Australia news LIVE updates: Anthony Albanese to address Parliament in federal budget reply as NSW and Victoria continue to tackle COVID outbreaks

Summary

  • Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese will deliver the traditional budget reply speech in Parliament tonight. He’s using the speech to launch “Startup Year”, a policy that would offer 2000 students mentoring by universities and private-sector incubators to get their business ideas off the ground.
  • US-based pharmaceutical giant Moderna revealed overnight it has struck an agreement with the Morrison government to supply 10 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine this year and 15 million booster shots in 2022.
  • Testing has confirmed a Victorian man in his 30s who became the state’s first local coronavirus case in 73 days on Tuesday acquired the infection in hotel quarantine in Adelaide.
  • The AFL assisted contact tracers on Wednesday by sending messages or emails to all ticket-holders from last Friday night’s clash at the MCG between Richmond and Geelong, because the infected man from Wollert rode on two Craigieburn-line train services used by football fans.
  • An inquiry into which staff members in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office were aware of Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations has resumed after being paused amid concerns it would interfere in a police investigation.
  • 1 of 1

Internal inquiry into PM’s office over Higgins rape claim resumes

You might recall that an internal inquiry into which staff members in Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office were aware of Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’ rape allegations was paused amid concerns it might hamper a police investigation into the matter.

Latika Bourke reported overnight that the investigation has now resumed.

Former political staffer Brittany Higgins speaks to the media after meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on April 30.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Ms Higgins ignited a debate about the treatment of women in Federal Parliament when she claimed she was raped by a colleague inside Parliament House in the office of the pair’s then boss, cabinet minister Linda Reynolds, on March 23, 2019.

There have been contradictory claims about when the Prime Minister’s office was first alerted to the incident.

Asked on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Wednesday night if the AFP had given the inquiry the go-ahead to recommence, Mr Morrison said “yes”.

WHO too slow and meek in declaring COVID-19 pandemic: report

In case you missed it, a major report was delivered yesterday to the World Health Organisation by an expert panel that was asked to examine the state of pandemic preparedness pre-COVID-19, and the global response to the virus.

The final report, headed Making COVID-19 the Last Pandemic, is available here and makes for sobering reading.

A patient with COVID-19 is treated in a hospital’s isolation ward in Wuhan, China in February 2020. Credit:Chinatopix

Political editor Peter Hartcher reports that the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, co-chaired former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, said governments must as a matter of urgency give the WHO the power to announce new disease outbreaks without first getting permission from the host country if future pandemics are to be avoided.

The report says the World Health Organisation was too slow and too meek in declaring a pandemic last year, and that too many governments dithered instead of acting to contain the virus.

The report urges world governments to allow WHO infection experts immediate access to inspect outbreaks anywhere in the world in an effort to prevent future cover-ups and delays.

“The message for change is clear: COVID-19 should be the last pandemic. If the global community fails to
take this goal seriously, we will condemn the world to successive catastrophes,” the report says.

Welcome to our live coverage of the day’s events

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of national news on Thursday, 13 May.

I’m Michaela Whitbourn and I’ll be keeping you informed of the morning’s need-to-know news and analysis, ahead of the Labor Opposition’s official budget reply to the Morrison government’s second pandemic budget.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and innovation spokesman Ed Husic will launch Labor’s Startup Year policy.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Here’s what you need to know now:

  • Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese will deliver the traditional budget reply speech in Federal Parliament tonight. We know he will use the speech to launch “Startup Year”, a policy that would offer 2000 students mentoring by universities and private-sector incubators to get their business ideas off the ground. But what else has Labor got up its sleeve? It has roundly criticised the government for stagnant wages growth and for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic including the vaccine rollout, with international borders set to remain shut until mid-2022. We’ll see how it handles these key issues in its reply.
  • In a surprise announcement, the United States-based pharmaceutical giant Moderna revealed overnight it has struck an agreement with the Morrison government to supply 10 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine this year and 15 million booster shots in 2022.
  • A Victorian man in his 30s became the state’s first local coronavirus case in 73 days on Tuesday. Late on Wednesday genomic testing confirmed the man contracted the virus while in Adelaide in hotel quarantine. Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley urged the federal government on Wednesday to fund the Victorian government’s proposal for a medical quarantine facility at Mickleham in Melbourne’s west. “Hotels weren’t designed to be quarantine facilities,” he said.
  • The AFL assisted contact tracers on Wednesday by sending messages or emails to all ticket-holders from last Friday night’s clash at the MCG between Richmond and Geelong, because the infected man from Wollert rode on two Craigieburn-line train services used by football fans. The man’s three household contacts have tested negative for the virus and remain in isolation.
  • Victoria recorded no new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, a did NSW. Social restrictions continue to apply in Greater Sydney after a Sydney couple in their 50s last week became the first known locally acquired cases of the Indian B.1.617 variant of the virus in NSW.
  • 1 of 1

Most Viewed in National

Source: Read Full Article