Round six, seven fixture will be redrawn after South Australian government decides to keep Victorian border closed

The South Australian government decision has thrown a spanner in the works for the AFL fixture.

The South Australian government decision has thrown a spanner in the works for the AFL fixture.Credit:AAP

While games had been scheduled in Melbourne between St Kilda and Port Adelaide and North Melbourne and Adelaide (both in round seven), the AFL confirmed that it would reorganise the fixture for round six and seven in response to the SA decision.

Before the announcement on Tuesday, the Crows and Power, who have been based in a hub in Queensland since round three, would have been able to return home to SA after the games in Melbourne. The border had been set to reopen on Monday July 20.

In round six, Adelaide had been due to face West Coast and Port Adelaide to play the Giants, with both games played in Queensland, but it is unclear whether these games will go ahead as fixtured.

The league will press on with Geelong and Collingwood’s 21-day stints in Western Australia, where they will play each other and then Fremantle and West Coast.

The AFL also indicated that Victorian teams that went on the road to meet quarantine rules would not necessarily be in “hubs”, though they would likely stay in one location for at least two weeks.

As it stands, SA has opened borders with Queensland, WA and the Northern Territory, and decisions are expected soon on the ACT and NSW borders.

The AFL may cycle more than two clubs through other states, with the ACT, Queensland and NSW all in play and even potentially the NT.


The SA government’s border decision comes a day after Queensland’s government adopted fresh coronavirus protocols involving Victorians, which also caused fixturing problems for the AFL.

“We know that this will have a dramatic effect on the AFL,” South Australian Premier Steven Marshall told reporters on Tuesday.

“But we are adopting a position in South Australia which is not dissimilar to what has been announced for Queensland.

“So any teams coming in from Victoria to South Australia will have to do that two weeks of isolation.

“Any South Australian team that plays a Victorian team or goes to Victoria to play a Victorian team will have to do that two weeks of isolation on return to our state.”

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg decides against removing Trump’s controversial post

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided against removing a controversial post by President Trump about the Minneapolis protests, putting his company in stark contrast to Twitter, which labeled Trump’s comments as “glorifying violence.”

In the post on Thursday night, Trump had said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” He also called out Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, telling him to “get his act together and bring the City under control” and then advocated for sending in the National Guard to “get the job done right.”

Under intense pressure, Zuckerberg late on Friday explained that Facebook would take no action. He acknowledged that many people would be upset by the decision, but that his company sides with free expression unless a post can “cause imminent risk of specific harms or dangers.”

“We read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force,” Zuckerberg said on Facebook about Trump’s post. He denied that the post had incited violence, which would have violated Facebook’s policies.

Zuckerberg, who said his team had been in touch with the White House in preceding hours, pointed to a follow-up post by Trump that he said had “explicitly discouraged violence.” In it, Trump tried to expand on his earlier comment by saying that “looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday.” Trump continued, “I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means.”

Zuckerberg’s comments come amid a heated battle between the Trump administration and social media companies. On Thursday, the President signed an executive order aimed at weakening a federal law that shields social media networks from liability for users’ posts after he had long complained about social media companies unfairly censoring conservatives.

During the past few months, Zuckerberg has positioned Facebook as a protector of free speech and has said he doesn’t think social media companies should be arbiters of truth. As such, Facebook has allowed politicians to lie in political ads while Twitter banned political ads completely. 

Twitter also took the unprecedented step on Thursday of obscuring Trump’s original tweet about Minneapolis behind a warning that users must first click. That comes after Twitter labeled another Trump tweet about mail-in ballots as misinformation.

In Friday’s Facebook post, Zuckerberg started with empathy towards the struggle African-Americans face, reciting the names of unarmed black victims Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot by a white men while jogging in Georgia, and Breonna Taylor, who was shot by Louisville police while in her apartment, in addition to George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck. In addressing the president’s comments, Zuckerberg said: “I’ve been struggling with how to respond to the President’s tweets and posts all day. Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric.”

He added: “I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open.”

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High Court decides ‘Palace letters’ written during the Whitlam dismissal can be accessed by historian Jenny Hocking

Historian Jenny Hocking has won her High Court bid to access the letters exchanged between then governor-general Sir John Kerr and the Queen around the time of the dismissal of the Whitlam government.

Until now, the National Archives of Australia had refused to release the documents, known as the “Palace letters”, saying they were private papers.

But Professor Hocking told the High Court correspondence between a governor-general and a monarch was the property of the Commonwealth, and not private.

In a majority ruling, the High Court agreed with Professor Hocking, and found the letters to be Commonwealth records.

“I’m absolutely delighted,” Professor Hocking said.

Letters could provide insight into Whitlam government dismissal

Gough Whitlam speaks on the Parliament House steps
Gough Whitlam speaks outside Parliament House in Canberra after his government’s dismissal on November 11, 1975. The release of the Palace letters may shed light on what happened.(Australian Information Service/National Library of Australia: nla.pic-an24355082)

Today’s ruling means Professor Hocking will finally be able to view the letters, which could hold important information about Australia’s history.

The reasons for the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975 have long been debated, and these letters may provide clarity about what the Queen knew about Australia’s greatest constitutional crisis.

“It’s a story that has been absolutely clouded in secrecy, in distortion and in so much unknown,” Professor Hocking said.

Alongside the correspondence between the Queen and Sir John known as the “Palace letters”, the National Archives also holds telegrams and attachments like newspaper clippings, exchanged between August 15, 1974 and December 5, 1977.

The material was deposited in 1978, after Sir John left the office, by Sir David Smith, the official secretary to the governor-general.

The letters were due for release 12 years ago, but, because they had been marked as “private” correspondence rather than “Commonwealth records”, they were not covered by the rules binding Commonwealth documents.

“Without this High Court decision, we were in the most extraordinary situation where pivotal historical documents were kept in our own archives and embargoed by the Queen,” Professor Hocking said.

“This historic decision has overturned that. It reasserts Australian law over Australian archives and it also challenges … royal secrecy, where the activities of the monarch have been able to be shrouded in secrecy through the notion of confidentially and personal records.”

End of a long battle for Hocking

A woman wearing glasses.
Professor Jenny Hocking has won her High Court bid.(AAP: Peter Rae)

Today’s win comes after a series of court battles, since Professor Hocking first sought access to the letters in 2016.

Professor Hocking had already lost a Federal Court bid to overturn the decision to keep the letters private, which was made by the National Archives.

During the High Court hearing in February, Professor Hocking acknowledged the long legal process, but she was delighted to have had the case heard by the highest legal court in Australia.

“It’s about our history, it’s about our knowledge of our history, but it’s also about having control over our own national archival resources,” she said.

Professor Hocking’s lawyers told the High Court that the documents were created and received by the governor-general as part of his official job, and therefore were the property of the Commonwealth.

“[The] evidence did not show that any person who dealt with the records or similar correspondence between a governor-general and the Queen perceived that the Australian copy of those records was the personal property of the person who was governor-general,” the submissions read.

The High Court was also told there was a constitutional issue if a governor-general were to derive personal property in his communications with the Queen while in office.

Sir John Kerr speaks in front of a microphone in the middle of the SCG during the 1974 NSWRL Grand Final.
The letters between Sir John Kerr (pictured) and the Queen can now be accessed.(National Library of Australia/Ern McQuillan)

The judgement was delivered in Brisbane this morning, because COVID-19 restrictions have prevented the bench to travel to the High Court of Australia in Canberra. 

Professor Hocking received the news in Melbourne, and is planning to travel to Canberra to access the letters soon.

“I really look forward to going into the archives next week and speaking to the director-general … and ensuring that I can see all 211 of these Palace letters as soon as the National Archives reopens,” she said.

“But as biographer and a historian, what is most pleasing to me is that we will have sorts of documentation that we need to write accurate history.”

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