The Andrews government cannot identify any legislation it needed to override, but experts say that is the point.When Daniel Andrews signed a declaration for a state of disaster in Victoria at 1.43pm on Sunday, it was a part of a final salvo in a battle to control a resurgent and invisible enemy.
Melbourne’s locked-down suburbs will be monitored by drones and more than 1000 police, following a record rise in community transmission on Thursday and infections spreading interstate. Police from the specialist critical incident response team will join 24-hour patrols of the hotspots, with authorities to use automatic number plate recognition technology to identify people travelling through restricted areas. People face $1652 fines for breaching restrictions. Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said the state recorded another 77 cases on Thursday, 31 of which had been classed as community transmission. Meanwhile, 50 supermarket workers in Balmain Woolworths in New South Wales have been directed to self-isolate after working beside a man who tested positive for Covid-19 while in hotel quarantine in Melbourne then flew to Sydney and tested positive again. At least five travellers from Victoria's coronavirus hotspots were detected flying into New South Wales on Thursday, the penalty for which is up to an $11,000 fine or six months in jail. Another man, who had tested negative while in hotel lockdown in Victoria, tested positive after flying on to the Northern Territory, prompting contact tracers to alert passengers on the flight.
Hong Kong nationals would have a fast track to resettlement ($) in Australia through the skilled visa program, under an option cabinet will consider next Wednesday. The departments of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs and Trade have prepared options to assist Hong Kong residents wishing to flee controversial new national security laws passed by the mainland Chinese government this week, reports The Australian. About 400 people were arrested in the city for protesting against the new laws. A special safe haven visa is another option, similar to that offered by the United Kingdom to Hong Kong residents. Government lawyers are also looking at the risks the law presents to the 100,000 Australians living in the former British territory and now a special administrative region of China. China's foreign ministry responded by urging Australia to stop interfering in the country’s internal affairs.
Australian unions have warned that the federal government is laying the groundwork for cuts to JobKeeper wage subsidies and JobSeeker unemployment benefits by claiming the unemployed are unwilling to work. Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil told Guardian Australia that the federal government was seeking cover for cuts by “demonising young people … based on anecdotal stories”. Government claims that boosted welfare payments are prompting people to turn down work was based on comments from only 70 employers out of 2324 surveyed.
Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend and longtime associate of the late Jeffrey Epstein, has been arrested and charged over allegations she conspired with him to sexually abuse children as young as 14. She faces six counts under the federal indictment, including enticing minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity and perjury. “Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, then delivered them into the trap that she and Epstein had set for them,” Audrey Strauss, an acting US attorney for the southern district of New York, said on Thursday.