Australia news live updates: NSW passes motion calling on premier to stop Barilaro appointment; nation records 63 Covid deaths | Australia news




Perrottet urged to stop Barilaro appointment pending inquiry

Michael McGowanMichael McGowan

The Labor opposition managed to pass a motion on Wednesday calling for the NSW state government to delay former deputy New South Wales premier John Barilaro’s appointment to a $500,000-a-year trade commissioner job until an urgent upper house inquiry reports its findings.

Terms of reference for the upper house inquiry – which is expected to begin in a matter of weeks – have however to be published, but it will focus on the circumstances, course of action and probity of the appointment.

The motion passed 20 votes to 18, despite opposition from the government and One Nation. While it is not binding, Labor’s upper house leader, Penny Sharpe, said there were questions that needed to be answered before the former deputy premier moved.

“This has been one of the murkiest appointments that we have seen in this 12-year-old government,” she said.

The education minister, Sarah Mitchell, said it was “inappropriate” to block the move.

“By calling on the government to delay his appointment pending an inquiry, the motion is asking the government to interfere in the appointment and employment of a public servant,” she said in parliament.

“This is highly inappropriate. It is not in place of elected officials to be interfering in the engagement or employment of public servants and to call on the government to do so be highly unconventional.”

Updated at 22.59 EDT

Blockade Australia activists say arrests are a ‘weaponization of the legal system’

Blockade Australia has said its climate activists have been slammed with extreme bail conditions and imprisoned for weeks after being arrested in a disorganized raid of a character west of Sydney over the weekend.

Seven people were arrested and given charges with maximum sentences of up to ten years.

The remaining two arrestees have been refused bail and will be imprisoned for weeks until their court hearings on the 12th of July.

Of the seven, five have been released. Their bail conditions include: Residing only at their designated bail address, reporting weekly to the local police stop, remaining within the state, and not entering the Sydney CBD.

This comes in the leadup to Blockade Australia’s Sydney mobilisation to resist climate destruction from July 27th.

In addition, activists have been given unheard of non-association orders which prevent them from interacting with designated members of their community.

Blockade Australia said:

This is an extremely concerning escalation in the repression of climate activists by police. It is intended to intimidate those who seek to challenge climate destruction on this continent with the threat of imprisonment, and to protect the systems destroying our future from community resistance.

It is a weaponisation of the legal system to attack and disempower activists. The fact that these sorts of responses by police are becoming increasingly frequent presents a huge threat to democracy and must be actively resisted by communities.

Updated at 00.13 EDT

ANZ raises fixed rates by up to 0.9%

Australia’s fourth-largest lender, ANZ, has today hiked fixed rates by up to 0.90% points.

This comes a day after Westpac hiked fixed rates by 0.50% points for customers looking to lock in their rate.

From RateCity:

Fixed rates aren’t the only loans undergoing a major transformation. Yesterday, [the] RBA governor, Philip Lowe, said the Board would consider hiking the cash rate again next month by either 0.25% points or 0.50% points.

If the RBA hikes by 0.25% points in July, someone with a $500,000 loan could see their repayments rise by an additional $68 a month.

If the RBA hikes by 0.50 % points, that same borrower would see their monthly repayments rise by an additional $137.

Updated at 00.04 EDT

National Covid summary

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at the minimum 63 deaths from Covid-19:

ACT

  • Deaths: 0
  • situations: 1,085
  • In hospital: 85 (with 1 person in ICU)

NSW

  • Deaths: 26
  • situations: 9,472
  • In hospital: 1,499 (with 51 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0
  • situations: 248
  • In hospital: 12 (with 1 person in ICU)

Queensland

  • Deaths: 6
  • situations: 4,802
  • In hospital: 497 (with 7 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 4
  • situations: 2,686
  • In hospital: 223 (with 7 people in ICU)

Tasmania

  • Deaths: 1
  • situations: 1,157
  • In hospital: 45 (with 3 people in ICU)

Victoria

  • Deaths: 24
  • situations: 7,769
  • In hospital: 402 (with 29 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 2
  • situations: 5,770
  • In hospital: 259 (with 9 people in ICU)

Bob Carr: NY trade commissioner job ‘an expensive joke’

On Twitter, Bob Carr has weighed in on Peter Hannam, Michael McGowan and Tamsin Rose’s story from this morning revealing the NSW government offered a plum trade commissioner job to a senior public servant with a stellar begin again, only to rescind the offer and later appoint the former deputy premier John Barilaro.

Carr’s Tweet:

I never produced such a job when I was Premier because I knew an expensive NY office won’t deliver a single new trade contract or dollop of investment. Savvy US business will make its own decisions, not listen to a retired hack spruiking payroll tax concessions. Expensive joke.

— Bob Carr (@bobjcarr) June 22, 2022

The story:

Updated at 23.42 EDT

SA records four Covid deaths and 2,686 new situations

From SA Health:

There have been 2,686 new situations of Covid-19 reported in South Australia today. There are currently 15,718 active situations in South Australia.

Sadly, SA Health can confirm a woman in her 60s, a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s and a man in his 80s, who tested positive for Covid-19, have passed away.

There are 223 people with Covid-19 in hospital, including seven people in ICU. Of those hospitalised, 132 people have received three or more vaccine doses and 87 people are either unvaccinated or slightly vaccinated and four have an unknown vaccination position.

Due to a reconfiguration of the data, the total number of situations has been readjusted.

Updated at 23.30 EDT

Our own Daniel Hurst is up asking a question in the Press Club.

Hurst: How do you see the Aukus arrangement when it comes to the submarines? How do you see that in terms of us making our own decisions in war?

Well, all these capability decisions should be about increasing Australian independence and sovereignty. That’s the whole reason you have a Defence Force. So that’s absolutely basic.

I would say that to me the larger threat to Australian sovereignty and independence doesn’t come from a like-minded democracy, it comes from a huge superpower in our own vicinity that is run by a Leninist political party. To me, the Aukus arrangement will strengthen our independence and sovereignty because it will give us access to technologies that increase the deterrent strength that we have.

Updated at 23.24 EDT

Lowy Institute: only 1-in-10 Australians trust China

Fullilove says we need to reset relations with China, revealing that our trust in the country has slipped already further:

Four years ago, over half of Australians, 52%, trusted China. But … by last year that figure had dropped to 16%.

And I can show today that in the 2022 Lowy Institute poll, that number has fallen further to 12%. So while 9-in-10 Australians believe our alliance with the United States is important to our security, only 1-in-10 Australians trust China.

This is no cause for celebration. It is in our interest that relations between Canberra and Beijing are stable and … productive. This is in China’s interest, too. We should certainly be on speaking terms with China, as are all our Quad partners. So it’s good the defence minister, Richard Marles, met with his style at the Shangri-la dialogue 10 days ago. This is just a first step to a difficult path.

Updated at 23.43 EDT

WA records two Covid deaths and 5,770 new situations

WA has recorded two deaths and 5,770 new situations.

Today’s report includes two deaths, dating back to 6 June, which were reported to WA Health yesterday; a man in his 90s and man in his 80s.

Active situations: 28,770

situations in hospital: 259

situations in ICU: 9

Updated at 23.04 EDT

Lowy Institute: Australia can make a meaningful contribution to both climate change and regional security

Back to Fullilove quickly, who is now speaking on the divisiveness of climate change policy in Australia’s recent history:

The Albanese government has indicated it intends to work by the UN to promote global action to tackle the climate crisis including by bidding to cohost the 29th Conference Of the Parties (Cop29) in 2024.

Imagine if Australia were to become a leader in international climate negotiations, seeking to shape outcomes instead of a laggard seeking to stymie them. I hope this election signals the end of Australia’s climate wars which destroyed several chief ministers and nearly broke our politics.

I must tell you I have long been perplexed by the inconsistent approaches … that Australians, conservatives and progressives, take to the two different issues of hard security and climate. Many on the right believe, seemingly, that we should rule on security and free ride on climate. And many on the left believe we should rule on climate and free ride on security.

But these are both good fights and I’m in favour of fighting both of them. Australia can’t stop global warming alone and neither can we ensure stability in this vicinity. But in both situations, we can make a meaningful contribution, and a sure route to failure is if countries such as Australia stand down instead of standing up.

Updated at 23.43 EDT

Perrottet urged to stop Barilaro appointment pending inquiry

Michael McGowanMichael McGowan

The Labor opposition managed to pass a motion on Wednesday calling for the NSW state government to delay former deputy New South Wales premier John Barilaro’s appointment to a $500,000-a-year trade commissioner job until an urgent upper house inquiry reports its findings.

Terms of reference for the upper house inquiry – which is expected to begin in a matter of weeks – have however to be published, but it will focus on the circumstances, course of action and probity of the appointment.

The motion passed 20 votes to 18, despite opposition from the government and One Nation. While it is not binding, Labor’s upper house leader, Penny Sharpe, said there were questions that needed to be answered before the former deputy premier moved.

“This has been one of the murkiest appointments that we have seen in this 12-year-old government,” she said.

The education minister, Sarah Mitchell, said it was “inappropriate” to block the move.

“By calling on the government to delay his appointment pending an inquiry, the motion is asking the government to interfere in the appointment and employment of a public servant,” she said in parliament.

“This is highly inappropriate. It is not in place of elected officials to be interfering in the engagement or employment of public servants and to call on the government to do so be highly unconventional.”

Updated at 22.59 EDT

The executive director of the Lowy Institute, Michael Fullilove, is speaking at the Press Club right now.

He has just shared some findings from the 2022 Lowy Institute poll which will release next week.

This year, when thinking about world events, only five-in-10 Australians say they feel very safe or safe.

This represents a 17 point fall from last year and a 39 point fall from 2010, when 9-in-10 Australians felt safe. So in a bit more than a decade, we have gone from 9-in-10 to 5-in-10.

It’s not all bad news, however.

The United States is now being led by a decent human being – something that wasn’t true until comparatively recently. In the defence of Ukraine, the Biden administration has led by example, providing weapons, intelligence and funds to Kyiv.

Other western countries, the scales falling from their eyes, have also stepped in. Sweden and Finland have applied to join Nato. There has been a quickening of connections between like-minded countries in the confront of challenges from Russia and China.

Updated at 23.44 EDT

Cait KellyCait Kelly

Hello everyone – this is Cait Kelly, you know the drill – if you want to flag soemthing you can ping me @cait__kelly or email [email protected]

Let’s get into it!

Updated at 22.39 EDT

Mostafa RachwaniMostafa Rachwani

And with that, I will hand the blog over to Cait Kelly. Thanks for reading.

Updated at 22.39 EDT

NT records 248 new Covid situations; ACT reports 1,085 new situations

The Northern Territory is reporting 248 new Covid situations overnight, while the Australian Capital Territory has recorded 1,085 new situations:

ACT COVID-19 Update – 22 June 2022

💉 COVID-19 vaccinations
◾ Aged 5-11 years (1 measure): 80.6%
◾ Aged 5-11 years (2 doses): 68.6%
◾ Aged 5+ years (2 doses): 97.3%
◾ Aged 16+ years (3 doses): 77.1% pic.twitter.com/LyMKKZNNQT

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) June 22, 2022

So Anthony Albanese’s press conference has come to an end, but not before the PM launched into another attack on the former government, saying he is “not focusing on the politics” and that he will function with an eye on the next election:

What I’m doing is focusing on good policy, because I believe that when Australians see a government that’s truly doing its job, it’s not issuing media releases don’t rule to anything that’s truly making childcare cheaper, as we said we would that’s investing in housing and creating the housing Australia Future Fund, because we said we would. That’s creating jobs and skills in Australia and dealing with the skills crisis, because we said we would that’s dealing when it comes to energy.

Can you imagine the other mob? That would have had four different policies in the last week. They would have had announcements and declarations that things were going to change. We didn’t. We got together state and territory ministers. We supported Aemo to take the action in which they did. We acted in a way that ensured that they weren’t blackouts that we dealt with a crisis that was not of our creation. That was the former government’s creation and responsibility. But we dealt with it.

And I said during the election campaign that I had my eye on two dates. One was the 21st of May. There are a range of people who made comments 18 months ago that we couldn’t win this election. I said that we had a plan.

The plan that I also said we had was an eye on the election in 2025. An election in which we will go to the people saying that we have acted responsibly, that we haven’t acted on a 24-hour political cycle basis every day that our announcements truly rule to something happening and we will go to the people including here in Tasmania with that record.

Updated at 22.28 EDT



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