ABC managing director David Anderson said he “fundamentally disagrees” with the notion that diversity and impartiality are somehow exclusive:
We all hold our own backgrounds, our own lived experiences, whatever that might be – geographical, socio-economic, political, culturally diverse, whatever that is. I believe people act impartially at the ABC and I think they do so regardless of that.
He rejected the notion that bias is “creeping into reporting” at the ABC and said there are systems in processes in place to prevent this, pointing to the ombudsmen, regulator and ACMA.
He also defended the ABC’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza war:
I don’t think there’s bias (and I think) some of the criticisms around our coverage of the Israel-Gaza war and the humanitarian catastrophe that’s unfolding in the Gaza strip, I think our reporting’s been very good.
He said in his five years as managing director, he has faced more scrutiny on other issues in the past.
The scrutiny that’s upon us is unrelenting, as it should be… we should welcome criticism.
ABC managing director believes public trust not damaged by fair work case, but ‘time will tell’
ABC managing director David Anderson is speaking with Patricia Karvelas on ABC RN. This follows his meeting with union members yesterday, a week after a vote of no confidence by staff.
You can read all the background on this issue below:
Anderson said he doesn’t believe public trust in the ABC has been damaged as a result of the Fair Work case brought by journalist Antoinette Lattouf, but “I guess time will tell”.
He didn’t speak to the Fair Work case directly, stating it was an ongoing legal matter, but spoke to the meeting with union members yesterday. Anderson said the main issue they raised with him is that staff want to feel heard, supported and have the confidence to raise issues on coverage:
Other issues they raised with me were around complaints, complaint handling, as well as personal use of social media.
So it was a it was constructive discussion that was broad-ranging. It was held in good faith and (we) have undertaken to work with unions. I’ll meet with them again in the future.
Update on Queensland flooding
Senior BoM meteorologist Angus Hines spoke to ABC News Breakfast just earlier to provide an update on the rain and flooding in Queensland.
He said while there was still some rain overnight, it was lighter and less intense that yesterday. The rain has moved from the south-east – which had copped the most significant flooding – up the coast through the Wide Bay and Burnett area.
Last night the rainfall totals were between 50mm and 120mm which is still a very significant dose of rain, but bear in mind this time yesterday we were talking about 300mm leading to widespread flooding.
Hines said that “by and large”, today will be a day of clearance, improvement and drying out for the state. However, two major flood warnings remain in place for the Condamine and Moonie rivers in the southeast.
We could see these rivers with elevated levels for the next several days, as it will take a while for those flood waters to drain out, long past when the rainfall conditions have cleared up.
Using long-range forecasting, Hines said there is “a hint” we could see further tropical development in the Coral Sea, but “this is far from locked in” and it’s too early to say whether another cyclone may develop.
Law Society of NSW convening AI taskforce
The Law Society of NSW will convene a taskforce to help guide the legal profession through the opportunities and pitfalls of artificial intelligence (AI).
The society president Ben McGrath announced the measure last night, and said the taskforce of legal and tech experts would help guide the state’s 40,000 solicitors.
The goal for the AI taskforce is to be a trusted source of expert advice and assistance for the Law Society, and through it, for the solicitor profession across NSW. Its members will be drawn from the law, justice system, academia, and government.
The work of the taskforce will enhance the Law Society’s work to ensure that NSW leads the way in harnessing the best that AI has to offer for the legal profession while mitigating the risks.
Victoria has recorded its first locally-acquired case of mpox in almost six months, with the health department reminding those at-risk to be aware of the symptoms and ensure they are fully vaccinated.
The department said the case has not been linked to international travel, suggesting local transmission may be occurring.
The acting chief health officer, Christian McGrath, said it was a particularly important time to be vigilant for symptoms and be double-vaccinated, with increased travel at this time of year and several pride events in Victoria.
Since May 2022, there has been an international outbreak of mpox that has predominantly impacted men who have sex with men.
Victoria recorded 70 cases of mpox in 2022, and due to increased awareness and the vaccination program, this fell to eight in 2023.
Mpox is caused by infection with the mpox virus. Common symptoms include a rash, lesions or sores, fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat.
Victorian police to crack down on jet ski ‘hoons’
Victoria police says it has teamed up with the water police squad to crack down on jet ski “hoons” on the Mornington Peninsula this summer.
According to a statement, every water police squad member will now be equipped with a body-worn camera – to “improve community and police safety (and) enhance oversight of police conduct through the provision of objective audio and video evidence”.
Police said the “bolstered presence” on the Mornington Peninsula would mean more proactive patrols in vehicles, on foot and on water.
Residents and visitors can expect to see police blitz popular beaches to spot dangerous operators, as well as flood boat ramps to conduct breath tests, licence checks and vessel inspections.
More than 200 infringement notices to jet ski riders committing offences on the water have been issued this summer. People have been caught travelling too close to swimmers and vessels, speeding and not wearing a lifejacket.
Water police squad acting inspector Lynden Blackley said:
We’ve already seen far too many concerning jet ski incidents this year, resulting in operators and their passengers injuring themselves and ending their day in hospital.
All WA public schools to be fully funded by 2026, according to new agreement
The education minister, Jason Clare, has announced the commonwealth and West Australian governments will sign an agreement today to fully fund all of the state’s public schools.
Making the announcement on X/Twitter, Clare said WA’s most disadvantaged schools would be funded first (fully funded from 2025). He also said every child in the state would be attending a fully funded public school in 2026.
This is just the first step. The Albanese government is committed to working with all states and territories to fully and fairly fund all public schools.
This is a landmark day in the history of public education in WA and for building a better and fairer education system across Australia.
This funding will be tied to the things that will help children to keep up, catch up and finish school.
And thanks to Martin for kicking things off! I’m Emily Wind, and I’ll be with you on the blog today.
See something that needs our attention? You can get in touch via X, @emilywindwrites or send me an email: [email protected].
With that, let’s get started.
Queensland flood victims to receive financial help
More on those Queensland floods from AAP: a severe weather warning was current overnight from north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast up to Bundaberg, with six-hourly rainfall totals between 80mm and 150mm possible through to this morning.
Severe thunderstorms were set to extend rainfall totals up to 250mm in some areas, leading to more flooding.
Queensland premier Steven Miles is expected today to outline financial assistance to be made available for flood victims. He told Seven Network:
I want all Queenslanders to know wherever they are affected by these floods we will be there to make sure that they are supported through the clean-up and getting back on their feet.
Today rain is expected to drift north through the Wide Bay and Burnett areas.
By tonight showers and storms are forecast for the tropical north but the south-east is set to be dry.
But heavy rain causing flooding is still lingering in the Mount Isa area in the state’s north-west due to the remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily, days after it crossed the coast.
Rain finally expected to ease in south-east Queensland
The full extent of south-east Queensland’s flooding damage may soon be revealed, with rain finally set to ease, AAP reports.
Thousands of people lost power, more than 20 schools were closed, roads were cut and 39 swiftwater rescues were completed as severe weather lashed the area yesterday.
Some of the worst hit were north of Brisbane in the Moreton Bay area and the Sunshine Coast, while Lockyer Valley further west was also inundated.
Queensland premier Steven Miles said authorities had tried to assess the damage on Tuesday but crews kept getting called away for swiftwater rescues.
Dozens of homes are believed to be damaged in Bray Park alone.
There were concerns last night for other people in the Moreton Bay area as well as the Sunshine Coast, particularly in the Caboolture River’s low-lying catchment with rain continuing.
Evacuation centres have been set up in the Moreton Bay region where the SES responded to 100 calls for help.
Nearly three in five voters across all demographics support changing the stage-three tax cuts so that people earning less get a greater slice of the pie, AAP reports.
Asked by the Australia Institute in late January, 58% of voters supported middle- to low-income earners benefiting more from the proposed tax changes.
Only one in four Coalition voters and a third of Australians earning more than $200,000 a year wanted to keep the policy as originally legislated by the Morrison government.
Far fewer respondents supported repealing the tax cuts entirely, with almost a third saying they weren’t sure or didn’t know.
Richard Denniss, executive director of the Australia Institute, said it was an indication voters of all tax brackets in the 1,017-strong survey recognised the original scheme as “bad economic policy”.
Good morning and welcome to the rolling news blog. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be bringing you the top overnight stories before my colleague Emily Wind comes along shortly.
Anthony Albanese is being urged today by dozens of prominent Australians to make Australia an activist middle power to engineer a detente between the US and China. In an open letter to the prime minister, former foreign ministers, a Nobel laureate and academics urge the Albanese government to step up diplomatic efforts to “avert the horror of great power conflict” between the superpowers. Two of the most well-known figures, former foreign ministers Bob Carr and Gareth Evans, argue in a piece for Guardian Australia that Canberra can help the superpowers “enter into a comprehensive new detente to resolve differences peacefully”.
Back on the domestic front, Labor is heaping pressure on Peter Dutton’s opposition to support its income tax changes. The party’s analysis, released by the office of treasurer Jim Chalmers, has shown that up to 89% of taxpayers in some regional and suburban Coalition electorates will be better off, or 3.4 million people out of a total of 4 million. Another poll today, from the Australia Institute, shows a majority of voters in favour of changes to this year’s legislated tax cuts to benefit middle- and low-income earners.
Queensland premier Steven Miles is expected to today outline financial assistance for flood victims today after days of intense rainfall in the south-east part of the state. More rain is forecast for today, which could hamper attempts to clean up and assess damage. The BoM warned of potentially life-threatening flash flooding due to the deluge.