Daily News Roundup

June 22, 2020

Picture: Nigel Hallett


The respected Australian public policy think tank, Grattan Institute, says Queensland and Western Australia have done the right thing keeping their borders closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephen Duckett, author of the report “Coming out of COVID Lockdown”, is the Institute’s health program director.

He said that while Victoria continues to see a surge in cases, there is a risk of people bringing the virus into those states.

“We know that people are asymptomatic for a while when they are infectious,” he said.

“If they want to come to Queensland or Western Australia, they should be quarantined for two weeks, just as people coming into Australia are quarantined.”

Mr Duckett has also backed the idea of a ‘travel bubble’, where people from some states are allowed to travel outside their borders.

“If it is safe to allow people from New South Wales to come in, people from New South Wales should be allowed to come in because the tourism industry is very, very important in Queensland,” he said.

“But if it’s not safe and it runs the risk of COVID-19 escalating again and we go back into this exponential growth phase, it’s just not worth it
for them to open their borders.”

He says the current mandatory quarantining of people arriving from overseas must remain in place until a vaccine has been developed.

The assessment came as all eyes turned to Victoria where a spike in coronavirus cases is feared after almost 100 new infections in thepast five days.

Victorians today woke up to a raft of reversed restrictions after an upswing in coronavirus cases over the weekend.

Victorians have been issued a warning and advised to avoid travelling to and from six local government areas where coronavirus outbreaks have occurred until the source of community transmission has been identified.

On Sunday, the Victorian Government identified Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin as the focus of current COVID-19
outbreaks as the state’s number of active cases reached 121. The areas cover large parts of Melbourne’s west, northwest, north and southeast.

Now the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee has “strongly discouraged” travel to and from those areas while the state prepares to reimpose some restrictions.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has blamed the spike in cases on large family gatherings and people not following social distancing measures.

“We have had cases of people gathering in large numbers, everybody at their home or another family member’s home or a close friend’s home, even though they had been told to isolate in their own home,” he said on Saturday.

“It is unacceptable that families anywhere in our state can, just because they want this to be over, pretend that it is. It is not over.”


A knifeman’s unprovoked attack on picnickers in an English town park was an act of terrorism, police say, calling it an atrocity.

The 25-year-old knifeman has been identified by a Western Security source as Libyan refugee Khairi Saadallah.

He was initially detained on suspicion of murder but was later re-arrested under the Terrorism Act.

He remains in police custody, and is believed to have acted alone.

“The investigation continues to move at a fast pace,” Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, head of the regional counter-terrorism unit, told reporters.

The security source said Mr Saadallah had come across the radar of Britain’s domestic security agency MI5 last year over intelligence he had aspirations to travel for extremist purposes, although his plans came to nothing.

He never met the criteria for a full investigation, the source said.

Initially police and the Government had said the attack did not appear to be terrorism. But Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer, Neil Basu, said officers had worked through the night and had now declared it to be a terrorist incident.

“This was an atrocity,” Mr Basu said.

“From our enquiries undertaken so far, officers have found nothing to suggest that there were any other people involved in the attack, and presently, we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident.”

Three people were killed and three others seriously wounded in the stabbing attack in Reading’s Forbury Gardens park on Saturday evening.

Police officers patrolled cordons on the roads leading to the park on Sunday, and blue-and-white tents were erected near the site of the attack.


Donald Trump has again been accused of using a hit song without permission…..this time at his weekend campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The angry family of late American singer-songwriter Tom Petty has moved to stop the US President from using the late rock star’s 1989 hit I Won’t Back Down at campaign events.

They accused the President of campaigning on hate and issued a cease and desist warning.

Canadian singer Neil Young objected to Mr Trump’s use of his 1989 song Rockin’ in the Free World when he announced his presidential campaign in 2016.

Rock band R.E.M. and pop singer Rihanna have also objected to Mr Trump’s use of their songs.

The Trump campaign played Petty’s song at Saturday’s rally, which drew an underwhelming crowd that left many seats empty at the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena.

Mr Trump, who hoped to reinvigorate his re-election campaign, criticised anti-racism protests that have engulfed much of the country since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.

Mr Petty wrote the song “for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE”, his family said on Twitter.

“Webelieve in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either.

“Trump was in no way authorised to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind.

“Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate.

Petty was the lead singer and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch, and was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.

He died aged of 66, of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs

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