News digest: Berejiklian defended over lover, UK in lockdown and latest Covid figures

Oct 13, 2020
The NSW premier fronted the ICAC on Monday. Source: Getty.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian is dominating the headlines this morning, one day after she admitted to having a “close personal relationship” with former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire, who is now under investigation by the state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Fronting the inquiry on Monday, the premier admitted to being romantically involved with Maguire – who resigned in 2018 after admitting that he sought payment over a property deal -for five years. But, while rivals have called for Berejiklian to resign over the revelations, many people have spoken out in her defence, including Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“Is she the first woman to fall in love with the wrong guy, I don’t think so,” Turnbull told The Guardian. Perhaps the upshot of this will be that people will realise that Gladys is of flesh and blood … that she is human and she’s craved love and affection [and] put her trust in the wrong person.”

While former Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told Today: “It’s all pretty human, isn’t it? … I think she would have been embarrassed by listening to the phone tapes of her conversation. She’s a smart lady who I think has been punching below her weight with perhaps a much more average guy.”

In Covid news, Victoria recorded 12 new cases and one further death over the past 24 hours, casting further doubt over whether metropolitan Melbourne will see restrictions eased on October 19. Speaking this morning, Premier Daniel Andrews offered some hope to Melburnians though as he suggested “10 could be the new five”.

“Yesterday at some length, I went to the notion that we are reviewing daily, we are reviewing weekly, what a likely outcome is in the days and weeks to come,” he said. “And if upon that further analysis, five is the new zero, and ten is the new five, well, then we’ll have to factor that in, and we will. We’re not about keeping these restrictions on in an indefinite way, unless and until we reach a target.”

Meanwhile New South Wales has recorded 13 new cases, seven of which are locally transmitted. It comes as Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said he would reserve judgement on whether the island state would open its borders to NSW for another week. Currently Tasmania is expecting to open its borders to Qld, SA, NT, the ACT and WA from October 26.

And in international headlines, parts of the United Kingdom have been plunged back into lockdown after Covid-19 cases surged. Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a new tiered lockdown system on Monday, which will see local council areas ranked as medium, high or very high risk.

Currently the Merseyside region in England’s north west is the only area to be classified as very high risk, reports the ABC, meaning pubs and bars (unless serving alcohol as part of a meal), gyms, leisure centres, casinos and betting shops will all have to close their doors from Wednesday.

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