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Australia news live: Invasion Day rallies intensify voice debate; Adani hits back at ‘bogus’ report | Australia news


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Natasha May

Ukrainian loss would embolden leaders in Pacific region, ambassador says

The ambassador of Ukraine to Australia and New Zealand, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, stresses that the reason Australia’s assistance needs to continue is because it’s in Australia’s interests to support the Ukraine:

The reason why we need to keep up and step up that assistance because this war in Ukraine is disrupting everything. It’s really undermined security, regionally, globally.

It’s having a major impact on your partners here in the region. Look at Indonesia. I mean, they are really suffering from the lack of food that can get on their market. They have 275 million people to feed and they really rely on grain from Ukraine, which now they have a hard time getting hold of as the prices have surged. We’ve seen the impact on the energy markets on the volatility of the commodity markets.

So it’s really in the interest of Australia to help Ukraine win and to help Ukraine be rebuilt because at the end of the day, it’s in the interest of Australia and your immediate partners here in the region.

So the focus that Australia has chosen to focus on the Pacific and Asia is clearly and directly linked to how this war is going to play out in Europe. Because otherwise if we lose, it will embolden many other leaders here in the region. It will really undermine the whole international rule based order.

Updated at 21.19 GMT

Natasha May

Natasha May

Australia -Ukrainian bilateral relations never been so high, Ukrainian ambassador says

This morning as Russia has launched another series of deadly air strikes across Ukraine, the ambassador of Ukraine to Australia and New Zealand, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, has spoken to ABC Radio.

Myroshnychenko said the latest strikes are “definitely a response from Russia” to Ukraine securing dozens of powerful western tanks from the US and Germany.

He said the Ukraine would welcome Australia joining “the tanks coalition as we call it” and choosing to send more bushmasters, but also expresses his gratitude for the help already provided:

What’s important is that Australia continues to support Ukraine. We are truly thankful for what Australia has done so far, especially the last package which was announced in October where another 30 bushmasters were allocated and the troops which are now in Britain have already been able to train Ukrainian soldiers. It’s really a big help.

Myroshnychenko flagged that with Penny Wong and Richard Marles being briefed by their European partners on developments in the continent during their visit to France, he hopes that they may submit another proposal to cabinet close to the one year anniversary of the war.

He says that Australia and the Ukraine’s bilateral relations has “never been at this high level,” especially since the prime minister Anthony Albanese visited Ukraine last year.

Poll: 80% of First Nations people back the voice to parliament

A survey shows overwhelming support for a voice to parliament despite fierce criticism at Invasion Day rallies yesterday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The polling, carried out by Ipsos, showed 80% of the 300 First Nations people surveyed want the reform.

Uluru Dialogue co-chair Pat Anderson said:

We’re not going to chuck the towel in now because we’ve got people on Invasion Day speaking loudly – that’s fine, it’s a democracy.

Hopefully, they will be convinced over the next little while, but there’s a rusted-on group in Australia – about 10 per cent, it goes up and down – and it doesn’t matter what you say, they’re not going to change their opinion, they’re always going to say the same.

Updated at 21.02 GMT

West Sydney prison guards to strike again

Prison officers at one of the most dangerous maximum security jails in NSW will strike for two days, demanding an improvement in safety conditions, AAP reports.

More than 150 officers from Parklea Correctional Centre in northwest Sydney will strike at 6am today over what they say is the lowest pay in the country in a jail, with some of the worst assault records in the state. It is the second strike in as many months.

Community and Public Sector Union NSW assistant general secretary Troy Wright said officers at the privately run prison suffered the highest number of serious assaults in the state.

We know of prison officers being king-hit from behind, having shivs held to their throats, being punched in the face, and having faeces thrown on them.

Wright blamed MTC, a US-based firm that also runs a detention centre housing refugees on Nauru, for failing to protect officers at Parklea – one of only two private jails in NSW.

The business model of MTC is to make their money from their own prison officers.

Updated at 21.02 GMT

Man suffers serious leg injury in crocodile attack in Northern Territory

A man has suffered serious injuries during a crocodile attack at a remote Northern Territory cattle station, AAP reports.

The incident happened on Thursday near Daly River, about 220km south of Darwin.

The man suffered a serious but non life-threatening wound to his right leg, a police spokesperson said.

Updated at 20.59 GMT

Consumer watchdog to crackdown on social media influencers

The consumer watchdog revealed it is taking a close look at more than 100 social media influencers after receiving tip offs that they might not be disclosing sponsored content.

The chair of the ACCC, Gina Cass-Gottlieb, told ABC News this morning:

We put our own Facebook post up and asked consumers to come forward and give us tip-offs. We got over 1,000 responses, likes, shares, and tip-offs, that asked us to look at particular influencers and the areas those influencers were in were fashion and beauty, lifestyle and parenting.

We are also going to look at gaming, electronic equipment, sometimes they even promote financial products. So, we’re looking quite broadly at up-and-coming influencers and also very well established millions-of-followers influencers.

Our reporter Josh Taylor has more on the story here:

Updated at 20.36 GMT

Why a voice to parliament won’t impact First Nations sovereignty as Lidia Thorpe fears

Yesterday’s Invasion Day rally drew thousands of Australians, and swung the debate from changing the date to an Indigenous voice to parliament. In many locations First Nations speakers made a case against an Indigenous voice to parliament being enacted before a treaty.

At the Melbourne rally, the Greens senator Lidia Thorpe has vowed not to support the Indigenous voice to parliament unless she is “satisfied that First Nations sovereignty is not ceded”.

Our Paul Karp has spoken to two experts who explained why the two questions are entirely separate.

Royal comission into robodebt scheme resumes

Good morning, Jordyn Beazley on deck with you this morning. Thanks to Martin for kicking things off today.

Senior welfare officials will be grilled over their involvement with robodebt when a royal commission into the unlawful scheme resumes, AAP reports.

The latest evidence centres on what department officials knew about the potential illegality of the scheme and how they communicated that information with the government, other staff and independent watchdogs.

Government solicitor James Carter will appear before the commission on Friday along with three senior officials from the Department of Social Services, which delivered the scheme.

Among them will be Allysson Essex and Kristin Lumley, two former officials involved with payment integrity within the department, as well as the department’s former principal legal officer Anna Fredericks.

The voice and the media

Guardian Australia’s editor, Lenore Taylor, takes a look today at the growing clamour around the voice debate to make a plea for responsible media reporting on what is a very complex matter.

Lenore writes:

This is a discussion where different views need to be heard, not just from politicians and pundits but in particular from the Indigenous communities who have the most at stake.

In this discussion the media has a particular responsibility to help readers understand the facts and the historical, political and legal context, to call out falsehoods and to avoid fuelling an ideological outrage cycle. It’s just too important for that. Every Australian needs to engage with the details over the next six months, and it’s our job to help them.

Here’s her full article:


Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the day’s news. I’m Martin Farrer bringing you the main overnight developments before Jordyn Beazely takes to the keyboard.

Our top story this morning concerns the voice to parliament and a dilemma for the Greens. The party’s Indigenous spokesperson, Lidia Thorpe, used rallies yesterday to push her position that she will vote no unless First Nations sovereignty is not ceded. That stance will be further complicated after it emerged that she initially backed an inquiry into Indigenous bodies that has been driven by anti-voice Coalition senators. The Guardian’s Paul Karp writes that she withdrew support after an intervention by party’s leader, Adam Bandt, but her support for a sovereignty settlement rather than voice has been criticised as conflating two separate matters.

Meanwhile, Adani Group has held meetings with bond investors overnight to reassure them in the wake of an analysts’ report that accused the Indian conglomerate of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud”. The company, whose assets include its controversial coalmine in Queensland, hit back at the report by Hindenburg, calling it bogus and saying it will give a detailed response on Friday.

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