Auslan Update - 19 February, 2021


Yesterday many Australians found they were unable to access any news content from Facebook.

  • News pages such as ABC, Channel 7, 9, 10 were affected as well as other non-news organisations such as state health departments, Fire emergency pages, and family violence orgs.
  • Some of these pages have been restored, but Facebook is not backing down on news sites.
  • Facebook spokeswoman said, “As the law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted,”
  • Facebook is responding to proposed new media bargaining laws the government is discussing which would force social media companies to pay Australia news outlets for content
  • The media code passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday night and it is expected the Senate will pass it next week
  • Yesterday Australia treasurer Josh Frydenberg discussed the new law with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.
  • It is expected the new media code will benefit news publishers by $150,000 a year or more.
  • There is concern from news groups such as Nine Entertainment that this ban would worsen misinformation on the internet. People will not be able to correct misinformation shared by memes or text not included in the ban. The ban would stop people from posting links to news articles displaying the facts of the matter.

First COVID vaccines will rollout on Monday.

  • Government plans a five phase rollout of vaccine to deliver to different groups in priority order.
  • Phase 1a include nearly 700,000 frontline health workers, border and quarantine workers, and aged care residents and staff, disability staff and residents.
  • Phase 1b includes 6.1million people including anyone over 70 years old, other healthcare workers, younger adults with underlying condition, high-risk workers like emergency services and meat processing workers. Also Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 55.
  • Phase 2a covers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54 and other Australians over 50 and other high risk workers.
  • 2b is the rest of the adult population.
  • Final phase 3 for children “if recommended”.
  • Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy says it’s an exciting development but “there will be bumps in the road”.
  • Locations being worked out per state, but will be available at 30-50 “hospital hubs” in metro and regional areas.
  • Vaccine also to be available in aged care and disability care, GPs, vaccination clinics and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services
  • Pfizer vaccine must be in “cold chain storage” -70 degreesC.
  • You must get 2 doses for the vaccine to be most effective, roughly 1 month apart.
  • Former Chief Medical Officer and head of Health Department Professor Brendan Murphy says authorities will remind people they need a second jab.
  • Vaccine is voluntary, but Prime Minister wants as many Australians as possible to get it.
  • Business like Qantas and other airlines have said that only vaccinated people are allowed to board international flights.
  • Could become a condition of re-entry to Australia.


Victoria records 3 new COVID-19 cases last night from Holiday Inn outbreak.

  • This brings the total to 22 cases in that cluster.
  • All 3 cases are from the same household and have been in quarantine at home during infectious period.
  • The family received negative test results earlier in quarantine period, but tested positive when doing their day 11 test.
  • Results came after 2 days of cases.
  • Over 20,000 coronavirus tests processed yesterday.


MONA’s Dark Mofo festival will return to Hobart in 2021 after last year’s shutdown

  • Organisers acknowledge there is risk it will be cancelled.
  • Full program will be announced in April.
  • 2021 will have a shorter festival, from June 16 for 7 days.
  • Hobart City Council will not fund Dark Mofo until at least 2022 due to pandemic, and corporate sponsorship will also be scrapped.
  • Dark Mofo has been criticised for the use of some provocative symbols, such as the inverted cross which made sponsors “nervous”.
  • Creative director Leigh Carmichael said that the festival “wants to be able to pursue our own cultural agenda free from restraint”.
  • Dark Mofo has been running since 2013.


Indonesia first in the world to enact fines for refusing COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Indonesia capital Jakarta is discussing issuing fines of up to 5 million rupiah ($450) for refusing mandatory jabs.
  • Indonesia dealing with one of Asia’s worst coronavirus epidemic with 1.2 million coronavirus infections and nearly 34,000 deaths.
  • Deputy Jakarta governor Ahmad Riza Patria said this would be a last resort. He stated “If you reject it, there are two things, social aid will not be given, [and a] fine”.
  • Indonesia’s vaccination program started last month.
  • There has been months of public scepticism about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, and whether it is halal (follows Islamic beliefs) as Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country.
  • Health agencies in West Java and West Nusa Tenggara have no plans to enforce sanction.
  • A survey from December showed only 37 % of responders were willing to be vaccinated. 40% undecided and 17% would refuse.