Australia news live: ‘constitutional change in this country is very difficult’, PM warns as republic debate continues


PM says debates on voice and republic at same time is ‘not feasible’

On ABC radio, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is asked why can’t we consider our future under the monarchy.

Albanese:

I want Australians to concentrate on the voice to parliament. If you think about the counterfactual it, to me, is inconceivable, that the next change that we need for our constitution is anything other than recognising that our national birth certificate, which is what the constitution represents, should acknowledge that our history didn’t begin in 1788. It of course didn’t end then either. But we should be proud of the fact that we share this continent with the oldest continuous culture on earth, at least 65,000 years of cultural continuance there, and that should be something that needs to be fixed before other matters are debated.

Q: I suppose I can see that we’re going to have a detailed constitutional debate around the voice. So does it bring up the republic as well? We could do them both at once.

Albanese:

I’ve made it very clear, and I made it clear before the election, what my priority is. Getting constitutional change in this country is very difficult. We know that that’s the case. We had a vote, for example, about the republic at the end of the last century and it is difficult to get the change through. The idea that you would have multiple debates at once is, I think, not feasible. I’ve made my priorities clear and that is what we have a mandate for and that is what I intend to do.

We’ve had, I think, substantial debate. I’ve put forward a draft of a question, a draft of what the constitutional change might look like, a very simple change, saying that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have a say, at least be able to express an opinion on matters that affect them and that we should recognise Indigenous people in our constitution.

The governor general, David Hurley, and Anthony Albanese at the proclamation of King Charles III at Parliament House on 11 September. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Key events

Peter Hannam

Peter Hannam

ABS to release labour market figures today

Later this morning we’ll get the August labour market figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which are likely to show that all those “staff wanted” signs in shop windows aren’t just anecdotal.

There’s a bit of variety in the projections among economists about whether the July jobless rate of 3.4% – already the lowest in 48 years – will fall further.

There are a few moving parts, such as the participation rate which counts those looking for jobs, along with the actual numbers of full-time or part-time jobs added or subtracted.

So it’s not out of the question for a 3.3% reading to be weak if it’s because a lot of people stopped looking for work, or the contrary, of a 3.5% result being a strong result if the participation rate rose last month and a lot more full-time jobs were added.

Borrowers will probably be hoping for a weak result as it would imply the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rapid increase in its key interest rate – the 2.25 percentage points so far is the fastest rise since 1994 – is having some effect.

After yesterday’s kerfuffle on financial markets following the surprisingly big US inflation figures nudged expectations higher that the RBA too will have to tap the rate rise brakes harder – but only moderately so.

A few weeks ago, investors were tipping a 4% peak in the RBA’s cash rate, and we’re not back there, yet. (Commercial banks were in the 2.6% to 3.35% range.)

As for today’s markets, stocks are modestly higher in the first half hour, clawing about 0.25 percentage points back from yesterday’s dive of about 10 times that.

Wall St’s dive on Tuesday on inflation fears nudged expectations higher for Australian interest rates too – but not hugely. Peak RBA cash rate now near 3.75% (less than earlier in Sept). Investors rate a 50bp rise to 2.85% of Oct 4th as a 2-in-3 chance. pic.twitter.com/X5IcR1oEwR

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) September 14, 2022

Lidia Thorpe calls for Uncle Jack Charles to replace Queen on $5 note

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe has called for Aboriginal actor and activist Uncle Jack Charles, who died earlier this week, to replace Queen Elizabeth II on the $5 note.

On Tuesday the assistant minister for treasury, Andrew Leigh, opened the door to alternatives to the new monarch on Australia’s smallest bill by noting that King Charles III will not “automatically” appear on the note because Queen Elizabeth II featured due to her “personal” status.

Thorpe said:

We just lost a king in our own country, who was subjected to colonial violence from the moment he was born. We owe it to him, and First Nations people, to remember king Jack Charles and end the stolen generation once and for all. Uncle Jack is a great candidate for the $5 note.

The Australian Republican Movement will also reportedly push for someone other than King Charles III. The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has refused to be drawn on the question this week.

Albanese says he spoke to UK PM Liz Truss about Aukus

On ABC radio Brisbane, Anthony Albanese was asked whether he expected there to be any differences in Australia’s relationship with the UK now there is a new prime minister.

He said:

Well, the relationship between our two countries is much bigger than the relationship between individuals. I met Boris Johnson as prime minister, I had breakfast with him in Madrid during the Nato summit. And on the very next day, I shared a platform with Liz Truss, who was then the foreign minister, talking about the global challenges which are there. The challenge in our own region with strategic competition with China; the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the land war that’s occurring in Europe that we thought was something of the past, but which is occurring.

Australia and the UK have common values of support for democracy and support for the rule of law. Our system of government is of based upon the Westminster system with a little bit of a hybrid with the US Senate tacked on as well. But we have close relations. The Aukus alliance is very important to us. We had a brief discussion last Friday about that, and I look forward to that strong relationship that we have. It is an important economic relationship as well. We have a free trade agreement with the UK. And of course, so many Australians have historic links to the United Kingdom, including myself.

Police seek information about suspected gang-related murder

Police have released CCTV footage of vehicles of interest in the suspected gang-related murder of Bilal Hamze in Sydney’s CBD in June last year.

The 34-year-old had been known to police.

The new CCTV footage of a Ford Territory, Mercedes sedan and a Honda Odyssey has been released to try and see if it jogs anyone’s memories.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.

Environment minister grants Burrup peninsula cultural impact assessment

The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, has “granted a full assessment of the impact of all industry in the Burrup peninsula on cultural heritage, under Section 10 of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act.”

That includes Woodside’s Scarborough gas project and the Perdaman urea plant.

Greens senator Dorinda Cox said it came after a strong push from the Murujuga traditional custodians who launched the ‘Save our Songlines’ campaign.

Now Cox says it is time for the government to listen:

If Labor wants to meet their climate targets, they can’t allow the Burrup Hub to continue producing some of the dirtiest LNG in the world to fire the Perdaman plant.

The North West Gas Shelf, and now Perdaman, will make their huge profits off the back of destroying First Nations’ cultural heritage while setting off a climate bomb that will cause irreversible damage to the environment.

This Labor government can not talk about recognition, they are silencing the voices of traditional owners and ramping up another juukan caves. When traditional owners say no, governments need to listen. None of this work has ever received free, prior informed consent and this is why our grassroots organisations need to find legal assistance to make them listen.

Murujuga national park is due to bid for World Heritage listing in February next year, we need this fast-tracked to protect it from destruction. Murujuga contains the world’s largest collection of rock art, one of the oldest women’s law grounds in the world, as well as the Seven Sisters dreaming song-line linking stories across Australia and the world.

We cannot continue to allow projects to go ahead that wreck the climate and destroy cultural heritage. We need investment in cleaner, greener renewable energy sources now, and for this Government to stand on the right side of history and protect Australia’s First Peoples stories and sacred places.”

Brisbane Broncos sign their coach – but just for a year

The Brisbane Broncos chair, Karl Morris, insists Kevin Walters will be the NRL club’s head coach next year but says any future contract extensions will likely be on a one-year basis, AAP reports.

The Broncos have conducted an end-of-season review into their year.

Morris said Walters, who is under contract until the end of 2023 after signing a one-year extension in March, was the right man to lead the club forward after taking the side from bottom of the ladder two years ago to ninth this season.

Kevin Walters is surrounded by players during a training session
Coach Kevin Walters during a Brisbane Broncos training session. Photograph: Jono Searle/AAP

Brisbane won 13 games under Walters’ stewardship this year, their most since 2018, but lost five of their last six games to slip from fourth to ninth and miss the finals.

The Broncos paid a hefty termination settlement to former coach Anthony Seibold when they parted ways in 2020 in the second year of a five-year deal, a scenario the club does not want to revisit.

Morris said he was not concerned about any perceptions of instability from not extending Walters’ contract beyond next season.

“The way I view it is that he has a contract until the end of next year and at some stage during the year we will have a conversation with him about going onto a normal employee contract or extending his current contract,” Morris said.

“I assume it would be a yearly contract. I don’t see what the benefit or upside is in having any employee, forget just Kevin Walters, on any more than a one-year contract.”

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe has written a powerful piece on why she won’t be giving the Queen a minute’s silence:

Man missing in far north Queensland

Police and SES crews are searching the banks of a creek in far north Queensland after a man disappeared while swimming.

Selwyn Malayta, 48, was last seen by another man when the pair went for a swim in Plantation Creek, in Ayr, about 1.30am on Wednesday.

The second man returned to the creek bank first and called out to Malayta, but there was no response.

Police and SES personnel are combing the creek for any sign of the missing man. They have urged anyone who has seen Malayta to contact police immediately.

For those about to cruise, we salute you.

Cruising is back in Victoria, with the first ship in more than two years docking in Melbourne this morning.

7,000 passengers will be arrive in the state via cruise ship ahead of the Melbourne Cup.#9News | WATCH LIVE 6pm pic.twitter.com/TxoksbcMTY

— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) September 14, 2022

Attorney general announces advisory group to support survivors in government’s response to child sexual abuse

The attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, also has an announcement today:

A new advisory group will meet in Brisbane today to ensure the voices of victims and survivors are at the centre of the government’s response to child sexual abuse.

The 20-member national strategy advisory group of experts, including people with lived and living experience, service providers, peak bodies and academics, are meeting over the coming two days to help shape action on child sexual abuse by providing advice on the design, implementation, and evaluation of measures under the National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse 2021-2030.

The national strategy is Australia’s first strategic framework to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse in all settings, and was a key recommendation of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

The members represent the experience of every national strategy priority group: victims and survivors of child sexual abuse and their advocates, children and young people and their support networks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with a disability, LGBTQIA+, and people living in regional and remote communities.

PM says debates on voice and republic at same time is ‘not feasible’

On ABC radio, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is asked why can’t we consider our future under the monarchy.

Albanese:

I want Australians to concentrate on the voice to parliament. If you think about the counterfactual it, to me, is inconceivable, that the next change that we need for our constitution is anything other than recognising that our national birth certificate, which is what the constitution represents, should acknowledge that our history didn’t begin in 1788. It of course didn’t end then either. But we should be proud of the fact that we share this continent with the oldest continuous culture on earth, at least 65,000 years of cultural continuance there, and that should be something that needs to be fixed before other matters are debated.

Q: I suppose I can see that we’re going to have a detailed constitutional debate around the voice. So does it bring up the republic as well? We could do them both at once.

Albanese:

I’ve made it very clear, and I made it clear before the election, what my priority is. Getting constitutional change in this country is very difficult. We know that that’s the case. We had a vote, for example, about the republic at the end of the last century and it is difficult to get the change through. The idea that you would have multiple debates at once is, I think, not feasible. I’ve made my priorities clear and that is what we have a mandate for and that is what I intend to do.

We’ve had, I think, substantial debate. I’ve put forward a draft of a question, a draft of what the constitutional change might look like, a very simple change, saying that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have a say, at least be able to express an opinion on matters that affect them and that we should recognise Indigenous people in our constitution.

A view over the shoulders of military personnel of David Hurley and Anthony Albanese standing next to each other on the forecourt of Parliament House
The governor general, David Hurley, and Anthony Albanese at the proclamation of King Charles III at Parliament House on 11 September. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

PM outlines UK schedule

Speaking to ABC radio, Anthony Albanese gave a quick whoosh whoosh of his schedule while in the UK:

It’s a pretty busy schedule. We’ll arrive on Friday night. On Saturday morning, I’ll travel down to Kent to have a meeting with the new British prime minister, Liz Truss.

And I assume it is a part of the Westminster estate where I’m travelling to, that’s in the morning. There’s a reception at Australia House for the 10 people who are travelling with us, but other prominent Australians who are based in London, and that’s occurring at lunchtime.

Over the weekend, I will have an audience with King Charles and there is also a visit to see and pay respects to Queen Elizabeth, who is lying in state.

And then Monday there is the funeral, of course. And between then there’ll be other activities as well. I’m catching up with Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, over the weekend as well, and things are moving pretty rapidly.





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