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Key posts

  • ‘Political interference’: ABC chair lashes government over inquiry into public broadcasters
  • Australia beats New Zealand to clinch maiden T20 World Cup
  • Morrison government won’t budge on 2030 emissions target despite Glasgow pact
  • Joe Hockey backs former journalist to replace Berejiklian in NSW Parliament
  • The morning’s headlines at a glance
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NSW Attorney-General defends magistrates against ‘pile-on’ over bail decisions

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman has defended the state’s magistrates against a “pile-on” over controversial bail decisions, as a high-level group of police, bureaucrats and lawyers scrutinises the laws to determine whether the decisions were aberrations or evidence of broader systemic issues.

Last week, Mr Speakman asked the state’s Bail Act Monitoring Group to identify any issues in the decision to grant bail to alleged drug kingpin Mostafa Baluch, who broke off his ankle monitor last month and was on the run for more than two weeks before he was recaptured on Wednesday morning; and Stanley Russell, who was shot dead in a confrontation with police in north-west Sydney while on bail on Tuesday.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman.Credit:James Brickwood

Four other bail decisions – including that of Salim Hamze, who was killed in a gangland attack in October, and Finks bikie Daniel Middlebrook – were also highlighted by Mr Speakman in his request to the group.

On Wednesday, after police recaptured Mr Baluch at the Queensland border, Mr Speakman said the “poor outcome” in that case was one that had prompted him to ask the group to look at whether bail laws were adequate.

“That’s what we want to investigate, to see if there’s a need for reform,” he said.

Mr Speakman told 2GB radio this morning that “the Local Court deals with 100,000 bail applications every year” and “it’s a very difficult balancing exercise”.

He resisted calls by 2GB host Ben Fordham to display “fire and brimstone” about the decisions.

“I understand community concern where you hear of serious allegations and people appear to be getting out on bail,” Mr Speakman said.

“Sometimes you can look at cases, and you scratch your head and you wonder why was bail granted in that case … [but] it’s not all a one-way argument.

“Inevitably there are going to be some aberrations; inevitably there are going to be some decisions that cause concern.”

Asked why he was not “angry” like NSW Police Minister David Elliott, Mr Speakman said: “What I’m not going to do is have a pile-on on judicial officers who work day in, day out, dealing with 100,000 cases a year. Do they get it wrong sometimes? They obviously do. If there’s a systemic problem, we have to look at that.”

He said magistrates were tasked with balancing community safety concerns against the presumption of innocence. It was not fair to hold people in custody for extended periods when a person might be acquitted or receive a non-custodial sentence, he said.

The Bail Act Monitoring Group would consider whether the recent decisions pointed to “any systemic issue” or if magistrates were “broadly getting it right”, he said.

‘Political interference’: ABC chair lashes government over inquiry into public broadcasters

In case you missed it yesterday, ABC chair Ita Buttrose has accused the Morrison government of political interference over a decision to announce a Senate inquiry into the way the national broadcaster and the SBS handle complaints from the public.

Ms Buttrose has asked the government to suspend or terminate the inquiry, which was announced by Liberal senator Andrew Bragg, chair of the Senate standing committee on environment and communications, on Thursday.

ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose has accused Senator Andrew Bragg of political interference of the broadcaster.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen/James Brickwood

The committee, which is expected to report by February 28, is examining “the complaints handling arrangements” of the broadcasters. The ABC had already commissioned a review into the same topic, with a reporting date of April.

“The [Senate] committee will examine the adequacy of the existing arrangements to provide a framework that is accessible, responsive, efficient, accountable and fit-for-purpose,” according to the terms of reference.

Ms Buttrose said the review undermined the public broadcaster and was a clear example of interference by the government.

“This is an act of political interference designed to intimidate the ABC and mute its role as this country’s most trusted source of public interest journalism. If politicians determine the operation of the national broadcaster’s complaints system, they can influence what is reported by the ABC,” Ms Buttrose said.

Senator Bragg’s decision to conduct an inquiry was made after the national broadcaster announced last month it had commissioned its first official review into the way it handles complaints in 12 years. Ms Buttrose commissioned former Commonwealth and NSW ombudsman, Professor John McMillan, and former SBS, Seven and Ten news boss Jim Carroll to run the review, which will hand down its findings by April.

Read the full story here.

Australia beats New Zealand to clinch maiden T20 World Cup

Australia have become men’s Twenty20 World Cup champions for the first time after Mitchell Marsh and David Warner overpowered New Zealand.

Injured and maligned for much of his career, Marsh made his transition complete, blazing an unbeaten 77 from 50 balls as Australia won by eight wickets with seven balls to spare in Dubai on Monday morning (ADST).

Mitchell Marsh celebrates with Glenn Maxwell after securing the T20 World Cup for Australia.Credit:Getty Images

Player of the final, Marsh combined with Warner (53 from 38 balls) for a match-winning 92-run partnership inside 10 overs as Australia charged to 2-173 for victory.

Captain Aaron Finch was overjoyed his side had been able to claim the elusive title.

“The first Australian team to be able to do it,” Finch said. “I’m so proud of the way the guys went about it for the whole campaign. They were brilliant from the start.

Read the full story here.

Morrison government won’t budge on 2030 emissions target despite Glasgow pact

Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target will be a live issue in next year’s federal election after the Coalition refused to revisit the goal despite signing the Glasgow Climate Pact, which requests nations come back with tougher pledges within 12 months.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne and Energy Minister Angus Taylor insisted on Sunday that Australia’s target of a 26 to 28 per cent commitment is “fixed” despite the COP26 climate conference ending with a pact calling on countries to make a more ambitious 2030 commitment by November next year.

Anthony Albanese is yet to reveal Labor’s 2030 target, while Scott Morrison insists the Coalition’s won’t change.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen/Paul Jeffers

Many nations argue an updated 2030 target was needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

The agreement also urged countries to “phase down” coal use after a last-minute intervention forced by India succeeded in watering down the language from “phase out”.

COP26 president Alok Sharma said countries would be judged on whether they came back with more ambitious 2030 commitments than the reduction targets already committed under the Paris climate agreement.

“All countries have signed up to this and at the end of the day this is an international agreement and every country will be judged by whether or not they stick to the commitments they’ve made,” he said.

Read the full story here.

Joe Hockey backs former journalist to replace Berejiklian in NSW Parliament

Former treasurer and US ambassador Joe Hockey is endorsing journalist-turned-executive Kellie Sloane to replace Gladys Berejiklian in Willoughby, telling Liberals a contest is crucial for the party.

Ms Sloane, one of three candidates seeking preselection for the safe seat, has been urged by some moderate Liberals to withdraw from the race to pave the way for an easy selection process.

Tim James, Kellie Sloane and Gail Giles-Gidney are the contenders for the Liberal preselection in Willoughby. Credit:Composite

Willoughby mayor Gail Giles-Gidney is Ms Berejiklian’s pick to replace her, and also has the backing of federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher. However, Mr Hockey has told colleagues the preselection should be contested and Ms Sloane, 48, should stay in the race.

As well as support from Mr Hockey, a long-time close friend of Ms Berejiklian, Ms Sloane also has the backing of Wentworth MP Dave Sharma, who has written her a reference, as well Seven Group chief executive Ryan Stokes and former deputy prime minister Michael McCormack.

Right-wing candidate, Menzies Research Centre executive director Tim James – who ran against North Shore MP Felicity Wilson ahead of the 2019 election – has also nominated.

Read the full story here.

The morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thank you for reading our live coverage of the day’s events. I’m Michaela Whitbourn and I’ll be keeping you informed of the latest news for the first half of the day.

First, let’s take a look at what’s been making headlines in the past 24 hours:

  • The Glasgow climate summit has closed with members failing to agree on a call to “phase-out” coal use, Nick O’Malley and Bevan Shields report, after a last-minute intervention by India which succeeded in watering down the language to “phase down”. The change prompted disappointment and even anger among many nations, who believed an emphatic call to end reliance on fossil fuels was necessary to put the world on a path to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and that India’s change was adopted without due process.

Prince Charles meeting Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Glasgow on November 2.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • Australia’s COVID-19 taskforce commander, Lieutenant-General John Frewen, says the vaccination program for children aged 5 to 11 may begin as early as January, with infants (six months to four years old) becoming eligible for the jab after that. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations and the Therapeutic Goods Administration have yet to sign off on vaccines for under-12s. General Frewen told James Massola and Lucy Carroll the federal government had been “working to be at the front of the queue” to purchase the vaccines which, to date, are only available in the US.

COVID-19 Taskforce Commander, Lieutenant General John Frewen.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

  • The Pilbara was rocked by a magnitude 5.4 earthquake shortly after 9pm on Saturday, with the epicentre located 15 kilometres from Marble Bar. “Three aftershocks have been recorded, with preliminary magnitudes ranging between 2.6 and 3.2,” a Geosciences Australia spokesman said on Sunday. Sarah Brookes reports that the quake was felt throughout the region, with residents taking to social media to report loud rumbling and shaking from Newman, Karratha and even as far away as Broome.
  • NSW recorded 224 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and one death, while Victoria recorded 905 new cases and four deaths. The ACT recorded 15 new cases but no deaths, and nobody in Canberra was in hospital with the virus.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.Credit:Matt Dennien

  • Queensland hit a milestone on Sunday of 70 per cent of people aged 16 and up being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as zero new cases of the virus were detected in the state. As Stuart Layt reports, this triggers a change to the state’s border restrictions: people will be allowed to travel by air from interstate, provided they meet strict criteria. Anyone wanting to enter Queensland must be fully vaccinated and have had a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their travel. They can only fly in, and they must also quarantine at home or at an agreed residence for 14 days.
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