Having outperformed the world in containing coronavirus, Australia’s lack of action on climate change will precipitate a much greater crisis.If the Morrison government were really answerable to the Australian people rather than vested interests, it already would have agreed to a more ambitious climate response. That’s what the overwhelming majority of people have long wanted.
Christmas travel plans for thousands of Australians have been thrown into chaos by travel restrictions imposed on New South Wales, after a northern beaches Covid-19 cluster jumped to 17 cases. Following a late night meeting of federal and state chief medical officers, Western Australia imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine for NSW visitors, while Queensland, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Tasmania targeted restrictions at people in the northern beaches hotspot. NSW Health has directed all residents in the area to stay at home, keep to their household group and avoid all unnecessary gatherings. People in other locations have been told to avoid travel into the northern beaches. NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said authorities believe the outbreak may have taken off at the Avalon RSL. That venue is included on a growing list of locations at which visitors are advised to self-isolate and get tested. Aged-care homes in the northern beaches would be locked down, after a woman who works at the Pittwater Palms Retirement Village at Avalon tested positive.
A robodebt victim has been refunded more than $56,000 in unlawful Centrelink debts, according to figures provided to Greens senator Rachel Siewert by Services Australia. The Senate Estimates figures also reveal the administration of the refunds alone will cost $20 million. A $9959.51 refund had also been paid to a deceased estate, one of 3300 estates eligible for a refund. In total, those debts are worth $5 million. Siewert said she wanted to know “what process the government is undertaking to ensure that the over $5 million that is owed to deceased estates is repaid”. The Morrison government last month reached a $1.2 billion settlement with victims of the robodebt program.
The category five storm Cyclone Yasa hit Fiji overnight, making landfall on the island of Vanua Levu with wind speeds of up to 240 kilometres per hour, and gusts of up to 345kph. Flash flooding and landslides are likely in some areas, with warnings that waves as large as 14 metres could hit the coast. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama declared a “State of Natural Disaster” for the next 30 days to respond to the crisis.. “As the world is getting warmer, these storms are getting stronger,” he said. “Every one of us must treat these climate-fuelled catastrophes with deadly seriousness.”
Australia has finished the opening day of the first cricket Test on top against India at the Adelaide Oval, after the visitors fell to 6-233 on the back of a messy run out of captain Virat Kohli. Kohli came to the middle at 2-32 after the hosts removed both openers, only to establish control with a 74-run knock before teammate Ajinkya Rahane left him stranded in a mix-up that saw Kohli run out for just the second time in his career.
Today is the last edition of The Briefing for 2020. It is also the swansong for subeditor Glenn Mulcaster, who is moving on to other challenges. He has been up before dawn to edit your morning read since The Briefing first began: longtime readers may recall he once stayed up all night delivering a calf on his farm before heading straight to work. That calf has since grown up and had two of her own. Enjoy the sleep-ins, Glenn.
For anyone keen to keep up to date during the break, sign up for the launch of Summer Schwartz. The Briefing will be back January 18. Thanks for reading.