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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Nino Bucci and Rafqa Touma (earlier)

Burney decries ‘unbelievably racist and bullying’ treatment in candid remarks to NSW premier – as it happened

Federal minister for Indigenous affairs Linda Burney and NSW premier Chris Minns
Federal minister for Indigenous affairs Linda Burney and NSW premier Chris Minns were at Kogarah station, NSW, to campaign for the voice to parliament on Friday. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian

What we learned today, Friday 15 September

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. These are the day’s main stories:

  • The fallout from the shadow Indigenous Australians minister Jacinta’s Price’s comments on colonisation continued, with Labor, the Greens and some Liberals condemning them, while Barnaby Joyce described them as a “masterclass”.

  • The Indigenous Australians minister, Linda Burney, has decried “unbelievably racist and bullying” treatment in candid remarks to the NSW premier, Chris Minns.

  • More than a million Dymocks customer records were revealed to have been posted on the dark web after a hack, as it also emerged that AFP officers had their details compromised when a law firm was hacked earlier this year.

  • Thirteen people were injured after a bus and a truck crash in a remote location in Western Australia.

  • The Australian share market enjoyed its best gains since July after the European Central Bank hinted overnight that it might be done raising interest rates.

  • The NSW government announced that the eastern stand at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium would be named after Cathy Freeman, the Olympic gold medal-winner.

We will see you back here for more news tomorrow.


Share market rallies for best day since July

The Australian share market has enjoyed its best gains in two months after the European Central Bank hinted overnight that it might be done raising interest rates, AAP reports.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday finished up 92.5 points, or 1.29%, to a 10-day high of 7,279.0, while the broader All Ordinaries climbed 99.9 points, or 1.35%, to 7,482.6.

For the week the ASX200 rose 1.7%, basically erasing its losses from the prior week.

The Australian dollar was at a two-week high against its US counterpart, buying 64.68 US cents, from 64.42 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close.


Voice referendum ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity to unite all Australians’

June Oscar, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner
‘We must unite around our shared Australian values’: June Oscar, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

June Oscar, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, has released a statement on the Indigenous voice to parliament. Oscar says:

The voice is a once in a lifetime opportunity to unite all Australians. It is the first time in Australia’s history that we are on a collective path to recognising First Nations peoples’ deep connection to this continent, and our remarkable civilisation.

It is an opportunity to have a society of inclusion, unity and recognition.

The referendum is also an opportunity to overcome division, to step above and beyond political rhetoric, highly charged and accusatory debate, and the endless churn of ill-informed policy positions. This is our opportunity for positive change.

Over the course of the next four weeks, it is imperative that we care for one another, no matter our positions on the referendum. We must unite around our shared Australian values – of equality, respect, freedom, and fairness.

I am a firm believer that our nation is ready for transformational reform to ensure that the strength of First Nations knowledge and our holistic understandings of the world can rightfully be recognised and celebrated by all who call this continent home.

This will benefit all Australians. It will ensure that our Indigenous knowledges are integrated into the make-up of this nation, and considered by all future governments to come.

We must all engage with an open mind, and listen deeply to the informed voices of First Nations people as to the power of this reform, for a better future for us all.


More than a million Dymocks customer records available on dark web after hack

The details of more than 1.2 million Dymocks customers were stolen and made available on the dark web after the book retailer was hacked, the company has confirmed.

Dymocks CEO Mark Newman wrote to customers on Friday saying that an investigation into the “data incident” had confirmed the extent of the hack, including that the information compromised was the name, address, phone, email, membership details and date of birth of customers.

The company confirmed the possible breach last Friday. In the recent email to customers, Newman said that while the investigation was ongoing, the “compromise” appeared to have occurred in the systems of an external data partner.

None of the information published on the dark web included passwords, identification such as driver’s license numbers or any other highly sensitive information such as transaction information, payment information or credit card details, Newman said. He said:

Given what has occurred, I urge you to continue to be vigilant. If you haven’t already, please take the steps we recommended in our notice last week. Doing so, and keeping yourself informed from our Customer Notices Page, will ensure that you protect yourself from potential scams and fraud.

As an Australian-owned, family company that has a successful legacy of serving Australian customers for 144 years I cannot begin to express how devastated the team and I feel about this incident. We apologise unreservedly that the compromise has occurred, and we’re committed to looking for ways to further strengthen the measures that we and our partners take to keep your information safe.


Yes-voting Liberals distance themselves from Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s colonisation claims

A number of moderate Liberals have distanced themselves from comments made by shadow Indigenous affairs minister Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who claimed on Thursday that there were no lasting negative impacts of British colonisation on First Nations communities.

Federal MP Bridget Archer, Liberals for Yes convenor, Kate Carnell, and former NSW treasurer Matt Kean have all expressed disappointment in Price’s comments.

Price was asked on Thursday whether she believed colonisation was continuing to impact Indigenous Australians around the country. She said:

I’ll be honest with you, I do not think [there are ongoing negative impacts]. A positive impact? Absolutely. I mean, now we have running water, readily available food.

Archer told Guardian Australia on Friday she did not share those views with the Coalition frontbencher.

“I can only imagine how hurtful Senator Price’s comments have been for many Indigenous communities,” Archer said.

Carnell, who was fresh off campaigning in the Gold Coast with Noel Pearson, said she was “always disappointed where evidence isn’t taken on board.

“The important issue is to accept [is] that might be her experience, but it’s not the experience of a large number of other Indigenous Australians.”

Kean said “if we aren’t prepared to learn from the past, we will struggle to ever build a better future”.

“It doesn’t serve anyone any good to pretend like history didn’t happen. It does actually a great disservice to try and airbrush our history,” he said.

Liberals for Yes convenor, Kate Carnell
Liberals for Yes convenor, Kate Carnell: ‘… it’s not the experience of a large number of other Indigenous Australians.’ Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


Fugitive still on the run in Victoria

A Victorian fugitive remains on the run, 11 days after escaping from a prison in the state’s west.

Police said in a statement on Friday that fugitive squad detectives were appealing for public assistance to find escapee Daniel Briffa.

Briffa, 50, escaped from Langi Kal Kal prison “by unknown means” some time between 6pm and 9pm on 4 September.

He was serving a sentence for drug, theft and traffic related offences.

Briffa was seen the morning after he escaped about 40km away in Alfredton, a suburb of Ballarat.

He was seen on CCTV footage wearing a black jacket, loose fitting dark tracksuit pants, white runners and a white face mask while purchasing several items from a convenience store.

Briffa is about 170cm tall, of solid build, short brown curly hair, a full beard and moustache. He also has tattoos on his lower legs.


Burney decries ‘unbelievably racist’ treatment, bullying, in candid remarks

Just going back to this morning’s campaigning event with Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney for a moment.

The Labor frontbencher was picked up on camera, seemingly unaware, discussing with NSW premier Chris Minns the “unbelievably racist” treatment she has recently had to endure.

Minns asked: “Have you been doing a lot of travelling?”

To which, Burney responded:

Unbelievable. We’ve just finished two weeks of gruelling parliament ... to me, it’s just unbelievably racist and bullying. The way they have treated me is appalling.

The comments follow comments by shadow Indigenous affairs minister Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who said she had been bombarded with abusive messages and voicemails after her phone number was leaked on social media this week.

NSW premier Chris Minns with federal minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, at Kogarah station in Sydney this morning.
NSW premier Chris Minns with federal minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, at Kogarah station in Sydney this morning. Photograph: Blake Sharp-Wiggins/The Guardian


Taser death information must be released urgently, NSW Greens say

NSW police should urgently release further information about the death of a woman who was allegedly Tasered by officers, a state Greens MP says.

Greens MP and spokesperson for justice Sue Higginson said the incident should also be subject to a full independent investigation, rather than one conducted by other police but overseen in a “limited” fashion by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

A 47-year-old woman died after police officers allegedly shot her with a Taser and bean bag-style rounds during a standoff at a Newcastle apartment block. She had reportedly threatened officers with an axe during the standoff.

Higginson said:

We have got to stop deploying deadly weapons to de-escalate and calm people in these situations.

Rather than a proper independent investigation we will now see a critical incident investigation take place, where police will investigate police and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission will have some limited oversight role.

I’m calling on the minister for police to urgently release further information about this death in Newcastle. Trust in policing is low and the community deserves transparency and accountability.

Higginson also repeated her calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the use of deadly force by police against people with complex needs.

You can read more on the death here:


Mystery over human remains found on Tasmanian farm

Human bones discovered on coastal farmland in Tasmania alongside black dress shoes and clothing could have been there for up to 30 years, AAP reports.

Police are asking the public for information to help identify the remains found by a local resident on a property at Clifton Beach, southeast of Hobart, on 6 July.

“A lengthy forensic analysis has been conducted which confirmed the remains are human, but unfortunately an identification has not yet been made,” Inspector Andrew Keane said on Friday.

The remains were found near a pair of black dress shoes, a short-sleeve top, as well as a plastic bag containing two keys on a chain, a cigarette lighter and two possible ID cards.

The right shoe had several store-bought orthotics in the heel.

The remains were above cliffs halfway between Clifton Beach and Goats Beach.


It’s only a little more than three hours until Melbourne play Carlton in an AFL semi-final, so you could do worse than reading this piece I prepared earlier:

Joyce says Price's speech on colonisation a 'masterclass'

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce has praised Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s comments on colonisation, saying his colleague was daring to say what others couldn’t without being deemed racist.

Price on Thursday said there were no ongoing negative impacts of colonisation for Indigenous Australians, instead saying there had actually been positive outcomes.

I’ll be honest with you, I do not think [there are ongoing negative impacts]. A positive impact? Absolutely. I mean, now we have running water, readily available food.

The comments were condemned by Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney on Friday morning, who said they were “offensive” and “simply wrong”.

Assistant Indigenous Australians minister Malarndirri McCarthy also told Sky News she has had to speak with “very traumatised First Nations people who are still coming through policies that did impact their lives so severely it continues to destabilise ... future generations”.

But Price’s Nationals colleagues have come out in support of the sentiment. Joyce told Sky News’ Bolt Report last night he thought the speech was a masterclass and she said out loud what others thought but couldn’t say.

I think that Jacinta has the capacity to say things that so many other people want to say but we feel unable to say it because we will be cast as racist if we did. It’s not racism, it’s logic.

Nationals leader David Littleproud dodged directly answering whether he supported Price’s comments when asked by the ABC shortly after her speech.

Shadow minister for Indigenous Australians, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, addresses the National Press Club in Canberra last week.
Shadow minister for Indigenous Australians, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, addresses the National Press Club in Canberra last week. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian


Cathy Freeman honoured with stand

Cathy Freeman, the Olympic gold medal-winner, said she felt honoured after the NSW government announced earlier today that the eastern stand at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium would now be known as the Cathy Freeman stand.

Freeman, who lit the cauldron at the 2000 Games’ opening ceremony 23 years ago before delighting a nation with her victory in the 400m final, became the first Indigenous Australian to win an Olympic track and field gold at the Games in 2000. She said:

This stadium and Sydney Olympic Park hold a truly special place in my heart and that will never change.

I hope that my story continues to inspire generations of girls and boys to chase their own dreams in sport and life.

Australian Olympic Committee chair, Ian Chesterman, said it was a “wonderful gesture”. He said:

Australians have a deeply shared affection for one of our greatest athletes. Her victory in the 400 metres inspired future generations and united Australians in an unprecedented fashion.

A proud Kuku Yalanji and Birri Gubba woman, she has motivated both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to reach for their dreams.

Olympic champion Cathy Freeman with the newly unveiled Cathy Freeman stand at Stadium Australia, in Sydney.
Olympic champion Cathy Freeman with the newly unveiled Cathy Freeman stand at Stadium Australia, in Sydney. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP


Thanks for being a steady hand on the wheel, Rafqa. Onwards!

Handing the blog over now to Nino Bucci, who will take you through the evening’s news.

Australia willing to address Vanuatu’s security concerns: Penny Wong

Foreign minister Penny Wong says Australia will meet Vanuatu halfway and address any concerns in a security pact between the two nations.

Vanuatu’s new prime minister Sato Kilman said he believed the already signed pact would need to be reworked in order to get the support of his parliament.

While it has been signed, the agreement needs to be ratified by Vanuatu’s parliament before it can come into effect.

Wong said Australia was open to further discussions after Kilman said both sides would need to revisit the agreement.

She told ABC radio:

We’re very open to engaging with the new government in Vanuatu.

If they have a different view about the way in which that agreement is structured or aspects of that agreement obviously, we’re very happy to discuss that.

We will engage with them and take on board what it is that they want to change, if anything, in the agreement and we’ll work through that together.

Wong is in Fiji meeting with her Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) counterparts.



Top medical body calls for more money to be spent on diabetes prevention, inquiry hears

One of the themes which the parliamentary inquiry into diabetes keeps returning to is the need to prevent Australians from developing the chronic disease.

Preventive measures are the key to lessening the impact of diabetes, the president of Australia’s peak medical body, the Australian Medical Association, Steve Robson, tells the inquiry:

The AMA believes that preventive measures are the key to lessening the impact of diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes on Australia’s health system and the economy more broadly.

We have a sick care system rather than a holistic healthcare system that tackles both existing healthcare issues and prioritises prevention.

One in 20 Australians are living with diabetes and the estimated cost of direct health expenditure is over $3bn, Robson says.

“If we can stop these things happening in the first place, it will set people up for a lifetime of good health which is what we want.”

Robson says prevention means less people will need joint replacements, develop conditions like osteoarthritis and have better mental health.

“There are so many advantages to prevention of ill health in the first place so we are firmly, firmly advocating for money to be spent on prevention.”


People with diabetes need to make 180 diabetes-related decisions a day, inquiry hears

Susan Davidson, the CEO of the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA), has told the inquiry most diabetes educators are doing the work for free without any proper remuneration for the service.

People with diabetes need to make 180 diabetes-related decisions a day, Davidson said, a fact which reinforces how much the people living with the chronic condition need adequate support.

The organisation is calling for an upskilling of the health workforce to be able to recognise diabetes symptoms, for example unhealing wounds can be caused by diabetes.

Davidson also tells the inquiry that there are often intergenerational cycles of diabetes, with children of mothers with diabetes more likely to develop it as well.

There needs to be more follow up when women with gestational diabetes have their baby, with closer monitoring of their children’s blood sugar and also more education around nutrition for families, Davidson said.

Queensland CCC calls for urgent legislation to release reports

The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission has called on the state government to pass retroactive legislation to allow it to release reports on two public figures.

Commissioner Michael Woodford appeared at a parliamentary inquiry this morning to repeat calls for an urgent legislative fix after the body was muzzled by the high court this week.

Woodford said the court’s decision to quash a report into former Queensland public trustee Peter Carne hamstrung the CCC. A report into former deputy premier Jackie Trad has also been kept secret during a state court challenge.

Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee chair Jon Krause asked if he believes the fix should be retrospective - “looking back, as well as looking forward”.

“I believe that’s appropriate,” Woodford said.

“And that would be certainly one of the positions that I’d be putting forward in any discussions (with government).”

Woodford also pointed out that the parliamentary committee already has the Carne report and could release it, subject to legal advice, despite the High Court ruling.

He said the CCC needed the power to release reports that did not lead to a finding of corruption, and stressed the need to “address these issues as quickly as possible” but with “careful consideration to make sure that we cover everything that we need to”.

We believe that such reports serve the public interest, and they promote public confidence in the integrity of the public sector. Where corrupt conduct is uncovered, explaining that to the public gives confidence that investigations are conducted diligently and the corrupt conduct will be exposed. It also explains how this conduct occurred so that the public and public sector can understand how to avoid it in the future.

Attorney general Yvette D’Ath said yesterday that she is receiving legal advice on the issue.


Diabetes training for nurses offers cost effective option to improve care, inquiry hears

Prof Kylie Ward, the CEO of the Australian College of Nursing, has told the diabetes inquiry there is not any training in diabetes which is free and accessible for nurses.

Ward estimates it would cost between $250,000-$400,000 to deliver an online module to train nurses in diabetes management which could greatly improve care.

Diabetes Australia calls for 1800 number for diabetes

Diabetes Australia is up next giving evidence to the parliamentary inquiry into diabetes. The organisation represents the 1.5 million Australians living with diabetes, which includes 1.3 million with type 2 diabetes, 140,000 with type 1 and 50,000 diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the last 12 months alone.

Taryn Black, the chief strategy officer, said gestational diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes.

CEO Justine Cain is calling for a 1800 number for diabetes to be able to triage at risk people and help link them into other services.

Endocrinologist and Diabetes Australia adviser, Prof Roger Chen, says 20%-30% of people in hospital have diabetes as a comorbidity, as do 30-40% of mental health outpatients.

Chen said there is often limitations on the subsidies which are available for new diabetes technology, including pumps and continuous glucose monitoring devices, which drastically improve the quality of life for people with diabetes.


The always wonderful Weekly Beast is up. Read it here:

Proposed Airbnb levy must go to social housing, homelessness body says

The Victorian government is expected to consider a levy on short-stay accommodation such as Airbnbs at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

The Council to Homeless Persons CEO, Deborah Di Natale, welcomed the reports, saying a levy as high as 7.5% could help Victoria overcome the biggest housing crisis in recent memory.

She said the state trailed the nation on social housing.

A levy like this would be an important step in injecting more fairness into Victoria’s housing system which is in dire need of major reform.

That money should provide desperately needed accommodation for our most vulnerable people.

A levy on bookings through platforms like Airbnb has the potential to raise more than $30m a year to house people without homes, but ending the housing crisis will require billions, not millions, in new investment.

You can read more on the proposed levy here:


ACCC seeks to block Qantas-China Eastern Airlines deal extension over competition concerns

The consumer watchdog is seeking to block an extension deal between Qantas and China Eastern Airlines that could increase airfares for passengers flying between Australia and China.

The two carriers attempted to finalise an agreement that would allow them to co-ordinate passenger and transport operations between Australia and China until March 2024.

But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a draft determination to block the deal.

ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey said the deal could breach competition laws.

She said in a statement:

We are concerned that the authorisation would provide Qantas and China Eastern with the opportunity and incentive to increase prices ... by limiting or delaying the introduction of additional capacity on the Sydney-Shanghai route as passenger demand continues to grow.

At this stage we are not satisfied that the likely harm to competition from Qantas and China Eastern’s proposed coordination would be outweighed by any potential benefits.

China Eastern is the only airline with direct flights between Sydney and Shanghai, while Qantas was expected to resume flights in October.

The watchdog believes demand for flights between Australia and China will likely grow thanks to Tourism Australia’s recent campaign.

The ACCC granted interim authorisation for the carriers to co-ordinate their operation in March 2023 but remains unconvinced an extension of this deal would “lead to additional services on other routes between Australia and China”.

Qantas and China Eastern have until October 6 to respond before the ACCC makes its final decision.

The decision comes after the Australian carrier came under scrutiny for its role in the government’s decision to block Qatar Airways’ bid to double its Australian routes.

- Australian Associated Press

Qantas departures signage outside Sydney's domestic terminal
The Qantas-China Eastern Airlines deal is under scrutiny from the ACCC, which could block its extension on the grounds that it could lead to higher airfares between Australia and China.
Photograph: Mark Baker/AP


Improving water quality, access to fresh food and energy security in remote Indigenous communities could help manage diabetes rates, inquiry hears

Dr Jason Agostino, a senior medical adviser for the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is providing evidence at the parliamentary inquiry into diabetes.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are grossly over-represented in the prevalence of diabetes compared to other Australians, with rates amongst First Nations adults three times that of non-Indigenous people.

In their submission to the inquiry, NACCHO has recommended the government allocates diabetes funding based on burden of disease rather than population.

Agostino has also told the inquiry of the worse outcomes First Nations people with diabetes experience. For example, First Nations people in their thirties experiencing kidney failure due to diabetic nephropathy (a complication of diabetes that damages the kidneys) is a condition not seen in non-Indigenous populations.

Agostino says for many remote communities the factors contributing to worse diabetes outcomes are:


Thirteen injured in WA bus crash

Thirteen people have been injured after a bus and a truck crashed in a remote location in Western Australia.

Police reported that the crash, between a “tour bus” and the truck, occurred at about 9.10am this morning on Port Gregory Road in Sandy Gully, north-west of Northampton in the Gascoyne region.

Five emergency crews from St John’s Ambulance were on the scene, with rescue efforts ongoing.

A spokesperson for St John’s Ambulance confirmed that there were no major injuries for the passengers with only minor injuries reported so far.

Five injuries were initially reported, before rising twice, to seven and then to 13.

The Guardian understands the crash occurred between two towns on Port Gregory Road, and that police and emergency services were finding it challenging to reach the crash site.

Motorists are advised to slow down and drive with caution in the area as emergency responders remain at the scene.


Group homes and inclusive education in spotlight in disability royal commission final report

The disability royal commission’s final report seems likely to include strong recommendations around group homes and inclusive education when it’s handed down on 28 September.

Statements from commissioners at the final, ceremonial sitting of the inquiry in Sydney today have singled out both these areas for particular focus in their reflections on the four and half years of hearings and interim reports.

Commissioner Barbara Bennett pointed directly to the issue of group homes in her remarks, saying that the commission had heard people with disability living in these places were at “significant risk of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation”.

Bennett said:

We heard for many [that] group homes have failed to keep people with disability safe, they failed to empower people with disability to have choice and control over their lives, and they lack opportunities for people to develop and participate in their communities.

Group homes have failed to realise the rights of people with disability under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

She mentioned the testimony of a witness in a private hearing who described having lived in a group home since she was 18:

That resident has to get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time. All the doors were locked, residents could not go out when they wanted to. They could not choose what they wanted to eat or when they had their meals. And if they didn’t do what they were told, they were locked up. She said it was like a prison.

I believe we can do so much better than this.

Commissioner Alastair McEwin, meanwhile, said a recurring theme of the hearings was “the failure of the mainstream education system to include disabled children in their schools”.

I lost count of the many practical and easy solutions these families tried to implement with their local school and the structural and attitudinal barriers they continued to face.

… Mainstream education settings are to be inclusive of all children and the default placement for them. The reform agenda for mainstream schools to be inclusive should, at its core, be about learning and development for all children. The agenda is therefore not solely about disability, it is about universal design and access for all.

Commissioner Barbara Bennett addresses attendees during the Disability Royal Commission’s Ceremonial Closing
Commissioner Barbara Bennett pointed directly to the issue of group homes in her final remarks at the closing ceremonial sitting of the disability royal commission. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP


Disability royal commission chair calls for urgent action from all levels of government when findings released

The chair of the disability royal commission has urged Australia’s federal, state and territory governments to act without delay upon the findings of the inquiry, which will be handed to the Governor General on 28 September after four and a half years of hearings and interim reports.

At the final ceremonial sitting of the commission in Sydney on Friday morning, chair the Hon Ronald Sackville QC said royal commissions and similar inquiries “do bring about significant reforms and lasting improvements in societal practices and attitudes”, but:

Whether this happens in the case of our royal mommission depends upon the responses of governments, of business, of businesses, and equally important the wider Australian community. The abuses exposed by the royal commission demand an urgent and comprehensive response from all Australian governments.

Sackville also made a brief note about the media’s interest - or lack thereof - in the commission’s work.

He mentioned the ABC’s coverage of the commission in particular, which he described as “exemplary”, particularly that of their national broadcaster’s disability affairs reporter.

He also said there had been “very worthwhile coverage provided” by us here at the Guardian and at AAP.

Other media though, according to Sackville, had not paid all that much attention:

Many other mainstream outlets have not [covered the commission]. The mainstream outlets that have largely ignored the work of the royal commission might like to ask themselves, once this commission is finished, why they took that course.


Sandy Gully WA truck and bus crash

Five people are believed injured after a crash between a truck and bus in Sandy Gully, north-west of Northampton, Western Australia.

The crash happened at 9:10am on Port Gregory Road.

WA Police advise motorists to slow down and drive with caution in the area as emergency responders remain at the scene.

It has been confirmed the bus involved is a tour coach and not a school bus.

More to come.


‘Every chance’ the voice referendum will pass, Bandt says

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, has responded to the shadow Indigenous affairs minister, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s, statement at the National Press Club that she doesn’t believe there were lasting negative impacts of colonisation.

Bandt said that he, the Greens and its First Nations group “take a different view” but that everyone can agree that Indigenous Australians were “here first” and “that’s what the referendum is about” – recognising them in the constitution for this through an Indigenous voice.

On the fate of the referendum generally, Bandt said there is “every chance” it will be successful because although “debate in parliament has gone a certain way” many people are only now beginning to switch on and consider their vote.


Greens propose 1000% rate hike on Brisbane Airbnb investment properties to improve long-term rental pool

The Greens are proposing to hike Brisbane City Council rates for Airbnb investment properties up by 1000% in a bid to get more long-term rental properties on the market.

Greens candidate for Brisbane lord mayor, Jonathan Sriranganathan, said the goal was “to piss off and scare away investors who would rather make money from Airbnb than make housing available to local residents”.

“Our message to them is: Get stuffed - we don’t want you in this city.”

Under the proposal, a property rented on Airbnb for more than 45 days with an annual rate bill of $1800 would be charged $18,000.

Sriranganathan said the party “conservatively” estimates that up to 1,000 additional homes would transition to long-term rentals within the space of a few months.

This is both an immediate emergency response to the housing crisis, and a long-term strategy to ensure that buildings used for short-term accommodation are fit-for-purpose and appropriately located.


Greens senator criticises ease of movement of senior government advisers to private sector

The minister for cyber security and home affairs, Clare O’Neil’s, chief of staff, Andrew Downes, is taking a government relations job with cyber security multinational and arms manufacturer Thales.

Greens senator David Shoebridge revealed Downes’ new role last night in the Senate, and criticised the lack of restrictions on the movement of senior government advisers into private sector employment related to their former portfolios.

Thales, a French multinational, is in the middle of attempting to acquire Tesserent, an ASX-listed Australian-owned cyber security firm. The proposal has prompted calls for an intervention by the foreign investment review board.

There are no rules governing the revolving door between politics and big business, even where individuals act as in-house lobbyists or government relations officers. Guardian Australia is not suggesting Downes was not entitled to accept the job or that he contravened any rules by doing so.

In-house lobbyists and government relations officers are also not required to put themselves on a public register or comply with the lobbying code of conduct, denying the public even a basic level of transparency about their activities. Unlike third-party lobbyists, they are also not required to take a cooling-off period before taking on private employment in fields related to their former minister’s portfolio.

Shoebridge spoke about the issue in the Senate last night as it considered a motion by David Pocock to improve Australia’s flawed lobbyist regime:

There’s a matter that’s literally unfolding as this debate is unfolding and that’s in the office for the minister of home affairs, where the chief of staff for the minister for home affairs is in the process of moving … from that powerful position as a senior adviser to taking a government relations job with the international arms manufacturer Thales.

No cooling off period, literally walking out of being chief of staff one day, and being straight into being a government relations adviser for a major multinational arms manufacturer the next day.


Bandt disappointed by King’s public interest immunity claim over Qatar Airways documents

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, told reporters in Canberra it is “disappointing” that transport minister Catherine King has claimed public interest immunity over documents related to her Qatar decision.

Bandt held the Greens have a “different view” to the Liberals on the issue, saying:

We don’t think Qatar [airways] will save us.”

The Greens want the government to take an equity stake in Qantas.


McKenzie accuses government of ‘cozy, personal and political relationship’ with Qantas

The Senate select committee on commonwealth bilateral air service agreements will also look at federal government decisions on additional air services going back to 2016, AAP reports.

Committee chair and Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie has flagged that questions about Qantas’ unlawful outsourcing decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic could also be under the microscope.

She has accused the Albanese government of having a “cozy, personal and political relationship” with Qantas.

She told 2GB:

I think the Australian public deserves an answer for a whole raft of questions.


Government has ‘nothing to hide’ about Qatar airways decision, Marles says

Deputy prime minister Richard Marles says the government has “nothing to hide” as a cabinet colleague knocks back a Senate request to provide documents about its decision on Qatar Airways’ flights, AAP reports.

A Senate select committee on commonwealth bilateral air service agreements is due to hold hearings next week, asking senior Qantas executives, as well as former CEO Alan Joyce, to appear.

The Senate has also requested the government to release documents relating to its decision to knock back Qatar Airways’ application for a doubling of flights.

Marles told Nine’s Today show on Friday:

There’s nothing to hide.

A decision was made by the transport minister in the ordinary course of her work, as transport ministers have made over an extensive period of time, around how to apply the national interest in respect of this.

And that’s all that she’s done.

The transport minister, Catherine King, has claimed public interest immunity over documents relating to the Senate order.

She said in a letter that air services agreements were “treaty level agreements between countries”.

There is a public interest in not disclosing such discussions so [that] the government’s negotiations over air services agreements with a range of countries can continue unimpeded.

- Australian Associated Press

Australian Infrastructure Minister Catherine King stands in front of a departures sign at an airport
Transport minister Catherine King has claimed public interest immunity over knocking back a Senate request to provide documents about the government’s decision on Qatar Airways’ flights. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


Wastewater reveals Victorians are country’s biggest fentanyl consumers

Victorians are the country’s biggest consumers of “super drug” fentanyl, AAP reports.

The latest wastewater data from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission shows Melbourne has the highest level of heroin, ketamine and fentanyl consumption of any Australian capital city.

In regional areas, Victoria tops the national list for heroin consumption and is second for fentanyl and oxycodone use.

Crime Stoppers Victoria chief executive Stella Smith warned organised crime syndicates were targeting specific industries as a way to smuggle them in.

Fentanyl is up to 100 times stronger than morphine, and drug dealers often mix it into cocaine and heroin to boost their profit margins.


Public Health Association calls for pathway to fund preventative health measures

A parliamentary committee chaired by Dr Mike Freelander is today hearing from peak health bodies and experts as part of its ongoing inquiry into diabetes.

Diabetes is the world’s fastest growing chronic health condition, with evidence indicating the increasing numbers are primarily due to a rise in obesity.

Terry Slevin, CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), has just told the inquiry that obesity is a “slow moving public health crisis”.

He has three key messages he wants to get across:

  • There needs to be a package of measures, not a single quick fix, introduced to tackle the issue – in a similar way that vaping is being tackled through a suite of measures.

  • Obesity should be a high priority when the Australian Centre for Disease Control is up and running.

  • There needs to be machinery for investing in preventative health measures because at the moment there is no pathway to fund them.


Some more on what’s to come in the NSW budget

The New South Wales education minister, Prue Car, will fund a significant pay rise for the state’s public school teachers by pulling $1.4bn from elsewhere in her department

Car announced on Friday she would cut “bureaucratic waste” by reducing programs that she said didn’t “directly support schools” and by redirecting discretionary funds that had taken teachers off classroom duties to do admin.

The measures will save the NSW government $268m over the next year and $390m over the three years after that, and help return highly skilled executive educators to classroom teaching positions, Car said.

Teachers have been informed of an immediate freeze on the recruitment of non-teaching executive positions created under the former government while the education department reviews school staffing arrangements.

In a statement, Car said:

There are savings to be had from within the system which we can direct back into paying teachers what they are worth.

Principals were loaded up with unnecessary paperwork and were forced to turn to trusted teachers to help.

Thousands of teachers were taken away from the classroom and put behind desks because schools were loaded up with paperwork.

The state government signed an agreement with the NSW teachers federation on Saturday after reaching a historic pay deal following a bitter dispute.

From October, the starting salary for first-year teachers will go from $75,791 to $85,000 - an increase of more than 12%.

Salaries for teachers at the top of the scale will rise from $113,042 to $122,100, an 8% increase.


ANU to return Italian ancient artefacts due to underworld links revelations

The Australian National University will return ancient artefacts to Italian ownership after revelations about underworld links to the items, AAP reports.

Among them are a two-handed vessel and a red-figure fish, which have sat in ANU’s classics’ museum for decades.

The university bought the-more-than 2500-year-old vessel from Sotheby’s in London in good faith in 1984. It became known as the Johnson Vase, in honour of its founding classics professor Richard St Clair Johnson.

But a specialist art squad from Italy’s military police force recently flagged the vase was connected to a notorious antiquities dealer who was active in Italy’s illegal trade between the 1970s and 1990s.

ANU, which has worked through the logistics of repatriating the vase since 2022, has struck a deal with the Italian government to display the piece on loan for four years.

ANU Classics Museum curator Georgia Pike-Rowney said:

Conversations about the repatriation of ancient artefacts have become prominent in recent years, as institutions across the world grapple with the legacies of historical collection practices.

ANU is no exception.


Victorian government paid big tobacco linked consultancy firm to lead smoking law reform consultations

The Victorian government paid a consultancy firm that has spent decades working for big tobacco to lead the state’s consultation on changes to tobacco and vaping laws, before the process was abandoned.

Transparency advocates condemn the arrangement as “appalling”.

Meanwhile, the health department refuses to say how much the consultancy was paid.

You can read the full exclusive from Henry Belot here:


Regional schools to get $1.4bn in first Minns’ NSW state government budget

A NSW state government investment of $1.4bn will occur over four years for upgrading or building public schools across regional NSW, AAP reports.

The decision will come under premier Chris Minns’ first budget for the state, to be delivered on Tuesday.

Here are details on what areas and schools will be impacted, courtesy of AAP:

  • Nowra and Thurgoona in Albury will have new primary schools

  • Medowie, Googong, Bungendore and Jerrabomberra will have new high schools

  • Major rebuilds will include Gillieston, Jindabyne and Lennox Head public schools

  • Schools in Bomaderry, Hunter River, Irrawang, Moruya, Ulladulla, Murwillumbah, Milton, Vincentia, Wollumbin, Murrumbidgee and Yanco will get upgrades

The education minister, Prue Car, said communities across regional NSW were in urgent need of schools and upgrades to existing buildings.

[We are] making the tough decisions to address holes left in the budget by the Liberals and Nationals and ensure we fund the essential services people rely on - a great education, recruiting teachers and delivering quality schools to regional areas.


Bowen to cancel Kyoto carbon credits scheme

Climate minister Chris Bowen is permanently cancelling the 25-year-old Kyoto carbon credits scheme, calling them an overhang of Scott Morrison’s government.

He will say in a speech at the Australasian Emission Reduction Summit later today:

The sector has survived a decade of federal delay, denial and dysfunction.

One of the overhangs of that era is the carryover Kyoto credits – a remnant of the climate wars, a symbol of the internal division which divided the previous government and dragged Australia back on the international stage.

They were never more than an accounting trick to try and make it look like we were on track to meet our commitments and targets.

And while our government has long-committed to never use them to achieve our emissions reduction goals there has been nothing preventing a future government from doing so … That’s why today, I am pleased to announce those carry over credits from the last decade, equalling more than 700 million tonnes, representing more than a year’s worth of national emissions, have now been permanently cancelled.


Burney says Price’s comments ‘simply wrong’

Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney also described Jacinta Price’s comments as “simply wrong”.

She said:

It’s a real betrayal to the many families that have experienced things like Stolen Generations.

The idea that colonisation in any country ... doesn’t have long and far-reaching effects is simply wrong.


'A real betrayal': Burney on Price's comments

Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney said comments made by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price that there were no negative ongoing impacts of British colonisation had caused great distress.

Speaking in Kogarah while handing out flyers for the Yes campaign, Burney said the comments were “offensive and a real betrayal”.

She said:

There are many people I’ve spoken to last night, this morning, that are very distressed and quite frankly, pretty disgusted. But I am going to focus on the goal here and that is a successful referendum.

Peter Dutton says Jacinta Price standing up for what she believes in

Opposition leader Peter Dutton said Jacinta Price is a “brave Indigenous woman,” after her comments that British colonisation has had no ongoing impact on Indigenous Australians.

He told Today:

We either accept that people have a broad range of views, or we don’t. The left just say, well, we can only listen to people like Marcia Langton, but people on the right, like Jacinta Price, we can’t listen to.

I would recommend you to go and have a look at the full speech in the question and answer session that she had yesterday, because you’ve got somebody on display who is brave, prepared to stand up for what she believes in and believes passionately about making the better society for Indigenous Australians.


First Nations people never at war with British colonists, Price says

Some more from shadow minister for Indigenous affairs, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.

Speaking at The Great Voice Debate hosted by The Australian in Canberra yesterday, Price rejected a treaty, saying First Nations people were never at war with British colonists.

We note that the colonial frontier massacres have been documented by historians, and thoroughly reported by Guardian Australia.

You can view a map here, that shows evidence of mass killings of First Nations people from 1788 until 1928 – a sustained and systematic process of conflict and expansion:


Labor condemns Jacinta Price’s claims British colonisation had no lasting impact on Indigenous Australians

In response to Jacinta Price, shadow minister for Indigenous Australians, controversially claiming British colonisation has had no ongoing impact on Indigenous Australians, the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, tells ABC RN:

The no campaign strategy, Patricia, has been to ignore the proposal. It’s on the ballot paper to sow fear and division across our wonderful country, and talk about anything other than what’s on the ballot paper.

The “official directions” of the no campaign to volunteers is to “ignore the facts,” he said.

Hide who you are, cause fear, cause alarm, never actually discuss the actual issue on the ballot paper.

And we need to get back to what we’ve got to do in four weeks’ time.


Albanese urges MPs to spread message of reconciliation

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has urged MPs to spread a message of love and reconciliation ahead of a referendum on an Indigenous voice, AAP reports.

Federal parliament are on a four-week break from yesterday – they won’t be returning until after Australians vote on the voice on 14 October.

Albanese paid tribute to AFL great Michael Long who completed a walk to Canberra, urging colleagues to campaign for the “yes” vote.

Michael Long has come to parliament ... it’s up to us to carry his message of love and hope and reconciliation away from the parliament and back to the people in our electorates.

In the next four weeks, Australians can take the next step to a better future by writing ‘yes’. That is all we are being asked to do.


Chris Dawson to face sentencing

Former rugby league player and teacher Christopher Dawson faces sentencing today after he was found him guilty of carnal knowledge as a teacher of a girl over 10 and under 17 by the New South Wales district court in June, a verdict he plans to appeal.

The sentencing is unlikely to affect how long the 75-year-old spends in jail.

Dawson received a 24-year sentence for murdering Lynette Dawson, whose body has not been found after her disappearance in 1982, and laws preventing his parole before it is mean he is expected to never be released.

A student in Dawson’s year 11 sports coaching class, known during the trial by the pseudonym AB, said she became engaged in sexual activity with him between July and the end of the school year on 12 December 1980.

He pleaded not guilty but it was not disputed the pair had a sexual relationship, with Dawson’s public defender contending it began when she was no longer in his class.


On the same voice theme, the newsroom edition of our Full Story podcast looks at the tactics being used in the campaign.

A month from voice referendum day, Lenore Taylor and head of newsroom Mike Ticher discuss how divisive politics are shaping the debate.

It’s been a tumultuous week in the voice to parliament campaign, with polls showing the no camp ahead in all states, accusations of dirty tactics, and yesterday’s headline-grabbing claims by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price that Indigenous Australians have only felt positive benefits from colonisation.

We’ve gone through her National Press Club address and picked out several instances where the no campaign leader appeared to misrepresent key aspects of the referendum or create confusion over key sections of her portfolio. These include questions about colonisation, and the voice’s power and composition.


Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be bringing you our top stories before Rafqa Touma takes over as a busy sitting fortnight ends.

Australia’s top soldier has delivered a stark warning about the dangers posed to western democracies by disinformation spread from Russia and other countries. In a speech last night, ADF chief Gen Angus Campbell warned that artificial intelligence tools employed as a “a weapon of statecraft” could eventually leave citizens struggling to sift fact from fiction. Such campaigns could increasingly be used to fracture “the trust that binds us”, he said, and could induce “truth decay” that would render societies unable to resist outside influences.

The voice to parliament referendum campaign has been marked by concerns about deliberate misinformation sowing doubts in the minds of undecided voters. As if to underline the issues highlighted by Campbell, we’re reporting this morning that anti-voice campaigners are making unfounded claims about the impact ticks and crosses on ballot papers could have on the outcome of the referendum. One leading no campaigner has claimed to volunteers that the issue could account for “5% of the vote” being discounted, but the reality is that based on the republic referendum in 1999, less than 1% were discounted.

We also have another exclusive story about questionable government use of consultancies. We have learned that the Victorian government paid a consultancy firm to lead the state’s consultation on changes to tobacco and vaping laws – even though the firm has spent decades working for big tobacco. The state’s health department has repeatedly declined to say how much KPMG was paid for the work this year and did not answer questions about whether the firm’s long association with big tobacco and its ongoing work for the industry were declared.

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