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Australia news live: Minns says Mardi Gras pro-Palestine protest ‘wasn’t too much of a big deal’; Asean summit to begin | Australia news

Protest at Mardi Gras ‘probably pretty standard’, NSW premier says

Chris Minns, said it is “a bit strange” that he was the first NSW premier to march in the Mardi Gras parade at the weekend, “given that it [has been] a fixture on the calendar for decades”.

Speaking to ABC News Breakfast, Minns said a pro-Palestine protest that took place during the march on Saturday “wasn’t too much of a big deal on the night”.

He said:

Look, a lot has been made of it, but to be honest, it wasn’t too much of a big deal on the night. I mean, there was some coloured flares that went off, and I said yesterday, I thought that that was actually part of Mardi Gras. So I don’t think that it disrupted me or the march too much. A little bit of protest at Mardi Gras is probably pretty standard, so not the end of the world.

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‘Context has changed’ since NSW lit up Opera House to support Israel, Minns says

ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland:

You ordered the lighting up of the Sydney Opera House sails in support of Israel after 1,200 Israelis were murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Since then, 30,000 Palestinians have died. Will you consider lighting up the Sydney Opera House in support of Palestine?

The NSW premier, Chris Minns, said “the context has changed”.

This is an international conflict now and I don’t want to further exacerbate or pull apart Sydney’s already quite volatile mix. I would make the point that much of what will be said in New South Wales will affect the peace situation in the Middle East, but a lot of what could be said can affect peace right here in this state. So we need to be careful with our commentary, we need to focus on not exacerbating community tensions or divisions, and that’s going to be the NSW government’s approach over the coming months.

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‘Difficult to bring the community together right now’ after iftar cancellation, Minns says

Chris Minns said he can understand the concerns of Muslim and Arab communities in New South Wales about what’s happening in Gaza.

This comes as Muslim groups decided to boycott the state iftar dinner, before it was ultimately cancelled:

Speaking to ABC News Breakfast Minns said:

I don’t pretend … that there’s complete unanimity on these matters. This is a very complicated international [matter] in the Middle East. We’ve got large expat communities on either side of that conflict in New South Wales. It’s very difficult to bring the community together right now. What I would say is that my focus has got to be peace and security on the streets of Sydney in particular, and we’ll do our best to promote harmony in NSW but that’s going to take a bit of time.

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Protest at Mardi Gras ‘probably pretty standard’, NSW premier says

Chris Minns, said it is “a bit strange” that he was the first NSW premier to march in the Mardi Gras parade at the weekend, “given that it [has been] a fixture on the calendar for decades”.

Speaking to ABC News Breakfast, Minns said a pro-Palestine protest that took place during the march on Saturday “wasn’t too much of a big deal on the night”.

He said:

Look, a lot has been made of it, but to be honest, it wasn’t too much of a big deal on the night. I mean, there was some coloured flares that went off, and I said yesterday, I thought that that was actually part of Mardi Gras. So I don’t think that it disrupted me or the march too much. A little bit of protest at Mardi Gras is probably pretty standard, so not the end of the world.

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No tsunami threat after 6.8 magnitude earthquake off Macquarie Island

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit near Macquarie Island overnight. The Bureau of Meteorology said there is no tsunami threat to Australia:

Macquarie Island is uninhabited, located around 1,500km south-east of Tasmania.

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Royal visit this year would be ‘really tremendous and popular event’: Marles

Richard Marles was also asked about a potential visit from King Charles, following news the prime minister Anthony Albanese is going ahead with plans for a potential visit later this year.

Q: Do you reckon people care? Will there be that much excitement about a visit if it happens later on this year?

Marles told ABC News Breakfast:

I think people care. And you’re right – we are very much thinking about King Charles at the moment in terms of his battle with cancer. But King Charles has a long connection with this country. Obviously, he went to school in his youth here in Australia, and this would be his first visit to Australia as the King …

I think that a royal visit by King Charles and Queen Camilla later in the year would be a really, really tremendous and popular event, and I do think that Australians would very much welcome seeing King Charles in our country later this year.

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Asean ‘completely central’ for Australia’s economic and security future, defence minister says

The defence minister, Richard Marles, says with the exception of Myanmar, every Asean leader is in Melbourne ready for the summit kicking off today.

Speaking to ABC News Breakfast just earlier, Marles was asked how much the rise of China would be front and centre of discussion among leaders there.

He said leaders would discuss China “in the sense that they are part of the global landscape” but the meeting itself is not about China.

Marles, who is also deputy prime minister, said Asean is not only “completely central” in terms of Australia’s economic future, but also central in terms of Australia’s security future.

The defence of Australia doesn’t mean that much unless we have a stable and peaceful and secure south-east Asia. And so, we feel deeply connected both in an economic and a security sense with Asean, and I think that those countries feel the same in relation to Australia, which is why there is such a significant turnout of Asean.

The host noted that diaspora communities from countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos are urging the government to raise human rights concerns in those countries. Marles said he wouldn’t “go into the details of what will be said in every meeting”, but said:

Australia is always an advocate of human rights and we do that in the meetings that we have around the world. And so, you can be assured that we will carve out our business in the way that we normally would in the course of these meetings.

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Firefighters battle blazes in Tasmania and Western Australia overnight

A caravan park has been evacuated and residents warned to leave as a bushfire rages in Tasmania’s north-west, AAP reports.

Fire crews were actively responding to the blaze at Port Latta on Sunday, with authorities evacuating the Crayfish Creek caravan park and setting up an evacuee centre at the Rocky Cape community hall.

The fire was within containment lines on Sunday night but crews would remain on site overnight due to the risk of spot fires, Tasmania Fire Service said in a statement.

Meanwhile, lives and homes were threatened after a bushfire in mid-west Western Australia jumped containment lines.

A bushfire emergency warning was issued on Sunday for people in an area bounded by Brand Highway to the west, Skipper Road to the south and Correy Road to the east in parts of Arrowsmith and Arrowsmith East in WA’s Irwin and Three Springs shires.

The alert level was downgraded to watch and act last night after a change in wind direction.

Emergency WA said the blaze had been sparked by lightning.

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Three-day Asean summit kicks off today

Daniel Hurst

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is due to meet the Malaysian prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, in Melbourne today on the first day of a three-day special Asean summit.

Australia is not a member of Asean – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – but the special summit marks 50 years since Australia became the regional grouping’s first dialogue partner. Timor-Leste, which wants to become an Asean member, will also attend the summit.

There are a range of bilateral meetings planned while leaders are in Australia. Albanese has previously said Anwar would be honoured as a guest of government today.

Albanese said in a statement issued in advance of the three-day summit:

Australia sees Asean at the centre of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous region. Strengthening our relationship ensures our shared future prosperity and security.

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Australia still planning for King Charles visit later this year

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

The Australian government is pressing ahead with planning for a possible visit by King Charles later this year.

The idea doesn’t come out of the blue: it was previously reported that King Charles might visit Australia and New Zealand in October 2024. But those plans were placed in doubt last month when Buckingham Palace revealed Charles had begun regular treatment for cancer.

In a statement issued overnight, Anthony Albanese said his government was in talks with the states and territories “on options for a possible royal visit”. The prime minister said:

Australia is preparing for a possible visit from His Majesty The King to Australia later this year.

The King has shown his compassion for Australians affected by recent natural disasters, just as Australians have shown compassion and support for the King following his cancer diagnosis.

The King, Queen and members of the Royal Family are always welcome in Australia.

Charles last visited Australia in 2018, when he was the Prince of Wales, to open the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

King Charles III reads cards and messages sent by well-wishers following his cancer diagnosis, in Buckingham Palace on 21 February 2024. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/AFP/Getty Images
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Good morning

Emily Wind

Emily Wind

And happy Monday – welcome to a new week on the Australia news liveblog. I’m Emily Wind, and I’ll be taking you through our rolling coverage today.

But first, here are some of the biggest stories from overnight: the Australian government is moving ahead with plans for a potential visit by King Charles later this year, despite the King’s cancer diagnosis. The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said his government was in talks with the states and territories “on options for a possible royal visit”.

Meanwhile, Albanese is due to meet the Malaysian prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, in Melbourne today on the first day of a three-day special Asean summit. We will have more on both these stories from Daniel Hurst in a moment.

Firefighters are battling two separate blazes – one at Port Latta in Tasmania’s north-west, and one at Arrowsmith in midwest Western Australia. The fire at Port Latta was within containment lines but crews remained on site overnight due to the risk of spot fires, and in WA, an emergency warning was downgraded to a watch and act last night after a change in wind direction. More on these from AAP shortly.

See something that needs attention? You can get in touch via X, @emilywindwrites, or send me an email: emily.wind@theguardian.com.

Let’s get started.

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