Australia news live: Anthony Albanese pins hopes on reshuffle; NZ travel suspension to remain as Virgin Australia sheds more jobs | Australia news

Guardian Australia contacted CSL to ask for more information about why the manufacturing company did not send a representative to appear before the Senate Covid committee.

While CSL told the committee it was too busy to appear, other major companies, including Pfizer and AstraZeneca, have appeared. Pfizer participated despite trying to meet a tight deadline to deliver its vaccine for rollout in Australia by the end of the month.

Rex Patrick

It is totally disrespectful for CSL, the recipient of $1.7 billion in taxpayer funded vaccine related contracts, to refuse to appear before today’s Senate COVID Committee. If they won’t respect the Senate’s request, they should expect a ‘subpoena’. #auspol

January 28, 2021

CSL is manufacturing 50m doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not yet been approved by the drugs regulator, the TGA.

Guardian Australia specifically asked CSL to comment on whether its failure to appear was a bad look for transparency, especially given Australia is counting on high uptake of, and trust in, its product.

A CSL spokeswoman who responded did not answer the question, saying;

CSL appreciates [the] invitation to attend the Senate Select Committee Hearing on COVID-19. Due to our commitment to urgently deliver 50 million doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine we are unable to resource our participation at this time.

In response to the global pandemic, CSL employees allocated to the COVID-19 vaccine program are fully focussed and working around the clock to ensure vaccines are available for use in Australia as soon as possible. We will be in a better position to consider a similar invitation later in the year.


Virgin Australia has cut another 350 jobs, this time at its head office in Brisbane, the Australian Services Union says.

It comes on top of more than 3000 sackings at the airline since it was bought by US investment group Bain Capital last year after going into administration due to the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement, the ASU blamed the latest cuts on the Morrison government and called on it to urgently extend the jobkeeper subsidy for the aviation sector beyond its expiry date in March.

“If the Federal Government had extended JobKeeper by now, these workers would still be employed today – instead they’re hunting for work at the toughest time possible,” the union’s national secretary, Robert Potter, said.

“11,000 jobs have already been lost in the airlines sector and each day the Government delays its decision on whether to extend JobKeeper is costing more and more jobs, with a massive human cost to workers and their families.

“If the Government continues to refuse to extend JobKeeper, industries like aviation are going to continue to bleed jobs and when skilled people leave, they are hard to get back.”

He said the decision was “incredibly disappointing” and slammed Virgin management for failing to properly consult with its workforce over the cuts.


The vice-chancellor of the University of New South Wales will resign at the start of next year.

In a statement released today, Prof Ian Jacobs said he was leaving the job for family reasons, due to the health of his mother and his wife’s parents.

Jacobs will stay in the role for the rest of this year, but will leave in January 2022. He has been the university’s vice-chancellor since 2015.

Jacobs said he made a “difficult and emotional” decision to move to the UK to be closer to his parents and his wife’s parents, after the recent death of his father. “2020 was a difficult year for all of us, requiring many, including me, to make difficult choices,” he wrote in a message to students and staff.

In 2019, my wife Chris and I became concerned about the health of our parents in the UK. We were able to manage the situation at that time because we were able to visit the UK several times a year and knew we could get back within 48 hours in an emergency.

Unfortunately, my Dad became ill and died in July 2020. Because of the pandemic I was unable to travel to the UK for his funeral and have been unable to spend time with my Mum and family over this difficult time.

At the same time Chris’ parents are also in need of increased support. These circumstances are similar to those experienced by millions during the last year and they inevitably lead to re-evaluation of longstanding plans.”










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