It was such a real shame to see 2021 end on such a very sour note with the burning down of Old Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday.
And there's no way in the world this was considered an accident when the fire was deliberately lit.
Anyone who saw the news on TV would've seen it, and the worst thing about it is on the day these criminals appear in court they will only get a slap on the wrist and be given something like 400 hours of community service for this heinous and illegal act.
Let's all hope that this isn't the case and whoever did this faces the full wrath of the law.
Australia will be going to the polls this year and let's hope whoever gains power sorts out our very weak justice system.
People are getting away with very serious crimes and it needs to stop.
This most recent attack on the Old Parliament House is an ugly disgrace and an insult to all citizens of Australia and to all former prime ministers, politicians and their staff who used to work there in the past.
We all hope that an incident like this most recent one never ever happens again.
The Rural Doctors Association of Australia is concerned with national cabinet's decision to "water down" the definition of a 'close contact' of someone diagnosed with COVID. It can only lead to a further exponential rise in Omicron cases across the country.
National cabinet has re-defined 'close contact' to now be a household (or household-like) contact of a confirmed COVID case - and has reduced the time that confirmed cases and close contacts need to remain in quarantine.
Additionally, national cabinet has removed a requirement that confirmed COVID cases who are no longer symptomatic must return a negative Rapid Antigen Test on day six of their time in quarantine, before being able to end their seven-day isolation period.
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Given Omicron is surging across much of Australia, this is not the best time to completely water down the definition of a close contact.
The new definition does not cover those who work together, at a time when many are returning to their regular workplace and are in close contact for more than four hours each day, or those who have been exposed to the virus in close public settings.
All it will do is ensure those who may have been infected with COVID can continue to move freely in the community, and potentially further spread the virus.
It is also not the time to be removing the need to return a negative test, before leaving isolation, for those who have been in quarantine due to having had COVID.
It is particularly troubling given that some jurisdictions are also putting less emphasis on requiring people to check in when going to shops and other public venues - a simple requirement that could greatly assist health authorities in being able to educate people with messaging aligned with the new testing and isolation protocols.
While evidence so far indicates that Omicron is a less severe COVID variant, the exponential growth in cases means we can expect many more people to require care either in community or in hospital, even if it's not with the same extent of severe illness we saw with the Delta variant.
We can't afford to throw caution to the wind at this point in time, but that's exactly what national cabinet is doing here.
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