Daniel Andrews under fire over delayed easing of restrictions

Original article by Calla Wahlquist
The Guardian Australia – Page: Online : 26-Oct-20

Victoria recorded seven new coronavirus cases on 25 October, including six that are linked to an outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. Premier Daniel Andrews says an easing of lockdown restrictions for the retail and hospitality sectors will be delayed until about 1,000 coronavirus tests in the northern suburbs have been processed. He has stressed that it is a "cautious pause" and the government still hopes to relax the restrictions within days. Andrews’ backdown has been criticised by business leaders and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average of new cases has fallen to 4.6.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Belt and Road deal a cause for alarm

Original article by John Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 8 : 23-Oct-20

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has expressed concern about the Victorian government’s deal to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster says that although the BRI agreement would generate some economic opportunities, it will "come with strings attached". This could include the expectation that local communities would have to support China’s foreign policy.

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UNITED STATES. EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Give people their freedom back, Andrews told

Original article by Greg Brown, Richard Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 15-Oct-20

Victoria recorded seven new coronavirus cases on 14 October, while the state’s death toll from the respiratory illness rose by five to 816. However, Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average of new cases has fallen to 9.6, and Premier Daniel Andrews has reiterated that there will be ‘significant’ changes to the state’s lockdown restrictions on 19 October, although they will not be as extensive as had been hoped. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox has called for the restrictions to be eased, as have federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET, THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY GROUP, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HEALTH, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Andrews and staffers to hand over phone and text records

Original article by Ewin Hannan, Tessa Akerman
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 12-Oct-20

The board of inquiry into Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program has requested access to the telephone records of Premier Daniel Andrews and his senior staff. This includes Chris Eccles, the head of Department of Premier & Cabinet. Andrews has indicated that his government will provide full access to this data, including text messages and all messages that were posted on encrypted apps in relation to the quarantine program. The inquiry is still trying to determine who was responsible for the decision to use private security guards.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

Victoria must wait for freedom

Original article by Rebecca Urban,Remy Varga
The Australian – Page: 1 & 4 : 28-Sep-20

Premier Daniel Andrews says further easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Victoria will depend solely on case numbers rather than the timetable outlined in his government’s ‘roadmap’. Andrews announced a number of changes to lockdown rules on 27 September, including the abolition of Melbourne’s controversial nightly curfew. In addition, the next date for easing of restrictions has been brought forward by one week, to 19 October, while Andrews has again urged the need to "stay the course" in coming weeks. Victoria reported 16 new coronavirus cases on 27 September, following 12 on 26 September and 14 on the previous day. There are currently 399 active cases across Victoria, and the state’s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 784.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET

Labor MPs disgusted by treatment of Mikakos

Original article by Alex White,Kieran Rooney,Sharon McGowan
Herald Sun – Page: 10 : 28-Sep-20

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been criticised by some members of his own government over his treatment of former health minister Jenny Mikakos. One state Labor MP has described Daniels as a "tyrant" and a "dictator", after Mikakos resigned from both the health portfolio and parliament on 26 September. Mikakos said she cannot continue to serve in Andrews’ cabinet following his comments to the inquiry into the state’s hotel quarantine program. Amongst other things, Andrews said Mikakos was ‘accountable’ for the botched program. Martin Foley will take over the health portfolio.

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VICTORIA. DEPT OF PREMIER AND CABINET,VICTORIA. DEPT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES,AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Citizens detaining fellow citizens a bridge too far: jurists

Original article by Damon Johnson, Rachel Baxendale
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 23-Sep-20

A group of barristers and retired judges have written an open letter to the Victorian government expressing concern about the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) and Other Acts Amendment Bill. They have urged the state’s upper house to reject the bill outright or push for changes to it, warning that the powers that would be given to ‘authorised officers’ to arrest and detain people would be "unprecedented, excessive and open to abuse". Amongst other things, the bill would allow people to be detained indefinitely if it is suspected that they could potentially breach COVID-19 restrictions. Key crossbenchers have signalled that they will reject the bill, which has already passed the lower house.

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REASON PARTY

Victorian ALP Government support now 51.5% would win a close election with L-NP on 48.5%

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 18-Sep-20

Since the 2018 Victorian State Election Two-party ALP support has dropped 5.8% while L-NP support is up 5.8% according to a special Roy Morgan SMS survey on Victorian voting intention with a cross-section of 1,147 Victorian electors aged 18+ over the last few days. Clear splits have emerged by gender and region in Victoria with women favouring the ALP (57%) cf. L-NP (43%) and Melburnians favouring the ALP (53.5%) cf. L-NP (46.5%) while men favour the L-NP (53.5%) cf. ALP (46.5%) and Country Victorians favour the L-NP (55%) cf. ALP (45%).

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ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, LIBERAL PARTY OF VICTORIA, NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN GREENS

Low blow: Andrews’ Covid goal too hard

Original article by Stephen Lunn, Jamie Walker
The Australian – Page: 1 & 5 : 8-Sep-20

World Health Organisation adviser Professor Dale Fisher has questioned the COVID-19 case number targets in the Victorian government’s ‘roadmap’ for easing lockdown restrictions. He says the trigger of having fewer than five new cases per day over two weeks before most of the restrictions are eased may be too low, and a higher daily target may be appropriate. Infectious diseases expert Peter Collignon says the state government has clearly adopted a strategy of elimination rather than suppression, even though it has not admitted this. Victoria recorded just 41 new coronavirus cases on 7 September, its lowest daily total in more than 10 weeks. The state’s death toll from COVID-19 rose by nine to 675, lifting the national toll to 762.

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WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

Claimants face tough hurdles in virus class action

Original article by Ronald Mizen
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 1-Sep-20

Law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is leading a class action against the Victorian government on behalf of businesses that have been affected by the state’s new coronavirus lockdown. The lawsuit will allege that the government was negligent in its handling of the hotel quarantine program. Evidence from the inquiry into the botched program will be crucial in the class action, as will the results of genomic sequencing to trace the initial source of the second wave of infections. However, prominent lawyer Julian Burnside warns that establishing causation may be difficult.

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QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART AND SULLIVAN LP