Australia news live: Department of Defence hit by cyber-attack; Sydney woman who died in Seoul Halloween crush identified | Australia news

Defence caught up in cyber-attack

A communications platform used by the Department of Defence has been hit by a ransomware attack.

Hackers targeted the ForceNet service, which is run by an external provider.

Government officials said no data of serving or former military personnel appeared to have been compromised or stolen.

In an email to all staff, the Defence secretary said the matter was being taken “very seriously”.

The attack happened earlier this month.

– from AAP

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VicForests to pay $1.65m to Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum after court case

Lisa Cox

VicForests has paid $1.65m in court costs to environment group Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum, bringing a five-year legal matter to a close.

Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum had challenged logging by the state-owned forestry corporation in 66 coupes in Victoria’s central highlands.

In a high profile judgment in 2020, the federal court found logging by VicForests had been, or would have been, conducted in breach of Victorian legislation and was therefore also in breach of federal law.

The court agreed that past and proposed logging would have a significant impact on the vulnerable greater glider and the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum, effectively enforcing federal laws over logging operations that had been exempt under a regional forestry agreement.

A Leadbeater’s possum
A Leadbeater’s possum in Mountain Ash forest, Victoria. Photograph: Tim Bawden

VicForests successfully appealed the central finding that logging within an RFA area was subject to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

But the federal court of appeal upheld other findings that VicForests had breached state laws with respect to greater glider and leadbeaters’ possum habitat. It also upheld an order that the logging corporation pay the Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum’s costs and added an order that VicForests must pay 50% of the Friends’ costs of the appeal.

The group said the $1.65m in costs had now been paid and its president, Steve Meacher, said it was good to see the case reach its conclusion after five years.

He said the appeal judgment demonstrated the EPBC Act was not fit for purpose:

It neither protects the environment nor conserves biodiversity from logging in publicly owned forests despite the presence of federally listed threatened species.

Further, we succeeded in proving the logging was being conducted illegally under state law and those findings withstood VicForests’ most determined appeal.

Australian leaders applaud Brazil election result as a win for democracy and environment

Former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turbull have also taken to social media to congratulate Brazil’s new leader Lula da Silva.

Both highlighted the leftist candidate would give greater hope for democracy and the global environment.

This is a great win for my old friend Lula. A great win for Brazilian democracy. Looking forward to Australia working with Brazil on climate change globally.

— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) October 30, 2022

Congratulations @LulaOficial – your election will encourage democrats everywhere and give new hope for the Amazonian and global environment. I wish you and @AlboMP every success in advancing Australia/Brazil collaboration. #Brazilelections

— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) October 30, 2022

Albanese congratulates incoming Brazilian president

On Twitter, the PM has congratulated Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his win against incumbent the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election.

Electoral officials declared the election for the leftist leader and former president of Brazil, who won 51% of the vote to 49% for Bolsonaro.

Huge congratulations to @LulaOficial on a tremendous victory in the Brazilian elections. Look forward to working with you on protecting our global environment.

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) October 31, 2022

New online resources on Indigenous voice to parliament from ‘yes’ campaign

The two leading “yes” campaigns for an Indigenous voice to parliament – From the Heart and the Uluru Dialogue – have announced the release of a new online learning resource to raise the understanding of the voice to parliament referendum. In a press release they said:

The interactive course has been created following demand from across the country – from individuals, small business, local organisation’s and even corporates wanting to share with their staff – to drive awareness on the significance of constitutional recognition for First Peoples, understand what the voice to parliament is and why a referendum is needed to change the Australian constitution.

TikTok star Wollie Gela – who is from Darnley Island (Erub), Boigu Island, Kaurareg, Angkamuthi, Butchulla and Gubbi Gubbi – appears alongside Wamba Wamba lawyer Eddie Synot from the Indigenous law centre at UNSW and the Uluru Dialogue, and NAIDOC committee member and Torres Strait man Kenny Bedford.

Film director and Arrernte/Kalkadoon woman Rachel Perkins features throughout, along with Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine, who is from the Bundjalung nation of northern New South Wales.

Dean Parkin, a from the heart director and Quandamooka man, said:

Many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians have been asking for more information about this important issue on the national agenda.

We are ramping up our efforts to explain why a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition through a voice to parliament is fair, practical and a way of bringing the country together.

This is a simple resource that explains what it’s all about and is aimed at people who don’t have a lot of background about the issues. It’s important all Australians are included in this important discussion.

Grace Rached identified as Australian killed in South Korean crowd crush

Cait Kelly

The Australian who was killed during a crowd crush at Halloween festivities in South Korea has been identified as 23-year-old Sydney woman Grace Rached.

The crowd crush caused the death of more than 150 people in Itaewon, Seoul on Saturday night. Two other Australians who Rached was with are now being treated in intensive care.

Sydney production assistant Grace Rached, 23, was one of the victims from the crowd crush in Itaewon, Seoul. Photograph: Facebook

In a statement, Rached’s friend Silvio Cohiji, who met the filmmaker at university, said people always gravitated towards her:

Grace was an amazing person, A beam of light that would do anything to lift the people around her and had such a huge life ahead of her, was doing amazing things in her career and travelling a lot.

Had the joy of life in her and everyone was always their happiest around her Everyone gravitated towards her and she loved her parents and her little sister so much she was truly a person you would be blessed to have crossed paths with.

Government had legal advice in 2014 that robodebt scheme may not be legal

Luke Henriques-Gomes

The Department of Social Services had internal legal advice casting serious doubt on the legality of the robodebt scheme five years before the Coalition government accepted it was unlawful, a royal commission has heard.

On the first day of hearings on Monday, senior counsel assisting the commission, Justin Greggery KC, told the inquiry that the department had sought internal legal advice “before and during its implementation” of the scheme.

But the inquiry heard it did not seek an authoritative legal opinion from the solicitor general or another eminent barrister until August 2019, in response to a legal challenge from Victoria Legal Aid. The solicitor general’s advice went on to prompt the government to accept the scheme was unlawful in the federal court.

The royal commission, called by the Albanese government, is probing the botched Centrelink scheme, which ended in a $1.8bn settlement between the commonwealth and hundreds of thousands of people who were issued unlawful social security debts.

Greggery said the Department of Social Services and Services Australia had “sought and obtained advice from their internal legal departments about aspects of the scheme before and during its implementation”.

He said one piece of advice from the department’s internal legal department provided in December 2014 said the “proposal to smooth a debt amount over an annual or other defined period may not be consistent with the legislative framework”.

Greggery said:

That of course was generally consistent with the central part of the opinion of the solicitor general provided almost five years later.

The robodebt scheme was established in July 2015 and ran until November 2019, using a process in which a person’s income reported to the tax office was averaged or “smoothed” and then compared to the income they reported to Centrelink. These calculations were used to see if a person had been overpaid and issued a welfare debt.

Greggery claimed that over time the department did not seek “authoritative advice” because other advice had “created an expectation within those departments that the external and authoritative advice may not be favourable in the sense that it may not support the legality of the scheme”.

The inquiry continues.

Tory Shepherd

‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’: SA reviews plans for national centre for First Nations cultures

The South Australian government will “review” plans for a national centre for First Nations cultures that is already under construction. The $200 million Tarrkarri centre is spruiked as “the world’s leading First Nations cultural centre” and is set to open in 2025.

SA premier, Peter Malinauskas, said the location next to the Botanic Gardens on North Terrace was “perfect”, and that the land that would never be available again. He said it was a “seminal moment in history” to recognise Aboriginal stories and that both state and federal governments were committed to the Uluru statement of the heart and “determined to enshrine voice treaty and truth into law”, and that former Indigenous Australians minister Ken Wyatt would work with former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr on the review.

Malinauskas said:

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create something truly extraordinary.

So I am announcing today that we are taking a moment … that we will be conducting a review into the plan for the centre to ensure that what we build is a truly world class artistic cultural institution.

Federal Indigenous affairs minister, Linda Burney, spoke after Malinauskas at the Purrumpa conference – the largest national gathering of First Nations arts and culture representatives in 50 years. She said the planned referendum for a voice to parliament was a “once in a generation” opportunity to “make structural change that will see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people flourish”.

Albanese: ‘we want to get wages moving’ without delay

Paul Karp

Anthony Albanese has poured cold water on the crossbench push to delay consideration of the IR bill into next year.

Albanese told reporters in Melbourne:

We want to get wages moving again as soon as possible. That’s our priority. We’ll have constructive discussions with anyone who’s willing to have them. We’re continuing to engage with business. We’re continuing to engage with unions. And with the crossbench and across the parliament. But there’s already been substantial consultation. We’ll continue to work that through. We’ve introduced the legislation. Prior to the legislation being introduced, we made it available to different parties to examine. We’ve made it clear we’ll consider practical changes which are put forward. It’s been referred to a committee. I’d encourage people to participate constructively in that process.

But we need to get wages moving. It’s a very clear commitment that we made. When I made the commitment during the election campaign that I would support the Fair Work Commission if they made a decision to increase the minimum wage by just $1 an hour to keep up with inflation, that was derided as irresponsible and loose by the then Morrison government … They said they wanted low wages to be a key feature of the economic architecture. Well, we don’t. We want wages to get moving.

And particularly wages in sections like feminised industries, childcare, aged care, disability care. I understand the Fair Work Commission will hand down its outcome on aged care workers some time in the coming weeks. We await that decision as well.

The workplace relations minister, Tony Burke, said he is “deeply reluctant” to split the bill.

In a statement, Burke told Guardian Australia:

I respect the different concerns that Senator David Pocock has raised but I am deeply reluctant to delay any provisions which will get wages moving.

People have had their wages deliberately held back for 10 years and, with inflation moving at its current rate, I don’t see how I can deliberately hold back parts of legislation that seek to get wages moving again.

I’m hopeful to continue the good-faith discussions with Senator Pocock and the other crossbenchers and satisfy any concerns they have about the bill itself.

People have been waiting 10 years while their wages were deliberately held back, I really don’t want that situation to remain unfixed.

PM defends infrastructure spend in Victoria, accusing Morrison government of being a ‘vacuum sucking money’ out of state


Labor has slashed $1.4bn in funding over four years from Victoria’s hospital, but yet commits to funding Suburban Rail Loop. Do you think the federal government has abandoned Victoria?


The federal government is doing more for Victoria than the former government ever did. The former government, at one stage, was giving Victoria 8% of the national infrastructure budget. It was like a big vacuum sucking money out of Victoria and not put anything back.

We’re working constructively. I was with Daniel Andrews at the opening of the new cancer centre here in Victoria. We’re continuing to provide substantial funds for Victoria. I’ve been at announcements in recent weeks with the premier about not just infrastructure but about flood recovery as well. We’ll have more announcements in coming days.

Albanese emphasises his commitment to working with all state governments:

We want to work with governments across the entire country, regardless of their political colour. I was yesterday with Dominic Perrottet, was visiting my seat of Grayndler, and was very welcome to do so.

Last week, I was with the premier, Jeremy Rockliff, in Tasmania, announcing support for energy infrastructure there. I’ll continue to work with governments across the board.

Albanese finished up his response with praise for Andrews (ahead of this state election) while taking a swipe at former Melburnian and ex-treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

But I think that Daniel Andrews has done an extraordinary job. Victorians had a major impact of Covid. Daniel Andrews has shown real leadership during that time. It took myself, as leader of the opposition, to stand up in the parliament and move a motion congratulating Victorians on their efforts that they’ve done keeping each other and their communities safe. Josh Frydenberg chose to give a bit of a different speech that day, which is maybe one of the reasons why he now isn’t in the federal parliament.

Albanese brings up Dutton being ‘apparently barred from coming to Victoria’

Going back to Anthony Albanese’s press conference, the prime minister was asked about why he and Daniel Andrews were holding press conferences at the same time instead of being out together campaigning days out from the Victorian state election.

The prime minister brought up reports federal opposition leader Peter Dutton has been barred from Victoria during the state election campaign.

Well, I spoke to [Andrews] this morning, and we can’t be in two different places at two different times. I’ll be with the premier and I will campaign and, unlike the leader of the opposition – who’s apparently been barred from coming to Victoria –I’m here.

I’ll give you another big tip – I’ll be back here on Wednesday. And I look forward to campaigning. I was with the premier last week. I’ve been with the premier multiple times in recent weeks. I’ll continue to be here.

Victorian government to sponsor Diamonds netball team in 4.5 year deal

At the same time as the prime minister was speaking, the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, made an announcement that the Victorian government will sponsor the Diamonds netball team. The deal comes after Hancock Prospecting withdrew its sponsorship and within days of Victoria’s state election.

Andrews says it’s a win-win deal for netballers and the tourism sector.

We are really thrilled today to be able to announce a 4.5-year sponsorship deal where Visit Victoria will become a significant sponsor for the Australian Diamonds netball team. This is a coup for our state.

Players in that Diamonds team will wear the Visit Victoria logo. There will be social media content, digital content, advertising during big games. There’ll also be, courtside, a presence as well, taking what is the sports capital, the major events sports capital – food, wine, everything in between capital – of our nation. It’s all about encouraging more people to come here and visit Victoria.

There’ll be members of the national squad that’ll be involved in participation efforts at that grassroots level. So, going out into Victorian communities, particularly in culturally and linguistically diverse areas.

There’ll be five test matches played in Melbourne. There’ll be the 2023 Super Netball grand final played here in Melbourne. As I said, the uniform, logo, signage, promotional material, all manner of digital content – again, using the very best netballers in our country to project all that we offer nationally and internationally. That advertising’s really important. There’ll be access to players to promote Victorian tourism to promote so many of the wonderful offerings that we have to the world.

Andrews said both tourism and gender equality in sport are both very important to Victoria.

We’ve got a strong record of supporting this sport. And this is just a natural next step to take. I thank Netball Australia, Visit Victoria, and all of those who’ve been involved in this coup for us for visiting Victoria. It’s a fantastic outcome… other states wanted this, but Visit Victoria got in, and we are delighted to have been able to secure this sponsorship opportunity. It is unique. Australia news live: Department of Defence hit by cyber-attack; Sydney woman who died in Seoul Halloween crush identified | Australia news

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