Australia news live update: Albanese says Morrison ordered asylum seeker boat information release; Biloela family decision to come today | Australian election 2022

NSW Health issued a statement earlier this morning, advising of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Sydney’s CBD.

They are asking anyone in the CBD to be on the lookout for symptoms of the disease after five people who developed the disease spent time in the area in the past three weeks.

All five people, two women and three men, aged between their 40s and 70s, have been identified with the bacteria that causes the disease, often associated with contaminated cooling towers of large buildings.

Symptoms of the disease can develop up to 10 days from exposure to contaminated water particles and include “fever, chills, a cough, and shortness of breath and may lead to severe chest infections such as pneumonia.”

People who develop Legionnaires’ disease are diagnosed by chest X-ray and a urine test and usually require antibiotic treatment in the hospital.

NSW Health environmental health officers are working with the City of Sydney to review testing and maintenance records of all cooling towers in the CBD area to prioritize inspection and sampling of potential source towers.

These five cases follow several recently identified cases of Legionnaires’ disease throughout Sydney. Public Health Units across NSW follow up on every case of Legionnaires’ disease and work closely with local councils to manage cooling towers.

Updated at 18.37 EDT

Peter Dutton says he and Scott Morrison are ‘two different people.’

Peter Dutton was on the Today show this morning, maintaining his charm offensive from yesterday and distancing himself from former prime minister Scott Morrison.

Dutton emphasized his “work ethic” and his connection with John Howard and Peter Costello (very interesting in light of the election result):

Australian election

I have a lot of respect for Scott and all of my former leaders, but I grew up under John Howard, and was Peter Costello’s assistant treasurer.

I have, I think, an incredible work ethic, and I have the desire to do what is right for our country. I’ve had tough jobs in immigration, border protection, and in defense…

I hope that people can see the complete picture of who I am, and I intend to traverse the country over the next three years and listen importantly to what people want.

Updated at 18.26 EDT

Josh Butler

Nationals MP Darren Chester has confirmed he will run for the party’s leadership in a ballot next week, setting up an explosive showdown with his rival Barnaby Joyce – a man Chester once described as “incoherent”.

The Nine newspapers reported Chester saying it was “time for a change” in the party and that the Nationals needed to “take some responsibility for the Liberal losses in the city”.

It appeared a clear shot at Joyce, the former deputy prime minister, whose personal unpopularity and reluctance to embrace climate change action was seen as a factor in the heavy toll inflicted in Liberal, middle seats nationwide.

Chester is a more moderate voice than Joyce. He supported former Nationals leader Michael McCormack in a spill motion in June 2021 that saw Joyce re-elevated to the party leadership.

Joyce sacked Chester from his position as veterans affairs minister soon after the spill, which was seen as punishment for supporting McCormack.At the time, Chester claimed his phone call with Joyce “was so incoherent yesterday, I couldn’t explain what he was even saying to me.”

“So people of Australia, brace yourself; there will be more conversations like that,” he said.

Updated at 18.26 EDT

Chester has continued, saying the Nationals did “really well” at the election, and congratulated Joyce for the performance before adding that the swings against them needed to be addressed:

The point is we had significant swings against us in many seats. I’m concerned as I travel around my electorate and regional Australia, I’m constantly getting feedback from younger voters and female voters. They don’t think we connect with them, we are not focused on the diversity of issues they are interested in, and I need to focus on ways to communicate with these people.

That’s what I’m putting myself forward for, a fresh start in terms of putting forward different approaches how to connect with regional Australians going forward.

Updated at 18.21 EDT

Nationals Darren Chester confirms leadership tilt

There has been a flurry this morning, so stick with me.

Darren Chester, the aspirant for the Nationals leadership, has appeared on ABC News Breakfast earlier, saying he is challenging Barnaby Joyce because he offers a more “moderate, more respectful” approach:

First of all, what I will say is I’m not here to tip a bucket on Barnaby Joyce; he’s our leader and has done the best he can do in that job.

But when we have a transition point like an election, in the National party, the leadership positions are declared vacant, both leaders and deputy. I think it is healthy for the room, and good for the democracy of the room, that members who are interested in taking a leadership role put their hand up, and we have a ballot.

That’s what will happen on Monday; it may well be more than me that puts our hand up. I think we must listen to the message we received over the weekend from the Australian people.

I think they want us to be perhaps more moderate and respectful in this country’s public debates. They want a calmer democracy, I guess, and I think I can offer that to the room.

Updated at 18.22 EDT

Albanese says the decision on the Biloela family is to be made Todtodaythony Albanese, appearing on Nine radio, said a decision on the future of the Biloela family will be made Today.

The Murugappan family are Tamil refugees who came to Australia from Sri Lanka and were granted bridging visas before settling in Biloela in central Queensland before the former government sent them to Christmas Island after their visa expired, sparking a campaign to return the family to Biloela.

Albanese said the situation had dragged on too long and hoped to resolve it soon.

We are a strong enough society to say that we should not treat people badly to send a message to others. And it’s beyond my comprehension how this has gone on for so long, at enormous cost.

We’re better than that; Australia is a more generous and kind country than that.

Updated at 18.16 EDT

Stuart Robert denies Morrison breached caretaker role, describes Dutton as ‘warm-hearted.’

Next up, former cabinet minister Stuart Robert was on RN Breakfast earlier and refused to comment why the PM had asked the ABF to publicize a boat arrival on election day.

Robert rejected the idea that the order had breached the caretaker conventions and proper process:

I can’t comment on it, having not been involved, but I think all Australians understand Labor, by history, is incredibly weak on boat arrivals.

I won’t be taking lectures from the Labor Party on caretaker conventions or boat arrivals.

Robert would also not be drawn on the consequences of the election result and the routing of the LNP in their heartland. Stuart took the opposite route proudly declaring that the party won “21 of 30 seats in Queensland”.

Robert was asked if voters had shown a “visceral” dislike of Scott Morrison. Again, the Queensland MP dug his heels in, only conceding that some decisions made during the pandemic were unpopular (not the former PM’s handling of everything else, I guess).

The prime minister had an extraordinarily difficult job – remember that Australia has come through Covid better than any nation on earth …

I … acknowledged that what was required to get us through the pandemic, some Australians may not have liked fully … The former prime minister has made that very clear.

Finally, Robert is asked about the party’s future under Peter Dutton, saying the party works best at the “center right”.

The party works the best when it’s a sound centre-right party, when it connects with aspirational Australians and voters when it differentiates itself very strongly from the Labor Party with an alternative set of policy options, when it seeks to promote the individual rather than the collective and, of course, when it aims to promote strong borders and a lower tax regime. Now, that’s what we’ll continue to do.

Asked what side of Peter Dutton voters will be seeing, Robert insisted Dutton was “warm-hearted”.

I hope you’ll see the Peter Dutton that I know and respect, and have known him for a long time. He is a warm-hearted, very decent, very competent individual.

Updated at 18.15 EDT

Albanese criticizes Morrison for publicizing boat turnback on election day

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has slammed the former prime minister for ordering the ABF to publicize it had intercepted a reported asylum seeker boat on election day.

Albanese was on RN Breakfast this morning and said there was “nothing normal” about the process:

There was nothing normal about the protocols that were not observed here.

We had a circumstance whereby the prime minister’s office contacted my office in the middle of Saturday. We indicated it would be entirely inappropriate for this event to be politicized. It’s a clear breach of the caretaker conventions.

This is a government and a former prime minister who used to stand up and say that he would not comment on on-water matters.

This statement was very clearly made to facilitate the sending of – we are not sure how many – but potentially many millions of text messages to voters in a last-minute scare campaign.

It was an entire abuse of proper processes and a disgraceful act from a government that was prepared to politicize everything but solve nothing.

Albanese added that he had confidence in home affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo.

This was a decision made by Scott Morrison in a desperate attempt to run a last-minute scare campaign. And the politicization of it stands in stark contrast to Scott Morrison’s comments over many years that there would be no comments on on-water matters.

It was extraordinary that this statement was made to enable those text messages to be sent to people. People wondered what was going on when they received that text message.

It showed that the government had lost perspective – they were prepared to politicize anything and everything.

This was a real lowlight amongst many – there was some competition in the recent period by the former government, but this was a new low.

Updated at 18.27 EDT

Kylea Tink says winning the North Sydney seat has felt ‘surreal.’

North Sydney independent, Kylea Tink, was on ABC’s News Breakfast, saying she is still processing winning the traditionally Liberal seat.

Tink beat incumbent Trent Zimmerman as part of the teal wave that shattered the Liberal party, and she said her success felt “surreal”:

I think it’s quite a surreal experience to move from campaigning mode into what is essentially a hiatus for two weeks while you wait for the writs to be returned and get your head around what the future might look like.

I must confess I went to my first formal function last night on the Uluru Statement, and it was incredibly exciting to be there.

Tink added that she felt voters had shown they were “tired of party politics,” saying voters turned away from the LNP because they didn’t feel represented:

It was the fact that the government hadn’t been listening for the last three years.

The specific issues [they mentioned] were faster action on climate, the introduction of an Integrity Commission, addressing how our economy is geared, and addressing the systemic inequality we have in our country – they were fundamental things people wanted to see action on.

Updated at 17.53 EDT

Daniel Hurst

France-Australia relationship shows signs of potential recovery after leaders’ phone call.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, says he had a “warm and constructive conversation” with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, last night.

The call is a sign the relationship between the two countries could be warming after the departure of Scott Morrison, whom Macron famously accused of lying to him over the cancellation of the French submarine deal.

Albanese had previously mentioned that he had had “a very positive exchange” with Macron – but then the two leaders could have a phone call last night.

Albanese tweeted about the call, saying the pair “discussed our commitment to a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific, cooperating on climate and energy, and support for Ukraine”.

He added:

I look forward to working together on our shared priorities.

The call comes a day after the French ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, welcomed the Albanese government’s stronger climate policy and said he now had “huge hopes” for rebuilding the relationship.

Thébault told Guardian Australia there had never been a problem between the people of France and Australia. Still, the breakdown was linked to the “deceitful attitude” taken by “a certain administration”.

Read that story here:

Updated at 17.52 EDT

We begin with the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, confirming earlier this morning that Scott Morrison ordered the Australian Border Force (ABF) to publicize that they had intercepted a suspected asylum seeker boat on election day.

The ABC had earlier reported that the former PM had personally made the order, in one of his last acts as prime minister, with the new Labor government ordering an investigation into the incident.

The Nationals are also feeling the heat from the election, with reports veterans affairs minister Darren Chester will challenge Barnaby Joyce for the party’s leadership on Monday. Whispers abound that other MPs may step up in a spill, but only Chester has confirmed he will put his hand up.

The foreign minister, Penny Wong, speaking in the Fijian capital of Suva, said Australia was hoping to enshrine the Pacific’s “independence and your economic sustainability and prosperity”. Wong warned a deal with Beijing could sacrifice their independence and lead to financial instability.

Finally, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has had a “warm and constructive” chat with Anthony Albanese, with Macron agreeing to start rebuilding the relationship based on “trust and respect”.

There is still much to get into, so let’s dive in.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.