Australia news live update: Novak Djokovic decision looms; national cabinet’s supply chain crisis response ‘unworkable’

LIVE – Updated at 21:18

© Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting, at Parliament House in Canberra.

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NSW premier Dominic Perrottet will be up at 10am.


Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine was up on ABC News Breakfast this morning discussing the fallout from national cabinet yesterday. He says “there is no plan” to address supply and staff shortages in the sector:

This is the disappointment out of that national cabinet announcement from Scott Morrison yesterday. There is no plan to rebuild a healthy work force, to have road transport supply chains that do the brilliant job they have done over the two years of this pandemic, they need to be healthy. We wrote to Scott Morrison in September with a follow-up in October last year, saying it was critical, amongst other things, that road transport supply chains, were flooded with rapid antigen tests because we could see in the context of the Delta outbreak that if we intended to reopen, we needed to ensure that workers were testing negative and we were maximising the number of healthy people in supply chains or we would have a problem.

That was dismissed by the Morrison government. They don’t listen to the voices of workers and the results we are seeing today and we saw them yesterday, reflect inaction from Morrison which is building on compounding the mistakes of the past. His approach here is to send back into the work force those people that we have deemed for the last two years close contacts, are most likely to be carrying the virus without knowing it. That means that we could actually be making matters worse.


South Australia’s premier Steven Marshall was just up on FIVEaa. He is still negative to the virus after his daughter tested positive to Omicron.


Labor senator Kristina Keneally is having fun on social media this morning:


The shadow treasurer, Jim Chalmers, was just up on the Today show alongside the finance minister, Simon Birmingham, who was sporting quite a holiday beard.

Birmingham said a decision on Djokovic’s fate was a “matter for the immigration minister” but the federal government’s policy remained the same – “that non-Australian citizens entering Australia should be double-vaccinated. We’ve been very clear about that all along.”

Chalmers replied:

Look, our position has been clear from the beginning. If he doesn’t meet the visa requirements, he shouldn’t have been given a visa in the first place. But there is two issues now, I think, as this debacle drags on for another day. First of all, make a decision. Our international reputation is being trashed more each day that the government delays.

Secondly, when Scott Morrison thought there was a political opportunity in this, he was all over it, and, now that it’s gone so badly, he wants to pretend it has nothing to do with him and it’s all Alex Hawke’s job and all of his fault. Unfortunately, there’s a pattern of behaviour here. When things are easy, there’s a photo or political opportunity, there’s Scott Morrison all over it. But when things get difficult, as they have with this Novak Djokovic case, he’s nowhere to be found.


Birmingham is up on Radio National now, pushing back against calls to make rapid antigen tests free. He says the Omicron variant has been a curveball, necessitating the move towards RATs from PCR tests due to heightened testing demand.


The Australian Council of Social Services chief executive, Cassandra Goldie, appeared on Sunrise earlier discussing the supply chain crisis after yesterday’s national cabinet meeting. She said making rapid antigen tests free would be a “crucial tool” to keep people safe.

The opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, has echoed unions in calling for the free and wide distribution of the tests.


The government was advised many months ago about what was needed to deal with this crisis, national cabinet again yesterday failed to deliver. People out there, we know, are very distressed and anxious and trying to get their hands on these rapid tests. It is clear that we need these to be free for everyone, business and unions and the community sector, we have all agreed on this. We did not get that yesterday, we got what we think will be a messy system that will create a lot of confusion for people. We are worried that we have not got what we need. This is a deep public health crisis and these tests are crucial tool for people to know that you’re looking after yourself and your loved ones. And it is safe for you to go back to work. That is what we need.


Senator Jacqui Lambie was also up on the Today show this morning providing her views on the Djokovic saga. In true Lambie fashion, she compared the situation to sending kids home when they play up at school:

Why does this keep dripping out of the tap? Why hasn’t the minister done anything about this? If he’s going to do him on character, because they believe that his submission has been lied in, then, you know, this is what we do when our kids play up at school. They get sent home.

So maybe it’s about time to stop this debacle, finish it once and for all without the tap keep dripping and make up your mind, Alex Hawke, and where are you, missing in action? Make a decision. If you can’t make a decision on Novak Djokovic, goodness me, how are you guys running the country? This is an absolute shambles. Let alone what it’s making us look like in the face of the rest of the world. It’s absolutely a shocker.

Good morning

Good morning,

We’ve nearly reached the end of the week, and what a week it’s been.

Sports journalists around the world were left disappointed yesterday afternoon after it became clear no decision on tennis star Novak Djokovic’s fate would be announced during prime minister Scott Morrison’s press conference.

The immigration minister, Alex Hawke, is yet to reveal whether he will revoke Djokovic’s visa. It comes as ticket sales will be capped at 50% due to the ongoing Omicron wave.

Meanwhile, the Australian Council of Trade Unions has called an emergency meeting of unions for this coming Monday due to the supply chain crisis hitting Australian shelves.

Morrison failed to respond to a letter sent by the council’s secretary, Sally McManus, at the beginning of the week. Under new rules announced after a national cabinet meeting on Thursday, workers in a swathe of industries will be allowed to go straight back to work after recording a negative rapid antigen test.

Unions say this isn’t a solution to the crisis because of increased transmission, and have been calling for free and widely available rapid antigen tests as a priority.

And travellers entering Queensland will be able to do so at their leisure with the state’s border rules to be scrapped from 1am Saturday. It comes as Queensland heads towards 90% vaccination targets.

I’m crossing my fingers for a decision on Djokovic today so we can all move on with our lives, so let’s dive in.


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