- Australia may lobby WTO over wine and vaccines
- Year-end target for COVID vaccinations
- SA Liberals O-Bahn flyer ‘misleading’
- Protesters condemn Indigenous deaths in custody
- Timor, PNG first for Aust vaccine shipment
- BBC gets complaints for too much Philip coverage
- WA residents told to leave as Seroja looms
- Ridsdale abuse victim wins $1.5m payout
- Death toll spikes from Myanmar crackdown
- Crows fly past Demons to AFLW grand final
- Adelaide, Wanderers share A League points
Australia may lobby WTO over wine and vaccines
Trade Minister Dan Tehan will consider lobbying the World Trade Organisation next week over vaccine access, as well as wine trade disputes with China.
Tehan is about to embark on a trip to Europe, which will include a meeting with the WTO director general in Geneva.
He told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program that he may use the meeting to raise Australia’s dispute with China over wine exports to the World Trade Organisation.
Australia has already taken its grievance about blocked Chinese barley exports to the WTO, as one of many commodities that are in dispute with its number-one trading partner, including beef, lobster and coal.
“One of the things we are very keen to do is to make sure with our trade disputes with China is that we are using every means we can to deal with them,” he said.
“Obviously the World Trade Organisation is one of those mechanisms. We are using that when it comes to barley and we are under very deep consideration now when it comes to wine, as to whether we will also refer that.”
The meeting will also address “vaccine diplomacy”.
“I will also be meeting the director general of the World Trade Organisation to talk about what we can do to ensure supply of the vaccine, not only for Australia, but globally,” he said.
He will also speak with the European Union and his ministerial counterparts in France, Germany and Brussels.
Mr Tehan said as the global economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia does not want to see a shift towards protectionism and it is a time to be working together.
Year-end target for COVID vaccinations
The Morrison government is aiming to have all Australians inoculated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the year.
But Trade Minister Dan Tehan says the world is still under the cloud of a pandemic and things can quickly change.
Last week the government’s vaccine program suffered a major set-back after health authorities recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine should only be given to people above 50 due to the risk of blood clotting.
It was the vaccine the government was relying heavily on, but it has since secured an additional 20 million Pfizer vaccine doses that will be shipped from abroad later in the year.
“That is definitely the aim, that is the goal we have set trying to have all Australians have a dose by the end of the year,” Mr Tehan told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison originally planned to have all Australians vaccinated by October.
“When you are dealing with a pandemic, there is a lot of unknowns and you have just got to make sure you set your goals and are prepared to adjust those as things occur,” Mr Tehan said.
Labor’s health spokesman Mark Butler said the government should have secured more vaccine deals to ensure there was a backup when something like the AstraZeneca situation arose.
“We are now in a very difficult situation,” Mr Butler told ABC’s Insider program.
“Australia was already way behind schedule in the vaccine rollout, not in the top-100 nations in the world and a bad situation has been made far worse by these unforeseen events around the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
Australia has just passed the one million mark in terms of vaccinations, well short of the four million Mr Morrison originally promised by the end March.
SA Liberals O-Bahn flyer ‘misleading’
South Australia’s electoral commissioner Mick Sherry has ordered the Liberal Party to issue corrections for “misleading” campaign flyers regarding plans to extend the O-Bahn busway to Golden Grove and demolish dozens of homes.
Sherry took issue with the flyers reading: “Don’t let State Labor destroy your home!”
He said that while Labor had indicated it would look into options for extending the O-Bahn, there were no current plans to do so.
Opposition government accountability spokesman Tom Koutsantonis told the ABC the Liberals had been “caught red-handed spreading lies across the north-eastern suburbs”.
A Department for Infrastructure and Transport study last year found extending the busway from Tea Tree Plaza to Golden Grove would destroy too many homes and trees to be worth considering.
The Liberal Party will have to send out new flyers withdrawing the statement and correcting the record.
Protesters condemn Indigenous deaths in custody
Thousands of Australians have protested against Indigenous deaths in custody ahead of the 30th anniversary of a landmark royal commission report.
The nationwide protests on Saturday follow the deaths of five Aboriginal people in custody in the past six weeks.
From Alice Springs to Rockhampton and down the east coast, protesters have expressed anger that the royal commission’s recommendations have not been adopted thoroughly and that deaths continue.
Adelaide’s protest has been organised for Thursday, the exact date of the final report’s 30th anniversary.
More than 470 Indigenous people have died in detention since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody published its final report on April 15, 1991.
Since March 2, a man in his 30s has died in a NSW prison hospital, another man and a 44-year-old woman have lost their lives in prisons in NSW and Victoria, 37-year-old Barkindji man Anzac Sullivan has been killed during a police pursuit in Broken Hill, and a 45-year-old male inmate has died in a Perth hospital.
Gomeroi, Dunghutti and Biripi woman and protest organiser Tameeka Tighe said that every time she hears of another death she worries it’s someone close to her.
“It makes me wonder if it’s my brother, it makes me wonder what my connection is to that person and it makes me wonder how many more until this government takes it seriously,” she said.
“Do we have to see another 30 years and another 400 deaths? What is that we need to be an emergency?”
Just under one third of the nation’s prisoners are Indigenous, despite Indigenous people making up only three per cent of the population.
The commission investigated 99 deaths – 66 in police custody, 33 in prison custody and three in juvenile detention – and found “glaring deficiencies” in the standard of care given to many of the deceased.
A 2018 review by Deloitte for the federal government found 64 per cent of the royal commission’s 339 recommendations had been fully implemented.
Thirty per cent were partially implemented and six per cent were never implemented.
The review also found the rate of Indigenous incarceration had almost doubled since 1991 and that monitoring of deaths in custody had fallen.
Federal Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe used part of an address outside Victoria’s Parliament House to draw attention to an Aboriginal flag at half mast overhead, in deference to the recently deceased Prince Philip – a representative of the colonising power that has oppressed Indigenous people.
Protesters on social media questioned whether the parliament had received permission from traditional custodians to lower their flag.
Timor, PNG first for Aust vaccine shipment
Pacific nations will soon be doling out shots of coronavirus vaccine manufactured in Australia, with the Morrison government promising to export 10,000 doses a week.
Australia says it is protecting itself by giving near neighbours some of its domestically-produced stockpile of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which typically won’t be given to Australians under 50 years of age due to a rare but serious risk of blood clots.
The government says it’s going to put the homemade AstraZeneca product to good use in neighbouring countries, starting with hard-hit Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.
Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu will also begin to receive doses in the coming weeks.
The decision to limit use of the vaccine only to older Australians has left the Morrison government racing to rebuild the country’s vaccine rollout timetable.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison originally set October as the rollout deadline, but now will not say when Australians can expect to get their first jab after the changed advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The government has managed to secure another 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine for younger Australians, but they won’t arrive until the end of the year.
BBC gets complaints for too much Philip coverage
The British Broadcasting Corporation says it has received complaints about the amount of coverage it dedicated to the death of Prince Philip after some viewers were upset that normal programming was cancelled.
The BBC interrupted normal programming on radio and television a few minutes after Buckingham Palace announced at midday on Friday that Philip had died, and many scheduled programmes were scrapped for the rest of the day to make way for coverage of his death.
“We’re receiving complaints about too much TV coverage of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the BBC’s complaints web page said.
The BBC open a dedicated feedback form on its website after it was inundated with complaints about its wall-to-wall coverage.
Some Twitter users criticised the BBC for acting as a Soviet-style state broadcaster pumping out propaganda but others said it was being unfairly attacked for covering a major news story.
Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, died aged 99 after more than seven decades at her side at the heart of the British monarchy.
Viewing figures show the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 all lost audience on Friday after clearing programmes to run obituaries and reviews of Philip’s life.
British newspapers were dominated by the news.
The Daily Mail published a 144-page issue, complete with a “magical souvenir magazine” entitled “A VERY dashing Duke”, while The Sun’s headline led with “We’re all weeping with you, Ma’am.”
In Australia, Anglican churches, the Australian equivalent of the Church of England and the official religion of the British monarchy, will hold services to commemorate Philip.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Governor-General David Hurley will attend St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney on Sunday.
The Duke’s passing was marked with a 41-gun salute in Canberra on Saturday afternoon.
Flags were flown at half mast across Australia on Saturday and will be again on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral in the United Kingdom on April 17.
WA residents told to leave as Seroja looms
Communities in Western Australia’s Mid West have been urged to evacuate before the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Seroja, which is set to bring gale-force winds, heavy rain and storm tides as it reaches land.
Seroja is forecast to make landfall on Sunday afternoon as a Category 2 cyclone, packing destructive winds with gusts of up to 150km/h at its centre as it hits the coast.
The area between Geraldton and Denham is most at risk from the cyclone’s destructive wind gusts and flooding, the Bureau of Meteorology said in a warning on Saturday night.
People who live in the yellow warning zone area between Carnarvon and Kalbarri have been told to go to their nearest evacuation centre or to stay with family or friends.
They have been told to pack medicines, clothes, important documents and pet supplies, and place items up high to avoid water damage.
Evacuation centres have been established in Denham, Port Denison and Carnarvon and a free bus service will run on Sunday from Geraldton to Port Denison.
Unusually high tides could cause serious flooding in the Denham and Shark Bay region and near Kalbarri, and minor flooding on the coast between Coral Bay and Lancelin, BOM says.
“We hope we can get through the next few days without loss of life,” Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby said on Saturday afternoon.
Unlike the state’s northwest, buildings in the Mid West are not built for cyclones, including structures in Geraldton which hasn’t seen cyclonic conditions for decades, he said.
Ridsdale abuse victim wins $1.5m payout
A Victorian man abused as a schoolboy by Catholic pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale and two teachers has won a $1.5 million settlement on the eve of the matter going to trial.
It was the early 1970s when the man, who can’t be named, joined Ridsdale’s long list of child victims, a list that would ultimately carry close to 70 names.
At the time Ridsdale was a priest of the Diocese of Ballarat in regional Victoria and lived at the presbytery next to St Alipius Boys’ School.
He was also the school’s chaplain but instead of offering spiritual guidance to his young charge he inflicted unspeakable acts of sexual abuse.
The then-schoolboy was also victimised by others at St Alipius – Christian Brothers teacher Gerald Leo Fitzgerald and Stephen Farrell, who taught him in years three and five.
Now, five decades after all that abuse, the schoolboy who would wind up a broken man has finally resolved his claim against the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat and the Christian Brothers.
The $1.5 million settlement, plus legal costs, is one of the largest payouts Victoria has seen for institutional sexual abuse.
The victim’s lawyer, Dr Viv Waller, is sure it would not have eventuated without the looming threat of court action that was due to start next week.
Death toll spikes from Myanmar crackdown
At least 82 people were killed in one day in a crackdown by Myanmar security forces on pro-democracy protesters, according to local media reports and a group that tracks deaths since the military coup.
Friday’s death toll in Bago was the biggest one-day total for a single city since March 14, when just over 100 people were killed in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.
The attack on Bago was the third in the past week involving the massive use of force to try to crush the persistent opposition to the ruling junta.
Attacks were launched Wednesday on organised opponents of military rule who had set up strongholds in the towns of Kalay and Taze in the country’s north.
In both places, at least 11 people – possibly including some bystanders – were reported killed.
The security forces were accused of using heavy weapons in their attacks, including rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, although such allegations could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press.
Photos posted on social media from Bago appeared to show fragments of mortar shells.
The death toll of 82 was a preliminary one compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which issues daily counts of casualties and arrests in the aftermath of the February 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
In its Saturday report, the group said that it expected the number of dead in Bago to rise as more cases were verified.
Crows fly past Demons to AFLW grand final
Adelaide will attempt to win their third AFLW premiership in five years without inspirational skipper Chelsea Randall.
The Crows progressed to the season finale with an 18-point preliminary final win over Melbourne at Adelaide Oval on Saturday, but the victory was soured by a head injury to Randall.
The two-time premiership player left the field in the first quarter of the 5.3 (33) to 1.9 (15) win after she collided heavily with Melbourne’s Eliza McNamara, who also took no further part in the contest.
The league’s strict protocols dictate Randall must not play for 12 days if she is deemed to have suffered a concussion.
Coach Matthew Clarke was still awaiting a medical update when he spoke to reporters after the match, but conceded Randall will almost certainly miss the April 17 grand final.
“We’ll wait and see, but it doesn’t look great,” Clarke said.
The Crows, premiers in 2017 and 2019, will host the grand final at Adelaide Oval next Saturday afternoon after finishing the home-and-away season on top of the ladder.
Ebony Marinoff and Anne Hatchard were pivotal for Adelaide with 35 and 27 possessions respectively.
Adelaide, Wanderers share A League points
Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers shared the points in a thrilling 1-1 draw at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night with both sides ending the match with ten men.
The Reds had Louis D’Arrigo sent off just before halftime before Wanderers defender Mark Natta was expelled in the final quarter hour to ensure a thrilling finish.
Bernie Ibini squandered a glorious chance to snatch all three points for the visitors with almost the last kick of the game but blasted wide from five metres.
It was the home side who opened the scoring against the run of play in the 10th minute with Ben Halloran bursting past Natta before lifting a cross which Tomi Juric met to cushion a header off the post and into the back of the net.
Western Sydney drew level with substitutes Ibini and Simon Cox combining for the equaliser, with the latter controlling a deflected cross in the penalty area and firing past Gauci on 67 minutes.
-With AAP and Reuters
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