Premier Steven Marshall said yesterday that South Australia was experiencing near-record tourism traffic from several states, in particular New South Wales.

“The opening of the NSW borders was just the news they have been waiting for – with around 37 per cent of their domestic visitors coming from NSW,” he said.

“What is even more exciting to see is that accommodation occupancy in our regions are reaching almost the same levels as this time last year – and that’s without international visitors and only some interstate.

“Some operators in the regions are reporting their ‘best winter trade ever’ and Adelaide hotels are also showing very positive green shoots.”

Gambling bug bites hard during pandemic

Australians are betting more often during the coronavirus pandemic despite restrictions keeping people out of pubs and clubs.

New figures from the federal government’s Australian Gambling Research Centre show the number of gamblers who bet four times a week increased from 23 per cent to 32 per cent.

The survey, released on Tuesday, canvassed 2000 people in June and July and compared their gambling during the pandemic to before COVID-19.

Young men aged 18-34 were the most likely demographic to sign up for new online accounts and to increase their frequency and monthly gambling spend.

That median figure went up from $687 to $1075.

Lead researcher Dr Rebecca Jenkinson said in every other age group of men there was no significant change in spending, or a drop.

“Young men went in the opposite direction, spending far more than pre-COVID and more regularly,” she said.

“Increased gambling among young men was often reported to be associated with being socially isolated, bored, or as a means of social connection with friends.”

Jenkinson said the 24-hour accessibility of online gambling and the condensed seasons of major football codes were contributing factors.

Almost one-in-three survey respondents said they had signed up for a new online betting account during the pandemic.

About 80 per cent of participants were classified as being at risk of or experiencing gambling-related harm.

New UK lockdown begins

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a range of new coronavirus restrictions. Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed further restrictions on parts of England including shutting pubs, to curb an acceleration in COVID-19 cases.

Johnson announced a new three-tiered system on Monday in an attempt to standardise a patchwork of often complicated and confusing restrictions imposed across England.

MPs will vote on the move on Tuesday.

The lockdowns will include shutting pubs and bars in areas placed in the “very high” alert level from Wednesday.

The other alert levels in the new system are “medium” and “high”.

So far, Merseyside in northwest England – which includes the city of Liverpool – is the only area classified at the “very high” level.

Gyms, leisure centres, casinos, betting shops and adult gaming centres there will also close, Johnson said.

“We must act to save lives,” Johnson told parliament, adding that he did not want another UK-wide lockdown and that he understood the frustrations of those chafing at the “repressions of liberty”.

“If we let the virus rip, then the bleak mathematics dictate that we would suffer not only an intolerable death toll from COVID, but we would put such a huge strain on our NHS (National Health Service) with an uncontrolled second spike that our doctors and nurses would simply be unable to devote themselves to other treatments.”

Health officials say the latest data showed infections were rising across the north of England and in some more southerly areas too, while the virus was creeping up age bands towards the elderly from those aged 16-29 years.

Manchester intensive care consultant Jane Eddleston said 30 per cent of critical care beds were taken up with COVID-19 patients and this was starting to affect healthcare for others.

“This is not how we want to live our lives but this is the narrow path we have to tread between the social and economic trauma of a full lockdown and massive human and indeed economic cost of an uncontained epidemic,” Johnson said.

“The weeks and months ahead will continue to be difficult and will test the mettle of this country,” he said.

But as millions of people across the United Kingdom grapple with restrictions, the hospitality sector says it is being brought to its knees by the government.

Karen Strickland, landlady of The Grapes pub in Liverpool, said their income was already down by 70 per cent with the current enforced countrywide closing time of 10pm, and the government’s support scheme help was not enough.

“It’s absolutely horrendous,” she said, adding it made no sense to single out pubs.

Under the new restrictions, however, pubs that serve a main lunchtime or evening meal will be allowed to stay open, although they will only be able to serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

US protestors topple presidents’ statues

Protesters have overturned statues of former US presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in Portland, Oregon in a declaration of “rage” against Columbus Day.

Protest organisers dubbed the event “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” in response to the US federal holiday on Monday named after 15th-century Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, a polarising figure who Native American advocates have said spurred centuries of genocide against indigenous populations in the Americas.

The group threw chains around Roosevelt’s statue, officially titled Theodore Roosevelt, Rough Rider.

They threw red paint on the monument and began using a blowtorch on the statue’s base, news outlets reported.

The crowd pulled down the statue just before 9pm.

The group later turned their attention toward Lincoln’s statue, pulling it down about eight minutes later.

Historians have said Roosevelt expressed hostility toward Native Americans, once saying: “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every 10 are…”

Protesters spray-painted “Dakota 38” on the base of Lincoln’s statue, referencing the 38 Dakota men Lincoln approved to have hanged after the men were involved in a violent conflict with white settlers in Minnesota.

After toppling the statues, the crowd began smashing windows at the Oregon Historical Society and later moved onto the Portland State University Campus Public Safety office.

Police later declared the event a riot and ordered the group to disperse.

They said anyone involved in “criminal behaviour, including vandalism” was subject to arrest.

It’s unclear if any arrests were made.

The monuments are the latest statues to come down in a wave of removed monuments and protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

– with AAP and Reuters

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