Australia Covid news live update: Queensland reopens its border after nearly five months; WA to learn its roadmap out of lockdown

Victoria records 1,290 new Covid cases and two deaths; NSW records 536 new cases and no deaths; total fire ban for north-western Victoria; up to 50,000 expected at the Queensland-NSW border as authorities warn of long waits; Mark McGowan to announce WA reopening timetable. Follow all the day’s developments

Time to chat about next year’s election, and the battle the treasurer is facing from an independent in his home seat.

Michael Rowland:

You are now facing, as we know, Monique Ryan in the seat of Kooyong. She’s a Royal Children’s hospital doctor. You’ve labelled people like she, an independent, as a front for Labor and the Greens. What evidence do you have for that?

Well, at the last election, I had an independent who said they were gonna vote for Labor. That’s a pretty clear indication. We’ve also seen plenty of cases where they’ve just mirrored the policies of our political opponents.

But what evidence do we have at this time?

This is a rinse-and-repeat, Michael. What we’ve seen, we’ve seen obviously a lot of funding going into these independents around the rest of the country, and it’s a democracy, so people can put their hand up.

Just on Omicron, you might have caught up with the news just in the last hour or so, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, made an address to the nation there. He’s declared a tidal wave of Omicron case is about to hit the UK.

He’s declared it a public health emergency, and has declared that all British adults over the age of 16 can get a booster shot by the end of the year. Taking that into account, are we being a bit too sanguine about Omicron here in Australia?

We saw the medical advice, and that saw a pause for two weeks of the reopening of the border to international students and to skilled workers.

That was a precautionary measure. But we will continue to listen and follow the health advice, and it has served us well to date.

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