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What we know today, Sunday March 28


Welcome to your serving of the day’s breaking news from South Australia, the nation and abroad.

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Numbers at Queensland virus party exaggerated

There has been one new historical COVID-19 infection recorded in Queensland, as fresh information discounts reports linking an existing case to a party for up to 25 people.

Sunday’s reported community case is the brother of one of the state’s current cases, who is no longer infectious and believed to be a ‘missing link’ between the most recent cluster and a doctor who tested positive earlier this month.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said reports one of the cases had thrown a party for up to 25 guests were incorrect.

“We were told at the time there were 25 people that attended the residence; we needed to investigate, track those 25 people down and get them into quarantine,” she said.

Further investigations by police and health authorities suggest the people who attended were limited to the man’s housemates and one other person.

Ms D’Ath said officials acted on what they understood to be true at the time and told reporters she became aware of the new information on Sunday morning.

“It is extremely unfortunate that what has been discovered over the last 24 hours, that it wasn’t 25 people, but as I understand it this is the information that was received from this gentleman himself,” she said.

“Whether the health officials misunderstood what he said, I wasn’t there, I didn’t hear the conversation, but this is the information that they believe that he had provided them at the time.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the state’s two active cases were both in hospital and while it was too early to relax, she was pleased testing efforts had not uncovered further examples of community transmission.

SA Health is allowing Queenslanders to enter the state provided they fill out a Cross Border Travel Registration.

Anyone from Brisbane is required to take a test and isolate until they get a result back.

Teen drowns off Yorke Peninsula beach

A teenager has been found dead after going missing in waters off South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

The boy, from the northern Adelaide suburb of Paralowie, was one of five people who were swept off rocks at Browns Beach about 2pm on Saturday.

Police say the teen died trying to save a friend who had fallen into the sea.

Four made it to safety but the boy disappeared under water and could not be found.

The 16-year-old from Paralowie was found dead before 11.30am on Sunday.

Browns Beach and its car park are closed on Sunday.

Crows clip Magpies to snatch AFLW top spot

Adelaide have stormed to the AFLW minor premiership with a 14-point win over Collingwood at Norwood Oval.

The Magpies lead the competition going into Sunday’s clash but the fierce-tackling Crows prevailed 4.7 (31) to 2.5 (17) to claim top spot.

The win gives Adelaide a week off before a home preliminary final and also gives them the right to a home grand final should they progress that far.

On the flip side, Collingwood dropped to third and now face a sudden-death final against North Melbourne.

Skipper Chelsea Randall was superb for the Crows with Anne Hatchard, Erin Phillips and Ebony Marinoff all prominent in the impressive team performance.

Queensland MP Laming won’t stand at next election

Andrew Laming has decided not to contest the next federal election, but Treasurer Josh Frydenberg believes there is no need for the Queensland MP to leave immediately despite his “unacceptable” behaviour.

The LNP member for Bowman has been in embroiled in distasteful social media behaviour against women, coming at a time when the Morrison government has been under the spotlight over the culture in Parliament House.

Mr Frydenberg said after speaking to the prime minister on Saturday, Mr Laming has decided not to stand at the next election, which is due next year.

“His behaviour has been absolutely unacceptable,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.

Asked whether Mr Laming should stand down immediately, the treasurer said: “No.”

“He continues to serve in his constituents in the parliament.”

In a statement on Saturday, Mr Laming had said he would step down from all parliamentary roles to undergo counselling.

He is due to return to parliament on May 11 when the budget is handed down.

But Labor Leader Anthony Albanese said Mr Laming is not fit to be a member of parliament.

Call for Adelaide radio host to lose job over Higgins comments

Former federal MP Kate Ellis has questioned the future of FIVEaa Adelaide radio veteran Jeremy Cordeaux after he dismissed alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins as a “silly little girl who got drunk”.

Higgins alleges she was raped by a colleague in a ministerial office two years ago after a night of drinking.

Cordeaux made the comments during his weekend breakfast show, during which he urged the Prime Minister to “call it out for what it is”.

“My advice to the prime minister … my advice would be to stop worrying about offending somebody,” he said.

Former federal MP Kate Ellis said she doesn’t see how he could keep his job.

“This sort of garbage is one of the reasons so few survivors of sexual assault ever speak up and it is the kind of victim blaming that belongs in centuries past,” she said.

It comes as Ellis, the former MP for Adelaide, on Sunday releases a new book on sexism in parliament.

The book covers the experiences of 16 female parliamentarians including Julia Gillard, Julie Bishop, Penny Wong and Pauline Hanson.

Ellis says sexist behaviour is “widespread” in parliament.

Race to contain Qld outbreak before Easter

Health authorities in Queensland are scrambling to track down all contacts of two Brisbane friends who tested positive for coronavirus, amid fresh concerns about the outbreak growing.

A week out from Easter, Queensland Health revealed on Saturday night one of the men, aged 26, held a house party while he was waiting on his test result, despite instructions to self-isolate.

About 25 guests attended the Strathpine gathering and all have been ordered into quarantine and are being tested for COVID-19.

Queensland Health are also tracking down people who may have come into contact with the men at 24 exposure sites, and asking them to isolate and get tested.

The cluster has sparked a lockdown of Brisbane City and Moreton Bay council area hospitals, aged care facilities, prisons and disability services providers.

South Australia and the Northern Territory have not changed their travel rules.

NSW, Victoria and the ACT have also declared those two council areas as hotspots and all travellers arriving from there must self-isolate and get tested upon arrival.

Western Australia is requiring all visitors from Queensland to self-isolate for 14 days, with the new directions also applying to those who arrived from Queensland earlier on Saturday.

Tasmania is only warning Brisbane and Moreton Bay travellers to get tested if they become ill, while Earlier on Saturday Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said there was no evidence of widespread community transmission.

Workers, businesses face end of JobKeeper

Australia is set to enter an uncertain economy period as the JobKeeper wage subsidy comes to an end on Sunday.

JobKeeper was introduced on March 30 last year in a bid to stem a massive boost to the dole queue at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

As Treasurer Josh Frydenberg put it in parliament this week, the early months of 2020 had been a time when “Australia was staring into the abyss”.

The unemployment rate sits at 5.8 per cent, but is expected to rise once JobKeeper ends, although it is unclear how many people will shift from it to the dole, now known as JobSeeker, which is also scheduled to be less generous later in the week as the coronavirus supplement ends

Official estimates put the employment losses at between 100,000 and 150,000.

Westpac’s Justin Smirk says one figure he is closely watching is the jump in those working zero hours for economic reasons.

“At 106,700 in February compared to a monthly average of 55,100 through 2019, we see any number above 60,000 as an indication of potential job losses as JobKeeper scheme expires,” he said.

“At this stage we see the ending of JobKeeper generating a minor stalling of employment with only a very modest rise in unemployment.”

Some businesses are at risk of defaulting on payments, or even folding, as they adjust to the end of JobKeeper.

Harley Dale, the chief economist at CreditorWatch, says bankruptcies and insolvencies won’t “fall off a cliff” as first anticipated because the number of businesses on JobKeeper has dived as the economy recovered.

Clean-up after widespread flood damage

The clean-up of flood-affected eastern NSW communities has begun in earnest, with thousands of buildings damaged.

The State Emergency Service has warned that floodwater can contain sewage, debris and dead animals, so people must avoid entering it, playing in it or driving through it.

Multiple evacuation orders and warnings remain in the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley, the Mid North Coast and parts of Moree, but these are expected to be lifted as river levels fall.

Further west in the state, major flooding is expected along the Barwon River over coming weeks.

The NSW SES has received more than 23,000 calls for help from the public and volunteers have attended more than 13,000 jobs since the floods began.

Businesses in flood-affected areas will be able to access grants and bank loans to fund their recovery, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

On Saturday he revealed the federal government will underwrite 80 per cent of bank loans of up to $5 million for small and medium businesses in the flood-affected areas, with repayments to start two years into the loan.

Albanese delivers IR lesson at SA Labor conference

Anthony Albanese has used his speech at the South Australian Labor conference to pick apart the federal government’s workplace and industrial relations strategies.

The Labor leader on Saturday addressed the party faithful in the company of state Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas and federal colleagues including Penny Wong and Mark Butler, and gave the audience a history lesson.

“Fifteen years ago – on 27 March, 2006 – WorkChoices came into effect,” Mr Albanese said.

“It was the cruel fulfilment of one of the Howard government’s ideological obsessions.”

Backlash to the IR laws was widely credited with federal Labor’s rise to power at the 2007 election.

“The Howard government may be long gone, but its ideology lingers,” Mr Albanese said.

He accused Scott Morrison of creating a WorkChoices’ sequel.

“In the fog of a pandemic, he tried to ram through (parliament changes) that struck at the rights and conditions of working Australians.”

If successful, it would have made jobs less secure and cut pay, Mr Albanese said.

Earlier in March the government dumped the vast majority of its proposed industrial relations reforms including wage theft penalties.

Ship blocking Suez Canal moves slightly

Efforts to dislodge a giant container ship blocking the Suez Canal have allowed its stern and rudder to move but it remains unclear when it can be refloated, the head of the canal authority says.

The 400-metre-long Ever Given became wedged diagonally across a southern section of the canal amid high winds early on Tuesday, disrupting global shipping by blocking one of the world’s busiest waterways.

About 15 per cent of world shipping traffic transits the canal and hundreds of vessels are waiting to pass through the waterway once the blockage has been cleared.

Suez Canal Authority (SCA) Chairman Osama Rabie said he hoped it would not be necessary to resort to removing some of the 18,300 containers from the ship to lighten its load but that strong tides and winds were complicating efforts to free it.

“The ship’s stern began to move towards Suez, and that was a positive sign until 11pm at night but the tide fell significantly and we stopped,” Rabie told journalists in Suez.

“We expect that at any time the ship could slide and move from the spot it is in,” he added.

Dredgers had removed about 20,000 tonnes of sand from around its bow by Friday.

A Dutch firm working to free the vessel said it could be freed by the start of next week if heavier tugboats, dredging and a high tide succeed in dislodging it.

If it drags on, shippers may decide to reroute around the Cape of Good Hope, adding about two weeks to journeys and extra fuel costs.

More than 90 killed in Myanmar: reports

Security forces have killed more than 90 people across Myanmar in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month, news reports and witnesses say.

The lethal crackdown on Saturday came on Armed Forces Day.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade in the capital Naypyitaw to mark the event that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot “in the head and back”.

Despite this, demonstrators against the February 1 coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns.

The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people were killed across the country by security forces.

A boy reported by local media to be as young as five was among at least 29 people killed in Mandalay.

Meanwhile, one of Myanmar’s two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people – including a lieutenant colonel – and losing one of its own fighters.

Anthony McDonald- Tipungwuti of the Bombers and Darcy Byrne Jones of the Power during the Round 2 AFL match between Port Adelaide and Essendon at the Adelaide Oval. Image: AAP/David Mariuz

Port Adelaide crush Essendon at Adelaide Oval

Port Adelaide comfortably defeated Essendon 18.11 (119) to 9.11 (65) at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

Mitch Georgiades, a late inclusion for the injured Todd Marshall, finished with four goals along with Charlie Dixon; while Steven Motlop, Peter Ladhams and Orazio Fantasia booted two goals apiece.

Port’s Butters (36 disposals, six clearances, one goal) and Houston (25 touches, one goal) were brilliant while Ollie Wines (38 possessions), Travis Boak (30 disposals, nine clearances) and Willem Drew (25 touches) formed a dominant midfield.

Essendon suffered a trio of injuries, with Dylan Shiel, ruckman Sam Draper and onballer Jye Caldwell all hurt.

Shiel hobbled off with a knee injury, Draper hurt an ankle while Caldwell strained a hamstring.

Earlier on Saturday, Sydney defeated the Adelaide Crows lost 18.13 (121) to 11.22 (88) at the SCG.

The game was Lance Franklin’s first in 18 months after a series of injuries, with the superstar booting three goals.

Adelaide’s Taylor Walker meanwhile continued his late career resurgence, kicking six goals to add to his five from last week.

– with AAP and Reuters

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