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More than 20 charged after Port Botany pro-Palestine protest

More than 20 people have been arrested and charged following an unauthorised pro-Palestine protest at Port Botany overnight.

According to a statement from NSW police, about 400 people gathered at the protest. Police issued a move-on direction, which they say was not complied with.

The group continued to occupy Foreshore Road, blocking vehicle movement.

The road was then closed in both directions, police say, as officers continued to issue move-on directions to several people.

Twenty-three people were arrested “after a number of people continued to refuse police direction”, and all people had left the roadway by 9pm.

Police say inquiries into the incident continue under Operation Shelter – launched after the first pro-Palestine rally in early October to coordinate police response to future protests in the state.

As we flagged in yesterday’s blog, the Palestine Justice Movement Sydney announced it would demonstrate against ZIM container ship “Calandra” as part of a series of actions targeting ZIM in Sydney and Melbourne.

ZIM shipping is the oldest and largest shipping company in Israel. Ahmed Abadla from the group said yesterday the action was occurring because “as Australians we cannot allow business as usual to continue at our ports while Israel is carrying out a genocide in Gaza and committing the crime of apartheid against my people”.

Key events

Pat Cummins and other Australian cricket players have begun landing back home this morning, after days of celebrations in India following their World Cup win.

Seven members of the squad have remained in India to feature in the looming Twenty20 series, while the other half have returned to prepare for the Test summer.

“I think they have created their own legacy,” Cummins said of his side as he touched down at Sydney Airport.

A World Cup, you only get one chance every four years and especially playing somewhere like India, it’s hard.

To be pitted up against the rest of the world and come away with a medal, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Cummins said he was still “buzzing” from the win, with Sunday’s six-wicket triumph over the host nation in the final yet to fully sink in.

– from AAP

Winning moment: Australia stun India to win Cricket World Cup final – video

Burke’s IR changes don’t fix bill’s ‘fundamental’ problems, builders association says

Master Builders Australia CEO Denita Wawn said the building and construction industry continued to hold concerns around the government’s proposed industrial relations laws and its impact on business and tradies.

She said changes to the bill announced by minister Tony Burke this morning (which we brought you earlier on the blog here) don’t change “the fundamental structural problems of the bill”.

You can’t amend a few clauses and say concerns with the bill are fixed when there are 300-odd pages of damaging changes that fundamentally upend how business operates.

Minister Burke is attempting to create his own minor loopholes for a couple of specific industries while still leaving the economy high and dry.

Wawn argued the cumulative impact of the bill on the economy would be “devastating” and leave the building and construction industry “hamstrung” in its ability to meet the government’s housing targets.

Independent contractors, self-employed Australians, subcontractors and small business are still in the firing line and their rights to be their own boss are at risk.

This bill ultimately drives down productivity and drives up the cost of goods and services.

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Government considered deporting indefinite detention plaintiff, O’Neil confirms

The home affairs minister, Clare O’Neil, has spoken to Radio National about Labor’s cyber security strategy. In the interview O’Neil also confirmed our exclusive report that the government considered releasing the plaintiff in the high court challenge against indefinite detention.

O’Neil said the government “looked at every possible option in order to improve our chances of winning this high court challenge”, including “operational and policy moves”.

O’Neil said the record was clear that “he was not released from detention and we did not go down that pathway, but I’m not going to apologise for doing everything I could within my power to make sure that we didn’t”.

She said the report the government considered releasing the plaintiff NZYQ was “accurate”.

O’Neil also repeated her claim that when she said on Sunday the government was advised by the home affairs department it was “likely” to win the case, she “was not referring to legal advice when I made comments about prospects in that case”. Instead, she claims she was referring to “operational and policy conversations” that “might potentially change the outcome of the case, specifically could we remove the plaintiff from the country”.

O’Neil “vehemently disagreed” with RN host Patricia Karvelas’ suggestion the government was “flat-footed” in its response, insisting it “absolutely contemplated and planned for that we would not win”.

Last week, the government passed laws to enable it to impose curfews and ankle bracelets on people released from immigration detention.

Home affairs minister Clare O’Neil was asked on the Today show whether “ankle bracelets, curfews [and] bans on working with children” had started. She said:

Yes, they have … they are being rolled out at the moment.

I certainly know that many people have had those curfews and monitoring bracelets rolled out. If I can just explain to your viewers, minister [Andrew] Giles is required under law to consider each of these base cases on an individual basis, and he is working through that at the moment.

Here are some more photos from last night’s pro-Palestine protest at Port Botany:

Australian Palestinian community members hold placards while on a jet ski and on the shoreline during the Port Botany protest
Australian Palestinian community members hold placards while on a jet ski and on the shoreline during the protest. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Australian Palestinian community hold a Palestinian flag.
Protesters at Port Botany. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators at the rally
Demonstrators at the rally. A pro-Palestine group had earlier said it would demonstrate against a ZIM container ship. Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images

‘Desperation’ among people to end ‘horrific’ situation in Gaza – Burke

Earlier, industrial relations minister Tony Burke was asked about last night’s pro-Palestine protest in Botany Bay.

He told ABC RN he was “always wary of where some protests can morph or ignite in different ways [into] anti-semitism”, but said the view of his community is they “just want this to stop”.

Host Patricia Karvelas pressed that his community wants a ceasefire, but foreign minister Penny Wong hasn’t called for one.

Burke:

Wong has said that we need to work through the steps towards ceasefire…

I met [with] one of the Australians [we] helped get out of Gaza. When you hear the stories that are happening on the ground, it’s horrific.

And so yes, the views are very strong. I’m limited in what I can say about that particular protest, I haven’t seen the footage of that. But what I can say is there is a desperation of people wanting this to end.

Karvelas: Can’t that only happen with a ceasefire?

Burke:

I’ve repeated what Penny Wong has said about wanting those steps towards a ceasefire to be taken.

More than 20 charged after Port Botany pro-Palestine protest

More than 20 people have been arrested and charged following an unauthorised pro-Palestine protest at Port Botany overnight.

According to a statement from NSW police, about 400 people gathered at the protest. Police issued a move-on direction, which they say was not complied with.

The group continued to occupy Foreshore Road, blocking vehicle movement.

The road was then closed in both directions, police say, as officers continued to issue move-on directions to several people.

Twenty-three people were arrested “after a number of people continued to refuse police direction”, and all people had left the roadway by 9pm.

Police say inquiries into the incident continue under Operation Shelter – launched after the first pro-Palestine rally in early October to coordinate police response to future protests in the state.

As we flagged in yesterday’s blog, the Palestine Justice Movement Sydney announced it would demonstrate against ZIM container ship “Calandra” as part of a series of actions targeting ZIM in Sydney and Melbourne.

ZIM shipping is the oldest and largest shipping company in Israel. Ahmed Abadla from the group said yesterday the action was occurring because “as Australians we cannot allow business as usual to continue at our ports while Israel is carrying out a genocide in Gaza and committing the crime of apartheid against my people”.

Labor strikes deal to exempt service contractors from new workplace laws – Burke

Industrial relations minister Tony Burke is speaking to ABC RN about Labor’s industrial relations bill.

He says he has struck a deal to exempt service contractors from the new workplace laws:

That just gives a really clear line drawn that if it’s labour hire, it’s covered, if it’s service contractors, it’s not.

The difference is as a labour hire company just provides workers, whereas a service contractor will provide machinery, their own systems and their own management, Burke explained.

This change follows weeks-long negotiations between Burke and the Australian Resources and Energy Employer Association.

There are hopes the deal will also improve the governments chances of getting the contentious legislation through the senate. Burke said:

In terms of the conversations with the crossbench, I continue to reach out to the crossbench [and] there’s a series of meetings that continue to happen.

They’ve made a decision that they don’t want to deal with this bill until next year. I would rather we were dealing with it over the next fortnight. We certainly will be dealing with it next week in the House of Representatives.

The government has been facing a showdown with David Pocock and Jacqui Lambie over the legislation, after the two crossbenchers successfully passed four private members’ bills in the Senate:

Police and protesters scuffle at pro-Palestinian rally in Port Botany

AAP has more details on last night’s pro-Palestine rally at Port Botany:

About 400 people waving flags and calling for ceasefire in Gaza gathered near the boat ramp at Foreshore Road and were met by local and mounted police as well as members of the force’s riot squad.

According to organisers, the demonstrators were there to protest the arrival of Israeli-owned container ship Calandra.

It was the second rally at the port and also followed a protest in Melbourne on 8 November targeting trucks carrying containers owned by the same Israeli company.

Members of the Australian Palestinian community hold a Palestinian flag at the Port Botany protest.
Members of the Australian Palestinian community hold a Palestinian flag at the Port Botany protest. Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

The gathering began peacefully but video aired by television networks showed scuffles between police and some of the crowd later in the evening.

One of the demonstrators, who gave his name as Benjamin, told Nine News “things started getting a little bit rough”.

The cops started trying to move people by dragging them.

They mostly arrested the organisers up the front who were not giving any ground.

Victorian police have confirmed the search for the wreckage of a military-style jet that crashed into Port Phillip Bay will continue at 8am this morning.

Pilot Stephen Gale and his passenger, cameraman James Rose, were onboard one of two light Viper S-211 Marchetti planes conducting a formation flight that collided mid-air about 1.45pm on Sunday.

Yesterday, police located the wreckage off the shore of Mornington and were working to remove the fuselage of the plane from the water to be searched.

Police had earlier said the two people were believed to have died in the crash.

Their aircraft plunged about 20 metres into Port Phillip Bay, while the other plane landed safely at Essendon airport, also with two people onboard.

Matildas’ Sam Kerr engaged to US football star Kristie Mewis

First up, some great news from overnight – Matildas star Sam Kerr has confirmed her engagement to American soccer star Kristie Mewis! Kerr shared these photos to Instagram:

The post confirmed weeks of rumours the pair were engaged, with Kerr popping the question on 1 September.

Now *this* is my Roman Empire.

Emily Wind

Emily Wind

Good morning and happy Wednesday. Thanks to Martin for kicking things off – I’m Emily Wind and I’ll be bringing you our rolling news coverage today.

See something that needs attention on the blog? You can contact me via Twitter/X @emilywindwrites or send me an email: emily.wind.casual@theguardian.com.

With that, let’s get started.

Rights groups push back against protest crackdown

Sixty legal advocacy and civil rights groups around Australia have teamed up to call on governments to protect the right to protest in the face of recent “draconian anti-protest laws”.

The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) and Australian Democracy Network on Wednesday want stronger laws to protect the freedom to protest across states and territories, along with the commonwealth.

The legal advocacy group outlined proposed minimum standards and 10 practical steps toward protecting protest rights in its report, Declaration of Our Right to Protest, released earlier this month.

The latest push follows criticism of the NSW government after it briefly vowed to block pro-Palestine rallies in Sydney last month.

A pro-Palestine demonstration outside the office of NSW premier Chris Minns
Human rights and democracy advocates are calling for greater freedoms for public protests, such as Monday’s pro-Palestine demonstration outside the electoral office of NSW premier Chris Minns. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

A total of 60 groups, including Amnesty International Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service, Greenpeace Australia and the Australia Institute, have signed on to the proposed declaration.

Around 26 laws curbing protests rights have passed around the country over the past two decades, the HRLC said.

David Mejia-Canales, a senior lawyer at the HRLC, said the right to protest was “a cornerstone of a robust civil society that holds the powerful to account”, describing recent anti-protest laws as “draconian”.

When governments erode our protest rights, they erode our democracy. This declaration provides governments with solutions in law-making to create a democracy where protest rights are protected.

Sarah Basford Canales

Sarah Basford Canales

More on cyber security from Sarah…

In addition to major funding injection, the federal government’s new cyber security strategy also proposes to establish new programs and review mechanisms.

For example, a free cyber health-check program will be created allowing small and medium businesses to assess their cyber security readiness.

The 2030 strategy also reveals that a new no-fault, no-liability ransomware reporting obligation for businesses will be co-designed with industry and legislated to help the government stay “ahead of the threat”.

Cyber incident scenarios will be run through the office of the cyber coordinator to test the strength of industry and government arrangements. The government has said it will draft up incident response “playbooks” in response to the findings to better inform business leaders on how to deal with cyber attacks.

Cyber security minister Clare O’Neil said of the announcements:

Our government is committed to consulting closely with industry every step of the way. Years of cooperative effort lie ahead, and we need to work together to make our country safe.

Australia to become ‘world leader’ in cyber security by 2030

Sarah Basford Canales

Sarah Basford Canales

Clare O’Neil has set out her ambitious vision for Australia to become a world leader in cyber security by 2030, announcing a $586.9m funding sweetener to help the country “lead the frontier”.

The seven-year strategy, released on Wednesday, sets out the development of six “cyber shields” – strong businesses and citizens, safe technology, world-class threat sharing and blocking, protected critical infrastructure, sovereign capabilities and resilient region and global leadership.

O’Neil said Australia was an attractive target due to it being wealthy and a fast adopter of new technologies.

The new strategy would help chart the country’s course to becoming a world leader against cyber crime, O’Neil said.

Our strategy will make every Australian citizen, business, government agency and organisation a harder target. It will enable us to bounce back faster from attacks that we cannot prevent. We will put cyber criminals on notice, and we will fight back against the
threat.

The $586.9m funding committed will be in addition to the $2.3bn to 2030 set out for the existing Cyber Security Strategy, delivered by the Australian Signals Directorate.

The strategy’s action plan outlines the first two years, focusing on addressing critical gaps across industry and government, while the period between 2026 and 2028 will work on scaling “cyber maturity across the whole economy”.

From 2029, the action plan says, Australia will “advance the global frontier of cyber security”.

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to the rolling news blog. I’m Martin Farrer with some of our top overnight stories before I hand over shortly to my colleague Emily Wind.

The legal complexities around the release last week of indefinite detainees have deepened thanks to our exclusive story this morning which reveals how the government considered releasing the man at the centre of the case – while keeping the other 92 locked up. Documents published by the high court suggest home affairs minister Clare O’Neil was advised that using her powers to grant NZYQ a visa might neutralise the court challenge that last week led to the release of 92 others. And it’s a busy day for O’Neil, who is today announcing plans to make Australia a world leader in cyber security by 2030 with a $586.9 funding boost. More coming up on these stories.

Sixty legal advocacy and civil rights groups around Australia are teaming up today to call on governments to protect the right to protest in the face of recent “draconian anti-protest laws”. The issue has risen to the top of the political agenda amid rival mass protests by supporters of Palestine and Israel in recent weeks. New South Wales police are likely to be handed the power to lay charges for threats and incitement to violence based on race and religion in a reform introduced to state parliament.

The cost of living is still right at the top of that political agenda as a survey reveals today how people are having to pay $600 a week to rent in Australia’s most expensive suburbs. All of the top 10 are in Sydney, led by Warriewood in the northern beaches, although St Kilda in Melbourne is in joint 10th. Energy costs are also a burden on household expenses and a new report today shows that electricity network providers raked in $2bn from customers in “superprofits” in just one year. More coming up on these stories as well, plus later on Reserve Bank governor Michelle Bullock is making a speech in Sydney and might have something to say about the direction of interest rates.




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