Good evening and thank you for reading our live coverage of the day’s events. If you are just joining us now, here’s what you need to know:
- The Victorian construction industry will be shut for two weeks from 11.59pm tonight following a violent anti-vaccination protest targeting the Melbourne headquarters of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union. Only select critical infrastructure works such as hospitals and some ongoing level crossing removal works, which require swift progress to reopen train lines, will continue during the shutdown. The Andrews government formally announced the two-week shutdown late on Monday night.
- Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said the decision had been driven by multiple coronavirus outbreaks linked to the industry, as well as “widespread non-compliance” with COVID-19 safety rules.
- Riot police used rubber bullets to disperse the protest, which included the CFMEU offices being pelted with crates and bottles. The violent clash follows the Andrews government’s decision last week to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all workers in the construction industry. Workers will need to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11.59pm on Thursday. Limited exceptions apply. The mandate was opposed by the CFMEU, which is pro-vaccinations but believes workers should have a choice.
- John Setka, the Victorian boss of the CFMEU, said only “a small percentage” of the protesters were union members and described the scenes as “absolutely disgusting”. He reiterated that the union was pro-vaccine but had never supported mandatory vaccinations. “I don’t know whether we’ve got to start giving them [the protesters] homework or whether they just don’t know how to read,” Mr Setka said.
- NSW recorded 935 new local coronavirus cases, its lowest daily case figure since late August. Four people, aged between their 60s and their 80s, died overnight. Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned “we need to continue to brace ourselves for October being the worst month for the number of people who pass away and the number of people who need intensive care”. There are 1207 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, 236 of whom are in intensive care. Of those, 123 people require ventilation.
- The town of Cowra, in NSW’s central west, re-entered lockdown at 5pm on Monday after a nine-year-old boy tested positive to COVID-19.
- Health authorities are concerned about the transmission of the virus in some Sydney suburbs, including Waterloo and Redfern in the inner city. Residents of Greenacre, Guildford, Bankstown, Merrylands, Casula, Fairfield, the Wollongong and Central Coast regions are also urged to be vigilant for symptoms and come forward for testing.
- From Monday, Sydney’s outdoor gathering rules became uniform across the city, with 12 local government areas of concern brought into line with the rest of Greater Sydney. Fully-vaccinated people can gather for outdoor recreation, including picnics, in groups of up to five if everyone aged 16 and over has received both jabs. Children aged 12 and under are not included in the total. Young teens between 13 and 15 are counted in the five-person maximum but don’t have to be vaccinated. NSW Health says everyone aged 16 and over “must have proof of vaccination or medical contra-indication form with them at all times”.
- Victoria recorded 567 new, locally acquired cases of coronavirus, the highest daily total this year, and one death. A woman aged in her 70s from Moreland, in Melbourne’s north, died after acquiring the virus. There are 209 people in the state’s hospitals with COVID-19, 59 of whom are in intensive care. Of those in ICU, 40 are on a ventilator.
- Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr both made comments earlier today suggesting that national cabinet had been informed of problems with the anticipated timing of supplies of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. But federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a press conference after those remarks that the supply issue had been resolved over the weekend. One million doses of the Moderna mRNA vaccine, which is similar to the Pfizer jab, have also arrived in Australia in recent days. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved for people aged 12 and up. They are the preferred vaccines for people aged 16 to 59 years.
- The ACT recorded seven new COVID-19 cases overnight, only two of whom were confirmed as being in isolation for their entire infectious period. At least four spent part of their infectious period in the community and one remains under investigation, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said. The territory will remain in lockdown until at least October 15.
Sixty per cent of Queenslanders aged 16 and over have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says. On Monday, the state recorded zero community cases of COVID-19 and two cases detected in hotel quarantine. Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland had reached 59.77 per cent of people who had had a first dose of a vaccination “but we get the federal vaccination numbers in there about two days behind, so we’re confident we’ve clicked over that 60 per cent, which is wonderful”.
- Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says he expects Christian Porter will return one day to the frontbench, after the former minister resigned from cabinet yesterday over his failure to reveal the identity of anonymous donors who helped fund his since-settled defamation battle against the ABC. Mr Joyce, who quit the deputy prime ministership in 2018 and returned in June this year, said today that Mr Porter was “gone now, like so many of us in a period of our career, to the corridor of the nearly-dead” but “I’ll put money that we’ll see him back again”. Mr Joyce is acting as PM while Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Washington for the first time since Joe Biden was elected US President.
- The Labor Opposition has stepped up its attack on Mr Porter over the mystery donations. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said: “Who provided this money? Is there any conflict of interest? Does anyone who provided money have contracts with the government? There are real reasons why members of Parliament have obligations to declare publicly any private interests that they receive.”
This is Michaela Whitbourn signing off for tonight. Broede Carmody will be back early tomorrow morning.