Australia live news: Albanese says China must condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; NSW teachers and train strike

China must condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Albanese says

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has renewed his calls for China to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, declaring that Vladimir Putin “has made a strategic mistake because what his actions have done is unite the democratic world”.

Albanese – who has been in Madrid for a Nato summit – spoke to reporters yesterday after having a meeting on the sidelines with the leaders of Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

He said this meeting of “the Asia-Pacific four” had been “very successful”:

There we discussed the important focus of this Nato’s summit on the Asia-Pacific region. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has solidified the support amongst democratic countries for the rules-based international order and a determination to continue to provide support to the government and the people of Ukraine who are suffering as a result of this breach of international law and this brutal invasion by Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Vladimir Putin has made a strategic mistake because what his actions have done is unite the democratic world and provide a real determination to make sure that the resilience being shown by the Ukrainian people is backed up by resilience and support from democratic countries, including Nato, but also countries throughout the world.

When asked about China’s accusation that Nato – and the AP4 – are constructing an imaginary foe in China, Albanese noted the announcement of a partnership between Beijing and Moscow in early February:

Well, what we saw is prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we saw a without-limits partnership between Russia and China. We’ve seen a failure of China to condemn any of the Russian aggression that has occurred against Ukraine. China must look at what is happening and look at the resolve that is there from throughout the world and should be condemning Russia’s actions.

Updated at 18.43 EDT

Sarah Martin

Sarah Martin

Just 24 medical practitioners received direct assistance to come to Australia under a travel program announced by the Morrison government which promised to bring an extra 2,000 doctors and nurses into the country.

As Australia faces skills shortages across the health and aged care sectors, information obtained from the Department of Health shows that a program set up by the former health minister Greg Hunt in October last year that promised to bring in an extra 2,000 health practitioners over six months was discontinued after just two months.

At the time of the announcement, Hunt said the scheme would allow 2,000 extra doctors and nurses to sidestep travel restrictions to secure flights and take up hospital jobs as part of the government’s pandemic response in a “one-off boost” to the system.

But according to the Department of Health, just 24 health practitioners received direct travel assistance, with the lifting of border restrictions allowing practitioners to travel “without the need for Australian government assistance”.

Read the full story here:

From Moreland to Merri-bek: Melbourne council ready to vote on name change

A Melbourne council is poised to pick an Indigenous word as its new name, cutting its ties with an 18th century Jamaican slave estate, AAP reports.

Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s inner north will consider changing its name to Merri-bek in a special meeting on Sunday after residents picked it as their preferred option.

The name, which means “rocky country”, was one of three presented by Wurundjeri elders and was supported by 59% of ratepayers who filled out a survey.

Moreland Mayor Mark Riley said in a statement:

Many residents shared that they felt most connected to Merri-bek as it linked to the iconic Merri Creek and the rocky country where we live.

Jerrang, meaning “leaf of tree”, and Wa-dum-buk, meaning “renew”, were the other two name options, garnering 22% and 13% of the vote respectively.

The council last year voted to start consultation with traditional owners and the community on changing its name after discovering it came from land between Moonee Ponds Creek to Sydney Road, that Farquhar McCrae acquired in 1839.

He named the area Moreland after a Jamaican slave plantation his father and grandfather operated from 1770 to 1796, which produced sugar and rum, and traded slaves, with 500 to 700 enslaved people there in any one year.

Uncle Andrew Gardiner, deputy chair of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, said the survey results showed people wanted to change the name “to something that brings people together”:

The impressive numbers choosing Merri-bek is significant and shows the spread of post codes, that it wasn’t just a cluster who responded.

If endorsed by the council on Sunday, the new name will be submitted to newly appointed local government minister Melissa Horne for consideration, with final approval at the discretion of Victoria’s Governor Linda Dessau.

David Elliot calls on John Barilaro to ‘withdraw and do the honorable thing’

NSW Liberal MP David Elliot was on Sky News just now, calling for former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro to withdraw from the $500,000-a-year trade commissioner job that was first offered to businesswoman Jenny West.

He’s asked by Peter Stefanovic, “Are you expecting John Barilaro to go to New York?”

Elliot:

Well, I expect him to withdraw and do the honorable thing, because quite clearly when you become the story over an appointment, well, then the appointment might be not in the best interest of the people of New South Wales.

… My very, very strong view is that he shouldn’t be going to New York and I’m pretty sure that that’s the view of of the majority of people in this state.

Updated at 19.14 EDT

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

‘I had a very constructive discussion with President Macron,’ PM says

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, was also asked in Madrid about his forthcoming meeting with the French president, Emmanuel Macron, in Paris.A journalist asked about Malcolm Turnbull’s comment that Albanese’s big advantage in repairing the relationship was that he is not Scott Morrison.

Albanese said he had already had a constructive conversation with Macron in Madrid, before the formal meeting later in the week:

I had a very constructive discussion with President Macron last night. He’s a warm character and we have had phone conversations previously. I very much look forward to my visit to Paris. I thank President Macron for his welcome, and I thank him for the discussion that we had last night.

Last night was a real opportunity for Australia to engage in a less than formal setting with a range of people from President Macron, President Biden, [German chancellor] Olaf Scholz, a range of the leaders who were there. I took the opportunity to talk about Australia’s national interest, to talk about our different plans.One of the things that is clear to me is that the whole world has noticed that Australia has a different position on climate change. What that does is give Australia a seat at the global table of opportunity and I intend to seize that opportunity.

For more on Albanese’s call for greater global cooperation to tackle the climate crisis, see Katharine Murphy’s story from last night:

Updated at 18.51 EDT

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

‘The international community must show the same resolve and courage that the people of Ukraine are showing’

Anthony Albanese welcomed Sweden and Finland’s plans to join Nato as “a very positive development” that showed “just how wrong Vladimir Putin’s judgment and ongoing actions have been in advancing what he saw as the cause of Russia”. He told reporters in Madrid:

I also had a meeting this morning with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of Nato, and congratulated him on the successful outcomes we have already seen from this summit and recommitted Australia to providing support for Nato and for participation in some Nato exercises that we will do later this year.

A journalist noted that Stoltenberg was asking nations to support Ukraine for the long haul. Asked whether Australia was ready for the long haul, Albanese said:

Australia is certainly here for the long haul. We’ve already been Australia’s largest non-Nato contributor with $285m of military assistance, but also $65m of humanitarian assistance.

This is a struggle that must be won because it’s not just about Ukraine and Russia. It is also about whether the rules-based international order will continue to apply. It’s about a breach of that order by one of the UN permanent security council members. It’s about whether the UN charter means something.

And that’s why this attack, unprovoked, by Russia, must be resisted. And the international community must show the same resolve and courage that the people of Ukraine are showing.

Updated at 18.45 EDT

China must condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Albanese says

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has renewed his calls for China to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, declaring that Vladimir Putin “has made a strategic mistake because what his actions have done is unite the democratic world”.

Albanese – who has been in Madrid for a Nato summit – spoke to reporters yesterday after having a meeting on the sidelines with the leaders of Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

He said this meeting of “the Asia-Pacific four” had been “very successful”:

There we discussed the important focus of this Nato’s summit on the Asia-Pacific region. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has solidified the support amongst democratic countries for the rules-based international order and a determination to continue to provide support to the government and the people of Ukraine who are suffering as a result of this breach of international law and this brutal invasion by Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Vladimir Putin has made a strategic mistake because what his actions have done is unite the democratic world and provide a real determination to make sure that the resilience being shown by the Ukrainian people is backed up by resilience and support from democratic countries, including Nato, but also countries throughout the world.

When asked about China’s accusation that Nato – and the AP4 – are constructing an imaginary foe in China, Albanese noted the announcement of a partnership between Beijing and Moscow in early February:

Well, what we saw is prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we saw a without-limits partnership between Russia and China. We’ve seen a failure of China to condemn any of the Russian aggression that has occurred against Ukraine. China must look at what is happening and look at the resolve that is there from throughout the world and should be condemning Russia’s actions.

Updated at 18.43 EDT

NSW rail industrial action continues

And here’s some more on the latest developments in the NSW rail workers’ industrial dispute, from our state political reporter Michael McGowan:

The NSW government on Wednesday agreed to demands from the state’s rail union to make hundreds millions of dollars in modifications to a new train fleet after a years-long industrial dispute.

The transport minister, David Elliott, announced that the government would make changes worth about $260m to the new Intercity fleet in a bid to avoid the union taking further industrial action later this week.

But the head of the RTBU, Alex Claassens, said the planned industrial action would continue until “further notice”, saying the union would wait until it saw “the complete package” in a “legally enforceable document” before agreeing to the proposal.

Read more here:

Updated at 18.33 EDT

Albanese ‘resetting relationships everywhere’

My colleague Katharine Murphy is on RN now too, and has given a neat little analysis of the prime minister’s goals in Europe at the moment:

What Anthony Albanese is doing is resetting relationships everywhere: in the United States, in Europe, in our region, in the Indo-Pacific and south-east Asia. This reset is rapid fire and it’s being supplemented by what Penny Wong is doing in the Pacific and in south-east Asia – at the moment she’s in Malaysia.

In this European trip thus far, he’s tried to focus the northern hemisphere on the two theatres of strategic competition – one’s in the Ukraine, the other is closer to home – the Indo-Pacific. He’s trying to focus European and North American minds on China as being the second risk to prosperity security in the world at the moment. So that’s the big-picture level.

Updated at 18.24 EDT

Striking teachers to rally outside NSW parliament

On the teacher strike, here’s a bit of background on the issue from AAP.

It reports that teachers are angry at the NSW government putting forward a budget that offered no more than a 3% pay rise this year, with the possibility of 3.5% the following year.

They’ll rally outside the NSW parliament today, while on strike for 24 hours – the third strike in six months called by the NSW Teachers Federation and Independent Education Union NSW/ACT, representing 85,000 teachers.

It’s the first time in more than 25 years both unions have joined forces to strike for 24 hours.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos told reporters on Wednesday:

We have a crisis in the form of a teacher shortage, a crisis that is the government’s own making … The government has known for years the causes of this crisis: uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.

Education minister Sarah Mitchell said she was disappointed by the decision to strike and said it was politically motivated. The government’s public sector wages policy was “the most generous” in the country.

Most schools will have some minimal supervision but a number of schools will be closed for the day.

Updated at 18.11 EDT

A rainfall warning for parts of NSW:

Over the next 4 days parts of #NSW could see consecutive days of heavy rainfall. River rises are possible and there is the potential for flooding. People should consider their travel plans for the school holidays and monitor forecasts and warnings. See: https://t.co/SPHgGeisGZ pic.twitter.com/cSjGmF22j9

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) June 29, 2022

Updated at 18.02 EDT

He’s also asked, “are the striking teachers greedy?”

“Absolutely not,” says Tony Burke.

Updated at 17.59 EDT

Minister says he hopes to introduce legislation to regulate gig economy by year’s end

Tony Burke says he’s hoping to introduce legislation before the end of the year to regulate the gig economy and provide basic conditions for workers, but he says it requires extensive consultation and planning, the details of which haven’t been worked out yet:

We are not a nation where we’ve worked on the basis that you should need tips before you can make ends meet. We’ve always worked on the basis that there should be minimum wages. We have a section of the economy at the moment where there’s effectively no minimum and that can’t go on.

I’d love to be in a situation where I’m introducing the legislation on it this year. And I need to work through whether we would deal with the whole gig economy at once, or whether we would work through sections of the economy one at a time. So there’s a big piece of consultation that hasn’t yet started but I’ve spoken with, I’ve started the conversations with the department about how we might put that together.

So it’s a big step. For the whole history of Australia. We’ve basically had this clear line, if you’re an employee you get rights. If you’re not an employee you don’t. But technology has now gone in front of us so we need to take a step. It is a big step.

The changes might result in some “small increases” to some prices for some things, he says.

Updated at 17.59 EDT

Gig economy needs minimum standards, minister says

Tony Burke continues, saying that a lot of people might not be aware just how widespread the gig economy is now – it’s not just Uber:

It’s not only the apps that people might have on their phone, a whole lot now of the caring, cleaning, is delivered through the gig economy. So many people on the national disability insurance scheme, for example, who are working there are in fact working with their employer effectively as an algorithm. Many people in the security industry are effectively working in the gig economy now and increasingly in hospitality as well.

So this is an area where if we just continue to let it rip without minimum standards, a whole lot of the rules that we’ve presumed were part of working in Australia will fall away and we can’t leave it any longer before we have a process to set minimum standards here.

Updated at 17.51 EDT

Deal between Uber and TWU hailed

Minister for employment and workplace relations Tony Burke is on ABC RN this morning talking about the massive, landmark deal between Uber and the Transport Workers Union.

Burke says it’s important to note that it’s going to address “a safety issue here as well as an entitlements issue”:

There was a direct line between the risks they were on on the road and the algorithms they were using to compete … It would mean they’d run red lights. They’d form an extra lane of traffic between official lanes knowing every minute there was a risk …

I was so happy yesterday … this is a very big shift. It’s not that long ago that we were bing told not only by the platform provider but also the fed gov that this was too complicated to deal with … [it’s] a huge change.

I don’t think 21st-century technology should come with 19th-century working conditions.

Updated at 17.54 EDT

Good morning

Welcome back to our rolling news coverage for this Thursday 30 June.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese is in Madrid this week for the Nato summit, where he said free trade talks with the European Union could resume as soon as October, after he met with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The trade deals had hit a roadblock after the Morrison government damaged Australia’s relationship with France by dumping a $90bn submarine contract, and compounded it with Australia’s lack of climate action. Albanese has flagged the climate crisis as one of the areas where his government has “an opportunity to break through” in negotiations.

Albanese also escalated his rhetoric on China, saying Australia had been subjected to “economic coercion” by its neighbour, which aimed to become the “most powerful nation in the world”.

We’ll bring you more developments on that this morning.

Meanwhile, in NSW, large-scale industrial action continues with thousands of public and Catholic schools going on strike today for 24 hours, calling for more than the 3% pay rise offered to them by the NSW government. Action continues from rail workers over safety concerns with new, imported Intercity trains.

And our data journalists have been busy scrutinising the details of the census data released on Tuesday this week, so we’ll have some more analysis of that for you too.

As always, if you see something that you think needs my attention, you can reach me at [email protected] or on Twitter, where my handle is @gingerandhoney.

Nearly at the end of the week! Let’s go.

Updated at 17.34 EDT