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Australia politics live: Daniel Andrews won Victoria election leaders debate, poll says; WTO head warns of nuclear war ‘slippery slope’

The head of the World Trade Organization has used a speech in Australia to warn that geopolitical fear and mistrust could lead to ‘aggression and ultimately a world war, this time with nuclear weapons’. Follow all the day’s news

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Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has been arguing for more protections for whistleblowers for years. Attorney-general Mark Dreyfus has proposed new laws to boost whistleblower protections, but there are still calls the law needs to go further.

Two of Australia’s whistleblower experts, Professor A J Brown and Kieran Pender (who has written for the VFAB) have written a report on what needs to happen:

Protecting Australia’s Whistleblowers: The Federal Roadmap draws on landmark research and synthesises three decades of reviews to outline a comprehensive, 12-step roadmap for better protecting and empowering whistleblowers.

Establishment of a whistleblower protection authority to oversee and enforce Australia’s whistleblower protections;

Upgraded whistleblower protections for Australian public servants in line with domestic and international best practice, including a positive duty to protect whistleblowers and steps to make it easier for whistleblowers to enforce their rights;

Consolidation and harmonisation of whistleblowing laws across the private sector in one new single law covering all non-public sector whistleblowers; and

Stronger, simpler protections for whistleblowers who make disclosures to the media and members of parliament.

The mortality ratios from COVID in Australia are quite similar to those estimated in other advanced nations. As a share of the population, fewer people died from COVID in Australia than in most other affluent nations. Yet among those who died, the same health inequalities can be seen in Australia as in other advanced countries.

What might have driven the socioeconomic disparities in COVID mortality? And why might many of those disparities have been largest in the Delta wave? As I have noted, disadvantaged people may be less able to work remotely, more reliant on public transport, and more likely to live in crowded households. Uptake of vaccination and antiviral treatments have varied across society as vaccines and treatment became increasingly available. Another factor is that successive COVID waves have had varying degrees of severity. A final factor is that in the years since COVID began, population immunity has steadily risen.”

Across all waves of the pandemic, deaths from COVID were highest among those aged 80‑89 years. The median age of those who died from COVID was 87.4 years for females and 83.6 years for males. Males had a higher number of registered COVID deaths than females. For every 100 female COVID deaths, there were 126 male COVID deaths. Around 3-quarters of all COVID deaths occurred in Victoria and New South Wales..”

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