Sky News host Paul Murray says framing polls showing Prime Minister Scott Morrison as losing popularity is from “people who do everything they can to muddy the waters.
Wearing a Wallabies guernsey, a Matildas scarf and a VB hat, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was this morning vaccinated against COVID-19 for the second time in a week, in a frantic attempt to shift the media’s attention away from the growing list of sexual assault allegations in his party.
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The government’s new ‘Job Dobber’ hotline has unearthed its first case, after an anonymous caller revealed that the Prime Minister has evaded work opportunities for at least the past twelve months.
SCOTT ALLAN feared he would be forced to retire from football after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
The Hibernian playmaker has spoken for the first time about the reasons behind his five-month absence from the first-team, revealing he was referred to a top cardiologist after enduring severe fatigue and dizzy spells at the start of this season.
His concerns came to a head against Aberdeen on August 30. Allan was withdrawn after 53 minutes but confesses that he was flushed and exhausted after just ten.
A rigorous array of tests followed — Allan is also a Type 1 diabetic, so that had to be discounted as the culprit — before a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was delivered by Prof. Sanjay Sharma of the University Hospital Lewisham.
The condition, which sees the walls of the heart chamber become too thick, restricting blood flow in and out of the heart, took the lives of Marc-Vivien Foe, Ugo Ehiogu and almost killed Fabrice Muamba.
And while Allan is suffering from a more minor version, there was still a real concern that he would never kick a ball again.
“When I came back for pre-season, I did the usual hard sessions and felt okay,” Allan told Sky Sports. “But after three or four weeks, I started to feel fatigue. I was getting dizzy spells and and feeling faint.
“After 10 minutes of the match against Aberdeen in August I felt physically drained and remember getting substituted off and thinking: I need to get to the bottom of this.
“I went to Hampden to get a heart screening and they weren’t happy with the ECG. When that got passed back to Hibs’ doctor, he got in touch with Professor Sharma.
“When we did the exercise test — which is testing the heart under stress, which relates to me playing football — that showed up the cardiomyopathy and the professor wasn’t happy.”
Allan added: “He told me that if I managed certain things then there would be a possibility I could get through it — but there also might be a possibility that was it. You always think the worst, especially with something as scary as a heart condition.”
A frantic, and understandable, period of research followed. Allan, already accustomed to painstakingly looking after his own health as he manages his diabetes, had another condition to read up on.
“It’s like anything: when you type a condition into Google, it’s not usually the answer you want to see,” he smiled ruefully. “But I spoke to other people who had the same condition in professional sport and they were back playing and managing it. That gave me motivation and it was a challenge I wanted to face.”
A second opinion was received from a respected cardiologist in New York in November, three months after Allan received the news that left him contemplating his future.
It was far more positive and the U.S.-based expert liaised with Prof. Sharma to create a pathway for Allan’s return. Finally, light at the end of the tunnel after a period of real darkness.
“My son just kept asking: ‘why are you not playing today?’,” he said, recalling his time in limbo, while putting on a brave face for five-year-old Zac. I was dying to see him come and watch me play football.
“He loves football and it was an emotional time when he was asking: ‘Dad, are you not playing football any more?’
“I was going to my son’s training and you had guys who have read things or heard things and they sometimes forget you have a five-year-old next to you and ask what’s happening.”
The return to action which Allan had feared may never come finally occurred on January 23 at the grandest stage in Scottish football. Exactly 146 days after trudging from the Easter Road turf against Aberdeen, he entered the fray in Hibs’ 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final defeat against St Johnstone.
The result was dreadful for the capital club, but football was afforded a sense of perspective in the aftermath.
“I felt quite emotional. It was a disappointing result but, in terms of what I had gone through, I was proud of myself,” continued Allan. “Even if it’d had been Lesser Hampden, I would have been happy!
“After the game, even though the boys had gone through such a big disappointment that day, all the boys came over and said: ‘So happy to see you back out there’. That’s why I was emotional.”
He has made one appearance since, against Rangers, and hopes to play a major part in Hibs’ push to secure third place in the Premiership this season, having been a regular among the substitutes of late.
Allan added: “I feel the best I’ve felt in my playing career in terms of the control of my diabetes, but also — having had this my whole career — now knowing what I need to do in order to not have any symptoms.”
JACK ROSS has spoken of the emotional conversations he and Scott Allan shared as the Hibernian midfielder’s career hung in the balance, insisting the long-term well-being of his player was always only primary concern.
Speaking to Sky Sports on Friday morning, Allan revealed that his five-month absence from first-team duties this season was due to a heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
After a relatively bleak initial prognosis, the former Dundee United and Celtic man — father to five-year-old Zac and already managing Type 1 diabetes — was forced to consider that he may never play again.
“My priority was always Scott’s wellbeing, physically and mentally,” explained Ross. “It’s another example of the job that not everyone sees. They don’t always understand the things you have to keep private and deal with internally.
“He and I spoke regularly at length about all the possibilities and some of those conversations were quite emotional.
“He’s a young man and a father, and we had to speak about all the potential consequences. But it was more about Scott’s well-being as a person and his return to health first and foremost.”
During his enforced, lamentable hiatus, Hibs sought to keep Allan involved in myriad ways, most notably shadowing the coaches on the training field and carrying out scouting assignments for Ross.
“Mentally we did a lot with him at the beginning to keep him involved and keep him busy,” adds Ross. “We felt it was the right thing to do, to keep him busy and keep him involved.
“We had him on the mic in the stand, feeding information down to us during games, plus he would come in and we would talk to him about what we were doing during training and he would go and watch games for us
“We felt it was a good way to keep him engaged and keep him mentally busy — and also make him feel he was contributing.
“I think it was maybe another aspect of football that goes unnoticed in terms of that responsibility to look after people in the game.”
However, Allan’s desire to get back on the grass was undimmed and, following a second opinion from a cardiologist in New York in November, a plan was formulated which would allow him to resume training.
His progress was painstakingly plotted and monitored by Hibs’ medical staff — notably club doctor Duncan Reid and head of medicine and sports science Nathan Ring — and Ross believes they deserve to be lauded.
“I’m the person generally put in front of the cameras to speak but there are a lot of things that get done at football clubs that aren’t my doing,” he continued. “I am very fortunate that I inherited a really good medical department; one that I absolutely trust.
“I had regular dialogue with them to voice some of my concerns and things we had to go through. They had to put together a robust plan for Scott, get him to buy into that and we all had to acknowledge that we had to fulfil certain criteria.
“Scott, I’m sure, would speak of his appreciation for what they did in terms of putting the plan in place and building him up, not getting impatient and making sure that he was ticking the boxes — genuinely making sure that we weren’t putting him at risk.”
Ahead of a crucial — but far from life-or-death — encounter with Hamilton this afternoon, Ross reflected on Allan’s journey this season.
“It puts football in perspective,” he added. “The game is such a big part of people’s lives in Scotland and it dominates a lot of discussion points, but it is human beings that are involved.
“I think in terms of giving perspective to everyone, to ensure that we don’t get too down with some of the challenges that it offers, in that respect, it has been a good thing.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said that he spoke to his Indian and Canadian counterparts, Narendra Modi and Justin Trudeau, on his decision to ask Facebook and Google to pay media in the country for news content published on their platforms, AFP reported.
Morrison said that the legislation approved by the lower house of the Parliament in Australia was the first of its kind in the world and was garnering interest from leaders around the world. “People are looking at what Australia is doing,” he said, according to AFP.
“That is why I invite…Facebook to constructively engage because they know that what Australia will do here is likely to be followed by many other Western jurisdictions,” Morrison told reporters, according to Reuters.
Morrison’s comments came as the tussle between Facebook and the Australian government reached sort of a culmination after the social media platform announced on Thursday that it has blocked users in the country from sharing news. The move was a response to the law, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which will be debated by Australia’s Upper House, the Senate, from Monday and is expected to be adopted by the end of next week, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Friday said in a tweet that he has spoken to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to find a way. He said negotiations would continue over the weekend.
“We talked through their remaining issues and agreed our respective teams would work through them immediately,” Frydenberg said.
In its statement announcing the move to block news websites in Australia, Facebook said that the law misunderstood “the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content”.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s move had an impact on traffic to Australian news websites, Reuters reported, quoting data from New York-based analytics firm Chartbeat.
Total traffic to the Australian news sites from various platforms fell from the day before the ban by around 13% within the country and by about 30% outside the country, Chartbeat data showed. Similarly, traffic to the Australian news sites from Facebook alone plummeted from around 21% to about 2% within Australia, and from around 30% to about 4% outside the country.
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Scott Morrison says Facebook’s decision to block news feeds to users is “arrogant and disappointing”.
Scott Morrison has sharply criticised Facebook’s “arrogant” move to ban Australian users from sharing or viewing news content, saying the government will “not be intimidated by BigTech”.
“Facebook’s actions to unfriend Australia today, cutting off essential information services on health and emergency services, were as arrogant as they were disappointing,” he said in a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon.
Facebook wiped news pages blank without warning on Thursday, in response to the federal government’s proposed media bargaining code that would force internet platforms to pay for news content.
However, its move to remove news organisations also saw other official pages censored, at least temporarily – including those of governmental health organisations, social services, union groups and the Bureau of Meteorology.
Mr Morrison said Facebook’s actions only confirmed concerns expressed by a number of countries about the behaviour of tech companies who thought they were “bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them”.
“They may be changing the world, but that doesn’t mean they run it,” he said.
“We will not be intimidated by BigTech seeking to pressure our Parliament as it votes on our important News Media Bargaining Code.”
Earlier, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described the move as “heavy-handed”.
“Facebook was wrong. Facebook’s actions were unnecessary, they were heavy-handed, and they will damage its reputation here in Australia,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters on Thursday.
Mr Frydenberg said the decision to block government sites including those offering support through the pandemic, mental health and emergency services was “completely unrelated to the media code.”
“What today’s events do confirm for all Australians is the immense market power of these media digital giants,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“These digital giants loom very, very large in our economy and on the digital landscape.”
Mr Frydenberg earlier on Thursday spoke with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg describing their conversation as “constructive” following the censorship decision.
But he said there remained ongoing issues to work through with Facebook over its proposed legislation.
“We certainly want Google and Facebook to stay in Australia,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“But at the same time if you’re doing business in Australia you need to comply with the laws made by the elected Australian Parliament.”
Facebook has been engaged in negotiations with media businesses in Australia over reaching commercial deals.
But the social media giant says the government’s proposed legislation has left it with no choice but to act.
“As the law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content, we have taken a broad definition in order to respect the law as drafted,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.
“However, we will reverse any pages that are inadvertently impacted.”
It’s decision has prompted wide-spread backlash with Labor’s Treasury spokesperson Jim Chalmers earlier describing the situation as a “mess” of the government’s making.
“It is up to the government to tell us what has gone on here and what they are doing to fix it,” Mr Chalmers said.
The social media giant had previously threatened to ban news for Australians in response to the media code.
But Mr Frydenberg said Facebook had given no notice of its action to the Australian government before taking the measure.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the Australian government would not back down from its legislative push in response to Facebook’s move.
“We are very clear that we think this is the wrong action by Facebook,” Mr Fletcher said.
“Of course, we’re very clear on the proposition that we’re going to legislate the code.”
The media bargaining code is set to go to the Senate after clearing the lower house.
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