More than two years after it was first established, the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has called for systemic overhaul of an underfunded and under-regulated sector.
Australia’s nationwide vaccine rollout begins today, with hotel quarantine workers, frontline healthcare staff and aged care residents among those first in line for the jab. Health Minister Greg Hunt promised “more than 60,000 doses in 240 aged care centres, and 190 towns and suburbs” administered by the end of the week. The rollout begins with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine given to initial priority groups. More groups will begin to get the AstraZeneca vaccine in March, including people aged over 70, Defence Force personnel and police, and the disabled and vulnerable. The vaccines will be offered for free, with recipients needing two doses several weeks apart. A handful of people – including a World War II survivor and Prime Minister Scott Morrison – received the first shots of the Pfizer vaccination on Sunday.
A third woman has alleged she was sexually assaulted by the same former government adviser accused of the 2019 rape of Brittany Higgins in Parliament House. The 2016 Coalition election campaign volunteer alleged she was assaulted after a night drinking with the man. The woman said the then staffer plied her with strong drinks and then took her to his hotel room where she passed out and was allegedly assaulted. The woman “was barely out of school”, reports The Australian. “Hearing Brittany Higgins’ story, it was so eerily similar, it made me think this person has a pattern of behaviour,” she told the paper. It comes as Brittany Higgins is expected to formally lodge a police report about her alleged sexual assault on Wednesday. Over the weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison continued to be questioned over when he knew about the incident. He has endorsed an external complaints process for parliamentarians and their staff.
The number of young Australians with disabilities surviving on below-the-poverty-line welfare benefits has increased by more than 300 per cent over the past decade, reports Guardian Australia. Mary Sayers, the Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA) chief executive, said the figures had “exploded” for reasons including that governments had tightened access to the disability support pension, which is paid at a higher rate. There was a 372.8 per cent increase among jobseekers aged between 20 and 25 with a partial capacity to work, up from 5308 in 2009 to 25,096 in 2020. CYDA is calling for a permanent boost to income support payments.
Tens of thousands of people continued to demonstrate in Myanmar on Sunday to denounce the military coup, coming out again after security forces fired on protesters and killed two the day before. The military has been unable to quell the demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes against the coup and the detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, even with a promise of new elections and stern warnings against dissent. In Myitkyina, in the north, people laid flowers for the dead protesters.