Defence Minister Peter Dutton has made good on his threat to bring legal action against social media critics, taking a refugee advocate to court over a tweet that labelled him a “rape apologist”. Dutton filed Federal Court defamation proceedings on Friday against refugee advocate Shane Bazzi claiming he was defamed in a February 25 tweet this year, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Bazzi added the comment to a link he posted to an article on Dutton’s 2019 comment that some women on Nauru who had claimed to have been raped were “trying it on” in order to secure a medical transfer to Australia. It came at a time of widespread allegations around rape allegations at Parliament House made by staffer Brittany Higgins. Greens Senator Larissa Waters issued an apology last month for a tweet accusing Dutton of being an “inhuman, sexist rape apologist” after he said he hadn’t been “provided with the ‘she said, he said’ details” of Higgins’ allegations. “I accept that there was no basis for those allegations and that they were false,” Waters said. Dutton is the second federal minister to launch defamation proceedings in 2021, following Christian Porter’s case against the ABC over reporting of an alleged rape claim levelled against him, which Porter has denied.
The lockdown of the Perth and Peel region has ended after no new community spread of Covid-19 was recorded in a 24-hour period. Some interim restrictions will remain for the next four days, including the mandatory wearing of face masks in public. WA Premier Mark McGowan said the three-day lockdown “has done the job it was designed to do” following two cases of community transmission. Australian Medical Association WA president Andrew Miller said the outbreak, which originated in hotel quarantine, showed the need for something like mining camps to be used to house returned travellers. “The problem is federal advisers have not yet properly acknowledged airborne spread of the disease," he said. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday said low Covid-19 case numbers in Australia showed the hotel quarantine system had been successful and does not need to be modified.
The federal cabinet’s national security committee will today consider whether to further restrict or ban flights from India, as the country breaks Covid-19 infection records. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the committee will consider whether new measures are needed, and also discuss humanitarian support including supplies of oxygen from the states. Last week’s 30 per cent reduction in passenger numbers from India have further disrupted the plans of more than 8000 Australians trying to return home. On Monday, the country set a new record of coronavirus infections for the fifth straight day, with 352,991 new cases and a national record of 2812 deaths in a 24-hour period.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the federal government will split the costs with the Queensland government for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. The bid was granted “preferred” status by the International Olympic Committee earlier this year. Morrison said federal funding would be used to build venues, road and transport projects. The funding is contingent on the Queensland government agreeing to a jointly owned, funded and run Olympic Infrastructure Agency to give the federal government an equal say in planning. The federal government’s share of the funding is expected to run into the billions, which will be significantly more than its $150 million contribution to the Sydney 2000 Games.