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News live: Jewish Australians ‘have never felt less safe’, Marles says; Palestine supporters to rally in Melbourne | Australian politics

Richard Marles: ‘Jewish Australians have never felt less safe’

Jewish Australians have never felt less safe in Australia following protests driven by the conflict in the Middle East, the deputy prime minister says.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday Richard Marles also condemned protests in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield South, where pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups faced off on Friday.

The clash sparked the evacuation of a nearby synagogue, which protest organisers have apologised for.

Marles said people in Australia deserved to have a right to feel safe and denounced antisemitism.

This demonstration on behalf of Palestine in the heart of the Jewish community was unacceptable.

Right now, Jewish Australians have never felt less safe, and this is a real problem and we need to be moving to fix that.

Calls have grown for a ceasefire in the conflict, as Palestinian officials said two babies had died and dozens more patients were at risk from an Israeli siege of Gaza’s largest hospital.

Further rallies in support of Palestine have been planned in Melbourne on Sunday.

AAP

Key events

Pro-Palestine rally starting in Melbourne

People have are gathering outside the state library in Melbourne before a planned protest in support of Palestine scheduled for noon.

Live streamed footage suggests a strong turnout.

Prosecution of live export company over sheep deaths reported to be abandoned

Prosecutors pursuing a live export company over the deaths of 2400 sheep from heat stress are expected to drop their case against the company on Tuesday.

The Sydney Morning Herald, relying on unnamed sources involved with the proceedings, reports that it has been told prosecutors will drop the case.

Emanuel Exports was charged with 16 animal cruelty offences in 2019, with a trial expected for 20 November.

A hearing has been set for Tuesday where it is believed the case will be officially abandoned.

NSW flood rescue fleet upgrade hopes to save more lives

A slew of new storm and rescue vessels will help protect parts of New South Wales most at risk of flooding, after record disasters that battered parts of the state last year.

Inflatable rescue boats and rafts as well as high clearance trucks that can negotiate floodwaters are part of a $25m upgrade to the NSW State Emergency Service flood rescue fleet.

The buying of almost 200 new vehicles and vessels comes after recommendations from the Independent Flood Inquiry to improve disaster response capabilities.

Record flooding last year resulted in more than 80,000 calls for help to the NSW SES.

The new vehicles include 40 inflatable rescue vessels, 50 ark angel inflatable rescue rafts, 10 high clearance trucks, eight light flood rescue vehicles, 30 command vehicles and two heavy rescue vehicles.

Crews will be able to communicate using 4G and satellite networks to overcome communications black spots.

The rollout will prioritise parts of the state most vulnerable to inundation with units in the Northern Rivers, Central West and Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley already receiving equipment.

The premier, Chris Minns said the new boats and vehicles will help save lives and minimise the impact of disasters.

The emergency services minister, Jihad Dib, said flood-affected communities in the Central West and the Northern Rivers will particularly benefit.

AAP

A flooded street in Lismore NSW in March 2022. Photograph: Dan Peled/Getty Images

Diwali celebrations around Australia

Sunday marks the start of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights that welcomes the new year.

The five-day festival began on Friday but the main celebrations will take place on Sunday around the country.

The ABC has collected a list public celebrations taking place across the country:

New South Wales

  • Diwali Community Gathering: Burringbar, 12 November (5.30pm to 9.30pm)

  • Deusi Bhailo 2080 by NRNA Youth & Women Forum: Rockdale, 14 November 14 (5pm to 7pm)

  • Diwali at Little India by Little India Australia: Harris Park, 18 November (midday to 9pm)

  • Diwali street festival by Cumberland city council: 18 November, Wentworthville (5pm to 10pm)

  • Queanbeyan Diwali Mela – Lantern Parade: Queanbeyan, 18 November (6pm to 10pm)

Queensland

  • Diwali Celebration 2023: Greenbank, 12 November (5pm to 8pm)

  • Diwali Celebrations – Light the Lamp of Love: West End, 12 November (5pm to 8pm)

  • Diwali and Govardhan Puja: Burbank, 12 November (4.30pm onwards)

  • Brisbane SRC Diwali festival: Fortitude Valley, 13 November (4pm onwards)

South Australia

  • Deepavali 2023: Parafield Gardens, 18 November (5pm)

  • TASA Deepavali: Woodville South, 18 November (5.30pm)

Tasmania

Victoria

  • Diwali – festival of lights: Geelong West, 12 November (midday to 5pm)

  • Diwali at Dandenong Market: Dandenong, 19 November (11am to 3pm)

  • Diwali Delights: festival of lights celebrations: Kensington, 25 November (2pm to 6pm)

  • Multicultural Festival Connecting Communities Together: Sunbury, 25 November (1pm to 6.30pm)

  • Festival of Lights – Melbourne Diwali Fireworks 2023: Footscray, 25 November (4pm to 9pm)

Western Australia

  • Diwali Dinner: Millendon, 19 November (4.30pm to 9pm)

  • AMWA Deepavali Dinner & Dance 2023: Leeming, 2 December (7.30pm onwards)

How a false claim about windfarms killing whales is spinning out of control

Some pictures show a whale lifeless on a beach. In others, the whale is on fire, jumping from the ocean, as wind turbines loom behind it.

The pictures are shocking – intentionally so. Recently they’ve appeared on posters and placards and in social media posts in New South Wales’ Hunter and Illawarra regions, as part of a growing campaign against an Albanese government plan to open offshore windfarms zones off the coast.

For weeks, an image of a beached whale with turbines in the background has appeared on a roadside billboard in Port Stephens, north of Newcastle, under the words “Stop Port Stephens Offshore Wind Farms”. After questions from Guardian Australia this week, the advertising company oOh!media added a note to the billboard saying it had been authorised by Troy Radford, the president of the Newcastle and Port Stephens Game Fish Club.

Asked about the ad, Radford said it had been paid for by members of the fishing community and acknowledged “we had someone design it for us”.

It needed to be high impact and visual, and that sums up the information that we’ve got at the time on the potential whale deaths.

But scientists are clear: the suggestion wind turbines kill whales is not backed by credible evidence.

For more on this story read the full feature by Guardian Australia’s Adam Morton, Jordyn Beazley and Ariel Bogle.

South Caulfield pro-Palestine rally ‘antisemitic, thuggish behaviour’

Hastie also discussed Friday’s pro-Palestine rally in Melbourne, condemning the actions of protesters.

What we saw on Friday in Caulfield was antisemitic, thuggish behaviour.

It was a power grab and it was an assertion of one group over another for primacy in the public space.

The government has to lead, has to be clear about what is acceptable and, if necessary, use the law to move these people on, or indeed prosecute and take care of it.

Hastie said Israel had shown “great restraint” in its response to the conflict following the 7 October attacks by Hamas, which the federal government has labelled a terrorist organisation.

[Israel] have had people from across the globe calling on them for restraint, and they’ve sent millions of warnings to people living in Gaza to evacuate, reminding them that there might be an attack imminent.

AAP

Hastie: ‘The great game is on’ in the Indo-Pacific

The opposition defence spokesman, Andrew Hastie, has also appeared on Sky News this morning, where he spoke about the agreement Australia has struck with Tuvalu.

He said he welcomed any agreement which deepened ties with the Pacific.

There is a geopolitical contest ongoing in the Indo-Pacific region, the great game is on.

We really need to work harder to build our relationships with those Pacific island countries.

Need for greater social cohesion, says deputy PM

Marles also urged greater social cohesion in Australia, describing the events in the Middle East as an unfolding tragedy.

People have a right to put pressure on their country’s government, on us, but there shouldn’t be demonstrations which are aimed at other members of the community.

Jewish Australians, as all Australians clearly, have a right to feel safe within their country.

The defence minister also denounced Islamophobic comments aimed at Australia’s Muslim community following the latest outbreak of violence in the Middle East.

There are Muslim Australians I’ve spoken to … who feel a sense of isolation in this moment. That’s unacceptable as well.

AAP

Richard Marles: ‘Jewish Australians have never felt less safe’

Jewish Australians have never felt less safe in Australia following protests driven by the conflict in the Middle East, the deputy prime minister says.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday Richard Marles also condemned protests in the Melbourne suburb of Caulfield South, where pro-Israel and pro-Palestine groups faced off on Friday.

The clash sparked the evacuation of a nearby synagogue, which protest organisers have apologised for.

Marles said people in Australia deserved to have a right to feel safe and denounced antisemitism.

This demonstration on behalf of Palestine in the heart of the Jewish community was unacceptable.

Right now, Jewish Australians have never felt less safe, and this is a real problem and we need to be moving to fix that.

Calls have grown for a ceasefire in the conflict, as Palestinian officials said two babies had died and dozens more patients were at risk from an Israeli siege of Gaza’s largest hospital.

Further rallies in support of Palestine have been planned in Melbourne on Sunday.

AAP

Marles hopes Tuvalu deal ‘will be welcomed within the Pacific’

The deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, has denied that a new agreement between Australia and Tuvalu will anger China, describing it as a watershed moment.

Under the deal, announced at the Pacific Islands Forum on Friday, residents from Tuvalu facing displacement from climate change will be able to resettle in Australia.

Australia will take in 280 people each year, with the Pacific nation having a population of about 11,000 people.

As part of the elevated bilateral partnership between the countries, Australia will have a veto over Tuvalu’s security arrangements with other countries.

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Marles said the agreement would be received well by other countries, despite China having ambitions in the region.

The Pacific is a place of greater geo-strategic contest, there’s no doubt about that, and we seek to be the natural partner of choice for countries in the Pacific.

We were engaging with countries in the region, and we spoke with other countries in the region about what we were doing.

China has signed security pacts with other Pacific countries, including Solomon Islands, as part of a growing push for influence.

The deputy prime minister said Australia had a responsibility to ensure the Pacific did not become the least developed part of the world.

This is a step which I hope will be welcomed within the Pacific, because it does represent a very significant step up in Australia’s already significant engagement in the Pacific.

It makes very clear our demonstration of wanting to work with the Pacific very closely around questions of development.

AAP

Overturning of Al Kateb v Godwin ‘not the government’s choice’

Finally, Wong is asked about the recent high court decision overturning Al Kateb v Godwin, which allowed Australia to indefinitely detain people who could not otherwise be deported.

The decision has upended a cornerstone of Australia’s asylum seeker policy and means those held in definite detention should be released.

Wong is asked about whether this means the community will be put at risk.

Our first priority in approaching this decision is to assure community safety. So anyone who is released will be released on visas with strict conditions and we are ensuring that the Australian federal police and border force are working closely with state and territory police to support community safety. The second point I would make is just to emphasise this is not the government’s choice, this is a decision of the high court of Australia, which any government is bound to follow.

Wong says visa conditions are being allied to bridging visas “as people are being released”.

We will continue to work through the judgment when it is handed down and the implications of the decision, but I make the point people are being released with conditions and we will ensure that law enforcement authorities, federal and state, work together.

And that’s a wrap.

‘Holding a protest near a synagogue was not the right thing to do’

On the protest that took place in Melbourne on Friday night that led to clashes between groups supporting Palestine and Israel respectively, Wong says that “holding a protest near a synagogue was not the right thing to do and I think the organisers know that”.

Wong says we must avoid letting “distress turn to anger and hate”:

I want to say this: all Australians, including our Jewish community, have a right to be safe and feel safe. No one in this country should be fearful because of who they are or their faith. What I would say more broadly, David, is this: I understand – we all understand – how distressing these events are. People who have lost family, people who have lost friends, people who care deeply about these issues. These are traumatic images, the loss of life – we must all work to ensure that that distress does not turn into hate and anger.

Two-state solution ‘only pathway for security’

Wong has also reiterated her call for a two-state solution.

Look, I think if what this conflict shows, apart from the obvious fact that Hamas is a terrorist organisation dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, what it shows is that there is no just and enduring peace without a political process towards a two-state solution, and that two-state solution, a just and enduring peace, Palestinians and Israelis living within internationally recognised borders, is the only pathway for security both for Israel and for Palestinians.

Wong calls on Israel to ‘cease the attacking of hospitals’

Asked again whether she believes Israel is respecting international law, Wong calls on Israel to stop attacking hospitals.

Well, I would make this point in relation to hospitals and medical facilities, that international human law does require the protection of hospitals, of patients and of medical staff. And we do call on Israel to cease the attacking of hospitals. We understand the argument that Hamas is burrowed into civilian infrastructure, but I think the international community, looking at what is occurring at hospitals, would say to Israel, ‘These are facilities protected under international law and we want you to do so’.

Wong says “there is no doubt” that Hamas has “burrowed” into civilian infrastructure but “that does not obviate the requirement to observe international law, and the fact is many friends of Israel around the world and in Australia would be saying we want civilians, hospitals to be protected”.

Wong: ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war ‘cannot be one-sided’

On the Israel-Hamas war, Wong is asked whether she believes Israel is showing restraint.

Wong:

I’m deeply concerned by the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, as is so many in the world, and by the loss of life. I’m deeply concerned, as others are, about the sort of destruction we are seeing. What I would say is this: we called for humanitarian pauses as a necessary first step. I’ve seen the comments of President Macron overnight. What I would say is we all want to take the next steps towards a ceasefire, but it cannot be one-sided. Hamas still holds hostages. Hamas is still attacking Israel. I would also continue to say, as you pointed out, I called for restraint in my very first response and was criticised by Peter Dutton.

How Israel defends itself matters, and when we affirm Israel’s right to defend itself, what we are also saying is Israel must comply and observe international humanitarian law. We know Hamas is a terrorist organisation. It has demonstrated it has no respect for international law, but Australia is a democracy and so, too, is Israel and the standards that we seek and accept are higher.

‘We should continue to engage because China is a consequential nation’

After Albanese’s meeting with the Chinese president, the statement included the phrasing “we reaffirm our confidence in the strategic partnership”. Wong is asked what this means, and specifically whether Australia is a “strategic partner” or a “strategic competitor” with China.

Come on, David, you are better than that. You know that a comprehensive strategic partnership was signed by, I think it was, Tony Abbott, so this is a diplomatic term for a relationship, and you have a more sophisticated understanding of relationship than to ask me a question like that. We know there are areas where we should operate and we should cooperate. We know there are areas wither we disagree and we do so consistently and calmly, and we should continue to engage because China is a consequential nation in our region. For us to engage. What is the alternative?

Wong says it refers to a legal agreement that was signed by Abbott.

I think what you are actually asking is how do we manage the fact that at times we have very different strategic interests, and we do so by continuing to press our strategic interest. Australia wants to assure our own sovereignty, just as China does. How do we do that? We do that in the bilateral relationship, we do that with the alliance with the United States, we do that in Quad, we do it in the alliance in south-east Asia and we make it clear we do that with balance in the region where all countries’ sovereignty is protected, where the rule of law is protected. We do that by being very clear about our willingness, whether through the Quad, through Aukus, to demonstrate both assurance but also strategic deterrence.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2023/nov/12/australia-news-live-israel-hamas-war-pro-palestine-rallies-penny-wong-anthony-albanese-peter-dutton-china-trip News live: Jewish Australians ‘have never felt less safe’, Marles says; Palestine supporters to rally in Melbourne | Australian politics

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