The Guardian 2024-05-01 10:01:47


Faruqi v Hanson: Pauline Hanson told ‘white’ Derryn Hinch to go back to where he came from, court told

Hansons’s legal team played video of her telling then senator to ‘go back to New Zealand’ as defence in racial discrimination case

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One Nation senator Pauline Hanson told a white senator to “go back to New Zealand” years before she tweeted that Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi, a Muslim, should “piss off back to Pakistan”, the federal court has heard.

The court also heard Hanson had targeted Faruqi, “a brown, Muslim, migrant senator”, with “a personal racist attack based on a response to a political tweet”.

Faruqi has brought a racial discrimination case against Hanson, alleging she was subjected to racial vilification, abuse and discrimination after Hanson tweeted “piss off back to Pakistan” in response to Faruqi critiquing colonisation on the day Queen Elizabeth II died.

Both Faruqi and Hanson’s legal teams began presenting final submissions to Justice Angus Stewart on Wednesday. Faruqi’s counsel, Saul Holt, argued Hanson targeted Faruqi because of her migrant status.

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Hanson’s counsel opened the day by playing a video of a televised debate segment Hanson had with former senator Derryn Hinch in 2018, where Hanson told Hinch to “go back to New Zealand” and “come back when you get some manners” as proof Hanson had told a white migrant to go back to where they came from.

In the segment, Hanson had been arguing an unidentified person could “pack your bags and get on the next plane out of the country, that’s where you belong” which prompted Hinch to argue “that’s your usual thing, to every migrant – get out of the country. I have been an Australian citizen since 1980, that sort of argument is purile, stupid and …”

Hanson interrupted with “well go back to New Zealand Derryn and pick up some manners Derryn, and then come back when you’ve got some manners.”

Hanson’s legal team said the exchange was relevant to the question of whether or not Hanson had ever told a white person to go back to where they came from, after Faruqi’s counsel presented multiple examples of her criticising migrants of colour.

“The words published here [piss off back to Pakistan], were … a version of a well-known anti migrant racist phrase ‘go back to where you came from’. And they were plainly targeted at … a brown Muslim migrant senator.

“And they were said by Pauline Hanson, Senator Hanson, a high profile purveyor of hateful speech against people who have those characteristics, like Senator Faruqi.”

Holt said that the entirety of Hanson’s tweet which read – “your attitude appalls and disgusts me. When you immigrated to Australia you took every advantage of this country. You took citizenship, bought multiple homes, and a job in a parliament. It’s clear you’re not happy, so pack your bags and piss off back to Pakistan” – was aimed at Faruqi’s migrant status.

Holt said the affect of those words on Faruqi was clear.

“Senator Faruqi explained, when I asked about how this compared to other periods of distress that she’s had [she said] I was distressed for three years (that was in the context of the abortion debate that she was engaged in New South Wales), but I’ve never experienced the stress of sleepless nights or waking up in distress or throwing up or having extreme trauma. When I was thinking about this, and what happened and literally jumping out of a moving car.

“So I’ve never experienced that in my life ever.”

Hanson’s counsel have argued that Hanson’s tweet was fair comment, which Holt rejected. Holt argued that political status or success did not make someone immune to the effects of racism.

“For someone like Senator Faruqi, who’s come from a position of being the first Muslim woman in parliament, from a background of obvious disadvantage as a member of a minority, the likelihood is in truth that an effect on her of that sort of speech is going to be much more substantial” Holt said.

“She’s already a minority, she’s already different. She’s already likely to be feeling as she’s explained, excluded or not legitimate.”

Hanson’s team argued Hanson’s tweet was fair comment, particularly given the timing of Faruqi’s original comment, which came “just hours” after the Queen’s death.

Kieran Smark SC, acting for Hanson, said she expressed a genuinely held opinion, which should fall under implied freedom of speech protections.

Smark said that Hanson, who had been accused by Faruqi’s counsel of “playing the player and not the ball” was engaging in modern politics, as had Faruqi.

“Politics has involved assailing one’s opponents, insulting one’s opponents, offending one’s opponents, as part of the persuasive process and effectively so,” Smark said.

“… Politics involves the deployment of rhetoric, powerful language, emotion, all with a view to persuading the audience towards a particular view and in this case, a particular powerful view on issues, which were clearly ones on which Senator Faruqi and Senator Hanson were separately removed, but also just as part of the political process.”

Final submissions will continue on Thursday.

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‘Quiet and respectful’ Sydney teenager part of group wanting to stab non-Muslims, court told

Court told during bail hearing that 15-year-old wanted to ‘do an attack’ and had ‘hatred’ for ‘kuffar’

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A “quiet and respectful” 15-year-old being held on terrorism charges was allegedly part of a group chat in which he professed to wanting to “stab” and “attack” non-Muslims, a court has heard.

The messages were revealed in Parramatta children’s court on Wednesday as part of the teenager’s application for bail, after he was arrested and charged after recent counter-terrorism raids.

Police alleged the teenager sent messages to a group chat on Signal called “Plans” that he allegedly wanted to target Jewish people.

“Don’t youse want to do an attack … what about jews, I am so cut, I want to do it so bad,” he allegedly wrote in one message.

In another, the court heard, he allegedly said: “I really want to do an attack too, I have so much hatred for kuffar (non-Muslims) its not funny, I want to do jihad now.”

Magistrate James Viney said the messages were “gravely concerning, deeply disturbing and very serious”.

He did not make a decision on bail, adjourning the court until Thursday morning to consider the seriousness of the issues surrounding the case.

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The boy’s defence tendered documents in court, including report cards, a psychological report and an affidavit from his mother that painted a picture of a teenager with behavioural issues.

The teenager’s solicitor, Ahmed Dib, described the boy as “quiet” and “respectful” in opening remarks, adding that he had trouble with his confidence and with concentrating.

Police allege that some of the messages they tendered as part of their evidence came in the days after a 16-year-old allegedly stabbed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel at a church in western Sydney in early April.

Those include allegedly telling the group chat he wanted to “stab a kuffar dog” and in a separate message telling an associate he knew the alleged attacker, saying he was a “mate”.

Police alleged in court that the group chat featured co-conspirators who were planning an upcoming attack, however, the defence refuted that any such plan was in motion.

They said that no “substantial plan” was mentioned in the police fact sheet and if there was “significant planning”, police would have outlined it.

The defence claimed the teenager was venting to his group, and that he had a history of struggling with confidence. They claimed he was “bragging in a macho way” in order to be “accepted by the group”.

They alleged that a “large portion” of the police fact sheet was relying on conversations between the accused co-conspirators.

The teenager was the youngest of the five juveniles arrested and charged with conspiracy to engage in any act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act. As part of the search warrants executed last week, a further two teenagers have been charged with possessing or controlling violent extremist material.

Dib said the conversations and messages tendered to court by police did not amount to “substantial planning”.

“In terms of taking proactive steps, this was a young person venting unethically, it’s deranged, but does not go to strength of prosecution case.”

Dib also pointed to a separate incident in which the teenager, alongside another co-accused, allegedly attacked a liquor store in the days after the stabbing at the church.

In that incident, it is alleged a wooden plank was thrown at the liquor store staff member, and the two teenagers were allegedly found to have “kitchen knives” on them by police when they were arrested.

But Dib said it was a “significant jump” to go from allegedly throwing a wooden plank at someone and planning a terrorist attack.

“He does not pull that knife out at any point,” Dib told the court. “He complies with police, it’s a very different type of person to the one described as having potential to carry out terror attack.”

As part of the search warrant executed on the teenager’s home, police seized a tomahawk and a hunting knife. However, the defence alleged they were found in the garage, and were “gardening tools”.

The prosecution sought an adjournment to assess new evidence tendered to court late on Wednesday that detailed how potential electronic monitoring could work if the boy is granted bail.

A decision is expected on Thursday morning.

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We are restarting our live coverage of the campus protests in the US, where clashes have broken out in the last few hours between rival protest groups at the University of California campus in Los Angeles. Reports on social media said the violence began when pro-Israel demonstrators started attacking the pro-Palestinian camp in the night.

Tensions had been rising on Tuesday evening, after university administrators declared for the first time that the pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus was illegal.

Violence erupts at UCLA campus between rival Gaza protest groups

University vice-chancellor condemns ‘horrific acts of violence’ as footage shows people wielding sticks

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Violent clashes have broken out on the campus of the University of California in Los Angeles after counter demonstrators attacked a pro-Palestinian protest encampment.

Aerial footage from the broadcaster KABC showed people wielding sticks or poles to attack wooden boards being held up as a makeshift barricade to protect pro-Palestinian protesters, some holding placards or umbrellas. At least one firework was thrown into the camp.

Administrators at the university have called in law enforcement officers to try to stem the violence, which is the worst since counter-protesters who support Israel set up a rival protest area near the pro-Palestinian encampment.

“Horrific acts of violence occurred at the encampment tonight and we immediately called law enforcement for mutual aid support,” Mary Osako, a vice-chancellor at the university, said. “The fire department and medical personnel are on the scene. We are sickened by this senseless violence and it must end.”

Writing on X, the mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass, condemned the violence as “absolutely abhorrent and inexcusable”.

LA police said in a post on X: “At the request of UCLA, due to multiple acts of violence within the large encampment on their campus, the LAPD is responding to assist UCLA PD, and other law enforcement agencies, to restore order and maintain public safety.”

Some of the counter-protesters began to leave the area at about 1.40am, after police in riot gear arrived and formed a line near the camp, the LA Times reported. But officers did not immediately break up the two sets of protesters, and clashes continued.

The clashes began in the early hours of Wednesday, shortly after Gene Block, the UCLA chancellor, said the campus’s pro-Palestine encampment was “unlawful”, adding that students who remained in it would face disciplinary action.

The 7 October attack on southern Israel by Hamas militants from Gaza and the ensuing Israeli offensive on the Palestinian territory have unleashed the biggest outpouring of US student activism since the anti-racism protests of 2020.

Late on Tuesday, New York City police arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators holed-up in an academic building on Columbia University campus in New York and removed a protest encampment that the Ivy League school had sought to dismantle for nearly two weeks.

Live video images showed police in riot gear marching on the campus in upper Manhattan, the focal point of the nationwide student protests. Officers used an armoured vehicle with a bridging mechanism to gain entry to the second floor of the building.

Officers said they used flash-bangs to disperse the crowd but denied using teargas as part of the operation. Officers were seen leading protesters handcuffed with zip ties to a line of police buses waiting outside campus gates.

The police operation, which was largely over within a couple of hours, follows nearly two weeks of tensions, with pro-Palestinian protesters at the university ignoring an ultimatum on Monday to abandon their encampment or risk suspension.

On Tuesday, Columbia University officials threatened academic expulsion of the students who had seized Hamilton Hall, an eight-storey neoclassical building blocked by protesters who linked arms to form a barricade and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans.

The university said on Tuesday it had asked police to enter the campus to “restore safety and order to our community”.

Reuters contributed to this report

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Indonesia volcano eruption spreads ash to Malaysia and shuts airports

Ships evacuating 12,000 islanders over fears that side of Mount Ruang might slide into sea and cause tsunami

Eruptions at a remote Indonesian volcano have forced more than half a dozen airports to close with ash spreading as far as Malaysia, according to officials, while authorities rushed to evacuate thousands due to tsunami fears.

Mount Ruang erupted three times on Tuesday, spewing lava and ash more than 5km (three miles) into the sky and forcing authorities to issue evacuation orders for 12,000 people.

A rescue ship and a warship were dispatched to help move thousands from neighbouring Tagulandang island north to Siau island because of a warning about parts of the volcano falling into the sea, potentially causing a tsunami.

Rosalin Salindeho, a 95-year-old resident of Tagulandang in Indonesia’s outermost region of North Sulawesi province, spoke of her fears when Ruang erupted after arriving in Siau.

“The mountain exploded. Wow, it was horrible. There were rains of rocks. Twice. The second one was really heavy, even the houses far away were also hit,” she said.

The country’s meteorological agency, BMKG, shared a map on Wednesday morning that showed volcanic ash had reached as far as eastern Malaysia on Borneo island, which Malaysia shares with Indonesia and Brunei.

The spread of volcanic ash forced seven airports to close, the biggest in provincial capital Manado and the city of Gorontalo, according to a notice from state-run air traffic control provider AirNav Indonesia.

The crater of Mount Anak Krakatoa, between Java and Sumatra islands, also partly collapsed in 2018 when a major eruption sent huge chunks of the volcano sliding into the ocean, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 400 people and injured thousands.

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Indonesia volcano eruption spreads ash to Malaysia and shuts airports

Ships evacuating 12,000 islanders over fears that side of Mount Ruang might slide into sea and cause tsunami

Eruptions at a remote Indonesian volcano have forced more than half a dozen airports to close with ash spreading as far as Malaysia, according to officials, while authorities rushed to evacuate thousands due to tsunami fears.

Mount Ruang erupted three times on Tuesday, spewing lava and ash more than 5km (three miles) into the sky and forcing authorities to issue evacuation orders for 12,000 people.

A rescue ship and a warship were dispatched to help move thousands from neighbouring Tagulandang island north to Siau island because of a warning about parts of the volcano falling into the sea, potentially causing a tsunami.

Rosalin Salindeho, a 95-year-old resident of Tagulandang in Indonesia’s outermost region of North Sulawesi province, spoke of her fears when Ruang erupted after arriving in Siau.

“The mountain exploded. Wow, it was horrible. There were rains of rocks. Twice. The second one was really heavy, even the houses far away were also hit,” she said.

The country’s meteorological agency, BMKG, shared a map on Wednesday morning that showed volcanic ash had reached as far as eastern Malaysia on Borneo island, which Malaysia shares with Indonesia and Brunei.

The spread of volcanic ash forced seven airports to close, the biggest in provincial capital Manado and the city of Gorontalo, according to a notice from state-run air traffic control provider AirNav Indonesia.

The crater of Mount Anak Krakatoa, between Java and Sumatra islands, also partly collapsed in 2018 when a major eruption sent huge chunks of the volcano sliding into the ocean, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 400 people and injured thousands.

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Bruce Lehrmann granted extension to consider appeal of defamation ruling in Network Ten case

Justice Michael Lee labels Ten lawyer’s comments outside court following judgment ‘discourteous’ and ‘misleading’

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Bruce Lehrmann has been granted an extension of time to consider an appeal at a federal court hearing which saw Network Ten’s conduct outside the court, after the judgment, described by Justice Michael Lee as “discourteous” and “misleading”.

Lee said Ten’s decision to offer comment outside his court minutes after the judgment was handed down had caused him concern, in particular the claim the network had been vindicated.

Lawyer Justin Quill, who was authorised to speak by Ten, told journalists on 15 April that Ten had been vindicated by the judgment, saying: “The way in which judges and barristers pick apart and dissect what journalists did or didn’t do in applying a legal threshold or legal test of reasonableness is quite often divorced from reality.”

Lee said Quill’s assertions were made “immediately after the judgment, and without even reading the judgment”. He refuted Quill’s claim that his findings were “divorced from reality”.

“Notwithstanding that Network Ten apparently thought it appropriate for a period of 48 hours following the delivery of the judgment to go around and effectively say it had been vindicated in relation to all aspects of its conduct,” Lee said.

“That was quite misleading. I made it perfectly plain that what occurred in this case was that the respondents [Ten and Lisa Wilkinson] fell well short of a standard of reasonableness in the credulous way they went about reporting these allegations, and I was quite clear about that.”

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In his judgment, he had been critical of the conduct of The Project’s team, saying “the rape allegations were intertwined with the cover-up and the Project team had strong indications of the unreliability of their main source, particularly as to how she lost material on her phone and selected material survived”. He was also critical of Ten for approving Wilkinson’s Logies speech.

In an affidavit released by the court on Wednesday, Quill apologised for his “off the cuff” remarks to reporters, saying he did not intend “to suggest that his Honour was wrong in his view of the law of contempt of court or its application in this case, or that that law of contempt does not bind and must be complied with by media organisations”.

“I absolutely did not intend to convey any lack of respect for this Court or the law. I did not intend to convey any suggestion about the Australian media’s obligation to comply with the law. I accept without hesitation the media should comply with the law.”

Ten’s silk Dr Matt Collins KC, who is asking the court to make an order that Lehrmann pay all Ten’s costs, said the conduct of Quill was not relevant when considering the costs matter.

Ten’s lawyers were contrite and had each filed affidavits explaining their conduct, Collins said.

“These are three very, very serious lawyers who have put on very contrite expressions of very sincere expressions of contrition,” Collins said.

“Mr Quill’s statements outside the court were made in the immediate aftermath of a review on his judgment, having been read those statements and respectful submission, could not have a rational bearing upon the proper disposition of costs.”

Collins revealed he had been recruited by Ten to advise staff on their legal responsibilities following Lee’s criticism of the network for approving Wilkinson’s Logies speech – which resulted in the delay of the criminal trial – and for standing by that legal advice in evidence.

“You have a corporation who’s going to report on court matters in the future thinking it’s okay, eight days before a jury trial, to publish such material,” Lee said.

The court also heard for the first time it was possible Lehrmann, who has not worked since 2021, would be bankrupt and unable to meet a costs order.

“Alternatively, someone has to go and bankrupt Mr Lehrmann or do something like that,” Collins said.

The former Liberal staffer lost the defamation case he brought against Ten and Wilkinson, with Lee finding that on the balance of probabilities Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins on a minister’s couch in Parliament House in 2019. Lehrmann has always denied the allegation and pleaded not guilty at the criminal trial of the matter which was aborted due to juror misconduct.

Lehrmann had until 13 May to file an appeal but has been granted an extension to 31 May.

Lee reserved his decision on costs to a date yet to be determined.

Former Spotlight producer Taylor Auerbach, a late witness in the trial, has asked for his costs in the order of $60,00 to be paid by Lehrmann and Ten.

Lee indicated to Auerbach’s legal counsel that he would consider their submission but would be unlikely to make an order for costs of that magnitude.

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Churches accused of a ‘shattering silence’ on redress for past injustices at Victoria’s Indigenous truth-telling inquiry

Catholic, Anglican and Uniting Church representatives tell Yoorrook Justice Commission of efforts to repent for ‘terrible legacy’

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A commissioner at Victoria’s Indigenous-led truth-telling inquiry has accused representatives from Australian churches of a “shattering silence” on steps towards redress for its past injustices.

Representatives from the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches appeared on Wednesday at the Yoorrook Justice Commission, which is holding public hearings on land injustice.

The leaders told the inquiry their churches had run missions that harmed First Nations people and were complicit and benefitted from the dispossession of Indigenous Victorians’ land, including through receiving grants of land from the state with no regards to Indigenous sovereignty.

The Rt Rev Dr Richard Treloar, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Gippsland, told the commission the diocese “laments that our colonial history includes atrocities committed against First Peoples”.

“Some of these involved in these heinous but no longer unspeakable acts are likely to have identified with the Church of England. Of this terrible legacy we repent,” he said.

But the Yoorrook commissioner, Anthony North KC, accused the churches of a “shattering silence about actions to redress” past injustices.

“I find that really saddening,” he said.

North said “treaty was one answer. It’s not the only answer.”

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Earlier in the hearing, Timothy Goodwin, counsel assisting the commission, said the Anglican Churches’ property trust held 260.5 hectares of land in Victoria – estimated to be worth $1.49bn.

Treloar told the commission that the diocese of Gippsland had a policy for 1.5% of the 20% it retains from land sales to be set aside for its Aboriginal ministry, but noted this was a “woefully inadequate figure”.

“This includes outreach to the community through rites of passage, times of grief and crisis, material support, referrals, pastoral care and school and agency governance,” he said.

Treloar said it was his “sincere hope” the 1.5% figure would increase. “I want to acknowledge that land injustice causes systemic disadvantage and legacy trauma,” he said.

The Uniting and Catholic Church representatives would not discuss their total land values.

The Rev David James Fotheringham, moderator of the Uniting Church synod of Victoria and Tasmania, said since the mid-1980s the church had a policy for “direct transfers of land.” He said since 2011 its policies ensured that a portion of sale proceeds went to its Indigenous congress. But he said it could also receive additional funds and was not limited to this.

Yoorrook has a mandate to investigate and create a public record of the systemic injustice experienced by First Nations people in Victoria since colonisation, including inequalities that persist today. It is due to deliver a final report by June next year that will make recommendations for reform and redress.

On Monday, the Victorian premier, Jacinta Allan, appeared at Yoorrook. In a submission to the inquiry, she said and she said would deliver a potential apology to First Nations Victorians for injustice committed by the state.

Allan said said any apology would take place after the inquiry handed down its final report next year and would be negotiated with the First Peoples’ Assembly – the state’s democratically elected Indigenous body – who would consult with the wider Indigenous community.

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Police officer ‘almost lost hand’ in Hainault sword attack

Met chief says one officer sustained hand injuries and another had surgery for ‘horrifically serious’ wounds to her arm

A police officer came close to losing her hand in the sword attack in Hainault, north-east London, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Mark Rowley, has said.

A 14-year-old boy was killed and four other people were injured during the incident on Tuesday.

Rowley told LBC: “The first thing you have to say is for the parents involved, who’ve lost their 14-year-old, and that is just horrific, and it’s everyone’s worst nightmare. I’m sure we’re all thinking about them.

“We were on the ground in 12 minutes, and he was detained after 22 minutes. Obviously some of the first contacts led to officers being very severely injured.”

He said one male officer had serious injuries to his hand, while a female colleague was in surgery for several hours on Tuesday after sustaining “horrifically serious” wounds to her arm.

“People say officers run towards danger. What you’ve actually seen on some of the videos that are sort of around social media and on new sites such as your own, you actually see what that really looks like. You’ve got officers running towards someone who is waving a sword,” Rowley said.

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Police officer ‘almost lost hand’ in Hainault sword attack

Met chief says one officer sustained hand injuries and another had surgery for ‘horrifically serious’ wounds to her arm

A police officer came close to losing her hand in the sword attack in Hainault, north-east London, the Metropolitan police commissioner, Mark Rowley, has said.

A 14-year-old boy was killed and four other people were injured during the incident on Tuesday.

Rowley told LBC: “The first thing you have to say is for the parents involved, who’ve lost their 14-year-old, and that is just horrific, and it’s everyone’s worst nightmare. I’m sure we’re all thinking about them.

“We were on the ground in 12 minutes, and he was detained after 22 minutes. Obviously some of the first contacts led to officers being very severely injured.”

He said one male officer had serious injuries to his hand, while a female colleague was in surgery for several hours on Tuesday after sustaining “horrifically serious” wounds to her arm.

“People say officers run towards danger. What you’ve actually seen on some of the videos that are sort of around social media and on new sites such as your own, you actually see what that really looks like. You’ve got officers running towards someone who is waving a sword,” Rowley said.

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If NSW’s coercive control ads work, more funding will be needed as victims come forward, advocates say

Awareness campaign ahead of law change features tagline ‘It’s not love, it’s coercive control. Know the signs of abuse’

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Domestic violence New South Wales says the sector needs more funding to deal with an expected increase in demand after the launch of the state government’s new campaign against coercive control.

The government on Wednesday launched the campaign on a suite of platforms using the tagline: “It’s not love, it’s coercive control. Know the signs of abuse.” The aim is to educate people on the patterns of abusive behaviour.

From July, NSW will be the first state to make coercive control – which can include financial abuse, threats, or isolating or tracking someone – a standalone criminal offence.

The deputy chief executive of DVNSW, Elise Phillips, said the legislation and awareness campaign were crucial. But with services already struggling to meet demand and vulnerable women and children being turned away, a boost in funding was also needed, she said.

“When people realise ‘What I’m going through here is not OK, this is abuse’, they are more likely to reach out for support and we need to make sure our service can respond to that need,” Phillips said on Wednesday.

DVNSW, which is the peak body for domestic violence in the state, is urging the state government to commit at least $145m for domestic and family violence in the June budget. NSW spends less than half what Victoria does on domestic and family violence services, despite the larger population, according to DVNSW.

On Wednesday, the federal government announced it would commit $925m over five years to permanently establish a payment of up to $5,000 to help victims of violence leave an abusive relationship.

The NSW deputy premier, Prue Car, said the need for urgent action on women’s safety had come into “sharp focus” in recent weeks.

“This is just part of what the NSW government is doing to address the longstanding cultural reasons that we end up in these terrible situations,” Car said.

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The state government will hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday focusing on domestic and family violence.

Last week, the Minns government announced a review of bail laws after Molly Ticehurt’s alleged murder by her ex-partner while he was on bail for stalking and raping her.

“There are many, many levers that we can pull as a state government and we are committed to looking at absolutely everything because we just cannot continue to have women in NSW die at the hands of those who have purported to love them,” Car told reporters speaking generally.

State Greens MP Abigail Boyd opted not to attend Wednesday’s campaign launch stating she didn’t want to “show support for a strategy that didn’t include funding to tackle domestic and family violence”.

“My office is inundated with calls from domestic and family violence services having to turn people away because they have insufficient funding,” Boyd said. “While NSW is underfunding the sector it is leaving women and children with nowhere to turn.”

The chief executive of Full Stop Australia, Karen Bevan, told reporters at Wednesday’s campaign launch that her service regularly received calls from women suffering from coercive control who knew something wasn’t right “but it’s hard to put your finger on”.

“What we know is that the better we educate the whole community about what coercive control looks like, the better we will do … in enabling women to name what’s going on in their relationship [and] to seek help from people like us,” she said.

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Paul Auster, American author of The New York Trilogy, dies aged 77

The writer of The New York Trilogy, Leviathan and 4 3 2 1 – known for his stylised postmodernist fiction – has died from complications of lung cancer

Paul Auster – a life in pictures

Paul Auster, the author of 34 books including the acclaimed New York Trilogy, has died aged 77.

The author died on Tuesday due to complications from lung cancer, his friend and fellow author Jacki Lyden confirmed to the Guardian.

Auster became known for his “highly stylised, quirkily riddlesome postmodernist fiction in which narrators are rarely other than unreliable and the bedrock of plot is continually shifting,” the novelist Joyce Carol Oates wrote in 2010.

His stories often play with themes of coincidence, chance and fate. Many of his protagonists are writers themselves, and his body of work is self-referential, with characters from early novels appearing again in later ones.

“Auster has established one of the most distinctive niches in contemporary literature,” wrote critic Michael Dirda in 2008. “His narrative voice is as hypnotic as that of the Ancient Mariner. Start one of his books and by page two you cannot choose but hear.”

The author was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1947. According to Auster, his writing life began at the age of eight when he missed out on getting an autograph from his baseball hero, Willie Mays, because neither he nor his parents had carried a pencil to the game. From then on, he took a pencil everywhere. “If there’s a pencil in your pocket, there’s a good chance that one day you’ll feel tempted to start using it,” he wrote in a 1995 essay.

While hiking during a summer camp aged 14, Auster witnessed a boy inches away from him getting struck by lightning and dying instantly – an event that he said “absolutely changed” his life and that he thought about “every day”. Chance, “understandably, became a recurring theme in his fiction,” wrote the critic Laura Miller in 2017. A similar incident occurs in Auster’s 2017 Booker-shortlisted novel 4 3 2 1: one of the book’s four versions of protagonist Archie Ferguson runs under a tree at a summer camp and is killed by a falling branch when lightning strikes.

Auster studied at Columbia University before moving to Paris in the early 1970s, where he worked a variety of jobs, including translation, and lived with his “on-again off-again” girlfriend, the writer Lydia Davis, whom he had met while at college. In 1974, they returned to the US and married. In 1977, the couple had a son, Daniel, but separated shortly afterwards.

In January 1979, Auster’s father, Samuel, died, and the event became the seed for the writer’s first memoir, The Invention of Solitude, published in 1982. In it, Auster revealed that his paternal grandfather was shot and killed by his grandmother, who was acquitted on grounds of insanity. “A boy cannot live through this kind of thing without being affected by it as a man,” Auster wrote in reference to his father, with whom he described himself having an “un-movable relationship, cut off from each other on opposite sides of a wall”.

Auster’s breakthrough came with the 1985 publication of City of Glass, the first novel in his New York trilogy. While the books are ostensibly mystery stories, Auster wielded the form to ask existential questions about identity. “The more [Auster’s detectives] stalk their eccentric quarry, the more they seem actually to be stalking the Big Questions – the implications of authorship, the enigmas of epistemology, the veils and masks of language,” wrote the critic and screenwriter Stephen Schiff in 1987.

Auster published regularly throughout the 80s, 90s and 00s, writing more than a dozen novels including Moon Palace (1989), The Music of Chance (1990), The Book of Illusions (2002) and Oracle Night (2003). He also became involved in film, writing the screenplay for Smoke, directed by Wayne Wang, for which he won the Independent Spirit award for best first screenplay in 1995.

In 1981, Auster met the writer Siri Hustvedt and they married the following year. In 1987 they had a daughter, Sophie, who became a singer and actor. Auster’s 1992 novel Leviathan, about a man who accidentally blows himself up, features a character called Iris Vegan, who is the heroine of Hustvedt’s first novel, The Blindfold.

Auster was better known in Europe than in his native United States: “Merely a bestselling author in these parts,” read a 2007 New York magazine article, “Auster is a rock star in Paris.” In 2006, he was awarded Spain’s Prince of Asturias prize for literature, and in 1993 he was given the Prix Médicis Étranger for Leviathan. He was also a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

In April 2022, Auster and Davis’s son, Daniel, died from a drug overdose. In March 2023, Hustvedt revealed that Auster was being treated for cancer after having been diagnosed the previous December. His final novel, Baumgartner, about a widowed septuagenarian writer, was published in October.

Auster is survived by Hustvedt, their daughter Sophie Auster, his sister Janet Auster, and a grandson.

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Healthy hospital staff posed as ‘fake’ patients for Victorian minister’s visit, investigation confirms

Health minister Mary-Anne Thomas says 10 people who were not unwell were inside Colac area health’s urgent care clinic during her 2023 visit

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Staff members at a regional hospital posed as “fake patients” to make their urgent care clinic appear busier during a visit by the Victorian health minister last year, an investigation has found.

The health minister, Mary-Anne Thomas on Wednesday told reporters an investigation into her visit to Colac area health’s urgent care clinic on 9 August 2023, had been completed and the staff would not be sanctioned.

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“It has confirmed that staff at Colac area health posed as patients during my visit on that day,” she said.

“These staff members were registered as patients in the urgent care centre registration system. Their registrations were later cancelled after I had left.”

Thomas said the deception included a staff member arriving to the clinic by ambulance.

“We do know that at least one person who did not require medical treatment arrived at the hospital in an ambulance. We also know that one person who was a staff member was on a trolley,” she said.

Thomas said the group had been enlisted “by some management staff to help the urgent care centre appear busier than it actually was”.

“I’m very disappointed,” she said. “I don’t need our health services to be staging fake patients to need to know that our health system is facing challenges.”

Thomas said she could not remember “anything was untoward” during the visit.

“It’s certainly not something that ever crossed my mind that a health service would work to deceive a government minister in such a way,” she said.

The investigation, commissioned by the health department and conducted by Wise Workplace Solutions, was launched after reporting by the Colac Herald.

Thomas would not release the report on Wednesday, citing privacy concerns, but provided an executive summary.

It confirmed 10 staff members working in other parts of the hospital had attended the clinic and sat in the waiting room during the visit. Arrangements were also made for one staff member to arrive by ambulance, who was then triaged by staff in the urgent care clinic.

Another “occupied a trolley in the back corridor”, it said.

The investigation said the evidence did not suggest that any resources had been diverted away from the care of genuine patients at the time but there was a “real possibility that patient care could have been impacted by the presence of patients who were not in genuine need”.

Wise Workplace Solutions and the department both took the view the incidents were inappropriate and did not align with the department’s expectations under both Colac area health or the public sector’s codes of conduct.

But the investigation did not recommended disciplining the staff who posed as patients.

It found they did what “they had been asked to do” and “went along with what was happening under the apparent belief that this is what was expected of them” by the hospital.

However, it recommended Colac area health convey the seriousness of what occurred to staff and the significant impact it could have had on patients, as well as to remind them to speak up if asked to do something that they believe is unethical.

Thomas said it was now up to Colac area health to take action against the staff members who organised the stunt. She said this could include “counselling, training or indeed disciplinary action”.

Colac area health’s interim chief executive, Prof Steve Moylan, apologised over the incident.

“We are sorry for what occurred in the urgent care centre, it is highly regrettable and we’ve accepted all recommendations from the independent investigation,” he said.

“Whilst the investigation found there was no impact to patient care, we know the incident posed a potential risk and that’s something we will ensure doesn’t happen again.”

Colac area health will consider disciplinary action for a group of staff identified in the report.

Ambulance Victoria is also investigating its involvement in the episode.

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Trump threatens to prosecute Bidens if he’s re-elected unless he gets immunity

Time magazine called the ex-president’s plans ‘an imperial presidency that would reshape America and its role in the world’

Donald Trump has warned that Joe Biden and his family could face multiple criminal prosecutions once he leaves office unless the US supreme court awards Trump immunity in his own legal battles with the criminal justice system.

In a sweeping interview with Time magazine, Trump painted a startling picture of his second term, from how he would wield the justice department to hinting he may let states monitor pregnant women to enforce abortion laws.

Trump made the threat against the Biden family in an interview with Eric Cortellessa of Time, in which he shared the outlines of what the magazine called “an imperial presidency that would reshape America and its role in the world”.

Trump made a direct connection between his threat to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Bidens should he win re-election in November with the case currently before the supreme court over his own presidential immunity.

Asked whether he intends to “go after” the Bidens should he gain a second term in the White House, Trump replied: “It depends what happens with the supreme court.”

If the nine justices on the top court – three of whom were appointed by Trump – fail to award him immunity from prosecution, Trump said, “then Biden I am sure will be prosecuted for all of his crimes, because he’s committed many crimes”.

Trump and his Republican backers have long attempted to link Biden to criminal wrongdoing relating to the business affairs of his son Hunter Biden, without unearthing any substantial evidence. Last June, in remarks made at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump threatened to appoint a special prosecutor were he re-elected “to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America, Joe Biden, and the entire Biden crime family”.

Trump is currently in the thick of four active prosecutions himself, one of which is currently at trial in New York. He is accused of election interference in 2016 tied to hush-money payments to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

Last week, the supreme court heard oral arguments in Trump v US in which the former president made a case for broad immunity from prosecution for former presidents including himself. The justices appeared unlikely to grant his request in full, though they sounded willing to consider some degree of immunity for acts carried out as part of official presidential duties.

Several of Trump’s comments in the Time interview will ring alarm bells among those concerned with the former president’s increasingly totalitarian bent.

Trump’s remarks raise the specter that, were he granted a second presidential term, he would weaponize the justice department to seek revenge against the Democratic rival who defeated him in 2020.

Despite the violence that erupted on 6 January 2021 at the US Capitol after he refused to accept defeat in the 2020 election, which is the subject of one of two federal prosecutions he is fighting, Trump also declined to promise a peaceful transfer of power should he lose again in November.

Asked by Cortellessa whether there would be political violence should Trump fail to win, he replied: “If we don’t win, you know, it depends. It always depends on the fairness of an election.”

Pouring yet more gasoline onto the fire, Trump not only repeated his falsehood that the 2020 election had been stolen from him, but said he would be unlikely to appoint anyone to a second Trump administration who believed Biden had legitimately prevailed four years ago. “I wouldn’t feel good about it, because I think anybody that doesn’t see that that election was stolen – you look at the proof,” he said.

Overall, the interview conveys a picture of a second Trump presidency in which the occupant of the Oval Office would be determined to wield executive power unconstrained by any historical norms or respect for long-accepted boundaries.

His plans to dominate the Department of Justice would see him pardon most of the more than 800 people who have been convicted of rioting on January 6 and summarily fire any US attorney who disobeyed his instructions.

On abortion, he said that all decision-making power over reproductive rights had been handed to the states following the supreme court’s overturning of the right to a termination in Roe v Wade. He said he might contemplate Republican states putting pregnant women under surveillance to monitor whether they had abortions beyond the state’s designated ban.

“I think they might do that,” Trump said.

Some of his most fearsome policies for a possible Trump 47 presidency concern immigration. He told Time that one of his first priorities would be to initiate a mass deportation of millions of undocumented people.

To achieve that historically unprecedented goal, he would be prepared to deploy the US military and national guard to secure the border and to carry out massive sweeps of potential deportees. He said he would not rule out building new migrant detention camps to house those earmarked for removal, though most of the deportations would happen instantly.

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