Parliament House
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

POLICE COMPLAINT TO BE REACTIVATED

According to The Guardian, former Morrison government staffer Brittany Higgins plans to reactivate a police complaint about her alleged rape by a colleague in the ministerial wing of Parliament House in March 2019.

Higgins, who also plans to lodge a separate complaint with the finance department and is seeking CCTV footage from ACT police she says she was not able to access, yesterday spoke openly with news.com.au and then The Project about the alleged sexual assault in the office of then-Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds.

She also spoke of feeling pressure to keep her job when she asked police to suspend the investigation two days after Scott Morrison called the 2019 election and, separately, when she accepted a request to relocate to WA.

1800 Respect: 1800 737 732.

LET’S ROLLOUT

Following Health Minister Greg Hunt’s announcement that the first 142,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have arrived in Australia ahead of an expected rollout next Monday, Nine papers report that Victoria and NSW — and likely other states — will initially focus on quarantine workers and then those in front-line health roles.

Of the 142,000 initial doses, the federal government will keep 62,000 for second vaccinations and 30,000 for aged care and disability care residents and workers, with the remaining 50,000 to be divided between states and territories according to population. Victoria, for example, will receive 11,000 doses a week to vaccinate 170,000 frontline workers, while about 678,000 people have been identified under phase 1a of the national rollout.

Elsewhere, The Australian ($) reports that billionaires Lindsay Fox and John Wagner are hoping to house up to up to 2000 returned travellers at separate camps ­outside capitals in Victoria and Queensland, with Avalon Airport, owned by Fox’s Linfox, negotiating with the commonwealth and Victorian governments over a “low-risk rural setting” near Geelong, and Wagner reportedly pushing for a quarantine facility next to Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport.

PS: In other positive news, CNN reports that preliminary research at Israel’s Clalit Research Institute suggests that the Pfizer vaccine reduces symptomatic infections by more than 90% in the real world, demonstrating an apparent success of a mass vaccination campaign as opposed to the controlled conditions of a clinical trial.

WE GET LOCKED DOWN BUT WE GET UP AGAIN?

News of Australia’s rollout comes after Victoria yesterday recorded just one new locally-acquired case, with the ABC noting that Dan Andrews declared it still too early to confirm the state’s lockdown will end after Wednesday night.

Three Melbourne hospital psychiatric wards were locked down and more than 100 staff told to quarantine after a worker received “unclear” results, while exposure sites grew to include three Broadmeadows Central sites on Tuesday 9 February:

  • BonBon Bakery from 12:30-12:45pm (Tier 1)
  • Sacca’s Fruit World from 12:30-1pm (Tier 1)
  • Broadmeadows Central (West side of shopping centre, fresh fruit and meat section), from 12:15-1:15pm (Tier 3).

PS: In apparent fallout from the city’s deadly second wave, The Age reports that St Basil’s Homes for the Aged has lost its federal funding after the aged care regulator published a notice in December declaring the home was “not eligible to receive Commonwealth subsidies for any new care recipients” for six months.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

At no point does anybody, any stakeholders, anybody in government, want to see a detrimental outcome to Sydney’s water catchment.

But at the same time we’ve got to balance the advantages and opportunities for the economy, and we know we can. We know they can coexist. There’s a failure there wasn’t an opportunity to work through those issues.

John Barilaro

In announcing his department will explore all legal options for South32’s rejected mine expansion in Illawarra, the NSW deputy premier cries out for a happy compromise between coal and Sydney having access to drinking water that will not kill you.

CRIKEY RECAP

In Christian Porter’s world, party mates override process or merit

“As Australia was drifting into its festivity-induced haze over the Christmas break, Attorney-General Christian Porter quietly slipped out news of a $500,000-a-year appointment he’d made to a Liberal Party lifer. Nothing unusual in that.

“Even less surprising was that it was another well-paid job for life at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which the government has relentlessly stacked with cronies.”


Voters don’t care about integrity in politics — that’s why governments are so sleazy

“The sleaze and corruption swilling around federal politics has reached the point where it’s genuinely difficult to keep track of the scandals, outrages and abuses of taxpayer funding.

“If it’s not Peter Dutton handing money to donors, or Bridget McKenzie blaming unidentified staffers for the sports rorts scandal, it’s the Liberals slapping their logo on vaccine information, or thin-skinned Marise Payne bailing on a partisan infrastructure media event when the local (Labor) MP dared to turn up.”


As Rupert Murdoch works to dismantle the internet, why are other media outlets helping him?

“I love The Guardian. It has long been my most trusted news source worldwide. I have been honoured to write for and work with this grand institution. So I am sorely disappointed that it’s dancing with the devil, Rupert Murdoch, in backing Australia’s news media bargaining code.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

At least 10 dead, nine missing after landslide buries Indonesian village under tonnes of mud

Northern Territory faces legal action over decision to reduce security bond on McArthur River mine

Energy fight in Labor Right faction meeting ($)

Ash Barty charges into Australian Open quarter-finals, beating Shelby Rogers in straight sets

No joy for telcos as NBN Co stands firm on high bandwidth price

Close the Gap: Scott Morrison promises ‘shared accountability’ in delivering new policy targets ($)

Tasmanian institutions formally apologise to the state’s Aboriginal community over theft of artefacts

‘I miss my mom’: Children of QAnon believers are desperately trying to deradicalise their own parents

Indian activist tied to Greta Thunberg arrested for allegedly sharing support farmers document

Guinea races to trace contacts after three Ebola deaths

Turkey’s Erdogan accuses US of backing ‘terrorists’ in Iraq

THE COMMENTARIAT

I’ve got Hunter Valley coal in my blood, but Joel Fitzgibbon doesn’t speak for me or the valley I knowFelicity McCallum (The Sydney Morning Herald):Joel Fitzgibbon has been creating political mayhem by selling a false impression of the Hunter region. His high-profile focus on coal would lead you to believe the Hunter is populated by black-faced, hard hat-wearing underground miners straight out of the 19th century. With this imagery, he seems to be holding the Labor Party’s climate change policy hostage, while ignoring the real interests and concerns of his constituency. There have to be better ways forward.”

Scott Morrison image that made Brittany Higgins speak out about alleged rapeSamantha Maiden (news.com.au): “If history is any guide, the Prime Minister’s response to Brittany Higgins’ shocking account of sexual assault at Parliament House will be open and shut. He will urge her to take the matter to the police — which she did at the time — and perhaps suggest that is the beginning and the end of the matter? But is it?”

Renters and the right to make a house a home — Dženana Vucic (Kill Your Darlings): “I once asked my landlord if I could have a dog. She said no, of course. But she said something else too: You have to try and think like this is your house. What would you do? I had been renting her house in Melbourne for two and a half years, paying $850 a month (excluding bills) for the privilege of occupying a house barely fit for habitation: impractical 2×2 kitchen; no heating or working air con; peeling lino floors with holes worn through; cracks in the walls so large you could see sky; an extension made of uneven concrete and desperation, from which the kitchen, bathroom and laundry (roofed in tin and walled by plywood) hung off as inaccessible afterthoughts.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Melbourne

  • The Federal Court decision on a request for Tharnicaa — the youngest daughter of the Biloela family of four — to have her protection needs assessed will be handed down today at 9:30am AEDT.

Brisbane

  • Avid Reader will hold a Zoom interview with author Steven Carroll on his new book O.

Perth

  • Perth USAsia Centre research director Dr Jeffrey Wilson will launch new policy report “Adapting Australia to an Era of Geoeconomic Competition”.

Peter Fray

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