A big old hello to you all on this fine Wednesday morning.
Matilda Boseley here, ready to guide you through this Wednesday’s worth of news.
Now, it probably comes as no surprise that all eyes are once again on India today, as federal immigration minister Alex Hawke moves to an urgent roundtable with Indian-Australian community leaders in an attempt to quell anger around the strict travel bans from the subcontinent.
As you probably know the federal government has enacted the Biosecurity Act in order to make it a criminal offence for someone to attempt to enter Australia within 14 days of being in India – punishable by up to a $66,000 fine or five years in prison.
But the government spent the last two days walking back this hardline approach amid mounting pressure, including from within Coalition ranks. Scott Morrison now says there is “pretty much zero” chance of harsh sanctions actually being imposed but has remained steadfast that repatriation flights will not resume before 15 May.
Hawke is set to meet with community leaders today to discuss the ban that is blocking 9,000 people, including 650 who are considered vulnerable, from returning to Australia.
This tension has been compounded by Australian cricketer Michael Hussey testing positive for Covid-19 in India, according to local media.
Hussey, who’s working as batting coach for the IPL’s Chennai Super Kings, is now undergoing a second test to confirm the result.
A team source told the Times of India:
Hussey tested positive. But his samples are being redone. Hopefully, the report will come negative.
This comes after Chennai Super Kings bowling coach L Balaji and a team staff member tested positive.
Batsman Steve Smith and other Australian cricketers re isolating in India after the IPL was suspended amid a devastating second wave of Covid-19 across the country.
Well, there is plenty to get through today, so why don’t we jump right in.