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What we know today, Sunday November 8


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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Biden defeats Trump, says ‘time to heal’

Democrat Joe Biden has won the US presidency after a bitter election campaign, and promised he would work to unify a deeply divided country even as President Donald Trump refused to accept defeat.

Biden’s victory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania put him over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes he needed to clinch the presidency, ending four days of nail-biting suspense and sending his supporters into the streets of major cities in celebration.

“The people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory, a convincing victory,” Biden told cheering supporters in a parking lot during his victory speech in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware.

“I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify,” he said, before addressing Trump’s supporters directly.

“Now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again,” he said.

“This is the time to heal in America.”

Biden was introduced by his running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman, the first Black American and the first American of Asian descent to serve as vice president.

Congratulations poured in from abroad, including from conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, making it hard for Trump to push his repeated claims, without evidence, that the election was rigged against him.

Trump, who was golfing when the major television networks projected his rival had won, immediately accused Biden of “rushing to falsely pose as the winner.”

“This election is far from over,” he said in a statement.

Trump has filed a raft of lawsuits to challenge the results but elections officials in states across the country say there has been no evidence of significant fraud, and legal experts say Trump’s efforts are unlikely to succeed.

Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham called on the Justice Department to investigate claims of voting irregularities.

Trump has filed a raft of lawsuits to challenge the results but elections officials in states across the country say there has been no evidence of significant fraud, and legal experts say Trump’s efforts are unlikely to succeed.

The networks’ declaration for Biden came amid internal concerns within Trump’s team about the strategy going forward and pressure on him to pick a professional legal team to outline where they believe voter fraud took place and provide evidence.

One Trump loyalist said Trump simply was not ready to admit defeat even though there would not be enough ballots thrown out in a recount to change the outcome. “There’s a mathematical certainty that he’s going to lose,” the loyalist said.

Angry pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” demonstrators gathered at state capitol buildings in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

The protesters in Phoenix chanted “Trump won!” and “We want audits!” One speaker told the crowd: “We will win in court!”

Philadelphia motorists celebrate after the 2020 presidential election is called for President-elect Joe Biden. Image: AP Photo/John Minchillo.

President-elect Biden our great friend: PM

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has congratulated Joe Biden for his success in clinching the US presidential election, calling him a great friend of Australia over many years.

Morrison also extended his congratulations to Kamala Harris on her election as Vice President of the United States.

“The Australia-US Alliance is enduring and built on shared democratic values such as the international rule of law, respect for human rights and equality, freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression and diversity of opinion,” the prime minister said in a statement on Sunday.

President-elect Biden has been declared the 46th President on US networks, but outgoing President Donald Trump has yet to concede defeat and will mount a series of legal challenges on Monday.

US Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos said Australia is taking the position that the election has been called.

“The President has the right to contest this in the courts, but we, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, India, France, Germany and others have taken a view based on the information that’s been provided by the networks and others who have called it that this is the case,” he told ABC television’s Insiders program.

Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said it will be a “relief” to have a return to “normal transmission” with President-elect Biden.

“An administration that is going to be consistent, that isn’t going to be making decisions by wild Tweets in the early hours of the morning, that isn’t going to be walking out of global treaties and alliances,” he told Insiders.

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd told Insiders that President Trump needs to “put on his big boy pants … and act like a grown-up in this period of transition”.

But Mr Morrison thanked President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for their contribution to the Australia-US relationship.

“Australia has enjoyed a strong working relationship with the current administration, one that has seen the strength of our alliance continue to grow and deepen,” Mr Morrison said.

SA could reopen to Victoria by Christmas

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has flagged potentially opening the hard border with Victoria by Christmas time, if the state continues to record no cases.

It comes after Victoria recorded its ninth day in a row without a new COVID-19 case.

South Australia recorded three on Sunday, all in hotel quarantine.

Victoria will be easing travel restrictions within the state, with the ‘ring of steel’ on Melburnians lifted as active COVID-19 cases continue to ebb.

Premier Daniel Andrews will scrap a 25km travel limit on city residents and take down Melbourne’s border from midnight.

“The 25km travel limit will go, the Melbourne-regional Victoria border comes down, families will be able to be together again,” Andrews said.

The premier announced that two visitors plus their dependents will be allowed to visit another home per day, while a 10-person limit will remain on public gatherings outdoors.

At hospitality venues 70 people will be allowed outdoors keeping two metres from each other and 40 people indoors keeping a four-metre distance.

Mr Andrews said a next step on easing hospitality restrictions would be taken in a few weeks.

“It can’t be done open slather because whilst these numbers are good what we’ve all built together is fragile, precious and fragile, and it has to be safeguarded,” the premier said.

“And that’s exactly what all of these decisions do.”

Up to 50 people outdoors and 20 people indoors can attend religious gatherings, but a 10-person limit on weddings, not including the couple, the celebrant and a photographer will remain.

Aged care residents can be visited by one household per day for two hours, and partners can visit maternity wards indefinitely.

Up to 20 people in total and 10 per space will be allowed in gyms, while up to 20 people will be allowed per space in libraries, community centres, galleries, museums and cinemas.

The run of low or zero cases has allowed Victoria to welcome the first international flights to Melbourne since June 30, with the resumption of flights from New Zealand from Monday.

Meanwhile, a long-awaited report has suggested improvements to the state’s quarantine program.

Among the hotel quarantine inquiry’s 69 recommendations is that returning overseas travellers should be able to quarantine at home, potentially with an electronic ankle or wrist bracelet to track their movements.

NSW on Sunday reported three new cases of COVID-19 but all have been identified in overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

Turnbull, Rudd warn against Murdoch media

Two former prime ministers say Australia is on the US path to division unless it checks hyper-partisanship in the media, citing Rupert Murdoch’s operations.

Malcolm Turnbull says he’s not a fan of royal commissions but he backs Kevin Rudd’s petition for an inquiry into Mr Murdoch’s media empire.

More than half a million people have signed Mr Rudd’s appeal for a royal commission, which will be tabled in parliament this week.

Mr Turnbull said the Murdoch media used to be a group of traditional right-leaning outlets but has now become “a vehicle of propaganda.”

He told ABC television’s Insiders program on Sunday that Australian democracy was suffering for allowing the “crazy, bitter partisanship” of social media to creep into the mainstream.

“We have to work out what price we’re paying, as a society, for the hyper-partisanship of the media,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Look at the United States and the terrible, divided state of affairs that they’re in, exacerbated, as Kevin was saying, by Fox News and other right-wing media.”

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd hopes an inquiry will recommend ways to maximise media diversity because the Murdoch media was like a monopoly.

“It’s symptomatic of a broader cancer on our democracy, and my principle motivation in putting this petition together has been to bring to the surface this national conversation – rather than people being too frightened to talk about it,” Mr Rudd said.

“Murdoch has engendered a culture of fear in Australia about this discussion because he goes after people individually who raise this question, including myself, including Malcolm.”

CSL to make vaccine in Australia

A COVID-19 vaccine is yet to achieve clinical approval, but doses will start to be manufactured in Australia this week.

CSL on Sunday confirmed it will commence manufacturing the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine candidate in Victoria from Monday.

The ASX-listed biotechnology company has separate contracts with AstraZeneca and the federal government to manufacture approximately 30 million doses of the AZD1222 vaccine.

The first doses are planned for release in the first half of 2021, pending the outcome of clinical trials and regulatory approval.

The vaccine will not be released for use until the relevant clinical trial and manufacturing data are reviewed and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

CSL chief scientific officer Dr Andrew Nash said the announcement marked an important milestone and the end of “many months of around-the-clock preparation”.

Adelaide baby dies after meningococcal diagnosis

SA Health has reported that a baby has died in hospital after being diagnosed with invasive meningococcal disease.

Multiple people have been identified who have had contact with the 7 week-old baby girl from metropolitan Adelaide, of whom 7 people have been directed to receive clearance antibiotics.

This is the fifth case of invasive meningococcal disease reported in South Australia this year, compared to 25 cases recorded at the same time last year.

It comes as pressure ramps up on uneven distribution of GPs and health workers in regional South Australia, following revelations from the Inquiry into Regional Australia.

Wudinna GP and vice-president of the Rural Doctors Association of South Australia Scott Lewis told the ABC that regional doctors were feeling the stress from high workloads.

“In Adelaide, there is about one GP per 900 people in the population,” Dr Lewis said.

“Once you get out in country South Australia, that number changes dramatically — in country South Australia it’s about one GP per 1,200 people.

This week National Rural Health Alliance chief executive Gabrielle O’Kane testified to the Inquiry into Regional Australia.

Dr O’Kane said there was a real need to be incentivising health care workers to go to regional areas.

Biden election pressures Australia over climate

Pressure on Australia to be more ambitious about cutting emissions and greater trade and security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific are expected to emerge from a Joe Biden presidency.

The US president-elect has flagged re-entering the Paris agreement and holding a global climate summit as two of the early priorities of his term.

The US pulled out of the Paris pact last week, a year on from Donald Trump’s formal notification of withdrawal.

It will only take a month for the US to return under the Paris agreement rules, potentially happening as soon as February next year.

While Scott Morrison says he wants to achieve zero emissions “in the second half of this century”, Biden wants a specific 2050 target date for his country – something many other nations and interest groups in Australia support.

Biden may also seek to take the heat out of tense US relations with China, something that could have positive ramifications for Australia.

Biden has promised to unwind Trump’s aggressive use of tariffs on Chinese imports and use the World Trade Organisation and other multi-lateral bodies to ensure global trade rules are respected.

Stimulus injection of $4bn in SA budget

South Australia’s state budget on Tuesday is set to include $4bn in funding to stimulate the economic recovery from COVID-19.

Newly flagged measures include an additional $230m for a program to help businesses at risk of collapse, an extra $70m for a program to attract business from interstate, and an additional $15m for a program targeted at non-profit organisations, sporting clubs, arts and recreational bodies.

There will also be an additional $17 million to South Australia’s national parks.

Environment Minister David Speirs said that grant would fund upgrades of parks across the state, including those in the Flinders Ranges, on Yorke Peninsula, Eyre Peninsula, Fleurieu Peninsula, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills.

There will also be an allocation of $35 million for new community sporting and recreational infrastructure.

Measures already revealed for the budget include a $1bn “tradies package” to fast-track infrastructure and construction projects.

Premier Steven Marshall said the package is “the single biggest hit of economic adrenalin by a state government in South Australia’s history – a huge stimulus investment that will create thousands of jobs, back local businesses and build what matters particularly over the next two years.”

Opposition treasury spokesman Stephen Mullighan says the stimulus funding so far has been too little too late.

“Tuesday’s budget needs to drastically increase the State Government’s stimulus, but even more importantly get that money out and into the community,” he said on Saturday.

“The State Government has wasted nearly three years delaying major infrastructure projects costing South Australians thousands of jobs and our state now needs to get on with the job of getting our economy growing again.”

Adelaide Strikers win WBBL final rematch

The Adelaide Strikers have defeated the Brisbane Heat by 18 runs thanks to a polished fielding display, including a remarkable rebounded catch from Tahlia McGrath.

The astonishing dismissal of Amelia Kerr, who looked to club a full toss over mid-wicket, saw a scrambling Madeline Penna parry the ball and a diving McGrath react quickly from mid-on, swooping in to complete the catch.

The Strikers set a total of 8-153 at North Sydney Oval in the match between last year’s finalists.

Georgia Redmayne (65) and Maddy Green (25) guided the Heat to 0-78 at the halfway point of the chase, but the latter’s run out ignited a collapse of 8-50 to finish on 8-135.

“It’s quite a long tournament, so I wouldn’t read too much into the table at this point,” Redmayne said.

“There’s plenty of games to go and I wouldn’t write us off yet.

“We have the belief that we can defend that title. We’ve got the skill within our group, the diversity in our bowling, and power in our batting – it’s just trying to get it to all come together.”

Wallabies win chaotic Brisbane Bledisloe

Australia recovered from the loss of Lachie Swinton – the first Wallabies debutant to be red-carded – as the hosts rebounded from a record defeat to win a chaotic Bledisloe Cup Test 24-22 over New Zealand in Brisbane.

Both sides were down to 14 men before halftime, with Swinton following All Blacks forward Ofa Tu’ungafasi to the sheds for near-identical high tackles.

But, fresh off a record 43-5 hiding in Sydney last week, it was the Wallabies who controlled the second half on Saturday to win a seventh-straight Test at Suncorp Stadium.

Makeshift No.10 Reece Hodge’s boot and a late Taniela Tupou try put the Wallabies up by nine, but it took a crushing Marika Koroibete tackle to snuff out the All Blacks’ hopes after New Zealand hit back with a 78th-minute try of their own.

The result secured some pride for the Wallabies in a 2-1-1 series loss.

– with AAP and Reuters

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