Coronavirus Vaccine: Australia to receive first batch of AstraZeneca in Jan 2021

Australia will receive the first doses of an AstraZeneca and Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine in January 2021 if trials prove successful after Canberra agreed a deal to purchase a second potential vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday.

Australia said in August it had signed a preliminary agreement with AstraZeneca for enough doses for its population of nearly 26 million, which would be manufactured locally by pharmaceutical company CSL.

That deal appeared in some doubt when CSL said its priority was manufacturing an alternative potential vaccine developed with the University of Queensland (UQ).

Agreeing a deal to overcome the potential roadblock, Australia will now also buy 51 million doses of the UQ vaccine.

It will take possession of the first 3.8 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in January and February 2021, and then receive a further 30 million doses, Morrison will say in extracts from an announcement sent to Reuters.

AstraZeneca’s candidate is seen as a frontrunner in a global race to deliver an effective coronavirus vaccine.

“Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a safe and effective vaccine, should it pass late stage testing,” Morrison said.

Under the deal with UQ and CSL, Australia will buy 51 million doses of that tie-up’s vaccine. The UQ and CSL candidate is scheduled to begin phase two trials in late 2020 and if all trials are successful it could be rolled out to Australians in mid-2021.

Both deals will cost in total A$1.7 billion ($1.24 billion), Morrison explained. Should both vaccines prove successful, Australia has secured to right to donate or sell on without a mark-up.

Health officials are discussing who will receive the first doses if trials are successful, Morrison said. Vulnerable people, and front-line health care workers likely to be first in line, a source familiar with the details told Reuters.

The supply agreements come as Australia grapples with a second wave of infections in its second most populous state, Victoria. Australia has recorded more than 26,000 infections and 753 deaths.

TikTok to lose Australian fans over fears of data breach

Following India and the US, several Australian legislators are proposing to ban TikTok as they too fear the app was being used by the Chinese government to collect users’ data, reported the South China Morning Post.

Recently, Liberal Senator Jim Molan said TikTok was being “used and abused” by the Chinese government.

Labor Senator Jenny McAllister has reportedly demanded the TikTok’s representatives to face the Select Committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media.

While TikTok continues to refute the allegations, the move has sparked questions on whether China can really get access to users’ data from TikTok.

The South China Morning Post reported that though the TikTok owner ByteDance have constantly claimed that its data is stored in servers in the US and Singapore but it is not a difficult task for the Chinese government to get access to the data.

In January, the company was reported as saying: “You should understand that no data storage system or transmission of data over the Internet or any other public network can be guaranteed to be 100 per cent secure.”

Further, if a TikTok user decides to delete their content from their device, or even a certain country’s government imposes a ban on the app, the data would not be retrospectively erased. It is because once the information is transferred, it is impossible to retract without the help of the company.

CORONAVIRUS: Australian brewers rolling out free kegs of beer

It’s been two months since pubs, bars and restaurants were forced to shut their doors in Australia due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and a lockdown, which the government had to introduce in order to stop the spread of the disease.

Australia’s Carlton & United Breweries have decided to roll out 2,000 barrels of free beer to help pubs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They will donate $2 million worth of alcohol to pubs and clubs, doubling its first $1 million aim from when it started its ‘For the Love of Your Local’ campaign in April.

“The ongoing restrictions will continue to significantly limit trade and, for some venues, re-opening will have to wait until restrictions are further lifted,” CUB chief executive officer Peter Filipovic said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

“We’ve had 2,000 pubs and clubs join already and, if you’re a venue that needs help, I’d urge you to sign-up too,” he added.

According to reports, the participating pubs will offer two-for-one pints to its clients, following the breweries’ decision. The client limit in Australia will increase to 50 people starting from 22 June and 100 people by mid-July. Pubs in Australia have been closed for two months amid the coronavirus lockdown.

COVIDSafe critic writes an emotional open letter to Scott Morrison

A hoax text message claiming to come from the government’s newly launched coronavirus app is circulating online.

Yesterday the COVIDSafe app was unveiled to help track cases of the virus in Australia and prevent community transmission.

The app already has more than a million downloads.

Off the back of privacy concerns about the data the app may collect, a fake message telling users they have been detected too far from their home has been circulating.

COVIDSafe All

“The COVIDSafe app has detected you are now +20km from your nominated home address. Please register your reason for travel by calling 1300 1MY GOV within 15 minutes of receiving this SMS,” the message reads.

On this backdrop, a concerned citizen has written an open letter to Scott Morrison, PM.

The highly emotional letter from Dr Lee Duffield reads:

SCOTT MORRISON

Head of Marketing,

Australian Government,

Canberra

Dear Scotty,

I understand you are encouraging everybody to take up a tracing app to help control COVID-19, which is a very positive thing to do if you are in marketing – to be encouraging.

However, I have to tell you, I refuse point blank to install this thing on my mobile telephone.

I have nothing against active and public databases. I am an early adopter of My Health Record.

No, the reason is that I distrust Peter Dutton and yourself.

I was alarmed to see in the news that Dutton’s Home Affairs Department had been responsible for the initial contracting on this. You would know that I am a journalist and that, since this department was created to include Federal Police and the militarised customs and immigration service as a police-uniformed Border Force, things have not gone so well for journalists. Your government has commenced ordering police raids on newsrooms.

That is what has been happening and is one reason I distrust Dutton and yourself. Dutton, I see, has been putting out a lot of media releases lately, since getting over the coronavirus himself: taking on China, taking on the Queensland Government, obviously, in the process, taking on you. If he is putsching for power like that, he is certainly not getting my data if I can help it at all.

I was doubly alarmed to hear that the process had been handed on to another Minister, Stuart Robert. From watching him in the news, he does not appear to know about computers, no matter what words they are preparing for him to say. Should such ignorance be a reassurance to me? No, I am concerned as well about boys and girls around his office who might know exactly what they are doing – liars who said that big outage was done by hacking.

I was trebly alarmed to learn that in a restricted-applications tendering process, you handed the data storage to Amazon. That gigantic, uncontrolled, tax-suspect American behemoth is not getting my data on a silver plate. For one thing, all the emails and texts that they send are fully boring and tedious to manage, which as a marketer you would understand; victim fatigue must be one of the occupational challenges in your zone.

Then there was a reasonable-sounding geek on television explaining his disquiet about a procedural matter, you proposing to store the encryption key for the Big Brother thing together with the database itself. He said it was contrary to best practice and worrying, like hanging the key alongside a padlock. I wanted to reply: no point in worrying, just try not to co-operate with them.

I am aware of your messages, that nobody in or around the Government will have anything to do with managing the app or accessing the data. It would be handled by a neutered, blind, deaf and dumb “health officer”, with both hands removed so as to ensure a hands-off approach – before quickly destroying it all.

Bullshit, Scotty. I told you. I don’t trust you.

“Why?” you might ask, with palms upturned and that gaping look where your eyes go independently in different directions.

It is because you present yourself to me, in your public persona, as a contradictory and dangerous mix of dim and disingenuous; not really deep or sophisticated enough to be Prime Minister, and yet, too phoney to sustain the Dad act much longer. “Is this real?” I ask myself. “Is this a corporeal bloke or some mist of silly wits?”

Can I leave you with a Marxist axiom? No, don’t run away from it, this one won’t hurt you. It’s as innocent as a lump of polished rock from the Resources Council. It is a Groucho

Marxist saying, or so they say, or it might have been George Burns or someone else in New York: “Sincerity – if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Think about that, Scotty. Get Peter to send the goons after me if you must and I will make it awkward marketing for you.

Yours in spin,

Media editor Dr Lee Duffield is a former ABC foreign correspondent, political journalist and academic.

How does ‍COVIDSafe work?

Bluetooth® signals are used to determine when you’re near another COVIDSafe user.

COVIDSafe securely records when you have been in close contact with other users of the app. This will allow State and Territory health officials to contact you if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

COVID-19: Virgin Australia to lay off more than 16,000 workers

Australia’s second biggest airline, Virgin Australia (VAH.AX), has become the first large corporate coronavirus casualty, announcing it will enter voluntary administration on Tuesday morning.

The decision follows crisis talks held on Monday evening after the airline failed to secure a desired $1.4 billion lifeline from the federal government.

In a statement to the ASX on Tuesday morning, Virgin Australia said it had named Deloitte as voluntary administrators.

Virgin Australia 2

“Our decision today is about securing the future of the Virgin Australia Group and emerging on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis,” Virgin Australia CEO Paul Scurrah said.

“Australia needs a second airline and we are determined to keep flying. Virgin Australia will play a vital role in getting the Australian economy back on its feet.”

Virgin Australia employs 10,000 workers and another 6,00 people indirectly. It also has more than 10 million members of its Velocity loyalty program.

Velocity Frequent Flyers is not in administration as it is a separate company.

Administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said Deloitte plans to restructure and refinance the company to bring it out of administration “as soon as possible”.

He said they are seeking interest from those interested in the recapitalisation of the business and “there have been several expressions of interest so far”.

Virgin Australia will continue to operate its scheduled flights to bring stranded Australians home and transport essential workers.

Failed bid to save the airline

Virgin Australia has been begging the federal government to bail it out after the combination of a $4.8 billion debt burden and the coronavirus pandemic became too much.

The airline halted all international travel and most domestic travel in March and stood down 80 per cent of its workforce.

However, the Australian federal government refused to intervene beyond a $715 million aid package for Australian airlines.

Speaking on Tuesday morning, opposition leader Anthony Albanese said the government needs to step in to save the airline in order for Australia to have two large competing airlines.

And he warned that if Virgin Australia remains in administration, there will be negative outcomes for the Australian public.

“Let’s be very clear about what the history of private equity firms is. Quite often, it’s about coming in, stripping assets and turning a profit for the private equity firm. It’s not about the national interest,” he said.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has also called on the federal government to intervene in order to save the 16,000 jobs.

“If the Morrison government does not immediately intervene, they will be responsible for the biggest airline collapse in Australia’s history,” ACTU president Michele O’Neil said.

“16,000 workers and their families have been abandoned by the government.”

Why Australia should be in your bucket list of perfect tour destinations

Australia is every tourist’s dreamland despite its smaller size when compared to the United States. For lots of reasons, travellers to most Australian cities find it difficult to resist the temptation of residing permanently in the country. It is therefore not surprising that the country’s most productive sector is tourism, which contributed A$47.5 billion (3% of GDP) in 2015.

In Australia, domestic tourism makes up nearly 75% of the tourism industry. About 7.5 million people reportedly visited the country in 2015. The booming tourism sector offers employment to about 600,000 workers concentrated mostly in popular coastal cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, among other locations with iconic sites such as the Sydney Opera House, Ayers Rock, and Tasmanian wilderness.

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Sydney Opera House (Source: Planet Ware)

Here are few reasons you should make Australia your next travel location:

The Atmospheric Condition

The weather condition in Australia appeals to almost every visitor. For example, summer lasts about 340 days with an average temperature of 26° which surprisingly stays around 16° during winter. There are, without doubts, a few places around the world with such unique climate. This makes Australia one of the best places you can visit for explorative outdoor trips.

What makes Australia the best location for tourists?

Australia is rated top on the list of countries with “most liveable” cities. It is exceptional as a big island beautified with the most isolated beaches, which are safe, clean with pure white sand, and very good for your surfing games. Australian beaches are also considered among the world’s best tourist attraction sites—especially for those who want to break free from the madding crowd.

Apart from the fact that Australia has a high employment rate, humane government hierarchy, invisible class divide and more proactive human rights protection laws, you are less likely to be attacked or killed in any Australian city. Gun control laws have significantly reduced or eliminated gun violence compared to the United States.

Tourist Attractions

  1. Great Barrier Reef: This landmark location is one of the most visited spots in Australia. It is a well-guarded 2,000-kilometer marine site situated near Queensland’s northern coast. Considered one of the safest marine sites you will ever find in the world, the Great Barrier Reef has dreamlike coral beach islands that nature lovers will find amazing. It is a perfect location for lovers, divers and underwater photographers due to its unique colours and awe-inspiring landscape.
  2. The Kimberleys: This location is beautiful, ancient and strategic for its mountain ranges, rough gorges and steep ridges. Visitors to this site find its waterfalls and sparkling lake very attractive and memorable.
  • Gold Coast: Visitors to South Eastern part of Queensland will find its canals and waterways one of the best architectural marvels. In addition, the beaches are perfect for surfing but a night in the bubbling city makes it a centre of attraction. Visiting Gold Coast is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you should have.
  1. Sydney Opera House: This iconic site was designed by John Utzon, a 20th century architect from Denmark. Thousands of tourists across the globe visit Sydney Opera House every day to catch a glimpse of this magnificent building. It was acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Building in 2007. Honeymooners find it suitable for love.
  2. Uluru: In this location, tourists in Australia will find Ayers Rock, which offers unique experience with constantly changing colours in daylight. The rock considered world’s largest. It measures 3.6km in length, 348 meters high and 1.9km in width.
  3. The Barossa Valley: Located in the southern part of Australia, the Barossa Valley is famous for its major produce—tasty wines. The wine-producing area is famous as a home to many wine-making companies such as Penfolds Grange.
  • Kakadu National Park: This is situated in the northern part of Australia. Kakadu National Park is renowned for its long list of Aboriginal cultural sites, including hundreds of art sites which are over 20,000 years old.

Other attractive locations in Australia are: The Great Ocean Road, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Sydney Harbour Bridge etc. Other features found appealing by tourists are:

Affordability: The cost of flying to Australia may be high or low depending on visitors’ point of departure, but once you arrive the country, there are lots of options to begin with. One remarkable difference between Australia and other countries is the availability of cheap transport mediums, low-cost accommodation, and an affordable cost of living. Whether you chose a hostel accommodation or a 5-star hotel, finding that desired comfort won’t cost you an extra penny.

Language: Your ease of movement is guaranteed because Australians speak English.

Types of Australian Sugar Babies you should know

The term “sugar babies” is gaining popularity around the world, especially in Australia where love-stricken females (mostly university students) have swarmed Seeking Arrangement in search of deep-pocketed sugar daddies and sugar mommies who are ready to trade cash and gifts for fun. Sugar babies are categorized differently.

Cash is king” sugar babies are about material gains and financial rewards. They are available for extraordinary sexual relationships but don’t want an overbearing partner. These Australian girls treasure freedom and are always available to the highest bidder.

Spoil Me with Love” sugar babies are dreamy; they don’t crave for financial rewards but may request for outrageously expensive gift such as a supercar. Additionally, these group of girls prefer sugar daddies who can take them on vacations, cruise ship travels, spa outings and to exotic diners in Australia’s numerous continental restaurants.

Friend and Protege” sugar babies are mainly focused on their career and life goals. They want more than financial support and will appreciate accomplished sugar daddies with solid connections to provide jobs and sponsorship for advanced studies within or outside Australia.

Marry Me” sugar babies in Australia want everything sugar daddies can offer those in previous three categories plus marriage. As “clever cookies,” they abhor “no-strings-attached” relationships.

Australian sugar baby facts

According to Sugar Baby University, Australia, over 175,000 students have joined the matchmaking website for “exploitative and somewhat sex-themed relationships” that guarantee financial freedom—particularly student debt financing—and hope for a secured future. Payment for academic books, housing and other university-related bills are the major benefits.

The number of registered students increased by 42% in 2018. Apart from the expensive gifts, sugar babies in Australia have chances of networking with professionals who can provide money-spinning business ideas, partnerships or support. On the average, each subscribed user on Seeking Arrangement receives monthly allowance valued at $3,000 per month.

The most common categories of sugar babies in Australia

  1. College sugar baby: This group of students are aged between 23 – 27 years. They are most ideal for sugar daddies because there is no commitment (except for him). These group of Australia girls are not bothered about getting married; they prefer spending quality time with “matured minds” or people with responsibilities and are ever-willing to showcase their freedom by trying something out-of-the-box. College sugar babies in Australia include foreign students who flock around strategic locations in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, and other major cities where it is very easy to meet wealthy sugar daddies. The girls are mostly beautiful, fashionable, outgoing, experienced with men, and a perfect company for outings.
  2. Sugar Mamas baby: This group of sugar babies are young lesbians who prefer sugar mommies for fun and financial rewards though—in some cases—the girls may find a mother figure or role model them. Australia’s protection of LGBTQ rights makes it a safe haven for such relationships.
  3. BBW sugar baby: BBW is an acronym for Big Breasted Women. In this context, BBW sugar babies refer to students who prefer relationships with busty women although the need for financial rewards and gifts precedes sexual attraction or preference—in most cases.
  4. Fake sugar baby: This category of sugar babies has features which include lying about their educational qualifications to gain attention, and faking or “adjusting” their sexual orientation to keep a relationship. Fake sugar babies often use too much makeup and fashion accessories which—unknown to them—indicate high maintenance costs for potential sugar daddies. In most cases, these relationships don’t last beyond the first date.

For most Australian girls, finding a sugar daddy is like winning a lottery. However, most SDs are jealous and possessive in nature so setting your priorities and making them known is one way of gaining maximum satisfaction from Seeking Arrangement.

Melbourne mosque bombers convicted and jailed

A terror attack on a Melbourne mosque was motivated by intolerance, malevolence and misguided piety based on beliefs a Supreme Court Justice says have no place in civilized society.

Ahmed Mohamed was the mastermind of a plan to burn down the Imam Ali Islamic Centre, where Shia Muslims attend, in Fawkner in 2016 and recruited his friend Abdullah Chaarani to help.

When their first attempt in November that year failed, the Sunni Muslim men went back to the drawing board and recruited Hatim Moukhaiber for a second go in December.

Their goal was to “strike a blow against, and terrorize, Shia Muslims”, Justice Andrew Tinney said on Wednesday as he jailed the terror trio for their “callous, cowardly and vindictive” crimes.

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Mohamed, 26, and Chaarani, 28, have been jailed for 22 years for carrying out the act of terror and for their earlier attempt.

The pair, who are still awaiting sentencing after being convicted of a separate plot to carry out an attack on Federation Square weeks later on Christmas Day in 2016, must serve at least 17 years before they’re eligible for parole.

Moukhaiber, 31, must serve at least 12 years of a 16-year prison term before he’s eligible for release on parole.

Justice Tinney said the men had sought to advance the cause of the Islamic State, pointing to graffiti sprayed on the Shia mosque on the day it was burned.

“The State of Islam,” Justice Tinney said the Arab script translated to, noting that they’d made an error in an effort to write “The Islamic State”.

While the fire set by Mohamed and Chaarani in their first attempted firebombing failed, the second was a success and resulted in the mosque needing demolition.

“The three of you, as a team of terrorists, had learned some lessons from Mohamed and Chaarani’s failed attempt, and weren’t going to make the same mistakes again,” the judge said.

The damage bill for the mosque was more than $1.5 million but only $840,00 was recouped from insurance.

After the attacks the group sent messages between them, showing “obvious satisfaction and amusement” at their actions, Justice Tinney noted.

The three men laughed and chatted among themselves as the judge took more than two hours to deliver his sentencing remarks.

Moukhaiber whooped and danced after being led from the courtroom by security.

The men smiled and waved at a number of supporters.

Justice Tinney said Mohamed and Chaarani had written letters to him expressing their remorse for their actions, renouncing Islamic State and everything the organisation stands for.

He said Chaarani wrote that he could now see his crimes were “heinous and rotten” and that he understood the suffering he caused.

Mohamed spoke of having “nothing but remorse and regret” and that he’d come to mix with different people in prison.

He had a letter of support from a Shia Muslim he got to know behind bars.

Justice Tinney described the letters as “unconvincing and self-serving” but acknowledged “some good” may flow from them.

Moukhaiber denies being radicalized and the judge rejected his prospects of rehabilitation while he still holds extreme views.

4 Australian women strip in support of Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun

 

Protesters

Four women held a topless protest in Sydney on Thursday to support runaway Saudi woman Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun as Australia began considering her bid to settle in the country as a refugee.

Alqunun was on Wednesday deemed a refugee by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, after being detained in Bangkok en route to Australia.

The 18-year-old publicized her case via social media after barricading herself in her Bangkok hotel room, saying she feared for her safety if sent back to her family in Saudi Arabia.

In downtown Sydney on Thursday morning, four women, dressed only in jeans and calling themselves the Secret Sisterhood, protested outside the building housing the Saudi Consulate, calling on Australia to grant Alqunun residency.

With “Secret Sisterhood” written on their backs, the women held placards with messages including “Let her in,” “Rahaf Sisterhood Hero” and “All women free + safe.”

Secret Sisterhood founder Jacquie Love said the protest was held to urge the Australian government to recognize Alqunun’s plight, and that of oppressed women everywhere.

“We are here to encourage them to let her in,” Love said. “She’s been recognized by the U.N. as a refugee so we believe the Australian government needs to step up, recognize her plight and recognize what she’s gone through, and she could be an icon for the rest of the world that women shouldn’t be oppressed and they should be fleeing countries that they are oppressed in.”

“We decided to go topless because we believe all women should be able to express themselves freely and safely and we wanted to send a message to Rahaf that we can actually do that in Australia, that women can actually be free and safe,” Love said.

Secret Sisterhood has also set up a GoFundMe account, which had raised $2,290 dollars for Alqunun by Thursday morning.

Alqunun’s case has highlighted the cause of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Several female Saudis fleeing abuse by their families have been caught trying to seek asylum abroad in recent years and returned home. Human rights activists say many more similar cases will have gone unreported.

After mounting a campaign for assistance on Twitter from her Bangkok airport hotel, Alqunun was allowed to temporarily stay in Thailand under the care of the U.N. refugee agency, which ruled her claim for asylum valid and referred her case to Australia.

Following that decision, Australia’s Home Affairs Department said it would “consider this referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals.”

Alqunun’s father arrived in Bangkok on Tuesday, but his daughter refused to meet with him.

Thailand’s Immigration Police chief Lt. Gen. Surachate Hakparn said the father — whose name has not been released — denied physically abusing Alqunun or trying to force her into an arranged marriage, which were among the reasons she gave for her flight.

Surachate said Alqunun’s father wanted his daughter back but respected her decision. Surachate described the father as being a governor in Saudi Arabia.

“He has 10 children. He said the daughter might feel neglected sometimes,” Surachate said. “But he didn’t go into detail.”

Before the U.N. agency’s decision to refer her case to Australia, the country’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there would be no “special treatment” for her.

However, Health Minister Greg Hunt, also speaking before the U.N.’s decision, said: “If she is found to be a refugee, then we will give very, very, very serious consideration to a humanitarian visa.”

Why Australia banned China’s most popular chat app

 

WeChat.jpg

WeChat is an all-in-one social media platform that combines services such as those offered by WhatsApp, Facebook, Uber and Apple Pay.

It also acts as a news service via numerous WeChat Official Accounts (also called Public Accounts). These accounts allow government agencies, business corporations, and social organisations to post and distribute news stories to subscribers. WeChat users registered outside China are estimated at 100-150 million.

Interestingly, social media have led to a proliferation of unofficial spaces of communication online, which has created challenges for the Chinese government’s efforts to regulate the content of online communications.

Further, social media companies in China are required to censor posts which the Chinese government identifies as “illegal”, and self-censorship among users is encouraged. Examples of illegal content includes phrases such as “Tiananmen June 4”, “free Tibet” and “Falun Gong”. The flow on effect of regulation and influence on these platforms when they are used outside China’s borders is more complex.

Certainly the Chinese government does seek to influence the diaspora.

There is a dedicated Chinese government department, the United Front Work Department (UFWD), for “overseas Chinese work”. It seeks to both “guide” ethnic Chinese, and conduct influence operations targeted at foreign actors and states that further the objectives of the Chinese government.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has described the UFWD’s work as the Chinese government’s “magic weapons”.

The Australian Defence Department is concerned enough about the possibility of Chinese censorship and surveillance being enabled via WeChat that it has banned the app from work phones, pending security investigation.

Gay marriage now legal in Australia

Gay marriage is now lawful in Australia after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hurriedly passed the bill into law on Friday by endorsing a final signature few hours after it was overwhelmingly approved by Parliament. The nation is currently witnessing a frenzied wedding plannings scheduled to hold later this month.

According to a report from AP, Turnbull traveled to Government House where Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and signed the bill into law on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, Australia’s constitutional head of state.

Cosgrove’s signature makes gay marriage legal in Australia from Saturday, while same-sex couples who wed overseas will be recognized as married under Australian law. Couples who intend to marry must give a calendar-month notice, making gay weddings legal on Jan. 9, Turnbull said.

Australia gay marriage.jpg

Image shows members of parliament, from left, Cathy McGowan, Adam Brandt and Andrew Wilkie celebrating the passing of the Marriage Amendment Bill in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of Australian voters who responded to a government-commissioned postal ballot by last month. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

Neville Wills, 98, plans to marry his partner of 39 years, Ian Fenwicke, 74, next month.

Some practical reasons to marry become pressing with age. Relatives have contested wills that left estates to same-sex partners, and gays and lesbians want rights to access and medical consultation when a partner is hospitalized.

“The reason is to have a legal relationship that’s not in any way challenged — and, of course, we love each other,” Wills said.

“We’ll get the legal relationship straightened out in January. Call it a wedding if you like, I’m not romantic,” he added.

Turnbull described Parliament voting late Thursday for gay marriage, with only four lawmakers registering their opposition, as a historic moment.

“Containing my emotions to a suitable, prime ministerial level of calm is quite challenging. I am absolutely pumped. I think this is so wonderful,” he said after Parliament passed the bill and the public gallery erupted with a standing ovation.

Celebrations continued late into the night in Oxford Street, the center of Sydney’s gay nightlife which is in Turnbull’s electorate. Turnbull has been a long-term advocate for marriage equality and is the first prime minister to attend Sydney’s renowned annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which is also in his electorate.

Hours after Parliament’s action, a Sydney municipal council offered free venues to host same-sex marriages. The Inner West Council is accepting bookings for same-sex marriages in its halls, community centers and parks at no charge over a 100-day period from Jan. 7.

“This is an historic day in the struggle for civil rights in Australia,” Mayor Darcy Byrne said. It follows the downtown Sydney municipality’s decision in October to offer free venues for same-sex weddings should they become lawful.

The Australian Capital Territory government, which administers Canberra, the national capital, introduced its own same-sex marriage law in 2013 that was overturned by the High Court within a week. ACT Attorney General Gordon Ramsay said his government would waive the 55 Australian dollar ($41) cost of wedding certificate for any of the 31 same-sex couples whose short-lived marriages were ruled invalid and want to marry again.

“It’s a way of being able to acknowledge the difficulties that some of those couples have been through,” Ramsay told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Anne-Marie Delahunt, who married her partner Meg Clark in Canberra in 2013, said she would take up the government’s offer when they marry again in February.

“I think it was a touching measure from the ACT Government to say that our second marriage certificate will be free,” Delahunt told ABC.

Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of voters who responded to a national postal ballot by November.

Most gay rights advocates believed the government should have allowed marriages years ago and saw various ideas for a public survey as a delaying tactic.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee had called the ballot survey “an unnecessary and divisive public opinion poll.”

Katy Perry’s Koala-chasing Advert branded “disgusting” by Animal Lovers

Katy Perry angered animal lovers for telling her poodle dog to chase koalas in a controversial advert.

The pop star and her Myer bosses were forced to take down the “disgusting” advert which initially thrilled loyal Australian fans with a chance to win free tickets to her upcoming Witness: The Tour.

A large number of viewers were red-faced when Perry’s pet dog Nugget got encouragement from the pop star to “go chase some Koalas.”

The Courier-Mail alerted Myer, the controversial video advert sponsors, of complaints pouring in against the singer’s choice of words, and it was quickly removed.

“We are aware of comments in relation to Katy Perry’s Witness: The Tour advertisement and a particular reference made to koalas,” says a spokesperson for the bosses.

“We are currently removing the material which references koalas.”

Image from Courier Mail shows a three-year-old male koala which had to be euthanized after a dog attack in Petrie.

In the controversial video, she urged her viewers to go into a draw if they wish to win one out of her 8,000 tickets to the show which kicks off in Australia next year.

“Let’s go chase some koalas, nugget!” Perry told her beautiful poodle in the advert.

Myer is the naming rights partner of Perry’s Witness tour.

Claire Madden, a wildlife vet who works in Queensland, Australia, said the advert was sickening, and offered an invitation to Perry, who she said would be surprised at the number of injured koalas which are treated everyday for injuries suffered from dog attacks.

“Katy Perry I challenge you to come and spend a day with me (a wildlife vet) and learn first hand why your comment should NOT be streamed across the nation,” Claire said.

“Come visit me and you will quickly learn how adorable and precious our koalas are and how undeserving your comment is.”

Perry's teacup poodle dog Nugget features in the video advert

The animal rights activist expressed happiness after Myer tendered apologies for the mistake, but said Perry’s advert should never have been approved.

“It’s great news that they’ve taken some action over this, although I’m still amazed as to how the marketing department could have let this comment feature on an ad in the first place,” said Claire, who worked at the Australia Zoo and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. “It’s sheer ignorance.”

The Australian koala is not listed as an endangered species, but there are less than 100,000 left in the wild.

Over 100 cases of dog attacks against the animals are reported each year.

Watch Perry’s Witness: The Tour announcement in Sydney, Australia.

“This is just absolute ignorance from Perry and Myer, and inappropriate on so many levels,” Claire added.

“Perry is a role model to so many young people, and this just destroys all the good work we do to try to encourage people not to let their dogs come into contact with koalas.”

Watch Katy Perry’s tour of Aussie Wildlife – 3rd Of July 2017.

If you’d like to adopt a poodle, please don’t let them go chasing koalas.

Australian Actress Megan Gale shares her Miscarriage Trauma and offers candid advise to Everyone

Megan Gale has shared every detail of her traumatic miscarriage which occurred in April, 2016.

The 41-year-old says that painful experience still has an impact on her, especially now that she’s in her second trimester.

Unexpected: The mother-of-one said she never suspected having pregnancy issues following the healthy arrival of her first child, River, now three

Image: Megan Gale

She’s currently dating a 29-year-old AFL player named Shaun Hampson, and they’re a happy couple.

In January, Megan became the first Australian celebrity who publicly spoke about their miscarriage. The mother-of-one revealed details of her devastating motherhood experience in an interview with Show and Tell.

A preview of her chat with the news outlet was shared on Instagram last Sunday although a full version is expected on Monday.

According to the actress-model, there’s a big chance her miscarriage was a result of her first child’s “healthy arrival.”

River is now three years old, hale and hearty. Unfortunately, Megan lost her 8-week pregnancy in May last year and has been unsuccessful at several attempts to increase the family.

“With River I didn’t even really think about anything going wrong … I knew that … anyone can miscarriage,” said the fashion designer, “it’s hugely common. But my mind didn’t go there that much.

Megan Gale and partner Shaun Hampson, who have a three-year-old son together, are expecting their second child later this year. Picture Rebecca Michael.

Image shows Shaun Hampson and Megan Gale.

Megan explained that she still has fear at every stage of her pregnancy, but adds that positivism and support from her partner lift her spirit on most occasions.

The Perth-born beauty who won a modeling competition at the age of 18, however, added that she’s aware that her fears stem from the previous loss. She called the trauma an acceptable natural effect.

“Last year having gone through a miscarriage, that was pretty obviously upsetting,” she said.

“So going in to this pregnancy, even when we were trying it’s just so daunting.”

“Whereas this time it’s been ‘Is it growing enough?’ before every scan it was ‘Am I going to see … is the heartbeat going to be there?’ …‘Am I going to get bad news again?’

“Stress is the worst thing I can do for myself and for my body.

“I really tried to put it all aside and so it’s been a very different pregnancy in that regard.

“Even now I’m still … almost at that point where I’m nearly in the second trimester and it should all be happy days … it’s just an underlying little worry there that I wish wasn’t there.

“But I think it’s natural after going through something like that.”

Megan took to Instagram on 2 June and shared a picture of her protruding tummy with the caption: “I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling of a baby moving inside of my belly. This time around though the experience of having River share in the joy of a baby on the way is truly special.”

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling of a baby moving inside of my belly ✨ This time around though the experience of having River share in the joy of a baby on the way is truly special ✨

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling of a baby moving inside of my belly This time around though the experience of having River share in the joy of a baby on the way is truly special

Having experienced the pains of motherhood, Megan’s wealth of knowledge says conceiving and having babies should be considered as private matters. She advised people never to ask a woman her due date.

She said: “I would never ask someone ‘when are you going to have a baby’ or ‘when is the next one coming’ um ‘why haven’t you had a baby?’

“It’s such a private intimate part of your life deciding that you’re going to create another human with your partner that it really is no ones business,” she added.

“People do it so often now, I think it’s just such a common thing to ask. People don’t think there could be underlying issues going on.

“You do put a lot of pressure on someone when you ask that question because there may be a reason why they don’t want to answer it.”

Let's workout shall we, little Bun? 👶🏻🍞❤️

  • h_kruserI love that I felt I always had a little friend with me, I was never alone. Enjoy x
  • selective_interiors❤❤❤
  • opie_janieSame, miracles happen
  • wotnotnaturalsSo special 🙌
  • moniquehollyHi megan, just watching a promo story about the new wonder woman movie. I’m sure I remember a few years back that you were cast for the role as wonder woman, was wondering what happened?? ❤️❤️
  • homeimadeCuuuuuuuuuute x
  • graziano1963❤️❤️❤️
  • kris2511So special my Sting. Enjoy this amazing time with your family. So lovely that River gets to share this with you too. Love you all so much. ❤️❤️❤️
  • gabriellewainwright_It’s a magical feeling 😘❤️
  • _brenda.lee_So beautiful
  • kattymoore@megankgale It was my favourite thing about being pregnant and miss it so much. I had the experience three times so feel grateful for that. Enjoy while you can 😊
  • myweightlosscoachaustraliaAll the very best x
  • myrtleskitchenI remember 20 years ago you were playing peek a boo with my babies in the back of a VW in Newtown. I was like staring amazed by how cool it was. !!
  • mrs_tasha_sharman92It’s the best feeling! 😍
  • suzettesuzCongratulations, Megan😘
  • sophiiewheeler❤️
  • kiddieseyecare#yummymummy #mummynow to Give River the best start to learning and life. Have an eye exam for him at an optometrist that understands and plays well with kids. 👁👁 good luck with bubs.
  • sarahshawxoPure magic ✨✨
  • chloeinrosesCongratulations Megs! How magical ♥️
  • sandiespencer💜💞