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In breaking news, the Victorian government has just confirmed that the family of late AFL footballer Ron Barassi has accepted the offer of a state funeral.
Ron Barassi at the 2022 AFL round 1 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs.Credit: Getty
Here’s what Premier Daniel Andrews had to say in a statement a few moments ago:
The word legend is used a lot.
But nobody deserves it quite like Ron Barassi.
He didn’t just play the game – he reshaped it.
And how fitting that Friday night’s game was a cliffhanger between the Dees and the Blues.
The Department of Premier and Cabinet will work with Mr Barassi’s family and state memorial details will be announced in due course.
As previously reported, Barassi, a former Melbourne captain, died on the weekend. He was 87 years old.
Qatar Airways has officially declined to appear at the government’s upcoming Senate hearing into bilateral air service agreements, scheduled to kick off on tomorrow.
The Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements was formed following backlash over the government’s rejection of Qatar Airways’ application to double its flights to Australia.
Qatar Airways may be summoned before the Senate.Credit: Alamy
Labor Senator Tony Sheldon said Qatar’s refusal to attend Tuesday’s hearing was disappointing and called for a representative from the airline, and Qatar’s civil aviation regulator to be summoned before the inquiry.
“If the Liberals and Nationals want to give Qatar’s state-owned airline open entry, the Senate needs to scrutinise its practices, including its involvement in the ongoing Qatar corruption scandal at the European Parliament, and its widely criticised labour practices,” Sheldon said.
“Mr Al Baker should front up to this inquiry rather than provide commentary about Australia from the other side of the world.”
Qatar is yet to rule out appearing at future hearings, which are scheduled to take place later this month.
Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker told CNN over the weekend he was blindsided by the decision not to allow the airline to double its flights.
He said he remained hopeful it would be reversed, given the airline’s support for Australia throughout the pandemic.
The AFL is considering whether to rename the premiership cup after the late Ron Barassi as part of larger discussions about the best way to remember and honour him.
Barassi, a Legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame and a multiple premiership winning coach and player, died on the weekend. He was 87.
AFL legend Ron Barassi in 2010.Credit: Mal Fairclough
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said this afternoon:
The management team discussed Ron Barassi this morning. Hard to imagine a bigger or more significant figure in the history of Australian rules than Ron Barassi.
His legacy is being considered. There is, I know, a lot of push to renaming the premiership cup. There are other ways to remember him. Those things are being discussed. We believe we need to then go and speak to key industry figures at clubs and then ultimately it’ll be the commission decision.
It’s a subjective view [on whether to rename the premiership cup]. I believe Ron Barassi needs to be honoured in some way. There are a variety of ways. I do think he needs to be acknowledged in the game in the same way Norm Smith has been, or Jock McHale.
The best player afield in the grand final is awarded the Norm Smith Medal, while the Jock McHale Medal goes to the premiership-winning coach.
McLachlan also said there was discussion about honouring Barassi on grand final day.
I’m committing to all of you, the discussions started this morning. They need to be widened to senior club figures and ultimately to the commission, but I think we need to get that done this week because I think that’s what football needs.
Sean Kelly’s opinion piece on why, after avoiding it for 200 years, it’s no wonder the Voice debate has turned so ugly, is sparking much debate with our subscribers.
@ AshleT says: “People can vote how they see fit, but if Albanese thinks this has brought Australia together in some warm fuzzy fashion, god help us if he decides we need to vote on something divisive.”
@ Christopher Alger writes: “I was always a Yes voter. But one of the more interesting concepts I read recently was that the Voice is not proposed on racial grounds. It is proposed on Indigenous grounds. Where the Indigenous have been disadvantaged and historically dispossessed (see the erroneous philosophy of terra nullius). So, this is not a racially dividing topic. It’s about the recognition of our Indigenous peoples. I feel much more comfortable with this recognition than any other option.”
@ JeffH says: “So far the debate, if you can call it that, has been rather flawed from both sides. But there has been one positive: Indigenous people have been speaking out and we are starting to listen to their voices, pro and con.”
But @ WilliamB has a different view: “How can Australians make an informed decision on the Voice when First Nations people are divided on the issue?”
What do you think? Let us know via the link above.
Good afternoon, it’s Caitlin Fitzsimmons, and I am hosting the blog this afternoon.
Staying with Chris Minns’ press conference, the NSW premier also spoke about his support for the Indigenous Voice to parliament and the possibility of having a similar consultative body in NSW as well.
The Walk for Yes in Sydney on Sunday.Credit: Steven Siewert
South Australia, Victoria and Queensland already have state-based Voice bodies for First Nations representatives to advise the government.
In an article on The Guardian on the weekend, Minns spoke about the process of working towards a treaty with Indigenous people in NSW and how he was open to a state Voice body as part of that.
He told reporters at a press conference today that the consultation would not begin until after the referendum.
“As I said before the election campaign, and since people went to the polls in NSW, that won’t take place until this referendum is out of the way,” Minns said.
“Obviously, we’ll have to assess how Australians vote, and then we’ll engage with First Nations people right here in NSW.”
Minns was one of a number of politicians from across the political spectrum who attended the Walk for Yes in Sydney yesterday and spoke at the rally in Redfern Park.
It also happened to be his 44th birthday and, prompted by Yes23 spokesperson Rachel Perkins, the crowd of up to 30,000 people sang Happy Birthday To You as he took the stage. He shared an optimistic message about how Yes can win.
Minns said today there had been “a lot of commentary about how this referendum will inevitably go down”, but he did not think anything was inevitable in politics.
“My sense is that people in Australia are just starting to switch on to this issue,” Minns said.
“So it’s up for debate, and I’m voting Yes, I’m urging people to do the same thing. And thousands of people shared that sentiment all the way from Redfern to Sydney University yesterday.”
More than 200,000 people marched in Yes events around Australia yesterday.
Thanks for reading our live coverage for the first half of the day.
If you’re just joining us, here’s what you need to know:
Energy Minister Chris Bowen has called the Coalition’s plan to transition out of coal using nuclear technology a “fantasy” because it would cost $387 billion.
Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie says Transport Minister Catherine King had “not consulted and done [her] homework” when she decided to block Qatar’s bid for more flights.
Former prime minister Scott Morrison is set to reveal in detail how his Christian faith influenced him, in a memoir to be published next year.
Caitlin Fitzsimmons will be anchoring the blog this afternoon, thanks again for your company.
Staying with the issue of incidents during welfare checks for now, and NSW Premier Chris Minns has batted away suggestions of a parliamentary inquiry into police use of force, saying he had “gone through chapter and verse how there is independent oversight”.
This included an existing law enforcement conduct commission, an existing critical incident investigation, and at least one case before the courts with serious criminal charges. The latter referred to the charges against a police officer over the alleged Tasering and death of 95-year-old Clare Nowland.
“I think the public can have confidence that the existing structures in place are doing their job,” Minns said at a press conference this afternoon. “If another political party wants… a parliamentary inquiry, that’s up to them.”
NSW Premier Chris Minns.Credit: Kate Geraghty
Minns said there were thousands of interactions between NSW Police and members of the general public every day and up to half of them – an increasing number – were medical or mental health emergencies.
Minns said he was sending senior police to Britain to investigate the policy of not sending police in cases where it is a non-violent, non-life threatening emergency situation.
“I’m not committing to that because it is obviously very difficult to determine on the basis of the telephone call whether it’s a violent interaction or not, but what we have said is that we’re sending senior police to the UK to see how that operates,” he said.
“Whether we go down a road like that, or we recruit more mental health specialists, I haven’t made a decision yet.”
To NSW, where two incidents have renewed the spotlight on police using weapons when checking on someone’s wellbeing.
Newcastle woman Krista Kach, 47, died in hospital on Thursday night after being Tasered by police. The use of the stun gun came at the end of a nine-hour stand-off with officers, which police say was precipitated by the woman threatening people with an axe.
Krista Kach died in hospital after police peppered her with bean bag rounds and Tasered her to bring to a close a nine-hour siege.
Senior reporter Harriet Alexander wrote today that the family of Krista Kach from Newcastle has disputed the police version of events, claiming she was not a dangerous person and that she was distressed as a result of being told earlier in the day that she was to be evicted from her home.
In a separate incident in Sydney, police shot a man in Darlinghurst on Sunday afternoon after they were called to an address for a welfare check. A NSW Police spokesperson said the 32-year-old man was approaching officers and paramedics with a knife, when a constable discharged his firearm.
The man has undergone surgery at St Vincent’s Hospital and remains there in a serious but stable condition.
NSW Police have critical incident investigations underway for both events.
Samantha Lee pictured outside court in 2022.Credit: Jenny Noyes
Redfern Legal Centre senior solicitor Samantha Lee has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the use of police force in welfare checks, where a person has not committed an offence but there are concerns about the person’s wellbeing. Under the Mental Health Act, NSW police are required to take the person to a mental health facility.
“There is no doubt attending such incidents are far from easy and it must be difficult for police who are not social workers nor a mental health professional,” Lee said.
“Unlike mental health workers, police go into welfare checks with all forms of use-of-force strategies and weapons.
“Whereas mental health workers approach such situations with no weapons. This requires mental health workers to draw on a different skill set to police.”
Lee said a parliamentary inquiry into the use of police force could look for a model tailored to mental health strategies, and learn from alternative models used in other jurisdictions.
These two incidents followed the death of 95-year-old Clare Nowland in May this year, which made headlines around the country.
Nowland was confronted by police at her nursing home when she was holding a steak knife and her walker. She was allegedly Tasered, and suffered a fractured skull when she fell. She died in hospital a week later.
Senior Constable Kristian White, 33, who is accused of Tasering Nowland, has yet to enter pleas to a charge of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm and assault.
This month the courts heard prosecutors were still waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination into Nowland’s death, which sources close to the investigation say could change the charges.
The office of NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley has been accused of withholding documents relating to the alleged fatal Tasering of Nowland.
Former prime minister Scott Morrison is set to reveal in detail how his Christian faith influenced him, in a memoir to be published in May next year.
The 288-page book, Plans for Your Good – A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness, will be published by Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.
Former prime minister Scott Morrison.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
The publisher’s website blurb for the book says it “offers a unique insider’s account of a Christian who was open about his faith and operated at the top level of politics for more than a decade”.
“During one of the toughest periods since the Second World War, covering drought, wildfires, a global pandemic and recession, he chronicles God’s faithfulness throughout, win or lose, public criticism or public success,” the description reads.
The former Liberal leader, who remains in parliament as a backbencher, sets out a series of questions such as “Who am I?” and “How should I live?”
He was Australia’s first Pentecostal prime minister, declaring the coalition’s 2019 election win a “miracle”, but went on to lose government at the 2022 poll.
Morrison noted on his MP interest register earlier this year he had received a royalties advance for the book.
Derna: People whose homes were swept away by flooding in Libya’s eastern city of Derna a week ago faced the dilemma on Sunday of whether to stay and risk infection or flee through areas where landmines have been displaced by the torrents.
Thousands of people were killed after two dams above Derna broke on September 10 during a powerful storm, bringing down residential blocks lining a usually dry riverbed as people slept. Many bodies have been washed out to sea.
Rescue teams search for victims in Derna, Libya near a road that has been all but washed away.Credit: AP
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Saturday cited a death toll of 11,300 from the Libyan Red Crescent. However, a spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent appeared to cast doubt on that, saying “figures are changing and the Red Crescent is not responsible for this.”
The health minister for the Libyan eastern government on Sunday said 3283 had died.
Libyan authorities have confirmed that 150 people have been poisoned by polluted water in the flood-hit areas. Mohamed Wanis Tajouri said he had come to Derna from Benghazi down the coast with fellow medical students to carry out disinfection and sterilisation work.
“After floods epidemics occur,” he said.
Sunrise revealed a scene of quiet devastation on Sunday, with piles of rubble cleared to the sides of empty roads along with tangled metal including pieces of wrecked cars.
Hamad Awad sat on a blanket on an empty street with a bottle of water and bedding alongside him.
“I am staying in our area trying to clean it and trying to verify who is missing,” he said. “Thank God for giving us patience.”
Floodwaters had shifted landmines and other ordnance left over from years of conflict, posing an extra risk to the thousands of displaced people on the move, it added.
OCHA said that according to the latest data from the International Organization for Migration, more than 40,000 people had been displaced across northeastern Libya, but warned that figure was likely to be higher.
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