Wrapping up his ABC News Breakfast interview, Ed Husic was asked whether he still believes Israel is inflicting collective punishment on the people of Gaza?
I’ve been very concerned about the treatment of innocent Palestinians. I maintain that concern. I think this is shared across Government, it was one of the big motivations in calling for a ceasefire. Innocent Palestinians should not bear the price for the rightful work in holding Hamas to account. By that I mean – it is right to hold Hamas to account for the terrible events of October 7, but the way that that occurs does matter. Too many innocent Palestinians have lost their lives, and that’s why we have spoken up in the way that we have.
Last October, Husic said that Palestinians are being “collectively punished for Hamas’s barbarism”:
Q: Does South Africa’s case before the international court of justice, accusing Israel of genocide, have merit?
It’s not up to me as an individual cabinet minister to make reflections on another country’s actions.
We are focused on a number of things, not the least of which joining the international community in pressing for a ceasefire and seeing longer term peace. I think that this is the big thing long term that needs to emerge.
When want Israelis and Palestinian families to be able to enjoy peace – something that we take for granted in various parts of the world and we enjoy – and they should be able to have that as well, and that’s worth pushing and pressing for.
When pressed that Australia intervened in the ICJ case against Russia, accusing them of genocide against Ukraine, Husic replied:
I might leave those specific more detailed questions to the Foreign Minister, if you don’t mind.
Q: What does Ed Husic, citizen, think of it?
One of the great things about being a cabinet minister is that I can get to work on some really big issues like the one that is we talked about before, but I don’t necessarily have the liberty as an individual citizen, when you’ve got cabinet, the sort of cabinet frameworks. So again, I appreciate the question, but I might, if I may, delicately side step that!
Husic says humanitarian support for Gaza ‘crucial’
Turning to the Middle East crisis, Ed Husic said that the government’s additional funding of humanitarian support for Gaza is “absolutely crucial”.
There have been concerns for a while. We’ve got so many people in desperate need in Gaza that we do need to provide that type of assistance and emphasis on the commitment to international humanitarian law. Specifically the protection of innocent lives.
He said it is going to be an “expectation of the global community” for establishing longer term stability for the region.
Asked about criticism Penny Wong has faced for not visiting the site of the 7 October attack in Israel by Hamas, Husic said the presence of a foreign affairs minister and Wong’s goals – including stressing the protection of innocent lives, and pushing for a two-state solution – were paramount.
People are going to have, as we have seen through the course of this conflict and the way it’s been discussed, you will get disparate and different views all the time. But the main thing is that … presence of the foreign minister and the main things that Penny Wong is focused on are really important longer term.
Ed Husic says AI about getting the ‘balance right’
The industry and science minister, Ed Husic, just spoke to ABC News Breakfast about the “mandatory guardrails” that Australia is looking to implement when it comes to the development of AI.
He said this is all about getting the “balance right” – recognising that AI has helped in many ways, and is being used in low-risk areas, but there are also areas where the public has concerns about the way in which it operates.
He says testing AI before release or during operation, being transparent and accountability were essential.
Those are the type of elements that we’re asking the expert panel to advise us on so that we can start bringing those type of mandatory measures in through the course of the year. And before we even get to that – working with industry on voluntary safety standards, too, where we can get some … agreement about how these things should operate.
Penny Wong meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan
Overnight, foreign affairs minister Penny Wong shared some photos from her visit to Jordan in the Middle East. This included meeting with King Abdullah II, and Jordan’s foreign affairs minister, Ayman Safadi.
She wrote on X:
Australia and Jordan will continue to work together to prevent the conflict from escalating and to support efforts to re-start a political process that leads to a future Palestinian state and peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
During her visit, Wong announced $21.5m in new funding for “conflict-affected populations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”. You can read more about this below:
Survey finds 30% of Australian parents unable to afford back-to-school expenses
Sticking with the cost of school for a moment and a new survey by comparison site Finder has found 30% of Australian parents can’t afford back-to-school expenses.
The survey also found parents would spend more than $12bn on back-to-school costs this year.
Eleven per cent of parents said they would have to go into debt to fund back-to-school costs, 13% said they would buy secondhand and 4% said their child would have to go without.
Meanwhile, the survey found that half (50%) of parents can comfortably afford the back-to-school period.
Finder personal finance expert Sarah Megginson said:
School expenses are causing enormous financial strain on those who have very little left over once they’ve put a roof over their heads and food on the table.
This is a widespread problem – and with the cost of living crisis extending into 2024 – the pressure isn’t likely to ease anytime soon.
Good morning! Many thanks to Martin for kicking things off today, as always. I’m Emily Wind and I’ll be with you on the live blog today.
See something that needs attention? You can get in touch via X, @emilywindwrites, or send me an email: [email protected]. Please feel free to send me any images of the crazy summer weather in your part of the country, too!
With that, let’s get started.
Independent schooling costs examined
The Futurity education index also looked at the cost of independent schooling and Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city in that sector, costing upwards of $377,000 over 13 years of schooling and rising by $20,000 in a year.
The figure is 19% higher than the national average ($316,944) and considerably more expensive than Perth ($225,728) and Brisbane ($277,015), Australia’s most affordable cities for an independent education. It’s a $20,062 increase compared with last year.
School fees ($9,385) are forecast to be the most expensive costs, making up 52%, with the rest on ancillary costs including electronic devices ($2,871), outside tuition ($1,873) and musical instruments ($867).
Canberra is Australia’s most expensive city for a Catholic education ($208,871), around $10,000 higher than the cheapest capital city for Catholic schooling – Melbourne ($194,826).
School fees are estimated to make up just a quarter of total costs, sitting at an average of $2,926, with parents spending high fees on outside tuition ($3,157).
Melbourne is Australia’s most expensive city for a public school education, new research reveals, and it is estimated to cost more than $108,000 over 13 years.
That’s according to Futurity Investment Group’s Education Index, which found the total cost of a government education in Victoria’s capital was 17% above the national average ($92,710) and well in excess of the most affordable city, Canberra ($81,564).
While school fees make up just 5% of the total cost of government education ($387 a year), parents are forecast to spend three times more on outside tuition ($1,431) with electronic devices ($1,074), musical instruments ($828) and textbooks ($357) weighing down costs.
Nationally, school fees make up 4% of the total cost of a government education for a child starting school this year, with 96% spent on ancillary costs.
Futurity boss Sam Sondhi said households were being stretched by the cost of living and interest rate rises:
With less discretionary money to spend, it’s going to be a challenge for many families to pay for the total cost of education, which has jumped 6% in the past year.
It’s forecast school fees and a host of major school expenses including outside tuition, school camps, transport, uniforms, electronic devices and sports equipment will increase upwards of 14% in the next five years, and by almost 30% in the next decade.
Two cyclones loom within days
A cyclone is forecast to enter Australian waters, and another is expected to develop within days, Australian Associated Press reports.
Tropical Cyclone Anggrek is expected to become a category two system today after forming in the Indian Ocean, about 4,000km off Western Australia’s coast.
Anggrek is set to enter Australian waters this week as it tracks south.
“It is highly unlikely to have any impact on mainland Australia but gale force winds could be felt in the Cocos Islands,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Meanwhile, a tropical low that has developed off Cairns is set to strengthen into a cyclone by Sunday.
Showers are set to continue not only in the far north but across Australia today with a band of rain and embedded storms set to impact southeastern states.
“Widespread wet weather is expected around Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, ACT as well as parts of southern Queensland,” a bureau spokesman said.
The heaviest falls are set to impact north-eastern Victoria and southern NSW along the Hume Highway, potentially putting people driving between Melbourne and Sydney at risk.
Severe thunderstorms are likely for central and northern Victoria as well as northern Tasmania.
Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be bringing you the morning’s top stories before my colleague Emily Wind moves into the hot seat.
It happened in the voice referendum and it appears conservative politicians are repeating the playbook with a huge social media ad campaign to push back against what they claim is a “woke” conspiracy to scrap Australia Day. Liberal MPs including Andrew Hastie and Dan Tehan are dominating Facebook advertising in opposition to changing the date of Australia Day, analysis shows.
ABC journalists in the broadcaster’s Sydney offices have threatened a walkout unless management addresses concerns about the handling of the termination of radio host Antoinette Lattouf. After reports that a chain of leaked WhatsApp messages showed a letter-writing campaign from pro-Israel lobbyists targeting the ABC managing director, David Anderson, about 80 staff members yesterday demanded a meeting with him –although he’s on leave.
Our education correspondent reports today about the rising cost of educating children in Australia, with even a public school costing parents as much as $108,000 over their 13-year school life, according to a new report. Caitlin Cassidy speaks to parents who are struggling to keep up with hidden costs such as laptops, uniforms and excursions. More on this story coming up, including the city where public schooling is most expensive.
Penny Wong continues her tour of the Middle East later today. Last night in Jordan she announced that Australia will nearly double humanitarian funding to the Palestinian territories. She said she was “gravely concerned” by worsening conditions in Gaza.
And this blog will keep a close eye on our crazy summer weather: this week another cyclone is forecast to enter Australian waters.