A woman has drowned and a man is missing after they went for a night swim in big surf on the Gold Coast, AAP reports.
The pair was initially seen going into the ocean at Old Burleigh Rd, Broadbeach about 9.20pm on Thursday.
People found a woman laying unresponsive on the beach about a half an hour later and called emergency services.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man is missing, with police on Friday morning using a helicopter to scour the water and local beaches.
Long waits at Melbourne testing sites
With the news this week of another hotel quarantine worker contracting Covid-19, there are again long waits at Melbourne testing sites.
All residents of the city have been urged to get tested if they develop symptoms.
At Keysborough, there are reports of a two-hour wait time – even at opening.
Last night, WA premier Mark McGowan confirmed that more than 80 homes had been destroyed by a bushfire in Perth’s north-east.
McGowan described the loss as “too much to comprehend”.
“We’re all thinking of those who’ve lost their homes,” he said. “In some cases, their livelihoods.”
Victoria bans gay conversion practices
Overnight, in a late night sitting of Victorian parliament, gay conversion practices were banned in the state.
AAP has this report:
Gay conversion practices have been banned in Victoria following a lengthy debate in parliament overnight, during which two Liberal MPs broke with party ranks to vote against the bill.
The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill passed the legislative council on Thursday night 29 votes to nine following a 12-hour debate.
Liberal MPs Bev McArthur and Bernie Finn broke party ranks and voted against the government’s legislation, along with crossbench MPs Jeff Bourman, Catherine Cumming, Clifford Hayes, Stuart Grimley, David Limbrick, Tania Maxwell and Tim Quilty.
The bill will outlaw practices that seek to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Those found to have engaged in conversion practices that result in serious injury will face penalties of up to 10 years’ jail or up to $10,000 in fines.
In supporting the bill, Animal Justice party MP Andy Meddick described himself as the proud father of two “perfect” transgender children.
“They do not need fixing,” he said. “Nor do any other children or adults who do not fit an often religiously held belief that sexuality and gender are binary only.”
Labor’s Harriet Shing, the first openly lesbian member of Victorian parliament, acknowledged conversion therapy victims and survivor groups who have advocated for the ban for many years.
Here is that tweet from Greg Hunt yesterday with a Liberal party logo, that Berejiklian was asked about. In case you missed it.
No call to raise caps from NSW
Earlier, NSW premier Gladys Berijiklian declined to say whether she would support an increase to the arrivals cap.
ABC host Michael Rowland asked her twice whether she agreed that the cap should be raised, saying that the prime minister, Scott Morrison, will be lobbying for that at national cabinet today.
“I support a system where every state does its fair share,” Berejiklian says. “New South Wales has been … taking 3,000 every week.
“I just say to the other states, it’s important for all of us to do our fair share, to make sure we support returning Australians but also that we accept and appreciate, as NSW has done, that the quarantine system is really the biggest risk we have from the virus”.
She also said that NSW didn’t need more hotel quarantine support from the federal government, and waved away calls for federal government to assume more of the role.
“I’m not quite sure what they’re [other premiers] asking for in terms of, operationally, the systems are already up and running. We have some federal agencies supporting the NSW effort, whether it’s Border Force or the ADF support what we’re doing in the system.
“I don’t understand what they mean by increasing the support. Of course, financially, that would be useful but, operationally, the systems are already there and it’s joint efforts. I mean, the NSW police force is in charge of our quarantine system and they have been from day one … to disrupt that would be detrimental.”
Berejiklian is also asked about health minister Greg Hunt’s decision yesterday to attach a Liberal party logo to an announcement about Australia acquiring 10 million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
ABC host Michael Rowland asks: “Would you, as a political leader, as a government leader, attach a political logo to a taxpayer-funded announcement?”
Berejiklian refuses to criticise Hunt.
“I’m not going to comment on something I haven’t seen … there are lots of life and death issues facing our community today. I’m not going to go into that one.”
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian is being interviewed on the ABC right now.
She says that the recent leaks from hotel quarantine show that the risks are always there.
“You have thousands of workers involved. You have to transport people to the system and often people with the virus are more contagious in a closed environment like a bus or a taxi, or an Uber, than they are in a hotel room.
“No matter where the quarantine system is, that risk doesn’t go away, it doesn’t solve the problem”.
Good morning and welcome back to our live coverage of Australian news and the coronavirus. It’s Naaman Zhou here with you.
It’s Friday – so parliament isn’t sitting, but national cabinet meets today. With two states currently under increased restrictions (Western Australia and Victoria), we can expect hotel quarantine to be on the discussion table.
And, after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive on Wednesday night, all eyes will be on Melbourne and the latest Covid-19 figures today.
Meanwhile, a parliamentary inquiry will ask experts from the health department to give an update and further information on our vaccine approval process.
We’ll bring you all the latest as it happens. Stay with us.