1. Anthony Albanese has announced he’ll challenge Bill Shorten for the leadership of the Labor Party. The Labor leadership will be determined under Kevin Rudd’s new rule – a ballot of the parliamentary Labor Party (weighted at 50 per cent) and a ballot of rank and file ALP members (also weighted at 50 per cent). Chris Bowen will lead the party in the meantime.
2. J. K. Rowling has announced she’s writing a new edition in the Harry Potter series. The author is making her screenwriting debut with the script for a new movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is named after a wizarding textbook mentioned in the Harry Potter series.
The new movie will reportedly be about the textbook’s fictional author, Newt Scamander. It is planned to be the first in a new series of films with Warner Brothers.
3. It is Australia’s largest ever online petition. A Liberal-voting student, Queenslander Nick Paine – has started a petition asking the new Government to save Labor’s NBN. Less than five days after being created, it had been signed 116,281 times. It had one signature for every 3.5 seconds since it was posted.
The largest paper petition Australia has ever seen was submitted to parliament in 2000, with 792,985 signatures demanding an end to the increasing cost of beer. It’s the big issues, people….
4. After weeks of international pressure, the president of Syria last night promised that he would hand over the country’s stockpile of chemical weapons. Bashar al-Assad told a Russian news program: “Syria is handing over chemical weapons under international control because of Russia… US threats have not affected the decision.” President’s al-Assad’s announcement was the first time he had confirmed that the country actually possessed chemical weapons.
5. Indonesia’s foreign minister Marty Natelegawa says the country will reject some key elements of Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott’s asylum seeker policy. Mr Natelegawa told a meeting of his country’s foreign affairs commission that he would reject Abbott’s plan of buying boats from Indonesian fishermen. Mr Natelegawa said, “clearly we will reject it if they say they will try to prevent any boat from sailing from Indonesia to Australia by buying boats from our fishermen.”
6. An Australian species of deep sea fish has been named as the ugliest fish in the world. According to the ABC, the blobfish “resembles a grumpy and obese old man with a bulbous nose”.
Overnight, it was voted as the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society by more than 3000 people who completed an online poll that was created to raise awareness of “aesthetically challenged” species.
7. Clive Palmer may not win the federal seat of Fairfax after all. With the counting of postal votes, the gap between Mr Palmer (of Palmer United Party) and Liberal National Party candidate Ted O’Brien is closing.
According to the Australian Electoral Commission’s Virtual Tally Room, on a two-party preferred basis, Mr Palmer has 50.75 per cent of the vote, while Mr O’Brien has 49.25 of the vote.
The Liberal Party’s Sophie Mirabella is set to lose the seat of Indi in Victoria and Labor’s Mike Kelly in the bell weather seat of Eden Monaro is expected to concede today.