HomeBreaking News‘Examining all options’: Mali to look at Covid rules

‘Examining all options’: Mali to look at Covid rules

Summary

In one of his first moves as Premier, Mr Malinauskas will demand explanations about South Australia being inconsistent with national rules, such as a 15-minute period for close contacts rather than the national four-hour time frame.Just hours after being sworn in as Premier at 10am, Mr Malinauskas will meet with Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, also the state co-ordinator during the pandemic, chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier and SA Health chief executive Chris McGowan.In an interview with The Advertiser, Mr Malinauskas said he would be “closely examining all of the options that are available to the government to ensure that a transition back to normality occurs as expeditiously as possible but in a safe way”.Mr Malinauskas said there was an aspiration across Australia for national consistency, when possible, on mask wearing, isolation requirements and people deemed close contacts of Covid-19 cases. SA Election 2022: All Seats table“I think it is my responsibility to fully scrutinise any reason why there wouldn’t be national consistency,” the Premier-elect said. “Where South Australia chooses not to be consistent with the rest of the nation on Covid, I’ll be determined to fully scrutinise why not and ensure that those reasons are utterly consistent with the state’s interests.“Putting it another way, when South Australia isn’t consistent with the rest of the nation, that brings with it a price. I want to ensure that price is always worth paying.”Mr Malinauskas said this spanned both health protection measures and the impact on business. “I’m not adverse to South Australia having a unique position if it provides us with a better response that suits our state, but we just have to be supremely confident that is indeed the case,” he said.“I don’t want to mislead the public here. It’s important in my new position that I am very clear about this. If South Australia is going to have a unique position to the rest of the nation on Covid, it needs to be fully understood by the public why that is the case – and I think we’ve got a bit of work to do there.”Mr Malinauskas, who will be sworn in alongside Susan Close as Deputy Premier and Stephen Mullighan as Treasurer, insisted he would follow health advice, as he had offered bipartisan support for outgoing premier Steven Marshall for doing.“As a new premier, I can provide a fresh set of eyes on that and make sure that all of the appropriate questions are being asked of our key decision makers in the field.” Mr Malinauskas said he also would consider changes to the Emergency Management Act that he deemed “not fit for purpose for a global pandemic that lasts two years”. First activated in March, 2020, Mr Stevens has 29 times sought an extension to the Act, which allows for legal directions including public activity restrictions, density limits, enforced quarantine and QR codes.Mr Malinauskas said he wanted to examine a review into the Act conducted by the previous government before committing to any changes.Speaking on March 16 after a meeting of the COVID-Ready Committee, which Mr Malinauskas has vowed to chair, Mr Stevens said mask rules and close contact requirements would be eased “very soon”.But Business SA criticised a “missed opportunity” to ease contact rules from 15 minutes exposure to four hours for workers, while hoteliers said it was a disappointing result leaving “a state of rules that apply to nowhere else”.Australian Medical Association federal vice-president Chris Moy said “inconsistent” contact rules should go but masks were sensible. At the time, Mr Stevens said he expected changes very soon but followed health advice and “the strong advice … was to hold for a little bit longer”.SA Health on Sunday notified of three deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid-19, 3168 new infections and a total of 24,324 active cases.Mr Malinauskas said the remainder of his cabinet would be sworn in on Thursday or Friday and did not rule out changes from the shadow ministry. “It’s appropriate for a new premier to assess all of the options with respect to the makeup of the cabinet,” he said.“My shadow cabinet has served the party, and I believe the state, well but we’re now moving into a different function again and I will be doing everything I can to deliver the people of the state the best possible Cabinet.” He said he would work alongside Dr Close and Mr Mullighan to start to instruct the public service and prepare the necessary machinery of government changes to swear in the remainder of his ministry.PAUL STARICK OPINION: MALI LEADS LABOR INTO NEW HEARTLANDLabor has captured the suburban heartland that decides governments and invaded blue-ribbon Liberal territory in a dramatic recasting of the South Australian electoral landscape.Saturday’s Liberal bloodbath has left a sea of Labor red seats flowing through almost all of metropolitan Adelaide.Outgoing Premier Steven Marshall is fighting for his political life in his inner-eastern seat of Dunstan, as is his former education minister John Gardner in his eastern suburbs seat of Morialta. Even if they cling on, they will hold marginal seats after swings to Labor of 7.1 per cent (Dunstan) and 8.5 per cent (Morialta).Mali mainPrime Minister Scott Morrison should be quaking in his boots, regardless of the bipartisan agreement that this election was fought on state issues.At a federal election likely to be held in less than two months, the Liberals face retaining only two lower house seats at opposite ends of the state – Grey and Barker.The southwestern marginal seat of Boothby is almost certainly gone, with Liberal incumbent Nicolle Flint’s political retirement. Based on the numbers in the geographically coincident Dunstan and Morialta, the eastern Adelaide seat of Sturt is under severe threat for the Liberals.First-term Sturt MP James Stevens, a former chief-of-staff to Mr Marshall, is a talented MP but lacks the personal profile of his predecessor, Christopher Pyne.Alarmingly for the Liberals, demographic changes in traditional blue-ribbon seats might have cemented Labor gains, particularly on the back of Greens preferences.The election results show Adelaide’s inner suburbs are becoming like those in the eastern seaboard – affluent and left-leaning.University-educated young voters have flocked into gentrifying areas of Unley, for example, where the ALP achieved a swing of almost 16 per cent.This was compounded by the Greens achieving 22.5 per cent of the vote in a three-horse race, with preferences flowing to Labor’s Ryan Harrison, who gathered 30.9 per cent of first-preference votes to Liberal minister David Pisoni’s 46.6 per cent.This resulted in Mr Harrison leading 54.4 per cent to 45.6 per cent on a two-party vote, with 47.2 per cent of votes counted.At the same time, Labor has wrested back control of crucial middle-class marginal seats, such as Elder, King and Newland.It is in this type of area that elections are won. Collectively, they’ve been known as Howard’s battlers or Rudd’s working families. For Peter Malinauskas, they house a growing middle class that is becoming increasingly prosperous, with whom he hopes to speak directly.On the evidence of Saturday’s landslide, the Premier-elect has connected with these suburbs, been embraced by inner Adelaide and bolstered Labor’s working-class heartland.Mr Malinauskas wants to govern with a long-term agenda and this election victory has positioned him to do so.

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