Coronavirus in Wales: Portugal, Greek islands put on quarantine list


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Portugal has been added to Wales’ quarantine list but not England’s

People arriving in Wales from mainland Portugal and six Greek islands must self-isolate for 14 days from 04:00 BST Friday.

It is the first time the Welsh Government has made its own quarantine changes.

People returning from Gibraltar and French Polynesia will also be required to self-isolate.

Crete, Zakynthos, Mykonos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos are among the Greek islands affected.

Advice for travellers in England from the UK government remains unchanged, despite a rise in cases in Portugal.

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething said he was acting on public health advice, and had sought a meeting with the UK government but was not able to get one.

The latest Welsh Government rules apply to travellers arriving home in Wales regardless of what part of the UK they return through – including English airports.

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There had been 20 cases connected to one flight from Zante to Cardiff Airport.

The Portuguese islands of the Azores and Madeira were not included in the announcement.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ruled out any similar changes in England on Thursday.

Travellers to Wales from Zakynthos were asked to self-isolate earlier in the week, but Thursday’s changes mean those who do not self-isolate now face potential fines of £1,000.

Greece had not been on the quarantine list, except in Scotland where it was added on Tuesday.

Portugal, which was only removed from the quarantine rules less than two weeks ago, is expected to be added to Scotland’s list from Saturday.

Mr Gething said he took the decision because of a large number of coronavirus cases “imported into Wales from tourists returning from the Greek islands”.

He said there were more than 20 cases confirmed in passengers on one flight from Zakynthos to Cardiff.

The moves follow a row about whether rules were followed on a Tui flight from the island.

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Damian Martin

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Damian Martin arrived in Portugal on Wednesday

‘I might as well try to enjoy it’

Damian Martin, from Swansea, arrived in Lagos, Portugal, on Wednesday and said he would not be able to return early.

Mr Martin said he had “already switched my holiday from Spain,” which was added to the quarantine rules in July.

The supermarket employee said he believed he would be able to self-isolate: “My work said they would deal with it if it came to it.”

“I thought I’d be fine going to the Algarve, that most cases would be in the north,” he said.

“Work had been full on and I really really needed a break, so I decided to go. I’m supposed to be here eight nights. I might as well try to enjoy it.”

Mr Gething said he had hoped to discuss the situation with the UK government and counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but a meeting on Thursday was not possible.

“My responsibility is to make the right choices to keep Wales safe. My preference is to do that on a four-nation basis where possible. If it isn’t possible, I still have to make the right choice for Wales.”

Although he said that potentially people could be fined, “that is the very last step that I want us to take”.

Because it is a public health measure, the quarantine system is set by the Welsh Government.

Up until now, Wales has followed the UK government in deciding which countries travellers could return from and not need to self-isolate.

It has also followed the changes made to that system, including the recent decision to order travellers from Switzerland to self-isolate.

Travellers abroad are expected to fill in a form online with their contact details 48 hours before they arrive back in the UK. Not providing accurate details could also result in fines of £1,920.

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Crete is among the places included in the announcement

Analysis by Ione Wells, BBC Wales Westminster correspondent

Wales, for the first time, has now announced significantly different quarantine rules to those across the border.

The Welsh health minister says this action came after “clear advice” from the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) that travel from these countries poses a public health risk.

But the UK government’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also cited the JBC when announcing there was no need for additions or removals to the travel corridor list for England today.

These differences come with complications.

With only one major airport in Wales – Cardiff – many passengers flying into places like Bristol or Birmingham will land into one set of rules but face another when they get home.

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Andrew RT Davies, Welsh Conservative health spokesman, said it would be “better if, when travel measures are announced, they are done on a joint basis” across the four nations.

“This would help keep everyone informed and safe,” he said.

Plaid Cymru’s health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said the experience “with Zakynthos tells us that the quicker a Welsh Government can act, the better”.

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Joe Daniher’s return for Essendon should put a smile on the face of every AFL fan


Last Thursday evening I received and sent about 10 text messages all saying one word — Joe.

It has been easy to see this football frenzy season as a blur, but within it have been some amazing highs and incredible feats — real blink-and-you-miss-it moments.

The absolute highlight of my season came on Thursday evening.

The Bombers were down by 36 points at the half; they looked slow, sluggish and didn’t have an avenue to goal.

Enter Joe Daniher.

He leaped, he flew, he ran, he looked brilliant and he single-handedly led the Bombers to a famous victory over the Hawks.

His straightening up of the Bombers showed that with him in the side, anything is possible.

Thanks to him, they kept their finals hopes alive, only two points out of the top eight.

The impact Joe has on the footballing community is profound, and the joy that he brings to the wider community cannot be undersold.

Injury has kept Joe Daniher off the footy field for more than a year.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

He’s one of the few people to play football with a smile on his face, much in the same ilk as Eddie Betts.

It’s this attitude and demeanour that make watching football feel pure, and you find yourself cheering and marvelling as you watch someone do what he does in such an unbridled way.

The football community has missed Joe for the best part of the last two seasons, and the weekend was a reminder of just how good the man is.

He is a slightly less athletic Buddy Franklin, but with the ability to mark the ball high above his head and kick goals from almost any range.

Like Buddy he can do freakish acts, and yet frustrate sometimes with his approach to the simple things.

He’s flawed, in other words, and he’s human — and that’s why his play connects with people.

Only 10 months ago he wanted out of the Bombers, requesting a shock trade to the Swans.

This was vetoed by the Bombers and Joe came back ready to reset.

Unfortunately, one of football’s greatest talents has spent the last year on the sidelines with a persistent groin injury.

Our last glimpse of him before the weekend came all the way back in round nine last year against Fremantle.

It was his lack of action on the park and a few years of frustration that lead Joe down the path of seeking a trade.

He looked north to the Swans and as a selfish fan, I hoped the deal got done.

Joe Daniher holds onto a yellow football after leaping into the air with three other players scattered around him
At his best, Daniher is one of the most entertaining players in the game.(AAP: Mark Dadswell)

When you consider the Swans’ forward line there is definitely space for a player like Joe.

With an ageing Buddy — who can’t get on the park himself — alongside the young tyros in Nick Blakey and Tom McCartin, the move would make sense.

Joe could roam further up the ground and Buddy could stay closer to goal.

On the smaller SCG you can already see Joe banging them in from the centre square, or field kicking to a leading Buddy.

Only last week Joe was being written off.

The All Australian and club champion was being questioned about his longevity in the game.

Some former champions of the game were questioning just how many games he had left to give.

But what we saw last Thursday evening was a player who had his power back; running and jumping at the ball at its highest point.

Pleasingly he has been selected again for tonight, off a short turnaround too, so his body must be feeling alright.

Ironically, the man who has missed the entire season bar one game now becomes the man the Bombers will pin their finals hopes on.

Their run home isn’t easy playing West Coast, Geelong and the Power in the next three weeks; they are all tough games and they will go into each of them underdogs.

Regardless of what happens from a result perspective I just hope we see Big Joe out there smiling again.

Footy is better off when he is.



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Shinzo Abe leaves behind a significant legacy as Japan’s longest serving leader. But now he needs to put his health first


This was always meant to be a momentous week for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

On Monday, he became Japan’s longest serving leader. But instead of celebrating 2,799 days in office, he was in a Tokyo hospital having tests.

“I will return to work and ‘ganbaru,'” he vowed to reporters as he left the hospital.

Ganbaru is a Japanese term which means to ‘work with perseverance’ or to ‘tough it out’.

But by the week’s end, he had resigned — again forced out of the job by a chronic bowel condition which has plagued him since he was a teenager.

This isn’t the first time Mr Abe has left the job of Prime Minister. He had to resign over the same issue in 2007 after a painful flare-up of the disease called ulcerative colitis.

But this time, it looks to be more permanent. At 65 and with deteriorating health, it is unlikely he will return to the country’s most powerful political position.

“What is most important in politics is to deliver on the results,” Mr Abe said in announcing his decision.

He of all people would know, having helped drive Japan’s economic and international reputation during his almost eight years of leadership.

This has been a test of Abe’s leadership, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.(Akio Kon/Pool Photo via AP)

“Since the inauguration of the administration … in order to generate outcomes I pulled out all the stops for my job as Prime Minister,” Mr Abe said.

“I cannot make any mistake … and I made a judgement — I should not continue my job as Prime Minister.”

Leaders working long hours during COVID-19 pandemic

The resignation of any major leader is big news, but Abe’s decision to do so for his health is particularly notable during a global pandemic.

When asked whether he should have had a break or tried to keep less busy after working for more than 140 days straight, Mr Abe was coy.

A crowd of people wearing face masks walk through a train station turnstile
In his announcement, Abe said Japan was “fighting against an invisible enemy, COVID-19”.(Reuters/Kyodo)

“Keeping on top of my health is one of the responsibilities for a Prime Minister,” he said.

“Japan is fighting against an invisible enemy, COVID-19 and we have to go all out in fulfilling my responsibility.”

No-one, it seems, is immune to stress and burnout during a pandemic — especially the experts and world leaders expected to lead us out of this crisis.

America’s top health expert, Dr Anthony Fauci has admitted to being “chronically fatigued” by his work on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

“I’m doing okay; I’m doing fine. I am running a bit on fumes, but as they say, the fumes are really thick,” Dr Fauci, 79, said in an interview with The Atlantic.

“It’s enough to keep me going.”

And Victoria’s Premier Dan Andrews was urged by some to take a break this month when he conducted his 50th consecutive daily coronavirus update.

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“This has been going on for months, and probably will go on for a number of months so someone else is going to have a step up I think, so he can take a few days off,” his predecessor Jeff Kennett said on the Sunrise program.

Premier Daniel Andrews addresses press conference with a purple back drop and microphones in front of him.
Some public figures have publicly called for Victoria’s Premier to take a break amid the pandemic.(ABC News: Scott Jewell)

But the coronavirus has been just one of the extraordinary challenges during Mr Abe’s tenure, according to Japanese politics expert Stephen Nagy from the International Christian University in Tokyo.

“Arguably, the past eight years have been perhaps the most stressful period of leadership,” Dr Nagy said.

“We had North Korean missile tests, Chinese ships in the East China Sea, floods … President Trump’s election and disruptive policies, etc.

“The relentless pressure would get to any leader, especially one that has pre-existing conditions.”

Nevertheless, Abe brought resilience and stability to a role that had largely been a revolving door for years.

Will Abe’s decision change Japan’s work culture?

Pandemic or no pandemic, hard work has always been a hallmark of Japanese culture, and Mr Abe was no exception.

“I haven’t had a full day off in about five months,” he admitted on an internet TV program on June 20.

Finally after more than 140 workdays in a row, the Prime Minister agreed to take a day off on June 24.

A woman wearing a face mask walks past a electronic screen showing numbers.
During his time as leader, Abe helped coin the term ‘Abenomics’.(AP: Eugene Hoshiko)

During his time in office, Mr Abe spoke out against karoshi — or death by overwork.

One in five Japanese workers are at risk of death from overwork, according to a government study in 2016.

A 31-year-old woman who worked as a political reporter died from heart failure in 2013 after logging 159 hours of overtime in a month.

Mr Abe’s government passed a controversial work reform bill which put a cap on the number of hours an employee could work.

“It will rectify the culture of working long hours … so that their careers will become more compatible with their child-rearing and nursing-care duties,” he said at the time.

But Mr Abe’s decision to resign to prioritise his health is unlikely to affect Japan’s ganbaru culture, according to Dr Nagy.

“Ganbaru-culture is deeply embedded in Japanese society [at] all levels and people who persevere are considered respectable people,” he said.

Leadership put to the test in a difficult year in Japan

This year has not been a time where work-life balance was achievable for Mr Abe.

Residents reach out hands each other on a flooded road in Kurume city, Fukuoka prefecture, southern Japan.
Pounding rain caused deadly floods in southern Japan in July, triggering mudslides and destroying houses and roads.(AP via Shoehei Miyano/Kyodo News)

First there was an international diplomatic crisis over an outbreak of the coronavirus on board the Diamond Princess in the port of Yokohama.

The pandemic has forced Tokyo to delay the Olympics until at least next year — an event Abe was instrumental in winning and hoped would be his legacy.

More than 64,000 people in Japan have been infected with the virus.

While Japan has largely escaped the worst of the pandemic — especially compared to other countries like the UK and US — a series of missteps marred the early response and the government’s approval rating tanked.

The government distributed washable cloth face masks — but these were unpopular because they arrived too late and were seen to be too small.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe waves during the Olympics closing ceremony on August 22, 2016.
Abe was a key part of helping secure the 2020 Olympic bid for Japan, although it ended up being postponed.(AP Photo: Vincent Thian)

Japan’s economy has also suffered greatly, shrinking at an annual rate of 27.8 per cent between April and June — the worst contraction on record.

The coronavirus-induced recession will be especially vexing to the man who coined the term “Abenomics” and the pandemic is sure to have dented his reputation as the man who helped pull Japan out of decades of economic stagnation.

Abe ‘most consequential’ Japanese PM on international front since WWII

Abenomics had mixed results in resuscitating the world’s third-largest economy. But Mr Abe’s legacy will go beyond his economic policies.

When he first took office in 2006, he became Japan’s youngest prime minister since World War II.

The grandson of former Japanese PM Nobusuke Kishi, he faced a huge amount of pressure in the role — including political scandals and voter outrage at lost pension records — before he quit citing ill health.

Five years later, he returned, leading his conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) back to power.

“On the domestic front, he has a mixed record that will likely be seen as having accrued incremental economic gain in the large urban areas and with some structural reform, but not enough to change the long-term trajectory of Japan,” Dr Nagy said.

He kept his promises to boost spending on the military after years of declines and expanding its capacity to project power abroad.

And in a historic shift in 2014, his government reinterpreted the constitution to allow Japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since World War II.

A year later, Japan adopted laws scrapping a ban on exercising the right to defend a friendly country under attack.

Trump swings golf club wearing red cap with USA on it while Abe and others look on
Donald Trump played golf with Shinzo Abe on Trump’s visit to Japan.(AP: Ren Onuma, Kyodo News)

His work on the international stage has also set him apart from previous leaders, according to Dr Nagy.

Among his achievements include improving relations with China and South Korea and forging closer ties with the US under President Donald Trump, through frequent phone calls, meetings and the odd golf session.

Mr Abe has withstood a number of difficult periods in his time in power, but if this pandemic has reminded us of anything, it’s the importance of our health.

With infections on the way down in Japan, Abe decided now was the right time to step away — giving his successor the chance to prepare ahead of the winter flu season just months away.



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Coronavirus pandemic could put gender equal pay battle on hold for a decade, agency warns


Women could be set back by a decade in their battle to reduce the gender pay gap because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global economies, the agency charged with overseeing the problem has warned.

The Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) recently reported the nation’s gender pay gap currently stands at 14 per cent, fractionally higher than 13.9 per cent in 2019.

That reflects a pay gap of $250 per week, and $13,000 per year.

As the country marks Equal Pay Day, the agency is warning that the struggle to make gains could be delayed because of the impact of COVID-19.

The national gender pay gap has hovered between 13.9 and 19 per cent for the last two decades.

While this year’s pay gap sits well within that range, WGEA director, Libby Lyons, is concerned that the full impact will be felt in the next few years.

Ms Lyons said that during the Global Financial Crisis the gender pay gap increased by two per cent, to 17.6 per cent, which took a decade to lower.

“It took us 10 years to bring that pay gap back down to where it is today,” she said.

“We cannot afford to see a repeat of this as we face our first economic recession in almost 30 years.

More women than men out of work

Ms Lyons said more Australian women than men had lost their jobs during the pandemic because “female-dominated industries have suffered the worst of the job losses”.

These industries include tourism, hospitality, retail, the arts, aged care and disability sectors.

The Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency director, Libby Lyons.(Supplied)

The pandemic has also had a greater impact on part-time and casual workers — the majority of whom are women.

Adelaide-based musician Helen Ayres hasn’t performed since March and, like many artists, isn’t eligible for any government support payments.

Ms Ayres is providing private violin lessons through the pandemic but, without her usual work, the family is getting by on one income.

“I’m really aware that I’m relying on my husband more and more … and more than makes me feel comfortable.”

Meanwhile, Sydney-based executive assistant, Jessica Ofori, is trying to re-enter the workforce after 12 months’ maternity leave.

A woman sits on a cement wall, holding a baby on her lap
Sydney-based executive assistant Jessica Ofori is trying to re-enter the workforce after maternity leave.(Supplied: Jessica Ofori)

“One job I applied for had more than 200 applicants,” Ms Ofori said.

Another role had a series of unusual requests.

“Within 24 hours of applying I received an email from the company, which said ‘would I accept a salary of $70,000?’ — $10,000 less than what was advertised,” she said.

“The other question was ‘would I still be interested in the job if one day per week was unpaid?’

“I’ve also noticed there’s a lot of contract and part-time work, and not as many full-time roles.”

Financial adviser Tania Tonkin from DMCA Advisory acknowledged many women are now finding themselves in similar positions — and warned there were long-term implications.

“There’s much less opportunity to build that balance at retirement.”

‘Unconscious bias’ in pandemic response

South Australia’s Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Dr Niki Vincent, pointed to an “unconscious bias” in state and federal government responses to the pandemic.

Dr Niki Vincent is South Australia's Equal Opportunity Commissioner.
Dr Niki Vincent is South Australia’s Equal Opportunity Commissioner.(Twitter)

“We need a much greater government effort in generating employment in female-dominated industries hit hardest by the pandemic, like retail, tourism, events, fitness, beauty and hospitality,” she said.

SA Chiefs for Gender Equity chair Matthew Salisbury said most economic responses have focused on male-dominated industries.

“A lot of the government support has targeted much needed infrastructure projects, and it’s true to say those are still largely male-dominated industries,” Mr Salisbury said.

Dr Vincent also pointed to the need to make JobKeeper fairer for women, who “are less likely to meet the eligibility criteria due to casual work”.

She called for wide-scale reform across the public and private sectors.

“We need access to free and high quality childcare, to increase women’s availability to work. We need better and fairer paid parental leave.

“Things like carers leave, giving casual workers part time work for job security, and addressing workplace sexual harassment are all things that would make a massive difference.”

Ms Tonkin advised women not to underestimate their skills and abilities when applying for work, and implored employers to consider the importance of gender-balanced workplaces.

“It means looking at what someone offers in terms of skills and ability, and then the pay aligns accordingly.”



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Queensland records two new cases of coronavirus as correctional centres put in lockdown


There have been two new cases of coronavirus in Queensland in the past 24 hours, one person who is in hotel quarantine and a man who is a trainer from Queensland’s corrective services.

Correctional facilities in the state went into lockdown after the trainer, from the Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) Academy at Wacol, returned a positive result yesterday afternoon.

The 60-year-old had trained 14 recruits and worked alongside 11 colleagues — all were tested and are now in quarantine.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said reports that he had been working in prisons was incorrect.

“As a precaution some of our corrective service facilities have gone into lockdown,” she said.

Prisons at Woodford, north to Maryborough and Capricornia are all part of the stage-four lockdown.

Queensland Corrective Services commissioner Peter Martin said about 7,000 of the state’s 9,000 prisoners were estimated to be affected, and are facing “extreme isolation”.

There is no set end date yet and the measures will only be lifted upon the advice of Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young.

Prisoners will not be tested unless they are experiencing symptoms.

“This is significantly limiting any unnecessary movement into the prisons or out of the prisons and we are locking the prisons down, including [measures where] all the staff wear PPE [personal protective equipment].”

Mr Martin said the trainer, who was senior and experienced, did not have a temperature when originally tested on Friday but later reported a sore throat and alerted management.

“Over the course of the latter part of the weekend he further developed symptoms and he took himself off for testing as we would expect,” Commissioner Martin said.

Link between clusters still unclear

Health Minister Steven Miles said there was not a clear link yet between the trainer’s case and that of the ongoing cluster at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, also at Wacol.

He said the trainer had also been in places linked to other known cases.

“This individual lives in Forest Lake, works in Wacol, both locations where other cases of the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre cluster are known to live or work.”

Ms Palaszczuk said all youth detained at the centre had been tested and returned negative results.

There are still a number of staff results outstanding that are due back tomorrow.

The other new case of COVID-19 overnight was a Cairns resident who returned from Papua New Guinea.

Mr Miles said genomic testing results had not been enough to prove a solid link between the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre cluster and the Logan cluster, which started when two women went to Melbourne and returned to Queensland without quarantining.

“They are the same strain, that is the strain that has been circulating widely in Victoria and New South Wales,” he said.

“Unfortunately that doesn’t provide evidence of a link, we’ll have to continue searching.”

Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said although the final report on the genome sequencing showed an “almost-perfect match”, there was only one very small change between the two, which suggests they are linked.

“The problem is that particular strain has shown very little mutation,” Dr Young said.

“Although that’s almost an exact match, we’ve also found other cases elsewhere that have had that exact match.

“We can’t say definitely whether those cases are linked, but we also can’t say that they’re not.”

Dr Young said she will now look to contact tracing to try and find a link between the two clusters.

There are currently 17 active cases in the state, and a total of 1,110 cases.

More than 19,780 tests were conducted in the past 24 hours.



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LGBTQI conversion therapy bill to be put before ACT Legislative Assembly amid concerns conversion definition is ‘too broad’


The ACT will tomorrow seek to pass a bill that would ban any practices or therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual or gender identity.

It is welcome news to people like James Collier, who suffered decades of conversion practices, including at the hands of a church group in Canberra, before making the decision to transition to a male body two years ago.

“This is genuinely going to save lives,” said the 52-year-old, who was told his discomfort with the female body he was born with resulted from a bout with polio as a toddler.

“It was explained that these wrong feelings were because I was broken and damaged by the polio and the polio had damaged my nerves and that’s why my body felt like it was an alien creature,” Mr Collier said.

“You get taught to hate all the most authentic things about you and that is genuinely soul destroying.

Conversion therapy is based on the theory that a person’s gender or sexual identity can be changed or suppressed through practices ranging from psychiatric treatments such as electro-convulsion therapy, to counselling therapies, to spiritual intervention.

Under the ACT’s proposed Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill, conversion practices used on protected persons — such as children — could attract up to a 12-month jail term or a fine of $24,000.

It also provides for civil penalties, giving the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal the power to issue orders against people complained about, and order redress and compensation.

The bill defines sexuality or gender identity conversion practices as “a treatment or other practice … the purported purpose of which is to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity”.

Under the bill, practices related to supporting a person who is undergoing or considering a gender transition are not banned.

The ACT will seek to pass a bill to ban any practices or therapy aimed at changing a person’s sexual or gender identity.(Flickr: Charlie Nguyen)

Mr Collier said the bill was crucial to stop reorientation practices happening underground and in some religious communities.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said his Government had been “consulting with a range of stakeholder groups, both survivors of conversion practices and a wide variety of religious organisations — many of whom have expressed support for the legislation”.

But concerns that the Government’s definition of conversion therapy is too broad have been raised by several groups, including the ACT Law Society and the Association of Christian Schools.

School warns bill could ‘criminalise parents and teachers’

Canberra’s Trinity Christian School last week sent an “urgent and important” letter home to parents saying the bill was too “broad” and, if passed, would threaten their education model and “potentially criminalise parents and teachers fulfilling that guiding role”.

It encouraged parents to contact their Legislative Assembly members to call for a public inquiry.

Trinity Christian School letter to parents
Trinity Christian School sent this letter home to parents ahead of the bill being put to parliament.(Facebook)

The Australian Association of Christian Schools (AACS), which represents Trinity Christian School and Brindabella Christian College and is working with four other faith-based schools in Canberra including the Islamic School on this issue, provided advice on the letter.

The AACS’s director of public policy, Mark Spencer, said it did not support “the kind of coercive gay-conversion that people talk about”, and that the letter was sent to parents because the AACS was concerned “about the vague and imprecise nature of the definition of what constitutes sexuality and gender conversion practices”.

“It’s not clear in the legislation and the legal advice makes that abundantly clear,” Mr Spencer said.

“[We] also want to make sure parents can continue to talk to their children about issues such as this.

“This bill has the potential to criminalise parents and teachers across Canberra, if they are going about the normal processes of parenting and teaching.”

AACS is calling for specific amendments to the bill, including limiting the definition of sexuality and conversion practices to health providers, similar to legislation passed recently in Queensland.

It also wants specific exclusions for professional counsellors, members of a religious community, and family and friends who are providing advice to anyone with questions about their sexuality or gender identity.

Mark Spencer looks at the camera
Mark Spencer from The Australian Association of Christian Schools has called for amendments to the bill.(ABC News: Claire Moodie)

Conversion therapy definition ‘too broad for criminal conduct’

The ACT Law Society said that some of AACS’s concerns could theoretically be possible under proposed legislation.

“They’ve constructed a definition that potentially includes practices that could be otherwise regarded as schooling or education,” criminal law committee chair Michael Kukulies-Smith said of the proposed bill.

The ACT Law Society said they strongly supported the policy intent of the bill, but also raised concerns about what they described as a “too broad and vague” definition of sexuality or gender identity conversion practice to be a proper basis for the proposed criminal offence.

Mr Kukulies-Smith said the fact that the exceptions to the definition listed were “twice the length and amount to 50 or 60 per cent of probably what would be covered by the definition, that just does not seem like good law”.

A suited man talks at a podium into a microphone.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr says the legislation will not be “watered down”.(ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

If the Government pushes ahead with imposing criminal penalties for conversion therapies, the Law Society suggested the offence should be limited to situations that involved coercion, and suggested conversion practices could be controlled through regulation.

In the ACT, individuals working with protected persons must be the holders of a Working With Vulnerable People Card. The Law Society suggested an alternative to creating a criminal offence could be the revocation, or ineligibility, for people who carry out conversion therapy for this accreditation.

Mr Kukulies-Smith said this would be an effective deterrent preferable to the imposition of a further criminal offence; it would also be a preventative measure.

“The criminal law is a blunt instrument when it comes to modifying behaviours. Not every legislative initiative needs to be supported by an offence provision,” he said.

Barr says legislation would not be ‘watered down’

Alistair Coe in a suit outside the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Opposition Leader Alistair Coe says the issue was debated in other jurisdictions “for many months”.(ABC News: Dave Sciasci)

Opposition Leader Alistair Coe accused the Government of “ramming” the legislation ahead of the upcoming election.

“In other jurisdictions, including Queensland, they sent this issue to a parliament inquiry that looked at it for many months,” he said, adding that the Canberra Liberals would propose amendments tomorrow to make sure the legislation did not “criminalise parents for having reasonable conversations with their children”.

Mr Barr denied the use of “conversion therapy” in the bill was too broad, but said he would consider adding examples to the legislation to clarify the community’s right to religious freedom and expression under section 14 of the Human Rights Act.

Mr Barr said the element of coercion was already “well encapsulated” within the legislation and would be even clearer with the addition of the amendment.

“I also need to be clear that it is not watering down the legislation,” he said.

“There have been some very practical suggestions put forward that we will be undertaking, and that is to add some further examples in the legislation and the explanatory statement.

“There is no place for them in a modern society.”



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Poor fresh food quality in north-west Queensland put under the spotlight by health professionals


Mould-ridden vegetables, 200 per cent mark-ups on food, and food trucks getting bogged are the norm in the Gulf of Carpentaria, a hearing has been told.

The hearing, which was launched in June this year, investigates food prices and food security in remote and Indigenous communities compared with those in the city.

Inquiry chairman Julian Leeser said consumer protection laws and regulators such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) would also be assessed for their effectiveness in regulating remote pricing.

“We want to know how much of this is just a supply to remoteness issue, and how much of this is regulatory failure,” Mr Leeser said.

Representatives from Indigenous health service Gidgee Healing met with the panel in Brisbane via a video link last week and gave examples from Doomadgee, Burketown and Mornington Island.

Comparison of pricing between Mount Isa and the lower Queensland Gulf to Brisbane.(Supplied: Gidgee Healing)

The submission, now open to public, found spoilt food was displayed and common items such as vegetables, rice, and milk were either double the price of city produce or sometimes not available at all.

Transportation was also presented to the committee as an issue, with the example of bogged trucks that prevented resupply to north-west Queensland during the summer of 2019.

truck rolled over in mud
A food truck in Burketown becomes bogged in late 2019 as the wet season cuts-off communities.(Supplied: Gidgee Healing)

Patients ‘in tears’ for fresh food

Clinical dietician Kiri Woodington said it was disheartening to recommend nutritional goals to patients when they were impossible due to their location.

“I have more than enough accounts of clients completely in tears because they know the problem with their diet is a lack of fruit and vegetables,” Ms Woodington said.

woman and man standing in hallway
Chief medical officer Marjed Paige and clinical dietitian Kiri Woodington.(ABC North West Queensland: Kemii Maguire)

Kalkadoon-Waanyi descendant and chief medical officer for Gidgee Healing Marjed Paige said patients often declined referrals to see a dietitian due to the poor access to fresh produce in their community.

“There’s some shame going with it,” he said.

“Because I refer them to a dietitian [but] they already know they can’t afford [fruit and vegetables] and sometimes it’s better not to go.

The hearing will continue this week as 110 submissions from across Australia are investigated before the committee submits its findings to the Federal Government on October 30.



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Lance Franklin’s season done as groin soreness prompts Sydney Swans to put a line through superstar forward


“However, given the soreness he has experienced in his groin, which suggests he still has some instability there, we believe the best course of action is for Lance to focus on building his core strength, rather than pushing himself to play again this year.”

The onset of another soft-tissue problem will do little to douse speculation that Franklin’s ageing frame is no longer up to the task of weekly AFL football.

Franklin was supposedly in career-best shape as the Swans began pre-season training late last year but had knee surgery in January, then hurt his hamstring in May while working through running drills.

Widely considered one of the greatest players to have ever laced up a boot, Franklin has played only one game in the past 12 months – his 300th match in the final round of the 2019 campaign, in which he kicked four goals and gave a timely reminder of what he is still capable of when his body allows him.

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The Swans have dearly missed his fearsome presence in attack, particularly this year amid an unfortunate injury curse which has claimed some of their very best players.

Franklin still has two more years left on the rich nine-year contract he signed with the Swans after his departure from Hawthorn – and the heavily back-ended nature of the deal means he was reportedly earning $1.4 million this year.

The two-time premiership player will not return to Sydney to reunite with his wife Jesinta and six-month-old daughter Tallulah, but will instead stay with the Swans playing group to work on his rehab and assist the team in a “mentoring and coaching capacity”.

Saturday’s 31-point defeat to Fremantle was Sydney’s last fixture in Perth, with their travelling contingent set to be based out of a hub in Cairns for the remainder of the season.

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Emergency doctor with coronavirus who was put on ventilator speaks out


An emergency doctor in Melbourne says he feels lucky to be alive after spending days on a ventilator in intensive care with coronavirus.

In July, news outlets around the country reported a young doctor in his 30s was in ICU, but his identity has not been revealed until now.

In an exclusive interview with 7.30, Yianni Efstathiadis, 34, says his ordeal began on July 19.

He started experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — fever, muscle aches, lethargy — and was tested for the virus. It came back negative.

Dr Efstathiadis had a second test a few days later because his symptoms persisted.

It was positive. The first had been a false negative, “Which can happen,” Dr Efstathiadis said.

He and his wife, Brit Green, 27, are both doctors at Melbourne’s Northern Hospital Epping. As soon as his positive result came through, they went into isolation. Dr Efstathiadis stayed at their home and Dr Green moved into her mother’s place.

“About five days later, I was getting really sick and very, very lethargic and couldn’t really look after myself at all, coughing a lot,” Dr Efstathiadis told 7.30.

Brit Green and Yianni Efstathiadis both work at Northern Hospital Epping.(Supplied: Yianni Efstathiadis)

Dr Green, who has not contracted COVID-19, was keeping in contact with him via regular video calls. When he told her he felt dizzy, could not get off the couch or keep any fluids down, she called an ambulance.

While he was in hospital, his oxygen levels were found to be low. “That was the point, as a doctor, I started getting worried,” Dr Efstathiadis said.

He was transferred to intensive care and had a tube inserted to help him breathe.

“Even though I’ve seen that sort of stuff being done before, and I’ve actually put in tubes before as well, being on the patient’s side it was just, for me, it was panic and fear,” he said.

“I know all those stats about a certain decent percentage of people that end up in ICU with COVID don’t leave. So as I was going towards ICU to get intubated, that was probably the most scary thing.”

‘Never been so terrified in my life’

A man in a hospital bed with breathing tubes attached to his nose.
Yianni Efstathiadis in hospital with COVID-19.(Supplied: Yianni Efstathiadis)

Dr Green woke up to find a message saying her husband had low oxygen and was being taken to ICU.

“It felt like it was happening to another person. I don’t think I’ve been so terrified in my life,” she said.

“I had to tell our family, because all of a sudden I was the next of kin. I just didn’t really anticipate that I would be making decisions for my 34-year-old husband about treatment.

“I was pretty scared that I might not see Yianni ever again,” she said.

“Every day I woke up and I was scared. Every day.”

Colleague feared he might die

A man wears a face mask, face shield and glasses.
Dr Anthony Cross says he was “very scared” when Dr Efstathiadis’s condition deteriorated in ICU.(Supplied: Anthony Cross)

Dr Anthony Cross, the ICU director at Northern Hospital Epping, said having a colleague in ICU with coronavirus “brings it all home, becomes very personal, because this could be any of us”.

“He was going into what we call respiratory failure. He was requiring very high levels of oxygen,” Dr Cross said.

“His condition continued to deteriorate to that point that we had to intubate him, that is we had to put a breathing tube down his throat, and we had to put him on a mechanical ventilator.

“His lungs were not working.

“I was very scared at the prospect that he may deteriorate to the point that we weren’t able to support him or that he died.”

Taking part in a drug trial

Dr Barry Dixon
Dr Barry Dixon is leading a trial of a drug that may help treat — or even prevent — COVID-19.(ABC News)

While in ICU, Dr Efstathiadis was given the drug heparin, which has long been administered via injection but is being trialled as an inhaled substance, via a ventilator, in COVID-19 patients.

A global trial of administering heparin via inhalation is being led by Dr Barry Dixon at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital and Northern Hospital Epping.

The trial is aiming to discover whether inhaled heparin limits lung damage in seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

“A successful trial would just provide another therapy that we can use to help them to accelerate their recovery, make them more likely to get off a ventilator sooner, more likely to get home sooner — and all those things prevent them from getting other complications,” Dr Dixon said.

In the course of his research, Dr Dixon believes he may have discovered another use for heparin — as a preventative.

“If you use heparin, it actually binds to COVID and once it binds to COVID it’s inactivated, so it can’t bind to us and can’t infect us,” he said.

And he believes there is the potential for widespread usage of the drug to cut down on community transmission.

“If you had a formulation of an inhaler like Ventolin but with heparin in it, and they were using that a couple of times a day, and they were inhaling it, it may well inactivate the virus in their airway, in their mouth and in their nose and reduce aerosol spread to the community.”

‘I’ve been very lucky’

A doctor wears a top with the Batman logo on it.
Yianni Efstathiadis at work at Northern Hospital Epping.(Supplied: Yianni Efstathiadis)

As he was recovering, Dr Efstathiadis heard about a man in his 30s with coronavirus who died in ICU.

“It really hit home how lucky I was to have made it through. It sounded like this person also had no other health issues or complications. So it was a bit humbling to know that I’d made it,” he said.

“I was so worried that something would go wrong again, I guess, because he only got so sick towards the end of his illness.

“I’ve been very lucky.”

Dr Efstathiadis said while there is no way to find out exactly how he contracted the virus, it was most likely from one of the positive patients he had treated.

Dr Cross said Dr Efstathiadis’s experience served as a stark warning.

“This is a serious disease and it’s there and it could potentially kill you,” he said.

“Yianni is a young guy. Yianni is a guy who knows about infection prevention and yet not only did he get this disease but he got very sick with it.”

Watch this story on 7.30.



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