The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday September 6.

Australia soon to be awash in Pfizer doses.

A wave of COVID-19 vaccination doses is about to sweep Australia's states and territories.

The 500,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine secured by the federal government from Singapore have been given the tick of approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and are being dispatched.

The first instalment of four million Pfizer doses from the UK have arrived last night in Sydney, with the rest due throughout September.

The initial shipment was supposed to be 290,000 doses, but is actually 450,000 doses.

"So the additional supplies are really reassuring," Dr Bennett told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

"We would just like to encourage all Australians, given the circumstances, to book in and go and get their first doses as soon as possible."

The additional supplies will support the national COVID-19 response plan to get to 70 and 80 per cent vaccination targets to enable restrictions to be eased.

So far, more than 35 per cent of the eligible population aged over 16 is fully vaccinated with two doses.

However, it would appear that the boundaries laid out in the plan are not set in stone.

"The national plan is designed to give us a framework on which to operate from," federal minister Stuart Robert told ABC's Insiders program on Sunday.

But he conceded the plan may change with circumstances.


"Look at the last 12 months, things have been shifting on a daily and weekly basis. A plan is always a basis for change, it has to be," he said.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers jumped on the remarks, saying they have left the prime minister's campaign in tatters.

"Scott Morrison has said that we should open up at 70 per cent and 80 per cent at all costs," Dr Chalmers told reporters in Brisbane.

"(Treasurer) Josh Frydenberg has said that states should be punished for not opening up by the withdrawal of support payments." 

'Vaccinated economy' coming: Vic premier.

Get vaccinated or get left out once Victoria hits its vaccine targets, Premier Daniel Andrews has warned.

As the state reached 60 per cent first dose coverage on Sunday, the premier emphasised the jab would not only afford Victorians greater protection against COVID-19 but also extra freedoms.

"There's going to be a vaccinated economy, and you get to participate in that if you are vaccinated," Mr Andrews told reporters.

The premier last week flagged a vaccine passport pilot program would soon be trialled in venues such as pubs and restaurants in regional Victoria, which could be partly released from lockdown as early as this week.


The Moonee Valley Racing Club is also pushing to host thousands of fully vaccinated spectators as part of a "no jab, no entry" policy for next month's Cox Plate.

"I am certain that there will be a whole range of events once we get to 70 and 80 per cent double dose thresholds ... that will be open for vaccinated people only," Mr Andrews said.

With only one of the 89 Victorian COVID patients in hospital fully vaccinated, Mr Andrews described the current outbreak as a "pandemic of the unvaccinated".

NSW awaits modelling, 40 percent fully jabbed.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will this week release COVID-19 modelling on the looming peak in case numbers and hospitalisations, as the state's vaccination rate reaches 40 per cent.

"All the modelling indicates to us that the peak is likely to be here in the next week or two," the premier said on Sunday.

"The peak in hospitalisation and intensive care is likely to be with us in October."

NSW reported 1485 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and three deaths on Sunday as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain.


Ms Berejiklian said the government will share the modelling on case and hospitalisation predictions, which informs health rules, to be "as open and transparent as possible".

The three deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday included a woman in her 50s who'd had one vaccine dose, who died at Blacktown Hospital.

A woman in her 70s died at Campbelltown Hospital and a man in his 70s died at Liverpool Hospital; both were unvaccinated.

There are 1030 COVID-19 patients in NSW in hospital, with 175 in intensive care and 72 who require ventilation.

The premier said the 40 per cent full vaccination rate was an "incredible milestone". 

Ms Berejiklian also flagged that home quarantine would eventually be an option for fully vaccinated citizens returning home to Australia.

Meanwhile an isolation hub, including 30 caravans, is being established at Wilcannia in the state's far west where more than 13 per cent of the town's predominantly Indigenous population have caught the virus.

The government will make a decision on whether restrictions can ease in regional NSW after Friday.

WA sets vaccination border target of 90 percent. 

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has long argued that he won't be rushing to open his borders, saying on Sunday it would have to be a vaccination rate of 80 to 90 per cent before he sets a date to end restrictions.

"There seems to be some kind of other illness out there other than COVID which seems to infect Liberal politicians in NSW, whereby they think everyone else wants COVID," Mr McGowan said.


"I cannot think for the life of me, why they think we want to import it here, before such time, we can have, as many people as humanly possible, vaccinated."

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said he also has an ambition to get to 90 per cent, but said he will follow the national plan goals of 70 and 80 per cent.

"But in terms of opening at 80 per cent - and this is absolutely one thing that I want to be absolutely clear with Tasmanians about - we're not going to be opening our borders at a time that's going to put our health at risk," he said.

ACT urges year 12 students to get jabbed.

Year 12 students in the ACT have been given a two-week window from Monday to get vaccinated against COVID-19, so they can sit their exams in person.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is urging year 12 students to book an appointment through a government clinic or their GP if they haven't already.

"We have got this two-week window," Mr Barr told reporters on Sunday.

"We have allocated Pfizer doses for year 12 students across all schools - public, private, catholic, independent - to have this priority over the next two weeks.


More broadly, the territory passed the milestone of more than 70 per cent of people aged over 16 getting a single dose of vaccine.

Mr Barr said the ACT is getting close to 50 per cent of the population aged 16 and above being fully vaccinated with two doses.

"On current trends we will cross that threshold in about a week," he said.

The territory reported 15 new cases on Sunday, less than half the record of 32 reported for the previous 24 hours.

Don't 'box tick' women's safety: experts.

Experts want an overhaul of Australia's approach to ensuring women's safety and equality, beyond funding top-ups and "ticking a box" with policy announcements.

A two-day summit from Monday - canvassing topics including preventing and responding to violence, the specific needs of Indigenous women and financial independence - will be used to inform a new national plan on women's safety.

RMIT legal and social policy researcher Elena Campbell has called for wholesale rethink of how Australia frames investment in protecting women and children.

"Services are often held hostage to that sort of ongoing budgetary cycle where they have to keep reapplying for funding every six, 12 months, 18 months just to keep the service going," she told AAP.

"We tend to think we've done something because we have a policy in place, and forget that that's actually not the end."


The federal government points to amended sexual harassment laws, a two-year trial starting in October of payments for women fleeing violence, and changes to superannuation disclosure in family law proceedings, as evidence of progress.

But a groundswell of anger remains, including over a failure to implement all the changes recommended by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins and a stalled departmental investigation into who knew what about the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins in a minister's office.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will address the summit, alongside Australian of the Year Grace Tame and Ms Jenkins, after it was pushed back from June and moved online because of COVID-19.

Mr Morrison has defended in parliament the government's sexual harassment laws, which rejected opposition and crossbench amendments including imposing on employers a requirement to prevent it.

The bill makes sexual harassment a valid reason for dismissal and clarifies the regime extends to parliamentarians, their staff, judges and all levels of government. 

Ahead of the summit more than 190 organisations signed an open level to ministers laying out a 12-point blueprint to better protect women.

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.

Paralympics close after incredible de Rozario win.

The final act of the delayed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics came on Sunday, almost eight years to the day after the Japanese capital was awarded the Games.

The Paralympics ended a 13-day run in a colourful, circus-like ceremony at the National Stadium overseen by Crown Prince Akishino, the brother of Emperor Naruhito. The Olympics closed almost a month ago.

"There were many times when we thought these games could not happen," Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said on Sunday. "There were many sleepless nights."


The closing ceremony was entitled "Harmonious Cacophony". The theme was described by organisers as a "world inspired by the Paralympics, one where differences shine."

Retiring swimmer Ellie Cole signed off from the Paralympics in style as Australia's flag bearer.

Cole, 29, became Australia's most decorated female Paralympian with 17 medals across four Games after winning bronze and silver relay medals in Tokyo.

Madison de Rozario capped Australia's Tokyo Paralympics with its 21st gold medal as the marathon took a fearful toll.

De Rozario won her second gold in Tokyo and became the first Australian woman to win a medal in a Paralympics marathon.


"It's the greatest thing I've done in my life," de Rozario told Channel Seven soon after the finish.

Bush search continues for missing NSW boy.

A three-year-old boy missing for more than two days from the NSW Hunter region is the subject of an extensive search and police task force.

More than 130 people on Sunday continued to look for Anthony "AJ" Elfalak who has autism and is non-verbal.

He went missing about 11.45am on Friday from his family's 260-hectare farm at Putty, near Singleton and search efforts have continued since.


"Searchers hit the ground this morning with over 130 actively searching this large property," Superintendent Tracy Chapman told ABC TV.

"Detectives assisted by specialist resources have formed [a] task force ... to investigate the circumstances surrounding the missing three-year-old."

AJ's relatives fear he may have been taken from the property, family friend Alan Hashem wrote in a Facebook post, appealing for community members to keep any eye out for the child.

"No words other than, 'broken', we will not stop, until we find this precious boy, AJ Elfalak," he wrote on Saturday night.

AJ is believed to be wearing a grey jumper and pants, as well as sneakers, and is described as being of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance, with short, dark hair.

Qld records one new local COVID-19 case.

The mother of a four-year-old girl who has COVID-19 has also tested positive in Queensland as authorities track down dozens of shoppers who may have been exposed to the virus.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the woman tested negative twice before returned a positive result among 8330 tests in the 24 hours to 6:30am on Sunday.

The woman was already in home quarantine in the Beenleigh area when she tested positive one day after her daughter, who caught the disease from a truck driver, a family friend.

"So they're already in isolation so that's fantastic news, and it's very low risk because she was already in that home quarantine," Ms Palaszczuk said.

However, there are growing concerns about the lack of check-ins at the Beenleigh Marketplace and a nail salon in the complex, which the infected truckie visited on Monday.


Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said 74 people who were at the centre, but hadn't checked in, had come forward through the Queensland Health portal. 

She said another eight people were at the salon at the same time as the truckie, but hadn't checked-in either.

The key to reopening was hitting 80 per cent vaccination coverage, Ms Palaszczuk said, urging people to get the jab. She said 52.7 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had at least one dose of a vaccine and 34.14 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Hundreds of stranded Queenslanders in interstate hotspots will be allowed to return home after a pause on hotel quarantine lifts today.

NZ terrorist's family 'shaken' by attack.

Ismail Fareeda, the mother of the Auckland supermarket terrorist Aathil Samsudeen, believes her son was radicalised by his neighbours while living in New Zealand.

Samsudeen was shot and killed by police on Friday after a stabbing rampage which injured seven people.

In the days since the attack, Samsudeen's allegiance to radical terror outfit Islamic State has become plain.


Ms Fareeda, who lives in Kattankudy in Sri Lanka, told local station Hiru TV she believed a defining chapter in her son's life came in 2016.

"We knew there was a change in him. The change came after he left the country," she said.

Samsudeen arrived in NZ in 2011 on a student visa, gaining refugee status on appeal in 2013.

The NZ Herald reports he was "persistently re-experiencing traumatic events" after his arrival, and living alone heightened his anxiety without support.

Ms Fareeda said he was injured in a fall in 2016, and relied on neighbours, "the only people who helped him", to recover.

"Those neighbours from Syria and Iraq are the ones who brainwashed him," she said.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson said the government did not have "any evidence to support that claim".

Girls Aloud singer Harding dies at 39.

Singer Sarah Harding of the British pop group Girls Aloud has died after a battle with breast cancer, her mother says. She was 39.

The singer said last August that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and it had spread to other parts of her body.

On Sunday, her mother Marie said on Instagram: "It's with deep heartbreak that today I'm sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away."

"Many of you will know of Sarah's battle with cancer and that she fought so strongly from her diagnosis until her last day. She slipped away peacefully this morning," she wrote.


She added that Harding was a "bright shining star" and would have wanted to be remembered for that rather than for her fight against cancer.

Harding said earlier this year that she was told by a doctor that she will likely not be alive next Christmas.

In her autobiography, released in March, she said she decided to announce her illness in the hope that others who have concerns would seek medical help and not leave a cancer diagnosis until it is too late.

Around the world.

- Tens of thousands of people have protested in Switzerland for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Alpine country, ahead of a national referendum on September 26.

- With AAP

Feature image: Getty/Alex Davidson/Getty/NSW Police. 

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