By Anna Patty
Thanks for joining us today. Here’s a recap of some of our main headlines:
- The opposition’s Indigenous affairs spokesman and shadow attorney-general Julian Leeser resigned from thefront bench over the Liberal Party’s position on the Voice.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese praised Julian Leeser in a post on Instagram for making a “principled decision to campaign for a yes vote at the referendum”.
- Opposition leader Peter Dutton said while Leeser conducted himself with dignity, he was at odds with the majority of the party when he resigned over his position on the Voice.
- Consumer confidence has surged after the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decided to hold off lifting interest rates.
- New Zealand will retain its seven-day COVID-19 self-isolation period for people with the virus for at least another two months. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ cabinet reviewed its pandemic settings today and decided after a “difficult balancing act” to hold on to the measure.
- China is reviewing the ban on Australian barley in a major trade shift, Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced this morning in Adelaide.
- Rapid delivery service Milkrun will shut after it claimed in February this year that its hubs were no longer losing money.
- Latitude Financial received a ransom demand after 14 million consumers had their data stolen in a cybersecurity breach.
- In the US, a bank employee who killed four in a shooting livestreamed the fatal attack on social media.
Ethan Ewing’s name will be etched alongside his late mother’s on the steps at Bells Beach after he claimed his first Rip Curl Pro title on Tuesday, 40 years after his mum, Helen Lambert, won the historic event. Meanwhile, reigning Bells Beach champion Tyler Wright has defended her title, beating world No.1 and fellow Australian Molly Picklum in the final of the women’s event.
Warren Mundine says Leeser resignation ‘means nothing’ for No campaign
By Anna Patty
Leading No campaigner on the Voice, Warren Mundine has dismissed Julian Leeser’s resignation from the Liberal Party front bench as having no impact on the No campaign.
“It means nothing really,” he told ABC Melbourne Radio on Tuesday.
While Leeser’s opposition to the no campaign was no surprise, Mundine said Leeser’s speech at the National Press Club on Tuesday were surprising.
“It seems to have some very strange positions is that is he brought up that the wording is, is dangerous at the Press Club, and then he turns around and says, yes, I want the wording to be changed, but I’m still going to vote yes,” Mundine said.
Asked if more Liberal MPs might split with the party position, Mundine said: “There’s going to be a few people in the back benches, of course.
“It’s a small minority. It’s not even a distraction.”
Leeser position was dignified but at odds with the Liberal Party majority: Dutton
Opposition leader Peter Dutton said shadow attorney-general Julian Leeser conducted himself with dignity but was at odds with the majority of the party when resigning from the front bench earlier today due to his position on the Voice.
Leeser, who also held the Indigenous Australians portfolio, announced on Tuesday he will move to the backbench to campaign in favour of the Voice to parliament referendum, after the Liberal party positioned itself to formally oppose it last week.
Speaking with Michael McLaren on Nine’s 2GB, Dutton said he had the utmost respect for Leeser however his view was at odds with the vast majority of the Liberal Party room.
“He’s conducted himself with dignity during his time in public life and don’t forget before he came into parliament, he was very heavily involved in Indigenous communities,” Dutton said.
“His view is at odds with the vast majority of our Liberal Party room, the vast majority had this discussion, they decided that they don’t support the Voice.”
Dutton emphasised Leeser did not agree with the wording of the Voice however also acknowledged the former shadow attorney-general would be voting yes regardless.
“He doesn’t agree with the words, and he’s going to campaign for a tighter form of words in the run-up to the October vote,” he said.
“He’s indicated [he will vote yes regardless], and as I say, before he got into parliament he was involved in all sorts of discussions around how recognition could take place, how the Voice could work etcetera.”
Ewing wins men’s Rip Curl Pro, Wright defends women’s title
By Damien Ractliffe
Ethan Ewing’s name will be etched alongside his late mother’s on the steps at Bells Beach after he claimed his first Rip Curl Pro title on Tuesday, 40 years after his mum, Helen Lambert, won the historic event.
Meanwhile, reigning Bells Beach champion Tyler Wright has defended her title, beating world No.1 and fellow Australian Molly Picklum in the final of the women’s event.
It was Ewing’s second career World Surf League victory, after winning at J-Bay last year, repeating what his mother achieved in 1983 in claiming surfing’s most recognisable trophy.
Helen Ewing (née Lambert) passed away in 2005 after a five-year battle with breast cancer, aged 39. Ethan, the youngest of three boys, was aged just six.
“Such a special thing. I’ve been thinking about it,” Ewing said in the immediate aftermath of his win. “It’s been a huge goal of mine and in honour of her, I wanted to do her proud. It’s so good.”
Smoke forces plane to make emergency landing
A plane carrying almost 150 passengers made an emergency landing at Melbourne Airport after smoke was detected onboard.
Emergency services were called to the airport on Tuesday after the captain of the Rex flight from Sydney flagged the problem: smoke in a toilet.
A spokesperson for the airline said the plane landed safely and passengers alighted normally.
“Rex Flight ZL31, operating Sydney to Melbourne, landed safely late this morning after smoke was reported in the aft lavatory. As an abundance of caution, the captain declared an emergency,” the spokesperson said.
Engineers identified the cause of the smoke and the aircraft resumed operations.
Australian MPs call on US to drop Assange extradition
Australian parliamentarians from across political sides are increasing pressure on the US government to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange.
Coinciding with the fourth anniversary of Assange’s imprisonment in the UK, 48 Australian MPs and senators have signed a letter to US Attorney-General Merrick Garland urging him to end the pursuit of the WikiLeaks co-founder.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie initiated the letter, which was signed by government backbenchers along with coalition, Greens and crossbench MPs.
Similar letters have also been sent by British MPs from both the Conservative and Labour parties, as well as lawmakers in Mexico and Brazil.
Assange, an Australian citizen, has been held in London’s Belmarsh prison since 2019 and is fighting extradition to face espionage charges in the US.
Appeals to stop his extradition are currently before the UK courts.
Ukraine enlists AC/DC in plea for Australian Hawkei military vehicles
By Matthew Knott
The Ukrainian government has taken to social media to plead with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to donate protected mobility vehicles to help beat back invading Russian forces, describing the Australian-made four-wheel drives as its new military “crush”.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age revealed in September that Ukraine was lobbying for Australia to send a fleet of Hawkei vehicles to test them in a war zone, but the government has declined to provide any despite repeated requests.
The patrol vehicles, which have never been used on a battlefield, were specially designed and manufactured for the Australian Defence Force at defence contractor Thales’ facility in Bendigo, Victoria.
In a Twitter message posted on Tuesday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said: “Our soldiers absolutely love Australian Bushmasters. But now they have a new crush: the Hawkei. These two would be a perfect match on the battlefield.
“We would truly appreciate their reunion in Ukraine, @AlboMP!”
The post was accompanied by a minute-long video, set to a soundtrack of ACDC’s Back in Black, showing Hawkeis in action and describing them as a “perfect reconnaissance vehicle”.
Australian classrooms among least disciplined
Australian classrooms are among the least disciplined, and the nation’s teachers feel the least prepared to tackle poor student behaviour, according to an international education report.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s education policy outlook shows Australia’s learning environments are “less favourable in terms of disciplinary climate, intimidation or bullying”.
Fewer Australian teachers reported feeling prepared or capable of managing disruptive classroom behaviour than their counterparts across the OECD, which has 38 member countries.
Australian teachers also worked higher-than-average net teaching hours and had slightly less competitive salaries compared with other similarly educated professions, except for school principals.
The report cited high levels of attrition as an area of concern for the Australian education system, saying a “strong” supply of highly qualified and engaged teachers was needed.
“National evidence has projected a deficit of 4100 secondary school teachers needed by 2025,” the report says.
The report found evidence of growing disengagement among students in their final years of high school, due to disruptions including the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-existing “cumulative learning gaps”.
Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said the report confirmed the “equity issues and teacher workforce challenges we face”.
“While the report shows we have a good education system by international standards, we know it should be a lot better and a lot fairer,” he said.
Kiwi COVID-19 isolation period to remain
New Zealand will retain its seven-day COVID-19 self-isolation period for people with the virus for at least another two months.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins’ cabinet reviewed its pandemic settings today and decided after a “difficult balancing act” to hold on to the measure.
“We’ve had to weigh a number of things quite carefully,” he said.
“The isolation period serves not just to relieve pressure on the health system and result in fewer people being infected, but actually, there is a labour market incentive for this as well.“
Mr Hipkins said he envisaged NZ shedding the rule by year’s end, ordering further advice on a “test to return to work” system which will be considered in June.
“We are heading towards a point where COVID-19 will become normal. I would expect certainly at the latest by the end of the winter we’ll be into that zone,” he said.
Albanese praises Leeser on Instagram
By Lisa Visentin
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who is currently on leave, has praised Julian Leeser in a post on Instagram.
“Julian Leeser has made a principled decision to campaign for a yes vote at the referendum, like so many people from all sides of politics who are approaching this process in good faith. Peter Dutton has underestimated the number of Liberal and National voters who will show generosity and goodwill, and vote yes to constitutional recognition in this referendum,” he said.
Minister Linda Burney has also welcomed Leeser’s decision to quit the opposition frontbench in order to campaign for the Voice.
“Julian Leeser has shown strength today in putting his principles ahead of politics. He joins a growing chorus of Liberals who will be campaigning for constitutional recognition through a Voice – including former Cabinet Minister Ken Wyatt, Bridget Archer and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff,” she said in a statement.
“It can’t have been easy for him to resign from the Shadow Cabinet. His decision reflects his long-held commitment to constitutional recognition through a Voice, and an understanding that this year’s referendum is a once-in-a-generation chance to make a real difference in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and help close the gap.”
Director of the Yes campaign, Dean Parkin, also backed Leeser’s move as an “admirable and principled one”.
“At a time when many people are disillusioned with business-as-usual politics, Mr Leeser’s decision shows support for a Yes vote transcends party political lines and reflects a desire by many Australians to be part of a successful Yes vote.”
Most Viewed in National