Australia

Morning Briefing: Barty and pandemic heroes get nod from the Queen, Richard Marles meets Chinese counterpart and US gun control gains momentum

Good morning. It’s Monday 13 June 2022, and here’s a round-up of the latest news.

Ash Barty and Shane Warne recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Sporting greats such as Australian Open winner Ash Barty and former cricketer Shane Warne, who died in March, have been recognised in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Leaders who were at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, such as former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy, Queensland Governor Jeannette Young and NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant are also among the 669 Australians who have been recognised in the Order of Australia Honours.

Australian sporting greats Ash Barty and Shane Warne.

In a statement to SBS News Ms Young said: “I am eternally grateful to my family and to the many who supported me through my early days in Rockhampton as a single mother – without their support, I would not be where I am today.”

As well as expressing gratitude, Ms Young acknowledged the work of Australia’s unsung heroes.

Richard Marles meets Chinese counterpart in Singapore

Defence Minister Richard Marles is urging caution, despite managing to secure the highest-level contact between Australia and China in nearly three years.
Mr Marles has met his Chinese counterpart, General Wei Fenghe, in Singapore.

The meeting lasted more than an hour.

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Mr Marles says he raised several issues of concern to Australia in the meeting, including a dangerous incident between a Chinese fighter plane and an Australian surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea last month, and a concern that the countries of the Pacific are not put in a position of increased militarisation.
The Australia-China relationship has been frosty since Australia called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.

Mr Marles says the relationship with China is complex, and these talks were just a good start.

Fiji says climate change bigger concern than Europe war

Fiji has told a security summit in Singapore that climate change is the biggest threat in the Pacific, eclipsing concern over military tensions.
Fiji has been battered by a series of tropical cyclones in recent years, causing devastating flooding that has displaced thousands from their homes and hobbled the island’s economy.

Defence Minister Inia Seruiratu said the war in Ukraine and geopolitical tensions between China and the United States is of lesser concern to Pacific Island nations.

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“In Fiji, we are not threatened by geopolitical competition. In our blue Pacific continent, machine guns, fighter jets, grey ships and green battalions are not our primary security concern,” he said.

“The single greatest threat to our very existence is climate change. It threatens our very hopes and dreams of prosperity.”

US gun control

A bipartisan group of senators in the United States announced on Sunday they have agreed on a framework for potential legislation on gun safety.

Measures which won support include tougher background checks for buyers under the age of 21 and cracking down on illegal gun purchases.

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The agreement comes after tens of thousands rallied across the United States to call for tougher laws to stop gun violence following the school shooting in Texas last month.

President Joe Biden urged politicians to pass the proposals quickly, but says he still wants to see reform go even further with a ban on assault rifles.

Ireland’s Sinn Fein says UK is set to break international law

The president of Irish political party Sinn Fein says the British government is undermining a 1998 peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
The British government will this week introduce legislation into parliament that would give the UK powers to override parts of its Brexit treaty with the EU.

Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but has effectively operated as part of the EU trading bloc since Brexit.

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Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald says the legislation would breach international law, cause huge damage to Northern Ireland’s economy, and jeopardise the 1998 Good Friday agreement that brought an end to most of the violent political conflict in Northern Ireland.

Ms McDonald claims the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is acting without the approval of most British people on this matter.

Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs go head to head

Round 14 of the National Rugby League season concludes in Sydney on Monday afternoon, with a match between traditional rivals the Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs.
Meanwhile, Cronulla Sharks captain Wade Graham is recommending teammates Siosifa Talakai and Nicho Hynes for the New South Wales State of Origin team after they starred in Cronulla’s 38 points to 16 win over the New Zealand Warriors.

With New South Wales a strong possibility to make changes to their lineup for game two of the State of Origin series after losing game one, Graham says Talakai and Hynes are both willing and able if their state wants to give them a callup.

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