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PM signals tough new COVID-19 vaccine rules for international travellers to Australia


International travellers who fly to Australia without proof of a COVID-19 vaccination will be required to quarantine at their own expense.

That’s if they can get on a flight, after Qantas signalled anti-vaxxers will be banned from flying on their aircraft fleets.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled the tough new rules on Melbourne’s Kiss FM radio on Wednesday.

“We’re obviously working through those issues now, but look, where people have the choice of two weeks of quarantine or being vaccinated, I think that will be an incentive, unless there’s a genuine medical reason why,” Mr Morrison said.

The cost of quarantine can run to several thousand dollars for the fortnight in a hotel, depending on what city you quarantine in.

“We’ve got a lot of those issues to work through and so do all the other countries,” Mr Morrison said.

RELATED: Australians could be travelling overseas by 2021

RELATED: Why Alan Joyce’s ‘no COVID vaccine, no fly’ rule won’t work

RELATED: Are these vaccines safe and will they be available in Australia?

Health Minister Greg Hunt has also hinted at the vaccination passport plan but stressed the policy was still under discussion.

“So there’s been no final decision, but we’ve been clear, and I’ve given guidance previously that we would expect that people coming to Australia while COVID-19 is a significant disease in the world will either be vaccinated or they will isolate. That’s early guidance,’’ he said.

“The likely course of events during 2021 is if somebody comes to Australia and a vaccine is widely available, either they’ll be vaccinated with verification or they’ll have to quarantine.”

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has signalled that proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be a non-negotiable condition of international air travel.

On Monday night, he told A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw that as soon as a vaccine becomes available it will be a condition of travel.

“For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,’’ he said.

“Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity.”

If anti-vaxxers want to try alternative airlines, Mr Joyce predicted they won’t be travelling far.

“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,’’ he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously suggested vaccination will be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” before walking those comments back in recent months.

“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis,” he said in August.

But just hours later, Mr Morrison told listeners on Sydney radio station 2GB that the Government would not make vaccination mandatory.

“It’s not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine,” he said.

“I mean, we can’t hold someone down and make them take it.”



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Surf Life Saving Australia asks beachgoers to Adopt an Hour


Lifesavers across Australia are asking beachgoers to donate $1 for every hour they spend at Australia’s beaches this summer in an ambitious plan to thank volunteers.

In the new Adopt an Hour ad campaign, patrons are urged to consider making a donation in recognition of the 1.4 million hours surf lifesaving volunteers dedicate on patrol each season to keep people safe at the beach.

It comes after 125 people drowned in Australian coastal waters in the 2019-20 season, of which 86 per cent were men.

There are more than 180,000 volunteers at 314 clubs across the country, making Surf Life Saving the largest volunteer movement of its kind in the country.

Surf Life Saving Foundation CEO John Brennan OAM said the Adopt an Hour campaign compared the 1.4 million hours that volunteers dedicated each season with the seconds it took for someone to get into trouble or drown.

“Ahead of this summer, we’re asking the public ‘what’s an hour of safety worth to you and your family?’ Mr Brennan said.

“Our volunteer surf lifesavers dedicate over 1.4 million hours each year on patrol to keeping our beaches safe and are there for the public in the longest few moments of their life.

“We’re asking the public to consider donating $1 for every hour … so that when you need them the most, they’re there to help.”

The campaign also targets young men who are the most at risk of drowning, with “bravado” blamed for their over-representation in beach drowning deaths.

SLSA general manager coastal safety Shane Daw ESM said the ad campaign featuring a male drowning victim was designed to highlight that males continued to be over-represented in drowning data year after year.

“Over the last 16 years we know that young males have become the major group who is at risk and involved in drowning incidents,” he said.

“We know that with young males there is a little bit of bravado, there’s a little bit of risk taking – a lot of it isn’t deliberate, we get into positions that we don’t realise can cause us harm.”

SLSA has a $1.4 million target, and beachgoers can donate via adoptanhour.com.au.



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South Australia announces plan to transfer positive coronavirus cases to special facility


Positive COVID-19 cases in South Australia will be taken to a dedicated facility as part of a major crackdown on the state’s medi-hotels.

Security at the facility will be provided exclusively by SA Police officers and protective security officers, Premier Steven Marshall has announced.

The state recorded no new cases on Wednesday, after two more cases were linked to the local Parafield cluster on Tuesday.

Announcing the suite of new measures, Mr Marshall said one option being considered for the specialised facility is the old Wakefield hospital.

“Staff working at the facility will not be deployed to other medi-hotels or high-risk environments, including aged care facilities, correctional facilities or hospitals,” he told reporters.

“All staff who are working in the dedicated facility have access to the Hotel for Heroes facility, so that they have the option to rest away from their home.”

Mr Marshall said the strategies will be discussed with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) before they are implemented.

He said he will also ask National Cabinet to consider testing all returning Australians prior to their flights.

Under the plan, travellers would be required to return a negative test result prior to boarding.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier announced that an initial review of CCTV collected from the medi-hotel at the centre of the South Australian outbreak, Peppers, had been completed.

“On the basis of the stills, I can confirm that nobody was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.



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Mathias Cormann OECD win would boost Australia


The timing is worth noting. With two COVID-19 vaccines expected to be approved in the coming weeks, there is an expectation that by the middle of next year a global vaccination operation will be well under way. The new head of the OECD will inherit a world looking for ways to move on from the economic ravages brought on by the pandemic.

For decades, the OECD has shaped global policies and established standards in areas from taxation to trade and education. Originally European-centric, helping rebuild the continent after World War II, it has over time expanded its purview. America joined in 1960, Japan in 1964 and Australia in 1971. While China and India are not full members, they have in more recent times developed strong ties with the organisation.

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A pivot towards the Asia-Pacific as the emerging centre of the global economy is a key part of Mr Cormann’s pitch to European figures. The former finance minister’s extensive dealings with China, in particular, would surely be much valued at the moment.

The OECD’s most high profile objective is to renovate the international tax regime. The digital age has allowed multinational businesses such as Google, Apple and Facebook to extract large amounts of revenue from individual nations, then shift the earnings to low-taxing countries. Australia tried to go it alone in 2018 with a digital tax but reversed course, fearing the US administration would launch retaliatory measures which could escalate into a trade war.

After some early pessimism, The Age’s Europe correspondent, Bevan Shields, reports OECD observers on the continent are giving Mr Cormann a serious chance at becoming the first Australian to lead the institution. His biggest hurdle appears to be climate change. Many European governments believe Australia’s Coalition government has not done enough and are frustrated it has not explicitly committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

If Mr Cormann were to land the top job, he would confront a world very much on the brink. A COVID-induced global recession, an increasingly fractious China-America relationship, and numerous international bodies crippled by sustained attacks from Mr Trump, are all daunting challenges that will require skillful global leadership. To have Mr Cormann as the head of the OECD would certainly give Australia a much louder voice in how the world navigates its way through these difficult times.

Note from the Editor

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.



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Sydney councils scrap Australia Day plans due to COVID-19


Multiple Sydney councils have been accused of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to scrap Australia Day events.

NSW has recorded 16 days in a row of no locally transmitted coronavirus cases but some councils have already said Australia Day plans won’t be going ahead due to the risk of spreading the virus.

Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and The Hills are some of the Sydney councils that have cancelled some of their upcoming events for January 26 due to COVID-19.

This is despite the National Australia Day Council offering grants of up to $20,000 to help councils increase COVID safety measures so events can go ahead.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates

RELATED: When Aussies can go overseas again

The Inner West and North Sydney councils also won’t be going ahead with some of their Australia Day events.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has lashed out at these councils, claiming they were using COVID-19 as an excuse not to hold Australia Day events.

“This just complete nonsense. We know there are so many bureaucrats around the place that just love to cancel things and ban things,” he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.

“We also know there are many people that actually don’t want Australia Day and are looking for an excuse to cancel it.”

Mr Kelly said NSW’s success in suppressing the virus meant there was not excuse for councils not to be holding these outdoor events.

“We’ve got to get on with life. We just can’t continue to suspend all these things. If we had coronavirus infections like they do in America maybe there would be some argument there,” he said.

“But we have had zero infections in NSW in the last 15 days and we know from past evidence that the coronavirus is a seasonal virus, infections are very low in summertime anyway.

“These are outdoor events, there is no excuse to ban them. These local councils need to be called out. It is just nonsense and petty, foggy bureaucracy.”

RELATED: The real significance of Australia Day

Cumberland City mayor Steve Christou echoed these thoughts, labelling the decisions being made by some councils as “un-Australian”.

“I think the decision taken by some councils to cancel their Australia Day events is completely unacceptable and frankly un-Australian, particularly if the events can be hosted in a COVID-safe manner,” The Sydney Morning Heraldreported him as saying.

The publication revealed the usual pool parties and concert held by City of Canterbury Bankstown to celebrate Australia Day wouldn’t go ahead this year due to not being “essential”.

A council spokeswoman told the outlet the Australia Day Awards and citizenship event would still go ahead but would be a “scaled back seated event with tight COVID controls and no catering”.

Liverpool City Council’s outdoor Australia Day 2021 event won’t be going ahead but there was the possibility of a virtual celebration being held.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported the Hills Shire Council had cancelled its Australia Day concert but an awards and citizenship ceremony would still be held.

News.com.au has contacted Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and The Hills councils for comment.

North Sydney’s BBQ by the Bridge Australia Day event also won’t be taking place, but this is reportedly due to major Harbour Bridge works where the event is held.

This will be the second year in a row the Inner West Council won’t hold an Australia Day event on January 26 after the council voted in 2019 to scrap the celebration.

Residents were instead encouraged to attend the Aboriginal Yabun festival held that day.

“Attitudes towards 26 January are changing in the community,” Mayor Darcy Byrne said at the time.

“For Aboriginal people, the date represents the beginning of colonisation, dispossession, the removal of children and deliberate destruction of language and culture.

“A growing number of Australians want that to be respectfully acknowledged.”



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When Australia will see a COVID vaccine


Hopes for a speedy coronavirus vaccine have been boosted with announcements that two potential candidates are more than 90 per cent effective.

The results have exceeded the expectations of experts and could mean doses of the vaccines may be available in the US by the end of the year.

But one of the reasons these vaccines have been produced so quickly is because they use an experimental technique for producing a new type of mRNA vaccine, which has never been approved before.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use mRNA technology and the novel nature of the vaccines have raised questions about how safe they are.

Up to now vaccines have been developed using a weak or dead version of a virus, or by using a laboratory-made protein.

For example, the development of a flu vaccine can involve creating a diluted form of the virus by incubating it in chicken’s eggs.

However, mRNA vaccines can be created entirely by scientists in a laboratory using chemicals, enzymes, bacteria or live cells.

RELATED: Aussies who could prolong the pandemic

Essentially the scientists make a synthetic version of the virus’s messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). Once this is injected into the body, the mRNA prompts the body to make a particular protein, which is detected by the immune system and this causes the immune system to make antibodies to fight against it.

The vaccine basically trains the body what to do if it comes into contact with the protein again.

Traditional vaccines also coach the body on how to fight a virus but this is done through injecting tiny amounts of the virus or the protein into the body, rather than triggering the body to make the protein itself.

ARE THE VACCINES SAFE?

Professor of Immunology, Magdalena Plebanski of RMIT University, told news.com.au that the nice thing about mRNA vaccines is that they don’t last long.

“After it is used to make the protein to induce the immune response, that’s it, it disappears,” she said.

“It’s not something that hangs around for a while so it’s expected to have a high safety profile,” Prof Plebanski said.

However, Prof Plebanski said while scientists did understand parts of how the mechanism worked, they didn’t understand 100 per cent why the vaccines were so effective.

“We still don’t know how it activates such a strong immune response,” she said.

This is why careful testing of the vaccines’ safety is important and Prof Plebanski said this was happening. Participants in final Phase III trials of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will be monitored for up to two years.

RELATED: Coronavirus could ‘fight back’ against vaccine

Prof Plebanski said the reason why the vaccines were developed so quickly is because of the massive injection of funding and attention on finding a treatment for the coronavirus.

Prior to the pandemic, mRNA technology was already quite reasonably advanced and was being developed for use on other diseases. The process for developing the vaccines had also been through initial safety trials.

“As far as I can see there is no skimping on any monitoring safety,” Prof Plebanski said.

She said every single vaccine was being put through the process set out by peak regulatory bodies in the US and Europe, which considered safety their most important factor.

“There are benchmarks they have to hit before they can be considered safe,” she said.

“They are being put through the wringer and they have to be, there should be no shortcuts.”

MODERNA VACCINE

US biotech firm Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine mRNA-1273 is 94.5 per cent effective.

Out of 30,000 people who participated in the Phase III trial, just five people caught the coronavirus among the vaccinated group, while 90 people in its placebo group were infected.

Two doses were given to the participants 28 days apart.

Adverse reactions to the vaccine were generally mild or moderate in severity and included injection site pain in 2.7 per cent of people.

The only other adverse reactions seen in more than 2 per cent of participants were recorded after the second dose and included fatigue (9.7 per cent), muscle pain (8.9 per cent) joint pain (5.2 per cent), headache (4.5 per cent), pain (4.1 per cent) and redness at the injection site (2 per cent).

These symptoms generally didn’t last long.

RELATED: Moderna announces vaccine breakthrough

One advantage this vaccine has over its rival Pfizer version is that it doesn’t have to be stored in extremely cold temperatures.

The vaccine can be stored for 30 days between 2C to 8C, which is within the temperature range of a normal fridge. If it is stored at -20C it can last for up to six months.

In comparison the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70C, which requires a special freezer only found at major hospitals.

Moderna plans to apply for emergency approval in the US and the world within weeks.

When will it be available? Moderna expects to have about 20 million doses ready to ship in the US by the end of the year. It says it’s on track to produce 500 million to a billion doses globally in 2021, however, Australia has not secured supply of this vaccine yet.

PFIZER VACCINE

Not to be outdone, the US-German collaboration between Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Wednesday further trial results showing its vaccine to be 95 per cent effective.

This is good news for Australia as Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed this month that the government had signed an agreement for 10 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine if it was successful.

The BNT162b2 vaccine also requires two doses, given 21 days apart.

The trials showed that of the 43,000 participants in the Phase III trial, only eight people in the vaccine group got the coronavirus, compared to 162 in the placebo group.

The vaccine was also found to be more than 94 per cent effective in people older than 65 years.

The only adverse reactions seen in more than 2 per cent of participants were fatigue (3.8 per cent of people) and headache (2 per cent).

RELATED: Pfizer announces vaccine is 95 per cent effective

The main limitation of the Pfizer vaccine is that it needs to be stored at -70C, which requires a special freezer only found at major hospitals.

Pfizer is developing GPS-tracked shipping containers with dry ice to try and get around this problem.

The company applied for emergency use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its vaccine on Friday (local time). The FDA said its vaccines committee will meet on December 10 to discuss the request.

When will it be available? About 1.3 billion doses are expected to be rolled out by the end of 2021. About 10 million doses are expected to be available in Australia from early to mid 2021 – subject to approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

OTHER VACCINES WITH POTENTIAL

As well as the Pfizer candidate, Australia has also bought doses of three other promising vaccines.

This includes the University of Oxford vaccine, which is being developed by AstraZeneca based on a chimpanzee adenovirus.

This is currently in Phase III trials and if successful, it could be available in Australia from early 2021 and would be manufactured locally by CSL.

On Thursday, the makers said trials showed it safely produced a robust immune response in healthy older people, while producing fewer side effects than in younger people.

Earlier this year the trial was put on hold while there were investigations into a suspected adverse reaction in one participant but the trial has since resumed.

If it’s successful Australia will get 3.8 million doses delivered in early 2021, with a further 30 million doses to be manufactured in Australia throughout the year.

Another vaccine in Phase III trials is Novavax and the Morrison Government has signed an agreement to buy 40 million doses.

It will be available as early as the first half of 2021 if it is successful.

The University of Queensland is also developing a part-taxpayer funded vaccine. Although it is still in Phase I trials, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said this month the trial had shown promising signs and it could be available by late 2021.

Both Novavax and the Queensland University vaccines use innovative molecular clamp technology.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified 48 “candidate vaccines” at the stage of clinical trials in humans, up from 11 in mid June.

Twelve of them are at the most advanced Phase III stage, during which a vaccine’s effectiveness is tested on a large scale, generally involving tens of thousands of people across several continents.

Russia claims to have developed a vaccine that is more than 90 per cent effective and several state-run Chinese labs also have promising candidates.

However, WHO’s emergencies director warned Wednesday that vaccines would not arrive in time to defeat a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that appears to be sweeping across the United States and Europe.

“I think it’s at least four to six months before we have significant levels of vaccination going on anywhere,” Michael Ryan said during a public question and answer session live on social media.

charis.chang@news.com.au | @charischang2





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Russel Howcroft wants to change the spelling of Australia to represent its Triple A standards


As part of our economic recovery plan, we should change the spelling of Australia, according to one of the country’s leading advertising gurus.

Russel Howcroft, who is a TV and radio broadcaster, AFTRS chairman and renowned advertising adviser, is calling on the country to be rebran¬ded as “AAAustralia” to improve our economic prosperity after a woeful year. “We need to make that bounce-back as strong and long-lasting as we possibly can,” Mr Howcroft said.

“We need to do a better job of branding who we are as a country that’s good for us internationally and internally. The benchmark is 100 per cent Pure New Zealand; industries within New Zealand all use this brilliantly. I think we need to change the spelling of Australia to AAAustralia.”

He said an example of the country meeting ‘Triple A’ standards was its response to the pandemic.

“Our COVID response reaffirms to the world what an extraordinary place Australia is,” My Howcroft said.

“The world has a view of us that is at a much higher level than we view ourselves. We can claim ‘Triple A’ and the world will nod.

“Our supermarkets during the course of this year have been brilliant. They were basically dealing with a Christmas situation every day of the week. Australia Post had their highly paid executives working on weekends doing deliveries.”

While the rebranding would ¬assume a blanket approach to all things Australian — from our -beaches, education systems, healthcare to the hospitality of our people — Mr Howcroft said it would also ¬reflect the high quality standards ¬adhered to by our producers, makers and manufacturers.

“What this year has taught us is there really is an overriding desire by all of us to support Australian owned businesses, from high-end technology producers to pear growers,” he said.

“And we should unashamedly ¬pursue a national economic agenda. I think the leadership and the narrative is really important, yes it’s political leadership but also corporate leadership.

“Leadership in all its forms plays a big role. We all have the opportunity to do that. If you’re in charge of the school tuckshop, then look to stock it with Australian made goods. And on an individual level, start questioning your purchases and looking where it’s coming from.”

Australian Made chief executive Ben Lazzaro said there were a number of ways Australian businesses could act to leverage the current positive consumer sentiment around “buying Australian”.

“Consumers are eager to support our Aussie makers now more than ever, so it’s really important that businesses promote their Australian credentials in their marketing activities,” Mr Lazzaro said.

“We encourage Aussie Made brands to aggressively promote their Australian credentials strongly on product labels and across all channels, whether they be online, social or at point of sale.

“The ‘made in Australia’ claim has never been more powerful than right now and the green-and-gold kangaroo Australian Made logo has been clearly identifying Australian goods for more than 34 years.”



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Cricket Australia taking a gamble with Big Bash League’s Twenty20 rule innovations


The significant aspect of the strong response to the gimmicky additions to this season’s Big Bash League (BBL) rules is just that — people care sufficiently about the format and the competition to have a response.

The introduction of the Power Surge, X-Factor Player and Bash Boost to the BBL has prompted the sort of debate that grips the AFL each season when yet more incremental changes to interchange or encroachments on the mark are trialled; or in golf between those hoping Bryson DeChambeau is the first man to land a golf ball on the moon and those who want the integrity of traditional courses protected from wedge-wielding behemoths.

But regardless of whether you are intrigued or horrified by the BBL innovations, an argument about compromising the sacred traditions of Twenty20 cricket would have once seemed about as likely as naming the trophy the Chris Tavare Cup.

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Just 13 years ago the inclusion of NRL star Andrew Johns as a celebrity participant in the NSW team in the BBL’s state-based predecessor was considered all part of the fun and frivolity of a format only slightly more exalted than backyard cricket.

“The states see Twenty20 as an opportunity to be as left field as possible,” said then-Cricket NSW chief executive Dave Gilbert of Johns’s inclusion.

“Nobody loses sleep if they win or lose.”

Admittedly, Australian cricket was unusually slow to realise that the (even more) limited overs version would quickly become a significant part of the game’s ecosystem.

While England and then India began to position T20 in their domestic and international plans, Australian players were taking the field for light-hearted internationals with their nicknames on the backs of their shirts and performing slapstick impersonations of former greats.

But subsequently, in defiance of the doomsday forecasts of bloody-minded traditionalists such as myself, T20 cricket has not merely survived but thrived — beyond even the obvious commercial benefits provided by the Indian Premier League, BBL and other franchise-based tournaments.

The Women’s T20 World Cup final at a packed MCG last March was a spectacular tribute to the growth of women’s cricket and the wise investment in the Australian team particularly, but also further validation of T20 itself.

Similarly the success of the WBBL in a country where women’s professional sports leagues have struggled for both visibility and viability has been made possible by T20’s concurrent growth.

An Adelaide Strikers cricketer gets on one knee to hit a shot on the off-side in a WBBL semi-final.
The WBBL continues to go from strength to strength both on and off the field.(AAP: Glenn Hunt)

You might argue that the emphasis on T20 and ODI cricket has entrenched limited and opportunistic scheduling that deprives the women’s game of regular Test cricket.

But as the rapid improvement in the quality of women’s cricket continues and female participation rates increase there is genuine hope T20 cricket might actually increase the long-term possibility of meaningful women’s Test cricket as the talent pool deepens.

T20 driving participation numbers

At the most significant levels — junior and club cricket — T20 cricket, or modified versions thereof, have become an increasingly important in halting once faltering participation and retention rates.

As the BBL caters to the reduced concentration spans of some spectators or new cricket converts, T20 is providing — if you will pardon the jargon — an “immersive experience” for kids who might otherwise be poached by rival sports or, as likely, stay glued to their PlayStations.

At the same time, T20 is inevitably emerging at club level as an alternative (rather than a replacement) for traditional two-day fixtures or even longer-form one dayers in the lower levels in response to demands from “time poor” players.

Even conservative associations are realising not everyone now has six hours over two consecutive weekends to spend hitting a few shots or standing at mid-on, and T20 will inevitably help clubs fill the need for quicker weekend and even weeknight cricket.

A bowler is mid-leap with his legs outstretched and his fists pumping in celebration of a hat-trick.
The BBL has had an effect on the numbers playing cricket at the grassroot levels in Australia.(AAP: Michael Dodge)

The sum of T20’s various applications is that it has done far more than provide the kind of carefree circus Gilbert and others envisaged when they called up Joey Johns and filled niches the formats commercially-minded inventors probably had not even considered.

So when the BBL applies a thick layer of new rules to what is still a reasonably uncomplicated game it is not putting lipstick on a pig. Rather, it risks giving a format with an already appealing visage a dodgy facelift.

The motivation for the changes seems obvious, even justifiable — a decline in crowds and viewing figures in recent seasons.

Although this seems more a case of the BBL finding its true level in a crowded sporting marketplace as well as some fan fatigue from the elongated scheduling that saw the tournament dawdle beyond its January sweet spot into mid-February.

There is also the underlying commercial compulsion to give the rights holders Seven and Fox Sports extra bang for their BBL buck in the COVID-disrupted season, even if both have signed watertight long-term contracts.

Time will tell whether a well-executed Power Surge or the perfectly timed introduction of an X-Power player creates the kind of excitement that reverses viewing trends.

But before the first of four Bash Boost points are allocated, there is legitimate concern the changes will take an uncomplicated but now widely popular format back to its gimmicky roots and in turn undermine T20’s steady reputational improvement.

Host Kelli Underwood and the Offsiders panel will analyse all the latest sports news and issues at 10:00am Sunday on ABC TV.



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Severe heatwave to hit parts of Australia today as temperatures soar


A heatwave has hit parts of Australia and it’s only going to get worse.

It was a scorcher of a day in SA and NSW on Thursday, with COVID-19 testing clinics even having to be closed in Adelaide because of the heat.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s heatwave forecasts show there will be small areas of “severe heatwave” around the Cape York Peninsula, the Top End and inland NSW on Friday and Saturday.

There will also be areas of low intensity heatwave over northern NT, Cape York Peninsula and southwest QLD, throughout NSW and parts of northern SA.

The next level above severe in the BOM’s assessment is extreme.

The heatwave will continue across the weekend and heading into Monday.

Minimum and maximum temperatures were generally 5 to 10 degrees above average in SA yesterday as the mercury soared to 42.2C in some suburbs.

A maximum of 37C is expected for SA on Saturday.

Victoria also had a hot one, with temperatures hitting more than 35C, the warmest day since January.

Sky News Weather said NSW would reach 38C in Penrith Friday but there could be showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon to cool things off.

“Some of that baking heat will spill over to the coast,” they said.

“A cool change will follow but it’s not bringing much in the way for wet weather.”

Temperatures should cool for the state on Saturday.

Conditions will be dry across most parts of the country.

Meteorologist Ben Noll said the Tasman Sea was 1.6C hotter than normal for this time of year, at 18 to 21C, indicating next month would be warmer than usual heading into summer.

“Now that we’ve come into November, you can see the ocean temperatures have maintained that warmth,” he told Stuff.

“It’s fair to say if the warm ocean temperatures persist as we go into summer, chances are we’re in for a pretty warm summer here on land as well.”

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Peter Claassen said Queensland was being with temperatures about 10C above November averages.

The Southern Downs region is nearing crisis point, with Mayor Vic Pennisi saying they will run out of water in 2022 if they get no rainfall.

Brisbane wholesaler Peter Marinos said he bought his fruit and veg from the Darling Downs region but was now shipping in staples from interstate.

“We’re getting spinach and rocket all out of Victoria simply because it’s just too hot on the paddocks,” told 9 News.



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Cameron Green is close to a Test debut for Australia but his bowling has to hit the mark for ODIs, says coach Justin Langer



Cameron Green will need to warrant selection as an all-rounder if he is to debut for Australia in their upcoming limited-overs series, but the young gun’s batting alone could soon earn him a baggy green.

Green is the youngest member of Australia’s Test squad, having also been picked in the white-ball squad on the basis of his sparkling Sheffield Shield form.

National selectors are understandably excited about the 21-year-old, who is capable of bowling express pace and recently scored 197 against NSW.

They are equally cautious about his bowling workload.

Green suffered a back-stress fracture a year ago and only recently returned to the bowling crease for Western Australia.

The youngster will slowly but surely step up his workload in the nets while training with the limited-overs squad in Sydney ahead of Australia’s ODI series opener against India on November 27.

“In one-day cricket he’ll only play if he can bowl a few overs because that’s how we’ll set up the team,” national coach Justin Langer said.

“He hasn’t had the white-ball experience to come in as a pure batsman, but he can bowl a few overs, my gosh he becomes a good prospect.

“But Test cricket is different. He’s earned the right to play Test cricket on his batting.

“I love watching him bat. For such a tall batsman, he’s got so much time.”

Langer also heaped praise on uncapped batsman Will Pucovski, who like Green is considered an unlikely starter in the first Test as Australia leans towards backing the incumbent top six.

Green, who legend Greg Chappell described as the best batting talent he’d seen since Ricky Ponting, suggested last week he would head into the squad with an open mind about what is possible this summer.

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“The results I’ve had in four-day cricket are definitely a lot better than what I have shown in T20s,” Green said.

“If I don’t play, I’ll get a lot of experience and hopefully take a lot out of it.

“There’s probably no better place to keep learning and evolving your game than around world-class coaches and players.”

AAP

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