The Headlines: Albanese to Drop Huge Request in Papua New Guinea’s Parliament

Hello kings, queens, and enby monarchs of all ages, welcome to January 12. Hopefully, the compliment I just dropped will give you the confidence to crush this Thursday like a steamroller over a mango. 

However, before you slay the next 12 hours, there are a number of huge news stories we need to get through. Here are some of today’s biggest headlines.

Anthony Albanese Is Heading to Papua New Guinea

This Thursday, our Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, will be the first foreign government leader to address Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) parliament. 

During this speech, Albanese will push for a new security treaty between Australia and PNG. The aim of this security treaty is to strengthen Australia’s sway in the Pacific region while weakening China’s growing influence. However, Albanese won’t be explicitly saying this. He’ll instead call this treaty a “family-first approach.”

Albanese will also use this opportunity to bond with PNG over sport. It’s expected that he’ll say, “Today, I affirm my view that I want to see a PNG-based, Pacific Islander team compete in the National Rugby League competition.”

However, the Refugee Action Coalition wants Albanese to use this speech to improve the lives of a whack of refugees and folks seeking asylum. Unfortunately, Australia relocated 90 individuals from Manus Island to PNG and hasn’t promised them true safety yet. The Refugee Action Coalition is calling on this to happen.

As Ian Rintoul, a Refugee Action Coalition Spokesperson said, “The deal that dumped asylum seekers from Australia in PNG was only possible because of the neo-colonial relationship between Australia and PNG. Labor granted independence to PNG in 1975. Albanese should do the ‘adult thing’, take responsibility, and bring the remaining refugees and asylum seekers to Australia.”

“Some are waiting for third country resettlement, but some who were accepted for the US have already waited for four years with no idea of when they will eventually be able to get on with their lives.”

ICAC’s Gladys Berejiklian Report to Release After Election

If you can’t remember, Gladys Berejiklian was investigated last year by NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). This investigation took place because the former premier had a secret relationship with former Wagga Wagga MP, Daryl Maguire. ICAC wanted to determine if Berejiklian gave Maguire any undue political gains during their relationship.

Some folks were hoping this report would be released before NSW’s March election. However, ICAC has stated that this probably won’t be the case. They said their Assistant Commissioner, Ruth McColl, was still working through all of the evidence. 

“Substantial parts of the report have been drafted,” said ICAC.

“At the same time, it must be recognised that the report concerns complex matters of law and fact, two public inquiries which proceeded over 30 days, over 2800 pages of transcript, 516 exhibits comprising approximately 10,600 pages, and 957 pages of submissions.”

“It is necessary that the issues relevant to the investigation are addressed carefully. Ms McColl is working to complete a draft of the report as soon as possible, but, given these matters, it is not possible to specify a date by which it will be completed.”

ICAC also said that this report will probably land in the second half of 2023.

After this announcement was made, a former NSW Supreme Court Judge, Anthony Whealy, said, “It’s really a black mark against ICAC. I’ve spent the last four years defending ICAC in NSW, and I’m bitterly disappointed this delay is ongoing. Bitterly disappointed.”

It’s worth noting that Berejiklian has denied any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, Maguire has admitted that he attempted to use his position in politics to acquire monetary gain.

Related: Why the Federal ICAC Bill Got Through the Senate

Related: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian Resigned Following ICAC Investigation

NSW Flood Victims Receive 100 Donated Hampers

In some hopeful news, NSW’s flood-affected Menindee has received 100 donated food hampers. This is thanks to the efforts of a Barkindji and Malyangappa man, Christopher Quayle.

“I started about two years ago for COVID and did it for nearly seven months,” said Quayle.

“I was doing a lot of travel, getting out to Menindee, Wilcannia, and the other places.”

Quayle stated that his Menindee hampers contain non-perishables like coffee, tinned food, and jams. He did 1500 km worth of round trips from Peak Hill to deliver them.

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