Is it a shirt? Is it a jacket? It’s a unisex “hybrid hero” that used to be known as trans-seasonal dressing…
KIA ORA KIWILAND…
Travel-lusting Aussies will be able to dust off their jandals and book a ticket to see their Kiwi cuzzie bros from 19 April without having to quarantine for 2 weeks when they arrive in New Zealand. Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern says the start of a two-way trans-Tasman travel bubble “represents the start of a new chapter in our COVID response and recovery, one that people have worked so hard for, and this makes New Zealand and Australia relatively unique.” PM Scott Morrison was similarly enthusiastic, saying New Zealand’s decision was “the first of many more steps to come, I believe, as we get back to a more normal position, not only over the course of this year but beyond.”
And pass the pinot… With travellers from New Zealand already able to enter Oz (except Western Oz) without quarantining, having a 2-way travel agreement with another country is a significant advance since our international border closed more than a year ago. But that doesn’t mean things can’t change – including at short notice. “Those undertaking travel on either side of the ditch will do so under the guidance of ‘flyer beware’. People will need to plan for the possibility of travel being disrupted if there is an outbreak,” Ardern warned yesterday. That includes being told on landing in New Zealand that you need to go into hotel quarantine if something happens mid-flight…
AND WE CAN TRAVEL WITHOUT BEING VACCINATED?
That’s the deal. On that front, Morrison says Australia’s vaccination efforts were ahead of New Zealand’s, with more than 843,000 doses administered at the start of this week. He and federal health officials remain under pressure for falling behind, but yesterday he said that it’s “a supply problem, pure and simple” that’s to blame. The culprit: 3.1 million doses that have been held up in Europe. Lawmakers there have been keen to hang onto their local supply in the face of another surge in new COVID cases. Labor and other critics yesterday continued to label Australia’s vaccination effort as chaotic and dysfunctional.
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WOMEN’S SAFETY ON THE AGENDA
Newly-minted Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston will today meet with her state counterparts to forge a new national plan to end violence against women. Experts say services have never been in higher demand, and with the current 3-year plan due to end next year, expectations are high. Ruston has remained tight-lipped about funding ahead of May’s Federal Budget but says it will be “much more ambitious about addressing the problem and actually preventing it”. There’s a flurry of activity on this front this week with PM Morrison yesterday co-chairing the first meeting of the Cabinet’s taskforce to improve women’s equality, safety, economic security, health and wellbeing that was set up last week. The government is also expected to deliver its long-awaited response to a landmark report on harassment at work in the coming days. It comes after weeks of revelations about a culture of harassment and abuse of women in politics and beyond.
HOLGATE HAS HER SAY
Former Australia Post boss Christine Holgate claims she was “unlawfully” dismissed from her high profile job and abandoned by the board of the government enterprise to a “media firestorm”. She ‘resigned’ from her role in November last year after telling a Senate committee that senior managers had been rewarded with Cartier watches for inking a deal with the banks. We say ‘resigned’ because Holgate says in a long submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the affair that Australia Post’s chair Lucio Di Bartolomeo “has made statements that I had agreed to stand down when I had done no such thing”. She adds that she believes she was forced out “for no justified reason.” When the $12,000 Cartier calamity was revealed, PM Morrison told parliament that he was “appalled” by the purchases. Australia Post hasn’t responded to Holgate’s claims but has put its own submission to the inquiry that will report at the end of the month.
PUTIN PREZ ‘FOREVER’
Or at least until 2036 when he will be a spritely 83yo… Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday signed into law the constitutional changes required to allow him to hold onto power for another 15 years, the Kremlin confirmed. If that transpires, he will become its longest-serving leader since the revolution surpassing Joseph Stalin’s 29 years at the helm. The changes were put to a referendum last year. Despite the fuss, Putin is playing coy, saying he will decide whether to run again in 2024 when his current 6-year term expires. Meanwhile, 6 doctors and 2 CNN journos have been detained in front of the prison where Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny is being held. Navalny, who is on a hunger strike because he says he’s not receiving proper medical treatment, was poisoned last year in an attack US intelligence says was ordered by Putin. The Russian Government has denied any connection to it.
ONWARD CHRISTIAN FOLAU SUPPORTERS
Chair of the Australian Rugby League Commission Peter V’landys yesterday criticised an ad campaign launched by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that’s calling on the NRL to reinstate former Wallaby Israel Folau. The controversial former Aussie rugby/NRL player, who has spent the last year playing in France, recently expressed his interest in returning to the Aussie code. The campaign, which is fully funded by the ACL, includes full-page print media ads, an online petition, with plans to launch TV and billboard ads. But V’landys said no NRL club had submitted an application for Folau’s return, saying their time and money could be better spent ending “poverty and inequality and all those sort of things, rather than this,” he said.
LENA DUNHAM LAUNCHES PLUS-SIZE CLOTHING RANGE
Girls creator-author-tattoo aficionado Lena Dunham will launch a new plus-size capsule wardrobe in collaboration with high-end online retailer 11 Honoré today. The 5-piece collection – which ranges US sizes 12 to 26 and will retail for US$98-298 – includes pieces Dunham says are not usually made to fit curvy figures, including a mini skirt. “We don’t stop loving clothes or having unique styles just because the world desexualises and dehumanises plus bodies,” she said. It’s the latest offering amid a growing number of fashion brands including broader sizing options, but critics say there’s still room for improvement with nearly 67% of Aussie women sporting a fuller figure.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
The Chinese Government has entered La La Land with its production of a Hollywood-inspired movie titled The Wings of Songs that attempts to show the masses that all is well in Xinjiang province. Spoiler alert: there’s not a forced labour factory, ‘reeducation’ camp, or evidence of ethnic cleansing of the Uyghur Muslim minority in sight… #SquizShortcut
If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan with an affinity for Peter Jackson’s stylings, a Soviet-era production that’s mysteriously made its way onto YouTube may not cut your mustard. A generous review said it was “as absurd and monstrous as it is divine and magnificent”. Let’s just say they got it half right…
Sure, The Wiggles are one of Australia’s most successful kids entertainment franchises. They are also the recipe for an HR nightmare given all the intra-skivvy relationships going on…
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Minister for Women’s Safety Anne Ruston meets her state counterparts about the next national blueprint to reduce violence against women
World Health Day – and it’s the anniversary of the founding of World Health Organisation (1948)
Birthdays for Francis Ford Coppola (1939), Jackie Chan (1954), Russell Crowe (1964)
• Australian Teddy Flack winning Gold in the 1,500 meters final at the first Olympic Games in Athens (1896)
• the release of the world’s first animated cartoon Humorous Phases of Funny Faces by J Stuart Blackton (1906)
• Billie Holliday’s birthday (1915)
• the High Court quashing Cardinal George Pell’s child sex abuse convictions (2020)
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