Australia

Jim Chalmers says ‘substantial progress’ has been made on returning Murugappan family to Biloela

Progress on an asylum seeker family’s case to remain in Australia is set to be announced “very soon” after Labor promised to return them home to Biloela.
Interim Home Affairs Minister Jim Chalmers says he has made “substantial progress” on since the Labor government was elected on Saturday.
The family of four have been living in Perth after years of detention, following the medical evacuation of four-year-old Tharnicca from Christmas Island in 2021 due to a blood infection.
When Prime Minister Anthony Albanese returns to Australia from Tokyo, Mr Chalmers will provide a briefing on the family’s case.
“There are a series of steps that I would need to appropriately take in order to give effect to our long-held view that (the Murugappan) family must get home to Biloela,” Mr Chalmers told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Chalmers said as a Queenslander he was proud of the way the regional town of Biloela had welcomed and supported the Murugappan family.

“(They have) campaigned long and hard for this family to be returned to their home in Biloela where they are making such a terrific contribution to the local community,” he said.

‘Visceral’ dislike of Scott Morrison was a ‘drag on the vote’, outgoing Liberal MP Dave Sharma says

This article contains references to rape.
Outgoing Member for Wentworth Dave Sharma says frustration with former prime minister Scott Morrison was a contributing factor to the party’s loss of seats at the federal election.
Mr Sharma lost the blue-ribbon NSW seat to independent Allegra Spender.

Mr Sharma said he believed Scott Morrison had “lost some prestige and credit”.

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“Polling showed that he had a negative approval rating in seats like mine, and he was a drag on the vote,” he told ABC’s RN Breakfast program on Wednesday.
“When you spoke to people, it was almost visceral. .. they would say he’s too religious, they didn’t like that he carried coal into parliament one time, they didn’t believe his sincerity on climate change, they didn’t like our handling of Brittany Higgins’s rape allegations and Grace Tame’s comments; those sorts of things.”
Mr Sharma also said people felt the party’s was “a bridge too far”.

But the moderate Liberal said he was not one of the MPs who encouraged former treasurer Josh Frydenberg to challenge Mr Morrison for the leadership.

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In September last year, some Liberal MPs urged Mr Frydenberg to turn against the Liberal Party leader out of fear he was steering the government towards a crushing electoral defeat, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“My view was, and remains, that we should stick with the leader we’ve got and take them to the election and if the electorate pronounces a verdict, as it has on this occasion, so be it,” Mr Sharma said.
With Mr Morrison stepping down as party leader on election night, Mr Sharma said there is no better option to take the party forward than former defence minister Peter Dutton.
The Liberal Party is expected to elect the former defence minister as leader, with NSW MP Sussan Ley tipped to take up the deputy leader position.

Mr Dutton will be elected unopposed as no one else has put their hand up to contest the role, former home affairs minister Karen Andrews said on Wednesday.

Keith Pitt says National will stick with net zero

Former Minister for Resources Keith Pitt also appeared on RN Breakfast, and said there was “plenty of blame to go around”, but denied climate policies were a factor in the Coalition’s loss.
“The votes are still being counted, and there are still some tight contests,” he said.
“We’ve lost some very good colleagues and some good talent out of the parliament, but this is our democracy at work.”
“We’ll look and analyse what’s happened seat by seat over a period of time, but right now they’re still not finalised.”

When questioned about the party’s approach to climate change, Mr Pitt said he believed the party would continue its commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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“The Coalition made a commitment … I don’t expect that it will change in the near future at all,” he said.
“But I won’t be setting policies for the Nationals three days after the election.”

Mr Pitt said he would back Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce in the party’s upcoming leadership spill.

Labor on track for majority government

Labor is ahead of the Greens for the seat of Brisbane by just 34 votes for the hotly contested electorate.
But postal votes, which are still being counted, are favouring Labor candidate Madonna Jarrett over her Greens rival Stephen Bates.
Ms Jarrett had received 21,931 votes on Tuesday evening, compared with Mr Bates who had 21,897 tallied.
Outgoing LNP MP Trevor Evans received the most primary votes, but conceded defeat on Saturday night.
The Greens declared victory in the Brisbane seat of Griffith, winning it from Labor’s environment spokeswoman Terri Butler.

The progressive party also won the inner-city seat of Ryan in Queensland’s capital, with leader Adam Bandt hailing a “greenslide” in its “best result ever”.

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Despite those gains, – who returns on Wednesday from the Quad meeting in Japan – is still on track to form a government in his own right.
The final tally is expected to show Labor holding 76 seats to 61 for the coalition, with 14 crossbenchers.

This would mean Labor gained eight seats, with the coalition losing 16 compared with the 2019 federal election.

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As of Tuesday afternoon, former Morrison government minister Michael Sukkar led the contest for the Victorian seat of Deakin by 74 votes against Labor hopeful Matt Gregg.
Former NSW minister and Liberal candidate for Gilmore Andrew Constance is 105 votes ahead of sitting Labor MP Fiona Phillips.
In the Senate, the Coalition is on track to hold 30 seats, and Labor 25, in the 76-seat chamber from July.
Labor will need 14 extra votes in the upper house to pass legislation, relying on the Greens for support.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson looks set to retain her Senate spot for Queensland.
But billionaire Clive Palmer will not win a Senate seat, despite splashing about $100 million on his United Australia Party campaign.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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