A small number of people have been arrested at largely peaceful and socially distanced Invasion Day rallies, with protesters defying bans in order to call for Indigenous policy reform and the abolishment of Australia Day on January 26. In Sydney, organisers reached a last-minute deal with police that no arrests would be made if physical distancing was observed and attendees did not march, after NSW health authorities had earlier denied an application to protest. Up to 4000 protesters congregated in groups of fewer than 500 as per Covid restriction limits, according to Guardian Australia, but there was a clash between officers and a small group, with NSW police reporting five arrests. The ABC said at the Melbourne rally police briefly detained two far-right ‘Proud Boys’ who clashed with protesters. The Greens senator and Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman, Lidia Thorpe, told the Melbourne rally “a war was declared on the first people of this land” in 1788 and “that war has not ended”.
Australia’s economy stands to lose tens of billions of dollars every year due to climate change, according to a new report by the Climate Council. The report found the cost of extreme weather in Australia had already almost doubled since the 1970s, and totalled $35 billion over the past decade. The Climate Council said the impact of fires, floods, droughts, storms and sea level rise linked to climate change could skyrocket into the future, potentially costing the country’s economy up to $100 billion every year by 2038. The report’s lead author, Professor Will Steffen, told SBS News that last year’s Black Summer bushfires showed what happened when the climate reached a “tipping point” and that events would not necessarily “increase in a smooth, linear fashion, they could jump up at an extremely fast rate at any time”.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said she told her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison she was disappointed by the decision to reinstate quarantine travel in the wake of New Zealand's latest community Covid-19 case. “I certainly shared my view that this was a situation that was well under control,” she said. On Sunday, New Zealand health officials identified a first case of the virus in the community in two months, prompting the Australian Government to shut its border for 72 hours. Contact tracing has yet to identify any evidence of Covid-19 spreading to anyone else in the community.
Senators are set to be sworn in for the second impeachment trial of former US President Donald Trump, after an article of impeachment was sent to the Senate for trial. Republican Senator Rand Paul, however, intends to force a procedural vote on the trial on Tuesday afternoon Washington DC time. Several Republican leaders said on Tuesday they planned to vote with Paul that the trial was not constitutional because Trump was no longer president. While the test vote will likely be defeated, it will provide more clues about how many Republicans are open to voting to convict Trump, even if that number is short of the 17 necessary for the two-thirds needed to convict and bar him from running for office again.