Qantas extends international flight pause


Qantas has delayed its planned resumption of international flights until late December after the federal budget revised forecasts for overseas travel.

The airline was due to restart services at the end of October but on Wednesday pushed back the date.

Treasury expects international travel to remain low through to mid-2022 before a gradual recovery in international tourism.

Qantas believes the new assumption would ready the company to take advantage of tourism and trade in a post-coronavirus world.

“We remain optimistic that additional bubbles will open once Australia’s vaccine rollout is complete to countries who, by then, are in a similar position, but it’s difficult to predict which ones at this stage,” it said in a statement.

The airline will continue providing repatriation and freight flights from overseas.

Customers who booked international tickets for travel between October and December will be contacted by Qantas.

The company says it will keep reviewing its plans in the lead up to December.

Flights to and from New Zealand are unaffected.

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New Zealand travel bubble pause with NSW to lift on Sunday


The travel bubble pause between Sydney and New Zealand will be lifted after NSW reported no new locally acquired cases on Saturday.

New Zealand’s COVID-19 Response Minister, Chris Hipkins, confirmed quarantine-free trans-Tasman travel will resume on Sunday at 11.59pm but warned the update was subject to there being no further issues with the Sydney outbreak.

“New Zealand health officials met today to conduct a further assessment of the public health risk from the recently identified COVID-19 community cases in Sydney,” he said in a statement released on Saturday night.

“It has been determined that the risk to public health in New Zealand remains low.

“I am pleased with the way the response process has been managed this week. There has been close liaison between the health agencies, and this is reflected in the sound advice our respective Governments have received.”

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The update comes as health authorities in NSW reported zero new locally acquired cases on Saturday, while six returned overseas travellers tested positive in quarantine.

A man in his 50s from Sydney’s eastern suburbs tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and contact tracing alerts from the case now cover more than a dozen suburbs across the city.

Genome sequencing has linked the man’s case to a returned traveller from the US, who had an Indian variant of the virus, but it is not yet known how the virus spread between them.

The man’s wife had also tested positive to the virus with Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday praising the man’s use of QR codes to accurately record his movements.

“This person did everything right, but it goes to show that we can’t take a single thing for granted,” she told reporters during the week.

“It goes to show we have to maintain our social distancing, have to make sure we have good hand hygiene, we need to get tested with the mildest of symptoms, and very importantly and significantly, we need to use QR codes.”

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Pause to New Zealand travel bubble pause means Sydney man will miss his mum’s funeral


When Matt Stevenson’s mum suddenly died earlier this week, while devastated, he was at least able to book a last-minute flight to New Zealand for the funeral, which takes place tomorrow.

But the sudden pause of the ‘travel bubble’ between New Zealand and NSW after just two local COVID-19 cases were recorded has left him and fiancee, Suzy Hansen, angry and upset.

The Sydney couple will now miss the funeral for Pauline Paku, 72, in Tauranga. The funeral would have also allowed Mr Stevenson to reunite with other family members for the first time in a year.
Matt Stevenson cannot go to New Zealand for his mother's funeral.
Matt Stevenson cannot go to New Zealand for his mother’s funeral. (Supplied)

Ms Hansen, 45, said the pair, feel the move, which was initiated by the New Zealand government, is an “overreaction”.

“It just seems like such an over-response,” she said.

“It’s a husband and a wife, it’s not like it’s somebody he knocked into at Woolies.

“The fact that it’s his wife and they’ve paused the bubble, it just seems over and above what is required.

“Matt’s very angry and I am too that just for two cases, that that’s the case.”

While Matt’s mum, who was 72, did have a chronic illness, she passed away suddenly after a few days in hospital.

Matt Stevenson's mother, Pauline Paku died earlier this week in New Zealand.
Matt Stevenson’s mother, Pauline Paku died earlier this week in New Zealand. (Supplied)

The couple, who are both from New Zealand, woke up to missed call at 2am in the morning, and were due to fly home today.

Mr Stevenson is now struggling with the fact he cannot take part in the Mauri funeral service with his family, his partner, said.

They will instead stay in Sydney as they would have to do 14-day hotel quarantine if they went to New Zealand.

“He’s not good. He’s very up and down. Very emotional. It’s a rollercoaster,” Ms Hansen, said.

“A lot of anger and disbelief and just the overreaction.”

Three people walk across Waitangi Park towards Oriental Bay in Wellington, New Zealand. (Mark Tantrum/Getty Images)

The pair, who got engaged earlier this year said while they have each other, they have no other family in Australia to help them cope.

“You might have each other, but you’re alone,” she said.

The New Zealand trans-Tasman travel bubble, which allowed Aussies to go to the nation without doing 14 days hotel quarantine, started on April 17.

Authorities are in talks about when it might resume, after the pause began at midnight.

COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said New Zealand would monitor the situation “very closely”.

New Zealand Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. (Getty)

“We’ll continue to monitor it, and obviously we’ll make decisions where we need to,” Mr Hipkins said.

New Zealanders could already come to Australia without quarantine.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Australia and New Zealand viewed each other as “another state” and said the scheme could be halted if there were new virus cases.

Sydney
A couple in Sydney have coronavirus, sparking the return of masks, plus a pause on the trans-Tasman travel agreement. (Bloomberg)

“Anyone in Australia who is travelling between states is prepared for outbreaks and there possibly being disruption, and I can’t believe I am saying this, view New Zealand as another state in that way,” Ms Ardern told Today in April.

“If there is a hot spot in one of the states of Australia, we may just act in the same way that another state would, with just limitation of people to come in and out of our borders until that issue is resolved.

“We are trying to make it as simple for travellers as possible. Just prepare that there may be disruptions.”

New Zealand is renowned for its virus eradication policy, while Australia maintains it is trying to suppress the virus.

New Zealand has only had 2582 total cases and 26 deaths.

A total of 26 people in hotel quarantine in the nation currently have the virus, and nobody is in hospital.

Around four percent of the population has had one vaccination, according to Our World in Data.

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Coronavirus vaccine: Is it common to pause clinical trials?


They involve thousands, or even tens of thousands, of participants, and typically go on for years. The chances that one or more of these study volunteers will develop a health issue is quite high.

Most of the time, that health problem is not related to the vaccine being investigated, and the trial can continue. But sometimes there is a chance that the issue — called an “adverse event” in medical parlance — could be related to the vaccine.

In that case, the trial is paused so the incident can be investigated.

On Wednesday, it came to light that pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca had paused its coronavirus vaccine trial not once but twice because of adverse events. The second pause is still in effect while researchers look into one volunteer’s “unexplained illness.”

While Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Wednesday implied that pausing a Phase 3 trial was a somewhat common occurrence, vaccine trial experts interviewed by CNN say it is not common.

“It’s unusual to pause a Phase 3 trial on a safety basis,” said Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, an infectious disease expert at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. “It’s uncommon.”

One trial, two pauses

AstraZeneca announced Tuesday it had paused global trials of its coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the study participants.
Then on Wednesday, a company spokesperson revealed the trial had also paused briefly in July to investigate an illness in another study volunteer, who “was confirmed to have an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis, which an independent panel had concluded was unrelated to the vaccine.”

AstraZeneca is one of three companies in the US currently in Phase 3 trials for a coronavirus vaccine. Each trial is aiming to enroll 30,000 people; half will get the vaccine and half will get a placebo, which is a shot of saline that does nothing.

“With that many people, it’s inevitable that someone, at some point, will get sick,” said Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Carrie Wolinetz, associate director for science policy at the National Institutes of Health, agrees. “Adverse events happen in the normal course of very large trials. It’s really a matter of determining whether it’s a coincidental event or was it really something linked to the trial itself,” she said.

The coronavirus vaccine trials are what’s called “double blind,” so when someone gets sick, neither the participants nor the doctors know if they received the vaccine or the placebo.

The only people who know are members of the trial’s Data Safety and Monitoring Board — an external group of experts that monitors the trial.

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Each trial has its own protocol, but when an illness arises that causes concern, the DSMB will see if the volunteer received the vaccine or a placebo.

If the volunteer received the vaccine, then the questions begin. If it’s believed that the illness might possibly be related to the vaccine, the DSMB might recommend that the trial pause while the illness is investigated.

After investigating, the DSMB might recommend that the trial continue as before, or it might suggest a change in the trial protocol, or it could recommend that the trial be shut down.

On Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, commented on the AstraZeneca trial pause.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened. Hopefully they’ll work it out and be able to proceed along with the remainder of the trial, but you don’t know. They need to investigate it further,” Fauci said.

Hitting the pause button

Redfield said Wednesday that in his research, he at times had to put trials on hold.

“I’ve conducted a number of clinical trials in my days, both at Walter Reed [National Military Medical Center] and University of Maryland, of which I had the trial put on hold because of adverse reactions until we could evaluate whether that adverse reaction was something that was associated with the investigational product, and if so, was it serious enough that we then had to stop the trial,” Redfield said at an online forum held by Research!America.

New ads encourage minorities to roll up their sleeves and participate in coronavirus vaccine trials

Redfield did not specify whether he meant vaccine trials, nor did he specify whether he meant Phase 3 trials or trials in earlier phases, which can be more prone to adverse events because the vaccine hasn’t been as well tested.

CNN reached out to a spokesperson for Redfield for clarification, but they did not provide a comment.

Illnesses that necessitate a pause don’t occur very often, according to three vaccinologists — Frenck, Fichtenbaum and Dr. Saad Omer — who, combined, have worked on more than 100 vaccine trials.

“In Phase 3, it’s uncommon to have a pause,” Frenck said. “I’ve seen it happen a few times.”

He estimates that pauses in Phase 3 trials due to a study subject becoming ill happens “in under 10% of trials — probably under 5%.”

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According to Fichtenbaum, “Phase 3 trials don’t typically pause. I’ve only seen it handful of times in my experience.”

Both Fichtenbaum and Frenck have served on DSMBs. Additionally, Frenck is a researcher in both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer coronavirus vaccine trials, and Fichtenbaum is an investigator in the Moderna coronavirus vaccine trial.

Omer is director of the Yale Institute for Global Health and has been the principal investigator in several vaccine trials.

“It’s not unheard of that a trial has paused. It’s a very real possibility,” he said. “But I wouldn’t call it common.”

Confusion about the cause of AstraZeneca’s most recent pause

AstraZeneca on Wednesday issued a statement denying news reports that suggested the trial was stopped the second time because of a case of transverse myelitis — a rare inflammatory condition of the spinal cord.

“Reports claiming to be based on comments made earlier today by our CEO stating that we have confirmed that a participant in our clinical trial suffered from transverse myelitis are incorrect. He stated that there is no final diagnosis and that there will not be one until more tests are carried out,” a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical giant said in a statement emailed to CNN.

“Those tests will be delivered to an independent safety committee that will review the event and establish a final diagnosis,” the spokesperson added.

The New York Times had quoted a source saying a trial volunteer had transverse myelitis. And STAT News reported that the company’s CEO, Pascal Soriot, told investors in a conference call that the trial was stopped because a woman volunteering in the trial had symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis.

While AstraZeneca didn’t specify what the issue was, at a Congressional hearing Wednesday, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said the AstraZeneca hold was due to a “spinal cord problem.”

“With an abundance of caution, at a time like this, you put a clinical hold. You investigate carefully to see if anybody else who received that vaccine or any of the other vaccines might have had a similar finding of a spinal cord problem,” Collins explained.

He added that “this ought to be reassuring to everybody listening,” as this shows the “focus first on safety.”

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COVID live: Indian coronavirus outbreak prompts government to pause all flights from country



There have been calls to expand hotel quarantine and have the federal government take it over, rather than individual states taking care of their own systems.

But Mr Morrison said Australia’s system was working better than any other country’s.

“If I told you a year ago, just over a year ago, when the National Cabinet agreed to put in place a system of hotel quarantine … that we would achieve a 99.99 per cent success rate, you wouldn’t have believed me. No-one in this country would have believed me. I would have found that hard to believe. But that’s what the hotel quarantine system has achieved.

“Hotel quarantine is the first ring of containment. With a 99.99 success rate is pretty good. I don’t think there’s not a country in the world that wouldn’t want a quarantine system that’s been working as effective as that. It’s not 100 per cent fool proof. And in 0.01 per cent, or less, of cases, you’ll see occasional breaches. I make no criticism of any state or territory, but on occasion we’ll see breaches.

“The challenge we’ve seen Western Australia respond to, and other states respond to on other occasions, is the ring of containment that comes in place with their contact tracing system. That’s what has been achieved again. This is how the system works. A system that is achieving 99.99 per cent effectiveness is a very strong system and is serving Australia very well.”

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US ends Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine pause



The United States can immediately resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, top health regulators said on Friday, ending a 10-day pause to investigate its link to extremely rare but potentially deadly blood clots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration said the risks of experiencing the syndrome involving severe blood clots and low platelets as a result of the vaccine was very low. They found 15 cases in the 8 million shots given.

“We are no longer recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told a news briefing. “Based on the in-depth analysis, there is likely an association but the risk is very low.”

Top US FDA officials said the decision was effective immediately, clearing the way for shots in arms as early as Saturday. The agency said it would warn of the risk in an updated fact sheet given to vaccine recipients and providers.

The agencies made the decision following a meeting of outside advisers to the CDC who recommended that the vaccine pause be ended.

In an analysis presented at the meeting, CDC staff said that the cases of the syndrome that they had found occurred at a rate of seven per one million doses in women under age 50, with the highest risk occurring among women ages 30 to 39.

For women over age 50 and for all men, the clots appeared at a rate of one per one million doses, the analysis showed. In all, there were three deaths, officials said.

After a day-long meeting, the CDC panel voted 10-4 that the J&J vaccine be used as recommended in people 18 years of age and older, the parameters of its current FDA authorisation.

Dr Jesse Goodman, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University in Washington and a former chief scientist at the FDA, said the risk was not trivial, but still small.

“But we should keep it in perspective. I mean the risk of dying from a car accident in your life is something like one in 100, the risk of being struck by lightning is something like one in 15,000,” Dr Goodman said.

Unlike the highly effective vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, which require two doses and must be kept frozen at ultra-cold temperatures, J&J’s vaccine can be given in a single dose and stored at regular refrigeration temperatures, making it a better option for hard-to-reach areas.

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NY to follow federal recommendation, pause J&J vaccinations – Long Island Business News


New York state health officials will follow federal recommendations and pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker announced Tuesday.

Zucker said all appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Tuesday at state-run mass vaccination sites would be honored with the Pfizer vaccine.

“I am in constant contact with the federal government, and we will update New Yorkers as more information becomes available,” Zucker said in a news release.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a virtual news briefing that the city would follow the federal recommendation and stop administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well.

De Blasio, who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine himself last month, said the pause in vaccinations was a setback for the city but added, “our effort continues strong and will continue today and every day until we beat this disease.”

City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said city-run sites have administered about 234,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with no reports of the type of blood clot that prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration to recommend halting its use.

“We continue to monitor for that, of course, in coordination with our federal partners, but we have not seen that thus far,” Chokshi said.

The pause comes as the State University of New York has been rushing to vaccinate tens of thousands of students before the end of the semester next month.

SUNY said last week that 350,000 students were being urged to make appointments on 34 campuses. SUNY said it would use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because its one-dose protocol would ensure students would be fully vaccinated by the time they left campus.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Jim Malatras said SUNY was working with New York state to locate alternative COVID-19 vaccines.

“We urge all students with appointments for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to contact their campus or vaccination site because alternatives have already been found in some instances,” he said in a statement.

Several colleges announced the cancellation of vaccination clinics planned for Tuesday.

“We apologize to those who were looking forward to being vaccinated today,” Heidi Macpherson, president of SUNY Brockport, said in a statement. “More information about other potential vaccination opportunities, on or off campus, will be shared when they become available.“

Officials at SUNY Oswego announced that a Johnson & Johnson vaccination clinic scheduled for Tuesday would be canceled and advised students and employees to look into local options for getting the Moderna vaccine.



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US health authorities recommend ‘pause’ on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine over blood clot cases



It comes as the Australian government ruled out buying the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for now, saying it is too similar to the AstraZeneca drug.

United States federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine after six recipients developed a rare disorder involving blood clots.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will hold an advisory meeting on Wednesday to review the cases.

All the six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48.

One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska has been hospitalised in a critical condition, the New York Times reported, citing officials. 

The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a joint statement that the adverse events currently appear to be extremely rare.  

“We are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” they said. 

As of 12 April, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in the United States.

The company’s shares were down three per cent before the opening bell.

The move from the US regulators comes less than a week after Europe’s drugs regulator said it was reviewing rare blood clots in four people in the United States who received the shot.

The Australian federal government has also said it doesn’t plan to use Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine in its current rollout.

The government was in talks with the pharmaceutical giant, which had asked for initial approval for its vaccine from Australia’s medicine regulation.

Pfizer coronavirus approval

Health Secretary Dr Brendan Murphy and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at press conference at Parliament House, announcing approval of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine
AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

But in a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Health Minister Greg Hunt ruled out proceeding with the purchase for now.

“The [Johnson and Johnson] vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine, the same type of vaccine as the AstraZeneca vaccine,” the statement read.

“The government does not intend to purchase any further adenovirus vaccines at this time.”

It comes as the government attempts to ramp up its vaccine supply after receiving new medical advice about the AstraZeneca jab and its link to rare blood clots. Pfizer’s shot is now preferred for Australians under the age of 50.

With reporting by SBS News, AAP. 

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Temporary pause lifted on Cashless Debit Card trial, nearly 4,000 people to be put on welfare card in weeks


The Social Services Minister has declared she wants to return to “business as usual” after ending a temporary pause on new participants for the federal government’s controversial cashless welfare card trial.

Under the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) program, 80 per cent of an individual’s welfare payments are quarantined on a card that cannot be used to purchase alcohol or gambling products.

The temporary pause was put in place in March last year as record numbers of Australians were placed on welfare during the coronavirus pandemic.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston has confirmed nearly 4,000 people will be added to trials which are currently underway in four sites across Australia.

“We are now in a situation where we have a much lower number of people coming onto social security,” Senator Ruston told the ABC.

“But we’re only starting the process, we will do it slowly over the next few weeks to make sure we give people plenty of time to be able to transition over and give them the support they need.”

Senator Ruston said community leaders in the trial sites wanted the year-long pause lifted.

The federal government has been trialling the Cashless Debit Card in four sites across Australia.(

ABC Wide Bay: Nicole Hegarty

)

Thousands more to go on welfare card

The biggest trial site is Bundaberg and Hervey Bay in Queensland, with 5,472 people currently on the card.

The Minister confirmed another 2,438 will be added in coming weeks.

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South Australia’s only trial site at Ceduna will see another 165 people added to the 922 participants already on the card.

In Western Australia, the trials will also be significantly expanded in the East Kimberley and Goldfields regions.

The Goldfields trial will grow from 3,223 participants with another 903 people to be brought onto the card.

A further 271 people in the East Kimberley will be added to the existing 1,592 participants.

People protesting in the street holding placards about a government welfare system.
Protestors in 2018 during the early days of the Goldfields trial outside the office of Liberal MP Rick Wilson’s Kalgoorlie office.(

ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas

)

Temporary pause lifted as Jobkeeper ends

The decision comes just weeks after the release of a University of Adelaide report which found the card contributes to feelings of stigma, shame and embarrassment, but has contributed to some reductions in alcohol use and gambling.

Western Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has been one of the harshest critics of the card trial and suggested “the government is flogging a dead horse”.

She criticised the decision to resume normal business in the same week that JobKeeper payments are due to end.

“I’m concerned about the card per se, everyone knows that, and I just think it’s adding insult to injury to put people, that have lost their job due to COVID and haven’t been able to find a new one, onto the card,” Senator Siewert told the ABC.

“With JobKeeper ending at the end of this week, I am very concerned that people will lose their work and have to go on JobSeeker and will then be put on the card.

“I don’t think that’s fair; I don’t think the card’s at all fair and they’re adding insult to injury by extending the card.”

The federal government’s trial is due to run until the end of 2022.

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Australians pause to remember Hannah Clarke and her children, one year on from their murders


This article contains references to domestic and family violence. 

Australians have joined the parents of murdered mother-of-three Hannah Clarke in lighting a candle to honour their daughter, one year on from her death.

Hannah and her three children, six-year-old Aaliyah, four-year-old Laianah and three-year-old Trey, were murdered by her estranged husband in Brisbane last February. 

Parents Sue and Lloyd Clarke went on to set up a foundation in their legacy – Small Steps 4 Hannah – that aims to educate the community on domestic violence and push for legal reform. 

“Our family and friends have been through some pretty dark times in the last 12 months,” Sue and Lloyd said in a video posted on the foundation’s Facebook page on Friday. 

“We’re going to remember them as bright, happy people who brought light to everyone they met.” 

Brisbane was lit up on Friday to honour Hannah, her children and other victims of domestic violence.

Small Steps 4 Hannah Facebook page

Monuments were lit up around Brisbane on Friday ahead of an evening vigil, with Hannah’s parents also asking the community to light a candle in their memory at 5:30pm (local time) and post a photo on social media. 

“As the sun goes down, we invite you to light a candle for them, and for all victims of domestic and family violence,” Lloyd said. 

“Let’s keep the flame burning, until there is no darkness,” Sue added. 

Pictures began to flood Facebook and Twitter on Friday evening accompanied by the hashtag #HALT – an acronym for Hannah, Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey. 

Shannon Fentiman, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, was among those to post a photo, saying domestic and family violence “has no place in our community”. 

“Tonight, we pause to remember Hannah Clarke and her three children, Aaliyah, Laianah, and Trey and light a candle for them, and victims of domestic and family violence,” she wrote on Twitter. 

“We can change. And we must change.” 

There had been earlier concerns the tribute would not be able to proceed on the foundation’s Facebook page after it was caught up in the platform’s Australian news ban. 

Small Steps 4 Hannah was among the non-media organisations on Facebook – including critical health, weather and domestic violence services – that were hit by the ban for at least part of Thursday

“It’s very upsetting. It’s very, very disappointing,” Sue told reporters on Thursday. 

The page was restored later on Thursday night. 

In Canberra on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison remembered Hannah and her children and the “unspeakable, unthinkable” crime that ended their lives.

“We must do all we can to support those suffering from family violence. Hannah we … thank you and we will never forget,” Mr Morrison told parliament.

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese added: “We cannot be bystanders, not now, not ever. Let us be guided every day by their memory and let them never fade.”

Calls to criminalise coercive control 

Sue and Lloyd Clarke are part of a push to criminalise coercive control in domestic relationships. 

There are growing calls to make intimidation, stalking and other forms of coercive control illegal under reforms to domestic violence laws across Australia, with federal politicians, families of victims and journalists joining a campaign urging states and territories to outlaw it.

The term ‘coercive control’ is used to describe a deliberate pattern of abuse occurring within intimate relationships. It can include emotional and psychological manipulation, along with social, financial and technology-facilitated abuse. 

It is the most common risk factor in the lead up to a domestic violence homicide, according to Women’s Legal Service NSW. 

A review carried out from 2017-2019 by the NSW Coroner’s Court found 99 per cent of intimate partner homicides were preceded by “coercive and controlling behaviours towards the victim”.

The Queensland government this week announced it would set up an independent task force to investigate the implementation of coercive control legislation.

Tasmania is so far the only state which has already implemented laws dealing directly with controlling behaviour.

New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory are considering similar laws after campaigning from women’s safety organisations.

“We need to make sure that our understanding of domestic abuse is enshrined in law and then that can filter right throughout the community,” Hayley Foster, CEO of Women’s Safety, told SBS News. 

But while experts agree coercive control needs to be urgently acknowledged and understood, some say Australia’s criminal justice system is not ready to introduce a standalone offence – and doing so could risk more harm to marginalised communities. 

Additional reporting by Jennifer Scherer and AAP.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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Thank you for stopping by to visit My Local Pages and reading this news release regarding current national news published as “Australians pause to remember Hannah Clarke and her children, one year on from their murders”. This news article was posted by My Local Pages as part of our news aggregator services.

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