Attorney-General Christian Porter has launched defamation proceedings in the Federal Court over what he said are “false allegations” made by the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan.
The online stories at the centre of the proceedings claimed Mr Porter was the subject of historical rape allegations and he was also allegedly a misogynist and sexist.
“Although he was not named, the article made allegations against a Senior Cabinet Minister and the Attorney-General was easily identifiable to many Australians as the subject of the allegations,” Mr Porter’s lawyer Rebekah Giles said in a statement.
“Over the last few weeks, the Attorney-General has been subjected to trial by media without regard to the presumption of innocence or the rules of evidence and without any proper disclosure of the material said to support the untrue allegations.
“If the ABC and Ms Milligan wish to argue the truth of the allegations, they can do so in these proceedings.”
The defamation action will provide what many people have been calling for, an independent judicial-led inquiry with an outcome based on the balance of probabilities.
Mr Porter has recruited high-profile barristers Bret Walker SC and Sue Chrysanthou SC, and defamation specialist Ms Giles.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant has confirmed the security guard who tested positive for COVID-19 picked up the virus from an identified returned infectious traveller.
“Investigations have confirmed that this gentleman did work a shift on the same floor, floor 11 in the Sofitel when the international returned traveller was infectious prior to them being transported to the Sydney health accommodation. An genomic sequencing indicates they are a match. It has identical sequences to that of the security guard,” Dr Chant said.
NSW Health has also reviewed CCTV footage and are re-testing the security guard’s co-workers as well as everyone on floor 11 of the hotel.
The quarantine period for those staying on floor 11 is also being extended until March 23.
Testing continues on close contacts of the case, who remains asymptomatic. The man’s household contacts have all tested negative, and will continue to self-isolate for 14 days.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and NSW Health Deputy Secretary Susan Pearce to provide an update on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been discharged from The Alfred Hospital after a fall on stairs in a holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula.
Premier Andrews was moved from the ICU into a hospital ward over the weekend and now will start rehabilitation through the Alfred Hospital’s Better Care at Home service.
Queensland has recorded six new cases of coronavirus, but all in hotel quarantine.
The state is on high alert after a doctor tested positive to COVID-19 on Friday after treating patients with coronavirus.
So far none of the 272 contacts of the female doctor and 160 staff from the Princess Alexandra Hospital have come back positive
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was concerned about the big spike in coronavirus cases in Papua New Guinea who were responsible for the bulk of the positive cases in hotel quarantine.
“Given our close proximity to Papua New Guinea I think it’s something we should be concerned about,” she said.
Queensland Health officials said genomic sequencing had linked the doctor’s COVID case back to the Hotel Grand Chancellor which was the site of a previous outbreak.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Acting Chief Health Officer Sonya Bennett will provide an update on the coronavirus situation in Victoria.
Victoria has reported no new COVID-19 cases for the fifth consecutive day.
An ambassador for the Women’s March 4 Justice said the key issue the campaign wants addressed is leadership on gendered violence.
Georgie Dent, who is a contributing editor of Women’s Agenda, told the ABC there only way to address gender inequality is through “intentional leadership”.
“And that is what we are demanding. So they March 4 Justice has listed a set of demands for immediate action, including things like implementing all of the recommendations in the historic sex discrimination inquiry that Kate Jenkins handed down in March last year,” Ms Dent said.
She said the March 4 Justice is also demanding an independent inquiry into the historic allegations against the Attorney-General.
“It is important to recognise that these marches today are the beginning. It is not the end. It is not the culmination of a very ugly few weeks and this is where it ends,” Ms Dent said.
Commenting on the decision to decline a meeting with the Prime Minister, Ms Dent said Mr Morrison has an opportunity “to take seriously the needs of women” by attending the march.
“If they want to say with any shred of credibility that they are listening, that they recognise that women are constituents, that women comprise just over half the population, if they want to acknowledge that and recognise that the time for action is now the only appropriate course of action is to come outside and to watch and to listen to the March 4 Justice,” she said.
The Netherlands on Sunday joined a fast-growing list of countries suspending use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine after reports of unexpected possible side effects from the injection.
The vaccine will not be used until at least March 29 as a precaution, the Dutch government said in a statement.
The announcement will lead to delays in rolling out shots in the Netherlands, which had pre-ordered 12 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Health authorities had scheduled around 290,000 AstraZeneca injections in the coming two weeks.
The move, which follows a similar decision by Ireland earlier in the day, is based on reports from Denmark and Norway of possible serious side effects, the government said.
Three health workers in Norway who had recently received the vaccine were being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets, Norwegian health authorities said on Saturday.
No such cases had been found yet in the Netherlands, the Dutch Health ministry said, adding there was no proof yet of a direct link between the vaccine and the reports from Denmark and Norway.
“We can’t allow any doubts about the vaccine,” Dutch Health minister Hugo de Jonge said.
“We have to make sure everything is right, so it is wise to pause for now.”
AstraZeneca said on Sunday a review of safety data of people vaccinated with its COVID-19 vaccine has shown no evidence of an increased risk of blood clots.
Late last week, the Dutch government said there was no reason to stop using the AstraZeneca vaccine, as the EMA said there was no indication it could cause blood clots.
But De Jonge said his decision was informed by new reports, which would now be investigated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Along with Denmark, Norway and Ireland, Iceland has also suspended the use of the vaccine over clotting issues, while Thailand became the first country outside of Europe to do so on Friday.
Italy’s northern region of Piedmont on Sunday said it would stop using a batch of AstraZeneca vaccines after a teacher died following his vaccination on Saturday. Austria also stopped using a particular batch last week.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said he won’t deal with hypotheticals on how the Labor Party will deal with allegations of abuse but said he believes “women who come forward”.
“I will not deal with things hypothetically in advance. If there are positions put forward against anyone in the Labor Party, that should be dealt with at the time,” he told a media conference in Canberra.
Mr Albanese said Labor has established an internal process to deal with complaints.
“We have had a process established, not by me, led by the women in the Labor Party, including the caucus chair,” he said.
“There are processes there that are available, and I would encourage women to come forward. I encourage women to speak out. I encourage men to listen to those concerns and to respond.”
On specific allegations, Mr Albanese said he has seen no names put forward in documentation but he encourages people to come forward.