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Good morning, early birds. Leaked report reveals Victoria's third lockdown was sparked by swabbing in an open doorway, and the Indian Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament has been suspended indefinitely, leaving more than 30 Australian players, coaches, and staff in limbo. It's the news you need to know, with Chris Woods.

$295k price tag for High Court battle over casuals' backpay

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The Attorney-General's decision to intervene in a High Court battle over casuals' backpay is expected to cost taxpayers $295,860.
In May last year, the full Federal Court rejected the bid from labour hire firm WorkPac to have a former employee, Robert Rossato, declared a casual employee and not entitled to paid leave.
The ruling meant workers on regular casual shifts would be entitled to seek paid leave.
Attorney-General Christian Porter applied to intervene in the case after the company appealed to the High Court to clarify what casuals should be paid and how offset arrangements should work.
Queensland Labor Senator Murray Watt said it was "unbelievable" the federal government was using taxpayer funds to help a labour hire company.

George Christensen seeks to pocket $100k from taxpayers

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Dawson MP George Christensen could walk away from politics with a six-figure taxpayer-funded payout if his request to be disendorsed from the Liberal National Party is approved.
Last month, the maverick MP revealed the "time was right" to announce he would not recontest his seat at the upcoming election.
The News Corp publication reported Mr Christensen had since failed to withdraw his nomination and his local branch had requested LNP headquarters overturn its candidate approval and formally reject his nomination to stand at the next election.
If the party disendorses the Dawson MP, he could be eligible for a "resettlement allowance" involving a taxpayer-funded payment of $105,600, or six-months' salary.

New identities emerge for LNP, ALP in race for Dawson

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New identities emerge for LNP, ALP in race for Dawson
A businessman with links to Mackay has thrown his hat in the ring to replace retiring MP George Christensen for the LNP, just as Labor unveils their pick.
Politics
by MADURA MCCORMACK
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A HIGH-PROFILE Townsville businessman with links to Mackay has thrown his hat in the ring to replace retiring rogue MP George Christensen for the LNP.
And in a sign federal Labor now views the seat of Dawson as vulnerable for the Coalition, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has jetted in to the Sugar City to personally unveil the party's candidate.

More affordable access to insurance for Northern Australians | Prime Minister of Australia


More affordable access to insurance for Northern Australians
Media release
04 May 2021
Prime Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Agriculture, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, Minister for Resources, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing and Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing
Northern Australian residents would be offered more affordable and accessible home and business insurance, thanks to the establishment of a reinsurance pool by the Morrison Government.
The reinsurance pool would cover cyclone and related flood damage in northern Australia from 1 July 2022, and would be backed by a $10 billion government guarantee.
This would reduce insurance premiums across Northern Australia by over $1.5 billion for households, strata and small businesses over 10 years.

More affordable access to insurance for northern Australians


Date Time
More affordable access to insurance for northern Australians
Joint media release with the Prime Minister, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud, and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar
Northern Australian residents would be offered more affordable and accessible home and business insurance, thanks to the establishment of a reinsurance pool by the Morrison Government.
The reinsurance pool would cover cyclone and related flood damage in northern Australia from 1 July 2022, and would be backed by a $10 billion government guarantee.
This would reduce insurance premiums across Northern Australia by over $1.5 billion for households, strata and small businesses over 10 years.

'It's going to happen, we'll make it happen'

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She said the night was her gift to the first responder community.
Toni Childs played in Mackay as part of a concert hosted by ReNew Mackay and PTSD Frontline in support of the Daily Mercury's Hub for our Heroes campaign. Picture: Heidi Petith
“I think it’s a really important thing to say thank you, to let people know that we really do care about what’s happening to you and how your lives and families can be affected by (post-traumatic stress disorder) and other things” Childs said.
“So many men are feeling like they can’t really vent or share what they’re going through for fear of losing their jobs, or being judged.

Albo names mine worker as Labor's candidate for Dawson

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Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese has named a mine worker as the party’s candidate for the seat of Dawson in a highly strategic move months out from the federal election.
Former state election candidate and father-of-three Shane Hamilton will contest Dawson for Labor after he failed to unseat Mirani MP Stephen Andrew at last year‘s state election.
The party is eyeing to pick up the seat after Dawson MP George Christensen announced his shock retirement last month, with Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson quoted as saying the decision meant the seat was in play for both major parties.

$10bn guarantee for cheaper home and business insurance

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“We believe in the future of Northern Australia. This means we need to take further action to boost the resilience for Australians to live and work in Northern Australia,” Mr Morrison said.
“Homeowners and businesses have been faced with crippling insurance costs, and in some cases, can’t get insurance at all. It’s not OK, and we’re going to change that.
The average strata premium was $6800 in North Queensland, twice the Australian average of $3300.
“Our plan will give more Australians in cyclone-prone areas access to affordable insurance.”
The report, handed down in January 2021, revealed Northern Australians were being slugged with premiums twice the national average.

PM's $10b pledge: Insurance scheme for 'crippled' north Qld

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by Matthew Killoran
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North Queenslanders smashed with the double blow of cyclones and insurers refusing to cover them or charging sky-high premiums will finally get some relief under a long-awaited scheme to be revealed today.
Disasters, like Cyclone Yasi which destroyed this house at Mission Beach in 2011, have made insurance unaffordable or unobtainable in north Queensland. Picture: Supplied
Insurance skyrocketed in north Queensland after a series of devastating cyclones, with the average premium for a strata property in north Queensland hitting $6800 a year, compared to the national average of $3000.
The scheme will be a $10 billion reinsurance pool, or guarantee for insurers, and will apply to about 500,000 residential, strata and business policies from Rockhampton north and within 100km either side of the coastline.

Australia live news: Covid breach at Brisbane airport after traveller tests positive; Brittany Higgins to meet with PM | Australia news


New Zealand website Stuff first reported the breach, which occurred on a flight on Friday morning.
The man went from Rarotonga to Auckland yesterday. Restriction-free travel is permitted between the Cook Islands and New Zealand, but a person must stay for at least 14 days before transiting to Australia.
Instead, the man caught a flight to Perth hours after arriving in New Zealand. The breach was reported shortly after the flight departed.
The Cook Islands has not recorded a single case of Covid-19 during the pandemic.
Air New Zealand said in a statement to Stuff:
We have been made aware of a passenger on board NZ175 Auckland–Perth today who is ineligible for quarantine-free travel to Australia.

Christensen retirement presents 'magnificent' opportunity

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George Christensen's retirement has presented a "very exciting" and "magnificent" opportunity for the Mackay Whitsunday region, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson says.
The Mackay mayor said this meant the seat was now in play for both major parties, which could lead to a cash splash on the region in the lead-up to the federal election.
"If George were to run again, obviously the LNP would think they've got it in the bag," Cr Williamson said.
"He had 62 per cent of the two-party preferred and I think a lot of that is his personal vote.
"Love him or hate him, he has got a particular style of politics that a lot of people warm to.

'Politics is broken': Mainstream media's tentacles 'wrapped around the system'

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'Politics is broken': Mainstream media's tentacles 'wrapped around the system'27/04/2021|8min
Retiring Nationals MP George Christensen says "politics is broken" because the mainstream media had its tentacles "wrapped around the system".
"Politics is broken because we've got the mainstream media and a range of other institutions... that have got their tentacles wrapped around the system and it's very hard to get the conservative agenda moving forward," he said.
"We're talking about the activist media... that pretend they're not biased but the reality is they are completely and utterly left-wing. The political agenda is set by them on a daily basis.

Christensen's retirement raises more questions than answers

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Anything can happen during a week in politics.
There's no better example of this than what we saw in Mackay during George Christensen's shock retirement.
On April 14, after inquiring about the Dawson MP's intentions for the next federal election, the Daily Mercury was told by Mr Christensen's office that he "had renominated to be the LNP candidate for Dawson."
Bizarrely, the Dawson MP then posted a video to his loyal Facebook followers stating he would "not be renominating as a Liberal National Party candidate for the seat of Dawson at the next election".
Confusing, isn't it?
Dawson MP George Christensen. Picture: George Christensen, YouTube.

Christensen retirement presents 'magnificent' opportunity

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George Christensen's retirement has presented a "very exciting" and "magnificent" opportunity for the Mackay Whitsunday region, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson says.
The Mackay mayor said this meant the seat was now in play for both major parties, which could lead to a cash splash on the region in the lead-up to the federal election.
"If George were to run again, obviously the LNP would think they've got it in the bag," Cr Williamson said.
"He had 62 per cent of the two-party preferred and I think a lot of that is his personal vote.
"Love him or hate him, he has got a particular style of politics that a lot of people warm to.

Who is in contention to replace George Christensen

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Speculation over who will throw their hat in the ring to replace outgoing Dawson MP George Christensen for the LNP has already begun.
The four names circulating include Mackay councillor Marty Bella, Burdekin MP Dale Last, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson and former LNP state election candidate Chris Bonanno.
Cr Williamson said the party had not approached him to run.
"I wouldn't be putting my hand up anyway," he said.
"I think while federal representation is exceptionally important, I'm enjoying my job now and I think I can represent the Mackay region appropriately from what I'm doing at the moment."

LNP eye former Queensland Origin star for Dawson seat

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LNP eye former Queensland Origin star for Dawson seat25/04/2021|1min
Alternatives are being spoken about to run for the seat of Dawson with the number one contender being former Queensland State of Origin star Martin Bella, says Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell.
Queensland MP George Christensen announced he won't run for reelection with the Liberal National Party because he desired to spend more time with his family and politics was "not working" for conservatives.
Mr Clennell said Bella is “the national coordinator of an organisation called ‘Greenshirts’ which has been standing up for farmers”.
“The other one being spoken about as a potential candidate for the seat, should Bella decide not to run, is state frontbencher Dale Last,” Mr Clennell said.

'Forgotten' Digger's story hits home at Bowen ANZAC service

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A rousing Dawn Service speech by Burdekin MP Dale Last brought the ANZAC Day message to life for the community of Bowen this morning.
Focusing on the story of “forgotten” Indigenous north Queensland Digger Charlie Blackman, who until recently was buried in an unmarked grave, the speech brought the ‘Lest We Forget’ message down to a more personal level for the 500-strong crowd.
Bowen's 2021 ANZAC Day commemorations. Picture: Rhonda Nilsson
Not least because the Whitsunday community played a key role in ensuring Lance Corporal Blackman got the respect and recognition he deserved, Mr Last explained, including the awarding of medals and the erection of a headstone at Charters Towers some 50 years after he died.

'I never wanted to be a lifer': Retiring Nationals MP reflects on decision

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'I never wanted to be a lifer': Retiring Nationals MP reflects on decision 25/04/2021|7min
Nationals MP George Christensen has spoken to Sky News about his decision to retire at the next federal election.
"I've never wanted to be a lifer and die in the House," Mr Christensen told Sky News host Paul Murray.
"I said to myself originally three terms, that's now four, so you know, that's that".
"I'm not going to be quitting politics, I'm still going to be actively involved in politics, just in a different guise".
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