In Tonga, it is hoped there havenâ€™t been mass casualties as a result of the volcano and tsunami, with a surveillance flight from Australia due to leave ASAP.
On to economics, and Frydenberg is asked about a Business NSW survey that says 40% of 2,000 businesses donâ€™t have enough cash flow to get through the next three months. He says the Omicron variant is â€œanother challengeâ€.
Itâ€™s a new phase of the virus and itâ€™s a reminder that the pandemic is far from over. So it is affecting consumer spending. It is affecting consumer and business confidence. And weâ€™ve seen a large number of workers who are absent from the workforce and thatâ€™s put real pressure on our supply chains. Now, the government has in place a number of measures at both federal and state level to assist businesses and to ensure that the supply chains keep going.
On the emergency unions meeting to be held today, Frydenberg says the government has been working with health professionals, the AHPPC and the chief health officer on the changed rules to isolation requirements for close contacts in a range of sectors.
We need to keep food on the shelves. We need the trucks to continue to ensure the deliveries. We need the abattoirs to keep working. Indeed, we need water and energy and telecommunications and other essential services to keep going. We need our schools to open at term one and to stay open … so the economy is a complex ecosystem and every bit is connected to the other. And weâ€™re trying to balance here a series of objectives â€“ not just the health objective, but also the economic objective. And what is absolutely clear from the health advice is that while Omicron is highly transmissible, it is less severe and people such as myself can have the virus but not be hospitalised and can get through it after those days required in isolation.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is back in action after being diagnosed with Covid-19. He is appearing on ABC News Breakfast now, â€œon the mendâ€ though acknowledging it â€œwasnâ€™t a walk in the parkâ€:
Itâ€™s no teddy bear picnic. I had the common symptoms, cold sweats and headaches and various aches and pains. But it did pass and you know, it lingers a little bit â€“ the fatigue. But fortunately, Omicron is 75% less severe compared to Delta. And fortunately, you know, I had the vaccinations and the booster shot as well.
Asked about the Serbian presidentâ€™s accusations of â€œtortureâ€ of Novak Djokovic, Frydenberg says it was a â€œlegal processâ€ and â€œrules are rulesâ€:
It doesnâ€™t matter whether youâ€™re Novak Djokovic and the number one tennis player in the world or Betty from Utah. If youâ€™re unvaccinated and you come to Australia, you need to adhere to what are the Atagi guidelines, and the other conditions that are set. Now, Greg Hunt in a very clear letter explicitly set out what the conditions were to Tennis Australia back in late November for tennis players to come to Australia who were unvaccinated.
Now, Novak Djokovic did not meet those conditions. The ultimate decision was left to the immigration minister, Alex Hawke. He made that decision and that was upheld unanimously by a full court of the federal court. And thatâ€™s where it stands. But no one is bigger than the Australian Open. Certainly no one is bigger than the pandemic or no one is above the rules that we have in place at our borders that are helped to keep us safe through this pandemic.
After 11 tumultuous days, world tennis No 1 Novak Djokovic has been deported after the full bench of the federal court upheld the Morrison governmentâ€™s decision to cancel his visa on the grounds of health and good order.
Djokovic was due to play his first match this evening but instead he flew out of the country late last night, bound for Dubai.
Caitlin Cassidy here to take you through todayâ€™s news, and while Djokovic may no longer be with us, the fallout continues. Serbian president Aleksandar VuÄiÄ‡ has lashed out at Australia, arguing the tennis star was treated like a â€œmass murdererâ€ while in the country and was â€œtortured and tormentedâ€ for his refusal to be vaccinated.
Djokovic said he was â€œextremely disappointedâ€ by the decision and felt â€œuncomfortableâ€ the focus had been on him in the past few weeks instead of tennis.
Meanwhile, more than 30 union groups have called an emergency meeting today to discuss ongoing workforce and supply chain shortages hitting the nation.
They are calling on the government to make rapid antigen tests free and accessible in the wake of eased close contact definitions for a range of sectors. ACTU president Sally McManus says the current system has forced businesses to compete for the tests.
And mask mandates have been reintroduced in Perth and Peel from today as Western Australian authorities warn they may not be able to contain an Omicron cluster in the state. Five new Covid-19 cases were announced yesterday, with a number of exposure sites listed throughout the city.
Thereâ€™s much to get through, so letâ€™s dive in.