Mass burials have begun on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi as authorities struggle to cope with the rising number of dead from Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. Head of police communication, Brigadier-General Dedi Prasetyo, said the move was necessary as “we’re afraid they could spread diseases in the vicinity if they are not buried soon”. Indonesian president Joko Widodo has authorised relief agencies to accept foreign aid, with South Korea and Turkey among the nations to already offer assistance. In a joint statement on Sunday, prime minister Scott Morrison and foreign minister Marise Payne said “Australia stands ready to support Government of Indonesia response efforts, if required”. Donate to the CARE Indonesia tsunami emergency appeal here.
Independent senator for South Australia,Tim Storer, is leading a push to overhaul the selection process for ABC board appointments. Under the proposal, potential board members would be subject to United States Senate-style confirmation hearings, and both public broadcasters would be subject to independent reviews every three years. The ABC’s independence from government has been in the spotlight since the departure of the managing director and chair last week, with prime minister Scott Morrison saying on Sunday that board members could “expect a bit more attention from me” unless they “get back to work”. Opposition leader Bill Shorten asked Morrison to consult Labor on any new board appointments, saying he was “incredibly concerned about the ability of Senator Fifield to make suitable appointments, including for the new ABC chair, given his disregard for the independent nomination panel process”.
Labor has pushed for the government to extend the royal commission into the banking and finance industry. The commission has heard testimony from only 27 witnesses, despite receiving more than 10,000 public submissions. Shadow financial services minister Clare O’Neil said commissioner Kenneth Hayne was “going to need more time to provide thoughtful, serious and significant recommendations for a sector we have been told is permeated by a culture of greed”. The push came as the Queensland department of education was forced to reveal public schools accepted nearly $400,000 from the Commonwealth Bank in exchange for allowing the bank’s representatives to sign up students for its Dollarmites school banking program.
And French-Swedish photographer Jean-Claude Arnault has been sentenced to two years jail after being found guilty of rape. Arnault’s personal and financial ties to the Swedish Academy prompted the cancellation of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature and the resignation of several academy members when 18 women accused him of rape, sexual assault and physical abuse in November 2017. Lawyer Björn Hurtig said Arnault would appeal the conviction.