Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a late-night apology on Facebook after News Corp forcefully denied his suggestion the media company faced its own sexual harassment allegations. Morrison expressed “deep regret” over his deflection of a question from Sky News in a press conference yesterday on sexual misconduct, by arguing News Corp’s HR department was dealing with alleged harassment of a woman in a women’s toilet. “I especially wish to apologise to the individual at the centre of the incident .... I had no right to raise this issue and especially without their permission,” he said. News Corp chairman Michael Miller rejected Morrison’s claim, saying the incident was “about a workplace-related issue, it was not of a sexual nature, it did not take place in a toilet and neither person made a complaint”. It follows news that the staffer fired for allegedly masturbating over a female MP’s desk was a longtime Liberal aide who had input into combating sexual harassment in parliament. Morrison on Tuesday signalled that he was open to introducing female quotas in the Liberal party as part of his response.
The worst of NSW’s rainstorm is believed to have passed, as the risk from wild weather and swollen rivers shifts to the south of the state and into Victoria. According to the NSW State Emergency Service, more than 40,000 people have been evacuated and almost 7000 remained without power early this morning after more than a metre of rainfall was dumped in parts of NSW. A severe weather warning remains in place for the Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands and Snowy Mountains regions, with expected wind gusts of up to 100km/h and damaging surf on the coast. In Victoria, the coastline from Mallacoota west to Sorrento has been warned to expect heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding and damaging winds similar to the NSW South Coast. In Queensland, the Gold Coast was “ravaged” by intense flooding, with more storms possible on Wednesday morning.
More than 800,000 locally produced doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine have been approved for use by the national medical regulator. Therapeutic Goods Administration approval is required for every batch of vaccines supplied in Australia, with all subsequent batches to go through the same individual process. It comes as Guardian Australia reports that doctors have been told the vaccine rollout experienced “significant” week one delivery errors, including a failure to send some shipments of needles to accompany the vials.
Tasmania will legalise voluntary assisted dying after the state’s upper house passed landmark euthanasia legislation. In a sitting of the upper house late on Tuesday night, approval was granted to the amended bill, which will now be sent for royal assent. The state will become the third Australian jurisdiction to legalise euthanasia, allowing the practice for people suffering from advanced, incurable and irreversible conditions that are expected to cause their death within six months. Sisters and voluntary assisted dying campaigners, Natalie and Jacqui Gray, who lost their mother Di to cancer in 2018, celebrated the news on the Your Choice TAS Facebook page. “Tasmania – today, we have ALL won!” they wrote.