New concerns surround the government’s increased use of legislative powers to bypass the parliament and create laws that cannot be amended or overturned. The federal government has embedded special powers in new Covid-19 laws to make unilateral changes to non-pandemic-related legislation, using what are known as ‘Henry VIII clauses’ – named for the unchecked power they involve.
New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush has confirmed that an Australian man was the sole perpetrator of Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch. Speaking on Sunday, Bush said four other people arrested after the massacre had not been charged after police established they were not involved. Bush also said that the death toll had risen to 50 people after finding a previously unnoted victim at one of the attacked mosques. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to change the nation’s gun laws, reportedly sparking “panic buying” of people rushing to buy firearms and equipment from gun stores.
Prime minister Scott Morrison has called for ($) Queensland senator Fraser Anning to face criminal charges for repeatedly striking a teenager who cracked an egg on the back of his head. Speaking on Sunday, Morrison said “the full force of the law should be applied to Senator Anning”, who struck teenager Will Connolly several times after Connolly egged him during a press conference. Connolly was forcibly restrained by several neo-Nazi agitators, who had organised a rally that Anning attended in Melbourne. More than 1 million people have signed a change.org petition demanding Anning be removed from parliament after blaming the Christchurch mosque massacre on “the link between Muslim immigration and violence”. Legal organisation Sydney Criminal Lawyers said on Sunday that Anning’s retaliation may have exceeded self-defence, and that “the senator should therefore be charged and the matter left to the determination of a court of law”.
A man has been arrested after allegedly attacking a mosque with his car. Queensland Police said on Sunday that the man, 23, drove into the closed front gates of the Baitul Masroor Mosque in Stockleigh, south of Brisbane, and shouted obscenities to people gathered inside. The mosque has been targeted in hate-crime incidents before, including in 2017 when a pig’s head was left outside the mosque’s front door. A mosque in the United Kingdom was attacked by three men armed with hammers in the hours after the Christchurch massacre on Friday, with one man injured in the attack.
And the major parties in New South Wales have pledged not to weaken gun laws ahead of the state election on Saturday. Labor leader Michael Daley said he would “not be a part of a parliament that weakens the gun laws in NSW, it will not happen if I am premier”. Premier Gladys Berejiklian hit out at Labor’s decision to swap preferences with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party in rural seats, accusing the minor party of seeking “the weakening of gun laws, giving access to guns to 10-year-olds and bringing semi-automatics into NSW”. The Shooters and other right-wing micro-parties have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from gun lobby groups since 2010.