Construction union leader John Setka has been condemned by Peter Dutton for threatening the AFL if it does not sack former building watchdog Stephen McBurney as its head of umpiring.

Setka told The Australian newspaper he had an “obligation to pursue anti-union, anti-worker f–kers like him and we will until the end of the earth.”

 Victorian CFMEU boss John Setka.

Victorian CFMEU boss John Setka.Credit: Jason South

The controversial Victorian CFMEU boss said he would not help alleviate cost overruns on AFL-related projects unless McBurney, who previously led a building watchdog that penalised the union with millions of fines for breaking the law, was sacked as the AFL umpires boss.

“The CFMEU is out of control,” Dutton said.

“We’ve got a PM so weak he can’t stand up to a union bully boy and I think the PM should condemn these actions.“

Sekta told 3AW on Wednesday McBurney’s track record of going after unions was enough to get him sacked.

Planning for one of the largest infrastructure and building projects in the country is set for an overhaul after a manager was installed to address “unacceptable” delays at Sydney’s new airport city.

The centre – being built on the doorstep of the 24-hour international Western Sydney Airport – has been plagued with construction issues and will likely take decades to be completed.

Premier Chris Minns on Wednesday conceded a more streamlined approach was needed.

NSW Premier Chris Minns.

NSW Premier Chris Minns.Credit: Dominic Lorrimer

“This is all part of our plan to put an end to the years of obstruction and delay that slowed down the delivery of essential infrastructure across western Sydney and NSW,” he said.

“Delays to the delivery of essential infrastructure (have been) exacerbated by a lack of coordination.”

Minns was joined by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney today, spruiking progress of the jointly funded Sydney Metro to Western Sydney Airport project.

Under the overhaul, the state’s infrastructure co-ordinator general will oversee housing and road building around the airport and the delivery of freight, logistics and jobs in the area.

Responsibilities will be shifted to Infrastructure NSW from the Western Parkland City Authority, which will be renamed the Bradfield Development Authority and focus exclusively on the development of the Bradfield town centre.

AAP

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Australia’s credibility in the Pacific is dependent on a government that sticks to its climate change targets, for the sake of the region’s island neighbours.

The Prime Minister said Pacific Island nations, including Tuvalu and Kiribati, face an existential threat to their existence.

He said the Pacific nations regard action on climate change as the “entry fee for engagement” in our region.

“It was the Coalition government that signed up to the Paris Accord, and now what Peter Dutton is saying is that he won’t have a 2030 target. He won’t tell you what he will do before the election,” Albanese said.

The Prime Minister is in Sydney spruiking progress of The Sydney Metro to Western Sydney Airport project alongside NSW Premier Chris Minns.

Albanese has repeated his claim the Opposition Leader is “more right-wing, more conservative and more anti-climate change action” than his predecessor Scott Morrison.

“Whenever Peter Dutton has put out a detail of a policy, it has fallen into a heap within minutes, and that’s why he has more than two years without having a single costed alternative policy to the governments’ plans,” he said.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has named and shamed Israel’s armed and security forces, Palestinian militants Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and Sudan’s warring parties for killing and maiming children in 2023, adding them to an annual global list of offenders for violations against children.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.Credit: AP

In a report to the UN Security Council on Tuesday (US time), Guterres also called out the armed forces of Israel and Sudan for attacking schools and hospitals and Hamas and Islamic Jihad for abducting children.

“In 2023, violence against children in armed conflict reached extreme levels, with a shocking 21 per cent increase in grave violations,” the report read.

“The number of instances of killing and maiming increased by a staggering 35 per cent.

“The highest numbers of grave violations were verified in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Somalia, Nigeria and Sudan,” found the report, describing verification as “extremely challenging”.

The report attributed 5698 violations to Israel’s armed and security forces, 116 to Hamas and 21 to Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The UN verified the killing of 2267 Palestinian children – most in Gaza between October 7 and December 31 – but said the process of determining attribution was ongoing, adding: “Most incidents were caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas by Israeli armed and security forces.”

There were 371 verified attacked on schools and hospitals in 2023, of which Israel’s forces were responsible for 340, according to the report.

The UN also verified five instances of military use of ambulances by Israeli forces and one case where Hamas had used a health centre for military purposes.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas over an October 7 attack by its militants. More than 1200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage by Hamas on October 7, according to Israeli tallies. More than 100 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

Israel’s UN envoy Gilad Erdan said on Friday he had been notified that Israel’s military had been added to the list, describing the decision as “shameful.” Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is in Sydney today with NSW Premier Chris Minns. The pair spoke to the media this morning, you can watch it back here.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the Opposition’s claim of an energy policy prioritising the economy was “nonsense”, pointing to the forecast cost of future nuclear reactors.

The Prime Minister told ABC News Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s policy was a “complete vacuum”.

’He’s saying, “we won’t tell you what we will do before the election,” because he knows that the plan says we’ll have a nuclear reactor, which will be eight times more expensive than renewables,” Albanese said.

Dutton stoked the climate debate this week saying Labor was focused on the people of Paris while he was focused on Australia’s economic recovery.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

The Paris Agreement commits nations to contributing to action that limits global warming to under 2 degrees – and as close to 1.5 degrees as possible – to avoid the worst damage.

Albanese said Labor remained positive about meeting its 43 per cent reduction target, while the Coalition was divided on its policy.

“You’ve got different policies out there by Bridget Archer today, saying that they have to have a 2030 target,” Albanese said.

“You’ve got Barnaby Joyce, who’s one of their frontbenchers, along with people like Matt Canavan, saying that they should not support net-zero by 2050.

“You have absolute chaos on the Coalition side, and what we need is certainty.”

An Australian senator says the community can’t legislate away a cultural problem with young boys, after fake nude images of about 50 school girls were circulated online.

Matt Canavan said the circulation of the images, which has prompted a Victorian police investigation, represented a broader cultural problem.

“It is a cultural issue across our society that for whatever reason, the standards of behaviour are not being taught to young boys,” the Queensland Nationals senator told Nine on Wednesday morning.

“I wish I had the answers – I don’t – but I don’t necessarily think it’s something a government or a law can change.

“We’ve all got to chip in to try and make sure that young boys understand what it means to grow up to be a man and live by the standards that society expects.”

Mr Canavan said technology had “supercharged” boys’ bad behaviour, after it was revealed images of students from Bacchus Marsh Grammar, northwest of Melbourne, were spread online.

School principal Andrew Neal said images of female students had been manipulated using AI to make obscene photographs.

“It’s appalling. It is something that strikes to the heart of students, particularly girls growing up at this age,” Neal told the ABC.

A teenager was arrested over the explicit images circulated online.

The boy was released pending further inquiries and an investigation was ongoing as of Wednesday.

Read Wendy Tuohy’s article on the Victorian private school students here.

AAP

Teal MP Zoe Daniel has criticised the opposition and Labor for the ongoing climate debate, telling ABC Radio National it was frustrating constituents.

The independent member for Goldstein said the view in electorates like hers was that strong accountability on climate change was going to come from the crossbench, not from the two major parties.

Daniel accused Labor of “talking out of both sides of their mouths” by approving new oil and gas projects while trying to hit a 43 per cent reduction target by 2030.

She said the Opposition was using “ideology, not policy” by refusing to discuss a 2030 target before the federal election and instead shifting its focus to 2050.

“I really see it as a return to the politics of fear. If you’re going to have the courage of your convictions, announce what your target is and put the detail behind it,” she said.

“I speak for my community, who I believe do want strong action on this.”

Commuters and students heading to school on Sydney’s light rail network will be forced onto buses as light rail workers take industrial action on Wednesday.

For the entire day, no light rail services will run on the L1 Dulwich Hill, L2 Randwick or L3 Kingsford tram lines.

Buses will help students get to Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls High Schools, and commuters are urged to find alternative ways of getting to work.

The industrial action comes amid a pay dispute between tram workers and the operator Transdev, with workers rejecting the latest pay offer that did not include sufficient sick days, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union said.

The 24-hour strike isn’t the only action being taken, with workers refusing to wear uniforms, refusing overtime and travelling at lower speeds for the foreseeable future.

Home Affairs minister Clare O’Neil has called the Coalition’s emissions reductions stance “divisive and divided”, saying a reignition of the climate discussion is holding the country back.

O’Neil told Sunrise the Labor government was doing the right thing by the planet and the economy by sticking to a 42 per cent reduction target by 2030.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“We’ve set these targets, we’ve entered the Paris Agreement, we’re doing the right thing by the globe,” she said.

“What we have on the other side is this divisive, divided Coalition – that not only has an idea they’re going to introduce nuclear power plants but won’t tell anyone where they’re going to be – but now says they’re not even going to put forward climate targets between now and the next election.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused Dutton of an “extraordinary abandonment” of climate change action after the Liberal leader said on Tuesday the Coalition would not announce its revised emissions targets for 2030 until after the next federal election.

O’Neil said Australia has the chance to capture an opportunity to invest in renewables.

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