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Australia news live: mass pilot whale stranding on WA beach; NSW Health warns of severe opioid overdoses | Australian politics

Mass stranding of pilot whales on Western Australian beach

A mass stranding of between 50 and 100 pilot whales is occurring on a Western Australian beach, with a coordinated rescue effort underway.

According to the WA Parks and Wildlife Service, the mass stranding is occurring at Toby’s Inlet near Dunsborough. An image shows dozens of whales along the shoreline.

Staff from the department of biodiversity, conservation and attractions, plus vets from Perth Zoo, are now being sent to the area.

Parks and Wildlife is urging the community not to attempt to rescue the animals without the direction of department staff, as this “may cause further injury and distress to the animals and hinder a coordinated rescue effort”.

Those who wish to help can contact Parks and Wildife’s Busselton office on 9752 5555.

The highest priority at mass whale stranding events is always human safety followed by animal welfare. We want all staff and volunteers to go home safe.

We ask that people please follow instructions of DBCA staff to ensure the highest human safety and animal welfare outcomes are achieved.

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Key events

Six whales have died amid mass stranding, Surf Life Saving says

Surf Life Saving says six whales have died amid a mass stranding event on a Western Australian beach.

According to a tweet, officers from the department of biodiversity, conservation and attractions sighted six whale carcasses at 9.10am, local time, about 1m offshore.

DBCA officers report 6 x whale carcasses sighted at 9:10hrs 25/04, BSN315 Quindalup BEN Sign, east of Dunsborough. 1m offshore. A mass stranding of between 50 and 100 pilot whales.. Reported at 09:50hrs 25/04.

— Surf Life Saving WA (@SLSWA) April 25, 2024

As we reported earlier, a mass stranding of between 50 and 100 pilot whales is occurring at Toby’s Inlet near Dunsborough. DBCA staff and vets from Perth Zoo are reportedly attending the scene to coordinate a rescue effort.

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Latest mass whale stranding comes less than a year after stranding near Albany

We’ll bring you the latest on the mass whale stranding at Dunsborough, Western Australia throughout the day as more information filters through (see earlier post).

It comes less than a year after dozens of pilot whales died near Albany amid a mass stranding. This occurred at Cheynes Beach, more than 400km from Toby’s Inlet where the current stranding is occurring.

Reporter Narelle Towie was at Cheynes Beach last year and found herself joining volunteers and marine officials trying to save the stranded pod. You can read about her experience below:

Volunteers at Cheynes Beach last year. Photograph: WESTERN AUSTRALIA DEPARTMENT OF/AFP/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Tom Mustill has explored why mass whale stranding’s occur in the first place:

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Muslim organisation calls for more considered language to prevent hate

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network said the use of “religiously motivated violent extremism” (RMVE) in relation to yesterday’s raids had “unleashed online hatred and, based on past experience, will result in increased hate incidents against the Muslim community”.

Terrorism is politically motivated. Politically motivated is accurate language.

The network said RMVE is not a neutral term but “designed to link community panic and fear about terrorism to a whole religion” rather than alleged political motives.

White supremacist or Incel-inspired terrorism is “ideologically motivated”, yet where the offender is Muslim, a whole religion and community are demonised … RMVE language is nothing short of reckless and irresponsible and must end now.

The network said Asio boss Mike Burgess used the term “religiously motivated” during his National Press Club speech yesterday, despite warning politicians about inflammatory language.

Not only does this show immense disrespect, but it misleads the public as the cause of terrorism, putting our whole community at risk and marginalising us.

Asio director-general Mike Burgess at the National Press Club. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
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Mass stranding of pilot whales on Western Australian beach

A mass stranding of between 50 and 100 pilot whales is occurring on a Western Australian beach, with a coordinated rescue effort underway.

According to the WA Parks and Wildlife Service, the mass stranding is occurring at Toby’s Inlet near Dunsborough. An image shows dozens of whales along the shoreline.

Staff from the department of biodiversity, conservation and attractions, plus vets from Perth Zoo, are now being sent to the area.

Parks and Wildlife is urging the community not to attempt to rescue the animals without the direction of department staff, as this “may cause further injury and distress to the animals and hinder a coordinated rescue effort”.

Those who wish to help can contact Parks and Wildife’s Busselton office on 9752 5555.

The highest priority at mass whale stranding events is always human safety followed by animal welfare. We want all staff and volunteers to go home safe.

We ask that people please follow instructions of DBCA staff to ensure the highest human safety and animal welfare outcomes are achieved.

Share

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Peter Hannam

First RBA interest rate cut may not happen until after the federal election

Investors can be a twitchy mob, as we saw yesterday when Australia’s March quarter inflation figures surprised on the upside.

Prior to the release of the ABS data, markets had been tipping the first Reserve Bank interest rate cut would be a certainty by next February. After the numbers dropped, investors reviewed their bets and now only fully price in that first cut by next July, at least according to the ASX.

Markets now not fully pricing in an RBA rate cut until July 2025, according to ASX’s rates tracker. Prior to yesterday’s unexpected strong March quarter CPI figures, that first cut was fully priced in for February. pic.twitter.com/uo9XYUooA9

— @phannam@mastodon.green (@p_hannam) April 25, 2024

The Australian dollar also bounced higher against the US counterpart, reaching about 65.3 US cents within about an hour. As it happens, other things are going on in the world, and the Aussie dollar has given up most of yesterday’s advance to hover around the 65 US cents mark.

Those pundits who clutched for the pearls yesterday might also want to reassess. Yes, inflation won’t keep falling at the rate it has – and might even go up some months. But a year ago, CPI was running at a 6.3% clip and in March 2024 it had dropped to 3.5%.

Economists, we should note, hadn’t had a great track record of late in picking the inflation rate. For five months in a row, they overestimated the outcome and last month was finally one that surprised the other way.

Or, as we note here, punters shouldn’t panic:

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Thousands attend Anzac Day marches in Sydney and Melbourne

AAP has more details about the Anzac Day marches in Sydney and Melbourne today:

Thousands have lined the streets of Sydney’s CBD to watch and honour current serving Australian Defence Force members and veterans.

To the beat of drums and bagpipes, marchers – including veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, the Gulf War, East Timor and Afghanistan – walked down the city’s main thoroughfare.

ADF personnel participate in the Anzac Day march in Melbourne. Photograph: Diego Fedele/Getty Images

Meanwhile, thousands of Victorians filled Melbourne city’s streets to commemorate Australia’s war efforts at the Anzac Day parade.

A stacked roster of active army, air force and navy personnel, government officials and veterans who fought in historic conflicts marched towards the Shrine of Remembrance.

Among the parade’s more than 10,000 participants were veterans from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

This is the first year veterans of peacekeeping operations have led Melbourne’s Anzac Day march. The parade’s route stretches from Princes Bridge on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD to the Shrine.

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Photos are continuing to roll in from the Anzac Day parade in Sydney

Veterans march towards Hyde Park. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
Participants during the march. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
Army cadets prepare ahead of the march. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
A young spectator looks on. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
A veteran waves at the crowd. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
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Bishop would be ‘concerned’ if video of his alleged attack used to ‘control free speech’

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel says he would be of “great concern” if the video of his alleged attack in a Wakeley church was used by people to “serve their own political interests to control free speech”.

In a video statement posted by Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley, the bishop commented on the eSafety commissioner’s request for footage of the alleged attack to be removed from social media, including X.

X boss Elon Musk has been fighting efforts to have the video taken down. Josh Taylor delved into the topic on today’s episode of Full Story:

In a video message, the bishop said:

I do acknowledge the Australian government’s desire to have the videos removed because of their graphic nature. I do not condone any acts of [alleged] terrorism or violence. However, noting our God-given right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, I’m not opposed to the videos remaining on social media.

I would be of great concern if people use the [alleged] attack on me to serve their own political interests to control free speech.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel (right). Photograph: AAP/Reuters
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Melbourne’s Anzac Day parade begins

The Anzac Day parade in Melbourne has begun, with 10,000 expected to participate. This year, peacekeeping operations will lead the march for the first time.

Here are some photos from the parade so far:

Participants of the Anzac Day march in Melbourne. Photograph: Con Chronis/AAP
Crowds of people watch on. Photograph: Con Chronis/AAP
10,000 people are expected to take part. Photograph: Con Chronis/AAP
Crowds fill the street. Photograph: Con Chronis/AAP
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Anzac Day trading hours

Each state and territory sets its own restrictions around trading hours for Anzac Day.

In New South Wales, retail trading is restricted until 1pm, with some exceptions. The same applies in Victoria, with trading to resume from 1pm on Anzac Day.

In Tasmania, trade can resume at 12.30pm.

In Queensland most large stores, including supermarkets and department stores, will remain closed all day. Most stores in Western Australia will also remain closed today.

In South Australia, only stores within the Adelaide CBD can open from noon to 5pm.

Only the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory has no restrictions on trade today, which will operate as normal.

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Anzac Day parade kicks off in Sydney

The Anzac Day parade has kicked off in Sydney, where more than 10,000 are preparing to march from Martin Place to the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

Some photos from the parade have begun to roll in:

Participants arrive for the Anzac Day march. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley looks on ahead of the march. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
Air Force cadets prepare to march. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
A veteran waves the Australian flag during the parade. Photograph: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
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NSW Health warns of severe opioid overdoses in Penrith

NSW Health is investigating around 20 severe opioid overdoses in the Penrith area from the past month, and have issued a warning.

In a statement NSW Health said nitazenes – synthetic opioids which can be stronger than fentanyl and hundreds of times more potent than heroin – have been found in drug samples related to a cluster of around 20 overdoses.

These were reported in the Nepean Blue Mountains local health district and investigations into the cases are ongoing.

Nitazenes are more likely to decrease or stop breathing than other opioids, a statement said. NSW Health’s chief addiction medicine specialist, Dr Hester Wilson, said drugs containing strong opioids can cause severe overdose or death:

Nitazenes are extremely potent. It is important that people recognise the signs of an opioid overdose early and know how to respond.

Opioids such as heroin can cause pin-point pupils, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, slowed breathing/snoring and skin turning blue/grey and can be life-threatening.

One of the dangers of illicit drug supply is the strength and contents of the substance you are getting is unknown and can be inconsistent. In light of this detection, people who use drugs such as heroin should carry naloxone.

Take-home naloxone is available as an easy-to-use nasal spray or injection from some pharmacies and other health services. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

NSW Health said take-home naloxone is a life-saving measure that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose, including with nitazenes.

Anyone who uses naloxone should called triple-zero for an ambulance “immediately” for follow up care, NSW Health said, as higher and repeated doses are often required.

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Beachside dawn service held at Currumbin in Queensland

Queenslanders have gathered in their thousands across the state to pause and reflect on the contributions of defence personnel and their sacrifice to Australia, AAP reports.

Near the state border with NSW, surf boats performed a burial at sea as a large crowd paid their respects at the Currumbin dawn service.

Atop Elephant Rock, flags were at half mast to recognise the contributions of nearly 1.5 million Australians who have served and fought for the country.

Hundreds gathered as early as 3.30am in Brisbane city before governor Jeanette Young laid a wreath commemorating the 16,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers who at dawn 109 years ago, landed on the shores of Gallipoli.

By the time the service had concluded, between 12,000 and 15,000 people had attended Anzac Square in the city’s CBD.

Former and current ADF personnel are set to march through the city between 9.45am and 12.30pm in the annual Anzac Day parade.

People watch the burial at sea for Anzac Day in Currumbin. Photograph: Chris Hyde/Getty Images
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Five charged following joint counter-terrorism operation across Sydney

NSW police have confirmed five teenagers have been charged as the joint counter-terrorism team continues to investigate “associates” of the alleged offender involved in the Wakeley church stabbing.

About 11.15am yesterday investigators executed 13 search warrants across Sydney, in suburbs including: Bankstown, Prestons, Casula, Lurnea, Rydalmere, Greenacre, Strathfield, Chester Hill, and Punchbowl. A premises in Goulburn was also searched.

The operation involved more than 400 police from NSW and the AFP.

As we reported yesterday seven juvenile males were arrested and a further five people – including two men and three juvenile males – assisted police with inquiries.

Police said a number of items were seized yesterday including “a significant amount of electronic material.”

Five juveniles have been charged with the following:

  • Two males, aged 17 and 14, were charged with possessing or controlling violent extremist material obtained or accessed using a carriage service.

  • Two males, both aged 16, were charged with conspiring to engage in any act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.

  • A male, aged 17, was charged with conspiring to engage in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act and custody of a knife in a public place.

All five were refused bail to appear before a children’s court today.

AFP deputy commissioner Krissy Barrett and NSW Police deputy commissioner David Hudson addressed the media about the Sydney raids yesterday. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/EPA
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Prime minister shares photos from Kokoda Track, dawn service at Isurava memorial

Anthony Albanese has spent the past two days walking the Kokoda Track with PNG’s prime minister, James Marape, culminating in a dawn service at the Isurava memorial this morning (see earlier posts).

The PM has now shared some photos from the dawn service:

Courage. Endurance. Mateship. Sacrifice.

Words that adorn the Memorial at Isurava on the Kokoda Track where I was honoured to commemorate Anzac Day at a moving ceremony, together with PNG Prime Minister James Marape. pic.twitter.com/ZNBPxVCv61

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 24, 2024

It is heartening to see so many Australians who have made the journey to be here.

We paused to remember the sacrifices of those who fought to defend this land. pic.twitter.com/K7rW3c2MGD

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 24, 2024

Anzac Day asks us to stand against the erosion of time, and to hold on to their names. To hold on to their deeds.
We will remember them.

Lest we forget. pic.twitter.com/D3zSexvffY

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 24, 2024

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Shadow assistant defence minister honours veterans who have ‘succumbed to their war within’

The shadow assistant defence minister, Phillip Thompson, has shared some photos from a dawn service this morning and taken the chance to remember veterans who have “succumbed to their war within back here in Australia”.

In a post to X, he wrote:

On Anzac Day I remember my mates and the many Australians who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on operations in service to this nation, as well as those who have succumbed to their war within back here in Australia.

On ANZAC Day I remember my mates and the many Australians who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on operations in service to this nation, as well as those who have succumbed to their war within back here in Australia.
LEST WE FORGET pic.twitter.com/q681Y76PFB

— Phillip Thompson OAM MP (@P_Thompson88) April 24, 2024

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Supporting veterans in transition from defence force to community key to tackling suicide rates, RSL head says

RSL Victoria’s acting head of veteran services, Ben Webb, says supporting veterans in their transition from the defence force back into everyday life in the community is vital to addressing suicide.

He spoke with ABC News Breakfast earlier this morning from Melbourne and was asked how veterans are being looked after. He said “certainly things are always improving.”

We have a royal commission happening at the moment as well and that will bring its own improvements in time.

One of the most pleasing things to see is [that] the amount of collaboration in this space is dramatically increasing over the years, and that is what I see with Anzac Day. It is not just coming together, commemorating those who have lost their lives [but also] those who are still with us but struggle with their own traumas and have that almost live-in sacrifice, particularly their family members. The collaboration around those individuals, those families, year-on-year is getting better.

Asked what needs to be done to address veteran suicide, Webb said the answer is “connection”.

Come together as a community to support these men, women, these families, because that transition … from defence force into the community is such a crucial piece in your life, and if you have got those traumas from service and that transition does not happen very well, that is one of those big points of risk of where things can go horribly wrong.

  • Support for veterans and their families is available 24 hours a day from Open Arms on 1800 011 046 and Safe Zone Support on 1800 142 072. Hayat Line is a free and confidential crisis support line for Muslims on 1300 993 398.

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Paul Daley: On Anzac Day you’ll hear stories of courage and mateship but it’s a way to rationalise war

It’s worth pointing to columnist Paul Daley’s piece again. He notes that while we’re likely to hear familiar numbers today about how many troops lost their lives in service, we too often accept these figures without challenging the reasons for going to war.

Daley wrote:

Some of those numbers are recited at times of national commemoration such as today. It is hard to equate each single one – 1 – with a likely horrible, squalid individual violent death (which is what war always delivers). There are just too many 1s to recount the experiences of, to emotionally account for, to understand the killings and deaths of.

That is why nations weave grander, often more poetic, narratives around all of those 1s, to storify the end of their lives more collectively in war into some sort of relatable – and justifiable – context. For it is only through bigger stories of battlefield courage and endurance, spirit and mateship and loss (rarely “death’’), and of the sacrifice of the fallen (rarely the “dead’’) that we can rationalise what happened in the context of war – and authorise our politicians to do it again…

Here is a number you probably won’t hear referenced today: one serving or former Australian Defence Force member has a suicide-related contact with emergency services every four hours in Australia.

You can continue reading his piece below:

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More than 30,000 attend dawn service at Australian War Memorial in Canberra

In Canberra, a single didgeridoo pierced the silence at the Australian War Memorial where some 32,000 people were present for a dawn service.

Letters from Anzacs in World War I were read out and the names of fallen soldiers were illuminated on the building in Canberra, as the service began at 5.30am and ended with a minute’s silence and the Last Post.

The governor general, David Hurley, and New Zealand’s high commissioner to Australia, Andrew Needs, laid wreaths at the Stone of Remembrance. The vice-chief of the ADF, David Johnston, asked all Australians to also remember the families who mourned on Anzac Day.

– from AAP

A didgeridoo is played as dawn service is held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Photograph: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images
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