West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood fans boo Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Western Australia


Coloured scarfs, hot meat pies and booing our nation’s leader if he ever dares show his face — these are timeworn traditions at the footy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison took his turn in copping it from the crowd at the West Coast Eagles game against Collingwood in Perth on Friday night when he was shown on the big screen late in the second quarter.

Brody Mihocek had just kicked a goal to keep the Magpies in touch in the Eagles’ 27-point win, when the camera panned to ScoMo sitting between former WA federal minister Mathias Cormann and Eagles chairman Russell Gibbs.

Prime Ministers are regularly booed at sporting events and the sighting of Morrison, whose approval rating plummeted in the latest Newspoll, was met with a deafening roar by the 54,159-strong crowd at Optus Stadium.

“Nice reception,” Channel 7 commentator James Brayshaw said after hearing the noise.

“You wouldn’t like to be in that job and come to the footy, would you?” added co-commentator Brian Taylor.

Morrison is visiting Western Australia for the first time in 18 months. Since his last visit the WA Liberals suffered a landslide defeat in the state election as Mark McGowan’s Labor government recorded an easy win.

Morrison’s approval rating has been smashed by voters amid a backlash led by Brittany Higgins, sexual abuse survivors and women’s fight for justice.

Voters satisfaction with the PM’s performance plunged by a stunning 7 points from 62 per cent to 55 per cent in the space of just two weeks in late March.

Mr Morrison also suffered a four-point plunge as preferred PM. His rating now stands at 52 per cent support as the preferred prime minister, still well in front of Labor leader Anthony Albanese who rose two points to a modest 32 per cent.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison pitches in to help clean up after Cyclone Seroja in Kalbarri


The Prime Minister rolled up his sleeves to help clean debris in the aftermath of ex-tropical cyclone Seroja, which destroyed 32 buildings in the West Australian tourist town Kalbarri.

Scott Morrison said on Friday afternoon that disaster recovery payments of $1000 would be extended to include all local government areas hit by the severe storm as the scale of the damage was revealed.

More than 870 buildings were damaged during the cyclone, with 22 houses completely destroyed, while a mammoth 35,000 square km area was affected by the disaster.

“There is also income support for businesses that have lost because of the interruption of their work or their businesses and that goes on for 13 weeks,” Mr Morrison told reporters.

RELATED: Push for ‘realistic’ vaccine targets

“These types of payments have been incredibly important.”

The local government areas of Chapman Valley, Dalwallinu, Greater Geraldton, Morawa and Shark Bay are now eligible to receive financial assistance. Previously it was just the Shire of Northampton.

Department of Fire and Emergency (DFES) commissioner Darren Klemm said his crews were being helped by the Australian Defence Force to assess damage on the massive expanses hit by the cyclone.

“There’s so much to do,” he said of the roughly 700 DFES members helping out.

“It is one of the absolutely fantastic things about emergency services in Western Australia and in Australia more broadly, is that the way that the whole community comes together to support everybody else.”

On Thursday, Commissioner Klemm estimated the damage bill could be as high as $200m, with asbestos fears clouding the recovery efforts for many.

WA Premier Mark McGowan described it as a traumatic event,with ramifications that would roll on for some time, noting a further 491 properties were also affected moderately or slightly.

“It’s really quite extraordinary to see what the cyclone did to some people’s businesses and homes,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“Obviously the assessment of the total cost of the damage we don’t know yet — that’s an ongoing process.”

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Scott Morrison wants overseas vaccination travel plan


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is urgently asking medical experts to formulate a plan on how vaccinated Aussies can travel overseas and skip hotel quarantine upon return.

The PM said the country’s “main goal” was vaccinating the most vulnerable parts of the population, but said an international travel plan was “what I’d like to see happen next”.

“This is what I’ve tasked the medical experts with, is ensuring that we can know when an Australian is vaccinated here with their two doses, is able to travel overseas and return without having to go through hotel quarantine,” he told 6PR Perth Radio.

“I think we’re still some time away from that. The states, at this stage, I’m sure wouldn’t be agreeing to relaxing those hotel quarantine arrangements for those circumstances at this point in time.

“But what we need to know from the health advisers is what does make that safe and what does make that possible.”

Mr Morrison warned reopening the international borders now could result in more than 1000 cases of coronavirus a week.

“Vaccinations are not a silver bullet. We’ve never said they are,” he said.

“Australians have become very used to the fact … of having zero case numbers and zero community transmission.

“I don’t think Australians … would welcome restrictions and closures and borders shutting and all of those things, again, out of states concerned about the rising numbers of case numbers.

“So everyone needs to get on the same page with that. And so they’re the important threshold issues we’ve got to work together through as a national cabinet.

“And that’s why I’m calling them back together again to work on that same operational tempo that we were during the pandemic, because these are the challenges we need to solve together now.”

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton backed the PM’s plan and said he hoped for a home quarantine setup for vaccinated Aussie travellers “soon rather than later”.

“As quickly as we can and as the Prime Minister pointed out, if people have had properly recognised the vaccine, if they are living in London or the United States or anywhere else in the world and they want to come back home and see family or see their grandparents, bring their newborn grandchild back home, then we want to facilitate that as quickly as possible,” he told the Today show on Friday morning.

“But we just need to do it in a safe way.

“And if we are having a situation where people are coming back and bringing the virus back with them, then we will see community transmission – So again it is trying to get that balance right.

“But if we can get people away from hotel quarantine into home quarantine and people do the right thing, then you can scale up the numbers obviously much more significantly than if we are just relying on hotels.”

But Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Australians should have been home already.

“There are more than 40,000 Australians still stranded overseas,” Mr Albanese said.

“Scott Morrison said that Australians would be home by Christmas; that‘s Christmas 2020.”

Australia slammed its borders shut in March last year when the global coronavirus pandemic first began to unravel.

Just two weeks ago, Australia entered into an agreement with New Zealand allowing travel between the two countries.

Mr Morrison hinted at a travel bubble agreement with more countries ahead of the trans-Tasman travel arrangement’s official start on April 19.

“I think I can see a future where we could be in a similar arrangement with Singapore and we’re working on that now,” he said.

“Other Pacific countries, that’s possible. But when you’re talking about countries, you know, for example, like Indonesia or India or Papua New Guinea or countries where we know that the virus is in a very strong form, including in Europe and even still the United Kingdom, the United States. Australians, I don’t think would welcome the incursion of the virus into the country. So we have to weigh all of that up.”

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Scott forecasts better footy ahead


Geelong coach Chris Scott has acknowledged the impact of a limited pre-season on the Cats, forecasting better footy to come.

Scott acknowledged midfielder-forward Luke Dalhaus had struggled due to the limited pre-season.

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Scott Morrison warns against drawing conclusions after blood clotting death in NSW



Prime Minister Scott Morrison says authorities are still investigating the death of a NSW woman who developed blood clots after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Scott Morrison has warned against rushing to conclusions after the death of a person in NSW who reportedly developed blood clots a day after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The 48-year-old woman was a diabetic, the ABC reports, and preliminary tests have not found a conclusive link to the vaccination.

The prime minister on Thursday night said the woman’s death was still being investigated by state and federal authorities.

“I think there is a lot more to understand and learn about that issue and I would caution others in making conclusions about this at this point as well,” he told reporters near Newman in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

“We’ve been very transparent, very transparent when it comes to information on these issues and people can expect us to do that.”

Mr Morrison said potential concerns around vaccine hesitancy meant it was important that the matter was fully investigated by medical experts.

“I think it’s important, because of the fact that people can have concerns, that we follow that important process, to inform ourselves properly,” he said.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and NSW health authorities are probing the death.

“As part of this process, the TGA is seeking further clinical information including clinical test results from the New South Wales Health Department,” a statement on the federal health department’s website said on Thursday night.

When contacted about the reported death, a NSW Health spokesperson told SBS News the department would not speculate on individual cases, but “our condolences are with the family and loved ones of the person who has passed away”.

The TGA is responsible for regulating and monitoring the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, the spokesperson said, but NSW Health is notified when a serious or unexpected adverse event occurs.

“Many conditions can arise during normal life, whether or not a vaccine is administered, but it remains important to report any new serious or unexpected events so that safety can be appropriately monitored,” they said.

It is not yet known which vaccine the woman received.

Australians under the age of 50 were last week warned off receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, after a link was confirmed between the jab and rare blood clots.

The prime minister received recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on April 8 that the Pfizer vaccine should now be adopted as the preferred vaccine for people aged under 50.

Two people have so far developed bloods clots likely linked to their AstraZeneca jab in Australia – a woman in Western Australia and a man in Victoria, both aged in the 40s.

TGA chief John Skerritt emphasised on Tuesday that blood clotting associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine was so rare, “your chances of winning the lotto are much higher”.

Additional reporting by SBS News.

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Scott Morrison confirms Australian troops will leave Afghanistan in September


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has become emotional while listing names of Australians who have died on the Afghanistan battlefield during a press conference in Perth.

Mr Morrison confirmed Australia would withdraw its remaining 80 military personnel in September after almost two decades in the country, in line with the US troop withdrawal.

US President Joe Biden confirmed American troops would time their withdrawal with the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Fighting back tears, Mr Morrison listed the names of the 41 Australians who had been killed in the conflict.

“The loss is great. The sacrifice immense, the bravery and courage things we can speak of but not know of personally,” he said on Thursday.

“These brave Australians are amongst our greatest ever who have served in the name of freedom. This day, we dedicate to their memories.

“We think of their families, their friends, the life they would have lived. But they gave that for others they did not know.”

Mr Morrison said it was an “emotional day” for all Australians, particularly the roughly 60 troops who remained in Afghanistan.

“But mainly, and most importantly, we must think of those who have been most significantly impacted: the families of those who are lost and that sacrifice which they live with each and every day,” he said.

“But also those who bore arms with them and served with them. They carry that loss with them every single day, and it is a reminder to all of us to be so grateful for their service.”

He did not confirm whether Australia’s withdrawal would also be timed with September 11.

“September is the date we are currently working to. I won‘t give any further date with that,” he said.

Removal of the Taliban, a hardline Islamist group Washington accused of harbouring al-Qa’ida leader Osama bin Laden, was a key war aim in 2001.

But withdrawal of American soldiers from the country has sparked concern over a potential Taliban resurgence.

Former US president Donald Trump struck a power-sharing deal with the Taliban in February last year.

His successor Joe Biden has this week suggested an interim arrangement that would return the group to power.

Mr Morrison was pressed on whether that outcome justified the lives lost.

“Freedom is always worth it. Australians have always believed that. That is why Australians who have serviced in our Defence forces have always pulled on that uniform,” he said.

Australia’s presence in Afghanistan was marred by the release of the Brereton report in November that found evidence of 39 murders of Afghan civilians and prisoners by SAS soldiers.

Mr Morrison refused to comment on the report, saying “now is not the time” to discuss the allegations.

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