The Andrews government cannot identify any legislation it needed to override, but experts say that is the point.When Daniel Andrews signed a declaration for a state of disaster in Victoria at 1.43pm on Sunday, it was a part of a final salvo in a battle to control a resurgent and invisible enemy.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten has left open the possibility that a Labor government would allow the Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland to go ahead. Speaking in Townsville yesterday as part of a tour of marginal Queensland electorates, Shorten said “there is a role for coal in Australia” and described the Adani mine as “another project”. Labor’s increasing public opposition to the mine in recent months was challenged last week by Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union president Tony Maher, who said Labor efforts to court progressive voters in the upcoming Batman by-election by opposing the mine would see them “lose in central Queensland”. Batman voters go to the polls on March 17.
An Australian man who travelled to Syria to fight Islamic State has maintained he broke no laws, despite anti-foreign fighter legislation forbidding Australians from “fighting for either side”. In an interview with the ABC’s Four Corners, Melbourne man Jamie Williams detailed how he engaged in active combat against IS in the Syrian city of Raqqa, fighting as part of a band of Westerners attached to the Kurdish YPG. Williams said he travelled to Syria “to try and find and kill any Australian Da'esh that I could”, saying he had “supported the good guys in this fight”. Williams was detained and questioned by Border Force and Australian Federal Police officers when he returned to Australia in January. Watch the program here.
Nationals MP George Christensen has refused to apologise to The Greens over a photo of him on Facebook holding a gun and seemingly threatening “greenie punks”. Greens leader Richard Di Natale reported the post to the Australian Federal Police, saying Christensen had “given licence to people to behave in a way that is violent towards other people”, while Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young published violent correspondence she received after Christensen’s post gained attention from media outlets. Speaking to Melbourne radio station 3AW, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Christensen’s post “was clearly inappropriate” and he would “let the police complete their evaluation”.
And in the United States, students of the Florida high school where 17 people died in a mass shooting last week are organising national marches urging politicians to legislate for gun control. The March For Our Lives rallies, planned for March 24, were organised by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in response to inaction from lawmakers. Several students have assumed ($) national profiles in the wake of the shooting. Speaking at a rally in New York City, student Emma Gonzalez said “they say that no laws could have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call B.S. That us kids don’t know what we’re talking about, that we’re too young to understand how the government works. We call B.S.”