Hello, Stuart MacFarlane here to walk you through this Saturday morning’s news for the next hour or so.
Election day has been four NSW voters head to the polls in by-elections triggered by the resignations of senior state deputies.
Days after former premier Gladys Berejiklian stepped down as manager in October, then-Nationals leader John Barilaro, former transport minister Andrew Constance and former Labor leader Jodi McKay announced that they would also leave the state parliament.
They vacated the Sydney seats of Willoughby and Strathfield, and the regional seats of Bega and Monaro. The contest to find their replacements is the first electoral test for Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns and comes a year before all NSW voters go to the polls in a general election.
But Election Day is expected to be very different than it was before due to precautions being put in place amid the state’s Omicron Covid wave.
Voters previously needed a suitable reason to vote early or by mail, but this time all voters in all four seats were allowed to do either. However, that means the results will be delayed, NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt has warned.
Any further protests against vaccination mandates expected in Canberra today, with police predicting the number of protesters will reach up to 4,000 on Saturday ahead of a planned march to Parliament today.
Authorities are also bracing for the possibility of protesters targeting and disrupting a ‘Superhero Day’ being held at the Australian Institute of Sport’s mass vaccination site, which aims to boost childhood vaccination rates. .
Anti-vaccination protesters have been ordered to leave the Canberra exhibition grounds, where they have been staying for more than a week, by Sunday.
Bushfire Emergency Alerts were issued to residents of parts of Jerramungup, Hopetoun and Mount Sheridan in Western Australia.
“You are in danger and must act immediately to survive. There is a threat to lives and homes,” the warnings from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said.
All fires were out of control and conditions were worsening for the Jerramungup Fire, which was moving rapidly southeast. Residents of the three communities have been told to move to a safer location if the road is clear or to take refuge in their homes if they cannot leave.
We will also have all the latest Covid news.