“We will not be intimidated.” Why everyone is talking about Nancy Pelosi, China, and America’s visit to Taiwan.
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to visit Taiwan today. It’s a big deal for an American Government representative to be visiting Taiwan – here’s why.
China considers Taiwan as under their control and part of its territory. China has also never renounced using force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan rejects China's sovereignty claims and says only its people can decide the island's future.
With this in mind, China views visits by US officials to Taiwan as sending an encouraging signal to the pro-independence camp in Taiwan – a democratic sentiment China does not want Taiwan to look to.
A visit by Pelosi, a longtime critic of China, comes amid worsening ties between Washington and Beijing.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Monday that it would be “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs” if Pelosi visited Taiwan, and warned it would lead to “very serious developments and consequences”.
“We would like to tell the United States once again that China is standing by, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by, and China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.
The potential response from China could include firing missiles near Taiwan, large-scale air or naval activities, or further “spurious legal claims” such as Beijing's assertion that the Taiwan Strait was not an international waterway.
But the United States has said it will not be intimidated by Chinese threats to never “sit idly by”. Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it had no comment on reports of Pelosi’s travel plans but the White House, which would not confirm the trip, said she had the right to go.
“We will not take the bait or engage in sabre rattling. At the same time, we will not be intimidated,” the US said.
Sources have said Pelosi was scheduled to meet a small group of activists who are outspoken about China's human rights record during her stay in Taiwan.
During a phone call last Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden that Washington should abide by the Chinese principle and “those who play with fire will perish by it”.
Time will tell as to whether Pelosi goes to Taiwan, or if her trip goes under the radar for security purposes.
Aged care law first to pass in new Labor parliament.
Laws responding to the recommendations of the aged care royal commission have become the first to pass parliament under the new Labor government.
The legislation amends the aged care funding model and introduces new reporting and transparency requirements.
It responds to 17 recommendations of the royal commission’s final report.
The royal commission response bill was introduced by the former coalition government before lapsing at the federal election and being reinstated when parliament resumed last week.
The legislation’s placement first on the order of parliamentary business highlighted the government's commitment to the sector, Labor minister Murray Watt told the Senate.
“I just want to reflect on the symbolism of this bill. It’s really notable this is the piece of government business that the Senate is dealing with as its first order of business,” he said.
“Again, it indicates the importance of putting in place a decent, well funded, well regulated aged care systems for our older Australians. It’s nothing less than they deserve.”
The government has also introduced legislation in the upper house to have a nurse in aged care homes at all times.
Further aged care reforms will be introduced in 2023.
Today the 47th Parliament passed its first Bill.— Anika Wells MP (@AnikaWells) August 2, 2022
We made a promise to Australians that we would take better care of their loved ones and restore dignity to our most vulnerable citizens.
Reforming aged care will take years but this bill is a first step on the journey. pic.twitter.com/O1H0JM1CMA
Evening Headlines: Beyoncé changes song lyric after backlash.
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Get The Spill in your ears now!
Victorian man accused of sexually assaulting teens on bail, and all the news you need to know this morning.
This month, Sue Neill-Fraser is eligible for parole after spending 13 years behind bars for the murder of her partner. But the 67-year-old won't be applying for it.
You can read her story here.
But first, here are the top news stories you need to know today, Tuesday, August 2.
1. Victorian man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting teens released on bail.
Warning: This post deals with sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.
A father accused of kidnapping two 15-year-old girls and raping them in remote locations in the 1990s has been freed on bail because of his family's ongoing support.
Father of seven, Garry Cook, has been charged nearly 24 years after allegedly raping the girls in September and December 1998, after picking them up in Victoria's Belgrave area.
The 71-year-old's first alleged victim was hitchhiking near Belgrave train station at about 8.45pm on September 24, hoping for a lift to Emerald.
Cook allegedly offered her a ride, during which he pulled out a small silver revolver and held it to the girl's head while he raped her, before driving her to the outskirts of Emerald.
An accused child rapist is back in the community, free on bail despite police fears he could harm women and destroy critical evidence.— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) August 1, 2022
Detectives allege 71-year-old Garry Cook abducted and terrorised two teenage girls at gunpoint. @lanamurphy #9News pic.twitter.com/gRjha6iAsk
The second girl was just 10 seconds from home walking toward a bus stop when Cook allegedly pulled over and offered her a lift.
Cook allegedly drove into a paddock and forced the girl into the footwell of the car, ordering her to cover herself with a blanket before he drove another 15 or 20 minutes to a remote location.
The court heard Cook was armed with a silver handgun and a knife as he directed her to the back of the car where he raped her. The girl was then driven to Belgrave train station where she told friends and alerted police.
Prosecutor Jelena Malobabic opposed bail in Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday, arguing he was an unacceptable risk to the safety of women.
His lawyer Emily Clark said Cook had the support of his current wife and former partner as well as his children.
Magistrate Kieran Gilligan ruled on Monday that Cook would be allowed to leave custody because his advanced age and lack of other serious offending meant he did not pose a safety risk.
The case is set to return to court for a committal mention in November.
If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
2. Government pushes gas trigger out to 2030.
The federal government will extend the life of the so-called gas trigger until January 2030, following the release of a "damning" report.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its report into the nation's gas supplies yesterday, showing a shortfall would occur in 2023 if all the excess gas produced by exporters was sent overseas.
In response, Resources Minister Madeleine King will issue a notice of intention to use the trigger - which she described as a "blunt instrument" - in 2023.
"These measures announced today will safeguard Australia's energy supplies," she told reporters in Canberra yesterday.
"The Albanese government will do whatever is needed to make sure Australians have ongoing access to the gas and energy sources that belong to the people of Australia."
Industry Minister Ed Husic said gas prices had risen from "a shade under $8 a few years ago per gigajoule to now ... the average spot price being around $44".
"That is a huge increase and the reality is this, we have multinational companies extracting an Australian resource to sell to international clients at a price that is squeezing Australian industry and jobs and something has to be done about it," he said.
3. First Nations Greens senator calls the Queen a "coloniser".
First Nations Greens senator Lidia Thorpe was told to retake the affirmation of allegiance after she called the Queen a "coloniser" in parliament.
Making a stand in the Senate yesterday, Thorpe raised her fist in protest, branded the Queen a "coloniser", and referred to herself as "sovereign" while being sworn in.
"I, sovereign Lidia Thorpe, do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful, and I bear true allegiance to the colonizing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," Thorpe said before being cut off by Senate President Sue Lines.
Thorpe was then asked to recite the oath of allegiance without the additional words.
She later retweeted a photo of the moment, writing "Sovereignty never ceded."
Sovereignty never ceded. https://t.co/OowLrlUApy— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) August 1, 2022
4. Nearly 10,000 COVID-19 cases in aged care.
There are nearly 10,000 active COVID-19 cases linked to Australia's aged care homes as facilities across the country battle COVID-19 outbreaks.
The latest data from the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care reveals there are 9906 active COVID-19 cases in 1064 residential aged care facilities. Of those, 6360 cases involved residents while 3546 were staff.
There have been more than 77,000 COVID cases in aged care residences since the start of the pandemic and 3394 deaths, compared to a national death toll of almost 12,000.
There's an active COVID-19 outbreak in nearly half of the aged care facilities in Queensland alone.https://t.co/5hldrprNqS— 4BC Brisbane (@NewsTalk4BC) August 1, 2022
As the country weathers its third Omicron wave, Aged Care Minister Anika Wells says vaccination rates for aged care homes will now be published online to help drive up fourth dose rates.
"That's all part of the winter plan that I've brought in ... to try and make sure that all aged care facilities, all of our older Australians and their families and the aged care workers that look after them, are better prepared than they have been in previous winters," she told the Nine Network yesterday.
Australia recorded more than 28,000 COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths yesterday. There are nearly 4900 people in hospital with the virus.
5. More Aussies claim gold at Commonwealth Games.
Kyle Chalmers, Emma McKeon, and Kaylee McKeown were among the Aussies who took home gold on day four of the Commonwealth Games.
Kyle Chalmers claimed victory in the 100m freestyle, a day after saying he felt like flying home when overwhelmed by media scrutiny.
"It's a bittersweet feeling for me," he said. "Instead of enjoying the moment, it's almost a big sense of relief to be honest with you.
"I just hope no-one has to go through what I have had to go through over the last 48 hours."
Kyle Chalmers wins 'bittersweet' gold at Commonwealth Games https://t.co/dJh0ijuDoM— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) August 1, 2022
In that 48-hour time span, Chalmers raged at reporting about a supposed love triangle with fellow high-profile swimmer Emma McKeon and her new boyfriend Cody Simpson.
Emma McKeon collected her fourth gold of the Games, the 12th of her career.
Kaylee McKeown won her second gold plus a silver, Australia's 4x200m freestyle relay saluted, as did para-swimmer Matthew Levy.
You're all up to speed. We'll be back with more of the top stories throughout the day.
- With AAP.
Are celebrities really causing global warming?
This week, there's been a lot of talk about celebrities and their private jets.
Taylor Swift has been accused of being the worst celebrity contributor to climate change, after data revealed her private jet has taken to the skies 170 times in the first 200 days of 2022.
But, are celebrities and their private jets really to blame for climate change?
In today's episode of The Quicky, we speak to Tim Baxter from The Climate Council about whether changing celeb behaviour can help change the environment.
Feature Image: Getty.