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Live breaking news: Greg Hunt announces retirement from politics; SA records 18 COVID-19 infections; MP Alan Tudge stands aside pending investigation; Coles accused of underpaying staff by $115 million – 9News

Welcome to the 9News.com.au live blog for Thursday, December 2, 2021. South Australia has recorded 18 new cases of COVID-19, while NSW has detected another Omicron infection, the seventh in the state so far. Victoria is bracing for more storms today, with warnings of high winds, hail and heavy rain. Aussie gaming giant Crown Resorts has rejected an $8.46 billion takeover bid, but has kept the door open to receiving a higher offer. And there are grave fears for a popular jockey who went swimming at a Gold Coast beach last night and did not return back to shore.

South Australia records 18 new COVID-19 cases
Cabinet minister Alan Tudge stands aside pending investigation into allegations about affair
New Omicron case confirmed in NSW as thousands of COVID-19 swabs retested
That concludes our live breaking news blog for today, December 2.
It's been a strong news day due to the very last sitting day in Canberra; Health Minister Greg Hunt announced his retirement after a 20-year career and Education Minister Alan Tudge has stepped aside pending an investigation into allegations of emotional and physical abuse in a consensual relationship made by former staffer Rachelle Miller. Mr Tudge has strenuously denied the allegations.
The World Tennis Association has suspended all tournaments in China amid the disappearance of Peng Shuai, and Coles has been accused of underpaying staff by $115 million.
On the COVID-19 front, South Australia has recorded 18 new cases and New South Wales has confirmed its seventh positive case with the latest Omicron variant.
While the blog is ending, the news is not: stay up to date with the latest on nine.com.au or watch your local bulletin on Channel 9 at 6pm.
For the latest news headlines on December 3, 2021, click here.
Victorian Police have officially concluded the search for missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay in bushland north of Dargo.
Human remains were found during the search earlier this week, but DNA testing has not yet determined if they are the missing campers.
"Victoria Police has now concluded the search in bushland north of Dargo," Victoria Police said in a statement.
"As this matter is before the courts, we will not be facilitating any interviews in relation to the investigation."
A pub licensee has been fined for breaching COVID-19 health orders after the NSW Upper Hunter venue repeatedly served the unvaccinated.
The publican at the Singleton Caledonia Hotel, near Newcastle, is alleged to have repeatedly served beer to unvaccinated guests at the venue.
Bradley Hill, 57, was charged with two offences relating to COVID-19 breaches at the Singleton venue in October.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Police have confirmed the search for a jockey who went missing off a Gold Coast beach last night is now a recovery mission.
Popular Victorian jockey Chris Caserta, 26, had been swimming at Surfers Paradise Beach around 10pm before becoming trapped in a rip.
A 25-year-old woman managed to return back to shore but Mr Caserta vanished from sight.
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Health Minister Greg Hunt has given a tearful valedictory speech as he announces his retirement from Parliament.
On the last sitting day of the year, Mr Hunt read a letter he had received from the mother of a girl who had what appeared to be a terminal case of liver fibrosis.
Mr Hunt had sought a life-saving treatment from overseas for the little girl, named Bella.
"We are overwhelmed with her response to the infusions she started two months ago," Mr Hunt said, reading the letter from the mother.
"She is a changed little girl, most notable she is no longer in constant pain, she has started to build muscle and she has boundless new energy."
Mr Hunt then gave an update on Bella's health.
"She has just turned nine," he said.
"They just enrolled her in gymnastics and football and cross-country.
"If there had been nothing else in the last 20 years that alone would have been enough."
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has mocked a Liberal MP who accused him of faking a barbecue with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.
Over the weekend Mr Albanese posted a photo to Twitter of the pair barbecuing some steaks.
The photo led to some bizarre accusations from Liberal MP Jason Wood.
"When zoomed in, the meat does not appear to have any char marks from the barbecue grill leading many to believe the photo was a 'fake'," Mr Wood wrote on Facebook.
Mr Albanese knocked back Mr Wood's suggestion in Parliament today.
"The member for Latrobe has joined the conspiracy theorists that a barbecue cooked for me by the Premier of Victoria on Saturday was a fake," Mr Albanese said.
"I can confirm, Mr Speaker, just like the moon landing, it was real.
"The steaks were cooked perfectly medium rare – the steaks were cooked but not as cooked as the member for Latrobe."
Parliament will resume in South Australia this afternoon after a temporary COVID-19 shutdown.
Premier Steven Marshall said health authorities had given the green light earlier this morning.
South Australia recorded 19 new COVID-19 cases today, but Mr Marshall said despite concerns over the Omicron variant, this had been expected after re-opening borders.
READ THE FULL STORY
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