Spit hoods banned in SA

SA has passed landmark legislation following the death in custody of an Indigenous man, while controversy rages over Indigenous deaths linked to the justice system in Queensland and WA.

What we know:

  • SA has become the first state to ban spit hoods, following a lengthy campaign by the family of deceased Indigenous man Wayne Fella Morrison (The Guardian); 
  • Morrison had not been convicted of any crime and was being held on remand when he died in hospital in 2016 after being restrained in prison;
  • The family is still awaiting the outcome of a coronial inquest into his death in custody, which has been running for three years;
  • In WA, families are considering legal action over two Indigenous boys who drowned while being chased by police, after a coronial report cleared the officers involved (NITV); 
  • The Queensland Police Service is meanwhile investigating the death in custody of 43-year-old Indigenous man Glen Francis at Maryborough jail on Tuesday (NITV). 
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AZ treatment for immunosuppressed

AstraZeneca has unveiled a new Covid antibody shot for patients who do not respond well to vaccines, claiming it is more than 80% effective over six months.

What we know:

  • The Evusheld treatment was found to reduce the risk of symptomatic Covid-19 by 83 per cent (The Independent); 
  • The treatment is given as two sequential injections in the arm in one go;
  • There have been no cases of severe Covid or Covid-related deaths among the thousands given the shot during a six-month trial;
  • AstraZeneca hopes the treatment will provide protection to the 2% of the world’s population at increased risk of an inadequate response to a Covid vaccine;
  • This includes people with blood cancers being treated with chemotherapy, patients on dialysis, and those taking medications after an organ transplant.
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Victoria opens up for vaccinated

Victoria has dumped almost all virus restrictions overnight for the vaccinated, who are no longer subject to home visitor limits, the dancing ban, and density limits for cafes and restaurants.

Unvaccinated people will no longer be able to visit non-essential retail businesses (The New Daily). 

Masks will remain for a few more weeks in retail, for hospitality workers, on public transport and for primary school staff, visitors and students in years three to six.

Victoria is on track to hit over 90% of over-12s fully vaccinated on Saturday or Sunday.

The state had 1007 new Covid cases on Thursday, and 12 deaths.

It comes as the state government seeks crossbench support to pass emergency pandemic laws, likely to be put to a vote today.

Disgraced MP Adem Somyurek declared he would vote against his former party’s bill, making its passage uncertain.

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China enlists fishing boats for turf war

A new report alleges hundreds of fishing vessels in the South China Sea are operating as paid agents to help China press claims to disputed areas.

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies reports that the vessels are harassing fishermen and the oil and gas operations of rival claimants to territories (SMH). 

They are incentivised with subsidies for fishing in contested areas, building and renovating professional militia boats, installing communications and navigation equipment, and training military veterans to serve on the vessels.

It comes as Chinese coast guard ships sprayed powerful jets of water at two Philippine boats carrying supplies to troops at a disputed South China Sea shoal (AP). 

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr said no one was hurt in the incident, but the two supply ships had to abort their mission.

Locsin Jr said the actions of three Chinese coast guard ships were illegal and urged them “to take heed and back off”.

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TikTok campaign targets Morrison

A marketing firm claiming to work for the Labor Party is offering TikTok users $300 to post anti-Scott Morrison sponsored content.

Vocal Media, a small US-based influencer marketing agency, is offering the money to post a TikTok video “based on the overarching theme of ‘Scott Morrison is too slow and always late,’” (Crikey). 

“This campaign aims to help shift the political discourse on TikTok […] This goes to his essential character as someone who isn’t quick to care, and instead waits until it gets really bad to do his job,” the campaign brief states.

The brief does not discuss making a political authorisation or disclosing that the content is sponsored.

Failure to authorise political content is a breach of election laws and can result in a penalty of up to $26,640 for an individual.

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This kind of initiative leads to a language soiled, which disunites its users instead of bringing them together.

Politician François Jolivet solemnly accuses the French dictionary Le Petit Robert of being the “destroyer of our values” for introducing the non-binary pronoun iel (SBS). 

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Postscript: The best and worst hold music

Being on hold is the ultimate liminal space. First, the "best". It's Tim Carleton's Opus 1, automatically downgraded into its own Amiga MOD version by the Texas DMV. You've almost certainly heard it because it's the default in Cisco Systems' office VoIP setups (Boing Boing).

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