From 2h ago

Australian passenger on Singapore Airlines flight says wife has severe spinal injury

Australian man Keith Davis, who was onboard the Singapore Airlines flight that hit extreme turbulence this week, has spoken to the Today Show live from his hospital bed in Bangkok.

Talking just earlier, Davis said he looked “a lot worse” than he was, with “pretty superficial lacerations and a hell of a lot of swelling and bruising”. But his wife was in a much worse condition.

She’s had a severe spinal injury … and she has no sensation from her waist down…

You just don’t expect this. We’ve had a fantastic holiday in the UK [and] we’re, you know, one more flight away, nearly home. And this comes along. I mean, these things happen. But who expects this?

Davis said the aim was to get his wife into a stable enough condition so she was fit to fly for a medical evacuation.

She’s been conscious all the way through, which is a blessing. She’s never lost consciousness, you know, she doesn’t have a brain injury [and] she’s got all of her wits about her. She’s strong and we just want to get home.

Australian man Keith Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand
Australian man Keith Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP
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Updated at 17.44 EDT

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The NSW health minister, Ryan Park, said the state is seeing more than 400 cases of influenza a day.

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He has urged people to ensure they’re up to date on their flu vaccination, saying:

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\n

We’re seeing over 400 cases of influenza a day. It means that winter is certainly upon us and it means that we all need to take those necessary precautions, including importantly, going and getting our flu vaccination and making sure we’re up to date.

\n

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health minister Ryan Park.","caption":"NSW health minister Ryan Park.","credit":"Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP"}}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1716506150000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"19.15 EDT","blockLastUpdated":1716506680000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"19.24 EDT","blockFirstPublished":1716506342000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"19.19 EDT","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"19.19","title":"Over 400 NSW flu cases recorded daily","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Thu 23 May 2024 19.24 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Thu 23 May 2024 16.39 EDT"},{"id":"664fc75c8f08b23bf2415b5b","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Keith Davis recounted the traumatic experience he had onboard the Singapore Airlines flight earlier this week.

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Davis said it was not accurate to label the incident “a spot of turbulence” because in an “absolute instant [they were] on the ceiling”.

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We’re talking literally seconds – there’s no announcement, we did not see any indication at all, we just fell into a huge hole and we’re free-falling.

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[We went] straight up into the ceiling, I went headfirst. We were in the middle section so I was dead centre and I went up through all the vents and masks and things.

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Unfortunately for Kerry she hit the luggage doors and instead of landing back into the seat area, she fell flat straight into the aisle and from that moment, she didn’t move. That’s where she remained for the rest of the flight. It was really horrifying.

\n

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Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.","caption":"Keith Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.","credit":"Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP"}},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Davis recounted checking to see that she was breathing and could communicate:

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It was pretty horrifying but there was so much else going on and unfortunately the gentleman who passed away was immediately in front of us [and] the young gentleman who was sitting next to me [was] applying CPR instantly.

\n

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A Queensland court has delivered a historic judgement that social media company X is bound by the state’s vilification laws.

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The landmark ruling from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) this week found the court has jurisdiction over Twitter Australia Holdings Pty Limited and X Corp.

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It comes after the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) accused the companies of failing to take action against accounts that incite hatred on the platform.

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Aman argued that as a publisher, X was responsible for content posted by a far-right account that has been cited in the manifesto of the extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

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The network said that despite multiple requests, X refused to delete the account and replies to its posts that “vilify” Muslims. These included comments such as “Ramadan means killing infidels” and claims that the Qur’an should be referred to as the “terrorist handbook”.

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X headquarters in San Francisco, California","caption":"The X headquarters in San Francisco, California.","credit":"Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters"}},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

A spokesperson for Aman said the decision would have a positive significance for many communities affected by hate speech.

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This is the first such legal victory against a social media company under Australian vilification laws, which will have consequences for all social media companies operating in Australia.

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Protections in Australia do apply to social media companies, and hate speech is governed by clear standards, not corporate discretion.

\n

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Now that jurisdiction is established, QCAT will later make a finding of whether the content is considered hate speech or vilification under the state’s laws.

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Twitter has the legal right to appeal against the court’s initial decision.

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Australian man Keith Davis, who was onboard the Singapore Airlines flight that hit extreme turbulence this week, has spoken to the Today Show live from his hospital bed in Bangkok.

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Talking just earlier, Davis said he looked “a lot worse” than he was, with “pretty superficial lacerations and a hell of a lot of swelling and bruising”. But his wife was in a much worse condition.

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She’s had a severe spinal injury … and she has no sensation from her waist down…

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You just don’t expect this. We’ve had a fantastic holiday in the UK [and] we’re, you know, one more flight away, nearly home. And this comes along. I mean, these things happen. But who expects this?

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Davis said the aim was to get his wife into a stable enough condition so she was fit to fly for a medical evacuation.

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She’s been conscious all the way through, which is a blessing. She’s never lost consciousness, you know, she doesn’t have a brain injury [and] she’s got all of her wits about her. She’s strong and we just want to get home.

\n

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man Keith Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand","caption":"Australian man Keith Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand.","credit":"Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP"}}],"attributes":{"pinned":true,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1716499330000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"17.22 EDT","blockLastUpdated":1716500670000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"17.44 EDT","blockFirstPublished":1716499874000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"17.31 EDT","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"17.31","title":"Australian passenger on Singapore Airlines flight says wife has severe spinal injury","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Thu 23 May 2024 19.24 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Thu 23 May 2024 16.39 EDT"},{"id":"664faf5e8f08b23bf2415ac2","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

And happy Friday – welcome back to the Australia live news blog. I’m Emily Wind and I’ll bring you our rolling coverage today.

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As always, you can get in touch via X, @emilywindwrites, or send me an email, emily.wind@theguardian.com, to share any thoughts or questions.

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Let’s go!

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The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) has described China’s military drills around Taiwan as “deeply worrying” amid rising tensions in the South China Sea region.

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Dozens of Chinese fighter jets loaded with live missiles carried out mock strikes against Taiwanese targets, China’s military confirmed yesterday, on the first day of surprise military drills announced as “punishment” after Taiwan inaugurated its new president.

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A spokesperson for the foreign minister, Penny Wong, said last night that a peaceful resolution was needed to resolve the tensions. The statement said:

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\n

As the foreign minister noted in a recent speech, large-scale Chinese military operations in the Taiwan Strait are deeply worrying.

\n

The risk of an accident, and potential escalation, is growing. Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is in all of our interests.

\n

Australia’s longstanding and bipartisan position is to oppose unilateral changes to the status quo. We call for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion.

\n

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Wong.","caption":"Penny Wong.","credit":"Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian"}}],"attributes":{"pinned":false,"keyEvent":true,"summary":false},"blockCreatedOn":1716496744000,"blockCreatedOnDisplay":"16.39 EDT","blockLastUpdated":1716499348000,"blockLastUpdatedDisplay":"17.22 EDT","blockFirstPublished":1716498374000,"blockFirstPublishedDisplay":"17.06 EDT","blockFirstPublishedDisplayNoTimezone":"17.06","title":"China’s military drills around Taiwan ‘deeply worrying’, Dfat says","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Thu 23 May 2024 19.24 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Thu 23 May 2024 16.39 EDT"},{"id":"664fabc28f0891c9817ac2fb","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

Three Australians remained in intensive care in a Bangkok hospital overnight being treated for serious injuries from the Singapore Airlines flight that hit extreme turbulence earlier this week.

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They were among 20 in total, whose injuries included skull, brain and spinal injuries, the head of the hospital said.

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The hospital director told reporters:

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We have never treated people with these kinds of injuries caused by turbulence.

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Seventeen surgeries have already been performed – nine spinal surgeries and eight for other injuries. All passengers in the ICU were in a stable condition, but it was too early to say if some of the more serious cases might suffer permanent paralysis.

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In a statement on Facebook, the airline said the Singapore Airlines CEO, Goh Choon Phong, had been in Bangkok meeting the affected passengers, crew, their family members and loved ones “to personally offer his support and to understand their concerns”.

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The wellbeing of our passengers and crew members remains our priority. I have given them my personal assurance that we will take care of them during this difficult time.

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Read more here:

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Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage. I’m Martin Farrer and these are some of the top stories this morning to get your teeth into before Emily Wind takes control.

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Working at the limits of fatigue, back-to-back 11- or 12-hour days and a roster system “not fit for purpose”. These are some of the complaints made by Virgin Australia pilots who say working practices pose a “clear, present and increasing safety risk”. They have alleged fatigue is widespread in their ranks and raised safety concerns about a roster system some claim is working them “to the limits”. As they fight the private equity-owned airline over a proposal to strip pilots of six days off a year, Guardian Australia has obtained correspondence from the senior staff pleading for action.

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After several days of being called “weak” by Peter Dutton, it seems that Anthony Albanese has had enough, accusing the opposition leader of fuelling division and saying that Dutton’s tactics of trying to wreck every government initiative is a sign of his weakness. Albanese also laid into the Coalition’s plans to build nuclear power stations, calling their approach to policy “shallow and shambolic”.

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Bird flu has been detected at a second Victorian farm as authorities remain on high alert for further outbreaks. The case of Avian influenza (H7N3) was confirmed at a property in Terang, 200km south-west of Melbourne, yesterday. The site is linked to the Meredith egg farm, 130km away, where a mass culling of 400,000 chickens is taking place after a number of poultry died from the same virus. Another case of an unrelated strain has been detected in Western Australia.

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And in Bangkok, the Singapore Airlines CEO has visited passengers and crew of flight SQ321, which hit severe turbulence this week. As of last night 46 passengers and two crew members were still in hospital. They included three Australians in intensive care. Some of the more seriously injured people would need spinal surgery, the hospital said. More coming up.

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Over 400 NSW flu cases recorded daily

The NSW health minister, Ryan Park, said the state is seeing more than 400 cases of influenza a day.

He has urged people to ensure they’re up to date on their flu vaccination, saying:

We’re seeing over 400 cases of influenza a day. It means that winter is certainly upon us and it means that we all need to take those necessary precautions, including importantly, going and getting our flu vaccination and making sure we’re up to date.

NSW health minister Ryan Park. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP
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Updated at 19.24 EDT

Australian Border Force patrols burning illegal fishing boats

Illegal fishing vessels entering Australian waters are being destroyed in an effort to protect marine life from poaching, AAP reports.

Dozens of Indonesian fishing boats have been set alight by Australian Border Force (ABF) patrols in recent weeks, the Operation Sovereign Borders commander, Rear Admiral Brett Sonter, said.

More than 200 boats were seized, 48 sunk and 1,000 fishermen apprehended in two operations in Australia’s north, he told Seven News.

Border Force has teamed up with the Indonesian navy to tackle the problem.

A boat destroyed by ABF in 2021 after it was found illegally fishing in Australian waters. Photograph: Australian Border Force

Cabinet minister Jason Clare warned against the practice, telling Sunrise today:

Illegal fishing is a serious thing. Anyone coming into our backyard and stealing things out of your backyard is serious.

The only way to stop it is to burn their boats, send a message that if you do this, you will lose the most valuable thing you have got: your boat.

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley backed the operations and said she was “very concerned about illegal fishing”. Ley also raised concerns about the boats being used by people smugglers.

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Updated at 19.18 EDT

‘Horrifying’: Australian describes experience aboard Singapore Airlines flight SQ321

Keith Davis recounted the traumatic experience he had onboard the Singapore Airlines flight earlier this week.

Davis said it was not accurate to label the incident “a spot of turbulence” because in an “absolute instant [they were] on the ceiling”.

We’re talking literally seconds – there’s no announcement, we did not see any indication at all, we just fell into a huge hole and we’re free-falling.

[We went] straight up into the ceiling, I went headfirst. We were in the middle section so I was dead centre and I went up through all the vents and masks and things.

Unfortunately for Kerry she hit the luggage doors and instead of landing back into the seat area, she fell flat straight into the aisle and from that moment, she didn’t move. That’s where she remained for the rest of the flight. It was really horrifying.

Keith Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP

Davis recounted checking to see that she was breathing and could communicate:

It was pretty horrifying but there was so much else going on and unfortunately the gentleman who passed away was immediately in front of us [and] the young gentleman who was sitting next to me [was] applying CPR instantly.

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Updated at 18.57 EDT

Australian woman injured on Singapore Airlines flight could be medically evacuated in ‘weeks’

Keith Davis, an Australian man injured on the Singapore Airlines flight that hit severe turbulence earlier this week, just spoke with ABC News Breakfast from Bangkok hospital.

Davis spoke to the Today Show earlier and explained that his wife, Kerry, was in intensive care with a severe spinal injury.

Speaking to the ABC, Davis said they were hopeful she would be ready to fly “in weeks” for a medical evacuation to Australia:

Coordination has happened now with Singapore Airlines, it’s been a bit of a sea change [since] yesterday afternoon, they’ve come on board … I met with the CEO from Singapore Airlines yesterday and that was a really great and positive step and they’ve just reaffirmed their commitment to us and support whilst we’re here at the hospital and the ongoing in terms of getting back to Australia.

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Updated at 18.51 EDT

Amanda Meade

Amanda Meade

David Marr to replace Phillip Adams as host of Late Night Live after three decades

Veteran journalist, author and broadcaster David Marr will replace Phillip Adams as the host of Radio National’s Late Night Live when Adams leaves the role after 33 years next month.

Adams, who turns 85 in July, is retiring early due to poor health.

Marr, a former Guardian Australia contributor, is a Walkley Award-winning writer who has edited the National Times. The 76-year-old is a former host of Media Watch and was an investigative journalist at Four Corners. He said:

I’m honoured and terrified. It’s going to be a ball.

You can read the full story below:

David Marr in 2016. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
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Updated at 18.39 EDT

Queensland court finds Elon Musk’s X bound by state’s vilification laws

Eden Gillespie

Eden Gillespie

A Queensland court has delivered a historic judgement that social media company X is bound by the state’s vilification laws.

The landmark ruling from the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) this week found the court has jurisdiction over Twitter Australia Holdings Pty Limited and X Corp.

It comes after the Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (Aman) accused the companies of failing to take action against accounts that incite hatred on the platform.

Aman argued that as a publisher, X was responsible for content posted by a far-right account that has been cited in the manifesto of the extremist who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.

The network said that despite multiple requests, X refused to delete the account and replies to its posts that “vilify” Muslims. These included comments such as “Ramadan means killing infidels” and claims that the Qur’an should be referred to as the “terrorist handbook”.

The X headquarters in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Carlos Barría/Reuters

A spokesperson for Aman said the decision would have a positive significance for many communities affected by hate speech.

This is the first such legal victory against a social media company under Australian vilification laws, which will have consequences for all social media companies operating in Australia.

Protections in Australia do apply to social media companies, and hate speech is governed by clear standards, not corporate discretion.

Now that jurisdiction is established, QCAT will later make a finding of whether the content is considered hate speech or vilification under the state’s laws.

Twitter has the legal right to appeal against the court’s initial decision.

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Updated at 18.37 EDT

‘A lot more work to do to keep women safe’ – Gallagher

ABC News Breakfast host Bridget Brennan asked specifically about rates of violence in the Northern Territory, which has “one of the highest homicide rates in the world” but only gets “around 2% of the federal [funding] pie”.

Katy Gallagher said this was “absolutely” something she was aware of, responding:

In different parts of the territory there is a lot more resources going into community-led responses to violence. There’s big work under way in Alice [Springs], for example, with the community, and we’ve been getting a bit of pushback on it [such as] ‘you announce money, and is it going and is it helping?’ Part of the work we’ve been trying to do is make sure we work with the community about what works for them.

There’s more to do. We’ve got a First Nations action plan that sits under the national plan, developed with First Nations communities. And we’ve got to recognise that what works in one part of Australia might not work in another part. More and more we’re learning that specialised responses for First Nations communities is really important. There’s a lot of work going into that but again, I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t a lot more work to do to make sure that women and girls are safe right across the country.

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Updated at 18.25 EDT

Katy Gallagher on combating domestic violence and Labor’s 10-year plan

The minister for women, Katy Gallagher, was asked about measures to tackle violence against women, including the government’s 10-year plan, while on ABC News Breakfast.

She was asked whether she can understand people’s “anger … frustration [and] exasperation about things not changing and changing quickly”. Gallagher responded:

I feel that and I think every member of the government feels that too.

The thing about the national plan which is kind of new is that it’s bringing together all of the governments under the same plan with the same priorities and it’s being informed by two years of consultations, and led by victim survivors about what they think will help …

I think people find it difficult to make a practical link from a national plan to what is actually happening on the ground, but it means that all the governments of Australia are pulling in the same direction, set the same priorities and make the investments under that framework…

But, again, you know, it’s so frustrating that we continue to see levels of violence that we see in the community [and] more and more. We’ve got to focus on … the early intervention before things get to a crisis level – and that’s not just for women, that’s for men and boys as well.

Minister for women Katy Gallagher. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
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Updated at 18.20 EDT

Taiwan interested in critical-minerals trade with Australia

Taiwan’s representative to Australia, Douglas Hsu, spoke to ABC RN just earlier about China’s military drills around Taiwan and trading with Australia.

Overnight, foreign minister Penny Wong labelled the drills as “deeply worrying” amid rising tensions in the South China Sea region. You can read more on this earlier in the blog.

Hsu was asked about Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te, and how trade relations with Australia may develop under his office. Hsu said:

We will continue to show our interest in engaging with Australia on the trade front. I think in the past few months, especially on critical minerals, I had a few opportunities to travel to West Australia and Northern Territory to talk with the businessman in the critical minerals industries.

I found that well, first of all, I was very surprised or impressed by the scale of Australia’s mining industry, and we’ll definitely look forward to bringing more Taiwanese business to work even more closely with Australian partners.

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Updated at 18.09 EDT

Family violence support gets NSW funding boost

Frontline domestic violence services in New South Wales have welcomed a critical funding boost, AAP reports.

Nearly $48m will go to early intervention initiatives, specialist services and pilot projects in federal government cash.

Some $16m of that will be spent on early intervention, with Fams, the state’s peak body for the sector, praising the government’s “proactive and integrated” approach to tackling family violence.

Acting chief executive Lauren Stracey said addressing things before they reached crisis-point was crucial in stopping problems from spiralling out of control.

It’s really about ensuring services can do early work that can stop children from experiencing harm, helping kids before they get to crisis point and intervening early to break that cycle of violence and abuse.

Seeking to address the 36,072 incidents of domestic violence-related assault experienced in NSW last year, $26m will go to response, recovery and healing initiatives.

Minister Jodie Harrison: ‘whole-of-community services’ needed. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

The state’s domestic violence prevention minister, Jodie Harrison, said:

Our government is committed to seeing dramatic improvements in the rates of domestic, family and sexual violence, and what we need to focus on is delivering appropriate and effective, whole-of-community services for victim-survivors.

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Updated at 17.57 EDT

Dutton continues nuclear push on breakfast TV

Opposition leader Peter Dutton made his regular Today Show appearance alongside NDIS minister Bill Shorten earlier this morning, continuing to advocate for nuclear energy.

The argument Dutton has been pushing lately is that nuclear energy would use existing transmission infrastructure, rather than requiring new powerlines:

When the energy is generated, you can distribute that on the existing poles and wires. Under the prime minister’s proposal, they’ve got to roll out 28,000km of new poles and wires.

But Shorten said this figure was not accurate.

Peter said it will require 26- to 28,000km [of new poles and wires]… It’s about 4,000km [and] it’s going to cost 10% of the 1.2tr that Peter said… The truth of the matter is that if we were going to have nuclear power, that was a conversation for the 1960s, not the 2020s.

Nuclear energy push: Peter Dutton. Photograph: James Ross/AAP
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Updated at 17.48 EDT

Australian passenger on Singapore Airlines flight says wife has severe spinal injury

Australian man Keith Davis, who was onboard the Singapore Airlines flight that hit extreme turbulence this week, has spoken to the Today Show live from his hospital bed in Bangkok.

Talking just earlier, Davis said he looked “a lot worse” than he was, with “pretty superficial lacerations and a hell of a lot of swelling and bruising”. But his wife was in a much worse condition.

She’s had a severe spinal injury … and she has no sensation from her waist down…

You just don’t expect this. We’ve had a fantastic holiday in the UK [and] we’re, you know, one more flight away, nearly home. And this comes along. I mean, these things happen. But who expects this?

Davis said the aim was to get his wife into a stable enough condition so she was fit to fly for a medical evacuation.

She’s been conscious all the way through, which is a blessing. She’s never lost consciousness, you know, she doesn’t have a brain injury [and] she’s got all of her wits about her. She’s strong and we just want to get home.

Australian man Keith Davis at Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP
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Updated at 17.44 EDT

Charges laid after alleged stabbing in Marrickville

A man will appear in court today after being charged following an alleged stabbing at Marrickville yesterday.

We reported all the details earlier in the blog.

A 22-year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken to Newtown police station, and has since been charged with two counts of cause wounding/grievous bodily harm to person with intent to murder.

He will appear before Newtown local court today.

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Updated at 17.24 EDT

Stephanie Convery

Stephanie Convery

Two in hospital after alleged Marrickville stabbing

Two people have been rushed to hospital after an alleged stabbing in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville.

NSW police and ambulance services responded to reports of a stabbing on Sydenham Road at 5.50pm yesterday.

Paramedics treated a 25-year-old man with multiple injuries to his face, neck, head and hand, and he was transported to to the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Early reports from NSW ambulance said the man was in a critical condition, but a later statement from NSW police said he was stable.

A 55-year-old woman in a serious condition with a stab wound to her throat was also treated by paramedics at the scene, before being transported to hospital.

A 22-year-old man was arrested at the scene of the incident and taken to Newtown police station, where he was assisting police with inquiries, a spokesperson for NSW police said.

All three people are known to each other, the spokesperson said.

Police have established a crime scene, with reports that multiple properties in the vicinity of Marrickville primary school have been cordoned off.

Two people were injured in the alleged stabbing in Marrickville on Thursday evening. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP
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Updated at 17.28 EDT

Good morning

Emily Wind

Emily Wind

And happy Friday – welcome back to the Australia live news blog. I’m Emily Wind and I’ll bring you our rolling coverage today.

As always, you can get in touch via X, @emilywindwrites, or send me an email, emily.wind@theguardian.com, to share any thoughts or questions.

Let’s go!

China’s military drills around Taiwan ‘deeply worrying’, Dfat says

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Dfat) has described China’s military drills around Taiwan as “deeply worrying” amid rising tensions in the South China Sea region.

Dozens of Chinese fighter jets loaded with live missiles carried out mock strikes against Taiwanese targets, China’s military confirmed yesterday, on the first day of surprise military drills announced as “punishment” after Taiwan inaugurated its new president.

A spokesperson for the foreign minister, Penny Wong, said last night that a peaceful resolution was needed to resolve the tensions. The statement said:

As the foreign minister noted in a recent speech, large-scale Chinese military operations in the Taiwan Strait are deeply worrying.

The risk of an accident, and potential escalation, is growing. Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is in all of our interests.

Australia’s longstanding and bipartisan position is to oppose unilateral changes to the status quo. We call for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion.

Penny Wong. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian
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Updated at 17.22 EDT

Three Australians remain in intensive care after Singapore Airlines flight

Three Australians remained in intensive care in a Bangkok hospital overnight being treated for serious injuries from the Singapore Airlines flight that hit extreme turbulence earlier this week.

They were among 20 in total, whose injuries included skull, brain and spinal injuries, the head of the hospital said.

The hospital director told reporters:

We have never treated people with these kinds of injuries caused by turbulence.

Seventeen surgeries have already been performed – nine spinal surgeries and eight for other injuries. All passengers in the ICU were in a stable condition, but it was too early to say if some of the more serious cases might suffer permanent paralysis.

In a statement on Facebook, the airline said the Singapore Airlines CEO, Goh Choon Phong, had been in Bangkok meeting the affected passengers, crew, their family members and loved ones “to personally offer his support and to understand their concerns”.

The wellbeing of our passengers and crew members remains our priority. I have given them my personal assurance that we will take care of them during this difficult time.

Read more here:

Passengers carried off Singapore Airlines plane after severe turbulence – video report
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Updated at 17.51 EDT

Welcome

Martin Farrer

Martin Farrer

Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage. I’m Martin Farrer and these are some of the top stories this morning to get your teeth into before Emily Wind takes control.

Working at the limits of fatigue, back-to-back 11- or 12-hour days and a roster system “not fit for purpose”. These are some of the complaints made by Virgin Australia pilots who say working practices pose a “clear, present and increasing safety risk”. They have alleged fatigue is widespread in their ranks and raised safety concerns about a roster system some claim is working them “to the limits”. As they fight the private equity-owned airline over a proposal to strip pilots of six days off a year, Guardian Australia has obtained correspondence from the senior staff pleading for action.

After several days of being called “weak” by Peter Dutton, it seems that Anthony Albanese has had enough, accusing the opposition leader of fuelling division and saying that Dutton’s tactics of trying to wreck every government initiative is a sign of his weakness. Albanese also laid into the Coalition’s plans to build nuclear power stations, calling their approach to policy “shallow and shambolic”.

Bird flu has been detected at a second Victorian farm as authorities remain on high alert for further outbreaks. The case of Avian influenza (H7N3) was confirmed at a property in Terang, 200km south-west of Melbourne, yesterday. The site is linked to the Meredith egg farm, 130km away, where a mass culling of 400,000 chickens is taking place after a number of poultry died from the same virus. Another case of an unrelated strain has been detected in Western Australia.

And in Bangkok, the Singapore Airlines CEO has visited passengers and crew of flight SQ321, which hit severe turbulence this week. As of last night 46 passengers and two crew members were still in hospital. They included three Australians in intensive care. Some of the more seriously injured people would need spinal surgery, the hospital said. More coming up.

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Updated at 17.13 EDT

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