The national cabinet will meet today to consider a timetable for easing restrictions, as state premiers warn against relaxing measures too early. The meeting of federal, state and territory leaders will discuss a staged lifting of restrictions, potentially in four-week increments, to analyse whether each step causes a surge in infections. Limits on gatherings of public and private gatherings of people may be among the first to be eased. The states and territories will ultimately decide the pace at which they go, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews ruling out changes until May 11 at the earliest, and New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian warning restrictions already lifted needed time to be observed. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will attend the meeting after a Thursday night videoconference with the “First Movers COVID Group” – a collection of countries that responded quickly to the COVID-19 outbreak and are moving to ease measures. The group includes Austria, Greece and Singapore.
Victoria police plan to assess a copy of the unredacted child abuse royal commission report findings relating to Cardinal George Pell, reports Guardian Australia. The commission concluded Pell was aware of children being sexually abused in the Archdiocese of Ballarat. In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, Pell said he was “surprised by some of the views of the royal commission about his actions”. Meanwhile, the ABC reports that a federal parliamentary committee is urging states and territories to shame institutions that refuse to sign up to the National Redress Scheme for victims of child abuse by detailing the levels of public funding the organisations receive and naming senior officials.
The Australian government has determined that a “dossier” claiming the Covid-19 virus may have originated in a Wuhan lab is not a Five Eyes intelligence document. Guardian Australia reports that the deputy chair of the Australian parliament’s intelligence and security committee, Labor MP Anthony Byrne, has been co-ordinating with the intelligence community and senior members of the government in pushing back against US government claims without causing a diplomatic rift. He has argued a dossier publicised in News Corp publications was designed to influence Australia to act against its national interest on the basis of non-existent intelligence.
The AFL is investigating the Adelaide Crows over a reported breach of a ban on training in groups, after 16 players returning from interstate undertook quarantine together at a Barossa Valley resort. The breach comes as the league prepares for a potential season restart in mid-June. The NRL is set to resume on May 28, with a raft of players objecting to a flu vaccine given 48 hours to sign a waiver or face a ban.