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- Qantas to find out whether ground staff sacking was legal
- The 3.5 million voters the No campaign is targeting to block the Voice
- Frustration mounts in Morocco as aid hasn’t reached some survivors
- Thousands missing in Libya following devastating floods
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Butler says vapes ‘new frontier’, says big tobacco are ‘cunning’
Turning now to Health Minister Mark Butler, who is speaking about the upcoming ban on nicotine vapes, and said it was the “new frontier” in battling big tobacco.
He told ABC radio this morning that it was the first major reforms on tobacco in more than 12 years, since the introduction of plain packaging on cigarettes.
“The fact that we haven’t continued that reform process means that we’re not on track to meet the targets … to get smoking rates down to 5 per cent by 2030,” Butler said on RN Breakfast.
Health Minister Mark Butler.Credit: Andrew Ellinghausen
The minister said big tobacco has “adapted and innovated and been quite cunning” on how to get around plain packaging restrictions, and were targeting young people.
Smoking rates among young people were growing, and Butler pointed to the availability of vapes as one reason for that.
“This really is the new frontier, we can’t forget the fight against traditional cigarettes or what young people call analogs but … the so-called ‘digital durries’, the vapes really are the new frontier to stop a new generation of nicotine addicts being recruited this industry,” he said.
He said if big tobacco firms tried to take the government to court over the restrictions, “we will defend our reforms very strongly”.
Langton an ‘outstanding Australian’, McCarthy says
Australia’s assistant Indigenous Australians Minister Malarndirri McCarthy has called for a respectful debate on the Voice.
It comes after Indigenous leader Marcia Langton denied calling No voters “racist and stupid” after media reports about her remarks triggered a dispute in federal parliament.
McCarthy defended Langton on Nine’s Today Show this morning, saying she was an “outstanding Australian”.
Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy.Credit: Rhett Wyman
“Australians I’m sure if they did listen to her would have heard, put simply, the Voice to Parliament has always been about an advisory committee … Those grabs that are taken of her speeches, I think, are selective, but I also point out to all Australians that we are … only four weeks out [from the referendum],” she said.
The assistant minister urged everyone on both sides to engage in “respectful debate”.
Nationals senator Matt Canavan said “petty name-calling” should be above us.
“I think Australians are sick and tired of being called racist for having an opinion. It’s been happening quite a bit during this debate,” he said.
He said it didn’t matter what Langton’s explanations were, there was “no need to resort to this kind of language”.
Marcia Langton denies calling No voters racist
Indigenous leader Marcia Langton has denied calling No voters “racist and stupid” after media reports about her remarks triggered a dispute in federal parliament over truth and lies in the escalating battle for the Voice referendum.
Langton said she was seeking legal advice on reports that claimed she made the sweeping statement about Australian voters when a recording of her remarks indicated she was criticising the No campaign rather than the targets of its message.
Professor Marcia Langton addressed the National Press Club earlier this month. Credit: James Brickwood
The storm over her comments came during a wider row when the government accused Opposition Leader Peter Dutton of spreading “disinformation” on the Indigenous Voice and misquoting ministers on the power of parliament.
Langton, a key author of the Voice after the previous government named her to a peak group that advised on its design, made her criticisms of the No campaign at a public forum in the West Australian town of Bunbury when she rejected claims the Voice would lead to reparations.
The Coalition cited Langton’s remarks at the opening of question time on Tuesday to demand that the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, condemn comments reported in the Bunbury Herald and The Australian.
Continue reading about this here.
Qantas to find out whether ground staff sacking was legal
As we mentioned earlier, airline Qantas will find out whether its decision to outsource more than 1600 workers during the COVID-19 pandemic was legal.
The High Court will hand down its ruling on the matter today, with the airline appealing two rulings which found the outsourcing of baggage handlers, cleaners and ground staff was illegal.
Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine has spoken to ABC radio ahead of the judgment which he said was a “really important decision”
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine has spoken about the High Court decision on Qantas. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
“The ramifications for those 1700 families but also for workers across the community are significant,” he told RN Breakfast.
Kaine said Qantas ran a technical legal argument in court, and said the sacking of ground workers prevented them from exercising their right to bargain or take industrial action.
If the court ruled against the workers, Kaine said it would “send bargaining and our industrial system into a bit of a chaotic freefall”.
He told RN Breakfast this morning he wasn’t concerned that all High Court judges were members of the airline’s exclusive Chairman’s Club.
The airline, which retrenched workers in 2020, lost billions of dollars due to the pandemic, which decimated the aviation sector.
The 3.5 million voters the No campaign is targeting to block the Voice
More than 3 million voters will be targeted by a barrage of calls and advertising from the No campaign after the anti-Voice movement used sophisticated software to identify persuadable voters in swing states.
Thousands of No volunteers in NSW and Victoria are making nightly calls to households in Tasmania and South Australia, as Fair Australia’s top campaigner, Chris Inglis, boasted during a training session that the No campaign has a much easier job than the Yes campaign, which requires support from a majority of voters nationally as well as a majority in four of six states to succeed.
Volunteers are targeting persuadable voters in smaller states.Credit: Robert Rough
This masthead revealed yesterday that Inglis had instructed volunteers to instil fear in voters’ minds, not to identify themselves upfront as No campaigners and to raise reports of financial compensation to Indigenous Australians if the Voice were set up.
In a campaign briefing, Inglis revealed extensive details about his campaign’s predictive software, which he claimed had identified 3.5 million undecided Australians in key states.
He told volunteers who registered to work to defeat the Voice that the Yes campaign was “spraying” money by chasing 8.7 million voters nationwide.
“We don’t need Victoria or NSW,” Inglis said.
Continue reading about this issue.
Frustration mounts in Morocco as aid hasn’t reached some survivors
And in an update to the deadly Moroccan earthquake, many survivors are struggling in makeshift shelters after a fourth night in the open, while villagers in devastated mountain areas voiced frustration at having received no help from the authorities.
The death toll from the 6.8 magnitude quake that struck in the High Atlas Mountains late on Friday evening rose to 2,901, while the number of people injured more than doubled to 5,530, state television reported.
It was the North African country’s deadliest earthquake since 1960 and its most powerful in more than a century.
A man walks among the rubble in the town of Moulay Brahim in the High Atlas Mountains.Credit: Getty Images
Rescuers from Spain, Britain and Qatar were helping Morocco’s search teams, while Italy, Belgium, France and Germany said their offers of assistance had yet to be approved.
The situation was most desperate for people in remote areas cut off by landslides triggered by the earthquake that blocked access roads, while in accessible locations relief efforts were stepping up with tent camps and distribution of food and water.
Mehdi Ait Bouyali, 24, was camping along the Tizi n’Test road, which connects remote valleys to the historic city of Marrakech, with a few other survivors who had also fled their destroyed villages. He said the group had received food and blankets from people driving by but nothing from the state.
“The villages of the valley have been forgotten. We need any kind of help. We need tents,” he said, criticising the government’s relief efforts.
In his first televised appearance since the earthquake struck, King Mohammed VI visited Marrakech – 72 km (45 miles) from the tremor’s epicentre – to meet injured people at a hospital, where the state news agency said he donated blood.
Thousands missing in Libya following devastating floods
Overseas, officials say Libya’s eastern city of Derna has buried 700 people killed in devastating flooding and 10,000 were reported missing as rescue teams struggled to retrieve many more bodies from the horrific deluge.
Mediterranean storm Daniel on Sunday night caused havoc and flash flooding in many towns in eastern Libya, but the worst destruction was in Derna, where heavy rainfall and floods broke dams and washed away entire neighbourhoods, authorities said.
Cars and rubble sit in a street in Derna, Libya, after water receded.Credit: AP
“The situation is catastrophic,” said Othman Abduljaleel, the health minister in Libya’s eastern government. “The bodies are still lying on the ground in many parts [of the city]. Hospitals are filled with bodies. And there are areas we have yet to reach.”
Authorities estimated earlier that as many as 2000 people may have perished in Derna alone.
The Ambulance and Emergency Authority, which coordinates search and rescue efforts, said about 2300 people died in Derna but did not clarify what that figure was based on.
Emergency responders, including troops, government workers, volunteers and residents were digging through rubble to recover the dead.
Continue reading about the disaster here, from AP.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning, and thanks for your company.
It’s Wednesday, September 13. I’m Caroline Schelle, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.
Here’s what you need to know before we get started:
- Australians are being kept in the dark by the federal government about the dire national security consequences of climate change, defence figures warned.
- The insurance industry is calling for more funding to protect communities from natural disasters, ban developments on floodplains and government buybacks as they warn costs will soar.
- Indigenous leader Marcia Langton denies calling No voters “racist and stupid” after her remarks triggered a dispute in federal parliament.
- Thousands of No volunteers in NSW and Victoria are making a barrage of nightly phone calls to households in Tasmania and South Australia to sway the swing states.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during Question Time yesterday. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
- The chair of Mental Health Australia says the prime minister is missing in action on mental health as research shows the cost of living is affecting the mental health of more than one in two Australians.
- Former Coalition minister’s claim that a colleague breathed down the back of her neck during question time has been labelled appalling by the country’s new sex discrimination commissioner.
- Parliament’s key integrity campaigners say they are willing to put their exclusive Qantas Chairman’s Lounge memberships on the line in their pursuit of issues surrounding the besieged airline.
- Qantas is also set to find out whether its decision to outsource more than 1600 workers during the COVID-19 pandemic was legal.
- Overseas, around 10,000 are missing following devastating floods in Libya as rescue teams struggled to retrieve more bodies from the deluge.
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