New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian is set to face a motion of no confidence in her government today, following revelations she ignored potentially corrupt behavior from former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire. On Monday Berejiklian admitted to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation into Maguire that she was in a secret “close personal relationship” with Maguire for five years. In phone calls and text messages between the two, Maguire bragged about receiving commissions for brokering property deals, including for rezoned land near the site of the new western Sydney airport, to pay off debts, and Berejiklian would congratulate him and ask not to be told of key details. Backed by her cabinet colleagues, Berejiklian has vowed to stay on, but she faces a potential backbench revolt. NSW Labor leader Jodi McKay is set to move a motion of no confidence today, and One Nation and Greens Upper House crossbenchers told The Daily Telegraph they may no longer support government legislation because of the scandal.
Rio Tinto lawyers warned traditional owners trying to save the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge rock shelters that they were gagged from speaking publicly about the issue, an inquiry has heard. Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Carol Meredith also claimed they were told they could not apply for a federal emergency halt to works without first giving Rio Tinto 30 days’ notice. “We were hamstrung and we were reminded that we were not to speak about this publicly, that we had the gag clauses and we needed to remain compliant,” she said. The caves were destroyed for an iron ore mine expansion on the traditional lands of the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people.
Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he is aware of media reports several Chinese state-owned steel mills and energy providers have been told to stop importing Australian coal. Global commodities newswire platform S&P Platts on Monday reported that four utilities had received a “verbal notice” to stop using Australian thermal and coking coal imports “with immediate effect” on October 9. Shares in Australian energy companies dipped by 1.3 per cent late on Monday on the back of the news. Birmingham told SBS News: “Australia will continue to highlight our standing as a reliable supplier of high grade resources that provide mutual benefits.”
European countries including Italy and England are mulling new restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19, as a second wave of cases continues to sweep the continent. Italy is expected to impose new rules this week, including a potential ban on consuming alcohol outside bars and stores and a ban on private parties or a limit on numbers of attendees. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a new system of alert levels. Each area of the country will be placed under “medium” “high” or “very high” alert levels. Liverpool in north-west England is expected to be in the highest tier, which will see restrictions tightened, and gyms, pubs and casinos closed. The middle tier is expected to involve restrictions on households mixing indoors. The UK government reported 12,872 new cases and 65 deaths on Sunday, while Italy reported a total of 5456 new cases and 26 new deaths.