Commonwealth Games tipped to return to Australia

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) have entered an 'exclusive dialogue' period with the state's authorities.

While a submission still has to be formally evaluated, Victoria is now likely to be officially confirmed as the host in April.

The Games would be primarily held in regional Victoria.

The news will come as a major relief to the CGF which had been trying to find a host to follow Birmingham.

Birmingham will stage the 2022 Games in July.

New wage regulations welcomed by Pacific seasonal workers

Australia's Fair Work Commission announced last week that employers would be required to pay seasonal workers a mandatory minimum piece rate of AUD$25.41 an hour.

The President of the Tonga Australia Seasonal Workers Association Falepaini Maile said they look forward to the pay rise scheduled for April 28th.

"Workers are quite happy. When we put the article up on our Tonga Australia Seasonal Workers Association Facebook page, some of them were commenting and said why don't they start now, so they're desperate for when the increase will start," he said.


Australian MP in emotional plea over religion bill

Critics says the bill enables discrimination and would allow religious schools to exclude transgender students.

Mentioning his late gay nephew, Labor MP Stephen Jones said the bill had not been thought through.

"He was just 15 when he took his own life," he told parliament.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison introduced the Religious Discrimination Bill in November, and said it will ensure protection for religious people and organisations to express beliefs and avoid "cancel culture".

Northern Territory has Australia's highest Covid hospitalisation rate, more admissions expected

Deakin University chair of epidemiology Catherine Bennett said at New South Wales' peak, the state had roughly 3.5 patients hospitalised with coronavirus per 10,000 residents.

By comparison, she calculated the Northern Territory (NT) now had roughly 6.32 Covid-related hospitalisations per 10,000 people.

Professor Bennett said the territory's high hospitalisation wasn't altogether surprising, considering many people in the NT had a "high risk profile".

Australian PM signals reopening borders to tourists 'not far away'

Australia, which shut its borders in March of 2020, has been going through a staggered reopening in recent months, allowing in only its citizens and residents, skilled migrants, international students and certain seasonal workers.

In January, Morrison said he hoped international borders could fully reopen before Easter.

His popularity has been sliding in recent months, however, in part reflecting questions about his handling of the Omicron outbreak, and he faces pressure from a federal election that must be called by May.

Deputy keeps job despite calling Scott Morrison a liar

Mr Joyce apologised after learning that the message - sent last year and passed to a former staffer of Scott Morrison's Liberal Party - was being made public.

The text was dated 22 March, before Mr Joyce took on his current role.

Rejecting his resignation, Mr Morrison said: "We all have our frailties and none of us are perfect."

Mr Joyce, 54, told reporters on Saturday: "I want to apologise to the prime minister... I should have never written the text that I did.

Australia-UNICEF’s Covid-19 vaccine support to Nauru

Australia provided 5,850 doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines to Nauru as part of a AUD302.7 million partnership with UNICEF to procure up to 20 million vaccines for partner countries in the Pacific and Southeast Asia by the end of 2022.

New Zealand has contributed AUD 6.1m to the partnership with UNICEF.

Nauru’s Minister for Health, Isabella Dageago, was on hand to receive the vaccine doses yesterday.

Australian PM brushes off reported text exchange between Berejiklian and minister

An alleged conversation between a "senior Liberal cabinet minister" and former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian was relayed live on air by Channel Ten's political editor Peter Van Onselen yesterday.

Berejiklian reportedly described the Prime Minister as a "horrible, horrible person", with the minister responding he was a "complete psycho".

The ABC has not seen or verified the text exchange.

Berejiklian has not denied the conversation, but said yesterday she had no recollection of it.

Nauru offshore regime to cost Australian taxpayers nearly $220m over next six months

Brisbane firm Canstruct International has been awarded a new extension – its eighth non-competitive contract extension – for $218.5m to provide six months of “garrison and welfare services” on Nauru. The company’s total revenue from island contracts over the past five years now totals more than $1.8bn.

It currently costs Australian taxpayers more than $4m a year to hold one person within the Nauru offshore regime – a little over $11,000 per person per day.

Victoria reports rise in hospitalisations, teen among deaths in Queensland

Of the patients in hospital, there are 122 in intensive care, 40 of whom are receiving ventilation.

The state has officially recorded 21,966 new Covid-19 infections, but the true number of new cases in the community could be much higher.

About half of the state's cases have been diagnosed using RATs, with yesterday's tally reported from 11,693 PCR results and 10,273 rapid testing kits.

Considering these figures, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was clear Covid-19 was prevalent in Victoria.