Good morning all.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the state’s reopening plan. At 70% of the state fully vaccinated, expected on 19 November, people will be able to enter Queensland from domestic hotspots, provided they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air. Palaszczuk said the measures were “good news” for families looking to be reunited for Christmas. But it does mean the border is closed for another two months.
Trade Minister Dan Tehan has indicated changes to the working holiday visa as part of the new free-trade deal with the UK. Tehan said he would seek extra visa changes over the coming months to lure a greater share of British citizens to the Australian workforce. Recent ABS data showed a significant number of businesses continued to report difficulties in filling their vacancies.
Scott Morrison has told Liberal colleagues he plans to move ahead with a net zero plan despite the grumbling of Nationals, the Nine papers report. It comes amid increasing pressure from the global community and the Australian business lobby, which has called for more clarity from the federal government. Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce warned yesterday of a “ripple effect through the Coalition” if he and his party were forced to submit to net zero. Morrison told colleagues the decision will be made in the party room, not Parliament, limiting the options of rogue members to dissent.
Victorian business groups have welcomed the surprise acceleration of the lockdown plan but want further clarity regarding the retail and live music sectors. “We welcome the additional weekend of trade and we welcome the additional easing particularly around hospitality,” Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra said of the Sunday announcement. “But we are short of where NSW is at and we need to close that gap quickly.”
Some assorted COVID numbers. Victoria recorded 1749 new, locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths. NSW, meanwhile, recorded 273 new local cases and four deaths. Queensland reported no new local cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Tasmania also recorded no new cases, with the southern part of the state waking up out of a snap three-day lockdown this morning.
News from ICAC for you. Office of Sport director Michael Toohey on Monday told the corruption inquiry that it would have been pertinent to know that Gladys Berejiklian was in a relationship with disgraced former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire while she was advocating for a grant in his Wagga Wagga electorate in 2016. “I can’t see that was anything but a conflict of interest,” he said.
Retailers are not happy about one particular rule. General retail businesses can reopen with customers in their stores at 80% double vaccination. From Friday, and until that threshold, they will only be able to trade outdoors or with click and collect. “To just expect them to be putting product onto a footpath is simply ludicrous for some, impossible for others and generally really doesn’t help them a great deal,” said the Australian Industry Group’s Victorian head, Tim Pipe.
Apple unveiled the new MacBook Pro at its October hardware event. The new, high-end laptop is configurable with Apple’s powerful new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. But Apple also back-tracked slightly, reintroducing MagSafe charging and nixing the Touch Bar. Also announced were a new generation of AirPods.
Microsoft president Brad Smith reportedly told Bill Gates to stop emailing female employees. The Wall Street Journal reported Smith confronted Gates “more than a decade ago”. Sources said two top Microsoft executives — current president Smith and former HR chief Lisa Brummel — met with Gates and asked him to put an end to his behaviour. A Gates spokesperson called the report “false, recycled rumours”.
Google wants to be the first Big Tech giant to run entirely on clean energy sources 24 hours a day. But going carbon-free isn’t just about climate change, CEO Sundar Pichai told Bloomberg — it benefits recruiting too. He said Gen Z won’t want “to work for a company which they feel is polluting”.
Some people have too much time on their hands.