June 12, 2020

Thousands of fans would be able to attend sporting events again and limits on the numbers of people in indoor venues would be scrapped under relaxations of coronavirus rules flagged today.

Speaking after a National Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said states were working toward rules which would let stadiums capable of seating up to 40,000 people host crowds of up to 10,000.

The changes would apply to events like sporting events, concerts and festivals.

“It would have to be a large, open area. There would need to be seats at the appropriate distance. It would need to be ticketed, so people would be able to understand who was in attendance at that event,” Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said venues with capacities of more than 40,000 people could be allowed to fill a quarter of their seats, but said the details of that were still being worked out in conjunction with chief health officers around the country.

A limit of 100 people on indoor gatherings will also be scrapped, with no limit on numbers, but a requirement that venues allow for four square metres of space per person.

Mr Morrison said that would allow for weddings and funerals to only be limited by the size of their venue, but said nightclubs would remain shut.

Today’s National Cabinet meeting heard that all states and territories were on track to complete the move to the new stage three restrictions next month.

Mr Morrison gave Premiers and Chief Ministers an ultimatum on reopening borders, saying states that want to bring international students in cannot do so unless they let Australians in.

Speaking to the restrictions around international students, Mr Morrison said states and territories will be working closely with respective students to be able to come to Australia – but that process was still a way off.

“We have received some very … well thought through proposals from states as to how this can be done,” he said.

“I would like to make one thing very clear to the states and territories today. If you cannot come to your state from Sydney then no-one is coming to your state from Singapore.

So if you want borders open for international students then you need to open borders for Australians.”

After the meeting South Australia Premier Steve Marshall said the state will reopen its interstate borders to unrestricted travel on July 20, while restrictions on venues including pubs, restaurants and gyms will be further eased next Friday.

Mr Premier Steven Marshall said the decision to lift border restrictions means travellers into South Australia from other states will no longer need to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

“We don’t want to unnecessarily detain people for two weeks of isolation if they don’t pose a health risk to us in South Australia,” Mr Marshall said.

By the time they reopen, South Australia’s borders will have been shut for almost four months after the closure came into effect on March 24

However, restrictions for international travellers will remain.


Democratic US Presidential challenger Joe Biden says his biggest worry is that Donald Trump will attempt to “steal” the November election, and says he has even considered the possibility that Mr Trump will refuse to leave the White House should he lose.

“My single greatest concern: This President’s going to try and steal this election,” Mr Biden told The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

“This is a guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary.”

Mr Biden was asked whether he had considered what would happen if Mr Trump refused to vacate the White House in the event he wasn’t re-elected.

“I have,” the former vice-president said, before suggesting that the military could step in to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

“I am absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.”

Mr Biden’s comments came as Mr Trump intensified his claims that absentee voting, which many states had expanded to avoid large crowds at polling places during the coronavirus pandemic, increased the possibility of fraud.

There is little evidence to support that assertion, and Mr Trump himself has voted by mail in the past.

Mr Biden has previously suggested Mr Trump’s opposition to mail-in ballots could upend the presidential election.


“This President, mark my words, I think he’s going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with a rationale why it can’t be held,” he said during an April fundraiser.

“He’s already trying to undermine the election with false claims of voter fraud and threatening to block essential COVID-19 assistance if any extra funds go to the US Postal Service.

“What in God’s name was that about other than trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all that he can to make it very hard for people to vote.”


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