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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Antoun Issa

Afternoon Update: emotional PM reveals voice question; police knock Lidia Thorpe to the ground; and a new long-distance kissing machine

Anthony Albanese
Prime minister Anthony Albanese announcing the wording of the referendum on the Indigenous voice to parliament. Photograph: Reuters

Good afternoon. More than 250 years after European colonisation and settlement of this continent, the Australian people will be asked to recognise First Nations in the constitution by way of a voice to parliament.

Flanked by the nation’s most senior Indigenous leaders, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, choked back tears at an emotional press conference in Canberra today, where he revealed the wording of the referendum question:

“A proposed law to alter the constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?

“That’s the question before the Australian people. Nothing more, but nothing less.”

Albanese urged Australians not to miss the opportunity, saying: “I’m here to change the country.”

Read our full wrap, an analysis by our Indigenous affairs editor, Lorena Allam, and watch a two-minute clip of the PM’s emotional announcement.

Top news

Lidia Thorpe on the ground with several police standing over her
Independent senator Lidia Thorpe is manhandled after attempting to disrupt British anti-transgender rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, at a Let Women Speak rally outside Parliament House in Canberra. Photograph: Michelle Haywood/AAP
  • Police knock Lidia Thorpe to the ground | Draped in an Aboriginal flag, the independent senator attempted to storm the lectern as anti-trans agitator Kellie-Jay Keen spoke at a small anti-trans rally in front of parliament house, which was addressed by One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts. Thorpe struggled with police before she was stopped, knocked to the ground and returned to the pro-trans rights rally to cheers. Watch the video of the incident.

  • Climate policy negotiations continue | The Greens are in internal talks over whether to back down on their key demand that the safeguard mechanism legislation rule out new coal and gas projects. One potential compromise being explored with the Labor government is applying more onerous emissions requirements on new fossil fuel projects. Meanwhile, independents are hopeful the government will agree to their demand for an overall cap on emissions.

Brisbane CBD skyline
The Queensland government is considering legislating to limit rent increases to once a year, in line with other states and territories. Photograph: Darren England/EPA
  • Queensland considering limits on rent increases | A proposal by the state government to limit rent increases to once a year has been applauded by the tenants’ union and social organisations, who say the measure would ease cost-of-living pressures. In Queensland, landlords can currently increase rent every six months. Limiting increases to once a year would bring the state in line with other Australian jurisdictions.

  • Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial | Lawyers for Network Ten have questioned “how on earth” it was reasonable for Lehrmann to sit on his hands and not file a defamation claim for 12 months, despite being told he had a “red hot defamation case” and was going to “make millions”. Lehrmann is trying to convince the federal court to give him an extension to the usual 12-month time limit on bringing defamation claims so he can sue Network Ten and News Corp for their coverage of rape allegations brought forward by Brittany Higgins, which Lehrmann has denied.

Justin Roiland
Justin Roiland has had the domestic violence charges against him dismissed. Photograph: Araya Doheny/Getty Images
  • Rick and Morty creator cleared of domestic violence | Justin Roiland, the man behind the animated sitcom, saw his domestic violence charges dismissed, two months after he was dropped from the show. A spokesperson for the Orange County district attorney’s office said there was “insufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt”. Roiland released a statement saying, “I’m disappointed that so many people were so quick to judge without knowing the facts.”

  • UN urges Uganda to block anti-LGBTQ+ bill | The UN has responded to a Ugandan bill that punishes homosexual acts by death, calling it “among the worst of its kind in the world”. The US added to the condemnation, with the White House press secretary saying “no one should be attacked, imprisoned, or killed simply because of who they are, or who they love”.

Remote kissing device attached to a mobile phone
Jing Zhiyuan uses a remote kissing device named Long Lost Touch. Photograph: Tingshu Wang/Reuters
  • Long-distance kissing machine | Tech ingenuity spawned from lockdown or unnecessary plastic junk? A Chinese start-up has invented a long-distance kissing machine that transmits users’ kiss data collected through motion sensors hidden in silicon lips. “I was in a relationship back then, but I couldn’t meet my girlfriend due to lockdowns,” said inventor Zhao Jianbo.

  • Lindsay Lohan charged for endorsing crypto | Lohan was among eight celebrities charged by the US’s Securities and Exchange Commission for “illegally touting” cryptocurrencies “without disclosing that they were compensated for doing so and the amount of their compensation”.

Full Story

Thomas Sewell giving a nazi salute
Neo-Nazi leader Thomas Sewell at a demonstration in Melbourne on 18 March. Photograph: James Ross/AAP

Why were neo-Nazis at an anti-trans rally in Melbourne?

Last Sunday a group of men dressed in black performed the Nazi salute on the steps of the Victorian parliament, amid a clash between protesters for and against transgender rights. What were they doing there? Listen to this 23-minute episode.

What they said …

Marcia Langton
Prof Marcia Langton, a First Nations Referendum Working Group member listens to Anthony Albanese address the media. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


“We’re here to draw a line in the sand and say this has to change. People’s lives have to improve. We know from the evidence that what improves people’s lives is when they get a say. And that’s what this is about.” – Prof Marcia Langton

Langton, one of the most experienced members of the Indigenous voice to parliament working group, spoke alongside the prime minister today in announcing the referendum question.

In numbers

Graph of the number of SUV’s on Australia’s roads
The number of SUV’s on Australia’s roads Photograph: The Guardian

SUVs have taken over our roads and tax perks are partly to blame. That’s a problem given they pollute more and take up more space on our roads, adding to congestion.

Before bed read

Tom Ballard
Australian comedian Tom Ballard. Photograph: Ben King

Comedian Tom Ballard lists the 10 funniest things he’s seen on the internet. Here’s one:

A tweet from Britney Spears
A tweet from Britney Spears. Photograph: The Guardian

Daily word game

Wordiply Photograph: The Guardian

Today’s starter word is: IMP. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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