Australia news LIVE: Barnaby Joyce text fallout continues; nation’s total COVID-19 cases continue to grow

Our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic is free for all registered readers. Please also consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

Key posts

  • McCormack urges Nationals to focus on election
  • ‘Inadequate’ support for aged care as COVID crisis continues
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
  • 1 of 1

McCormack urges Nationals to focus on election

Former Nationals leader Michael McCormack has urged colleagues to focus on winning the next election after days of political damage over a leaked text from his successor, Barnaby Joyce, in which he called Prime Minister Scott Morrison a liar and hypocrite.

With furious Nationals MPs planning to rebuke Mr Joyce at a party meeting today, the former deputy prime minister said it would be wrong to try to “exact revenge” over the furore because the election had to take priority.

Barnaby Joyce (back) and Michael McCormack during debate in the House of Representatives in June June 2021.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The remarks came after Mr Morrison tried to calm the political uproar yesterday by saying he forgave those who displayed the “human frailty” shown in angry and bitter remarks like those sent by Mr Joyce in a text message when he was a backbencher last March.

But Labor treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers says the government is a “smoking ruin of division” that cannot be salvaged regardless of who leads the Liberal or Nationals parties.

Read the full story here.

‘Inadequate’ support for aged care as COVID crisis continues

The surge workforce organised by the federal government to support Omicron-stricken aged care homes has been labelled “inadequate” and is covering only a fraction of the weekly staffing shortfall, prompting the sector to renew its calls for urgent support from the defence forces.

The lack of staff has left aged care homes struggling to meet the basic needs of elderly residents, including providing fresh jugs of water, as nearly 1200 facilities across the country battle outbreaks.

In the first five weeks of this year, there were 533 coronavirus-related deaths among aged care residents.Credit:Louie Douvis

Nationally, in the past week, 1605 aged-care residents have contracted COVID-19 and 149 have died.

Sean Rooney, chief executive of aged care peak body Leading Age Services Australia, said despite ongoing talks with the federal government, there were providers who were struggling to get help.

More on the situation in aged care here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Monday, February 7. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started.

  • Former Nationals leader Michael McCormack says his party shouldn’t change leaders so close to the election, David Crowe reports. The comments come after the release of a text message from Barnaby Joyce in which the Deputy Prime Minister labelled Prime Minister Scott Morrison a liar and a hypocrite. Mr Joyce has apologised for the text message, which was sent in 2020 when he was on the backbench. Labor has called on the Deputy Prime Minister to resign.
  • Elsewhere in federal politics, and the private-sector surge workforce organised by the Morrison government has been labelled “inadequate” by some parts of the sector. And the government will this week continue to debate its religious freedom laws and protections for LGBTQ students.
  • NSW recorded 7893 cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 28 deaths. In Victoria, there were 7169 additional infections and six deaths on Sunday. And Queensland reported 5746 new cases yesterday, along with nine coronavirus-related deaths.
  • And in international news, the Winter Olympics are well underway in Beijing. Australia has so far snapped up one gold medal and one bronze.
  • 1 of 1

Most Viewed in National

Source: Read Full Article