WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7
Australians could travel to select Asian and Pacific destinations without facing lengthy stints in quarantine by August, as the Morrison government looks to open the border to more countries after establishing a safe travel zone with New Zealand.
Immigration and health authorities are exploring plans to open up to Singapore within months, followed by other nations such as Fiji, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as Japan and South Korea.
Mainland China is also an option, despite diplomatic tensions with Australia.
However, South Korea is averaging around 500 cases a day and Japan is now averaging around 2400 cases a day, so whether they will meet the requirements to re-open to Australia remains to be seen.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced yesterday that a trans-Tasman travel bubble between the two countries will be established in less than two weeks.
After more than a year of closed international borders with Australia.
Ms Ardern said the two-way quarantine-free travel corridor across the ditch will start at 11.59pm April 18, with major airlines – including Air NZ and Qantas – able to take bookings from April 19.
When pressed over which countries might be next to join a travel bubble, Mr Morrison said Australia was “not in a position to move forward”.
He said wouldn’t speculate on the likelihood of opening international borders as it wouldn’t be “fair”, despite Australia’s vaccine rollout.
Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung was asked in Singapore parliament this week about plans for travel bubbles and mentioned Australia, New Zealand and Brunei as leading candidates.
“We are exploring with several countries and regions, including Australia, on the mutual recognition of vaccination certificates. The certificates can be physical or digital, and we will need them to be secure, tamper-proof and verifiable,” he said.
“However, vaccinations are only one aspect of pandemic control. Social distancing, contact tracing, quarantine and testing are also very important aspects which countries and regions have used to control the spread of COVID-19 virus even as vaccines become available.”
Mr Morrison said the bubble “is the first of many more steps to come”.
Rugby league legend Tommy Raudonikis has died at the age of 70 following a long battle with cancer.
Raudonikis was a much-loved figure in the game as a player and coach, leading New South Wales as captain in the inaugural State of Origin game in 1980.
Raudonikis was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame in 2008, after a long career in the game.
He began as a half-back for Western Suburbs, later joining Newtown, playing for coaches Roy Masters and Warren Ryan respectively.
Raudonikis captained the Jets in the 1981 grand final, where his team lost 20-11 to Eastern Suburbs.
In all, he played 239 first grade games, before playing a final year as captain-coach of Brisbane rugby league side Brothers.
“The club is in deep mourning,” Wests CEO, Simon Cook said. “He will always be a legend of the Magpies.”
“His loss will shatter our great game,” Daily Telegraph rugby league reporter Dean Ritchie tweeted.
Raudonikis was born in Bathurst, NSW, to a Lithuanian father and Swiss mother who had immigrated to Australia.
“Mum was pregnant with me on the boat, and I was born at the migrant camp in Bathurst,” he told NRL.com last year.
Aboriginal actor Shareena Clanton has been subjected to a torrent of online abuse after detailing allegations of racism while working for the soap hit Neighbours.
Clanton said calling out the issues she encountered had resulted in a backlash that further highlighted racist attitudes across Australia.
“I stand by my truth and what I said I bore witness to and directly endured,” she said.
In a social media post on Tuesday, Clanton said “overt and covert levels of racism were rife” during her months working on the TV show.
The actor, known for her role in the award-winning prison drama Wentworth, said she felt “ostracised and further marginalised” after calling out the behaviour to human resources staff.
Clanton, a Wongatha,Yamatji, Noongar and Gitja woman, said it had been “lonely, triggering and traumatising to work in such a culturally unsafe place”.
In a follow-up post on Instagram today, Clanton showed abusive comments she had received since going public with her concerns.
“What a token career she had — she can kiss goodbye,” said one post.
Another post said “never hire brown people”.
A third comment called Clanton a “whiner”.
Clanton said the on-set behaviour she described in her earliest post happened and she had documentation to back it up.
“I didn’t even post some of the more triggering/traumatising/vile comments I saw … aimed at me,” she said on Instagram today.
“One [in] particular said ‘This is why you don’t employ Aboriginal people, all they do is whinge’.”
Clanton said she had no qualms about criticising power structures like Fremantle Media, the production company behind the program, saying it had expressed no remorse and had taken no action on her complaints.
“What do I have to gain here by speaking the truth to one of the most powerful and multi-million dollar global production houses like Fremantle Media,” she asked.
“I’m the one at risk of being blacklisted.”
A spokesperson for Fremantle Media said on Tuesday the company had held “significant and lengthy discussions” with Clanton during her time on the show.
“Our quest is always to continue to grow and develop in this area and we acknowledge that this is an evolving process,” the spokesperson said.
Meyne Wyatt, a Wongutha-Yamatji actor and director who worked on Neighbours between 2014 and 2016, said he had also experienced racism on the set.
Five years later, he said, it was “disappointing but not at all surprising” to hear that racism continued to be present in that workplace.
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