Women’s summit targets consent

Advocates will use today’s launch of the federal government’s own National Summit on Women’s Safety to call out inadequate funding for the prevention of gendered violence.

What we know:

  • Due to the pandemic, the two-day summit will be a virtual event, with a public livestream available from 10am AEST on both dates; 
  • Minister for Women Marise Payne, who will close the government-organised summit, said it would inform the next national plan to end violence against women and children in 2022 (SBS); 
  • Saxon Mullins, director of advocacy at Rape and Sexual Assault Research and Advocacy, hopes the summit will prioritise making the patchwork of consent laws across states nationally consistent;
  • Michal Morris, of the inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, who will speak at today’s panel on perpetrator interventions, wants more data to be collected on sexual violence among migrant and refugee communities;
  • Australian of the Year Grace Tame cautioned that the summit has a “comically narrow remit”, but will appear as a panelist on Tuesday to push for investment in preventive programs such as consent education (SMH). 
  • A joint statement by 205 organisations calls for action in 12 key areas, including strategies to increase community awareness and confidence in recognising abuse (Fair Agenda); 
  • National eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant will today tell the summit how 99% of domestic violence victims have also experienced technology-facilitated abuse such as tracking devices or hacked accounts (The Age). 

Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence National Help Line 1800 737 732.


Covid putting more than 10% in hospital

A NSW Health report warns at least 11% of people in the state with Covid-19 now end up in hospital, a rate twice what Premier Gladys Berejiklian claimed last week.

What we know:

  • The latest NSW Health surveillance report shows the true rate is at least double Berejiklian’s claim of a 5.5% hospitalisation rate (SMH); 
  • The assessment suggests the true rate is likely even higher given the lag between infection and becoming sick enough to need care in hospital;
  • There are 1030 patients in hospital, with 175 people in intensive care, 72 on ventilators;
  • That figure leaves out almost 1700 people who are receiving hospital-grade care at home, with a briefing to National Cabinet suggesting the true hospitalisation rate is 15% (The Saturday Paper);
  • NSW reported 1485 new cases on Sunday and three deaths;
  • Victoria recorded 183 new cases, the ACT 15, and Queensland one (Reuters). 

Premier pushed to the limit

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein will hand some of his portfolios to colleagues, after he said overwork prompted his recent stay in hospital.

"After working 46 days straight, which culminated in the finalisation and delivery of the budget, it's as simple as this – my body's not a machine. I hit the wall and I was quite unwell,” Gutwein said (ABC). 

Gutwein’s Tourism portfolio will be transferred to Hospitality Minister Sarah Courtney, and his Climate Change portfolio to Environment Minister Roger Jaensch.

Connie Digolis of the Mental Health Council of Tasmania welcomed the decision as setting a positive example.

"It's a lovely and welcome acknowledgement that not only is our premier human but we all are, and we all have our limits," she said.

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said Gutwein’s situation showed the number of MPs in the state's lower house needed to be expanded.


Pandemic squeezing supply chains

Global supply chains have been upended by the pandemic, with retailers warning the availability of consumer goods during Christmas may be impacted.

Outbreaks overseas are impacting shipping, forcing the closure of factories across South-East Asia (DW). 

Container ports have also had to close, resulting in a huge backlog of orders and a shortage of parts, such as computer chips for electronic goods (ABC). 

Consumer spending is soaring in the US, pushing up shipping rates there well beyond the value of Australian freight routes.

Fewer international arrivals means air freight, about 80% of which is carried on passenger flights into Australia, is much more limited.

Adding to the problem is about 500 Australia Post staff are in self-isolation as a result of Australian outbreaks.

Pick-ups from e-commerce retailers in NSW, Victoria and the ACT have been cancelled until Tuesday.


Fox News goes after ABC

The Murdoch media is continuing to harangue the ABC over its investigation into Fox News, with News Corp reporting that its US stablemate has called for an independent external review.

The Australian today reports that Fox News has asked for a review of the two-part Four Corners series on the right-wing network’s role in misinformation during the US election and January 6 insurrection (The Australian). 

Fox News’s general counsel Bernard Gugar has written a second legal letter in as many weeks to senior ABC figures.

The 27-page letter, which alleges “many mistakes” and that interviewees were biased against Fox, was also sent to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The episode included interviews with Trump loyalists who maintain the lie that the US election was stolen, such as the former US president’s lawyer Sidney Powell (ABC). 


Goodness, anything could change next week.

Employment minister Stuart Robert reassures those concerned about the federal plan to reopen the country once 70% of adults are vaccinated not to worry — as planning isn’t exactly the Coalition’s strong suit (The Guardian).


Postscript: The Debris Shovellers

There’s a job, which a person can have, and the only significant task this job asks of that person is to have opinions on virtually any given topic. Having opinions on anything put in front of them is not part of their job, it is their job … If you think about this for even a moment, you’ll realise that it is a completely insane state of affairs (The Idiot Report).


Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.