A big old hello to you all on this fine Wednesday morning.
Matilda Boseley here, ready to guide you through this Wednesday’s worth of news.
Now, it probably comes as no surprise that all eyes are once again on India today, as federal immigration minister, Alex Hawke moves to an urgent roundtable with Indian-Australian community leaders in an attempt to quell anger around the strict travel bans from the subcontinent.
As you probably already know the federal government has enacted the Biosecurity Act in order to make it a criminal offence for someone to attempt to enter Australia within 14-day of being in India – punishable by up to a $66,000 fine or five years in prison.
But the government spent the last two days gently walking back this hardline approach amid mounting pressure, including from within Coalition ranks. Morrison now says there is “pretty much zero” chance of harsh sanction actually being imposed, but has remained steadfast that repatriation flights will not resume before 15 May.
Hawke is set to meet with community leaders today to discuss the ban that is blocking 9,000 people, including 650 who are considered vulnerable, from returning to Australia.
This tension has been compounded by Australian cricketer Michael Hussey testing positive for Covid-19 in India, according to local media.
Hussey, who’s working as batting coach for the IPL’s Chennai Super Kings, is now undergoing a second test to confirm the result.
“Hussey tested positive. But his samples are being redone,” a team source told The Times of India.
Hopefully, the report will come negative.
This comes after Chennai Super Kings bowling coach L Balaji and team staff member tested positive.
Batsman Steve Smith and other Australian cricketers including Hussey are isolating in India after the IPL was suspended amid a devastating second wave of Covid-19 sweeping across the country.
Well, there is plenty to get through today, so why don’t we jump right in.