Australia news LIVE: Victorian restrictions ease further as COVID-19 cases grow across the nation; Gladys Berejiklian to front ICAC

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Key posts

  • Melbourne and regional Victoria to be reunited tonight
  • Berejiklian said she would ‘throw money’ at Maguire’s electorate in private call
  • Macron and Morrison discuss ‘broken trust’
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Melbourne and regional Victoria to be reunited tonight

Melburnians will be able to reunite with friends and family based in rural and regional Victoria from 6pm tonight (AEDT).

Greater Melbourne has been cut off from the regions since early August in what was originally supposed to be a seven-day lockdown. Melbourne’s sixth citywide lockdown, which ended last week, stretched on for more than two months.

Traffic is expected to be heavy across Melbourne this afternoon. However, police say they will exercise some discretion if people decide to leave the city before 6pm.

Tourism and hospitality businesses outside of Melbourne are thrilled for an influx of customers, but some regional residents are worried about the spread of COVID-19. In Wodonga, in the state’s north east, testing sites have been closing in the early hours of the morning due to high demand.

Victoria yesterday reported 1923 coronavirus cases and 25 deaths.

A number of other changes also come into effect for Melburnians from 6pm today. Gyms and non-essential retail will reopen (subject to density limits) and masks will no longer be mandatory outside (unless social distancing isn’t possible).

Berejiklian said she would ‘throw money’ at Maguire’s electorate in private call

Gladys Berejiklian and her then-boyfriend Daryl Maguire talked of love, marriage and even a baby during their secret five-year relationship, while the former premier promised to “throw money” at Mr Maguire’s electorate days after he was forced to resign under a corruption cloud in 2018.

In a dramatic day of intercepted phone calls, text messages and emails, NSW’s corruption watchdog heard Mr Maguire’s account of the “close personal relationship” now at the centre of an extended corruption probe.

Daryl Maguire and Gladys Berejiklian.Credit:ICAC/Nick Moir

Ms Berejiklian will begin two full days of evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption today, following nine days of testimony from bureaucrats, a former premier, former deputy premier and, yesterday, her ex-boyfriend: the disgraced former member for Wagga Wagga.

The inquiry is examining whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust or encouraged corrupt conduct during her undisclosed relationship with the former MP. She has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Read about yesterday’s proceedings here.

Macron and Morrison discuss ‘broken trust’

French President Emmanuel Macron says Prime Minister Scott Morrison “broke the relationship of trust” between both countries and has to be the one to repair the damage, in the pair’s first phone call since Australia terminated a $90 billion submarine contract.

Macron phoned Morrison shortly before the Prime Minister flew out of Canberra yesterday evening (AEDT) to attend the G20 summit in Rome and COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in June. Credit:AP

A major diplomatic brawl erupted last month when the federal government axed a deal for France to design and help build 12 diesel-powered submarines in favour of a new defence partnership with the United States and United Kingdom known as AUKUS.

The call paves the way for a possible brief meeting between Macron and Morrison in Rome or Glasgow but nothing has been confirmed.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Friday, October 29. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

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

  • Melburnians will be able to reunite with regional friends and family from this evening after weeks apart. From 6pm, the hard border around Greater Melbourne comes down, gyms and non-essential retail are back (subject to density limits) and masks will no longer be mandatory outside (unless social distancing isn’t possible). Tourism and hospitality businesses are thrilled for an influx of customers, but some regional residents are worried about the spread of COVID-19. Victoria yesterday reported 1923 coronavirus cases and 25 deaths.
  • Former NSW premier and treasurer Gladys Berejiklian is due to front a corruption inquiry today. The Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust or encouraged corrupt conduct during her undisclosed relationship with former state Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire. Yesterday, ICAC heard the former premier wanted to “throw money” at Mr Maguire’s electorate days after he was forced to resign under a corruption cloud in 2018. Ms Berejiklian has previously said she always acted in the best interests of the state. NSW yesterday reported 293 new local case and two deaths.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron before jetting off to Europe for international climate talks. Australia says the pair had a “candid discussion on the bilateral relationship”, while France has described the conversation as being about how Australia “broke the relationship of trust”. Last month, Australia cancelled its $90 billion submarine contract with the European nation in favour of a deal for nuclear-powered vessels from the United States and Britain.
  • Police have processed more than 200 reported sightings of missing four-year-old girl Cloe Smith. As previously reported, the AFP have joined the search and officers from WA Police have searched the family’s property and campsite (the girl’s parents are not considered suspects).
  • Canberra residents are waking up to eased coronavirus restrictions this morning. Up to 10 people are allowed in the home at any one time, gatherings of up to 30 people will be allowed outdoors and face masks will not be required outside. The ACT yesterday reported eight new cases of COVID-19.
  • And in international news, Facebook is changing its name to Meta. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg says the rebrand will better reflect the company’s plans for a virtual-reality future.
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