The Informer: A tsunami warning, a review and an apology - just another Friday in 2021

A tsunami warning, a review and an apology

It's a bit disconcerting waking up to a tsunami warning but no doubt far less troublesome than if you were in New Zealand.

Three earthquakes struck north-east of our neighbours in the Kermadec Islands this morning - registering 7.3, 7.4 and 8.1 on the Richter Scale.

Hundreds of Kiwis evacuated but the tsunami threat was downgraded just after 11am, Australian time.

There was no threat to the Australian mainland, but Norfolk Island's coastline was impacted by a 64-centimetre tsunami wave. No damage was reported.

While it seemed to be a reasonably controversy-free day in the national capital there's bound to be strong opinions about the investigation into the workplace culture at Parliament House.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has been working across political parties to decide the terms of reference for the review. The inquiry will provide an update in July and a final, public, report in November.

The inquiry was prompted after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins went public last month with an allegation she was raped by a colleague in a minister's office in March 2019.

The matter devolved even further today after Defence Minister Linda Reynolds was heard referring to Ms Higgins as a "lying cow" after the threat of legal action. She has since apologised.

National cabinet met today and a number of action points have been reported - most notably, a significant expansion of COVID-19 quarantine facilities at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory.

And although Italy blocked a shipment of 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia, the government insists it will not disrupt its vaccination program.

From March 22, general practices will be included in the rollout, with elderly Australians the first priority. Already more than 71,000 people have been vaccinated, including 20,000 aged care residents.

On the good news front (and let's never gloss over good news) the easing of COVID-19 restrictions across NSW and Queensland was announced today.

Singing and dancing can resume in NSW - in aCOVID-safe manner of course - plus a number of COVID-19 school restrictions will loosen from Monday.

Queensland's rules on weddings and funerals ease on Monday, while contact tracers have done their thing and found the eight people on a worrisome flight that landed in Brisbane and everyone's breathing more easily.

Here's hoping for brighter days. Well, let's start with the weekend at least.

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