FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9
US President Donald Trump says he will not participate in a virtual debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced on Thursday morning (local time) that the second US presidential debate would be held virtually to “protect the health and safety of all involved”.
The Commission said the debate even in a virtual world would remain a town hall-style conversation and that voters and the moderator would ask the candidates questions from the original debate site in Miami.
Minutes later in an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, Mr Trump said the new virtual format was not acceptable to him.
“I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate, that’s not what debating is all about,” Mr Trump said.
“You sit behind a computer and do a debate — it’s ridiculous and then they cut you off whenever they want.”
Mr Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus a week ago but in a tweet on Tuesday said he looked forward to debating Mr Biden on stage in Miami. “It will be great!” he tweeted.
Mr Trump said he would not attend a debate if he was contagious but that he thought he was well enough to hold campaign rallies.
The President described himself as feeling “really good” and also called himself “a perfect physical specimen”.
He also said he had stopped taking most therapeutics for the virus, but was still taking steroids.
His campaign said the President would hold a rally instead of debating Mr Biden.
Such rallies, particularly held indoors, have raised concern among public health experts about spreading the virus.
“For the swamp creatures at the Presidential Debate Commission to now rush to Joe Biden’s defence by unilaterally cancelling an in-person debate is pathetic,” Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement.
“The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without cancelling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head-to-head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”
Authorities in Brisbane have found the body of missing Federal Circuit Court judge Guy Andrew, five days after he was reported missing.
Family Court Chief Justice William Alstergren issued a statement on Thursday night confirming a body discovered by searchers in bushland at The Gap in western Brisbane was that of Judge Andrew.
“His tragic passing is a timely reminder of the extraordinary pressure on all who practice in the often highly emotive family law jurisdiction,” Justice Alstergren said.
Judge Andrew, 55, was last seen on Sunday driving in the direction of Mount Coot-tha where he frequently walked.
His car was found in Dillon Road at The Gap later that afternoon.
Police said Judge Andrew left home without many of his personal items, and had left his mobile phone behind.
Justice Alstergren said Judge Andrew was “loved and admired by many”.
“The esteem in which he was held was evident by the large number of judges, barristers, solicitors, associates and other court staff who took an active part in the search for him,” Justice Alstergren said.
The search for Judge Andrew continued for several days, gradually expanding across bushland around Mount Coot-tha and involving police divers, Polair, drones, SES volunteers as well as members of the community.
On Thursday, members of the Australian Defence Force joined the search.
Judge Andrew’s body was discovered on Thursday afternoon in bushland near Enoggera Reservoir.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says the cap on the Child Care Subsidy should be scrapped, and has pledged that a Labor government would investigate a long-term plan that could see no family pay more than 10 per cent of their childcare costs.
The Labor leader has used his Budget reply speech to promise a $6.2 billion plan to remove the subsidy cap, which currently limits annual Child Care Subsidy (CCS) payments to $10,560 for families earning more than $189,390 per year.
Mr Albanese said the current system held back women from working full time, as they had to pay more in order to work after reaching the cap.
“For millions of working women, it’s simply not worth working more than three days a week,” he said.
“Building a childcare system that works for families will turbocharge productivity and get Australia working again.”
The cap removal, which would come into effect from July 2022 if Labor wins the next election, will benefit families on higher incomes.
But Labor will also increase the maximum CCS rate from 85 to 90 per cent, meaning families earning less than $80,000 in 2022 terms would pay 10 per cent of their childcare costs.
Pointing to a “long-term goal”, Mr Albanese said a Labor government would task the Productivity Commission with investigating a 90 per cent universal CCS, which would see no family pay more than 10 per cent of their childcare costs.
“This is not a welfare measure. This is economic reform,” he said.
Currently, families earning more than $353,680 cannot access any subsidies, but Labor would allow access to the subsidy on a tapered basis to families earning up to $530,000.
Labor says 97 per cent of families would save between $600 and $2,900 per year, and that no family would be worse off.
But Liberal senator Jane Hume said the plan to scrap the subsidy cap and potentially offer universal child care could have negative ramifications.
“If you move to a different model, if you move to make child care universal and free, what you find is perverse outcomes,” she said.
“People overbook it, which makes the positions less accessible. By removing the cap, childcare providers cost shift … it’s a free for all.”
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