The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Tuesday May 25.

Melbourne enforces COVID restrictions as fifth case detected. 

Melbourne will be enforcing restrictions from 6pm tonight as the city scrambles to get on top of an outbreak in the northern suburbs that has today grown to five.

The new case is a man in his 60s and is a close contact of the first infection, Acting Premier James Merlino said.

No more than five people will be allowed in a private home, public gatherings will be limited to 30 people and face masks indoors will be required for those aged 12 and over. 

Schools and workplaces will remain open.

Genomic sequencing has confirmed the outbreak is "closely linked" to the Wollert cluster from earlier this month, which originated in South Australia hotel quarantine. 

The family cluster - involving a man in his 30s, a man in 70s, a woman in 70s and a pre-school aged child from three households in the Whittlesea area - emerged on Monday.


"The viral load was high and with close contacts becoming positive, he is likely to be quite infectious," said Victorian Chief Medical Officer Professor Brett Sutton.

"There (was) not a huge number of close contacts but we have to go through the interview process to identify anyone else.

"We have to ready ourselves for any other positives and when there are close contacts who do become positive, that raises the possibility that even a casual contact could become positive as well."

The latest outbreak snapped Victoria's 86-day streak without a locally acquired case.

Federal police facing questions on Higgins.

Top-ranking Australian Federal Police commanders are expected to face more questions about the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins.

Commissioner Reece Kershaw and senior officers will appear before a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Tuesday.

While they are expected to remain tight-lipped about the details of an ongoing investigation, Labor is set to pursue the issue after a separate inquiry restarted.

Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Phil Gaetjens is investigating who in Scott Morrison's office knew about the allegation and when.


Mr Gaetjens paused his inquiry after speaking with Mr Kershaw about the potential for overlap with police work.

But it was revealed the probe restarted earlier in the month.

On the first day of a two-week stretch of estimates hearings, Department of Parliamentary Services bureaucrats on Monday told senators no changes had been made to policy two years after the incident. The department is responsible for building access and cleaning, including the ministerial office where Ms Higgins says she was sexually assaulted in 2019.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

Dutton under fire for ordering staff not to wear 'rainbow' clothing to celebrate diversity.

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed on Friday that Defence Minister Peter Dutton had ordered the defence force chief to issue a department-wide note ordering events "such as morning teas where personnel are encouraged to wear particular clothes" to "cease".

The directive followed an event on Monday marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, where people wore rainbow clothing.

Dutton told the Herald he had ordered Angus Campbell to send the note to defence staff in a bid to stop "these woke agendas," making the note that "we must not be putting effort into matters that distract from this."


He has been widely criticised for the order, with Community and Public Sector Union deputy national president, Brooke Muscat telling The Guardian, "If having a morning tea for reconciliation week, international women's day or international day against homophobia is stopping our national security efforts, then we have a real problem."

NSW government to reveal sex consent law reform.

Six months after the Law Reform Commission finished its detailed review of sexual assault consent laws, the NSW Government is expected to today announce reforms that will improve court outcomes for victims.

As the Today Show reports, the reforms will mean that if a victim did not actively say or do something to consent, an accused person could be found guilty by a jury.

Conviction rates around the country are alarmingly low, with less than three percent of cases that go to court resulting in a conviction. 

Australia Day betting referred to police.

Claims of suspicious betting placed on the 2021 Australian of the Year awards have been referred to the Australian Federal Police.

The National Australia Day Council initially referred betting on the awards to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission on January 25.

Council chief executive Karlie Brand told a Senate estimates hearing on Monday the matter had now been passed on to the AFP.

Tasmanian sexual assault survivor Grace Tame was named 2021 Australian of the Year, but betting outlets had her listed as a favourite before the announcement, with odds as low as $1.36.


The second favourite was Australia's former chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy, with odds of $3.50.

Ms Brand said 191 people had signed non-disclosure agreements for the year's awards, pledging not to reveal the name of the Australian of the Year before it was officially announced.

All staff, contractors, and broadcasters involved with the awards have to sign the agreement, which has a specific non-betting clause.

She told the committee she would support the banning of betting on the awards, but had been told it was a matter for the Northern Territory government.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is being criticised for reportedly saying to Ms Tame after her awards speech: "Gee, I bet it felt good to get that out."

Mr Morrison told parliament he was indicating it was a proud moment for Ms Tame and she had spoken with a "very strong voice".

Qld researchers have COVID drug breakthrough.

Australian researchers have created two new drugs that could protect unvaccinated people from COVID-19 and prevent symptoms in those who already have the virus.

A team from Brisbane's QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, led by Professor Subha Rao, has developed the two peptide-based drugs.

The first drug cloaks the ACE2 receptor protein on human cells, which the virus binds to before penetrating cells.

The second drug blocks the virus from hijacking that receptor from the inside, and using it to replicate.


Prof Rao says the two drugs are rapidly acting and could provide people with a layer of protection until they're fully vaccinated.

"Vaccines are slower in the fact that they are based on the body's own immune system learning to mount immunity to fight the infection," she told AAP.

"Our drugs are a very rapid fix. So basically if someone is exposed, if someone believes that they're exposed, then these drugs work very quickly to prevent the virus from replicating or entering.

"So what's important here is that in this pandemic, COVID-19 is here to stay and we're going to need multiple tools in our toolbox."

BBC governance review after damning report.

The BBC board says it will carry out a review to check the effectiveness of the publicly-funded broadcaster's editorial policies and governance after a damning report into how it secured a 1995 interview with Princess Diana.

"As a Board we believe that the BBC is a different organisation today, with different and stronger governance, as well as improved processes," the board said in a statement on Monday.

"Nevertheless, Lord Dyson's report speaks to historic failings of oversight and these should be reflected upon. We must not just assume that mistakes of the past cannot be repeated today – we must make sure that this is the case."

The inquiry by former senior judge John Dyson into the 1995 interview with Diana provoked widespread criticism of the broadcaster, including an unprecedented rebuke from Diana's eldest son Prince William.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the BBC must act fast to restore trust after the Dyson report.


Detained Belarus blogger appears in video.

In a video posted online, Belarusian blogger Roman Protasevich, detained when a Ryanair plane was forced to land in Minsk, says he is in good health and acknowledges having played a role in organising mass disturbances in Minsk last year.

The comments were immediately dismissed by his allies as made under duress.

"This is how Raman looks under physical and moral pressure. I demand the immediate release of Raman and all political prisoners," a leader of Belarusian opposition, Sviatlana Thiskanouskaya, wrote on Twitter in English, using the Belarusian spelling of his name.

Appearing on several channels of the Telegram messaging app, Protasevich, wearing a dark sweatshirt and with his hands tightly clasped in front of him, says he is in a pre-trial detention facility in Minsk and denies having heart problems reported by some social media. He also appears to have a small black spot on his forehead.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, 66, has faced the biggest challenge of his nearly 27-year-old rule from protesters who took to the streets after he was declared the winner of an election last year they said was rigged.

About 35,000 people have been detained since the start of regular demonstrations in August 2020.

Lukashenko denies electoral fraud and has accused foreign powers of sponsoring the protests.

Italy singer didn't take drugs: Eurovision.

The lead singer of Italy's glam rock band Maneskin, which won this year's Eurovision song contest, has passed a drugs test proving he did not take drugs at the weekend event, the organisers say.


The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said it had conducted a thorough review of what happened on Saturday after some viewers thought footage showed Damiano David snorting cocaine as he waited for the winner to be announced.

He denied it and said he had merely been clearing away a broken glass under the table.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, he said he was against drugs and offered to take a drugs test.

EBU said this had returned a negative result.

British Black Lives Matter activist critical after being shot.

Black Lives Matter activist Sasha Johnson is in critical condition after being shot in the head in London.

Her political party, Taking the Initiative Party (TTIP), said the attack happened "following numerous death threats as a result of her activism."


The incident happened at 3am near a house party in Southwark.

A police statement however said that at this early stage of investigation there was no evidence to suggest a targeted attack or that the woman "had received any credible threats against her prior to this incident."

Around the world.

- At least 115,000 care workers have died in connection with COVID-19, the World Health Organisation says.

- Myanmar's state television has broadcast pictures of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time since a military coup nearly four months ago, showing her first in-person court appearance since her arrest.

Suu Kyi looked in good health during a 30-minute meeting with her legal team but said she had no access to newspapers in detention and was only partially aware of what was happening outside, her legal team head Khin Maung Zaw told Reuters.

- With AAP

Feature image: Getty/Twitter.

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