Dan Andrews covid-19 class action
(Image: AAP/James Ross)

TENNIS THE MENACE?

Victoria has reintroduced mandatory indoor mask rules and limits of 15 people for private gatherings after a 26-year-old quarantine worker tested positive to a potential COVID-19 variant, with the ABC adding that a plan to allow up to 75% of workers back into offices from Monday has also been paused.

The resident support officer for the Australian Open quarantine program had returned a negative result after finishing their shift at the Grand Hyatt on Friday January 29, but later developed symptoms.

Speaking at a 10.30pm press conference, Dan Andrews urged anyone in the state with symptoms or who had visited an exposure site to get tested and self-isolate. Victoria’s health department lists potential contact sites for the man, who also volunteers with the Country Fire Authority Noble Park and had attended at least one CFA event, as:

  • Club Noble, Noble Park from 2:36-3:30pm on Saturday, January 30
  • Aces Sporting Club (Driving Range), Keysborough from 10-11:15pm on Saturday, January 30
  • Northpoint Café, Brighton from 8:10-9:30am on Sunday, January 31
  • Kmart, Keysborough from 4-5pm on Sunday, January 31
  • Kmart, Brandon Park from 4:35-5:10pm on Sunday, January 31
  • Coles, Springvale from 5:-6pm on Sunday, January 31
  • Bunnings, Springvale from 11:28am-12:15pm on Monday, February 1
  • Golf Academy, Heatherton from 5:19-6:30pm on Monday, February 1

More than 500 people linked to the Australian Open have been identified as close contacts and placed into quarantine ahead of test results, although no changes to the tournament itself have been announced.

No cause for the infection has yet been identified, and genomics testing is expected to be completed by tomorrow or Friday.

PS: The news comes after Western Australia again recorded no new cases; note, also, that The West Australian led its report on Melbourne’s case with the declaration that “unlike WA the state with the worst history of dealing with the virus is not going into lockdown”.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI DETAINED

According to Al Jazeera, Myanmar police have filed charges against overthrown leader Aung San Suu Kyi for illegally importing and using walkie talkies, with the Nobel laureate to be detained until February 15 following the military coup.

Army chief Min Aung Hlaing seized power on Monday, alleging fraud in a November 8 election where Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won in a landslide, despite the electoral commission having dubbed it fair.

The detained leader now faces up to two years prison after police found the radios in her Naypyidaw home, although the publication notes the import/export law is “notoriously vague” and was used by the former military regime to imprison political prisoners.

PS: In other civil rights news, The Age reports that Coalition and Labor politicians have accused the Chinese Communist Party of human rights abuses after the BBC aired first-hand accounts of systematic rape, sexual abuse and torture in Uyghur detention camps.

FIRES IN SA AND WA

Strong south easterly winds have begun pushing a massive bushfire in the Perth Hills towards more houses to its northern edge, after the fire had already razed at least 71 homes and more than 11,000 hectares of land.

Over in South Australia, The Guardian reports that a fire on Kangaroo Island is threatening a vital refuge for some of the last threatened species left untouched by the Black Summer bushfires, i.e. the Kangaroo Island dunnart, the glossy black cockatoo, the southern brown bandicoot and the green carpenter bee.

OLYMPIC EFFORT

Finally, the first Olympic COVID-19 playbook was launched last night for the 2021 Olympic and Paralympic games, although, with the country recording 676 infections yesterday, the ABC notes officials have not yet decided if and how many spectators will be allowed in.

PS: In more positive global COVID-19 news, The New York Times reports that Oxford researchers have found the AstraZeneca vaccine drastically cuts transmission of the virus.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

Making things in Australia means jobs for Australians.

Anthony Albanese

The Labor leader, or more likely the Labor leader’s social media manager, perfects the long, proud tradition of politicians using lots of words to say less than nothing.

CRIKEY RECAP

Inside the mind of Craig Kelly — as unearthed in the entrails of more than 2000 Facebook posts

“To look into the mind of Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly is to understand that there are unlimited conspiracy permutations once you fall down the rabbit hole. Here are just some of his preoccupations and their sub-variations.”


The hard right still seethes, and it’s inclined to share its misery around

“It would seem fair to say that the US hard right is not having a great time at the moment. The wonderful Twitter account @copingMAGA is keeping a record of all the craziest, angriest, butt-hurtiest comments as Trump’s army come to terms with the failure of the January surprise — its belief that Joe Biden’s inauguration would be the moment when Donald Trump called in ‘the storm’ and hundreds of progressives would be executed for their pizza-based paedophilia conspiracy. Hey, why were the fences there? Why all the troops?”


Platforming or reporting? Australian journalism has a problem with the far right

“In just the last week, The Age reported on a group of neo-Nazis burning crosses in the Grampians, a Singaporean teen was arrested for allegedly planning a Christchurch-inspired terror attack, and Enrique Tarrio, leader of far-right gang the Proud Boys, appeared on the ABC.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Lawyers seek sports rorts documents from Sport Australia in federal court

Government paid Twiggy Forrest $212 million for COVID tests, PPE

Western Australia to splash $35m on virtual power plant pilot

Loans plan for virus-hit businesses after JobKeeper ($)

AMA blasts WA government, health chiefs over quarantine mask ‘stuff up’

Scott Morrison distances himself from Craig Kelly over unproven coronavirus therapies

University chancellors nudged on uni free speech by Alan Tudge ($)

‘The pain inside gets so great’: Farmer calls for better mental health support in rural Victoria

Labor senator blames removal of Australian tariffs on Chinese steel for job losses

High Court orders fresh hearings into approvals for New Acland coal mine expansion

Fact check: Trump’s official response to impeachment includes obvious lies

THE COMMENTARIAT

Permanent rise in JobSeeker will help employment in the long runEditorial (The Sydney Morning Herald): “The stronger-than-expected recovery from the COVID-19 recession should give the federal government confidence that it can proceed with its plans to withdraw fiscal stimulus in the next few months but it should make an exception when it comes to the supplement to unemployed people on JobSeeker.”

Myanmar military singing off old song sheet … for now ($) — Amanda Hodge (The Australian): “How closely will history repeat itself in Myanmar? In rejecting the results of November’s democratic elections, which delivered an overwhelming victory to Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, and declaring a year-long state of emergency, military commander Min Aung Hlaing is so far sticking to the army’s own 1990 playbook.”

To fix Australia’s environment laws, wildlife experts call for these four changes — all are crucialDon Driscoll, April Reside, Brendan Wintle, Euan Ritchie and Martine Maron (The Conversation): “The independent review of Australia’s main environment law, released last week, provided a sobering but accurate appraisal of a dire situation. The review was led by Professor Graeme Samuel and involved consultation with scientists, legal experts, industry and conservation organisations. Samuel’s report concluded Australia’s biodiversity is in decline and the law (the EPBC Act) ‘is not fit for current or future environmental challenges’.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW