Australia signs major refugee agreement with New Zealand.
New Zealand will resettle 150 refugees from Australia each year for three years. It comes after over nine years of Australian politicians expressing concerns a resettlement deal with New Zealand would create a “back door” for refugees to enter Australia.
The arrangement will initially be for refugees who are in Nauru or temporarily in Australia under regional processing arrangements and meet New Zealand's refugee program requirements. They must not be in other third country resettlement pathways, such as through Australia's resettlement arrangement with the United States. The program will also extend to refugees referred to New Zealand by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews reiterated that no one who travelled to Australia via boat would be resettled. Labor hit back, welcoming the deal but saying it has come much too late. The party’s home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said the announcement was another pre-election promise and questioned whether the Liberals would implement the deal.
The prime minister previously said the federal government had no plans to take up the arrangement when standing next to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in February 2019 after the medical evacuation laws passed parliament.
Adrian Edwards, UNHCR regional representative for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, welcomed the announcement, saying the prolonged uncertainty refugees faced had taken an enormous toll. But he said the 450 refugees included in the deal would not be enough to cover the more than 110 asylum seekers on Nauru and some 1100 others in Australia.
“We nonetheless hope it will bring about new impetus towards this goal so that compassionate and lasting answers can be found including in Australia for all who have been subject to Australia’s offshore processing policies,” Mr Edwards said.
Amnesty International Australia refugee advisor Graham Thom expressed disappointment that more than 100 asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea were not included in the deal.
“Solutions will still need to be found for them. We also can’t forget to acknowledge this important step that people have had years of their lives taken from them pointlessly. The government could have taken up this offer eight years ago and spared these people ongoing and arbitrary detention and the trauma of that experience.”
- With AAP.
Proposed NSW bill to make landlords cap rent amid floods.
Proposed changes to rental laws in NSW could cap rent during a flood to stop landlords profiteering from housing shortages. New legislation presented by the Greens in parliament today seeks to protect renters who lose their homes during catastrophic flooding, as well as addressing the wider issue of the housing shortage in the state.
Assessors have so far found at least 95,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by the recent floods disaster. In response, the federal and NSW government has allocated $285 million to address the crisis, providing temporary housing, including 120 motorhomes, temporary “pod” housing and hiring longer-term homes and Airbnb homes for those displaced.
Greens Housing spokeswoman Jenny Leong said amendments were needed as a matter of urgency.
“Those people in flood-impacted areas would be protected immediately (with) a moratorium on evictions. In addition, we'd have a cap on rents to see that greedy landlords don't seek to profit from what is a horrific and tragic crisis across the state.”
The bill, which seeks to amend the state's residential tenancies act, also looks to more broadly improve the habitability, affordability and security for tenants. As noted in parliament, the demand for rental properties already exceeded demand before the flood crisis.
- With AAP.
A toxic allegation against Gwyneth Paltrow.
The former second-in-command at Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness empire Goop has made some toxic claims about the actress and business owner, and the workplace she created. But what’s the real story behind these claims and why is Gwyneth such a lightning rod for accusations like this?
After a disastrous last season, The Real Housewives of New York City has been given an unprecedented shake-up. Here’s why it’s a big change for reality TV in general.
And the iHeartRadio Music Awards were held this week and this time around it was all about the night’s big winner, Jennifer Lopez. So let's talk about why Ben Affleck is suddenly making all the headlines.
Get The Spill in your ears now!
The pop culture stories you missed.
Hello everyone. I'm back at it again with another great reality TV opinion recommendation, courtesy of my colleague Adrienne. This time, she tackled the rather uncomfortable admissions from Olivia from MAFS and Locky Gilbert on SAS Australia, in which they both confessed a lack of empathy.
"It really disturbs me that Locky, Olivia, and Cody are so unbothered by their lack of empathy and that there is actual pride in their voice when they say things like 'I don't have emotions'," Ads writes.
"To be clear: Empathy is not a weakness. Empathy is a strength. Empathy is GOOD."
A-bloody-men. You can read her story here: Olivia, Locky and the startling lack of empathy we're seeing from our reality TV stars.
Meanwhile... yesterday was a rather self-indulgent day for me.
I was deep diving into the Oscar Isaac thirst coming out of each and every corner of the internet (including my own Instagram account) for a story, and honestly? A career highlight.
I pulled together all the evidence, thoughts and... 'Oscar Isaac touching a co-stars arm' videos into an article you can read here: A skirt, an arm sniff, and the internet's long-standing love affair with Oscar Isaac.
Have a great day!
Hillsong founder resigns amid allegations, and all the news you need to know this morning.
Precisely all of us were surprised to hear Aussie tennis legend Ash Barty announce she is retiring from tennis at the age of 25, yesterday.
Following the announcement, my colleague Isabella Ross has taken a look back at the world number one's long list of achievements and her start in tennis. You can read all about it here.
But first, lets get you across the biggest news stories you need to know this morning, Thursday March 24.
1. Hillsong founder Brian Houston resigns amid allegations he mistreated women.
Brian Houston has resigned from the Hillsong Church amid allegations the global pastor mistreated two women.
"We would like to advise you that Pastor Brian Houston has resigned as Global Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church and the board has accepted his resignation," the global board said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Irrespective of the circumstances around this, we can all agree that Brian and (his wife) Bobbie have served God faithfully over many decades and that their ministry has resulted in millions of people across the world being impacted by the power, grace, and love of Jesus Christ."
About 10 years ago, Houston allegedly sent inappropriate text messages to a staff member, while under the influence of sleeping tablets that he had become dependent on, and ended with the employee resigning, according to the board.
The second incident was received by the church in 2019.
According to the board, Houston became disoriented following a Hillsong Conference and had consumed too much anti-anxiety medication mixed with alcohol when he knocked on the hotel room door and spent time with the female occupant.
An investigation launched by the global board found Houston had breached the Hillsong Pastor's Code of Conduct and on Friday said, "This person did not deserve to be placed in the situation she found herself in."
Houston is also currently before the courts in NSW, set to face a three-week special hearing in December on charges he hid his father's alleged child abuse.
2. Tennis legends lead tributes to newly retired Ash Barty.
Tennis legends from around the world have paid tribute to world number one Ashleigh Barty, after she announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 25 yesterday.
British star Emma Raducanu, who won last year's US Open - the only grand slam to desert Barty - said she found Barty an "inspiration" during her short time in the professional ranks.
But she made it clear that she wants to be still be playing at the top level well after the age of 25.
"I just want to wish Ash all the best because she had a great career," said the 19-year-old Raducanu, who's making her first appearance in Miami.
"She was a great player and brought a lot of variety to the game. I really respected that. I took a lot of inspiration from her, just how she's able to mix things up.
Tennis legend Serena Williams also shared her support for Barty, tweeting, "I can't lie I was sad to read your decision but also happy for your new chapter."
"Always your fan close up and afar. Sending all my love."
Australian of the Year and Paralympian Dylan Alcott called Barty an "amazing tennis player but even better person".
"A champion in every sense of the word. Very proud of you mate."
Ash Barty. Amazing tennis player but even better person. A champion in every sense of the word. Very proud of you mate ❤️— Dylan Alcott (@DylanAlcott) March 23, 2022
3. Australia will produce 100 million doses of Moderna every year.
Australia will soon be home to the southern hemisphere's first mRNA vaccine manufacturing hub, under a new agreement with pharmaceutical giant Moderna.
The research and development hub, which will be based in Victoria, will produce 100 million Australian-made mRNA doses every year and is expected to create hundreds of jobs.
Construction will start by the end of 2022 and production is expected from 2024.
Final agreement reached with Moderna to produce mRNA vaccines in Australia from 2024 https://t.co/ynMZBnB91h— ABC News (@abcnews) March 23, 2022
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today announce the deal - a collaboration between the federal and Victorian governments and Moderna.
He says it is a "shot in the arm" to protect Australians from future pandemics.
"This will be the first mRNA production facility in the southern hemisphere, and will ensure Australians have quick and easy access to these lifesaving vaccines," he said.
4. One in six Aussie uni students say they have been sexually harassed.
One in six Australian university students say they have been sexually harassed while one in 20 report being sexually assaulted, according to the results of a national survey.
The 2021 National Student Safety Survey asked 43,819 students from 38 Australian universities about their experiences and found female students (10.5 percent), transgender students (14.7 percent) and non-binary students (22.4 percent) were more likely to experience harassment or abuse in a university context in the past 12 months when compared with male students (3.9 percent).
Incidents ranged from catcalling, sexualised comments or commentary and escalated to unwanted touching, stalking and rape, and the majority of perpetrators were men, likely to be a fellow student and more often than not, someone the victim knew.
Only one in 30 students who were sexually harassed and one in 20 who were sexually assaulted made formal complaints.
Today's release of the 2021 National Student Safety Survey Report makes clear that sexual harassment and sexual assault remain a serious problem within Australian universities. This is a systemic problem requiring a whole community response.— Kate Jenkins (@Kate_Jenkins_) March 23, 2022
My statement:https://t.co/Zqpkpr9gQz pic.twitter.com/QIzkfLWGgX
The survey was funded by Universities Australia, with the peak body's chair John Dewar apologising to victims.
"I am deeply sorry to every single university student who has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault, who has a friend, family member or loved one who has," he said in a video statement on Wednesday.
"I'm sorry for what you endured. I'm sorry for how that may have affected your relationships, your mental health, your studies and your life," he continued, adding more work is needed "and we will do it".
If this post brings up 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. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.
You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.
The Men’s Referral Service is also available on 1300 766 491 or via online chat at www.ntv.org.au.www.ntv.org.au.
5. Crashed Chinese plane black box found.
Chinese emergency workers have found one of two black boxes from a China Eastern Airlines plane that crashed this week with 132 people onboard.
The black box device recovered is the plane's cockpit voice recorder, based on an early assessment, a Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) official told a media briefing - adding that the recording material appeared to have survived impact in relatively good shape.
Flight MU5735 was en route from the southwestern city of Kunming to Guangzhou on the coast on Monday when the Boeing 737-800 jet suddenly plunged from cruising altitude at about the time when it should have started its descent before landing. The cause of the crash has yet to be determined.
Most of the jet appears to have disintegrated upon impact although some debris and human remains have been found.
One of the two “black box” recorders from a downed Chinese plane has been found with its casing severely damaged, two days after the aircraft crashed with 132 people on board https://t.co/1bK5hLXThc— The Times (@thetimes) March 23, 2022
The captain, hired in January 2018, had 6709 hours flying experience, a China Eastern official said.
"From what we know, the performance of the three pilots had been good and their family life relatively harmonious," the official said.
One co-pilot was an observer to build up experience, the airline said.
That's it, you're all up to speed. We'll be back to bring you more of the biggest news stories throughout the day.
- With AAP.
Ukrainian women speak: Their experiences and how you can help.
It's been one month since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine.
Since then, rolling news coverage has brought the horrors of the conflict into our homes, but what is it like for Australian-Ukrainians and those who still have family in Europe having to watch these events unfold on screen?
The Quicky speaks to two Ukrainian women about their personal experiences, including how they or their relatives have or haven't escaped, and what we can all do to show our support.
- What women were talking about on Wednesday
- What women were talking about on Tuesday
- What women were talking about on Monday
Feature Image: AAP.