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And that’s a wrap. Here’s what we were talking about today:

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Thank you for joining us.

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Queensland’s premier said there is “no update” on the state’s planned anti-discrimination reforms.

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My colleague Ben Smee reported this morning that they were considering watering down reforms designed to ban discrimination in religious schools.

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“Is there any update on the anti-discrimination changes in relation to Citipointe?” the premier, Steven Miles, was asked a press conference this afternoon.

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“No, not at this stage,” he said.

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The New South Wales premier, Chris Minns, has condemned the vandalism of the US consulate in Sydney overnight as “reprehensible”.

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NSW police said earlier today that the consulate in North Sydney had been damaged with a sledgehammer and grafittied with inverted red triangles, a symbol used by some pro-Palestinian activists.

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Police are appealing to the public for additional information after reviewing CCTV footage they said showed a person outside the building carrying what appeared to be a small sledgehammer, wearing a dark coloured hoodie with their face obscured.

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Nine small holes had been smashed into the windows at the front of the building, police said.

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Addressing the incident at a press conference this morning, Minns said:

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\n

Even if there’s disagreement about events taking place overseas, no one wants to see violence or malicious damage in NSW.

\n

I think it’s reprehensible. It’s an indication of a kind of coarsening of the public debate that no one needs in Australia.

\n

This kind of behaviour will be investigated and punished by NSW police.

\n

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Back to former Victoria premier Dan Andrews being awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia – senator Jacqui Lambie says politicians being awarded for the job “we get paid to do” is “beyond me”.

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Speaking on Today Online this morning, she said:

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\n

A lot of people out there … do great things, but don’t have a lot of money, and they’re doing great things around their own community. Why they continue to give politicians awards is beyond me. Really gets up my nose. I have to be honest with you, we get paid to do the job for you. We shouldn’t be getting awards on top of it. Full stop.

\n

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Lambie.","caption":"Jacqui Lambie.","credit":"Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP"}}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1717984900000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"22.01 EDT","blockLastUpdated":1717987016000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"22.36 EDT","blockFirstPublished":1717985337000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"22.08 EDT","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"22.08","title":"Jacqui Lambie: ‘Why they continue to give politicians awards is beyond me’","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Mon 10 Jun 2024 03.32 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Sun 9 Jun 2024 17.35 EDT"},{"id":"66665d0c8f083af419fdf2fd","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

The US consulate in Sydney has been vandalised with a sledgehammer, New South Wales police say, after it was painted with a symbol used by some pro-Palestinian activists.

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Police were called to the consulate on Miller St in North Sydney about 3am this morning after they received a report someone had smashed nine small holes in the windows at the front of the building.

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The windows had also been painted with inverted red triangles, a controversial symbol that has been used in videos by Hamas’ military wing to identify Israeli military targets, but has also been adopted in global protests intended as a general symbol of support for the Palestinian cause.

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Police are appealing to the public for additional information after reviewing CCTV footage they said showed a person outside the building carrying what appeared to be a small sledgehammer, wearing a dark coloured hoodie with their face obscured.

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Police were unable to say whether the person seen carrying the sledgehammer outside the building had also painted the graffiti.

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The incident came after the Israel Defence Forces freed four Israeli hostages in Gaza over the weekend, eight months after they were captured by Hamas militants.

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Palestinian authorities have said at least 210 Palestinians were killed and about 400 wounded in Israeli strikes in al-Nuseirat, where the hostages were being held.

","elementId":"60454b5b-72c5-4be2-9b41-2e4cede7fb0c"}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1717984524000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"21.55 EDT","blockLastUpdated":1717985376000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"22.09 EDT","blockFirstPublished":1717984570000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"21.56 EDT","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"21.56","title":"US consulate in Sydney vandalised","contributors":[{"name":"Catie McLeod","imageUrl":"https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/07/28/Caite_McLeod.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=6f2ffdf8677e4089f7e2bcded05b37f5","largeImageUrl":"https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/07/28/Caite_McLeod.png?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=21fec63aba17059cfef75e5087290b7c"}],"primaryDateLine":"Mon 10 Jun 2024 03.32 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Sun 9 Jun 2024 17.35 EDT"},{"id":"6666557e8f08d846f761c07f","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Albanese:

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\n

You can’t shape the future if you’re afraid of it, and Peter Dutton is afraid of the future, and he’s incapable of leading Australia towards the future that we need.

\n

Peter Dutton is worse than Scott Morrison on climate change. He is all negativity and no plan.

\n

And what we’ve seen now for two years under Peter Dutton is a reluctance to announce any policies. We’ve seen three, now, budget replies without a single costing. And now he and the Coalition are exposed for what that means.

\n

If you have a budget reply without any media releases, without any costings, without any serious policies, then you can’t be taken seriously as the alternative

\n

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A suburban Sydney council will need to repay millions of dollars it controversially received from a grants fund awarded to almost entirely Coalition electorates under the former New South Wales government.

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Hornsby Shire Council, in the city’s north, was awarded $40 million to build a park under the Stronger Communities fund set up in 2017 to support councils that were forced to merge.

","elementId":"5fe64600-3f8b-48d0-af24-2bc9a73c72ed"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

But the council never amalgamated and an inquiry would later reveal 96 per cent of grants went to coalition or marginal electorates in the lead up to the 2019 NSW election.

","elementId":"24ed7ac8-7fc2-400a-a9c3-dd943f51b135"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

On Monday, the NSW Labor government ordered the council to repay $36m in unspent funds, describing the scheme as “egregious” pork barrelling.

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“There have been significant delays in the delivery of the project and limited progress has been demonstrated, with most of the grant money yet to be spent,” a statement read.

","elementId":"e9386c9f-d506-4b32-a4c3-9d33148b772f"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

A request from the council for an extension of time to utilise the unspent funds has been refused.

","elementId":"5fb1dcee-ed2e-4da2-bedc-f03f13c89d16"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

A separate request for an extension to use a $50 million grant to turn a quarry into parkland has been approved after construction was found to have significantly progressed.

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– via AAP

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The New South Wales premier, Chris Minns, said the crowd management at Vivid festival over the weekend was “not good and not good enough” after attendees feared a crowd crush while leaving a drone show at the festival on Saturday night.

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Speaking on Nine this morning, Minns said lessons had been learned and that Sunday had been a smoother and safer experience.

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He said:

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\n

We’ve learned from the mistakes of that first drone show. The second night, the subsequent night, went better, according to NSW police.

\n

They did a big walk through in the morning, worked out what went wrong, road closures were put in place at an earlier point in the day and we also made sure that some of the crowd barricades weren’t put in the same spots. Last night went better.

\n

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He said he hoped families would be able to enjoy the final drone show “and we do a better job of crowd management”.

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large crowd gathered to watch the drone show at Sydney Harbour on Saturday night.","caption":"The large crowd gathered to watch the drone show at Sydney Harbour on Saturday night.","credit":"Photograph: Anthony Warren"}}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1717977392000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"19.56 EDT","blockLastUpdated":1717980919000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"20.55 EDT","blockFirstPublished":1717977411000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"19.56 EDT","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"19.56","title":"NSW premier says Vivid crowd management ‘not good enough’","contributors":[{"name":"Tamsin Rose","imageUrl":"https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/05/01/Tamsin_Rose.jpg?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=4c3be61faa739f3b8d0d7efb53489118","largeImageUrl":"https://i.guim.co.uk/img/uploads/2023/05/01/Tamsin_Rose.png?width=300&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=73992aaff3095b88ed9e27e0c7bfc56e"}],"primaryDateLine":"Mon 10 Jun 2024 03.32 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Sun 9 Jun 2024 17.35 EDT"},{"id":"666629128f083af419fdf1f2","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Baby boomers can see younger Australians are struggling financially and want to help where they can, but they are not willing to do so at the expense of their retirement lifestyle, new research shows.

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Four in five Australians over 65 think their children are facing harder times than they experienced at the same age and a corresponding three in four believe passing on their wealth is important, according to new research by AMP.

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But despite wanting to help, seven in ten surveyed said they were reluctant to compromise their retirement lifestyle to do so.

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“There’s a widely held perception that older people think younger people have it better than they did. You know, ‘kids these days’,” said AMP’s director of retirement Ben Hillier.

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The research is challenging that, he said.

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\n

But you have this bipolar situation where while they do believe they’re struggling and they do want to help them, they’re not comfortable to do so at the expense of their own lifestyles.

\n

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– via AAP

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More to come in the next post.

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The government will today launch a new $63.4m ‘Give Up For Good’ campaign targeting smokers and vapers, younger and older.

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The federal government says the campaign is historic: the first time that it has advertised to the public about the risks and harms of vaping, the first time in nearly 10 years that it has produced a national smoking campaign, and the first time that TikTok will be used in an Australian government campaign.

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The campaign includes four separate but complementary streams of advertising targeting key audiences:

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The advertising will run until December 2024 and is part of a multi-year investment, with future phases of advertising planned.

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The expanded support services will include:

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    \n

  • funding to expand and ensure nationally equitable access to Quitline services;

  • \n

  • development of an online cessation hub that is now live at quit.org.au;

  • \n

  • redevelopment of the My QuitBuddy app to provide new features and support;

  • \n

  • dedicated resources to support parents and carers; and

  • \n

  • updated clinical guidance for health practitioners.

  • \n

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Quit director Rachael Andersen said:

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\n

We’re here to help all Australians quitting smoking or vaping. Our new digital hub will evolve to meet the needs of young people, those most targeted by the insidious Big Tobacco industry, intent on hooking a new generation of customers on nicotine.

\n

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Health minister Mark Butler said:

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The Albanese Government has been closing every one of the loopholes left by the former government’s failed vaping policies, including closing the border to non-therapeutic vapes and introducing world leading legislation to prevent the commercial possession, sale, supply and manufacture.

\n

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The Labor minister Anne Aly will attend an international conference convened by Egypt, Jordan and the UN “on the urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza”, on behalf of the foreign minister, Penny Wong.

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Aly, the minister for early childhood education and the minister for youth, will travel to Amman in Jordan for the conference, which is due to be held tomorrow.

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In a statement, Wong and Aly’s offices restate the Australian government’s call “that Israel must comply with the binding orders of the International Court of Justice, including to enable the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance at scale”.

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Aly said the “humanitarian situation in Gaza is catastrophic”:

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Over one million Palestinians are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity and around 1.7 million people have been displaced, many several times over. Humanitarian access remains grossly inadequate.

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And Wong urged that “this war must end”:

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The human suffering in Gaza is unacceptable. Australia has been part of the international push for a ceasefire, for humanitarian aid to reach Gazans in desperate need, and for hostages to be released. Australia’s participation in this conference is part of that international effort.

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Dr Anne Aly and her family are among many in the Australian community who have lived experience and understanding of the long and devastating conflict in the Middle East.

\n

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minister for early childhood education, Anne Aly.","caption":"The minister for early childhood education, Anne Aly.","credit":"Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP"}}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1717969327000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"17.42 EDT","blockLastUpdated":1717970357000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"17.59 EDT","blockFirstPublished":1717969870000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"17.51 EDT","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"17.51","title":"Anne Aly to represent Australia at Gaza humanitarian conference","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Mon 10 Jun 2024 03.32 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Sun 9 Jun 2024 17.35 EDT"},{"id":"66661cbd8f08d846f761bf5a","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Coles is limiting how many eggs customers can buy after a deadly strain of bird flu was found at a fifth farm in Victoria.

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The Coles online store notifies customers of the egg limit:

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Due to supply issues, we have introduced a temporary limit of 2 items per transaction on eggs.

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The limit comes days after an avian influenza strain, H7N3, was detected at a Lethbridge farm owned by Farm Pride in south-west Victoria, sparking a safety alert for all bird owners including farmers and households with chickens.

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Hundreds of thousands of hens have been culled amid the outbreak. Read more here:

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And welcome back to another week of the live blog. To start us off this morning, a few top stories:

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The federal government will today launch a new $63.4m “Give Up For Good” advertising campaign targeting smokers and vapers. The government says it is the first time it has advertised to the public about the risks and harms of vaping, and the first time in nearly 10 years that it has produced a national anti-smoking campaign.

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Emergency services will begin assessing damage to river towns near Sydney as floods recede and residents return home, AAP reports. Residents of Pitt Town Bottoms, Camden and Ellis Lane were allowed to return yesterday morning, but the New South Wales State Emergency Service is urging people to remain wary around the Hawkesbury Nepean catchment.

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The Queensland attorney general, Yvette D’Ath, is pushing to water down draft reforms to the state’s Anti-Discrimination Act, amid concern Labor does not want to be drawn into “a fight with the churches” before the state election. A heated debate is expected before state cabinet on Monday, where Guardian Australia understands D’Ath will bring a new proposal.

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And new data shows a quarter of all matters before local courts in NSW last year were related to domestic violence, as community legal services warn of a critical lack in funding to help victim-survivors seek justice.

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Let’s get the blog rolling – if you see anything you don’t want us to miss, shoot it my way @At_Raf_ on X.

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Key events

Filters BETA

What we learned; Monday 10 June

And that’s a wrap. Here’s what we were talking about today:

Thank you for joining us.

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Updated at 03.32 EDT

Tim Ayres says Coalition’s nuclear policy ‘too silly for words’

Labor senator Tim Ayres has branded the Coalition’s nuclear energy policy “too silly for words”.

Speaking with the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing, he said the Liberal party and the National party were being led by “crass base politics” and “can’t see beyond their own internal politics.”

That’s why we’ve ended up with this too-silly-for-words nuclear proposition. It’s an economic cul-de-sac for Australia. Bad idea … Projects not measured in millions of dollars of cost, but tens of billions of dollars worth of cost. Projects that spin out not for a few years, but for decades.

This is nonsense. They know it. And they’ll be judged for what is a not-serious energy policy.

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Updated at 03.02 EDT

Michael McCormack says Costello did the ‘right thing’ by stepping aside from Nine board position

The Nationals MP – and former newspaper editor – Michael McCormack says that the outgoing chair of Nine, Peter Costello, has “done the right thing” by resigning from the media company’s board.

“He’s done the right thing. He’s stepped aside,” the shadow minister for international development told the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing.

Journos can always ask you tough questions. I’ve been on both sides of the coin. I’ve asked the tough questions. I’ve indeed been thrown out physically from a meeting room. I’ve also been asked the tough questions. You have to treat journalists with respect. Public places are their workplace.

“Channel Nine has been producing news, they’ve got a lot of good journalists and have had for decades. They’ll recover from this,” he said.

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Updated at 02.56 EDT

Andrew Messenger

Andrew Messenger

Queensland revs up for budget week

It might be a public holiday in most of the country, but politicians in the sunshine state are busier than ever.

This is day one of budget week. It’s treasurer Cameron Dick’s fifth budget, and with an election in October, it could be his most important.

In a press conference held after cabinet endorsed his plan, Dick said “tomorrow in the budget, we will be focusing on the thing that matters the most to Queenslanders, and that’s cost of living relief”.

For the last month, the government has been announcing and spruiking a series of handouts including a $1,000 energy rebate, 50-cent public transport fares and 20% off car registration.

The premier, Steven Miles, stood in front of three pull up banners advertising the cost of living measures while denying the budget was written with an eye to election day. He said more announcements were coming.

“There’ll be plenty new for us to discuss tomorrow, but what you’ve already seen is just how determined we are for this budget to deliver what matters for Queenslanders, and I think it’s generated a level of interest that is not often seen for a budget,” he said.

The number of people who stopped me at the footy the other night to talk to me about 50 cent fares just tells me that where we’re addressing the things that Queenslanders want us to do.

The focus of this budget is delivering for Queenslanders now and for the future. And I’ve always said that come October, Queenslanders will judge us for how we govern.

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Updated at 02.45 EDT

‘No update’ on anti-discrimination reforms: Steven Miles

Andrew Messenger

Andrew Messenger

Queensland’s premier said there is “no update” on the state’s planned anti-discrimination reforms.

My colleague Ben Smee reported this morning that they were considering watering down reforms designed to ban discrimination in religious schools.

“Is there any update on the anti-discrimination changes in relation to Citipointe?” the premier, Steven Miles, was asked a press conference this afternoon.

“No, not at this stage,” he said.

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Updated at 02.41 EDT

For a little light relief this afternoon, you could do worse than whiling away a few moments on daredevil Donn Delson’s captivating aerial images:

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Updated at 02.32 EDT

The Victorian premier, Jacinta Allan, has weighed in on her predecessor Daniel Andrews’ King’s Birthday honours gong.

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Warmest congratulations to @DanielAndrewsMP on his AC.

I saw up close his energy for reform – in his words, his determination “to get shit done”.

Because of that determination, big state-shaping projects are underway – and thousands of Victorians are in work.

&mdash; Jacinta Allan (@JacintaAllanMP) June 10, 2024

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Warmest congratulations to @DanielAndrewsMP on his AC.

I saw up close his energy for reform – in his words, his determination “to get shit done”.

Because of that determination, big state-shaping projects are underway – and thousands of Victorians are in work.

— Jacinta Allan (@JacintaAllanMP) June 10, 2024

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Then there’s the quieter, no less impactful reforms.

Things like voluntary assisted dying, nation-leading action on family violence and making sure LGBTIQ+ kids grow up knowing – who they are is good enough.

&mdash; Jacinta Allan (@JacintaAllanMP) June 10, 2024

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Then there’s the quieter, no less impactful reforms.

Things like voluntary assisted dying, nation-leading action on family violence and making sure LGBTIQ+ kids grow up knowing – who they are is good enough.

— Jacinta Allan (@JacintaAllanMP) June 10, 2024

‘Incompetent but serious’: Queensland armed robber pleads guilty

Over to Queensland now, where the son of a pro-gun political party’s founder has been jailed for a spree of “incompetent but serious” attempted armed robbery offences and a ram-raid.

Jamie Ronald Madden pleaded guilty on Monday in Brisbane District Court to eight charges including attempted armed robbery with an imitation firearm, two attempted robberies and attempted break-in, reports AAP.

The 33-year-old son of Love Australia or Leave Party founder Kim Vuga also pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving while escaping police.

Madden’s sentencing was part-heard in February before being adjourned to obtain a psychological report.

Crown prosecutor Blake Crook said at the time that Madden was on parole for a seven-year sentence and had been ordered to return to custody just prior to the start of his offending on April 14, 2023.

“(Madden) engaged in a very serious crime spree over the course of four days,” Mr Crook said.

Madden broke into a premises at Southport on the Gold Coast to get the keys to a vehicle and the next day at 6am entered two shops at Deception Bay, north of Brisbane, and attempted to rob three people of their car keys.

“He said he was on the run from police and threatened to shoot each of them,” Mr Cook said.

Madden was sentenced to four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, to be served cumulatively with his prior seven-year sentence as he had offended while on parole.

He will be eligible for parole in April 2025.

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Updated at 02.01 EDT

Melbourne King George V statue vandalised

On this King’s Birthday public holiday, a statue of King George V has been beheaded and covered in red paint in the latest attack on colonial monuments in Victoria.

Police were called to the King George V statue in Melbourne’s Kings Domain on Linlithgow Avenue just after 9am on Monday, reports AAP.

Victoria, and most other states in Australia, held a public holiday on Monday to observe King Charles’s birthday.

“It appears the head of the statue has been removed and red paint thrown at the monument,” a police spokesman said in a statement.

Other statues have been the target of vandals this year, including a statue of Captain James Cook that was cut at the ankles before it toppled in Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne on February 27.

Another Captain Cook statue at St Kilda’s Jacka Boulevard was also sawn off at the ankles the day before Australia Day.

That same day, a statue of Queen Victoria at Queen Victoria Gardens near the city was covered in red paint and graffiti.

A second monument to Captain Cook at Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy was found broken and covered in graffiti over the Australia Day long weekend.

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Updated at 01.36 EDT

Severe weather warnings issued for parts of Tasmania and Victoria

It’ll be a windy evening and start to Tuesday for much of Tasmania and parts of Victoria, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing severe weather warnings for both states.

Damaging winds will affect Victoria’s elevated areas including the Otway, Macedon, Central, Northeast and Gippsland ranges overnight and into tomorrow morning, warns the state’s emergency service.

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Severe weather in the form of damaging winds is expected to impact elevated areas including the Otway, Macedon, Central, Northeast and Gippsland ranges overnight and into tomorrow morning. Remember to call 132 500 if you require SES assistance, or 000 in an emergency. pic.twitter.com/96fPDVQQrm

&mdash; VICSES News (@vicsesnews) June 10, 2024

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Severe weather in the form of damaging winds is expected to impact elevated areas including the Otway, Macedon, Central, Northeast and Gippsland ranges overnight and into tomorrow morning. Remember to call 132 500 if you require SES assistance, or 000 in an emergency. pic.twitter.com/96fPDVQQrm

— VICSES News (@vicsesnews) June 10, 2024

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Updated at 01.22 EDT

Daisy Dumas

Daisy Dumas

Thanks, Rafqa Touma, and hello. I’ll be bringing you the news for the remainder of this King’s Birthday holiday.

Rafqa Touma

Rafqa Touma

That is all from me today! Handing over now to my lovely colleague Daisy Dumas to take you through the afternoon’s news.

Bill Shorten congratulates Colleen Taylor on King’s birthday honour

The Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Bill Shorten, has congratulated former public servant Colleen Taylor for being awarded an OAM.

“As a frontline worker in the compliance area for Centrelink, Taylor displayed decency, ethics and compassion when attending the Robodebt Royal Commission to provide exemplary evidence in December 2022,” as put in a statement from Shorten’s office.

The statement continues:

Taylor, a true hero, called out the inaccuracies of the Robodebt scheme to her superiors in 2016, explaining the harm this would cause to the Department of Human Services’ most vulnerable customers. When her pleas would not be heard, Ms Taylor persevered, even at the risk of her own job security and promotion, contacting senior executives in the belief they were being misled.

Shorten commended Taylor’s dedication to the truth:

Ms Taylor, a compassionate, humble and model public servant, put her job on the line because it was the right thing to do. Ms Taylor fully deserves the recognition of a King’s Birthday honour in acknowledgement of her integrity and bravery”, Minister Shorten said.

You can read Taylor’s story, from Luke Henriques-Gomes, here:

Former Centrelink employee Colleen Taylor is photographed at her home in Toowoomba, Queensland, December 1, 2022. Photograph: Dan Peled/Dan Peled for The Guardian Australia
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Updated at 24.51 EDT

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

New Israel Fund Australia joins calls for Israel-Gaza ceasefire

Further to the previous post, the New Israel Fund Australia has added its voice to calls for the ceasefire deal to be adopted by Israel and Hamas.

NIF Australia, which campaigns for equality, democracy and pluralism” in Israel, issued a statement saying that it was “overjoyed at the news that 245 days after their capture, four hostages have been returned home”. But NIF Australia also said the Israeli rescue operation had resulted in too many deaths:

We, like so many in the Jewish community, have been desperately awaiting the return of the hostages … and, for this reason, we reiterate our calls from last week for all parties to accept the current proposal for a permanent ceasefire and the return of the hostages. There can be no lasting joy in this period of war. We desperately wish for Israel-Palestine to be safe and secure and the only way to ensure that, is a ceasefire deal that brings the hostages home.

The operation that returned the hostages led to too many tragic deaths, and we know that the longer this war goes on, the more lives will be lost unnecessarily. The only period since October 7 where there was a dramatic halt in the number of civilian casualties and there were more than 100 hostages returned was during the month of November when the first ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas was struck.

We must work to achieve another ceasefire deal, so that all remaining hostages are returned home and no further lives are lost unnecessarily.

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Updated at 24.35 EDT

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Australia renews call for Gaza ceasefire after death toll from hostage release operation mounts

The Australian government has responded cautiously to reports from the Gaza health ministry that more than 270 Palestinians were killed and more than 600 injured in the Israeli operation to rescue four hostages.

A spokesperson for the foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, said:

We want to see all hostages released, civilians protected, and parties agree to the ceasefire proposal presented by President Biden.

This echoes the comments from Anthony Albanese earlier today reiterating support for the US president’s ceasefire proposal. The prime minister had said there had been “too much loss of life, both Israelis and Palestinians”. Albanese had condemned Hamas for taking hostages “and keeping them in captivity close to where there are so many Palestinian civilians”.

In contrast, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called Saturday’s events a “massacre”, while the UN’s aid chief described in graphic detail scenes of “shredded bodies on the ground”.

The Israeli military has said its forces came under attack during a complex operation, and “under 100 people were killed”; a spokesperson said he did not know how many were civilians.

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