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ICU beds could soon be full as COVID-19 outbreak spreads

The snapshot, seen by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, showed that 1691 – 81 per cent – out of the nation’s 2076 staffed ICU beds were full. The Victorian government has moved to freeze elective surgery in public hospitals at 75 per cent of pre-pandemic surgical lists, halting …

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‘Surviving on thin air’: JobKeeper review could strip billions of dollars from workers

The JobKeeper review will also canvass some of the problems businesses and individuals have struck in accessing the scheme. Perth couple Jon Hunter and Alex Smith are living off a credit card as they have not had any income for more than three months because rules around JobKeeper precluded them …

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Defence help on national cabinet’s agenda in push to stamp out new cases

“You’ll see them out and about supporting Victoria Police in terms of those checkpoints, those roadblocks between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said. “There’ll be a number in the state control centre to add to a similar number already here doing everything from clinical work, doing …

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Taiwan, ‘Quad’ alliance top of agenda as Morrison and Abe hold virtual meeting

This included “the continuing militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous and coercive use of coast guard vessels and ‘maritime militia’, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ resource exploitation activities”. The leaders reaffirmed that freedom of navigation in, and flights above, the South China Sea “must be respected, and that all …

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Backbench backs early tax cuts even as budget deteriorates

Loading Coalition backbenchers said the move would deliver a much-needed boost to consumer confidence and ease cost of living pressures. Chair of the House of Representatives economics’ committee, Tim Wilson, said tax cuts would promote job creation and economic growth, noting some households would be between $800 and $2500 better …

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Government gives no ground on paid pandemic leave

“Well, we’ve put in place JobKeeper, we’ve provided JobSeeker. These are the supports that the government has provided, which are at record levels,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra. “This country has never seen a level of income support provided by a federal government like they’re seeing now.” Loading Coronavirus …

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Encryption powers need to be ticked off by retired judge, national security watchdog finds

The senior lawyer has recommended the responsibility to issue two of the most intrusive encryption-busting powers be taken out of the hands of agency heads and the Attorney-General, and instead given to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The AAT would establish a new arm called the Investigatory Powers Division, which would …

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National cabinet to decide on hotel quarantine, cuts to flights

The move prepares the ground for a debate on stronger measures across all states and territories in the wake of quarantine breaches at Melbourne hotels that led to dozens of coronavirus infections. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews launched a judicial inquiry last week into the conduct of security guards and the …

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After tribunal rejection, ACTU doubles down on paid pandemic leave for all

Clusters of coronavirus cases associated with security guards, meatworks, and nursing homes have sparked fears infected casual employees without sick leave might be tempted to attend work because they did not want to miss out on income. The FWC on Wednesday declined the union bid to give paid pandemic leave …

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