Australia news live updates: 35 Covid deaths in Victoria and NSW; students go back to school; NSW treasurer condemns lack of federal support | Australia news

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Sam McMahon confirms resignation from Country Liberals

The Country Liberals senator, Sam McMahon, has confirmed in a statement that she resigned from the party on Friday.

McMahon said:


This has not been an easy decision and I have wrestled with it in recent times. It brings to an end a 30-year association. I feel I no longer have the confidence of or in the CLP. There are a number of unresolved issues beyond the pre-selection. These issues include formal complaints lodged with the management committee that have not garnered a response let alone an acknowledgement.

My intentions regarding the next election will become clearer as the date draws closer. Speculation regarding the next parliamentary sittings in a week’s time, will also become clearer. I currently don’t have any plans for my future, political or otherwise.

I intend to vigorously pursue my private Senator’s bill ‘Ensuring Northern Territory Rights’ when parliament returns and continue working hard for the Territory.

Last week, we reported that McMahon had been approached by the Liberal Democrats to defect to the cross-bench and run for the minor party at the next election after losing preselection to Jacinta Price.

McMahon seems to be ruling nothing out with this mysterious statement promising things will become clearer but she also has no plans for the future. Keep ‘em guessing.

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Ardern returns negative test for Covid-19

The prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has returned a negative Covid-19 test after she was deemed a close contact of a positive case.

Ardern went into self-isolation on Saturday after she was exposed to a case during a flight to Auckland from the town of Kerikeri on 22 January. She took a PCR test on Sunday and returned a negative result on Monday morning.

Ardern is fully vaccinated and received a booster shot on 17 January.

The prime minister’s office says Ardern will continue isolating until the end of Tuesday in line with ministry of health guidance.

Ardern will chair Tuesday’s cabinet meeting remotely and the deputy prime minister, Grant Robertson, will attend post-cabinet on her behalf, the office said.

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Queensland government plan unclear on boarding schools

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Doctors and nurses stage AGL climate protest in Melbourne

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The foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, says she looks forward to welcoming the US secretary of state and the foreign ministers of Japan and India to Australia next month.

The foreign ministers of the “Quad” diplomatic grouping are due to meet in Melbourne in mid-February. The foreign ministers of Australia, Japan, India and the US have previously met in the Quad format in New York (2019), Tokyo (2020) and virtually (2021). The first leader-level summits of the Quad were also held last year, as the four countries seek to coordinate their responses to the rise of China.

Payne told the Australian newspaper:


We are a vital network of liberal democracies cooperating to give our region strategic choices, with a focus on practical steps to build the resilience and sovereignty of all states. This is a further demonstration of the Morrison gov­ernment’s efforts to actively shape and influence our region and world by deepening partnerships at a time of strategic competition, threats to liberal international order and increasing uncertainty.




Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne.

Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne. Photograph: Getty Images

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