Australia news live: Linda Burney attacks Dutton’s opposition to voice; Australian avoids jail over drunken rampage in Indonesia | Australia news

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The incoming tide is covering the mudflats and sandbanks at Toondah Harbour and creeping up the mangrove branches.

Ospreys and sea eagles are fishing and a cloudless sky is framing Cassim Island – a bank of mangrove-covered sand – in a tranquil scene a watercolour painter would die for.

But a fight to stop a controversial $1.3bn plan to develop this area – part of an internationally-significant protected wetland – is about to reach a climax that has been building for eight years.

If approved by the federal environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, this watercolour would be transformed forever with shops, restaurants, boardwalks, high-rise homes and a 200-berth marina that would build out over the mudflats and carve out a 50ha chunk of the wetland listed under the international Ramsar convention, stopping 200m short of Cassim.

Read more of Graham Readfearn’s feature here:

Victoria police arrest man over hit and run collision

Police have arrested a man over a hit and run collision on Dunnings Road in Point Cook, in Melbourne’s north-west, which left a woman critically injured.

Police say the driver fled the scene after crashing into a the woman’s vehicle at about 11pm on Friday. They subsequently arrested a 25-year-old man.

Detectives are investigating a hit-run collision that occurred on Dunnings Road in Point Cook just after 11pm.

Investigators are asking anyone that may have been travelling along Dunnings Road prior to the collision come forward.

Details ➡

— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) May 27, 2023

Leigh Miller of the major collision investigation unit told the ABC:

We just are too often going to these collisions. It is happening daily. People aren’t driving to the conditions, it was slightly wet tonight. But you have also got to obey the road rules. We have people that are speeding, drinking, inattention, we really need people to concentrate.

The road toll is almost out of control this year and we just don’t know when it’s going to stop.

The United States growing movement to ban books has trickled to Australia, with an award-winning graphic novel depicting same-sex relationships and sexual experiences becoming first book to be referred to the Classification Board in ten years.

AAP reports the board is reviewing its decision to class the novel, Gender Queer: A Memoir, as “unrestricted” following an appeal against its rating as a book for mature audiences.

Maia Kobabe’s illustrated memoir – journey of self-discovery, trauma and queer identity – has been removed from shelves in Queensland’s Logan City Council libraries, following an appeal from councillor Scott Bannan and commentator Bernard Gaynor.

Gaynor said:

This battle is not over and we will succeed in having it removed from Logan City Council libraries altogether.

When the board initially classified the book as unrestricted, Sydney bookseller Kinokuniya celebrated it as an important novel.

This book means so much to so many of our staff – we were firmly invested in a positive outcome.

Victoria’s National party will oppose voice to parliament

Not all are marking the start of National Reconciliation Week with a push to vote “yes” in the upcoming referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament.

Victoria’s National party voted this morning to join their federal counterparts in opposing the voice.

The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, said the referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament was an opportunity for “us all to come together to support reconciliation and a stronger, more united Australia”.

Today is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the population. This year we’ll have a referendum on the Voice. An opportunity for us all to come together to support reconciliation and a stronger, more united Australia.

— Mark Dreyfus (@MarkDreyfusKCMP) May 27, 2023

Australians are marking the start of National Reconciliation Week which is shaping up as particularly significant this year with the referendum on an Indigenous voice to parliament fast approaching.

This year, the theme is “Be a Voice for Generations”.

Today we launch National Reconciliation Week 2023.

Be a Voice for Generations means carrying on the work of those who came before us and using our power, our words, and our actions to create a better, more just Australia for generations to come.

— Reconciliation Australia (@RecAustralia) May 26, 2023

Heavy metals, nicotine, arsenic found in retail vape products

Widely available vape products have been found to contain toxic heavy metals, carcinogens and nicotine, according to new tests, AAP reports.

Queensland’s Health and Environment Committee tested the chemical composition of 17 e-liquids available from retailers in the state.

All samples contained toxic heavy metals including arsenic, lead, mercury, nickel, chromium, antimony, aluminium, iron and nickel, along with known carcinogens like formaldehyde.

Nicotine was present in all samples, but ranged from less than 200 mg/kg to 47,000 mg/kg.

The Queensland health minister, Shannon Fentiman, said the results were confronting, given the rising popularity of vape products with younger people.

These results make it clear that what is inside them is extremely dangerous.

Burney criticises Dutton over referendum stance

Burney also criticised opposition leader, Peter Dutton, for “playing politics” on the Indigenous voice to parliament.

Next week … in the House of Representatives there be a vote on the constitutional alteration bill to allow us to have the referendum later this year.

If Peter Dutton was fair dinkum about supporting reconciliation, if he was fair dinkum about uniting and not dividing, then Mr Dutton would vote in favour of the bill next week. And Mr Dutton would vote “yes” in the referendum later this year.

In 1967 we were counted. In 2023, we seek to be heard: Linda Burney

Burney says last night the Uluru Statement from the Heart was re-committed to as a “generous invitation from Indigenous Australians to walk together to a better future”.

In 1967 we were counted. In 2023, we seek to be heard.

We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country; from Uluru to referendum day, in 2023, Australians will again vote in a referendum, this time for constitutional recognition through a voice.

This time being asked whether we should change the constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice.

Linda Burney, the Labor minister for Indigenous affairs, in the Northern Territory. Photograph: Dean Sewell/Oculi

Linda Burney marks anniversary of 1967 referendum

Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, is speaking from the Northern Territory on the Indigenous voice to parliament as today marks 56 years since the 1967 referendum.

Today marks 56 years since the 1967 referendum. One of the most successful federal referendums in Australia’s history. A day when Australians came together to vote to change the constitution so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would be counted as part of the population.

As a nation, we look back at the 1967 referendum, at Charlie Perkins and his freedom rights, at more than a 90% vote “yes” which was done with great pride.

Searching for what to read with your morning coffee? Check out our Imogen Dewey’s wrap of essential reads from the past week.

Woman killed in three-vehicle collision

A woman has been killed and another man seriously injured after two cars and a truck collided in South Australia, AAP reports.

A 19-year-old woman died at the scene and a 18-year-old man was taken to hospital with serious injuries after the crash near Ki Ki, about 125km south-east of Adelaide.

The 35-year-old male truck driver was not injured in the collision, which is being investigated by major crash units.

Man avoids jail after drunken rampage in Indonesia

The Australian man arrested for an alleged drunken rampage in Indonesia has avoided jail after reaching a settlement with an assaulted fisherman, AAP reports.

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, 23, attended a reconciliation meeting on Friday with the fisherman who was injured during the April incident and agreed to pay him compensation.

The Queensland surfer had faced up to five years in jail after he was accused of emerging naked from his surf resort hotel room on the island of Simeulue, off the coast of Sumatra.

He reportedly chased and struck people in the streets of the island which is in the strongly Muslim and conservative Aceh province. The fisherman required dozens of stitches in his leg, leaving locals outraged.

On Friday Risby-Jones said in an interview broadcast on ABC TV it had taken a long time to find a peaceful resolution but it was good to finally get there.

Risby-Jones, while handcuffed and flanked by police, said:

Staying in an Indonesian cell for a month is hard for the body and for mental [wellbeing] … but considering everything, I think my health is doing good.

At the meeting he apologised to the fisherman and his wife and reportedly handed over brown bags full of cash as part of the settlement.

He also apologised to Indonesians, saying he was “very, very sorry for the grief I’ve caused”.

Local authorities in Aceh said the amount agreed on was 250 million rupiah ($A25,000). The fisherman’s family had originally sought around $A60,000.

Risby-Jones is expected to remain in custody until authorities sign off on the deal, allowing him to return home to Australia next month.

Exclusion zone around scene of Surry Hill’s building blaze remains

The exclusion zone surrounding the building that caught fire in Sydney’s Surry Hills on Thursday remains after an external wall moved 70mm over night, according to Fire and Rescue NSW.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, but two teenagers were assisting police with their inquiries on Friday after the “once in a decade” inferno consumed the seven-storey building.

On Friday, police said they were also “furiously” searching to locate two people who were among 15 sleeping rough in the building the night before the fire. They have confirmed 13 of those people were safe and well.

Fire and Rescue NSW said firefighters remain on the scene this morning as light smouldering from deep within the rubble continues. Emergency services are determining whether to undertake a controlled demolition of the building.

ABC’s lack of ambition on coronation coverage left Stan Grant to shoulder outsized burden: Margaret Simons

The shortcomings in the media have been laid bare this week after Australia’s most prominent Indigenous journalist, Stan Grant, stood aside from hosting ABC’S Q+A, citing the national broadcaster failed to support him against “relentless” racial abuse.

Margaret Simons has written how this is an important cultural moment to recognise objectivity to white journalists looks very different to those you are, as Grant says, “on the other side of history”.

Those who protest that the golden oldies of the ABC – Kerry O’Brien, Tony Jones and so forth – would have never allowed themselves to become the story in this way miss the point. Indigenous journalists do not, and cannot, have the same relationship to the institution of the ABC, or the wider Australian media, as white journalists.

Read Simon’s take here:

Women going through ‘the change’ left short-changed

Australian women are collectively short-changed in retirement an estimated $15.2bn per year due to earning and superannuation losses when they go through menopause, AAP reports.

The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees’ estimate takes into account the impact untreated or severe menopause symptoms can have on women, including not seeking promotions, going part-time or taking early retirement.

Deputy CEO Mel Birks said cost estimates may vary but the evidence was irrefutable that untreated or severe menopause symptoms exact a heavy toll on women in the workforce.

Menopausal symptoms are one of the factors contributing to the gender gap that sees women retiring on average seven years earlier than men and with 30 per cent less in their superannuation accounts.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has been urging employers to include paid menstrual and menopause leave arrangements in the workplace for some time.

The ACTU supports measures that improve women’s workforce participation, increase flexibility and lead to better outcomes for women, both in work and in retirement.

Jordyn Beazley

Jordyn Beazley

Happy Saturday, everyone! I’ll be leading you through the latest developments this morning.

Adelaide rally against planned anti-protest crackdown

Unions in South Australia stepped up their campaign against the state government’s planned anti-protest laws last night with a rally in Adelaide.

Widespread criticism and condemnation of the summary offences bill has grown, SA Unions said, and a coalition of community representatives and experts will also be staging a demonstration at Parliament House on Tuesday when the laws are to be introduced to the legislative council.

Breaking: In a rare intervention the South Australian Bar Association has come out in support of the community concerns re the anti protest laws saying:

“rushing legislation and bypassing scrutiny is not how good laws are made” #ProtectProtest

— CounterAct – Building People Powered Action (@CounterActOz) May 26, 2023

The SA Unions secretary, Dale Beasley, said:

These laws are unacceptable. The bill is a massive overreach, and a mess of unintended consequences. It must not proceed.
Not only have the government rushed this bill through the lower house, they are now rushing to make it law to stifle community outrage and expert legal opinions.


Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage this Saturday. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be bringing you the best of our overnight stories before my colleague Jordyn Beazley fires up the computer.

Our top story is an exclusive reporting that David Littleproud has offered to help Labor bolster competition law protections for farmers and suppliers in a bid to prevent potential abuses of market power by Australia’s big supermarkets. The Nationals leader proposes making the grocery code of conduct compulsory, boosting penalties to a “punitive” $10m maximum and adding powers to break up grocery giants in the event of misconduct. More on that coming up.

Former defence department boss Dennis Richardson is among past top bureaucrats appointed to independently oversee a major shake-up of Australia’s military. An external advisory panel will oversee the rollout of the Defence Strategic Review recommendations. The panel will include Richardson, former finance department secretary Rosemary Huxtable and former foreign affairs deputy secretary Richard Maude. It will be co-chaired by the former federal minister Stephen Smith and ex-defence chief Sir Angus Houston, who wrote the review report. “Realising the review’s ambition requires major reform,” the defence minister, Richard Marles, said.

It is the start of Reconciliation Week and the theme for 2023 is “Be A Voice For Generation”’, which honours those who fought for justice and those working to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation, including the voice to parliament. Prof Megan Davis, who co-chairs the Uluru Dialogues and has been working on constitutional recognition for more than a decade, says this year’s theme referencing the voice has particular resonance. She wants everyone to read – or reread – the Uluru Statement from the Heart and see for themselves what it says. “The Uluru Statement from the Heart has brought meat and bones and substance back to reconciliation,” she said.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency/news feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.

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