covid-19 test NSW Sydney
(Image: AAP /Dan Himbrechts)


NSW Health yesterday confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, both of whom are close contacts with no identified link to known cases, after a van driver who shuttles flight crews to and from Sydney Airport tested positive earlier in the day.

The latest health update specifies that anyone who was at the following places should get tested and isolate for 14 days even if they receive a negative test result:

  • Hungry Ghost Cafe, Avalon, on December 13 between 9.30-11am and again on December 15 between 9.30-11am
  • Palm Beach female change rooms on December 13 between 9-9.15am
  • Coast Palm Beach Cafe, Palm Beach, on December 13 between 10-11am
  • Avalon Bowlo (bowling club) on December 13 between 5-7pm and again on December 15 between 3-5pm
  • Sneaky Grind Cafe, Avalon Beach, on December 14 between 9.30-11am
  • Barramee Thai Massage and Spa, Avalon Beach, on December 14 between 2-2.30pm
  • Bangkok Sidewalk Restaurant, Avalon Beach, on December 14 between 7-8pm

Additionally, anyone who has visited the following venues should get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result:

  • Oliver’s Pies, Careel Shopping Village, Avalon Beach, on December 14 between 9-9.15am
  • Bing Lee, Mona Vale, on December 14 between 4.30-4.45pm
  • Woolworths, Avalon Beach, on December 13 between 12-5pm and on December 15 between 12-12.30pm

Health authorities suspect the van driver, who resides in south-western Sydney, may have become infected after contact with international flight crew members; subsequently, The Age reports both the NSW and Victorian governments have called for more oversight of quarantine arrangements for international airline staff landing in the state.

PS: Further south, The Age reports that not only has a third international traveller found to have not been directed to hotel quarantine in Melbourne — a US man who arrived via Sydney on September 24 — but a senior hotel quarantine official then directed subordinates not to file an incident report.


The grain industry’s peak body GrainGrowers is preparing to settle into the Morrison government’s case against China’s 80% barley tariff at the World Trade Organisation, a process that could take years and, as the ABC explains, rests in part on a global “umpire” with no official trade powers.

According to The Australian ($), GrainGrowers supports the WTO case but is nonetheless preparing for the hit of $2.5 billion over the five-year lifespan of the Chinese tariff, and a pivot to selling barley at a discount as feed for lambs in Saudi Arabia, for example, rather than going into beers such as Tsingtao.

PS: The ABC reports that new analysis by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute — a think-tank funded by the Defence Department, the US State Department, and weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon — suggests local media has faced “persistent efforts” by the Chinese Communist Party to influence content, through either direct control, financial support or decisions about content posted on WeChat.


Finally, The Guardian reports that Israel’s justice minister has signed an extradition order for Malka Leifer, in a show of government support to end “a decade-long effort by accusers of the alleged child abuser to have her brought back to Melbourne”.

The news comes after The Australian ($) reported that five more students yesterday alleged they were abused by Leifer as a principal of the ultra-Orthodox Adass Israel school.


The Adani Group takes seriously the Human Rights Council’s fact-finding report and its concerns about protecting the human rights of all people in Myanmar.

Adani spokesperson

Following revelations the Future Fund secretly invested $3.2 million in Adani, the mining giant assures us it is really very concerned about findings the Myanmar military committed actual genocide, just not enough not to take $384 million from them.


Hypocrisy on steroids: Frydenberg backs witch-hunt on banks that won’t lend to miners

“The hypocrites award moves from business to politics today with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in close competition with his boss, the PM.

“You’d think the treasurer had enough to do putting the final touches to the crucial Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) due to drop tomorrow, but obviously not. He has found time for a bit of political hypocrisy on the side.”

Supersize it: Australians are obsessed with giant, American-style cars

“Can you see much when you’re driving? If the answer is yes, it probably means you recently bought a new car.

“Almost everyone who bought a car back in the sedan era is these days trapped at bumper-bar level. Holden’s factory is gone, the Commodore is gone, as is the Holden brand — and Australians don’t care. We are now delighted by enormous American-style SUVs and trucks.”

Sleaze of Origin: mate v mate, state v state — it’s the contest you’ve been waiting for

“As our year of pain draws to an end with signs of hope for a better 2021 on the economic and medical front, at least we can enjoy a summer break knowing that despite all else, 2020 was fantastic for corruption.

“Today — finally — we launch the biggest sporting contest of the year, as our states, territories and the Commonwealth go head to head in a battle to determine who is the grubbiest government of them all.”


Police take health-focused approach to tackle rising drug use

Crown Casino in firing line as Victorian Government appoints special investigator into gambling giant’s licence

Australians’ trust in governments surges to ‘extraordinary’ high amid Covid

JobKeeper budget hit down $11b as 640,000 drop subsidy ($)

Trump administration has executed more Americans than all states combined, report finds

Families demand answers from PM on anniversary of Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

Call for energy giant AGL to face criminal charges over coal ash spill

NSW storm moves south as eastern seaboard battered and flooded

World Health Organization’s COVAX vaccine scheme risks failure, say internal documents

New Zealand inquiry finds quarter of a million abused in state and faith-based care

Portrait of Behrouz Boochani by Angus McDonald wins Archibald people’s choice award


The Usual Suspects: oil and gas majors star in Australian tax heistMichael West (Michael West Media):Angus Taylor’s rescue package for the oil industry is a testament to the ability of large corporations to game governments. The latest Tax Office transparency data shows that oil and gas juggernauts are, again, Australia’s biggest tax cheats, yet are demanding and getting more public subsidies to prop up their oil refineries.”

‘Pragmatic’ PM stumbles over his own frontbench ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “While politics remains consumed by COVID-19, Scott Morrison remains hot favourite to win the next election. The pandemic rescued and revived Morrison’s prime ministership after it had been so badly singed by his handling of the bushfires that a few of his colleagues believed he would never recover.”

Yes, older Australians need more home-care funding. But these dribs and drabs only make a dent in the waiting list — Stephen Duckett and Anika Stobart (The Conversation): “Aged care in Australia is underfunded. As a consequence, many older Australians don’t have the support they need. Today’s federal government announcement of A$850 million for an additional 10,000 home care packages goes some way to addressing the long waiting list of people who need support at home. But it’s not enough.”


The Latest Headlines



  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is set to release the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.