Everyone's talking about the budget. But there's an elephant in the room.
We've surveyed more than 4000 readers on their biggest election issues, and climate action is by far the most clicked on. By far.
But this week's budget and budget reply had their priorities elsewhere. It's not seemingly being used as an election pull this year - even as homes are being swallowed by floods in NSW and QLD.
I explored this idea, and relayed a fantastic interview I did with political expert Mark Kenny who shared his wisdom.
Have a read here.
Hannah Clarke's inquest ends, and all the news you need to know this morning.
Morning all, welcome to your first live news feed for April.
Yesterday, news broke that Die Hard star Bruce Willis will retire from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia.
In light of the news, my colleague Charlie Begg took a look back at his Hollywood career and relationship with Demi Moore.
Here are the biggest news stories you need to know this morning, Friday April 1.
1. Hannah Clarke's parents call Baxter a “monster” as inquest ends.
Hannah Clarke's parents believe nothing could have stopped Rowan Baxter killing their daughter and grandchildren, describing him as a "true monster" at an inquest into their deaths.
The inquest, which came to a close yesterday, was told there were systematic failings in police communication and training before Clarke's estranged husband torched her and their three children in a car in suburban Brisbane in February 2020.
Deputy state coroner Jane Bentley has been asked to make recommendations to address the issues when she delivers findings in June.
However, Clarke's father Lloyd says nothing would have stopped Baxter.
"He was just one of those people... so callous and used everyone as a pawn in his monstrous ways," he said outside the court.
Her mother Sue Clarke added: "Every now and then I think a true monster is born and you can't stop them".
However, both hope the "unthinkably confronting" nine-day inquest will help others avoid the same fate.
Hannah Clarke's parents delivered their victim impact statements on the final day of the inquest. It was concluded their daughter was never going to be saved. | @amandaehart pic.twitter.com/STbB7RstCZ— 10 News First Queensland (@10NewsFirstQLD) March 31, 2022
Bentley saluted the pairs' bravery after they had to "relive the worst day of our lives in excruciating detail".
Sue Clarke said the inquest had given them "hope and a future".
"(Hannah) was a bright light in our lives and though she has been stolen from us, we will work every day to ensure that light never goes out."
2. Woman's body found in flood water as rain eases in Northern NSW.
A body of a woman, believed to be that of a missing aged care nurse, has been found in floodwaters at North Lismore.
Police said the body is yet to be formally identified but is believed to be that of missing 55-year-old Anita Brakel, who was trapped in her white station wagon at Monaltrie, south of Lismore, about 10pm on Tuesday.
The car the woman was driving is yet to be located.
The search for a missing nurse has tragically ended with a member of the public finding her body in floodwaters in northern New South Wales as a new threat looms from the Queensland to the Victorian border.https://t.co/XRgx9xRDSd— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 31, 2022
The rains that battered Northern NSW have eased as Lismore and Byron Bay reel from devastating flooding.
Wilsons River had peaked at 11.4 metres but that was below higher expectations of 12m.
Elsewhere in the state, rainfall is expected to hit Newcastle and Sydney today, extending down to the Victorian border into the weekend before easing on Sunday.
Gusts will pick up with speeds reaching up to 100 kilometres per hour.
3. Australia to send additional funding after Ukrainian president's plea.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed Australian Parliament last night, asking our country for more military aid.
Zelenskiy asked for access to Australian military vehicles like the Bushmaster to help the country defend its territory and invited Australia to help with the restoration of the country's coastal cities.
"That could help Ukraine significantly - we would be very grateful if you could share those with us," he said via video link.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison used his opening remarks to announce a further $25 million of defensive military equipment for Ukraine and to brand Russian President Vladimir Putin as the "war criminal of Moscow".
The package includes tactical decoys, unmanned aerial and ground systems, rations and medical supplies.
#BREAKING: The Prime Minister has announced Australia will provide a further $25 million in military support for Ukraine, as Russia continues its unprovoked invasion.— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) March 31, 2022
See the full report, 6pm on #9News pic.twitter.com/JAgHrACptp
"Ukraine and Australia are separated by half the earth. Our languages, accents, histories and cultures are different but we share an affinity for democracy or freedom," Morrison told the president and the parliament.
"Mr President, you have our praise. But you also have our weapons, our humanitarian aid, our sanctions against those who seek to deny your freedom."
Morrison also pledged to help Ukraine rebuild following the war, praising the "strong people of an indomitable country".
4. Albanese focuses on aged care sector in budget reply speech.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese used his budget reply speech last night to outline a multi-billion dollar overhaul to Australia's aged care sector should Labor win the election.
Albanese promised Labor would require every aged care facility to have a registered nurse on site 24 hours a day, along with new minimum care mandates for every resident.
It was part of a $2.5 billion, five-point pledge, to improve the sector and the treatment of residents.
"Our older Australians aren't just a number, they aren't a burden, they are people who deserve respect, courtesy and the best possible attention," Albanese told parliament last night.
"We will bring the principle of universal, affordable and quality service ... to aged care."
The mandate would require each aged care resident receive a minimum of 215 minutes of care per day, following royal commission recommendations.
A future Labor government would also support a wage rise for aged care workers, work with the sector to institute new mandatory food standards in residential facilities, work with multicultural communities to support culturally appropriate care, and give the aged care safety commissioner new powers.
5. White Island tourism operator fined.
A premium helicopter charter operator has become the first business sentenced for safety failings on New Zealand's volcano White Island.
The volcano, also known as Whakaari, erupted in December 2019, killing 22 people - including 14 Australians - and seriously injuring many of the 47 people visiting.
A year after the disaster, New Zealand watchdog Worksafe brought charges against 13 individuals and organisations for safety failings in the lead-up to the eruption. A dozen of those charged are contesting the charges ahead of an expected trial in mid 2023.
The thirteenth, Inflite Charters, changed its plea to guilty, and was sentenced to pay a fine of $NZ227,500 ($A211,000) and prosecution costs totalling $NZ40,000 ($A37,000).
Inflite did not have any tourists on the island at the time of the eruption, but was regularly engaged in tourism to the island.
"It did not carry out adequate risk assessments on Whakaari itself, it did not have safety management systems or safe operating procedures itself for tours to Whakaari," Thomas said, reported by TVNZ.
"There were gaps in the necessary measures that should have been in place on the island. There was a lack of emergency appropriate planning."
That's it, you're all up to speed. We'll be back to bring you more news throughout the day.
- With AAP.
All aboard: Is it safe to book a cruise?
It's been two years since the federal government implemented a ban on international cruise ships from entering Australian ports following a number of high-profile COVID-19 outbreaks at sea. But from April 17 the restrictions will finally be lifted.
So what's being done to ensure that passengers and crew can safely step on board while coronavirus continues to infect thousands of people every day?
The Quicky speaks to two cruise experts and someone who works on board some of the world's largest vessels to find out everything you need to know before booking your next adventure on the high seas.
- What women were talking about on Thursday
- What women were talking about on Wednesday
- What women were talking about on Tuesday
- What women were talking about on Monday
Feature Image: AAP/Alex Ellinghausen/Jono Searle/Twitter @AlboMP/Australian Senate