Key events

What we learned: Wednesday, 5 June

What a day it has been. Let’s leave it there, shall we? Enjoy your respective Wednesday evenings – the unparalleled Amy Remeikis will be back first thing tomorrow. I will be sleeping in and hiding from the cold.

Here were the major developments of the day:

  • Australia’s economy slowed to just 0.1% in the March quarter, which was slower than expected. The nation’s gross domestic product barely grew, expanding just 0.1% in the first three months of 2024. On an annual basis, growth was 1.1%.

  • Question time was certainly A Time. The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, accused some pro-Palestine protesters of being Holocaust deniers. And the Greens leader, Adam Bandt said “severe and direct misrepresentations” were made of him after a move to suspend standing orders to debate the issue of whether Australia is sending parts which are being used in F-35s used by Israel was rejected, with the PM using the Greens of inflaming “tension” at pro-Palestine protests outside electoral offices.

  • Elon Musk’s X has said “free speech has prevailed” after the eSafety commissioner dropped the federal court case over X’s refusal to remove tweets of the Wakeley church stabbing attack. Speaking on ABC, the commissioner revealed she had received death threats as a result of Musk’s tweets.

  • An internal survey of ABC news staff has found 25% of people who answered the survey experienced bullying and 13% experienced sexual harassment.

  • Townsville council has passed a unanimous motion of no-confidence in its embattled mayor Troy Thompson.

  • And the federal government will spend almost $1bn in the next four years to provide infrastructure to private schools while the public system has been allocated just $225m.


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Report calls for urgent action to prevent another Stolen Generation

Urgent action is needed to address a growing crisis in the removal of Aboriginal children from their families which are “approaching levels akin to the Stolen Generations”, an inquiry warns.

On Wednesday, commissioner for Aboriginal children and young people April Lawrie released Holding On To Our Future, the final report of the inquiry into the removal and placement of Aboriginal children in South Australia.

It found Aboriginal children are over-reported, over-investigated and over-represented in removals and long-term guardianship orders.

“If nothing changes, in South Australia, 140 in every 1000 Aboriginal children will be in state care by 2031,” the inquiry report says.

Lawrie conducted the inquiry as a result of the concerning rates of Aboriginal child removals, extremely low rates of reunification with family of origin, and high levels of non-Aboriginal care for Aboriginal children in SA.

She called on the SA Labor government to act, saying it already knows its investment in early intervention and support is insufficient.

Failure to act means that struggling, vulnerable families will continue to encounter the child protection service system at increasing rates, and that Aboriginal children being removed from their families will mean the government will pay the cost one way or another, for matters that are preventable.



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Karen Middleton

Karen Middleton

PM reportedly reaffirms Australia’s security relationship with Nauru

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has held talks with visiting Nauruan president David Adeang in Canberra but his office has declined to say whether they discussed the offshore detention arrangements for asylum seekers.

Guardian Australia reported on Tuesday that the number of asylum seekers on Nauru now topped 100, with 37 people transferred there from Australia this week – the fourth such transfer since September last year.

Senate estimates has been told that over the nine months to March, Australia’s offshore processing regime on Nauru cost $240m.

In today’s meeting, Albanese is understood to have told Adeang that Australia was committed to remaining Nauru’s development and security partner of choice.

The Nauruan president, David Adeang, with the Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese, at Parliament House today. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

The talks follow Nauru’s decision early this year to cut its diplomatic ties with Taiwan and restore them with Beijing.

Albanese is believed to have also committed to work with Nauru to ensure its economic structures adequately support its economy.

It is not clear whether this involved a further financial commitment from Australia, although the government is committed to expanding cooperation with Nauru on climate change along with security, boosting sporting ties and increasing aid and development.


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Greens accuse Labor of trying to stifle criticism of Israel over Gaza

Greens leader Adam Bandt says Labor’s comments in parliament earlier today targeting the party’s role in pro-Palestine protests is an attempt to silence criticism of the federal government’s position on Gaza.

Following question time, Labor and Liberal voted to gag Greens members to prevent them from suspending standing orders over the recent sale of 25 F-35 fighter aircrafts to Israel that use Australian components.


Labor continues to back the invasion, refuses to take any diplomatic actions against Israel and continues two-way arms trade with Israel. Just today, Israel has ordered another 25 F-35s that use components only made in Australia to drop bombs in Gaza.

Labor and Liberal abused question time to defend the invasion of Gaza and shut down any debate about Labor’s ongoing refusal to recognise Palestine, stop the two-way arms trade with Israel and call for a permanent ceasefire.

People want a permanent ceasefire now, and as a party of non-violence that has repeatedly called for any protests to be peaceful, the Greens won’t be lectured about peace by a prime minister that backs the horrific invasion of Gaza.


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eSafety commissioner accuses Elon Musk of ‘dog-whistle’ against her over attempts to remove content from X

The eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, has appeared on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing after revelations the federal court case on Elon Musk’s X platform has been withdrawn.

She says she received death threats following the public “dog whistling” of her by Musk.

The case was centred around the company’s refusal to take down the video of the stabbing of a bishop at a church in Sydney in April. Inman Grant says the body is fighting the battle “on dual fronts”, while also balancing the “prudent use of public funds”.

We have got five different cases going with X corp right now. They are consistently noncompliant. I think the average Australian is with us here. We don’t expect to see violent attempted murder videos on broadcast because there have been laws that have been in place that broadcasters comply with. Why do we think it is OK to have that content on the internet, which is available 24/7 to a bunch of overseas companies that have no regard for our children’s safety and don’t even have age assurance or age verification tools in place?

[Musk] issued a dog whistle to 181 million users around the globe which resulted in death threats, directed at me, which resulted in doxing of my family members, including my three children. I think with great power comes great responsibility and exercising that restraint, in terms of targeting a regulator who is here to protect the citizens of Australia – that is really beyond the pale but it is not surprising, given that we have seen him litigate and target and personally tarnish NGOs, academics and other researchers that dare to criticise the safety of the X platform …

I will not be cowed by those kinds of threats. I am sure more will come. I am here to do the right thing, to keep Australians safe online.


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If you missed the chaotic scenes in parliament today, we have you covered.

Have a watch here, including the PM accusing Greens MPs of inflaming ‘tension’ at pro-Palestine protests outside electoral offices, before the opposition leader Peter Dutton weighed in:

Albanese and Dutton accuse the Greens in parliament of ‘inflaming tension’ at protests – video

And you can see an angry Tony Burke here:

Tony Burke furious at ‘wedge motions’, accuses Greens of ‘deliberate misinformation’ – video

‘Concerned about attacks’ on MPs offices, AG says

Dreyfus is asked about recent revelations that there have been 725 threats to parliamentarians in the current financial year.

How many MPs’ electorate offices are either unused or substantially unused because of attacks on them or threats made to them?

He says this is “variable”, however “quite a number of MPs’ electorate offices have been attacked, criminally damaged”, then points his finger at the Greens.

There have been threats made against electorate office staff, including criminal damage to my own electorate office just last Friday when the office was unable to be used. Of course it is a concern. I am very concerned about the role of the Greens political party has played in this …

We will question them about that if we get the opportunity.


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Dreyfus talks up deepfake bill

Dipping over to ABC’s Afternoon Briefing, where the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, appeared earlier fresh after introducing a bill into parliament that would criminalise the making of “deepfake artificially generated sexual imagery and video”.

Dreyfus said the material, which often links to a real person, was a “deeply humiliating and degrading form of abuse”.

It overwhelmingly effects women and girls and we think it’s past time for legislation that expressly deals with this kind of behaviour … we have worked closely with the Australian federal police who have expertise in investigating and bringing prosecutions for digital offences like this.

Pointing to news coming out of X today that pornographic material will be permitted on its platform, Dreyfus says:

That raises the possibility of very undesirable contact that children might have with this material and we are going to accelerate our efforts to get to some kind of age verification system that protects children against contact with this kind of material.


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Cait Kelly

Cait Kelly

Study reveals ‘profound’ depths of housing crisis

A seven-year study by RMIT University and Unison Housing Research Lab has revealed more than 70,000 households have accessed help from frontline homelessness services across those years.

There’s been an increase in presentations at the front end of the homelessness service system from people who are employed – which rose from 4.5% in 2014 to 7.7% in 2020 and a near doubling of those reporting family and domestic violence at their first presentation: increasing from 7.5% to 15.8%.

Most people (57.5%) were light users – that is they used services once and did not return. Just fewer than one in four (24.5%) were regular users, who repeatedly returned.

While there was an uptick in people with work accessing the service, 45.5% were on income support, not including the pension.

Guy Johnson, an honorary professor at RMIT, said the number of employed people seeking support is “a clear sign that problems in the housing market are more profound and more far reaching than ever before”.

While some households have a range of vulnerabilities, most do not – other than being on a low income and struggling to meet their housing costs or find affordable housing.

Toni, a social worker at an inner-city Launch Housing entry point, said:

I’ve seen clients returning again and again and when that happens, my heart often drops. It’s nice to know that they are alive, but at the same time we recognise that the service system has failed them yet again.

Homelessness service entry points work at the intersection of multiple struggling service systems, often with clients deemed too challenging for other supports. Our limited resources mean that securing appropriate, affordable, long-term housing for clients is near impossible.


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Disparity in Covid funding between private and public schools ‘difficult to comprehend’, union says

Over in education estimates, the department has been asked about the $200m provided to schools for student wellbeing after Covid-19, and what it’s been spent on.

The funding will not be evaluated, the department confirmed, though states and territories will be required to report back on how it was used.

Its distribution was determined by states and territories, the department said, averaged at $20,000 for each school and factoring in population size.

Greens senator Penny-Allman Payne pointed out apparent inequity in the funding, noting public schools which only received around $7,500 and private schools which received in excess of $80,000.

Australian Education Union federal president Correna Haythorpe. ‘ To see elite private schools getting more funding than disadvantaged public schools is difficult to comprehend.’ Photograph: James Ross/AAP

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has been critical of the funding distribution, with its federal president, Correna Haythorpe, describing it as “deeply concerning”.

To see elite private schools getting more funding than disadvantaged public schools is difficult to comprehend.

Right now, only 1.3% of public schools are fully funded while private schools are either overfunded or fully funded in every state. What is the point of giving $50,000 or $80,000 to schools that have total incomes of $40m or $50m a year?


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Calla Wahlquist

Calla Wahlquist

Avian influenza detected at fourth site in Victoria

Avian influenza has now been detected at four poultry farms in western Victoria, with Agriculture Victoria confirming this afternoon that another property had tested positive for the virus.

In a statement, Agriculture Victoria said three “infected properties” near Meredith, 100km from Melbourne, are confirmed to have the high pathogenicity H7N3 strain of the virus, while a fourth property at Terang has the high pathogenicity H7N9 strain.

It said:

Three of the infected properties are located in the Restricted and Control Areas in Meredith and Lethbridge, in the Golden Plains shire and one is in the Corangamite shire where movement restrictions were already in place.

All properties have been placed in quarantine and all poultry will be safely disposed of. The sites will be cleaned and cleared of the infection.

For those trying to follow the timeline: the first infection at an egg farm in Meredith was reported on 22 May, the Terang property which shares ownership was detected on 23 May, the infection at another property within the 5km restricted area near the first Meredith egg farm was reported yesterday 4 June, and the fourth property, also within that 5km zone, was reported today, 5 June.


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Well, that was certainly A day.

Caitlin Cassidy has bravely stepped up to take you through what is left of it, while I go stare at a wall and eat another cupcake.

There is more estimates and news to come, so please keep checking back – it has been so wonderful having so many of you along for another day of watching politics in action.

There is one more day of politics live ahead of us until the parliament adjourns ahead of the 24 June sitting, and I’ll be up early to take you through it.

Until then – take care of you.


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Karen Middleton

Karen Middleton

Peter Garrett welcomes Jabiluka decision

Former federal environment minister and Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett has welcomed the Northern Territory’s decision to issue a reservation order over the Jabiluka uranium mine which will take effect from when the mining lease expires in August.

The order prevents any mineral exploration or extraction, or any new mineral title to be issued to the land, until a lease extension application has been resolved.

Garrett has posted on social media site X, calling for territory and federal governments to confirm they will reject the Energy Resources Australia application for another 10-year extension to the lease and give the area heritage protection instead.

Now for the final step after decades of waiting. C’wealth & NT please don’t renew existing lease, instead commit to Jabiluka going into Kakadu National Park.’

The order giving the area temporary reserve status will be reviewed within two years, if no decision is made by then.


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Quarter of ABC staff surveyed have experienced bullying

Amanda Meade

Amanda Meade

An internal survey of ABC news staff has found 25% of people who answered the survey experienced bullying and 13% experienced sexual harassment.

In the first survey of its kind undertaken by the ABC, a total of 745 news people, or about a third of the division, took the anonymous survey.

The most commonly identified behaviour was intimidation and belittling and humiliating comments, ABC staff were told today by managing director David Anderson. He told staff:

The report findings show that staff in ABC News have experienced bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace during their employment at the ABC.

Bullying behaviour and sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace.


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