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Leaders fly as PM’s plane stranded

A National Cabinet meeting scheduled for Friday has been postponed after Prime Minister Scott Morrison was stranded in Cairns due to “technical problems” with his RAAF plane prevented him returning to Sydney.The PM has been in Queensland spruiking elements of the recently handed down Budget as well as bolstering the campaign of the Liberal National…

A National Cabinet meeting scheduled for Friday has been postponed after Prime Minister Scott Morrison was stranded in Cairns due to “technical problems” with his RAAF plane prevented him returning to Sydney.

The PM has been in Queensland spruiking elements of the recently handed down Budget as well as bolstering the campaign of the Liberal National Party’s Deb Frecklington ahead of the state’s election on October 31.

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He had been due to depart Cairns on Thursday afternoon but was unable to.

According to publicly available flight tracking data, an A36-001 was scheduled to take off from Cairns at 3.49pm (AEST), but didn’t.

The A36-001 is a modified Boeing 737 used by the Royal Australian Air Force.

The National Cabinet was set to be the first in a month and was to discuss the Commonwealth Budget, aged care emergency response centres and mental health.

Also on the agenda was a review of quarantine procedures and a progress update on returning Australians who are still stuck overseas, as well as discussions on reopening Australia.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk flew back to Brisbane on Thursday afternoon so she could securely dial in to the meeting that now won’t go ahead, after campaigning in battleground areas north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner also boarded a flight to Sydney with plans to announce assistance for Australians stranded overseas who want to return home alongside the Prime Minister on Friday, prior to the news that the PM was stuck in Cairns.

You might be wondering why the PM can’t simply hop on a video call like the state leaders typically do.

The PM’s staff told the ABC there was no secure facility for the PM to join the video conference in Cairns, and so it had to be postponed.

This is the same reason Ms Palaszczuk returned to the Queensland capital.

Meetings of the National Cabinet would can contain incredibly sensitive conversations and information that requires the highest level of security.

For the rest of us conducting video conferences while working from home or to keeping in touch during coronavirus, there is less need for security, but the calls are getting more secure anyway.

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Video conferencing app Zoom, which has had an unexpectedly huge year, has entered the second phase of its implementation of end-to-end encryption.

The app exploded in popularity earlier this year but has been subject to security concerns.

For free and basic users you’ll have to provide a phone number to verify yourself with a text code first.

“We are confident that by implementing risk-based authentication, in combination with our current mix of tools — including our work with human rights and children’s safety organisations and our users’ ability to lock down a meeting, report abuse, and a myriad of other features made available as part of our security icon — we can continue to enhance the safety of our users,” the company said.

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