What we know today, Tuesday May 3

Leading today’s news round-up, a leaked opinion suggests the US Supreme Court will overturn the historic Roe v Wade decision which legalised abortion.

May 03, 2022, updated May 03, 2022
Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik

Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik

Roe v Wade US abortion law ‘to be revoked’

A leaked initial draft majority opinion suggests the US Supreme Court has voted to overturn the Roe v Wade decision that legalised abortion nationwide, Politico has reported.

Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the draft independently.

The Supreme Court and the White House declined to comment.

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the draft opinion which is dated February 10, according to Politico.

Four of the other Republican-appointed justices – Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – voted with Alito in the conference held among the justices, the report said.

“It is possible there have been some changes since then (February 10),” Politico reporter Josh Gerstein, who broke the story, said on MSNBC late on Monday evening local time.

After an initial vote among the justices following the oral argument, one is assigned the majority opinion and writes a draft. That draft is then circulated among the justices.

At times, in between the initial vote and the ruling being released, the vote alignment can change.

A ruling is only final when it is published by the court.

In a post on Twitter, Neal Katyal, a lawyer who regularly argues before the court, said if the report was accurate it would be “the first major leak from the Supreme Court ever”.

Roe v Wade was a landmark decision made by the US Supreme Court in January 1973 that protects a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion.

Two new Omicron variants found in SA

Two new Omicron variants of COVID-19 have been detected in South Australia, health authorities have confirmed.

In a statement last night, SA Health said one case of BA.4 and one case of BA.5 had been identified in SA, in international travellers.

The cases were discovered in latest whole genome sequencing results from positive PCR samples reported last week.

“While this is the first time BA.4 and BA.5 have been detected in South Australia, with international borders now open, it is not unexpected to see new variants in our state and across Australia,” SA Health said.

“These variants have also recently been detected interstate.”

SA Health said the two positive COVID-19 cases had previously been reported as part of the daily numbers, but genome sequencing is only undertaken on a small sample and results can take several days to be collated and reported.

Expert opinion appears to be divided about whether BA.4 and BA.5 are more infectious than BA.2, which was more infectious than the original Omicron, BA.1.

Chief public health officer Professor Nicola Spurrier this morning told ABC Radio Adelaide: “There is no indication that these are more severe or transmissible.”

“At the moment it’s too early to tell,” she said.

“It really is inevitable that we would be getting these variants here.”

SA parliament resumes after election

The South Australian Parliament has sat for the first time after Labor’s resounding election win in March, holding 27 seats in the 47-seat House of Assembly.

Independent MP Dan Cregan has been officially returned as the speaker of the South Australian parliament in its first sitting since Labor’s win in the state election.

Cregan today was re-elected to the role he held for short period before the March poll with the support of government, opposition and crossbench members.

Moments earlier MPs in the House of Assembly were sworn in, including former deputy premier Vickie Chapman despite doubts over her ability to take her seat.

Chapman recently announced her decision to quit politics despite only being returned in her eastern suburbs seat of Bragg less than two months ago.

She had intended to officially resign from the parliament on May 31 and recently wrote to Cregan outlining her plans.

But Cregan advised her that, under the constitution, her resignation appeared to become effective from the date he received her letter late last month.

He said he planned to initiate the process of issuing a writ for a by-election in Chapman’s eastern suburbs seat of Bragg.

With her being sworn in, her status remained unclear.

The first sitting of the 55th parliament went ahead without a number of MPs who were isolating at home after contracting COVID-19.

Among those were new Opposition Leader David Speirs and his deputy John Gardner, along with former health minister Stephen Wade.

In their absence, Vincent Tarzia stood in as acting Opposition Leader.

In the 47-seat Assembly, Labor holds 27 seats, the Liberals 16 with four in the hands of independents.

In the Legislative Council Liberal Terry Stephens was elected as president.

In the 22-seat council, Labor has nine seats, the Liberals eight with two held by the Greens, two by SA-BEST and one by One Nation.

Interest rate hike won’t hurt govt: PM

The Federal Government is playing down the political impact of a potential central bank interest rate rise – the first in 12 years – ahead of the May 21 poll.

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected suggestions an interest rate hike could hurt him on polling day, saying Australians understand the impact of global inflationary pressures.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is today expected to hike the cash interest rate for the first time in 12 years after inflation surged to a 20 year high of 5.1 per cent.

Morrison, who will start the day campaigning in Melbourne, says voters will back the party they believe are better economic managers.

“They know there are (inflation) pressures that are coming from outside of Australia on interest rates,” he said on Monday.

Asked if rising rates could damage the Coalition’s chances at the federal election on May 21, Morrison accused journalists of looking through a “totally political lens”.

“I don’t. And Australians don’t,” he said.

“Australians are focused on what they are paying for and who they think is going to be best able to manage an economy and manage the finances, so they are in the best possible position to realise their aspirations.”

VIDEO: Two face court after stolen car driven through North Adelaide cricket game

Two men remain behind bars after being charged with allegedly stealing a car and trying to evade a police pursuit by driving across a North Adelaide reserve during a cricket game.

[solstice_jwplayer mediaid=”DRzde52a” caption=”VIDEO: Two face court after stolen car driven through North Adelaide cricket match” sponsoroption=”352624″ /]

Renewed optimism for SA tourism industry

The South Australian tourism industry has renewed optimism for its future, with business outlook soaring, according to new data from the state’s peak body.

The latest quarterly sentiment survey, conducted by the Tourism Industry Council of South Australia for the January to March 2022 period, found 66 per cent of respondents were either extremely confident or confident about business prospects for the next 12 months.

The survey showed that business outlook had surged to 130 points, a sharp increase from 50 points last quarter.

The Tourism Industry Council said increases were reported across all areas of the barometer, including activity levels and planned investment.

Business outlook had been on the decline from the January to March 2021 period, diminishing to a second-lowest result of 51 points in the December 2021 quarter.

“The opening of most state borders, and international borders on February 21 this year, plus strong booking numbers for many, contributed to the return to positive standing,” the council said in a media release.

“In addition, a majority of businesses are planning increased investment in the future, with investment now at its strongest point since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Russia strikes strategic bridge: Ukraine

Ukrainian authorities say the Russian military again has struck a strategic bridge in the country’s southwest.

Odessa region Governor Maksym Marchenko said that Russian forces yesterday hit a bridge across the Dniester Estuary west of Odessa where the Dniester River flows into the Black Sea.

The bridge already had been heavily damaged in two previous Russian missile strikes.

The bridge provides the only railway connection and the key highway link to areas west of Odessa.

Its destruction cuts access to shipments of weapons and other cargo from neighbouring Romania.

The attacks on the bridge followed a claim by a senior Russian military officer that Russia aims to take control of the entire south of Ukraine and build a land corridor to the separatist Transnistria region of Moldova, where tensions have recently escalated.

Transnistria broke away after a short civil war in the early 1990s and is unrecognised by most countries.

An estimated 1500 Russian soldiers are stationed there.

Ukrainian and foreign officials have voiced concern that Russia could use the region to open a new front in the war against Ukraine.

-With AAP and Reuters

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