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Australia politics live: 85% of Australians likely to get vaccinated; house parties are back in NSW

Political staffers say harassment rife


The aged care royal commissioners, Tony Pagone and Lynelle Briggs, will present their final report into the sector to governor general David Hurley today.

However, the Morrison government does not plan to immediately table it in parliament, meaning the report and its recommendations – which have been formulated following testimonies from 641 experts, residents and families over almost 100 hearing days – won’t be released to the public today.

Greg Hunt, health and aged care minister, when speaking on Thursday, suggested the report may only be tabled by the middle of next week:

The government will review it carefully. Obviously we have been preparing for a range of possible contingencies, but we’ll review it carefully over the weekend.

We will release the report and provide an interim response by the middle of next week, and we will provide a full response during the course of the budget, because it will actually be a major initiative, as the prime minister and the treasurer have previously indicated.

A spokeswoman for Hunt also told the Guardian on Thursday night that the report would not be tabled today.

Despite this, aged care has featured in the opposition’s question time attacks this week, and last night, aged care was the subject of ABC’s Q&A program, in anticipation of the royal commission’s final report.

Appearing on the panel was Mike Baird, the former New South Wales premier and chief executive of aged care provider HammondCare, and Jane Halton, health expert and former head of Australia’s finance department.

While the discussion heard from families, friends and others who had horror stories from the aged-care system, panellist Professor Joseph Ibrahim, who heads Monash University’s ageing research unit, was scathing about successive governments’ failures to address recommendations for the sector, and pessimistic that change can come out of this royal commission.


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Vaccine willingness high, study shows

Willingness of Australians to get vaccinated against Covid-19 is high, according to new University of Melbourne research, findings which are in line with other polls conducted in recent months.

In January 2021, the University of Melbourne’s policy lab surveyed more than 1,000 Australians to gauge their attitudes to various Covid-19 policies, including vaccination.

The ‘Public attitudes to COVID-19 policies and vaccination’ survey found strong public approval of Covid-19 policies and high levels of trust in information coming from the federal government, the Chief Medical Officer and medical scientists. The survey also found many Australians (76 per cent) reporting that they are likely to get vaccinated. Other surveys have found approximately 85% of Australians will ‘very likely’ or ‘probably’ get vaccinated.

Co-director of the policy lab, Associate Professor Aaron Martin said:

In Australia we are seeing high levels of support for Covid-19 policies at both the state and federal level.

We also find that when it comes to Covid-19 information citizens trust information coming from government almost as much as they trust information coming from scientists. This is not always the case in other comparable democracies.

Martin said that it was important to look at levels of trust in government because this has important consequences on social compliance, adherence to future policy decisions and overall effectiveness in responding to the pandemic.

We had 84 per cent of respondents state that they trusted information coming from the federal government ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’.

When looking at these polls on vaccine acceptance a lot of people only focus on the number of people that say they will ‘definitely’ get the vaccine, rather than also looking at those who will ‘likely’ get the vaccine. People may also read too much into those who are ‘unsure,’ but it is normal especially with a new vaccine for people to want to wait for more information – it does not follow that they are necessarily anti-vaccination.

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