Australia news LIVE: Bert Newton’s state funeral to be held in Melbourne; total COVID-19 cases grow in NSW, Victoria, ACT and Queensland

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Key posts

  • Vaccine mandates to come into effect for Victorian construction workers tomorrow
  • NSW Premier to start government debate on voluntary assisted dying bill
  • Police were prevented from arresting Vic Labor MPs over ‘red shirts’ rort: documents
  • Glasgow COP26 summit nears deadlock, core 1.5 degree goal ‘on life support’
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Vaccine mandates to come into effect for Victorian construction workers tomorrow

Workers at building sites across Victoria will be required to have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine to attend work from tomorrow.

The vaccine mandate sparked violent protests in Melbourne back in September. Angry construction workers, as well as anti-lockdown protesters and people from fringe groups, marched to the CFMEU’s headquarters on Elizabeth Street, smashing windows and hurling abuse and projectiles at union boss John Setka.

The clashes followed months of growing pressure and discontent within the industry and led to some building workers who attended the rally being sacked.

The rules will extend to residential aged care staff from Monday.

Exemptions apply for those with a genuine medical condition.

NSW Premier to start government debate on voluntary assisted dying bill

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet will argue against voluntary assisted dying when a long-touted bill is debated in the state’s Parliament today, insisting more should be done to improve palliative care for those with a terminal illness.

In a move to signal he expects MPs to be respectful regardless of differing views, Mr Perrottet will take the unorthodox step of being the first government speaker to respond to the bill introduced by independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet will take the unusual step of being the first government speaker in the voluntary assisted dying debate.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

A senior government source close to Mr Perrottet insists the Premier’s decision to lead the government debate was not about influencing MPs but making “his position and reasoning clear”.

Mr Perrottet, who allowed his MPs a conscience vote, said his “views on this are well known”.

“I believe it’s a core tenet of our democracy to allow a respectful and mature debate, and will do my utmost to ensure that is what we have,” Mr Perrottet said.

“I acknowledge the sincerity and intentions of those who will support this bill but will argue my case in Parliament on why I oppose it.”

More on this story here.

Police were prevented from arresting Vic Labor MPs over ‘red shirts’ rort: documents

Detectives in Victoria Police’s fraud squad urged force command to consider arresting and prosecuting up to 16 Andrews government MPs over the “red shirts” rorting affair, according to highly sensitive internal police briefings, but their plan was knocked back by senior officers.

The secret police files from late 2018, the contents of which have been confirmed by three whistleblowers, reveal that detectives were directed by high-ranking officers to make sure that 16 named members of Parliament “not be arrested, photographed, searched if they are interviewed”.

The files also stated the intervention by senior police was to remain a secret.

In 2018, Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass found Labor broke parliamentary rules by using $388,000 of public funds to pay campaign staff working on the 2014 election campaign. Labor later repaid the money and police did not lay charges.

More on the police files here.

Glasgow COP26 summit nears deadlock, core 1.5 degree goal ‘on life support’

The COP26 climate summit is facing deadlock on its final day as countries clash over the future of fossil fuels, a mammoth financial compensation scheme and the depth of emissions cuts this decade.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared the core goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees was “on life support” due to the rising tensions, while Pope Francis warned world leaders would face “God’s judgement” if they fail before the Glasgow talks are scheduled to conclude on Friday local-time.

Environmental activists are demanding more ambition from countries as the Glasgow climate summit draws to a close.Credit:Getty

In one surprise development, a group of nearly two dozen developing countries – thought to include major emitters such as China and India – on Thursday demanded the removal of a vast slab of the summit’s draft declaration, angering others who either want the document tweaked or significantly strengthened.

The chapter targeted for deletion makes explicit reference to the 1.5 degree goal, the need to reduce emission by 45 per cent by 2030, and the aim of net zero emissions by mid-century. It also calls on the world to “accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for tuning in to our live coverage.

It’s Friday, November 12. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll bring you some of the day’s biggest stories as they unfold.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • The east coast of Australia has been hit by heavy rainfall. South-east Queensland and the NSW Northern Tablelands region have been the hardest hit, with rivers breaking their banks and, in the northern state, some roofs ripped from homes due to the weather front. The rain has now reached Victoria, but is not as severe. However, authorities are still urging people in the Victorian alpine and Gippsland regions to remain on alert for flash flooding.

Millie Creek flooding, south of the NSW town of Moree.Credit:Louise Kennerley

  • Bert Newton’s state funeral is being held from 10am AEDT this morning. Around 500 mourners, including the TV legend’s wife of more than 40 years, Patti, will attend the service in Melbourne, which will be livestreamed for the wider public. We will have a separate live blog up and running closer to 9am AEDT.

Late TV star Bert Newton.

  • NSW Parliament will today debate the state’s latest voluntary assisted dying bill. Premier Dominic Perrottet will argue against the bill, but says he wants all MPs to be respectful regardless of their views. NSW is the only Australian state not to have a voluntary assisted dying law after Queensland passed legislation earlier this year (voluntary assisted dying is not legal in the territories due to federal legislation). NSW yesterday recorded 261 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and one death. There are 228 coronavirus patients in the state’s hospitals. Of those, 40 are in intensive care. Sixteen people require ventilation. In terms of vaccines, 90.4 per cent of NSW residents aged 16 and over have had both jabs of a coronavirus vaccine.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet wants MPs to debate voluntary assisted dying respectfully. Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

  • Secret police files show detectives in Victoria Police’s fraud squad were urging for the arrest of up to 16 state government MPs over Victoria’s “red shirts” rorting affair. However, the plan was knocked back by senior officers. The red shirts scandal involved Labor breaking parliamentary rules by using $388,000 worth of public funds to pay campaign staff working on the 2014 state election, according to a finding by the Victorian Ombudsman. Labor later repaid the money and no charges were laid. Yesterday, Victoria recorded 1313 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths. There are 457 coronavirus patients in Victorian hospitals, of whom 79 are in intensive care. Forty-eight are on a ventilator. When it comes to vaccines, 85 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and up are now fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

Labor Party supporters celebrate as they watch the results come in for the 2014 Victorian state election. Credit:Scott Barbour

  • Yesterday was a “milestone day”, according to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Ninety per cent of Australians aged 16 and up have now received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine. We’re expected to get official confirmation when the numbers land later today. Meanwhile, federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says yesterday’s jobs figures (the jobless rate hit a five-month high of 5.2 per cent last month) show that “lockdowns cost jobs”. But we have “good reason to be optimistic and confident about the Australian economy [moving forward]”.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • Queensland recorded two locally acquired cases of COVID-19 yesterday, including a second mystery case on the Gold Coast. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says new coronavirus restrictions may be imposed if there are more unlinked cases of community transmission in the next 24 hours. In the meantime, Queenslanders are allowed to continue maskless now that the state has hit its 80 per cent first-dose vaccination target.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state can leave masks behind. Credit:Getty

  • And Canberra residents are waking up to eased coronavirus restrictions this morning. Dancing is once again permitted in indoor venues. There is also no cap on the number of visitors to the home or outdoors. However, masks will still be mandatory in some settings such as public transport and aged care. The ACT recorded nine new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. But no one is in hospital with the virus.
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