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Local News - Victoria

Melbourne’s best-in-nation social distancing crushed the virus


Victoria has recorded 55 new cases in the last seven days – fewer than NSW, which has recorded 61. However, almost half of NSW’s cases were from overseas travellers. All of Victoria’s cases are local.

While Victoria’s caseload was similar, Professor McCaw cautioned there was less “confidence” in local data than in NSW’s figures, which have been low for a long time.

Waiting to stabilise numbers while also making gradual changes to observe their impact remained the sensible approach, “even if I think a little more could have been announced today”, he said.

Professor McCaw’s Doherty Institute-led team has found only minor breaches of Victoria’s many restrictions in the past month of a lockdown that has lasted more than 100 days.

“There has been a very, very gentle, slight decline in compliance with the 1.5-metre rule and things like that over the last month. It’s marginal,” he said. “There are signs of a bit of lockdown fatigue. That may also be that the weather is nicer.”

Professor McCaw said Premier Daniel Andrews’ move on Sunday to ease some lockdown restrictions while keeping hospitality closed for at least another week was “a rational and principled approach. It is just an incredibly cautious one.”

After the state’s fifth day with fewer than 10 new cases, Mr Andrews on Sunday moved to expand Melburnians’ travel bubble to 25 kilometres and allow up to 10 people to gather outside.

Writing in The Age, Professor Catherine Bennett and a team of epidemiologists argue there was no justification for maintaining a 25-kilometre travel limit, maintaining that improved contact tracing removes “the need for hard borders or limits on movement”.

Other experts agreed the 25-kilometre limit served little purpose. “I don’t see any real strong reason for a limit at all,” said Professor McCaw.

Associate Professor Hassan Vally from La Trobe University said the rule did not directly stop the virus spreading.

“What spreads the virus is people coming into contact with each other. If people follow the rules, you could say maybe we don’t need that sort of travel restriction.”

Hospitality will have to wait at least another week before it can reopen – a decision that drew furious outcry from a disappointed business lobby.

Mr Andrews said all the decisions were based on public health advice.

“The science is driving us,” he said.

But epidemiologists told The Age the science offered no clear rules on what restrictions should be eased first. “There is no right answer to any of this,” said Professor Vally.

Restaurants, cafes and retail pose much greater risks because they often involve people spending prolonged time indoors, experts say.

The virus spreads about 20 times more easily inside and super-spreader events happen almost-exclusively indoors.

Professor Vally said restrictions could have been eased further.

“I personally think we can afford to come out a bit quicker than this. What we have seen in the last few days, one or two cases, I see no reason why that won’t continue throughout the week. And the people who tested positive today, they probably got infected about a week ago. They could have released the shackles a bit more.”

NSW’s restrictions remain far less onerous than Victoria’s.

The state allows up to 20 people to visit a home. Restaurants and pubs are open, with the NSW government on Friday easing capacity limits even further.

Outdoor events can have up to 500 people. The state recently opened up its borders to tourists from New Zealand for the first time.

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Local News - Victoria

Anger in Shepparton after one man’s ‘ignorance’ brings virus to town


Authorities released a list of high-risk locations on Tuesday night, saying they expected to find more cases. The matter has been referred to the Department of Health and Human Services, which could send it to police.

Long queues formed at three testing sites in Shepparton on Wednesday. Police reportedly told people at the back of one queue to go home or face a six-hour wait. At 2.30pm, residents were told the Goulburn Valley Health site had reached capacity.

Leanne Stride, owner of the Lemon Tree Cafe, said she “shocked and gutted” after her cafe was identified as a high-risk location following the outbreak.

Ms Stride said while regular customers had been wonderful and supportive, she was worried the outbreak might spook others.

“Things have been going so well here and now we’re gutted because the town isn’t even responsible for [the outbreak],” Ms Stride said.

“The ignorance of this man coming into the region has now affected businesses and people’s livelihoods.”

John Anderson, a pharmacist and president of the Shepparton Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said people were frustrated and angry.

“Our citizens here and our businesses here have been following the requirements,” he said.

Mr Anderson said the outbreak came on top of existing frustrations with COVID-19 restrictions, which would continue to grow if the outbreak jeopardised the chances of the rules being relaxed for the city along with other regional areas.

The pharmacist said testing clinics in Shepparton were “absolutely overwhelmed” at midday.

“They’re handing out water to people because they’re in the sun and they’ve been in queues since nine o’clock this morning.”

Azem Elmaz, owner of Lutfiye Shish Kebab, said the streets of Shepparton had been unusually empty since the announcement.

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“The town has become very quiet, very silent.” Mr Elmaz said. “It is really good in one way, people should stay home, they should be careful of what they do.”

He said he had seen hundreds, if not thousands, at the Shepparton Showgrounds queuing up for testing.

“I thought it was the Shepp Show today. It’s good that people want to get tested and make sure everything is OK.”

Mr Elmaz said while he would be alright if the city didn’t continue to ease restrictions, he was worried for other business owners who were in a more vulnerable position.

“I’m doing OK but I feel sorry for people who are starting new businesses and new families,” he said. “People have loans for their business and for their house. This will hit them hard.”

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Australian News

McDonald’s, Bunnings: Virus fears at major NSW stores



A person with COVID-19 visited popular locations in NSW, including a Woolworths, McDonalds, Bunnings, and Ikea.



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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 11 new cases as Butcher Club manager fights virus in ICU


For Melbourne to move to step three of the state government’s road map for easing restrictions on October 19, Victoria’s 14-day average for new cases has to be below five. There also needs to have been five or fewer mystery cases, in total, over the previous fortnight.

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Fourteen mystery cases have been recorded in the fortnight to October 5.

Premier Daniel Andrews said restrictions could be eased even in the scenario where “in the last three days of the 14-day period you got eight, 10, 12 cases but they were in aged care [or] health workers”.

The Chadstone outbreak has grown to 31 cases, with linked cases stretching from Kilmore to Frankston.

The outbreak is believed to have been started by a Frankston cleaner who worked three shifts at The Butcher Club in Chadstone shopping centre despite members of her household having the virus.

The manager of The Butcher Club was rushed to intensive care with COVID-19 after his condition deteriorated on Tuesday.

Peter Robinson, co-owner of the business, said the manager, aged in his early 50s, was receiving oxygen and was expected to be in the ICU for the next two days. Five of the business’ nine staff have tested positive to the virus, although two are asymptomatic.

More than 230 Kilmore residents are self-isolating and hundreds more have come forward for COVID-19 testing after an infected Melbourne resident, connected to the Chadstone cluster, dined at a cafe in the town. Two people in the town have contracted the virus, including a waitress at the Oddfellows Cafe.

Authorities are now trialling a tactic of asking “third ring” contacts in the Kilmore and Chadstone clusters to isolate, to try to stop the spread of the virus.

Jeroen Weimar, who is leading Victoria’s testing regime, said anyone who visited the Kilmore cafe between last Wednesday and Saturday – and their close household contacts – were self-isolating, under a trial of quarantining “third ring” contacts.

The same “third ring” tactic is also being used with the wider Chadstone cluster but only started with the latest cases, Mr Weimar said.

A Chemist Warehouse store on Springvale Road in Forest Hill has been added to Melbourne’s list of high-risk COVID exposure sites. Anyone who was at the store on Monday, October 5, between 11.30am and 11.50am, is advised to be on high alert for symptoms.

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Australian News

Anthony Albanese criticises Fed Gov virus response


Anthony Albanese is set to unleash a scathing critique of the Federal Government’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying support measures created debt that would take generations to repay.

The leader of the Labor Party, who will deliver a speech to the McKell Institute in Sydney on Wednesday, said the Coalition needed to explain how a $1 trillion debt was manageable.

“Australia is in a deep and painful recession. The Morrison recession,” Mr Albanese said.

“Nearly a million Australians are unemployed and 400,000 more will join them by Christmas.

“Let’s not forget before anyone had even heard of coronavirus, the Coalition had already doubled debt.

“Economic growth was already below trend, wages were stagnant, productivity was already going backwards, business investment was already in decline (and) household debt was already at record levels.

“We can’t avoid the need to borrow money to get by until the economy recovers but we should be disciplined about it.”

Mr Albanese accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of “leaving people behind” as income support schemes JobKeeper and JobSeeker were scaled back.

“Worse than that, he’s kicking people while they are down. By December, 700,000 vulnerable Australians will have their payments cut when they can least afford it.

“Australia needs leaders who are prepared to tackle the big challenges facing our nation and its people. Yet Mr Morrison has no jobs plan. He has no plan for growth. No plan for skills training.

“Mr Morrison dislikes having to take responsibility unless it involves political gain.”

He said many people were forgotten in the JobKeeper scheme, including casuals, artists and university staff, and the COVIDSafe App did not prove as successful as anticipated.

“JobKeeper was poorly targeted.

“Students working a shift a week for pocket money were suddenly eligible for $1500 a fortnight in JobKeeper assistance – while single mums who worked long hours as casuals and had children to feed were ineligible.”

Mr Albanese also pointed to government mishaps, including its recent $4.5 billion allocation to “clean up the mess” of the NBN and sports rorting scandal.

In order to generate economic activity, he said the federal budget needed to prioritise job creation and allow investment in social housing, early education and universities, and roads and railways across the country.

“Above all, the budget must invest in our nation’s greatest resource – our people. That should include attacking the skills crisis created by seven years of Coalition neglect and inaction.

“With record levels of debt, massive deficits and the economy in recession, every dollar of new spending must be used to protect jobs, create secure jobs, train and upskill Australians and support those who need help to pay the bills and put food on the table.

“Any new spending is borrowed money. It can’t be wasted on mates, or rorts, or dodgy deals, or pork-barrelling.”



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Australian News

Virus tests support use of fabric masks


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians have been urged to wear masks in public, particularly those living in Victoria.

But if you’re making them at home, how do you know how efficient they are?

Researchers tested commonly available fabric masks and found even the worst performing masks filtered at least 50 per cent of virus particles carried through the air.

The study by Flinders University looked at the viral filtration efficiency (VFE) of a number of masks either bought off the internet or made at home.

Researchers challenged the masks by using a standard mask testing method with a model virus, called MS2, which is smaller in size than COVID-19.

Flinders University scientist Dr Harriet Whiley said while a 50 per cent reduction may not seem particularly effective, modelling studies suggested if 80 per cent of the population wore those masks in high transmission areas, the number of COVID-19 deaths could fall between 17 and 45 per cent.

“This would be even more improved in areas that you have lower transmission rates,” she said.

“The information will also inform best practice for fabric face mask design to protect against respiratory diseases and reduce community-based transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19).”

The VFE was calculated for two sizes of aerosols – being 6 microns, which is the size of aerosols produced by coughing, and 2.6 microns, which is small enough to be inhaled into the lower respiratory system.

The best performing masks filtered 97 to 99 per cent of the virus numbers.

One mask, made with two layers of a shopping bag and one cotton layer according to Victoria’s health department standards, reduced viral particles by 98.6 per cent.

Another, which had a filtration level of 55 per cent on its own, increased to 98 per cent when a dried baby wipe was inserted.

The VFE improved further after adding a section of a vacuum cleaner bag to 99 per cent.

Co-author Associate Professor Kirstin Ross said further research was needed to test mask design and fitting.

“Fit is very important to reduce the risk of viruses entering through gaps between your face and the mask,” she said.

“There also should be an education campaign to inform people about how to wear fabric masks.

Dr Ross added it was important masks were worn correctly and should not be touched unless taking them off.

“Wash your mask after use in water that is hotter than 60°C with soap or laundry detergent.”

From August 2, every person living in Victoria had to wear a face covering when they left home.

Wearing a mask is not compulsory in NSW. However, NSW Health recommends people wear them when they can’t physical distance or are in high-risk indoor areas, such as on public transport, in supermarkets, shops, places of worship and entertainment venues.

With no current community transmission in Queensland, residents don’t need to wear masks unless they have been advised by their doctors.

South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier has advised residents to wear masks while travelling on planes, after it opens its borders to NSW on Thursday.

Residents in WA are living near-normal with low community transmission so masks are not a necessity.



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Australian News

AstraZeneca virus trial pause highlights painful immunity truth


For a while there, it almost looked like we could have had a coronavirus vaccine in just months.

Trials of several candidates, including the much vaunted Oxford vaccine, which Australia has backed, were showing promising results.

US President Donald Trump was so confident that on Monday he said “we’ll have the vaccine soon, maybe before a special date”. That “special date” almost certainly refers to the November 3 polling day.

And then came today’s sobering reality check that trials of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, which the Government has pre ordered 30 million doses of, has been halted following an “unexplained illness” in one of the people given the shot.

Virus experts have said the brutal truth of vaccines is they often take years to develop. With all the will in the world, there’s only so many months you can shave off that timeline. Any hope that we might be celebrating the end of COVID over Christmas lunch is likely to be dashed.

“For the general public, a vaccine would probably be later in 2021,” an immunologist has told news.com.au.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

UK-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has said phase III trials of the Oxford vaccine were being paused following what is referred to in the pharmaceutical industry as an “adverse event”.

“This is a routine action that has to happen when there is potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated, ensuring we maintain the integrity of the trials,” the company said in a statement.

AstraZeneca insisted the illness was a “single event” but did not give any details as to what the patient came down with.

Mild side effects, such as fever, headaches and localised pain, had already been noted and were considered mild or moderate. As such, it’s likely the adverse event was more serious. Although the patient is set to recover.

The firm and Oxford University will likely spend several weeks trying to gauge if the person randomly came down with something, or if it’s linked to the vaccine. They will also be watching carefully to see if anyone else on the trial suffers the same malady.

All this takes time. And it illustrates the tension between just how impatient the world is to get back to normal and the many years it can take to develop a safe and effective vaccine.

RELATED: How hopeful should Australians be about coronavirus vaccine deal?

‘DANGEROUS TO PUSH TOO HARD’

Speaking to the ABC’s 7.30 on Tuesday night, University of Queensland immunologist Professor Paul Young said the expectation on how quickly a vaccine could be rolled out was unrealistic.

“The likelihood of any vaccine being deployed before Christmas is unlikely. It’s dangerous to push too hard.

“The timelines we have been working with are nothing like we have ever experienced before,” he said.

“I know that there is urgency and there is a desire to get something out there more quickly than perhaps it could do, but we are accelerating this as fast as possible.”

Last week, the World Health Organisation also warned against betting on an early jab for the virus.

“We are not expecting to see widespread vaccination until the middle of next year,” the WHO’s Margaret Harris said in Geneva.

“Phase III must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is and we also need to see how safe it is.”

RELATED: Vaccine success but there’s a catch

PHASE III IS WHERE THINGS GO WRONG

Right now, a whole heap of vaccines are making their way down the approval pipeline.

Most are at the preclinical stage, where they are being tested on animals to see if an immune response is triggered.

A potential vaccine from the University of Queensland, which the Australian Government has also bet big on pre-ordering 51 million doses, is at this stage.

Just a handful have progressed to human trials: the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, a US- German candidate which has the backing of pharma giant Pfizer and two Chinese potentials.

Human trials begin at phase I, when a small cohort are given a dose, and proceed to phase III, when the drug has proved to be safe enough up for thousands to take a dose.

Phase III is also where the process slows because so many people are involved. Getting from approval to production can take usually between two and 10 years to be approved.

“The development of a COVID-19 vaccine has been surprisingly smooth,” immunologist and RMIT research fellow Dr Kylie Quinn told news.com.au.

“But phase III is where they can fall down. This is where things can go wrong and that’s where we have to see in the real world if the vaccine can protect people but also if there are any rare side effects.”

The Oxford trial involved 30,000 people. Half the cohort were given the real jab with the rest getting a placebo. Around 17,000 people had commenced on the trial when it was halted.

“One event in 17,000 people is rare but they are doing there due diligence,” said Dr Quinn.

RELATED: Truth about Morrison’s ‘no jab, no pay’ policy

OPERATION WARP SPEED

Trump is betting on what’s he’s calling “Operation Warp Speed”, a $14 billion push behind two vaccines including Pfizer’s to find a vaccine and start cranking it out at, as the name suggests, at warp speed.

At a rally last week, the President was bullish, telling the crowd: “It will be delivered before the end of the year, in my opinion, but it really might even be delivered before the end of October”.

Not even Operation Warp Speed’s own staff seem that gung-ho.

Talking to the US’ National Public Radio last week, chief adviser for the program Moncef Slaoui said a vaccine by the end of next month was “a possibility, but very unlikely”.

But he “firmly believed” high risk groups, those over 70 and frontline healthcare workers, in the US could begin to be vaccinated by the end of December.

Dr Quinn said the approval process was going as fast as “humanly possible”.

“I’ve been really impressed about how rapidly things are moving forward and lot of that has been by reducing bureaucratic and logistical hurdles but ensuring we still get the same safety and immunity data.

“But there are some things we can’t compromise on,” she said.

“Early batches of a vaccine could be available next year for high risk groups and that’s sensible to prioritise; but for the general public a vaccine would probably be later in 2021.”

It’s a vaccine reality check and a stark reminder you can only rush the process so much.

However, there was good news too, said Dr Quinn.

Firstly, this could just be a bump in the road for the Oxford vaccine. The adverse event may not be connected to the drug or it may mean the vaccine is not prescribed to certain groups.

But even if it doesn’t pass muster, all is not lost.

“If it doesn’t go forward the great thing is we have multiple other vaccines in the pipeline.

“We have a number of equally good cards up our sleeves.”



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Australian News

Aussies unlikely to provide CPR due to virus fears


Australians are so concerned about catching coronavirus that more than half are unsure if they would step in and offer assistance in a first aid emergency.

New research from the Australian Red Cross has found that 82 per cent of Australians are worried about catching COVID-19 from performing CPR during an emergency, while 57 per cent are “unsure” about whether they would step in and help.

Millenials and Gen Z, those aged between 18 and 34, were the most convinced they would catch the virus, the research found.

And it has the national charity concerned.

Australian Red Cross training lead Janie McCullagh said transmission while giving CPR could be minimised with proper hygiene practices.

She warned not reacting could mean the “difference between life and death”.

“When faced with an emergency situation, it’s always better to react and do something rather than nothing,” she said.

To mark World First Aid Day on Saturday, the Australian Red Cross is hosting a free online workshop to demonstrate how to administer first aid while reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19.

“First aid skills are more important than ever during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With us all spending more time at home, the chances of at-home emergencies are naturally increased,” Ms McCullagh said.

“It’s also important to remember that you may be the first on-scene at an emergency, hence why being first aid trained and knowing how to provide a timely response is so vital.”

She is also urging experienced first aiders to refresh their skills and to learn about COVID-safe practices on Saturday.

“We are calling on all Australians to learn new skills or renew existing ones … to ensure they are prepared to help in emergency situations which may arise during the pandemic and beyond,” Ms McCullagh said.



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Coatsworth’s hilarious comment on hydroxychloroquine, Trump’s favourite virus drug


Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth gave a hilarious response to a question on hydroxychloroquine at his press conference on Friday.

Trump’s favourite virus drug was spruiked in parliament on Thursday by Coalition MP Craig Kelly, who controversially said “groupthink” and the ”complete abandonment of reason” were driving a ”war” on hydroxychloroquine.

But Mr Coatsworth said Australians know “which Kelly should be listened to in COVID-19”.

Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has said the drug – which has been labelled “potentially harmful” by the country’s peak COVID research body – “doesn’t work”.

Mr Coatsworth backed him up on Friday.

“With regards to the comments made in parliament on hydroxychloroquine, I think Australians are very clear on which Kelly should be listened to in COVID-19 and that is Paul Kelly,” he said.

“Paul Kelly, like myself, like all clinicians around Australia, understands that regrettably hydroxychloroquine is not effective for COVID-19.

“While I understand why there are many Australians out there looking for a solution, we have solutions come across our desk literally every day and have to work whether they are or they aren’t effective.”

Mr Coatsworth said if the drug, which is used to treat malaria and lupus, was effective at treating COVID-19 they would use it.

“I believe we have tonnes of hydroxychloroquine in this country, which was really generously donated by Clive Palmer, early on in the pandemic where there was a possibility hydroxychloroquine would be useful,” he said.

“Now, there are no circumstances where we, as government, or clinicians, would sit on several tonnes worth of hydroxychloroquine in the national medical stockpile if it were useful for COVID-19. We would be giving it to patients right now.

“But unfortunately it’s not — the trials are very clear on that.

“And in fact the World Health Organisation pulled hydroxychloroquine from one of its trial arms because the evidence was so clear that it was not effective. Now, that doesn’t happen very often and it only happens when it’s clear there’s no benefit at all from the treatment.

“So, regrettably, hydroxychloroquine is not the answer.”

He said the country’s peak coronavirus research body, the National COVID Evidence Taskforce, was on the case when it came to finding safe and effective treatments for the disease.

“We’ve got the best evidence for treatment at the moment and we’ll continue to communicate that to the Australian people.”



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Boomer ‘Maria from Mosman’ berates young people for virus complaints


A Q&A panel made up chiefly of young people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic found themselves facing some brutal boomer energy on Monday night.

The panel were asked by an audience member why they complained so much and were told they had it easy compared to the 1950s.

But the audience member, “Maria from Mosman”, didn’t get it all her own way, with one panellist retorting that young people had sacrificed much during the coronavirus pandemic including “sport and hobbies”.

Meanwhile, an answer on immigration had the ABC show’s host Hamish Macdonald baffled and left asking a panellist, “what does that mean?”

Billed “generation COVID”, Monday’s episode had a smattering of MPs dialling in but the panel was mainly composed of younger Australians including entrepreneur Scott Yung and musician Hamani Tanginoa.

RELATED: Problem with Australia’s virus vaccine deal

A questioner from the audience said younger people had copped criticism throughout the pandemic, “but most of the people in my suburb are over 50 and I still seen them out and about as if nothing has changed”.

“I’ve barely heard any compassion for us, despite the fact these are supposed to be the best years of our life and we are the generation who will be affected for most of our lives.”

“When will young people stop being blamed for the pandemic”, she asked?

“At times we see some young people making decisions that aren’t exactly in the greatest interest to the rest of Australia and at times we are getting tarred with that same brush,” said farmer Kate McBride.

“We can play a terrible role in spreading this virus if we’re doing the wrong thing.

“But there‘s a lot of young people that understand we need to protect our grandparents and our parents as well and from what I’ve seen young people are very considerate of what’s going on.”

“We‘re all in it together,” added Mr Yung.

“This is not a blame game. It‘s when teamwork kicks in that we’re going to get results.”

SELF PROCLAIMED BOOMER: MARIA FROM MOSMAN

But that wasn’t how Maria Hreglich, from the ritzy Sydney north shore suburb of Mosman where the average house price is around $3 million, saw things.

“Why are all these young people complaining?

“I am the first generation of the Baby Boomers. We did not have very much. We worked hard and saved.

“Not this throwaway society the young live in now. They are not prepared to sacrifice; whatever goes wrong, it‘s not their fault; and they are not prepared to do whatever it takes to get on.”

RELATED: Best reusable face masks to buy

Melburnian Ahmed Hassan didn’t agree with Ms Hreglich’s assessment of younger Australians, particularly as he’d had to sacrifice his health after he was rushed to hospital after contracting coronavirus.

“I‘ve never felt something like that before. Just your whole body was shaking. It took full control and I couldn‘t even stand up or walk.”

Mr Hassan – who is the co-founder of Youth Activating Youth, an organisation that aims to support disadvantaged young multicultural Australians – said it was too “easy to point the finger at the younger generation.”

“Young people are suffering so much. They‘re sacrificing as much as they can. They’ve sacrificed their education, their jobs; their mental health is in a very dire state.

“What else do you want them to do? Their sporting and hobbies. They‘re staying at home.

“For the older generation to say we‘ve gone through this and done this. We shouldn’t point the finger.”

Ms McBride said everyone was having to compromise.

“I probably won’t be able to graduate like all my friends who have finished in the past have been able too. We‘re in a hardship that no-one has experienced before and we’re all being affected in different ways whether you’re from rural areas or from the city.

Ms Hreglich copped heat online with some pointing out she lived in one of the wealthiest corners of the country.

“Maria from Mosman complaining about young people complaining …” said one.

“Boomers are ready to sacrifice anything except franking credits, negative gearing or to pay a carbon price to help save the planet,” said another.

One man “agreed with most of what Maria” had said.

“There are far too many young people that consider sport as something important in their lives and a valid career choice. We all need to forget about sport and socialising for a while and focus on what us important in life.”

The program also touched on mental health, university fees and what effect dipping into superannuation could have on future savings.

ANSWER STUMPS MACDONALD

However, a question on post-COVID careers had Macdonald scratching his head when it came to one of the panellist’s answers.

My Yung, who was the Liberal candidate in the state seat of Kogarah in Sydney’s south, said schools and universities weren’t doing enough to equip graduates for the jobs of the future.

“We could replace legal studies with entrepreneurship. Rather than getting teaching kids how to sue each other, let‘s get them to learn how to start businesses,” he said.

“If Australians could be the best in the world, then we don‘t need other people coming to our country. Of course, we welcome immigration but Australian jobs for Australians first.”

“Are you saying less migration?” asked Macdonald.

“More migration – but Australian jobs first for Australians,” said Mr Yung.

“What does that mean?” said the Q&A host after the Sydneysider seemed to be both pro and anti immigration in the same sentence.

“Those jobs need to be given to Australians first,” said Mr Yung.

“But Australians have got to be ready to step up to be good enough for those jobs. I’m starting a business but none of those things were taught to me in school.”



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