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July 2021

Ms Milligan won't be happy - ABC supposed defence to Porter defamation suit to remain secret

Very expensive day out for Shane Dowling.

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The public will be permanently barred from accessing secret parts of the ABC’s written defence to former attorney-general Christian Porter’s settled defamation claim, after a judge ruled that the document should be placed in a sealed envelope in an effort to prevent “prejudice to the proper administration of justice”.

A temporary non-publication order was made by Justice Jayne Jagot in May, pending an application by Mr Porter to strike out parts of the ABC’s defence over concerns it contained scandalous, frivolous or vexatious material, as well as ­material that would otherwise be considered “an abuse of the process of the court”.

In May, Mr Porter dropped his legal pursuit of the ABC and reporter Louise Milligan, after the parties agreed to settle the case following mediation. As part of the settlement, the parties agreed to seek a court order that 27 pages of the broadcaster’s 37-page defence “be permanently removed from the court file”.

ABC journalist Louise Milligan. Picture: Brett Costello
ABC journalist Louise Milligan. Picture: Brett Costello

But a number of media organisations — including News Corp and Nine Entertainment — had sought access to the redacted part of the ABC’s 37-page defence, arguing earlier this month that an order to remove the pages from the court file would be an “exceptional” move that undermined the principles of open justice.

In a judgment published on Friday, Justice Jagot agreed to uphold the agreement between the ABC and the former attorney-general on the grounds that it was “necessary to prevent prejudice to the proper administration of justice”. Justice Jagot said the schedules of the defence contained allegations that would “never be the subject of judicial determination”, given the parties had settled the defamation case.

“Mr Porter’s allegations that those schedules are a form of abuse of process will also never be the subject of judicial determination. In these circumstances, and given the full compromise of all aspects of the dispute reached between the parties, I am satisfied it is necessary to give effect to (the) proposed consent order.”

ABC defence to Porter defam... by Michael Smith

Australian Army's role in 'enforcing compliance'

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Lockdowns to run into next year

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Scott Morrison and national cabinet leaders are preparing for ­targeted lockdowns to run into next year, with Treasury updating its assumptions on the frequency and economic ramifications of Covid-19 restrictions in response to the highly contagious Delta strain.

Scenarios prepared by the ­Doherty Institute outlining the optimal vaccine coverage required for Australia to begin opening up have been shared with Treasury officials, who have been tasked with modelling the economic costs of various health outcomes.

The Australian understands Treasury is updating its assumptions on the frequency of lockdowns and other Covid-19 restrictions, which will be provided to national cabinet leaders to balance the health and economic advice.

Ahead of Friday’s national cabinet meeting where state and territory leaders will be briefed on the Doherty Institute’s preliminary findings, the Prime Minister refused to commit to lockdowns ending by the end of the year, ­saying “no one can give those guarantees”.

“The virus is unpredictable and it would be irresponsible to do so,” he said.

NSW Police Commissioner confirms request for ADF soldiers to help police citizens. God help us.

Statement here.

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Commissioner confirms formal request for ADF assistance

Thursday, 29 July 2021 03:29:16 PM

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has confirmed he has made a formal request to the federal government for Australian Defence Force (ADF) assistance with the ongoing COVID-19 compliance operation.

The NSW Police Force is significantly expanding its enforcement activities in Sydney over the coming days and has requested 300 ADF personnel to boost its operational footprint.

Commissioner Fuller said the NSW Police Force and the ADF had forged a close relationship throughout the pandemic.

“The assistance of the ADF has been essential over the past 18 months – particularly during last year’s border operation, the ongoing hotel quarantine operation and the assistance provided with logistics support in the Police Operations Centre,” Commissioner Fuller said.

“With an increase in enforcement activity over the coming week, I have now made a formal request to the Prime Minister for ADF personnel to assist with that operation.

“I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his ongoing support.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott welcomed the request for assistance.

“There is a longstanding and highly-professional relationship between the NSW Police Force and the ADF,” Mr Elliott said.

“As I have said previously, support from the Army will add another line of defence to the NSW Government’s crackdown on COVID-19 compliance.

“The Army’s unique skills and training have combined many times with those of our police officers to serve the people of NSW in times of crisis, such as the floods and severe bushfires we’ve experienced in recent years.

“This will be a functional, effective and dynamic team to fight this pandemic.”


UPDATE - my advice to the Chief of the Defence Force, "Just say no".

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