Twitter CEO says Trump ban was right, but sets a ‘dangerous precedent’

Dorsey’s statements – the first time the CEO spoke about the decision – arrived on the heels of an emotional week in which right-wing figures disavowed the power of Silicon Valley companies, while employees and the public had begged the company for more explanation of its actions in response to the violent January 6 pro-Trump rally at the Capitol. At the same time, Twitter continued to suspend tens of thousands of problematic accounts.

Twitter’s Trump ban drew criticism from some Republicans who said it quelled the US president’s right to free speech. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also warned through a spokesman that legislators, not private companies, should decide on potential curbs to free expression.

Dorsey said he believed Twitter had made “the right decision”, adding that the company “faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety.”

But the action, he noted, came with perilous consequences in terms of fragmenting the online conversation as people flee to use different services that suit them politically, and giving companies like Twitter enormous unchecked power.

“This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet,” he wrote. “A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same.”

Twitter has introduced a series of measures over the last year like labels, warnings and distribution restrictions to reduce the need for decisions about removing content entirely from the service.

Dorsey has said he believes those measures can promote more fruitful, or “healthy,” conversations online and lessen the impact of bad behaviour.

Twitter banned Trump’s account last Friday after first suspending him for 12 hours the day of the Capitol siege. On Friday, Trump again tweeted that he wouldn’t attend the inauguration, as well as saying that his supporters would not be disrespected “in any way, shape, or form.”

Twitter immediately dismantled his account, saying the tweets could incite violence.


Facebook has also banned Trump indefinitely, as has Amazon-owned video platform Twitch. Snapchat banned him permanently, while Google-owned YouTube did so for seven days. Amazon’s web services division cut off the Trump friendly social media site Parler, which was also removed from the Google and Apple app stores.

The Twitter CEO explained bans by social media companies on Trump after last week’s violence were emboldened by each other’s actions, even though they were not coordinated.

Supporters of Trump who has repeatedly made baseless claims challenging Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November election, stormed the US Capitol last week, trying to halt the certification by Congress of Biden’s Electoral College win.

On Wednesday, Trump became the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

The Washington Post/Reuters

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Malcolm Turnbull slams Scott Morrison over ‘dangerous’ Craig Kelly comments

Malcolm Turnbull has slammed Scott Morrison for failing to take a tougher line with MPs promoting “dangerous” crackpot COVID-19 cures including hair lice treatments and the use of the antiseptic Betadine.

The former prime minister has warned it’s time to “call out” Liberal MPs, including NSW MP Craig Kelly, who are developing huge social media followings by promoting wild claims about the virus.

Mr Kelly’s Facebook account now has an army of followers who are reading up to three posts a day promoting controversial theories and claims that asking children to wear face masks was “child abuse”.

“Well, look, the very least the Prime Minister and the Health Minister, Acting Prime Minister, should call it out for what it is,’’ Mr Turnbull said.

“I mean, you know, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from responsibility.

RELATED: Deputy PM Michael McCormack attacks social media giants

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“Morrison and McCormack and Hunt and others should be saying – at the very least – is that Craig Kelly is wrong and that it is reckless and irresponsible to be misleading the Australian public on matters of public health.”

Mr Turnbull said it was “hard to think of anything more important” than public confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine.

“And if you have got a member of parliament pedalling misleading and dangerous information, then that, at the very least, needs to be called out and condemned and contradicted by the Government,’’ he said.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has promoted a range of theories on COVID-19 on his page but has attacked claims he’s promoting misinformation about the hair lice treatment Ivermectin after posting another study overnight.

“For all those ignorant ill-informed Ivermectin deniers out there, piling on the abuse and claiming Ivermectin is all ‘conspiracy theory’ stuff and ‘misinformation’ (Chris Bowen, Jenna Price @SMH, The Guardian, etc) – read it and weep, wash the blood off your hands and apologise for your ignorance and prejudice,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“And then join my call for the National COVID Evidence Task Force to IMMEDIATELY reverse their recommendation against using Ivermectin to fight COVID.

“And I wonder if the ABC or any MSM media report this story tonight?”

Mr Kelly has also posted links to studies suggesting that the antiseptic Betadine could reduce hospitalisations by 84 per cent.

“I have not ‘DECLARED’’ anything about Betadine,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“What I did, was post the details of a study published in the journal Bioresearch Communications, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2021 – by the lead author Assistant Professor Iqbal Mahmud Chowdhury MD – in which they ran a randomised controlled clinical trial, the results of which were those taking the Betadine treatment in the study had a 84 per cent reduction in COVID infections compare to those in the placebo group.”

Mr Turnbull also rubbished the Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack’s suggestion that Twitter should not ban US President Donald Trump.

“Let’s be quite frank about this – Donald Trump incited a mob, many of them armed, to attack the Congress of the United States.

“To attack and besiege it. I mean, this is one of the most humiliating, devastating moments, blackest days, in American history and Trump incited it,’’ he said.

“So I think – I think that, you know, Twitter and Facebook have been acting responsibly.”

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Local News - Victoria

Dangerous selfies ‘can kill you’, Victoria’s Police Minister warns

“Rosy was very lovely and [had a] strong personality as a human being, a daughter, a sister, a wife and mother. She was [a] hard worker,” Ms Loomba told The Age.

“If there is something hard, she never [gave] up trying to find the solutions of the problem.”

The view from the popular Boroka Lookout in the Grampians National Park.

The view from the popular Boroka Lookout in the Grampians National Park.Credit:iStock

Ms Loomba was a mother of young children, according to her sister-in-law.

“She was trustworthy, organised and always used to have ambition to learn new things,” she said. “It’s hard to fill the loss because she is irreplaceable.”

Witnesses told Nine News that Ms Loomba’s husband and young children witnessed her fall.

It took police and the State Emergency Service more than six hours to retrieve the woman’s body on Saturday night.

Victoria’s Police Minister Lisa Neville described the incident as tragic and urged people not to risk their lives by chasing “extreme” photos for social media.

Ms Neville said authorities could not barricade every dangerous spot in popular tourist areas to avoid deaths by misadventure.

“In the end, we can’t rope off every part of Victoria. People have to take responsibility,” Ms Neville said on Sunday. “That is dangerous behaviour.”

Melbourne woman Iman Kamarelddin said she had visited the same lookout to take a photo on an overhanging ledge only hours before the Craigieburn woman fell to her death.

“I was devastated. I honestly broke down and I was just so thankful it wasn’t me,” she told Nine News on Sunday.

“We do it literally just for the photo, just for the thrill of it.”

A tourist at Boroka Lookout in the Grampians.

A tourist at Boroka Lookout in the Grampians.Credit:Instagram

Grampians tour operator Graham Wood said he warned customers in the hour leading up to the woman’s death on Saturday afternoon that similar accidents “happen all the time, and one of these days someone’s going to fall off”.

Ms Neville said the incident served as a stark reminder to tourists that ignoring safety barriers or warnings for a social media photo “can kill you”.


“What we saw yesterday was a really tragic outcome of behaviour that unfortunately we see too often,” she said.

“We see it on the Great Ocean Road all the time, and often our lifesavers are put at risk having to rescue people who are trying to do extreme photos for social media purposes.

“It not only puts you in harm’s way, but it actually risks our lifesavers, and our emergency services personnel who have to either try and rescue you or recover a body – and that’s what we’ve seen [on Saturday].”

Boroka Lookout’s spectacular views have made it a popular destination for both hikers and camera-carrying tourists, and was in the spotlight last year after a man was filmed performing a backflip on a cliff ledge.

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Electric vehicle tax a ‘dangerous’ step towards more privatisation

But when I began to look more closely into the proposed tax, and how out of step it was, it became clear that the government was readying itself to privatise yet another public asset.

I only had to look at who had originally proposed the tax – Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, a pro-privatisation ‘think-tank’ representing Transurban and road builders. They were also the first ones out of the gate to support the government’s move. And we know that Transurban has been gunning to get their hands on road user charging rights for some time.


The Victorian Labor government is utterly addicted to privatisation and the selling off of public assets. Anything Jeff Kennett didn’t privatise in the ’90s, Andrews is selling off now – the Port of Melbourne, the Land Titles office, public housing estates, you name it.

The next on their hit list is the licensing and registration functions of VicRoads. The Treasurer has already stated that VicRoads will manage the electric vehicle tax. So it would be fair to wonder if this function will be bundled in with the VicRoads privatisation to fatten it up for sale.

But what would a privatised road user charge mean for Victoria?

It would see the government get a big fat lump sum upfront from a private operator to pay off debt or fund another project, while Transurban would manage the system, provide the technology and get a steady stream of income from the public that they could cream the profit off the top.

The road user tax may discourage road users from adopting cars with cleaner footprints.

The road user tax may discourage road users from adopting cars with cleaner footprints.Credit:Bloomberg

Of course, many will marvel at the big upfront payment to the government, but the public revenue pouring into Transurban will go directly to the toll-road operator’s profits and not back into public services. It will put the control of one of the most important transport reforms into private hands and away from the public good.

Road user pricing has the potential to be a massive game changer when it comes to transport in Australia. It will be a way of managing the demand on our roads, reducing traffic during peak hours, improving travel times and will have massive benefits for the climate.

And that’s exactly why the likes of Transurban want to get their hands on it. A privatised scheme would involve a watertight contract that would be about protecting private profits and not about the public good or reducing the number of cars on our roads.

Plus, a publicly run road user pricing scheme would smash their business model and they don’t want the gravy train to end. They want a never-ending hamster wheel of more cars on roads, to raise more revenue, to funnel into their own profits and more mega projects, and more ribbon-cutting opportunities for politicians.


It’s high time we had a debate on our state’s economic ideology. We haven’t had one since the ’90s and since then, Labor has largely continued to go even deeper into the privatisation of public assets. Is anyone in doubt that the government’s strategy to manage our increased public debt will be to sell off even more public assets?

It’s easy to see how a government trapped in this ideology would get dollar signs in their eyes when it comes to privatising a future road user pricing scheme. With more and more assets in private hands, the profit motive is usurping the public good.

We need to get the full benefits from our public assets and use them to achieve social, economic and environmental justice. We need to start a positive cycle of building up our public assets, using the revenue gained for reinvestment and for spending on housing, health, education and social services. And we need to retain public ownerships of natural monopolies, like future road pricing schemes.

We can start by not supporting a blatantly anti-environment sop to the privatisation lobby, like putting a tax on Victoria’s electric vehicles.

Sam Hibbins is the Greens Member for Prahran.

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Australian jobs that could become too dangerous to perform

Scores of jobs could soon become too dangerous to undertake in Australia.

No, it’s not the increasing rise of robots and automation this time. It’s something all around us that might seem mundane but is increasingly deadly.

Rising humidity levels across the continent are leading to an increased risk of heat stress, a condition that can injure or kill those outdoors for long periods of time.

Yet hot weather can be overlooked as a factor in someone’s death.

“Often its role is very quiet. People who pass away from heat stress don’t necessary have it on their death certificate,” Dr James Goldie from Monash University’s Climate Change Communications Research Hub told

“It might be marked down as a heart attack, lung or acute kidney failure, but it’s only when we step back that we can see on hot days more people are passing away from these conditions and that’s when we join the dots and say, yes, this can kill.”

However, there is an easy and perhaps surprising method to beat, or at least, minimise the heat – slushies.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and the CSIRO, the Government’s science research agency, released the State of the Climate report that stated Australia had warmed on an average by 1.44C since records began in 1910.

Heatwaves have become more frequent and are lasting longer.

RELATED: Heatwave across SE Australia could see records tumble


Jason Kai Wei Lee, an associate professor of human physiology at the National University of Singapore, told the level of heat stress depends not only on the outside temperature but also how much clothing someone had on and if they are exerting themselves.

“At 25C with 80 per cent humidity it would be thermally very uncomfortable for an unfit elderly person, while younger individuals can still carry on with their outdoor activities,” he said.

“But if move closer to 35C and 100 per cent humidity then we can say all humans would feel very uncomfortable,” said Prof Lee, who spoke this week at the BOM’s annual research workshop.

Heat stress can be mild; nothing that a bit of sweating and heading indoors can’t solve. But left unchecked it can get out of control. Once the body’s core temperature, which is usually 37-38C, reaches 40C it can begin to malfunction and shut down.

RELATED: Lack of trees exacerbates extreme heat effects


Prof Lee said people particularly at risk of heat stress were those who remained in the hot conditions despite the suffering imposed on their bodies.

“People who are paid (per task) or have to produce a certain output may disregard thermal discomfort and maintain, or even increase, their work pace to earn as much as possible,” he said.

“Competitive athletes or soldiers who are highly fit are capable of producing high amounts of heat (in addition to the external heat) and are motivated – because they don’t like to stop – are prone to heat stress.”

Prof Lee said these types of jobs might not be possible in the future if we continued working as normal while the country gradually got hotter.

“In many instances, work productivity and health will be compromised and heat-induced incidents will increase if we do nothing about it.”

Healthcare workers with heavy PPE, gardeners and food delivery drivers with pizzas and burgers weighing them down were all prone to heat stress.

Monash’s Dr Goldie added tradies, particularly those on open building sites, as being at risk.

The manual roles, backbreaking and accompanied by long hours, are often those with low pay and little job security.

RELATED: Australian cities that could become ‘uninhabitable’


A 2019 report by Dr Richard Gunn at the University of Adelaide examined 13 deaths attributed to heat in Australia between 2000 and 2015.

These included a charity collector going door-to-door, two people working in construction and a farm worker.

Showing how deadly heat can be to those unaccustomed to it, a teenage Woolworths supermarket trolley collector, an insulation installer and a furniture removalist all died within days – or even on the day – of starting on the job.

A report from ANU’s Thomas Longden, published in January, estimated 2 per cent of Australia deaths between 2006 and 2017 were due to heat; that rose to 9.1 per cent in humid areas of Northern Australia.

Dr Goldie said Darwin – and other parts of the humid tropics – were often held up as places where heat stress is a real danger.

“But people in Darwin are more aware of the heat, especially those that have been there for some time.

“A humid heatwave down south, however, can catch people off guard and people might not take the danger seriously,” he said.

“Melbourne isn’t about to become Darwin,” he added, “but heatwaves may be longer and more humid and that’s an important change further south for people who are used to a drier heat.”


One strategy people can take on hotter and more humid days to keep working, Prof Lee said, was really simple – drink slushies.

He was part of a Singaporean study that gave healthcare workers slushies to combat the city-state’s equatorial humid conditions

“Ice slushies combine the goodness of both cooling and hydration in one. You induce heat sink by drinking a ball of ice and that allows you to last longer and perform better before you hit your thermal limit,” he said.

Slushies aren’t a magic bullet against all aspects of heat stress though. In hot weather, workers also needed to acclimatise to the heat and take regular rest periods where they cooled down and hydrated.

Dr Goldie said there was a clear sign of humidity-related heat stress – sweat, and lots of it.

“When you’re sweaty and gross, and you get to the point the sweat is dripping off you and not evaporating, it’s not doing its job and that’s when humid days are really dangerous.”

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Doubts over South Australia’s ‘dangerous’ strain claim

South Australia was plunged into a strict six-day lockdown on the back of a declaration that a “dangerous” new strain of coronavirus had swept the state’s capital.

It was a claim that raised eyebrows among epidemiologists around the country, some of whom labelled it “rubbish”.

Today, it was essentially revealed that an alleged lie led health authorities and the government to conclude a new strain must have merged.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall sent the state into a lockdown in a bid to stop a coronavirus cluster spreading, an outbreak he initially labelled “a particularly sneaky strain”.

“[It’s a] highly contagious strain and if we don’t get on top of that very, very quickly it will get away from us and that will be disastrous for us in South Australia,” Mr Marshall said on Thursday.

“The elements of this are quite frightening. It’s quite different than anything we’ve seen before.”

Chief Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier claimed the strain the state was currently dealing with has a “very, very short incubation period”.

“That means when somebody gets exposed, it is taking 24 hours or even less for that person to become infectious to others and the other characteristic of the cases we have seen so far is they have had minimal symptoms and sometimes no symptoms but have been able to pass it to other people,” she said.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates

RELATED: Changes to South Australian restrictions

Professor Spurrier said that characteristic meant that a generation, or stage of people passing on the virus to others, was only about three days.

These claims the state was dealing with a dangerous new strain came before authorities revealed on Friday a person involved in the new cluster had allegedly lied to contact tracers.

One of the cases linked to the Woodville Pizza Bar initially told authorities he was a customer, leading to concerns about how he became infected so quickly.

The man later revealed he was actually a worker at the restaurant.

In light of the new information, the Premier announced the state’s lockdown would be ending early, with restrictions lifting on Saturday night.

Professor Spurrier also backed away from her previous claims about the outbreak, now saying “there is nothing about the genomics in any way that makes it particularly special, it’s just that we can fingerprint it and track it back to where it came from”.

But even before this new information came to light, multiple experts were questioning the claims this strain was more “sneaky” or dangerous than other virus strains seen in Australia.

Infectious diseases physician and epidemiologist at the Kirby Institute, Professor Greg Dore, called the claims “rubbish”.

“Great that SA Premier on front-foot, but to say ‘so it’s quite different than anything we’ve seen before’ because of number of people that have been detected as asymptomatic is *rubbish*,” he wrote on Twitter.

RELATED: No charges for liar who triggered lockdown

Professor Dore explained his comments to The Sydney Morning Herald, saying it was South Australias testing strategy that was making it seem like the virus is acting in a different way.

Because the state is testing a higher number of people without symptoms, it means they are more likely to pick up on asymptomatic cases.

“The virus has not changed at all. It’s just the detecting strategy,” Professor Dore said.

“It artificially elevates the asymptomatic proportion of cases, and it shortens artificially the incubation period.”

Doubts over claims of a new virus strain came before authorities admitted today

Emerging viruses researcher with the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Dr Adam Taylor, said the characteristics of this virus explained by South Australian officials all match up with the major strain of the virus that has been circulating and don’t necessarily indicate a new strain.

RELATED: Big quarantine issue Aussies have missed

RELATED: Mass exit as hundreds dodge SA lockdown

“The characteristics they describe, such as ‘highly contagious’, may be a result of how the virus is interacting with humans, rather than a change in the virus,” he told The Guardian.

“For example, the rapid spread of the virus in this outbreak may be due to a superspreader event, possibly centred on the pizza parlour. This is a more likely scenario than the rise of a new virus strain.”

Dr Taylor said genome sequencing would have to be conducted to confirm it is a new strain and until then authorities can’t be completely sure they are dealing with something new.

Despite many virus experts questioning the premier’s the chief health officers claims, there are some that agreed this strain posed more of a risk to the community.

University of South Australia epidemiology and former World Health Organisation adviser, Professor Adrian Esterman, said this strain was “dangerous because it’s highly infectious”.

“This virus is what we call an RNA virus. All viruses are made of genetic material and they can be either DNA or RNA. Some viruses are RNA like HIV and influenza and they tend to mutate much more than DNA viruses,” he told Nine’s Today show.

“So the coronavirus is making small changes and every once in a while they make a big change which is why we need to make a big change.”

There have been 22 COVID-19 cases linked to Adelaide’s Parafield cluster.

More than 3000 people have been sent into quarantine and the state is now on lockdown in a bid to stop the outbreak growing.

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Penrith Panthers star Viliame Kikau guilty of dangerous throw, will miss NRL preliminary final

Viliame Kikau has been rubbed out of Penrith’s preliminary final showdown after being found guilty at the NRL judiciary of a dangerous throw.

Kikau and his legal team failed to convince the three-man panel that Jared Waerea-Hargreaves dipped his own body into a tackle in the Panthers’ win over the Sydney Roosters on Friday.

The verdict comes as a blow to Penrith’s hopes of playing in their first grand final in 17 years, given Kikau is the most damaging second-rower in the competition.

He leads all second-rowers for tries, linebreaks, linebreak assists and tackle busts this year, but will now miss their clash with the winner of South Sydney and Parramatta.

In a 42-minute hearing on Tuesday night, Kikau’s lawyer Nick Ghabar also argued that Penrith teammate Jarome Luai had contributed to the end result.

“There was no wrestle in the tackle, but there was an attempt by Waerea-Hargreaves to get to ground as soon as possible,” Ghabar told the panel.

“As he does so he put his left arm on the ground and dives forward, and creates the impression of a lift rather than an actual lift.

“It is Waerea-Hargreaves diving towards the ground that has created this impression.

“Luai drops his own body weight into the equation, so he has contributed to the downward force, further exaggerating the upward motion of Waerea-Hargreaves’ legs.”

Viliame Kikau holds a rugby ball under his arm as two players in blue shirts try to tackle him
Viliame Kikau will be difficult to replace for Penrith.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

Ghabar also claimed that Kikau had managed Waerea-Hargreaves to the ground in a bid to ensure that the Roosters player’s head or neck did not contact the ground.

But it took the three-man judiciary panel of Dallas Johnson, Sean Garlick and Ben Creagh 17 minutes to disagree.

Instead, they believed the NRL’s claims that it had largely been Waerea-Hargreaves’ actions that stopped the tackle from being far worse.

“He [Kikau] is almost exclusively responsible for this position,” NRL counsel Peter McGrath said.

“He has failed in his duty of care to avoid an injury to the head, neck or spine of the attacking player.

“It is as much through the experience and skill of Waerea-Hargreaves to put himself in a position to protect himself, rather than anything Kikau does.”

A Penrith Panthers NRL player makes a hit-up as he is tackled by a Canberra Raiders opponent.
Viliame Kikau is one of the best second-rowers in the NRL.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Kikau could have avoided a ban with an early guilty plea, had it not been for two previous charges this year.

He will now likely be replaced in Penrith’s starting side by Kurt Capewell, with Spencer Leniu the most likely man to come onto the bench.


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TikTok video warning as children lured into watching dangerous clip among puppy footage

Warning: Graphic content.

Parents have been warned about a sick video circulating on various social media platforms, including TikTok, that is luring children through the use of cute puppy footage.

While it looks innocent on the surface, embedded within the video is graphic imagery of a man taking his own life.

Several Australian schools have emailed parents warning them of the nature of the video, which was livestreamed on Facebook and is now being widely circulated on other platforms including TikTok and Instagram.

The video was reportedly made by a Mississippi man last week, and has been on Chinese video-sharing app TikTok since Sunday. A spokeswoman told Buzzfeed News it was looking into the matter.

RELATED: TikTok could be banned in Australia

“We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips,” spokeswoman Hilary McQuaide told the publication.

“Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide.”

Safe on Social CEO Kirra Pendergast sent an alert to 7000 schools on Tuesday, telling ABC News such treatment of videos on social media was not uncommon.

“It’s like what we called Elsagate — which was when Elsa from Frozen got some full-on treatment with people posting two minutes into a video some obscene things happening to Elsa,” Ms Pendergast said.

“It’s a kind of trolling. They’re luring kids in with videos of kittens and puppies, then it goes to this very, very graphic video.”

RELATED: TikTok video exposes bizarre Australian habits

Australian charity Acts for Kids urged parents to monitor their children’s social media use.

A statement by Executive Director Public Affairs Stephen Beckett said the video could cause “extreme distress” for children who see it.

“Act for Kids encourages parents to talk to their children to determine if they have viewed this content, and limit social media usage until the video has been removed,” Mr Beckett said in a statement.

As of Tuesday night there was no reports on whether TikTok had managed to remove the video.


1. Secure household devices by setting passcodes and restrictions on all devices

2. Supervise children online and monitor the material they are accessing

3. Sit down and have an open conversation with your child about the material they may see online

*Courtesy of Act for Kids

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Local News - Victoria

State in “dangerous situation” as coronavirus cases with an unknown source scale new heights


That equates to 42 people for whom the infection source could not be traced, a higher number than in any seven-day period over the course of the pandemic.

These figures are based on the last seven days for which there is detailed data, but the health department sometimes revises down the number of suspected community transmissions if further investigation by contact tracers is able to establish a link to a known case.

Evidence of ongoing community transmission indicates the virus is circulating in the community, and that it could lead to cases increasing from just a handful to hundreds within a few weeks, according to University of Sydney Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott.

“We are in a dangerous situation,” said the control of infectious diseases expert.

“This is a global pandemic. We know precisely what happens if this virus starts to spread. It is highly infectious. It’s lethal and we will see potentially large numbers of people die, like we have seen in other countries with advanced healthcare systems.

“That could happen here.”

University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor John Mathews said many of the infections during the initial peak of the pandemic were traced back to cruise ships and returned travellers, but now Victoria was seeing an alarming rise in community transmission cases.

He called on Victorian health authorities to provide a detailed breakdown of cases according to sources of transmission, arguing much remained unknown about what was fuelling the recent spike in infections.


“We haven’t really heard from the Victorian government on precisely what they are doing about this or how they are doing interpreting the data,” Professor Mathews said.

Without a detailed analysis it is impossible to determine what proportion of people infected via community transmission were symptomatic or asymptomatic, he said.

“While it is concerning, it is quite predictable that once people thought the worst was over they stopped social distancing. The events of the last week are a signal to everybody, we can’t let up if we are going to keep it under control.”

Thirteen of the 30 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Victoria on Friday remained under investigation, with just five of the cases detected in return travellers.

Others were linked to known outbreaks, including a number of large family clusters in North Melbourne, Keilor Downs and Coburg.

A case that resulted in the closure of a McDonald’s restaurant in Mill Park now appears to have stemmed from a number of “household parties and gatherings” in Wollert, while numerous workplaces have been impacted, including a Coles distribution centre in Laverton and Orygen youth mental health facility in Footscray.

Residents in Pakenham - a  "COVID-19 cluster suburb" out and about in local shopping areas.

Residents in Pakenham – a  “COVID-19 cluster suburb” out and about in local shopping areas.Credit:Joe Armao

There were 183 active cases of coronavirus confirmed statewide as of Friday, bringing the total recorded overall this year to 1947.

After 10 days of double-digit growth in coronavirus numbers, Monash University’s Professor Allen Cheng said he would not be surprised to see numbers increase again in coming days as authorities embarked on “really intense tracking”.

“Hopefully some of this testing will link out some of these chains. Then we would probably be more confident to say we’ve worked out how everything has happened, and we’re probably get this under control,” the infectious diseases physician said. “But it is a pretty big job, clearly.”

Some of the government’s efforts to identify coronavirus cases had been hampered by returned travellers and Melburnians in hotspot areas refusing to get tested.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Annaliese van Diemen revealed on Friday that 30 per cent of people in the quarantine hotels were refusing tests, along with a proportion of people who had been approached by healthcare workers going door to door in the worst-affected postcodes.

“We would like to really emphasise the message that it is important to get tested and it is important for us to find every case in those areas,” Dr van Diemen said. “We understand why people might have reservations, but we are trying to make it absolutely easy for everybody possible to get tested.”

Outgoing Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said people may be kept in hotel quarantine until they agree to take COVID-19 tests.

He also said testing of people in hotel quarantine will be ramped up and regulations around hotel quarantine may be increased.

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The AFL’s dangerous tackle tweaks just made MRO Michael Christian’s job more difficult, but it’s worth it

The AFL loves a rule change. Absolutely lives for them.

So much so that a few weeks ago, league influencer (in the old-fashioned sense of the word) Eddie McGuire suggested it should “break the game” with rule changes in order to then fix it and make it ostensibly better — one presumes that’s what he had in mind when he this week put Sherrin on notice because its footballs are apparently too slippery.

According to many, everything in the game is tweakable and improvable. According to many others, giving the game time to breathe without the constant tinkering would eventually cure what ails it — the full forward is returning to the goalsquare, nature is healing.

But if there’s one area where reform is met with near-universal approval, it’s in the prevention of head injuries and punishment of dangerous actions that make them more likely.

In that sense, the AFL’s move to swiftly update the fine print used to guide match review officer (MRO) Michael Christian’s decision-making is a welcome one. But, like every back-end adjustment the AFL makes, how the change plays out in real terms remains difficult to predict.

If you missed the hubbub this weekend, it basically went like this — Shaun Burgoyne absolutely nailed Patrick Dangerfield in an objectively dangerous sling tackle, but because Dangerfield’s head is presumably made of granite like the rest of him, he suffered no real ill effects.

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Burgoyne tackle prompts AFL rule change

Because Dangerfield wasn’t concussed, Christian could only grade the tackle as careless, high contact and low impact, meaning Burgoyne wasn’t suspended. Everyone basically agreed that was insufficient, and the AFL agreed, changing its guidelines going forward, but not Burgoyne’s punishment.

What that now means is that Christian has the authority and responsibility to grade every tackle under the metric of “potential to cause serious injury”. Gone are the days of judging a tackle on its results, now each action will need to pass the MRO sniff test.

In theory, this is a good thing. The word from the AFL is that under this new arrangement, Christian would have taken the Burgoyne tackle on its merits and handed him a one-match suspension. Few would argue in that case that the system wasn’t working.

But with the framework removed, where Christian draws his lines will be intriguing to watch, and will inevitably lead to either more suspensions, significant criticism or both.

Previously, the system may have been deeply flawed, but it was at least predictable — if you did a somewhat naughty tackle and the player got injured, you would be suspended. If they didn’t get injured, you would receive a fine.

Jordan De Goey grimaces as he hits the ground, while Trent Cotchin completes the tackle
The line between a fair tackle and a dangerous one can be blurry.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

Now? Who knows. The Burgoyne tackle was relatively cut and dry, but think of how many free kicks are given over a weekend for a dangerous tackle, after which the receiver gets up and plays on — are they all now potentially grounds for suspension?

Is history on Michael Christian’s side?

While there’s no doubt his is an unenviable and extremely difficult job, Christian has not exactly been a model of consistency during his two-and-a-bit years in the role, and his rationale is going to be heavily scrutinised on a case-by-case basis.

The best guide into his thought process around dangerous tackles came in 2018, when West Coast’s Nic Naitanui was suspended for a week for a tackle on Port Adelaide’s Karl Amon. Some considered that a contentious case, but in laying out his thought process at the time, Christian said the decision was “easy”.

“Tackling is the most challenging part of this role, because it’s obviously something you’re allowed to do,” Christian said.

“But this one, for me, was the easiest that I’ve had to adjudicate on, because the rules around tackling are pretty simple in a sense — if a tackle is unreasonable in the circumstances.”

AFL match review officer Michael Christian
Michael Christian will now be using his own judgement when determining the risk of a tackle.(AAP: James Ross)

Now, this example highlights both sides of the argument. In Christian’s favour, he clearly lays out that the number one metric he uses to adjudicate tackles is if it is “unreasonable in the circumstances”. If he takes his newly enhanced power and applies that metric consistently, nobody will have any complaints.

But this particular case was famous for other reasons. Eagles coach Adam Simpson was critical of Christian at the time for incorrectly telling media that both of Amon’s arms were pinned in the tackle and that the Port player immediately left the field concussed and didn’t return.

In the final wash-up of that case, the tribunal also ruled it was up to Naitanui to take into account the height and weight of his opponent when choosing how strongly to tackle them, a bizarre direction that hasn’t been seen in the AFL before or since.

It’s semantics now, but this one historic case alone highlights just how many obstacles will stand in Christian’s way whenever he is called upon to make a decision, now armed with little more than ‘the vibe’. There are a million factors at play in every tackle and just as many people lining up to tell the MRO where he went wrong.

So for all of us, everyone involved in football in any way, perhaps the first step is acknowledging this won’t be a perfect process, but recognising a greater good is being sought.

Expect mistakes. Expect disagreements. Expect inconsistencies. All of these can be forgiven so long as evidence emerges that, as Gillon McLachlan said in Monday’s statement, this is all part of the league getting serious about head injuries, for real this time.

Brodie Grundy tackles Ben Brown resulting in his concussion
The AFL wants to eliminate tackles that pose a greater risk of head injury and concussion.(AAP: Julian Smith)

“We want to be clear; protection of the head is our highest priority and we want all players at all levels and age groups to better understand that these tackles shouldn’t be part of our game,” the league boss said.

“Dangerous tackles have the potential to cause head injuries, and it is essential that this is taken into account when assessing an incident under the AFL tribunal guidelines.”

The cards are on the table now — the AFL wants it known that this stuff is more important than whether your team’s star player is available to play next week or not.

The league’s priority is ensuring that what happened to Paddy McCartin, what nearly happened to Andrew Brayshaw, and what is currently happening to Dan Venables doesn’t happen again. It has passed that responsibility on to Christian, whose mission just became more important and more difficult in one fell swoop.

No pressure, Michael.

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