While the Biden presidency pushes forward international climate action, both the Morrison government and its Labor opposition are fractured over emissions policy.After a hiatus caused by coronavirus, the twin issues of climate change and energy have resumed their place, secured over two decades, as the most intractable and dangerous in Australian politics.
Federal police are investigating a data breach in the early-access superannuation scheme, as Labor warns the hack could undermine confidence in the ailing COVIDSafe app. There have been at least 100 cases of fraudulent activity affecting those who registered with the scheme, reports Sky News, with one applicant revealing they had details stolen and lost $10,000 from their super account. In a prepared statement the Australian Tax Office confirmed that “a small number of people appear to have had personal details unlawfully used in a bid to defraud the program.” Labor's financial services spokesman, Stephen Jones, told the ABC the breach could undermine confidence in the COVIDSafe tracing app, and that he would seek an explanation at this morning’s COVID-19 Senate committee hearing. The committee yesterday examined a raft of issues ($) with the app, which is still not being used to track cases of the virus, is inaccessible to some rural users and those with older phones, and some Apple iPhones are preventing connections to Bluetooth.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has given the operators of an aged-care facility in western Sydney riddled with Covid-19 until 5pm today to meet new conditions, or have its operating licence stripped. Guardian Australia reports that on Wednesday the regulator issued a notice to Anglicare, operator of the Newmarch House facility where 16 residents have died from the virus, raising concern about the “lack of suitable processes and systems in order to control transmission of the virus”. It warned that Anglicare must agree to the appointment of an independent advisor and demonstrate that the risk to residents has been addressed. It comes as two aged-care facilities in Victoria are testing residents for Covid-19 after staff members at both homes were separately diagnosed with the virus. One had connections with the Cedar Meats abattoir, the site of a major outbreak.
Royal commission findings on Cardinal George Pell’s handling of sexual abuse claims within the Catholic Church are scheduled for public release this morning. The royal commission’s findings were heavily redacted to avoid prejudicing Pell’s trial. The cardinal’s acquittal by the high court has cleared the way for the documents to be formally tabled in the Senate, before being made public soon after. They are expected to detail whether Pell should have done more to prevent children from being abused by priests Gerald Ridsdale, Peter Searson and Christian Brother Ted Dowlan in the dioceses of Ballarat and Melbourne.
The European Union has drawn up a draft resolution backing calls for a review of the international response to Covid-19, including the World Health Organisation's performance. The resolution will be put up for debate at the World Health Assembly from May 18-19. European diplomats claimed the United States and China have taken part in negotiations on the EU resolution, which includes a commendation of WHO leadership. It comes as China demands evidence from the United States to back up its unverified claims that the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan.