Djokovic deported after losing court appeal

Novak Djokovic has been deported from Australia after the Federal Court on Sunday evening upheld the Morrison government’s decision to cancel the tennis star’s visa.

What we know:

  • AFP officers escorted the men’s world No.1 onto an Emirates flight to Dubai that left Melbourne Airport on Sunday night (7News); 
  • It followed a three-judge panel of the Federal Court ruling unanimously that the decision to deport Djokovic was lawful;
  • Chief Justice James Allsop said the court found merely that it was legal but did not assess “the merits or wisdom of the decision”;
  • “I am extremely disappointed with the court ruling,” Djokovic said in a statement;
  • Immigration Minister Alex Hawke had cancelled Djokovic’s visa for a second time, citing the chance the unvaccinated player’s presence in Australia risked “civil unrest” as he is a “talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment” (Time); 
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison immediately welcomed “the decision to keep our borders strong and keep Australians safe”;
  • The decision sparked concern about the precedent it sets for the immigration minister to use broad powers to deport anyone who “might” pose a public health risk (The Conversation); 
  • Djokovic’s detention at a Melbourne immigration hotel also shone a light on the asylum seekers detained there for years on end (HRW); 
  • The decision means Djokovic will be denied a chance to secure the all-time grand slam record at the Australian Open, which begins today, with Italian journeyman Salvatore Caruso to take his place (WWOS).
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Omicron wave crashes summer

The pandemic has spiralled out of control in Australia over summer, with authorities abandoning most restrictions as the Omicron variant sweeps the nation. 

What we know:

  • Of just over 1.5m Covid cases Australia recorded across the pandemic, more than 1.3m were registered in the past two weeks (Reuters); 
  • On Sunday alone, NSW authorities recorded 34,660 new cases and 20 deaths, with about half the total population anticipated to be infected during the Omicron wave (7News); 
  • Victoria recorded 28,128 new cases and 13 deaths, as the state received its first major delivery of 3 million rapid antigen tests (ABC); 
  • Queensland recorded 17,445 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths, the ACT 1316 new cases and two deaths, SA 3450 cases, and Tasmania 825 new cases (Nine); 
  • Meanwhile WA – which is closed off to the entire country – reintroduced an indoor mask mandate for Perth after recording six new cases (WA Today); 
  • Nationally, hundreds of childcare centres are closed, more than 10,000 hospital and ambulance workers are unable to work, businesses are shut due to lack of staff and supply chains are breaking down (The Saturday Paper). 
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Australia’s ‘shadow lockdown’

Australians implemented their own “shadow lockdown” in response to the lifting of restrictions, with consumer spending and business turnover plunging.

What we know:

  • ANZ reports consumer spending in the first week of January was at its lowest level since the Delta wave as households imposed their own restrictions to avoid the virus (SMH); 
  • CreditorWatch found business-to-business spending hit its lowest levels on record in December;
  • December 2021 average trade receivables fell 45% below 2020 turnover levels;
  • “It really is quite bad – Santa did not show up for businesses this Christmas,” said CreditorWatch data analyst James O’Donnell;
  • Visits to retailers and cafes are down 26% in NSW and Victoria, with bigger drop offs in CBD areas (news.com.au); 
  • Immunocompromised Australians in particular have opted to lock themselves down, with advocates warning the “let it rip” approach has left them behind (SBS).
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Huge eruption cuts off Tonga

Tonga has been cut off from the world by a massive undersea volcano eruption and tsunami that left the Pacific nation covered in ash and water.

The one in 1000-year volcano event triggered a sonic boom that was heard in Alaska and a tsunami that reached as far away as California, with alerts issued for Australian beaches (Al Jazeera). 

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption cut the internet to Tonga, with no updates from government websites and other official sources, while the enormous ash cloud has prevented surveillance flights from assessing the damage.

The capital Nuku’alofa was covered in a thick film of volcanic dust, contaminating water supplies, and authorities were asking people to wear masks.

Australia is preparing a humanitarian flight to depart from Brisbane (Nine). 

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Space travel triggers anaemia

Researchers have established that space travel can cause lower red blood cell counts, in a condition known as space anaemia.

Analysis of 14 astronauts showed their bodies destroyed 54% more red blood cells in space than on Earth (Nature). 

On Earth, the human body creates and destroys 2 million red blood cells every second, but in space the number destroyed rises to 3 million every second.

Even one year after astronauts returned to Earth, red blood cell destruction remained 30% above preflight levels.

"If we can find out exactly what's causing this anaemia, then there is a potential to treat it or prevent it, both for astronauts and for patients here on Earth," said lead author Dr Guy Trudel, of the University of Ottawa (Science Daily). 

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I am hoping as a collective group we can assist each other in where to buy these RATs at the lowest price.

Desperate Australians band together in Facebook groups in a bid to find in-demand rapid antigen tests. If only there was some other way Australians could harness their collective buying power — some kind of “federal government” perhaps (Crikey).

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Postscript: Government deports itself for stoking anti-vax sentiment

The Australian federal government has told itself it must leave the country immediately, after it was found to be openly “stoking anti-vaccination sentiment”. In a statement this morning, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke conceded the Government is a risk to civil order and public health given at least two of its members have been openly posting anti-vaccination articles on social media (The Shovel).

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