Content warning: This article contains references to domestic violence and sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.
Poland’s Response to the Missile Attack
On November 15, two people in the Polish village of Przewodów were killed by a missile explosion. Przewodów is a village close to the Ukrainian border.
At first, there were claims that this strike was conducted by Russia. This is because they’re waging an unprecedented war against Ukraine and shot a barrage of missiles at the Ukrainian power grid that day.
However, some initial findings from an investigation into this matter suggest that Russia wasn’t behind this attack. Instead, this situation might have been caused by a Ukrainian air defence system error. Ukraine is using air defence systems to counter Russian aerial bombardments.
“An investigation into this incident is ongoing, and we need to await its outcome. But we have no indication that this was the result of a deliberate attack,” said NATO’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg.
“This is likely caused by a Ukrainian air defence missile.”
Stoltenberg also said, “This is not Ukraine’s fault, Russia bears ultimate responsibility. The whole incident is caused by Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, the Polish President, Andrzej Duda, said, “Ukraine’s defence was launching their missiles in various directions, and it is highly probable that one of these missiles, unfortunately, fell on Polish territory. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to suggest that it was an intentional attack on Poland.”
The White House has also commented on this unfolding situation, adding further legitimacy to what Duda and NATO have stated.
As the US National Security Council Spokesperson, Adrienne Watson, said, “We have seen nothing that contradicts President Duda’s preliminary assessment that this explosion was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile that unfortunately landed in Poland.”
“That said, whatever the final conclusions may be, it is clear that the party ultimately responsible for this tragic incident is Russia, which launched a barrage of missiles on Ukraine specifically intended to target civilian infrastructure. Ukraine had, and has, every right to defend itself.”
However, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is yet to concede that his forces were behind the missile strike on Poland.
He said, “Let’s say openly, if, God forbid, some remnant (of Ukraine’s air-defences) killed a person, these people, then we need to apologise. But first, there needs to be a probe, access: We want to get the data you have.”
NSW Passes Its Coercive Control Laws
In a first for Australia, NSW will be a state that has stand-alone coercive control legislation. The aim of this legislation is to make control legislation illegal.
Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse where a person or a group of people repeatedly abuses another person or other people in ways that deny their autonomy and independence. This abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological, or financial in nature.
“We made a commitment to deliver these landmark reforms to protect our people from this insidious form of domestic violence, and today we have delivered on that commitment by criminalising coercive control in intimate partner relationships,” said the Premier of NSW, Dominic Perrottet.
“There is no doubt that these reforms, which are the first of their kind in this country, will help save lives and deter an abusive and controlling pattern of behaviour that is unacceptable.”
Nevertheless, while there’s been broad support for this legislation, many domestic violence experts have stated that further consultation is needed to get it right. They want this legislation to change if it’s not working as intended.
As Domestic Violence NSW’s Chief Executive, Renata Field, said, “If criminalisation is not given enough time for consultation with victim-survivors and experts in the field, the complex legislation has the potential to retraumatise the people it was designed to protect.”
Additionally, the Chief Executive of the Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre, Christine Robinson, is dubious that this legation will help First Nations peoples if NSW doesn’t reform its police system.
As Robinson said, “If an Aboriginal woman is unable to persuade a police officer that she is the primary victim of physical violence, what hope or incentive is there to try to persuade a police officer that she has experienced ongoing psychological abuse and economic abuse?”
Airport Workers to Strike Over Christmas
Over the past 12 months, the United Firefighters Union has been in a battle with Airservices Australia. This is because the union wants airport firefighters to receive more pay and have more staff on site.
“If you have a safety incident, as an air traveller, it’s our responsibility to make sure there’s adequate emergency services waiting after your trip. Airservices has failed to meet regulatory standards, and for the first time in history, there are category non-compliance incidents happening daily,” said the United Firefighters Union’s Aviation Branch Secretary, Wesley Garrett.
At the beginning of November, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) allowed airport firefighters to officially strike twice before December 2. However, the FWC has just allowed these workers to strike until January 1.
When these strikes take place, international flights aren’t allowed to land. Moreover, many domestic flights won’t take place as it’s more risky to fly without firefighters on the ground.
Airservices Australia has responded to this situation by saying, “The union’s staffing and redundancy claims are misleading and designed to justify unnecessary industrial action to support an excessive wage claim.”
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also talk to someone from 1800RESPECT via online chat. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence National Help Line on 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) or head to The Australian Human Rights Commission for a list of state by state resources.