What we learned – Sunday 9 October

That’s it from me Graham Readfearn and for our live news coverage for today. Thanks to Royce Kurmelovs for his work for the bulk of this Sunday.

Here’s what happened:

  • Ten places in NSW have been given advice to evacuate as most rivers in regional areas are under flood warnings. Forecasters say more rain will hit already bulging rivers in NSW later this week.

  • Police in Western Australia are looking for a 4WD driver after an elderly man on his electric bike was hit and killed near Perth.

  • Two Extinction Rebellion activists were arrested at the National Gallery of Victoria after they glued themselves to Pablo Picasso’s Massacre in Korea. The protesters were not charged and XR says the painting was not harmed.

  • The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, stressed his government’s position on the stage-three tax cuts “hadn’t changed”.

  • Former NT chief minister Michael Gunner, who resigned in May, has taken a role with mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s clean industry and hydrogen venture Fortescue Future Industries.

  • Opposition leader Peter Dutton said he did not agree with calls for his party’s vice-president, Teena McQueen, to resign. McQueen had said party members should “rejoice” at the defeat of some of the party’s moderates in the last federal election.

Thanks for being here, and if you’re anywhere threatened with flooding then please stay on top of the warnings from the SES and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Stay safe.


Someone in Dubbo took their dog out in a kayak to look at the flooding.

A local has shared photos taking his dog on a Kayak ride around Dubbo, including checking out the flooded shopping centre, and it has made my day ❤️❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/iHfpYFgK2w

— Lucy Thackray (@LucyThack) October 9, 2022

Just four paramedics on standby at Indonesian football disaster, says official

Only four paramedics were on standby inside the football stadium in Indonesia where 131 people were killed in a crowd crush, with a further 12 nearby, the head of the local public health office has said, promising a thorough evaluation of the response.

The match was not considered to be a high-risk event because only fans of Arema, the home side, were present, said Wiyanto Wijoyo, the head of Malang regency public health office.

Supporters of the opposing team, Persebaya Surabaya, who won the match, had been banned as a precaution to prevent violence between rival fans.


Anyone in inland NSW can stay up to date with the many flood warnings here at the Bureau of Meteorology’s summary page of warnings.

Renewed river level rises after heavy rain have led to #Moderate to #Major Flooding in many inland rivers across #NSW today.

Major flooding is occurring at #Warren #Euabalong with many other locations forecasting Major flooding

Latest flood warnings https://t.co/Ad3AkvLvCl pic.twitter.com/TDr00kj0d7

— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) October 9, 2022

Areas of Richmond, north-west of Sydney, told to evacuate

The NSW SES have issued another evacuation request along the Hawkesbury River, this time for areas in the town of Richmond north-west of Sydney.

The evacuation alert affects parts of Cornwallis and eastern part of Richmond Lowlands.

People on the Hawkesbury River bounded by Kurrajong Road, the back of Francis Street, the back of Dight Street, Percival Street and Rickabys Creek are being asked to evacuate before 11.45pm.

This includes Bensons Lane; Cornwallis Road; Cornwells Lane; Cupritts Lane; Gow Lane; Ingolds Lane; Old Kurrajong Road; Onus Lane; Percival Street; Powells Lane; Ridges Lane; and Triangle Lane.

The SES says if people cannot find alternative accommodation they should go to the evacuation centre set up at Castle Hill RSL.

The river level at Windsor could go above moderate flood levels this evening, reaching 8.1 metres on Monday afternoon.


PM rides Perth’s first airport train

In amongst pushing away questions about tax cuts and the nuclear threat from the Ukraine conflict, prime minister Anthony Albanese squeezed on a train for a selfie with WA premier Mark McGowan and the state’s transport minister Rita Saffioti.

Albanese rode the first train of the new $1.86bn Metronet airport line when it pulled out of High Wycombe station this morning, alongside 40 “lucky” lottery winners.

The new airport line goes underneath the Swan River and Perth airport and adds 8.5km to the city’s rail network.

All aboard🚊the new METRONET Airport Line. @MarkMcGowanMP @Rita_Saffioti pic.twitter.com/rnc09YfcWN

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) October 9, 2022


The Guardian’s live coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in ongoing, with reports that at least 17 people have been killed in shelling in the city of Zaporizhzhia.

Evacuation request for Sackville in NSW as flooding expected

The NSW SES says people living in an area of Sackville should evacuate before 11.45pm tonight as the Hawkesbury River rises.

The agency says properties near the intersection of Sackville Road and Tizzana Road should evacuate with dangerous flooding expected.

Anyone who can’t find alternative accommodation with family or friends should go to the evacuation facility at the North Richmond Community Centre.

A route along Sackville Road and then Kurmond Road should be taken, as some roads could also flood tonight.

The evacuation request for the locality is the eighth to have been issued across the state since yesterday.


Elderly man on electric bike killed in alleged hit-run in WA

Police in Western Australia are looking for the driver of a four-wheel drive involved in a fatal crash that killed an 86-year-old man riding an electric bike, AAP reports.

The man was hit on the Mitchell Freeway, near Perth, just before 5am today near the Hepburn Avenue exit.

Police believe a silver Mitsubishi four-wheel drive struck the man but did not stop. The man died at the scene from critical injuries.

The car involved would have significant front end damage, particularly on the left-hand passenger side, police said.


Picasso painting in Melbourne 'perfectly OK' after protest, Extinction Rebellion says

An Extinction Rebellion spokesperson has told Guardian Australia that a Picasso painting in Melbourne had not been damaged when two activists glued themselves to it.

The spokesperson said the Picasso painting, Massacre in Korea, at Melbourne’s NGV was “perfectly OK”.

Only the clear plastic covering over the painting had been damaged, the spokesperson said.

Two Extinction Rebellion protesters glued their hands to the painting on Sunday.
Two Extinction Rebellion protesters glued their hands to the painting on Sunday. Photograph: Matt Hrkac


So far on Sunday 9 October

We’ve heard about flooding in New South Wales, a new green job for former NT chief minister and two activists have glued themselves to a Picasso.

Here’s a summary of what’s been happening today.

  • Most inland rivers in NSW are under flood warnings after torrential rain overnight. River heights are still rising in many places with a forecast of more heavy rain from Wednesday.

  • Residents across the state have been asked to be vigilant, not to drive through flood waters and stay across SES warnings.

  • Two Extinction Rebellion activists were arrested at the National Gallery of Victoria after they glued themselves to Pablo Picasso’s Massacre in Korea. The painting had a protective cover.

  • The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, stressed his government’s position on the stage-three tax cuts “hasn’t changed” during a press conference in Perth.

  • Former NT chief minister Michael Gunner, who resigned in May, has taken a role with mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s clean industry and hydrogen venture Fortescue Future Industries.

  • Opposition leader Peter Dutton said he did not agree with calls for his party’s vice-president, Teena McQueen, to resign. McQueen had said party members should “rejoice” at the defeat of some of the party’s moderates in the last federal election.

On we go.


Thanks to Royce Kurmelovs for guiding us through our live news coverage.

I’m Graham Readfearn and I’ll be keeping things going for the rest of the day.

If you’re travelling in regional parts of New South Wales, be careful on those flooded roads.


Man in stable condition following shark attack

A man in his 30s who suffered serious injuries to his arm from a shark bite remains in a stable condition in the Royal Perth hospital.

Early reports suggested the man had been spear fishing near Port Hedland yesterday morning when he was bitten by an unknown species of shark.

A Royal Flying Doctors service spokesperson said yesterday the man’s left arm had been almost severed by the shark.

The hospital confirmed the man was still in a stable condition.

Fox News reports that 22 out of 28 cars have either been off track or been involved in some sort of incident during the Bathurst 1000.

Whether it’s bushfire smoke or torrential rain, the moment is a good reminder of how climate change threatens the future of sport.


Climate activists glued themselves to Picasso painting in protest

Two Extinction Rebellion activists have glued themselves to a Pablo Picasso work at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Photos posted to social media show two protesters glued to Picasso’s Massacre in Korea – a 1951 anti-war expressionist painting – in the gallery on Sunday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion told Guardian Australia the two protesters had been arrested and taken to a police station in Southbank. The spokesperson said a conservator from the gallery used acetone to remove the superglue used by the protesters.

The climate activist group said it targeted the high-profile painting to urge all governments, corporations and institutions to take action on the environmental crisis.

Brave extinction rebellion climate protesters taking a stand at the Picasso exhibition at the NGV today - If you think this is disruption, note that climate chaos will cause war and famine. #ClimateCollapse. @XRebellionAus @XRVicAus #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/z08jjoz9rk

— Flick Law (@LawFelicity) October 9, 2022

A Victoria police spokesperson said they believed three protesters entered the gallery on the ground level before a man and a woman glued themselves to the protective covering of the Picasso painting.

The spokesperson said a 49-year-old NSW woman and a 59-year old Footscray man were removed from the painting just after 2pm.

The pair and a 49-year-old Williamstown man have been arrested and are assisting police with their enquiries.


‘It is a dangerous time’: PM on risk of nuclear escalation in Ukraine

The prime minister will not be drawn over concerns about the growing risk of nuclear escalation in Ukraine saying: “It is a dangerous time.”

What we know is that this is a dangerous time. One of the pressures on the budget of course is defence expenditure.

We do not think that there would be a land war in Europe like we are seeing with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We hoped that was something we had put in the past.

After speaking of his time in Ukraine meeting president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Albanese said the situation could be resolved if Russia withdrew from Ukraine.

They’re fighting for the international rule of law and they’re fighting to uphold the principle that nation states’ borders should be respected.

President Putin can fix this by just withdrawing. By withdrawing from this aggressive act that is totally against international law.

His comments echo those of Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin who said Russia “leaving Ukraine” was the only way the conflict would end.


'Our position hasn't changed': PM on stage-three tax cuts

Albanese is attempting to water down speculation over which way his government will go on the future of stage-three tax cuts ahead of the 25 October budget saying: “Our position hasn’t changed.”

Albanese has repeated the line several times while also preparing Australians for potential cuts:

We are triaging a budget where there is a trillion dollars of debt and frankly not much to show for it.


Federal government ready to offer flood assistance to NSW

Prime minister Anthony Albanese says the federal government is ready to offer assistance to the New South Wales government if required following the floods across the state.

Speaking from Perth, Albanese said the government has been preparing since Friday to ensure it is able to help.


Virtual elder care in SA to free up emergency departments

Thousands of elderly South Australians will avoid unnecessary trips to hospital following the expansion of a virtual health service trial.

Following a successful test run, SA’s Virtual Care Service is being rolled out at more than 150 residential care facilities, which are home to more than 11,000 residents.

The program will also help reduce demand on the state’s under-fire ambulance service and emergency departments, the health minister Chris Picton said.

The trial, undertaken at 11 Eldercare aged care homes, found about 80% of patients treated by the service could receive care within the home, avoiding the need for hospital and an unnecessary triple-zero call.

The service provides direct access to specialist medical, nursing and paramedic clinicians.

Facilities can instead organise video link consultations to assess, monitor and determine care options, which can often be provided in-house.

Approximately 35 SA aged care residents are taken to metropolitan emergency departments each day.

Due to their age and sometimes complex needs, they often end up admitted to hospital unnecessarily.

Picton said on Sunday that the service will ensure older South Australians and vulnerable patients can receive “the care they need outside of hospital”.

It will deliver better care for more residents and their families in a comfortable and familiar setting, freeing up emergency resources across the health system.

The service is expected to receive approximately 18 referrals per day – calls that would otherwise have resulted in an ambulance call-out.

It is estimated every aged care resident who avoids a trip to the ED frees up at least six hours there and two hours for the state’s ambulance service.

SA’s most serious emergency cases increased by more than 6% in September compared with the same time a year ago.

There was also a 2.3% jump in these cases compared with August.

– from AAP


Australia to form new supercontinent – in 300m years

Australia will merge to form a new supercontinent about 300m years from now, according to research by two Perth-based scientists.

Curtin University’s Dr Chuan Huang and Prof Zheng-Xiang Li estimate the configuration of “Amasia” will form as the Pacific Ocean closes in roughly 200m to 300m years from now.

Using a supercomputer to simulate the scenario, they found that because Earth has been cooling for billions of years, the thickness and strength of undersea plates reduce with time.

This would make it difficult for the next supercontinent to assemble by closing “young” oceans like the Atlantic or Indian.

Australia is expected to play an important role, first colliding with Asia and then connecting it to America.

“By simulating how the Earth’s tectonic plates are expected to evolve ... we were able to show that in less than 300m years it is likely to be the Pacific Ocean that will close, allowing for the formation of Amasia, debunking some previous scientific theories,” Huang said.

Still covering 30% of the planet’s surface, the Pacific Ocean is what is left of the Panthalassa super ocean that started forming 700m years ago when the previous supercontinent started breaking apart.

Currently open to a dimension of about 10,000km, it’s been shrinking since the time of the dinosaurs at a rate of a few centimetres a year.

Li says the presence of a single continental mass will dramatically alter Earth’s ecosystem and environment.

“The sea level is expected to be lower and the vast interior of the supercontinent will be very arid with high daily temperature ranges,” he said.

“Currently, Earth consists of seven continents with widely different ecosystems and human cultures, so it would be fascinating to think what the world might look like in 200m to 300m years.”

– with AAP


First Australian Crankworx concludes in Cairns

The first-ever Australian leg of Crankworx, the leading global mountain biking competition, concludes today in Cairns.

The multi-day event ends with the dual slalom races, as two riders battle side-by-side against each other and the clock.

Australian riders have already enjoyed a strong Crankworx, with Canberra’s Harriet Burbidge-Smith winning gold in the speed and style final on Thursday.

Burbidge-Smith was a BMX world champion before switching to mountain biking in her early 20s. “Haz” is on a mission to get more women into the sport.


Cooke: NSW government to ‘press on’ with plans to raise dam wall

Cooke is back and asked whether the state government needs to reconsider development plans for low-lying areas in the flood plain.

“The NSW government is taking these matters very seriously,” the emergency services minister says.

She says the government has accepted all recommendations of a recent inquiry and will “press on” with plans to raise the wall of the Warragamba dam.

York is also asked what the state of the wall of dam is, given it has been under pressure for a significant period of time.

She says that is a question better directed to Water NSW.


‘All floods are dangerous’: York

York says that “all floods are dangerous”:

Some floods are slower moving and some in western parts of New South Wales, you can get little warning time.

It does not mean there is any more time to avoid flash floods and that is what we’re really concerned about. The water will build up and create a flash flood.

And it will cut off roads. It will cut off or raise the risk for livestock as well.


York: people who stay may put emergency staff at risk

York is asked about people who chose to stay making the circumstances more difficult for first responders, and she says it does, particularly coming out of “two, three” years of drought.

It is a completely different picture across New South Wales. It is saturated and there is nowhere for the water to go except across the land and to any properties on its way.


I would caution people who make that decision who think to stay safe in their homes, it is much better to move out when you have time and that is not traffic on the road.

You can get to safety and higher ground and go back to the house when it is high and dry and call at two o’clock in the morning when we may not be able to get there, depending on how many calls for assistance [we have].

And the weather conditions, if it is raining, it makes things very difficult. [We] can’t get helicopters up and you are putting emergency service personnel lives at risk. We try to give as much notice as possible so they can evacuate in an orderly fashion and get somewhere safe.


SES warns NSW residents to evacuate early

The NSW State Emergency Service has issued 94 warnings issues across the state, with the commissioner Carlene York warning residents to evacuate early and take extra precautions.

It is very dangerous out there on our roads. We are seeing a lot of flash flooding and as we have said the rivers are still rising.

York asked people to pay attention to evacuation orders and said evacuation centres have been opened to accomodate them.

When you ask people, if you have to evacuate or are planning to evacuate, reach out to family and friends first and if you can’t do that, we will make sure of the right evacuation centres you can go to.


BoM: Low pressure system moves off the coast

Jane Golding from the Bureau of Meteorology says several regions are being monitored, including Gunnedah.

In summary, from this recent rain we’ve seen over the last week, it looks like the low pressure system that caused the rain over last night has now moved off the coast.

Though Golding said the rain has stopped, flooding will continue through the week.

Now we’re turning our eyes towards the next system.


‘Completely saturated landscape’: NSW emergency services minister

The New South Wales emergency services minister Steph Cooke is giving an update now on the situation facing the state.

Cooke says the state has a “completely saturated landscape” with the risk of trees falling in strong winds and landslips as the state’s dams fill to capacity.

We know that in our inland New South Wales regions, the flood waters will continue to be a problem for communities not just for the weeks ahead, but for months.


Flood warnings for rain-soaked parts of NSW

The Bureau of Meteorology says areas hit by heavy rain are expected to reach major or near major flood levels over the coming days.

Those areas include:

  • Warren on the Macquarie River

  • Nanami, Cottons Weir, Jemalong, Euabalong, Forbes on the Lachlan River

  • Gundagai on the Murrumbidgee River

  • Weilmoringle on the Culgoa River

  • Tilpa on the Darling River

The bureau also advised some catchments east of the divide were experiencing new flooding, including the Hawkesbury and Nepean.

Rain will ease throughout the rest of Sunday with no significant rainfalls expected for the next few days but conditions will worsen again from Wednesday to Friday.

Richmond Bridge over the Hawkesbury, north west of Sydney. Not long now… #nswfloods pic.twitter.com/u93nmR9uOC

— Isobel Roe (@isobelroe) October 9, 2022


Speaking of wet conditions…

Fishing into the Woolworths carpark on Dubbo’s Main Street, next to three flooded Woolworths trucks. Mmmmm… carpark carp 🎣 Macquarie River expected to peak here at 8.6m later this morning pic.twitter.com/pt9ES1fLKM

— Lucy Thackray (@LucyThack) October 8, 2022

Chaotic start to Bathurst 1000

Three cars have been totalled and ruled out of the race in a chaotic start to the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.

The safety car was deployed twice within the opening five laps on Sunday.

James Moffat lost pole immediately off the start to a surging Lee Holdsworth and when the pack rounded turn one, Jamie Whincup and Jack Perkins were spun around.

Zak Best’s car 55 was the mountain’s first casualty and towed off the circuit after veering into the barriers.

When the race restarted on lap five, Zane Goddard left the track attempting an overtake and lost control rejoining the tarmac.

He veered across the track and was smashed into by Dale Wood in the R&J Batteries entry, with Matt Campbell joined the pile-up. All three cars were totalled.

Campbell reported a sore ankle, groin, neck and wrists while Wood and Goddard walked away unscathed.

Racing in his 20th Bathurst, 2103 champion Mark Winterbottom got tangled up and spun out but narrowly avoided any major damage in the incident.

Wood was seen crying back in pit lane after the incident, with only one of Brad Jones Racing’s cars left in the race.

Dry track conditions and fine weather prevailed as the Bathurst 1000 got under way, with the majority of teams opting for their co-drivers to begin the 1,000km race.

The only main driver among the top 10 starters was retirement-bound Holdsworth, who held the early lead.

– from AAP


Michael Gunner ‘finally seeing the light’, say campaigners

Environmentalists have congratulated the Northern Territory’s former chief minister Michael Gunner “for finally seeing the light” after he revealed earlier today he had taken a role with mining magnate Andrew Forrest’s clean industry company.

Gunner, who resigned as chief minister in May, will lead a new northern Australia team at Fortescue Future Industries.

Co-director of the Environment Centre NT Kirsty Howey said Gunner’s new role was in contrast to his support for fossil fuels during his time as chief minister that had left behind “a legacy of climate-wrecking projects”. Howey said:

The Environment Centre NT congratulates former chief minister Michael Gunner for finally seeing the light on climate and looks forward to working with him in his new role with Fortescue Future Industries.

However, Territorians can’t forget the devastating legacy of climate-wrecking projects that the former chief minister leaves behind. No one has pushed harder for new fossil fuel development in the Territory than Mr Gunner.

Howey said during Gunner’s tenure, the territory government had approved fracking in the Beetaloo Basin, supported Santos’s Barossa gas project and pushed for a petrochemicals precinct.

It’s well past time for the Northern Territory Fyles government and the Albanese government to abandon plans for the three new mega gas projects in the Northern Territory: the Beetaloo Basin, the Barossa gas project and the petrochemicals precinct at Middle Arm, including the billions in federal subsidies thrown at these projects.


Madeleine King: ‘no plans’ to change stage-three tax cuts

The prime minister Anthony Albanese is likely to be asked about the fate of the stage-three tax cuts later today amid growing expectations the government will stop short of making changes in this month’s budget.

Albanese is due to appear in public in Western Australia about 10.30am Perth time (1.30pm AEDT), followed by a press conference at 2.15pm AEDT.

Ahead of his press conference, no one has disputed reports from Sky News and the ABC that the government is highly unlikely to make changes to the stage-three tax cuts in the budget due to be handed down on 25 October. That does not close off the possibility of changes in the next budget in May.

Albanese said on Friday that the government’s position had not changed but did not rule out amendments, following a week of debate fuelled by the treasurer Jim Chalmers saying the government would be prepared to make tough decisions reflecting the economic times.

In an interview recorded late in the week but broadcast on Sky News this morning, the resources minister Madeleine King said the government had “no plans” to change the stage-three tax cuts but there was a “conversation going in the community”.

King added that it was “OK to have an open conversation” about tax and budget issues.


Michael Gunner joins Andrew Forrest’s green energy firm

The Northern Territory’s former chief minister Michael Gunner has landed a new job with a green energy company owned by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest.

The former NT Labor leader has been hired to head up the northern Australia team at Fortescue Future Industries as the company looks to develop new projects in the territory and across Western Australia’s north-west.

Gunner said in a statement that he looked forward to working on projects aimed at addressing climate change and said he made the move “for the kids”.

The pitch from Dr Forrest and FFI was simple and straight to the heart – do it for the kids.

By going hard commercially at real zero, at FFI we help make the genuine impacts on climate change that the world needs.

My message is clear: FFI is committed to aggressively reducing emissions and FFI is here now.

Forrest said in a statement that Gunner’s experience “working hand-in-hand with the people of northern Australia” would make the new hire a “valuable asset to FFI”.

We see enormous potential in the Northern Territory, with abundant wind and solar energy, and a community enthusiastic to embrace renewable energy and the employment-intensive industries that come with it.

The industry-leading decarbonisation strategy we unveiled in New York in September provided clear evidence that Fortescue is leading the world in its transition to a global, green renewable and resources company.

Gunner is not the only former Labor leader to pick up a new gig with Forrest. The former South Australian premier Jay Weatherill has been appointed as chief executive of the mining billionaire’s charity, the Minderoo Foundation.


Bathurst 1000 under way amid fine weather

Dry track conditions and fine weather prevailed as the Bathurst 1000 got under way, with the majority of teams opting for their co-drivers to begin the 1,000km race.

After three days of rain and overcast conditions, the sun finally arrived over Mount Panorama on Sunday with the weather set to be favourable throughout the day.

Australia’s biggest domestic motorsport prize is up for grabs and the Tickford Racing pair of Cam Waters and co-driver James Moffat started from pole following the cancellation of Saturday’s top-10 shootout.

Waters qualified fastest in Friday’s first qualifying for his second Bathurst pole, but it was Moffat who got first crack at the mountain.

The pair were looking to go one better after consecutive second-placed finishes in the race in the previous two years.

Moffat was one of 19 co-drivers who started, with nine of the grid’s top 10 all co-drivers.

The only lead driver among the top 10 starters was retirement-bound Lee Holdsworth in his 19th consecutive Great Race.

Fans swarmed the grid for Bathurst’s first maximum-capacity event since the pandemic began.

Motorsport officials notified drivers in the two-minute warning that the circuit was still wet on the exit of turn one.

– from AAP


More rain for western and southern NSW

Bad news for those living in western and southern New South Wales – more rain on the way later in the week.

Whilst the rain has all but cleared #NSW now there is more rain on the way from Wed and particularly on Thu in the west and south when yet another system is set to move across the state. See all warnings at https://t.co/7Tty8rxaYA and forecasts at https://t.co/tYOTJ6QJR8. pic.twitter.com/nojGaXJPDx

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) October 9, 2022


Fifth-highest September rainfall in NSW since 1900

New South Wales has experienced the fifth-highest September rainfall since records began in 1900, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Some regions recorded their highest September daily rainfall ever on the 18th or the 16th, when strong cold fronts moved across the state, or on the 3rd, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, or 29th, following offshore low pressure systems.

For New South Wales, September rainfall was 126% above the 1961–1990 average - the 5th-highest September rainfall on record. Monthly maximum temperatures were below average, especially for the Northern Tablelands district https://t.co/0iYLOGS1TU pic.twitter.com/hGwJRXTrMX

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) October 8, 2022


Political fundraisers axed ahead of budget

Political fundraisers at Parliament House are due to be canned in the lead-up to the federal budget, AAP reports.

The prime minister Anthony Albanese wrote to the parliament’s speaker and president asking for the ban.

It’s understood the House or Representatives speaker Milton Dick and Senate president Sue Lines agreed and it will come into effect on 17 October, a week ahead of the federal budget.

The shadow treasurer Angus Taylor told Sky News on Sunday he was yet to see the detail but branded the move “a political stunt”.

Political fundraising is part of our system. It’s how it works.

[The Coalition] don’t have the ability to rely on the unions the way Labor does.

So for us, it’s actually about going out to hardworking Australians and getting their support. And we have to do that all the time.


Frankston to be boom gate free by 2029 if Labor government re-elected

The Andrews government has pledged to make Melbourne’s Frankston boom gate free by 2029 by removing seven level crossings.

The Victorian premier Daniel Andrews made the announcement on Sunday morning. As part of the project, there will be two road closures and new stations built at Highett, Mordialloc, Aspendale and Seaford.

Andrews said the pledge would ease road congestion and improve safety:

To be level crossing free means you can run more trains more often. It’s safer and of course the road network is improved with people not being held up.

That'll be 7 more level crossings – gone for good. pic.twitter.com/JRsS0a8z2Y

— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) October 8, 2022


Residents in flood-affected areas of NSW urged to remain ‘vigilant’ as conditions ease

New South Wales state emergency services conducted 21 flood rescues overnight with the majority involving people who became stuck while attempting to drive through flood waters.

Speaking to ABC News this morning SES assistant commissioner Dean Storey urged residents of NSW to be cautious as rain eases across the state especially as conditions may be “deceptive”.

Know the sun may be out in some locations, the rivers are still on the rise in many areas.

[We’re] happy to see that the rain eased across much of the state, but that flooding risk remains in play.

A lot of water on the ground across roads. So [we’re] urging people who are out on the roads in the coming days to be vigilant of that fact. Drive to conditions.

Storey said the SES is working with community members to help support them as they grappled with a “widespread flooding event”.

We know there’s been major flooding and will continue to be major flooding in inland NSW and the west and the south for the coming days, weeks and months.


Labor opposition promises overhaul to labour laws if elected in NSW

The NSW Labor party has vowed to modernise the state’s employment law to better protect gig economy workers, if it is elected in March next year.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns announced on Sunday that the party would introduce worker’s compensation and what it called “a portable entitlement scheme” for gig workers and others in insecure employment.

They would also amend the Industrial Relations Act so that workers in the transport industry and food delivery services could access minimum rates and conditions, and establish enforceable codes of conduct for WHS work performed by on-demand platforms, among other measures.

In a statement, NSW Labor said the laws were designed to prevent more workers falling foul of “an out-of-date workers compensation system” that denied the families of four food delivery riders who died in NSW in 2020 any statutory compensation, as they were not hired as employees by the companies they worked for.

The policies would also assist workers in the disability, community and care sectors, Labor said.

Minns said in a statement:

The rise of the gig economy has revolutionised the way people can access work. But that shouldn’t mean workers should be left more vulnerable. Every single worker in New South Wales has the right to feel safe and supported at work.

Shadow industrial relations and workplace safety minister Sophie Cotsis said:

After 12 years of this Liberal and National government we have seen an erosion of basic rights and entitlements of a growing segment of the working population, particularly women in these key care sectors.

For many have felt abandoned by this government which has created employment insecurity and hardship and feel deprived of basic entitlements which affects their ability to get a loan, secure rental accommodation and support their families.

NSW Labor’s policy provides security, dignity and acknowledges the significant contribution of these workers to our society.

NSW Labor’s election pledge comes in the wake of the federal Labor government promising to establish minimum pay and conditions for gig workers, saying they would legislate to give the Fair Work Commission the power to set minimum standards and allow them to bargain collectively for entitlements.


Flood and severe weather warnings continue across NSW

More rain and high winds are predicted for Sunday.

A Severe Weather Warning for Damaging Winds is current for #NSW, along the coastal fringe from the Illawarra to the lower Mid North Coast. Conditions are expected to ease by early afternoon. Details at https://t.co/PGZR9nLop7 pic.twitter.com/xSvl3vuuTN

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) October 8, 2022

A Moderate #Flood Warning issued for the #Macquarie River for moderate flood level to be reached at #Bathurst around midday. See https://t.co/0c74bRmxwU for details and updates. Follow advice from @NSWSES #NSWFloods pic.twitter.com/rd09381ifX

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) October 8, 2022

Minor #Flood Warning for the #Georges River issued. Minor flooding possible at #Milperra on the high tide at 10am this morning. See https://t.co/cjWY3BFzwp for detials. Follow advice from @NSWSES #NSWFloods. pic.twitter.com/UFnPhl3vNf

— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) October 8, 2022

Residents of Gronos Point have been told to leave ahead of flooding.

#GronosPoint flooding
Evacuate before 7:30am today Sun 09 Oct – Emergency Warning

EVACUATE BEFORE 7:30 am today due to dangerous flooding:

🔴Properties in the Gronos Point area including properties along Gronos Farm Road and Manns Road.

👉 Full details https://t.co/BCnxAe6tsR pic.twitter.com/To6G76VHUz

— NSW SES (@NSWSES) October 8, 2022


On that last question, for those who missed what happened during the week it is worth reading the full story by Guardian Australia political reporter Josh Butler.

Dutton on the stoush between Tina McQueen and Simon Birmingham

Following comments by McQueen that the party should “rejoice” that the party’s moderates were defeated at the last election.


There is a desire here to win the next election. We will only do that with discipline and the party that I lead is frankly having grown up under John Howard and Peter Costello and that’s the approach that I take. A winner-takes-all approach in the Liberal party or Labor party doesn’t work on a broad range of views.

Speers asks Dutton about the comments by Birmingham that McQueen should resigned.

No, I don’t agree with that.

She has expressed a view, she has made a mistake. I’ve made it clear it won’t happen again.

Did McQueen apologise?

That’s what I expect on both sides.

Speers then asks whether McQueen should apologise.

I’m not going into internal matters beyond that.


Dutton on whether Essendon should reinstate Andrew Thorburn

Andrew Thorburn resigned over his links to a church that is anti-abortion and considers homosexuality a sin.

After backing in Thorburn who Dutton said “distanced” himself from the comments of his pastor, Speers asks: Should organisations be able to hire and fire based on someone’s sexuality?

Dutton: Well, I don’t support discrimination on any basis, to be honest.

Speers: So religious schools shouldn’t sack a gay teacher?

Dutton: Again, we’ve had these debates over the last couple of years and...

Speers: What do you think?

Dutton: Go into Chris Bowen’s electorate, obviously a lot of comment from local mayors there this week about different issues. Islamic schools, Jewish schools, Christian schools in our country who want to teach their faith and they should be free to do so. If they have children enrolled in that school by their parents, the parents expect that there will be an adherence to that doctrine...

Speers: So you don’t support discrimination on any basis, except for religious schools and gay teachers?

Dutton: Again, David, if you are a person of a Jewish faith and you are sending your child to that school, it is for a reason. You’ve made a decision to send your child there to receive religious as part of a more general education and that should be unhindered, so any thought that somebody could be discriminated as in the circumstance of Mr Thorburn is completely unacceptable.


Bringing children home presents a security risk: Dutton

Dutton says there is a chance “indoctrination has occurred”.

He is then asked why it was OK for the Morrison government to bring a child home but not Labor – and his own track record on this issue.


As much as I feel for those families, those kids, they are horrible scenes, and the fact that someone has taken their children or wife or family member into that theatre of war is tragic, but I’ve also got to think about the safety and security of other toddlers and families here, and if we think the threat has gone away, that they couldn’t act out, that there wouldn’t be an explosion in our country, that is a naive approach to what is a very difficult situation.


Dutton on whether bringing home families of Islamic State fighters is a security risk

Dutton is now asked on the plan to bring home the family’s of Islamic State fighters who are stuck in refugee camps in Syria. He is specifically asked about whether he was told that bringing these family’s back to Australia would be a security risk.

It’s built on what I received when I was in the National Security Committee not that long ago, and it is clear to me that on what I know and what I’ve read and what I’ve heard and been informed on, that we can’t provide the level of surety to the Australian public. Now, is it a terrible situation for the families? Absolutely.

Dutton goes on to express empathy but then highlights the cost of security.

If you are a parent or grandparent of a daughter … in that situation, of course you would want to bring them back home. Any person would have that feeling or emotion, that’s perfectly logical, but we have to be careful of children and people in that setting, and mixing with people of terrorist attacks over a period of time. It costs $3.8m a year and 300 police officers to 24/7 monitor one individual.


Labor’s instinct on economy is ‘always the wrong one’: Dutton

Dutton is again challenged to see if there’s room to negotiation, but it seems he’s leaving no room to negotiate at all in this interview – it’s the Coalition’s way or no way at all.

On taxation, on economic policy is all wrong. This is the problem. Governments have to deal with events as they come along. Labor’s instinct on the economy and on the budget is always the wrong one.


Dutton on his answer to filling the gap should stage-three tax cuts go through


If you look at even post lockdowns on a month by month basis, you can see months where we’ve gone back into surplus, so the settings we have in government, our instinct as Liberals, as a Coalition when it comes to budget management are vindicated.

When you look at where we are with a 50-year low unemployment, when you look at the strength of the underlying indicators here in Australia, that is a very significant contrast to where the UK or US budget is, and this government inherited a very strong position after nine years of Coalition management.


PM needs to ‘honour his commitment’ to Australians: Dutton

Speers asks Dutton about whether he would provide any support to pare back the stage-three tax cuts.


David, we went to the last election with a promise and I’m not in the business of breaking promises. The prime minister can contemplate it. He looked the Australian public in the eye and it seems he wasn’t so genuine and that he was prepared to make that statement.

Speers tries to knock Dutton off his messaging and pin him down to an answer by asking whether, if the tax cuts were pared back, the Coalition would see it all returned.


I want to see the prime minister honour his commitment and not lie to the Australian people.


Tax cuts debate is about whether Australians can trust the PM: Dutton

Opposition leader Peter Dutton is speaking on ABC Insiders now answering questions on the subject of – you guessed it – stage-three tax cuts.

Dutton is working hard to reframe the debate not one about the future of the stage-three tax cuts or how much funding for services may be lost and about whether Australians can trust Anthony Albanese.

What we’ve seen this week is a real split between the prime minister and treasurer and the treasurer has demonstrated his inexperience.

He is obviously close to Wayne Swan and studied Paul Keating very closely. He has been out there purring a particular argument and the prime minister I think sensibly has abandoned that.

He might be instinctive to abandon, but this is not about tax cuts, but whether you can trust Anthony Albanese and the Labor party […] I think most Australians would be astounded that Anthony Albanese was on the cusp of betraying them or may do in the next budget or the one after.


Growing number of Australians want stage-three tax cuts scrapped, poll shows

Public support for the stage-three tax cuts continues to fall, with polling showing increased support for scrapping the $243bn plan.

The last stage of the Morrison government tax reform is not legislated to come into effect until July 2024, but a downturn in the economy has put increased pressure on the Labor government to make a decision on whether it will keep the cuts in place.

The Australia Institute’s most recent poll, conducted between 4-7 October, found support for repealing the stage three cuts jumped 7% from the previous month.

Support for repealing the tax cuts now sits at 48%, with those opposed to the move unchanged at 22%. Those who were unsure or didn’t know about the tax cuts had fallen from 37% to 30%.

For more on the results of this poll read the full story by Guardian Australia’s political reporter Amy Remeikis.


Stage-three tax cuts unlikely to be changed, ABC reports

The ABC is now also reporting that it is highly unlikely that the Albanese government will change the stage-three tax cuts in this month’s budget.

The government had always maintained that its position had not changed – but the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, had allowed a debate to run in public about whether changes might be needed.

The ABC Insiders host, David Speers, reported today that no final decision had been made but he had been told it was now highly unlikely there would be any change, “at least not the budget to be delivered in just over two weeks”.

Sky News had a similar report this morning.

We are chasing confirmation but the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is likely to speak in Western Australia later today.


ABC Insiders host David Speers has opened his program saying the government is “highly unlikely” to abandon the stage-three tax cuts in the upcoming budget.

After a week of intense debate, it now looks like the stage-three tax cuts will remain untouched – for now, anyway. This morning I can reveal the prime minister is likely to stick with his promise and keep the tax cuts in this month’s budget.

This is the same talking point that’s been repeated across multiple media outlets this morning – suggesting someone has been busy.


Scrapping stage-three tax cuts would be a ‘war on aspiration’: Angus Taylor

The shadow treasurer, Angus Taylor, has welcomed a Sky News report today that the government is unlikely to unveil changes to the stage-three tax cuts in this month’s budget – but has called on the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, to confirm this.

(The government has allowed this debate to run the past week, but it has never been a sure thing that such changes would be made in this budget, given that there is still a while under the tax cuts are due to come into effect.)

Appearing on Sky News, Taylor said scrapping stage-three tax cuts would be a “war on aspiration”. Taylor welcomed the report that such changes were unlikely in this budget was encouraging – but said it “doesn’t count” until Albanese stands up in public and rules it out:

It’s very clear it’s in Labor’s DNA to tax Australians more.


‘No plans’ to change stage-three tax cuts: King

Resources minister, Madeleine King, has reiterated that the government has “no plans” to change the stage-three tax cuts.

She stuck closely to the government line in her Sky News interview, noting that the tax cuts were already legislated. But she said there was a “conversation going in the community” and it was “OK to have an open conversation” about tax and budget issues.


Government prepared to intervene if gas prices don’t come down

The resources minister, Madeleine King, has put gas producers on notice that she is prepared to intervene if gas prices don’t come down.

King last month announced a deal with the three major gas exporters on the east coast aiming to ensure sufficient supplies of the fossil fuel are available to avoid a potential shortfall next year.

During an interview with Sky News broadcast this morning, King was asked about the effect on prices. She said gas prices would “continue to fluctuate” but the gas agreement should deliver “downward pressure” on prices.

King said if prices did not come down “there will be more for the government to do in that regard”:

If they fail to do that, the government always has other levers.

More broadly, the resources minister denied she working at cross purposes to Chris Bowen, the climate minister:

Not at all – we’re working together to the same ends.

King said the previous government “probably did” have too many fossil fuel subsidies.

She said of new coal and gas fields:

If they’re not financially able to stand on their own two feet, there shouldn’t be government injection of cash into them – that does not make sense, especially in these constrained times.


Good morning

And welcome to another Sunday morning Guardian live blog.

New South Wales state emergency service have carried out 21 rescues and responded to more than 343 calls for help overnight as residents in some parts of the state have woken up to evacuation orders. Rising flood waters have forced residents in Gronos Point and western Plane Tourist Park in Dubbo to be evacuated with Australia Defence Force personnel are on standby.

Speculation over the fate of the stage-three tax cuts continues ahead of the 25 October budget as the Labor government tests the waters on whether to carry them through. Faced with the prospect to carry them through in full, pare them back or scrap them entirely it is expected the government will make its position known ahead of the budget.

I’m Royce Kurmelovs, taking the blog through the day. With so much going on out there, it’s easy to miss stuff, so if you spot something happening in Australia and think it should be on the blog, you can find me on Twitter at @RoyceRk2 where my DMs are open.

With that, let’s get started ...


Graham Readfearn (now) and Royce Kurmelovs (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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