ASX investors have started the month with gains after a broad-based rally, as Australia prepares to exit recession when GDP data is published on Wednesday.
Western Australia will reopen its borders to NSW and Victoria from 8 December, Premier Mark McGowan has confirmed.
Travellers from those states will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days, having endured almost nine months of restrictions.
It means WA has removed border controls for all states and territories besides South Australia, which continues to grapple with a community outbreak.
Travellers from NSW and Victoria will still be required to undergo health screening and a temperature check at the airport, complete a G2G pass outlining recent travel and take a COVID-19 test if necessary.
“I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone for their patience and understanding,” Premier Mark McGowan told reporters on Tuesday.
“It’s been a long wait.
“As a country, I’m so relieved we’ve gotten to this point. It’s a credit to all Australians that we are nearly at the point of eliminating the virus in the community.”
Victoria has already reached WA’s criteria of 28 days without community transmission to qualify for eased border rules, while NSW has now gone 24 days without a locally-acquired infection.
Travel from SA remains prohibited unless arrivals meet strict exemption criteria and isolate for 14 days.
People driving across the Nullarbor from the east coast will also be treated as arriving from SA.
Mr McGowan said the border controls with SA would not change until at least 11 December and would be reviewed next week.
The premier said he was hopeful of soon reuniting with his NSW-based parents.
“The last nine months have not been easy,” he said.
“I know the border arrangements have put pressure on families and have been hard to comprehend at times.
“As premier of the state, I never thought I would bring in state border controls. It definitely has been an extraordinary year.”
Mr McGowan also announced places of worship will be exempt from the two square metre rule and able to operate at 60 per cent capacity, effective immediately.
WA recorded three new COVID cases overnight, all returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits.
If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus
The world’s largest cruise industry association will introduce tough new COVID-19 measures, to come into effect when the current domestic ban on cruising soon lifts.
The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) has confirmed it will impose mandatory COVID-19 tests for guests and crew before boarding, limit passenger numbers, and conduct daily health monitoring and temperature checks for all on board.
Joel Katz, CLIA’s managing director for Australasia, wants the Australian Government to replace the current ban on cruising, which expires on December 17, with a process that would allow cruise lines to start looking at a carefully managed resumption in 2021.
“Australia’s relative success in stemming community transmission of COVID-19 — together with the Australasian cruise industry’s robust strategy — creates an opportunity for a tightly managed and phased revival of the country’s $5 billion-a-year cruise industry,” Mr Katz said.
“This would initially involve restricted local cruises for local residents only, with limited passenger numbers, 100 per cent testing of guests and crew, and extensive screening and sanitation protocols in place.”
Under the proposed protocols, cruise ships would initially operate within Australian state or national borders while travel restrictions are in place and would be quarantined upon their return to Australian shores.
CLIA said its COVID-19 safety plan “is extensive and meets or exceeds the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) guidelines”.
Mr Katz said the industry is continuing to work with the Federal Government to develop a “framework for the resumption of cruising”.
A Carnival Australia spokesman said the company welcomed CLIA’s proposal.
“The peak industry body Cruise Lines International Association Australasia is taking the lead in working with the Federal Government and government authorities in relation to the restart of cruising when the time is right,” he said.
The proposed guidelines come after a detailed examination into the Ruby Princess cruise ship’ arrival and the failings that led to it being at the centre of one of Australia’s largest coronavirus outbreaks.
Thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark when it docked in Sydney at the conclusion of two separate voyages in March.
On both occasions, the ship, owned by company Princess Cruises, was docked in Sydney, and some passengers were at the time displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
In the weeks that followed, 663 of the passengers tested positive for COVID-19 in Australia, and around the world, and 28 people died.
An inquiry was held in August and found the Ruby Princess cruise ship outbreak resulted from “serious”, “inexcusable” and “inexplicable” mistakes by NSW Health.
But the report from the special commission of inquiry made few recommendations, saying health authorities had recognised failings, and would “do things differently if they had their time again”.
“It is inappropriate and unhelpful to make recommendations to experts that in truth amount to no more than ‘do your job’,” Commissioner Bret Walker SC said in his report.
The club also declared at the time that the players would pay the $75,000 fine imposed however after push-back from the players’ managers and the AFL Players’ Association and with the emotion receding, the club acknowledged that a solution was likely to be reached between the player and the club although any agreement has been kept under wraps.
Neither player was in the team at the time the incident occurred however Richmond ruckman Ivan Soldo suffered an ACL injury in round 17 that ruled him out for the season so the Tigers were forced to play just one ruckman, Toby Nankervis, for the finals in Coleman-Jones’ absence.
After their initial anger subsided the Tigers hierarchy firmly committed to the two players with three-time premiership coach Damien Hardwick publicly backing the pair on the eve of the club’s preliminary final clash with Port Adelaide to learn from their mistake.
“We’re supportive of them as a club. We are incredibly disappointed in their actions but the fact of the matter it’s a learning opportunity for both of those boys,” Hardwick said.
“They can either sit there and think about what they have done and dwell on it or grow from it. We will continue to support those boys. They are Richmond men. We love what they bring when they are at their very best. They made a mistake and we will continue to invest in those boys.”
Stack returned to Western Australia and Coleman-Jones to South Australia after the incident.
Richmond have been quiet since the end of the season recording a small profit despite the huge dent on revenue caused by COVID-19. They also lost lively small forward Jack Higgins during the trade period as he became impatient for opportunity and decided to join St Kilda and traded running defender Oleg Markov to the Gold Coast.
The Tigers have picks 17, 36, 61, 79 and 97 in the upcoming draft but could keep a rookie spot open to add a player via the rookie draft or pre-season supplemental selection period.
Most of their squad will return to training in January with the AFL grand final played at the Gabba on October 24 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Twelve films to watch in December
(Image credit: DC Films/Warner Bros)
Nicholas Barber picks 12 of the best films coming out next month, including a new Pixar animation, the Wonder Woman sequel and Chadwick Boseman’s last film.
(Credit: David Lee / Netflix)
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Chicago, 1927. Ma Rainey, the pioneering ‘Mother of the Blues’, is due to record a new album, but things go badly wrong due to a white manager who is exploiting her, and a trumpeter with ambitions of his own. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is adapted from the acclaimed play by August Wilson. The film version is produced by Denzel Washington, and it stars an almost unrecognisable Viola Davis as Rainey. But it will be remembered, above all else, as the last film Chadwick Boseman acted in before he died of cancer this summer. According to BBC Culture’s Caryn James, “Boseman deserves the awards buzz. While his delivery is fiery, it is not histrionic. It is piercing.” Meanwhile, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian calls it a “detonation of pure acting firepower… ferociously intelligent and violently focused, an opera of passion and pain”.
On Netflix from 18 Dec
Promising Young Woman
The multi-faceted Emerald Fennell plays Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown. But she is also a writer-director who masterminded the second series of Killing Eve. In her “startling debut feature”, says Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter, she “demonstrates a fearlessness about narrative extremes and a skill with violence that were no doubt honed on that edgy show”. The premise of Fennell’s dark comedy is that Cassie, played by Carey Mulligan, dropped out of medical school after she was assaulted there 10 years earlier. By way of revenge, she goes to bars and pretends to get black-out drunk. The men who take her home, hoping to take advantage of her, get more than they bargained for.
Released on 25 Dec in the US and Canada, 31 Dec in Singapore, and 1 Jan in Australia and Turkey
(Credit: Zentropa Entertainments)
Another Round / Druk
Thomas Vinterberg, the director of Festen, made The Hunt with Mads Mikkelsen in 2012. Now the pair have teamed up again for an intoxicating mid-life crisis comedy drama, Another Round, which is Denmark’s entry for Best International Film at next year’s Oscars. Mikkelsen plays a fortysomething teacher who can’t muster the energy to keep either his pupils or his family happy. That all changes when he and three friends decide to test the theory that adults are more motivated and creative if they are slightly under the influence of alcohol at all times. “Drunkenness has rarely been done this well on screen,” says Emma Simmonds in the Radio Times, “and Another Round convincingly captures the hilarious highs and devastating lows of a wonderfully ridiculous experiment, as the characters slur, dance and stumble their way to an absolutely sensational ending.”
Released on 3 Dec in the Netherlands and 18 Dec in the US
The Midnight Sky
George Clooney’s snowy science-fiction adventure is set in a post-apocalyptic future that might even be worse than the real world in 2020. As well as directing and producing, Clooney stars as Augustine, a scientist stationed in an Arctic observatory. He needs to contact a spaceship so that he can warn its astronauts (Felicity Jones and David Oyelowo, among others) not to return to the ruined Earth. But the only antenna with a signal strong enough to reach them is miles away across the icy wastes. The Midnight Sky is adapted from Lily Brooks-Dalton’s novel by Mark L Smith, the co-screenwriter of The Revenant and a specialist in films about men trekking through hostile wildernesses.
On Netflix from 23 Dec
(Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Netflix)
In 2010, a teenage girl was banned from attending her senior prom because she planned to wear a tuxedo and take her girlfriend. After various celebrities spoke out on her behalf, her story inspired a Broadway musical, and that in turn has been made into a glitzy comedy by Ryan Murphy, the creator of Glee. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and James Corden play the washed-up actors who hope to revive their careers by heading to small-town Indiana in support of the Cinderella-like heroine (newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman). Given that this is a feelgood extravaganza featuring an all-singing, all-dancing Streep, the producers must be hoping that The Prom will be the new Mamma Mia. Just try to ignore the fact that James Corden was in another musical last Christmas: Cats.
On Netflix from 11 Dec
(Credit: Bruce Talamon/Universal Studios)
News of the World
Paul Greengrass is known for the contemporary settings, documentary realism, and frenetic editing of United 93 and The Bourne Ultimatum, but his new film is a stately epic western. It’s not a complete departure for the director, though, in that it stars Tom Hanks, who had the title role in Captain Phillips. In News of the World (nothing to do with the defunct British tabloid or the Queen album) Hanks plays another Captain, a widowed Civil War veteran who makes his living as a roving storyteller. When he finds a 10-year-old girl who was abducted by an indigenous tribe, he takes her across Texas to reunite her with her aunt and uncle. Adapted from the novel by Paulette Jiles.
Released in cinemas on 25 Dec in the US and Canada, and on 1 Jan in the UK and Spain. On Netflix (outside the US and Canada) from 25 Dec
The first Pixar cartoon to have an African-American lead character, Soul boasts the sort of boldly philosophical scenario which no other studio would attempt. Jamie Foxx provides the voice of a music teacher who dreams of making it as a jazz pianist in New York. But just after a successful audition, he falls down a manhole, and finds himself in an astral realm where human spirits are assigned their personalities. And things get even more surreal from there. As we said in BBC Culture’s review, “it is exhilarating in its ambition, superbly animated, and brimming with affection for its characters and their milieu”. Jason Solomons of The Wrap says that “Soul is perhaps the most existentially ambitious film ever attempted by Disney [the company which owns Pixar] and yet it pops with colourful visuals and gentle wisdom while the story clips along despite the dizzying height of the concept”.
On Disney+ from 25 Dec
David Byrne’s American Utopia
Talking Heads’ concert film, Stop Making Sense, is a classic of the genre. Thirty-six years later, another concert film with Talking Heads’ former frontman, David Byrne, is being hailed as its equal. Directed by none other than Spike Lee, American Utopia documents Byrne’s joyous 2019 Broadway show, which the new-wave singer-songwriter staged with 11 multicultural musicians in matching grey suits and bare feet. The party they throw has all the excitement of a traditional rock gig, but mixes in elements of an art installation, an avant-garde dance recital, a stand-up comedy act, a political rally, a philosophy seminar, and a humanist church service. Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post calls it an “ecstatic paean to rhythm, movement, pluralism and musical fellowship… which bursts forth with an exuberant mixture of optimistic joy and wistful nostalgia”. In short, “American Utopia is just the kind of healing, inspiring balm that the audience needs right now”.
Released on 14 Dec in the UK
(Credit: DC Films/Warner Bros)
Wonder Woman 1984
A year on from the day it was originally scheduled to come out, Wonder Woman 1984 is finally leaping into cinemas – and onto a streaming platform – making it 2020’s first and last major superhero blockbuster. Gal Gadot returns as the Amazon warrior princess, this time battling Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah in the shoulder-padded 1980s; and Chris Pine is back as Steve Trevor, even though he was killed off at the end of the previous Wonder Woman film. But don’t worry if you can’t remember what happened in that one. The sequel, the film’s producer told Indiewire, is “a stand-alone film in the same way that Indiana Jones or Bond films are, instead of one continuous story that requires many instalments”.
Released in cinemas on 25 Dec in the US, Canada and Scandinavia, and from 16 Dec in the UK and around the world. On HBO Max (US-only) from 25 Dec
(Credit: Searchlight Pictures)
When Fern (Frances McDormand) is widowed, she can’t afford to live in a house of her own, so she packs her few belongings into a camper van, and drives off into the Nevada desert. She soon discovers that she isn’t alone: there is a large community of senior citizens who have been forced to live on the road, supporting themselves with short-term jobs along the way. What makes Nomadland unique is that while Fern is played by an Oscar-winning actress, nearly all of the people she meets are real nomads who recount their own experiences. Written and directed by Chloe Zhao (The Rider), the film is a “hybrid of documentary and fiction”, says BBC Culture’s Caryn James, showcasing Zhao’s “rare talent for evoking vivid, credible performances from non-actors, and for immersing viewers in the myriad stunning landscapes of the American West”.
Released on 4 Dec in the US and Canada, and 30 Dec in France
The year’s finest animated film doesn’t come from Dreamworks or Pixar (sorry about that, Soul), but from Cartoon Saloon, an Irish studio specialising in Celtic folklore and stylised hand-drawn 2D art. Their latest rousing fairy tale is set in the mid 17th-Century, when English soldiers are trying to tame the wild woods near Kilkenny. One hunter’s daughter learns that there aren’t just wolves in the forest, but “wolfwalkers” who can change into wolves at night. Richard Whittaker in the Austin Chronicle praises “a heartwarming story of family and friendship, a family-friendly examination of the horror of repression, a bracing adventure about two girls finding themselves, and a stealth art history lesson… Wolfwalkers stands proud as a new classic.”
On Apple TV+ from 11 Dec
(Credit: Gisele Schmidt/Netflix)
Citizen Kane is the greatest American film ever made, at least according to a poll conducted by BBC Culture in 2015. But who was responsible for its greatness? Orson Welles, its brilliant young star and director? Or Welles’ hard-drinking co-writer, Herman J Mankiewicz? David Fincher’s drama comes down on the side of Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), who dictates the screenplay while convalescing from a car accident, and bases the story on the time he spent with William Randolph Hearst (Charles Dance), the newspaper magnate, and his actress girlfriend Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried). Whether or not you agree with Fincher’s hypothesis, Mank is a politically charged, beautifully shot, black-and-white evocation of Hollywood in the 1930s. “Built on a towering performance by Gary Oldman,” says Ian Freer in Empire, “it’s smart, sophisticated, by turns thrilling and difficult, and amongst Fincher’s best.”
On Netflix from 4 Dec
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SA Chief Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the fact her state had recorded no new cases was “good news for us,” adding authorities had conducted more than 12,000 tests on Thursday alone.
“In terms of our cases, we now have 23 active cases, so that is a reduction,” Professor Spurrier said.
“That means to me, we are getting as many people with respiratory symptoms tested as possible in our community.”
The Victorian government welcomed the announcement, but said a permit was still required to enter Victoria from South Australia unless an exemption applied, adding its own decisions on borders would continue to be guided by its public health teams.
Permits can be obtained for any reason, however, people who have attended a SA exposure site are not permitted to enter Victoria unless granted approval by the Chief Health Officer.
Roving controls from Victoria Police also remain in place.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Wednesday that her state would also reopen to Victorian travellers on December 1. NSW opened its border to people entering from Victoria on Monday and Tasmania started allowing visitors from Victoria to enter the state on Friday.
The SA outbreak caused Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory to close their borders to SA travellers and require any inbound passengers to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Thousands in SA were forced to quarantine or to isolate as a result of the cluster.
The restrictions – which ended early when it was discovered a positive case lied to contract tracers – included closing all schools, universities, takeaway restaurants, cafes and food courts for six days.
Even outdoor exercise was banned, with people allowed to leave their homes only to get food or medical supplies, or because they were essential workers.
Authorities are investigating a pizza shop worker who has been accused of lying to contact tracers and blamed for plunging South Australians into the lockdown.
David Estcourt is a court and general news reporter at The Age.
Queensland will reopen its borders to Victoria after the state recorded its 26th consecutive day of zero coronavirus cases and deaths.
Source: ABC News
Audience comment by Julia
Not sure if I read between the lines correctly, but if I did…<br>Happy birthday Natty!!! 🥳
Audience comment by Natty
Looking back on 2020, all we’ve been through, especially our Victorian friends, families separated for such long periods of time, and, in contrast, hearing all the great news about the borders reopening, it’s finally starting to feel like we’re all one Australia again. Sitting here, reading this awesome blog, that’s kept us all informed and sane for the best part of this year, I feel proud of every Aussie for their efforts and sacrifices, and the best birthday present I could ask for, is for families to reunite and have optimistic hopes for a great Christmas 🙂
Audience comment by Sarah
Thankyou ☀️ <br>We’re all Australians so it’s great to know we can now travel where and when we want !!<br>Thankyou Victorians for keeping our Country safe and stopping the spread through all your hard work and sacrifices 🙏🏻<br>Happy Christmas xoxoxo
Audience comment by missing home
I moved to Melbourne from Brisbane in February and went for an overseas trip shortly after. I haven’t seen my family since late Jan. When I heard the *unofficial* news yesterday; I could not stop crying. Time to go home!!
Audience comment by Staying in Vic
I don’t have any relatives interstate. For those who do, please go and reunite with your loved ones. I’ll be holidaying in Victoria.