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“How do you put a mask on Santa?”
Asked one shopping centre jolly man who has no bookings for the upcoming festive season. But how will Santa know what to bring the kids if they don’t line up for hours under duress at the shopping centre?
CALL FOR URGENT ACTION ON COVID-19 IN AGED CARE
Aged care residents account for more than 660 of the 888 coronavirus deaths recorded in Australia. And with the pandemic far from over (and on International Day of the Older Person), the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety yesterday released a special report about what needs to be done ASAP to protect aged care residents. To tackle the “greatest challenge Australia’s aged care sector has faced,” it’s made 6 recommendations covering arrangements for visits from loved ones, maintaining access to allied and mental health services, and better infection control. And the kicker: “the Australian Government should publish a national aged care plan for COVID-19 and establish a national aged care advisory body,” the report says.
I THOUGHT THERE WAS A PLAN?
Federal officials did say that. Remember, there was quite a flurry during the hearings after the lawyer assisting the Commission said there was no plan, but officials pushed back saying the base was covered over some testy exchanges. Seemingly anticipating some argy-bargy over this, the report says; “Now is not the time for blame. There is too much at stake. We are left in no doubt that people, governments and government departments have worked tirelessly to avert, contain and respond to this human tragedy. However … the nation needs to know what is being done, and what will be done, to protect those people receiving aged care services”.
WHY THE HURRY UP?
Well, two things. There’s a sense that just because Melbourne’s second curve of cases is flattening, it doesn’t mean that the ongoing heightened risk to aged care residents is over. That’s why the Commission has asked the Morrison Government report to the Australian Parliament on their progress by 1 December. The second is that the report says the Federal Government’s actions to date have been “insufficient” to ensure the aged care sector was fully prepared for the pandemic, and that’s led to widespread suffering. So there are some big things to do if more deaths are to be prevented – like coming up with a comprehensive plan. PM Scott Morrison has previously apologised for what’s unfolded in aged care during the pandemic. Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck last night said all the report’s recommendations had been accepted and work was underway.
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BIG ACCUSATIONS AGAINST BIG NRL STAR
As the NRL kicks off its finals series tonight, The Australian has led today’s coverage with an investigation into one of the game’s biggest stars, Sam Burgess (paywall). He’s a Brit from a prominent rugby league family, and is a close friend of South Sydney Rabbitohs owner Russell Crowe. And now both he and South Sydney, the club he played for and still coaches with, have been accused of covering up his alleged drug use, family violence and harassment. The report claims club doctors put false names on drug tests to avoid scrutiny, and it didn’t report an alleged assault on his wife that club officials were said to have witnessed in 2018 to the code’s integrity unit. Burgess separated from his wife Phoebe last year. She is the daughter of Mitch Hooke, a prominent businessman and industry lobbyist who has previously taken legal action against Burgess. He told The Australian he witnessed Burgess assault his pregnant daughter in November 2018. Burgess, through his lawyer, strongly denies the claims. There’s a lot of legal issues falling out of this one, so be prepared…
BEWARE THE FALLOUT
The volume on the US presidential campaign has decreased a little bit, which probably isn’t saying much given the wall of noise generated by the mid-week debate debacle. Both US President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden had their own spin on events yesterday. But a couple of other viewpoints are worth a look. When it came to the TV audience, more than 73 million Americans watched it, according to Nielsen ratings. That’s a lot, but it was more than 13% down on the record number of viewers who watched Hillary Clinton take on Trump for the first time during the 2016 election. As for moderator Chris Wallace, he said he was feeling “sad”. The veteran Fox News anchor said “I’ve never been through anything like this.” Voters might be thinking the same thing…
DEAL DONE ON ADANI
Polish up the Treasury coffers, Indian miner Adani has signed a long-anticipated royalty agreement with the Queensland Government. The details have not been released of the deal that sees the state compensated for giving the miner the right to extract minerals from the ground. And it comes just a handful of days before the government goes into caretaker mode with the state election on 31 October – which means Labor Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk and her ministers couldn’t make decisions like this one. Political pundits say it became urgent with Labor said to be under threat in some regional seats. If you cast your mind back to last year’s federal election, the $2 billion coal mine was seen as a factor in the Coalition’s success (as firm backers) and Labor’s loss (as a bit ‘meh’ on it). It’s a controversial development that has seen job-hungry locals/pro-mining types on one side, and environmentalists/those concerned about global warming on the other. Work on the site started in July.
The Financial Review has released its annual power list (paywall) – and it’s pandemic packed. It’s not unusual to have the prime minister and treasurer at the top of the list, and that’s happened again this year with Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg featuring. It is unusual for the chief medical officer/health department head to come in third, so please welcome Professor Brendan Murphy to the list. In fourth and fifth positions are the premiers of Oz’s most populous states – Gladys Berejiklian from NSW and Victoria’s Daniel Andrews. And then there’s another new entrant with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt in sixth spot. Commonwealth Bank boss Matt Comyn is next due to his important role in Australia’s economy by leading Australia’s biggest bank, followed by Reserve Bank Governor Dr Philip Lowe. WA Premier Mark McGowan is ninth. And Labor leader Anthony Albanese falls from fifth to tenth this year. When it comes to covert power (paywall), the Prime Minister’s department head Phil Gaetjens tops that list.
TEIGEN MISCARRIAGE GIVES VOICE TO OTHERS’ SILENT GRIEF
Power celebrity couple Chrissy Teigen and John Legend have been thanked for sharing their grief after she suffered a miscarriage yesterday. Model/presenter/foodie/social media aficionado Teigen had posted often about her difficult pregnancy, sharing details about her hospitalisation earlier this week. And yesterday she posted an update to say she had lost the baby the couple had already named Jack. “We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we’ve never felt before,” she said. And later, she tweeted; “Driving home from the hospital with no baby. How can this be real.” Support poured in, including recognition that maybe a little good would come from it. “So many families suffer this kind of grief in silence. My heart breaks for these two, and I’m also in awe of their strength and their insistence on telling these tragic but all to common stories,” tweeted one fan. Teigen and the multi-award-winning muso have two children, Luna and Miles.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
It’s Fat Bear Week. And it’s the perfect antidote to whatever it is you’ve got goin’ on…
If you need something to watch, Staged on ABC iView is a delight. Featuring David Tennant (Broadchurch, Dr Who) and Michael Sheen (The Queen), it’s a short/sharp series of 6 x 22-minute episodes that made us lol. It’s only available for 3 weeks, so run don’t walk.
Long weekend cooking, eh? We’re pulling out this spin on roast chook – it’s worth the (minor) fiddling involved. We like ours with a sharp salad and some Greek yoghurt with lemon, mint and a little garlic. Yum.
SQUIZ THE DAY
We’re taking the public holiday on Monday and will be back in your inbox on Tuesday morning, bright and early. Well, early, anyway. In the meantime, enjoy this extended Squiz The Day…
World Smile Day
ABS Data Release – Retail Trade, August
Birthdays for musician Don McLean (1945), photographer Annie Leibovitz (1949) and musician Sting (1951)
• Rome becoming Italy’s capital after the country’s unification (1870)
• the publication of Beatrix Potter’s children’s classic The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
• the first comic strip featuring Charlie Brown which would later become Peanuts (1950)
• the Warsaw Uprising by Polish resistance fighters which saw some some 250,000 people killed (1944)
• the death of writer Jamal Khashoggi (2018)
10.10am (AEST) – Women’s ODI Cricket – Australia v New Zealand – Brisbane
Day of German Unity – 30th anniversary of the reunification of East and West Germany (1990)
South Korea’s National Foundation Day
Mean Girls Day (“it’s October 3rd”)
• the premiere of the Mickey Mouse Club (1955), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961), and Mr Ed (1961)
• American tennis star Billie Jean King becoming the first female athlete to win US$100,000 in prize money in a single year (1971)
• former NFL player/actor OJ Simpson was found not guilty of the murder of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman in California (1995)
• Chinese President Xi Jinping announcing the Belt and Road Initiative (2013)
World Animal Day
Start of World Space Week (until 10 Oct)
Birthdays for actors Susan Sarandon (1946), Alicia Silverstone (1976), and Dakota Johnson (1989)
• the deaths of Dutch painter Rembrandt (1669), Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cancer cells provided one of the most important cell lines in medical research (1951), and musician Janis Joplin (1970)
• the Soviet Union launching Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite (1957)
• the launch of WikiLeaks by Julian Assange (2006)
Labour Day public holiday (ACT, NSW and SA)
Queen’s Birthday public holiday (Queensland)
Start of Term 4 in Victoria
Birthdays for Pakistani PM Imran Khan (1952), and actors Guy Pearce (1967) and Kate Winslet (1975)
• the release of the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961); the first James Bond film Dr No (1962); The Beatles’ first record, Love Me Do (1962); Elton John’s album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973); and Stephenie Meyer’s novel Twilight (2005)
• the death of Steve Jobs (2011)
• the publication of the New York Times investigation into sexual harassment claims against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein (2017)
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