It’s unclear if Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will return to work in 10 days, although his deputy insists he’s making steady progress after a serious back injury.
Andrews suffered broken ribs and a fractured T7 vertebra after slipping on wet stairs at a holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula on March 9.
The 48-year-old was released from hospital on March 15 and has been recovering at home since.
At the time he said he would require at least six weeks off to recover.
Deputy Premier James Merlino has been acting premier in his absence.
“This was a nasty, nasty injury. Fractured ribs, fractured vertebrae. He’s very, very lucky and that was the message from his doctors when he got discharged (from hospital),” Merlino told reporters on Thursday.
“But Dan’s doctors are pleased he’s making good progress.”
Asked if the premier would return to work as planned in 10 days, Merlino replied: “He’ll come back when his doctors say he’s able to come back”.
“Over the next couple of weeks, he’ll get advice from his doctors in terms of when it’s appropriate to return, but they’re pleased with his recovery.
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“It’s a protective mechanism, with the belief that, ‘If I don’t get too ahead of myself, if this bad thing happens again, it will hurt less. I’m protecting myself from future hurt and future loss.’ ”
But does this protective mechanism actually work?
It doesn’t really matter what we’ve done beforehand, we’re going to experience the full force of that loss.
Dr Charise Deveney
Our brains are wired to avoid threats, so, perinatal and parenting psychologist Sarah-Jayne Duryea says, it’s natural to try to protect ourselves mentally from potential trauma.
“You’re wired as a human being to protect yourself emotionally and psychologically; to keep yourself safe,” she explains.
“In a perfect world, it would be wonderful if you could relax and enjoy [the pregnancy]; if you had a crystal ball that could predict the future and show you that everything would be OK … but [many people] can’t.”
And in the unfortunate event of a subsequent miscarriage, Deveney says this protective mechanism probably won’t actually make the blow easier to deal with.
“It doesn’t really matter what we’ve done beforehand, we’re going to experience the full force of that loss, whether we’ve protected against it or not,” Deveney says. “[And sometimes] if there is a subsequent loss, later there could be emerging feelings of guilt or regret about ‘Why did I not celebrate this pregnancy? I didn’t make space to be with this baby.’ ”
So what can you do if you feel so happy to be pregnant again, yet desperately worried something bad will happen?
Duryea suggests aiming for a healthy dose of protection. “[Try] not to get too caught up in focusing forward [and think], ‘Right here and now, just for today, I can relax and enjoy the feeling of this baby,’ ” she says. “Keep bringing yourself back to that.”
Deveney says it can be valuable to hash out these feelings with a therapist who specialises in perinatal issues.
“Psychological intervention is really useful to allow that gentle processing to occur,” she says.
“[It can help] to really unpack what your thoughts or feelings or beliefs are around what the loss was like … and start to think of [yourself] as a mother.”
Finding the positives in a new pregnancy
Of course, not all couples fret in a subsequent pregnancy.
“There is definitely a chunk of women who would have a miscarriage and be very logical and pragmatic, [thinking], ‘It wasn’t meant to be; it’s sad but I can accept that it wasn’t meant to be for whatever reason,’ ” Deveney says.
For Aimee Sing, 32, a change in attitude about pregnancy helped her cope when she fell pregnant with her daughter Willow, now seven, following a miscarriage.
“I was finding it really difficult to surrender to it, having all these tests to try and make sure everything was OK,” Sing, a birth doula and lactation consultant, recalls.
“But a friend said, ‘Wouldn’t it be a shame if you didn’t just revel in every moment of this pregnancy [and] the time you get to have with this baby? If it is short-lived, why not try to really enjoy that experience while you can?’ I thought that was a really beautiful way of approaching it.”
So Sing took photos, made baby books and did lots of journaling throughout her pregnancy as though the baby would get the chance to read them – which, fortunately, she did.
“It really helped me re-orient my ideas around what pregnancy was and the fact that even if I didn’t have a baby to hold in my arms at the end, I was still a mum and I got to have that opportunity of being a mother just through pregnancy itself,” she recalls.
Sing went on to have two more miscarriages before having her son Hamish, now four, and daughter Evalie, now one.
“For each pregnancy, we did the same thing: journaling, documenting what was going on and meditating to really try and enjoy the pregnancy for the fact it was a pregnancy, not that it would be a baby at the end necessarily,” Sing says.
“I also told family and friends, which really helped me think, ‘Yeah it’s a pregnancy, and I’m happy for that in itself.’”
How to help your loved ones help you
A lot of people who haven’t experienced miscarriage may not understand the depth of grief some parents feel after a loss.
“They may have dreamed up all of these hopes and dreams [thinking], ‘When they’re 17 I’m going to buy them a car and they’re going to go to university’,” Duryea says.
“But there’s no visual representation for that like there would be if it was a partner who passed away. Nobody else can really access those things because it was in your body, contained within you.”
If your loved ones are struggling to understand why you’re not ready to talk baby names or gender reveals, Dr Deveney suggests gently explaining the “dual process” you are experiencing.
“It’s a psychologically complex process – often you will swing between remembering the loss and the terror of something bad happening in this pregnancy, and then swing back to, ‘There’s a baby growing and that is exciting,’” she says.
“I think it’s important to be able to acknowledge this out loud and say something like, ‘I can see that for you, this is really exciting and you’re desperate for me to find joy in this. I need you to know that that part is there for me somewhere, but there’s also another part that I find really terrifying and I’m finding it difficult to trust that this will be OK’.”
And Duryea says it’s worth noting that you will find a new normal. “We never forget that we’ve lost that person or that little spark of life, but life does move on around that loss and that hole and we learn to adapt,” she says. “I would just encourage people to keep gently and compassionately bringing themselves back to the present moment, perhaps by saying, ‘I’m OK, the baby is here,’ or, ‘I’m in one piece.’”
If you need support for pregnancy loss, go to sands.org.au or call Sands’ 24/7 support-line on 1300 072 637.
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Hosting alongside some of the world’s best broadcasting talent for the Tokyo Olympics is a pinch me moment for Abbey Gelmi.
The Perth raised sports presenter will be front and centre as part of Seven’s Olympics coverage alongside the likes of Bruce McAvaney, Hamish McLachlan, Johanna Griggs, Basil Zempilas, Matt Shirvington and Edwina Bartholomew when the Games kick off on July 23.
With just 100 days to go, it’s a prestigious honour for the 31-year-old, Gelmi describing the atmosphere and excitement of the world’s biggest sporting competition as one big “reality TV” show.
“It’s the ultimate reality TV, the Olympics — the highs, lows, big blows — it doesn’t matter who is competing people are competing for their dreams and it’s going to be really exciting to cover,” Gelmi told The West Australian.
Sport has always run thick in Gelmi’s veins, her grandfather Herb Elliot won gold and set a world record at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and she has spent many years re-watching his old tapes.
“What struck me about Pa was his dedication and his win at all costs approach to running and that’s what I really love about the Olympics,” she said.
“It doesn’t get much more dramatic than people getting one shot in four years or in this case five years, to have a go at their dreams.”
While this year’s Games won’t be without it’s logistical challenges, including potential banning of crowds and cheering, Gelmi says the broadcast will be more important than ever.
“When you speak to athletes, while yes, some of them like to vibe off a crowd they don’t need extra motivation to chase after something they’ve wanted their whole life,” she added.
However, a small time difference between Australia and Tokyo, viewers will get to watch the best events in real time.
“I think the beauty of the time slot that means in real time these athletes will know that families in living rooms across the country that they are gathered cheering them on.”
The Northern Territory’s Chief Minister says he was not informed of the alleged rape of a three-year-old in Darwin until “quite a few days after” the incident, and says police need to be more transparent about serious sexual assault allegations.
NT Police allege a toddler was sexually assaulted in Darwin on Thursday night
But the Chief Minister and his Police Minister were not informed until days later
NT Police have defended withholding the information for several days
NT Police Minister Nicole Manison said she was not informed about the incident for about four days.
On Friday a 21-year-old man was charged with sexual intercourse without consent after allegedly approaching and assaulting the toddler in the front yard of his Karama home on Thursday night.
NT Police have been criticised for waiting until Monday morning to publicly disclose the incident — a day after some details were published in local online outlet NT Independent.
An NT Police spokesman defended the delay by saying the alleged offender was quickly apprehended and posed no risk to the community, and the alleged victim’s privacy was paramount.
The Office of the Children’s Commissioner, a statutory authority responsible for the wellbeing of vulnerable children, said it did not receive key information from child protection agency Territory Families “in the timely manner” it expected.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner this morning said he was unaware of the incident until “quite a few days” later.
“I understand where the Children’s Commissioner is coming from. I also understand what police are saying,” he told ABC Radio Darwin.
“Their priority is catching the person [allegedly] involved, and I get it, they did that.
“But it is one of those crimes where I believe it’s important that people are told about it.
He said the issue was “probably not systemic” but he had raised it with Ms Manison, who said she accepted the point and would pass the concern on to NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker.
But speaking to Darwin radio station Mix 104.9 on Thursday morning, Ms Manison said she supported police in their decision making.
She also confirmed she was not informed of the allegation until Monday morning.
“I think in this case I can understand why people were concerned because of the nature of the assault and what had happened,” she said.
“But what police had done in this instance was [they] caught the [alleged] offender swiftly, removed the risk from the community pretty much immediately, and they have made a decision after working with the [alleged] victim here that they thought the Monday was the best time to put out the information.
“The police make some really difficult decisions each and every day and I’m always going to go and back them in.”
The 21-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, last faced court on Tuesday and was remanded in custody.
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One of Sydney’s oldest and busiest railway lines has been picked up and moved in just 48 hours to make way for a brand-new Sydney Metro.
The Trains T1 North Shore Line between Chatswood and Artarmon – first built in 1890 – was permanently moved this week to make room for a new city-bound metro, NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has announced.
The tracks were blocking the site of the new line and were cut and moved to connect with new tracks 20-metres to the west, making way for the Metro North West line to extend into the new twin metro tunnels.
“We’ve essentially picked up and moved one of Sydney’s oldest and busiest railway lines, which was an amazing feat of engineering and required incredibly hard work from the 250 local workers involved,” Mr Constance said.
“The huge operation took 48 hours to cut, slew and join the existing suburban line with almost 900 metres of new track and about 2.5 kilometres of new overhead wiring.
“I want to thank the entire team for safely completing this work in last weekend’s extreme weather conditions, and for getting services back up and running in time for Monday’s peak.
“Work to convert the new tunnels and underground stations into a working metro railway is gathering pace and this is another major piece in the puzzle.”
The trackwork has been completed at Chatswood so that the Sydney Metro can be extended from the city’s northwest into the Sydney CBD and beyond to Bankstown.
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Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Matt Marshall said the fine weather should last for a least a week.
“There’s a lot clearer dry air over south-east Queensland now, so we’re just looking at sunshine, [and] temperatures back to normal for this time of year – pretty much for the next seven days,” Mr Marshall said.
The La Nina weather system that brought rain, flash-flooding and swollen rivers is also on the way out.
“We generally trend towards drier conditions for the next few months, and usually it’s not until a little bit later in the year that the good rainfall starts picking up again,” Mr Marshall said.
“That said though, going into April we still do have a moderate signal that we could see higher than median rainfall.”
Despite days of rain — and with flood warnings still current — authorities are asking people to conserve water.
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Exclusive footage obtained by 9News shows the Monday morning rescue in which a man was trapped for almost an hour on the same Glenorie road where another man, a Pakistani national, was unable to free himself from his car on Wednesday.
Both incidents have raised questions about the placement of floodgates on Cattai Ridge Road, which is sparsely populated near Hidden Valley Lane where the vehicles went off the road.
A local resident who gave his name only as Adam said the water was almost to the window of the stranded ute before a neighbour rescued the driver on Monday.
“My neighbour was up moving stuff to higher ground in his bobcat and a car had gone off — a ute had gone off in the same corner,” he told 9News.
“It was only that he was up in his bobcat saw the car there and the man had been trapped for an hour so he got in there and ripped it out.”
Wednesday’s incident ended in tragedy, with the driver speaking with emergency services and struggling to get out of his hired Toyota for 35 minutes before the call cut out.
The car, with signs of someone “fighting for their life to get out” but unbroken windows, was found with the man’s body inside about six hours later, leaving police investigating whether an electrical failure trapped him.
“We can only speculate again that given what I have seen and the damage to the vehicle that it could very well be that the electrics totally failed, and he was simply unable to escape from the car which is an absolute tragedy,” Detective Inspector Chris Laird said.
“Also, the fact that he was on the phone for so long is even more tragic and is going to form part of our inquiries as to what actually went on in the car and why this tragic accident occurred.
“What more can I say than a man who is possibly about to pass away, he is on the phone and the water is rising.”
They’re also looking into whether the road closures were made visible enough. Police said the man was on his first day on the job as a contractor and unfamiliar with the area and that a padlocked gate meant to block off the road was underwater.
“To have two things like that happen within three days, maybe we should move the flood gates up a bit higher,” Adam said.
“The flood gates are probably at least 20 to 30 metres down the road now.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also confirmed the death in Parliament.
“This is a terribly sad day for that family,” Mr Morrison said.
“We have seen so much over the course of the past year and more as this country has battled so many things – floods, fires, viruses, drought and now these floods again.
“And now this family will get this news and they will grieve.”
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A series of dramatic radar images has provided a snapshot of Sydney’s rainfall over the last six days.
The images show the progress of heavy rain were taken each day at 11am from Thursday last week to Tuesday this week.
Sydney’s Observatory Hill weather station, received a total of 307 mm of rain over the six day period ending at 9am on Wednesday morning, according to Weatherzone.
Metropolitan weather stations recorded totals in excess of 400 millimeters in several suburbs.
Weatherzone meteorologist Joel Pippard said Sydney “is in the ‘sweet spot’ in that it is far enough south that cold fronts regularly affect it”.
“But still far enough north that tropical air can regularly reach it during the summer/autumn months,” Mr Pippard said.
“The East Australia Current brings warm tropical waters south from near the equator. Warmer waters mean more moisture in the atmosphere.
“It’s also worth mentioning that Sydney’s rain events seem to last so long because of the type of systems that usually bring the heavy rain are inherently slow-moving.”
Weatherzone has predicted clear weather for the first half of Thursday, before a chance of showers in the afternoon and evening.
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North Korea has fired a ‘ballistic missile’ into the sea, Japan’s defence ministry said, days after the secretive state completed a short-range missile test.
The military in neighbouring South Korea reported an “unidentified projectile” had been fired off the peninsula’s east coast into the sea on Thursday.
North Korea’s ballistic missiles are banned under UN Security Council Resolutions, and if the launch is confirmed, it would represent the first ballistic-missile test launch under new U.S. President Joe Biden.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff did not identify or elaborate on what the projectile was or when it was launched.
It may have been a ballistic missile, a spokesman for Japan’s defence ministry said.
He said: “It has not fallen within Japanese territory and is not believed to have come down within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.”
Earlier the Japanese coast guard warned ships against coming close to any fallen objects and instead asked them to provide information to the coast guard.
Yonhap News Agency reports that South Korean has convened an emergency National Security Council meeting on the launches.
It comes after North Korea fired two short-range missiles at the weekend, U.S. and South Korean officials said.
But the US played down the first such tests under Joe Biden and said it was still open to dialogue with Pyongyang.
North Korea said it would not engage until the US dropped its ‘hostile policies’, including carrying out military drills with South Korea.
The country has not tested a intercontinental ballistic missile in more than three years, but has continued production of nuclear weapons.
News of the launches comes a week after Kim Yo Jong, sister of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, sent a warning to Joe Biden.
“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land,” she said, the North Korean state news agency reports.
“If it wants to sleep in peace for [the] coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”
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Major flooding continues in Beaudesert, south of Brisbane, in the wake of days of heavy rain, which covered roads and threatened homes across south-east Queensland.
Residents in Beaudesert were put on notice to evacuate on Tuesday evening as the Logan River reached major flood levels. On Wednesday, the river level had paused at 12.17 metres, near its peak.
River levels have started to ease across the upper reaches of the Logan and Albert River catchments, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
However, further downstream river rises are expected to continue as upstream floodwaters arrive.
Meteorologist James Thompson said major flooding was possible for the Macintyre, Condamine and Logan Rivers, as well as the Bremer River and Warrill Creek.
“River levels are expected to remain high after a wet week,” he said.
“The chance of thunderstorms has shifted to north of Hervey Bay – severe thunderstorms are possible for central and eastern Queensland today, and then parts of the far north and north east tropics tomorrow.”
Widespread rainfall totals between 75mm and 350mm have been recorded in the Logan area over the past 48 hours to 9:00am today.
Chris Dunbar resorted to kayaking to and from his Logan home today after it was cut off by the swollen Schmidts Creek.
The creek has isolated at least five houses on Schmidts Road in Logan Reserve.
“I’ve got a mate coming, he’s got the newspaper for us”, he said.
Mr Dunbar and his neighbours are expecting the water to remain for a while but they were “pretty well stocked up”.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall said heavy rainfall had cleared in south-east Queensland.
“All the water we’re dealing with is now in the river systems.”
Mr Hall said the significant rainfall over the past few days had failed to top up the region’s biggest dams.
“The bad news … was it didn’t really stretch into the upper parts of the Brisbane River, Stanley River, upstream of the main dams there – Wivenhoe Dam and Somerset,” he said.
Wivenhoe Dam is currently at 37 per cent capacity, while Somerset Dam is sitting at almost 78 per cent.
However, the situation at Storm King Dam at Stanthorpe left residents rejoicing after the main reservoir finally reached full capacity.
The dam hit critically low levels in January last year, forcing water to be trucked in daily to supply the town’s residents.
Stanthorpe recorded 127mm of rain in the last week filling the dam to 100 per cent capacity.
Southern Downs Regional Mayor Vic Pennisi said locals are “breathing a sigh of relief”.
“This community, as a lot of rural communities, is very resilient.”
Cr Pennisi said he expects there will be a transition period before the trucks are no longer required.
The SES has been working non-stop with 574 call-outs since 5:00am yesterday, and more than 1,400 since Sunday morning.
Swift water crews were called to rescue a man in his fifties, trapped by floodwaters off the Gore Highway at Wyaga, near Goondiwindi, early this morning.
A QFES spokeswoman said he was found on the roof of his car but was not injured.
South-west SES Regional Manager Bob Bundy said their focus today was on the border town of Texas.
“The Dumaresq River has risen to above the 8-metre mark, which is a concern,” Mr Bundy said.
“QPS and SES were door knocking residents in the lower-lying areas throughout the evening just because there could be inundation there.
“So the local disaster management group has been stood up just to monitor that.”
Dennis Rush said the floodwaters had started to creep underneath his home at Hopewood, east of Texas, as the Dumuresq River peaked above 8 metres.
He said the flooding was “nothing like the 2011” floods but it had done a lot of damage to his crop.
“It’s done considerable damage to our farming country, but it’s done a lot of good too to underground water resources and for our trees and just overall general health of the land.”
Mr Hope said he received 137 millimetres of rain in a 24-hour period, “saturating” his property.
“I’ve never, ever seen creeks and waterways run on our country like it did.”
In Boonah, south-west of Brisbane, graziers have welcomed recent rain.
A month ago, Moogerah Dam was down to 13 per cent capacity, but recent rains have boosted it to above 38 per cent.
Local grazier and businessman Richard Christensen said the region was reaching crisis point, but now the outlook had improved.
“Going into winter we’re looking really good because we’ve got grass, we’ve got water, so hopefully for the next 12 months we’re right,” he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology said dozens of gauges across Queensland had surpassed 120 millimetres of rain.
The highest falls were recorded in the south-east, though no records were broken.
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