Monday, March 18, 2019

Christchurch terror attacker confirmed

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 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.



“With public sentiment against fossil fuels strengthening, including in inner-city Liberal-held seats, Prime Minister Scott Morrison does not want to be seen to be embracing coal. Faced with complaints that they are defending miners over farmers, most Nationals MPs appear to be embracing the shift. Those in Queensland marginal seats are not among them, though.”


“The introduction of plastic bags to supermarkets began during the 1980s. How strange it is, and how saddening, to realise that their rustle has only existed within my lifetime. The squeak of styrofoam packaging; the dull scratch when you run a fingernail across a disposable polystyrene cup; the thck of a polyethylene terephthalate bottle, dropping into a polyethylene wheelie bin: none of these sounds is even a century old. We inhabit a world – including a sound world – that plastics have but recently transformed.”


“In December last year, Aunty Tanya Day’s death in custody came to public attention with the beginning of a coronial inquest into her death. A year earlier, the Yorta Yorta grandmother was kicked off a train from Echuca to Melbourne by a V/Line staff member, who said she was intoxicated and unruly. The staff member also called the police. At Castlemaine, Aunty Tanya was arrested and taken into police custody, where she sustained a brain injury. She died in hospital 17 days later.”


“Across our mastheads today is emotional and important journalism that tells some of the stories from yesterday’s tragedy in #NZ. @australian @theheraldsun @dailytelegraph @theTiser @couriermail”


[The front page of Saturday’s Weekend West newspaper, which featured extensive quotes from the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto and screenshots of the massacre's livestream]


“Putting their original ‘Asylum seekers are trying to steal your hospital bed’ headline on hold for a different weekend, editors instead opted for a heartfelt call for everyone to come together and embrace people regardless of religion for three or four days, before slowly allowing everything to backslide to the normal levels of xenophobia.”

Alex McKinnon is Schwartz Media's morning editor.