Building partially collapses in blaze – as it happened (2023)

Key events

  • 9h agoWhat we learned, Thursday 25 May
  • 10h agoFire near Sydney's Central station spreads to apartments
  • 11h agoSide of the building collapses in Surry Hills fire
  • 11h agoFire breaks out near Central station in Sydney
  • 12h agoGallagher denies link between lobbyists’ unrestricted access to decision-makers and procurement outcomes
  • 12h agoQuestion time ends
  • 13h agoQuestion time begins
  • 14h agoPwC staff stood down until completion of company culture review
  • 15h ago'Impossible conflict of interest' for AFP with PwC referral
  • 17h agoAFP commissioner talks generational divides
  • 18h agoMelissa Caddick deceased, coroner concludes
  • 18h agoAFP investigating after receiving ‘report of crime’ relating to PwC, estimates hears
  • 19h agoQueensland one of the last states to change law to allow naming of accused rapists
  • 19h agoTim Watts speaks of ancestor's ‘legacy’ of harm to Indigenous Australians
  • 20h agoPower prices to rise by up to a quarter after regulator sets default market offers
  • 20h agoGood morning
  • 20h agoCanberra flights suspended due to ‘airspace closure’

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15h ago03.11BST

'Impossible conflict of interest' for AFP with PwC referral

The Greens senator David Shoebridge says estimates has uncovered a conflict of interest with the PwC referral to the AFP.

🚨 Breaking 🚨

We have just uncovered in budget estimates that the AFP who are currently investigating breaches of the law by PwC have PwC as their internal auditors with wide scale access to information and systems.

That’s an impossible conflict of interest.

— David Shoebridge (@DavidShoebridge) May 25, 2023

15h ago03.07BST

Opposition accuses Labor of ‘jobs for mates’ over appointments to women’s economic equality taskfroce

Over in finance and public administration estimates, the finance minister, Katy Gallagher, has been questioned by the shadow finance minister, Jane Hume, about the appointments to the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce (Weet).

The opposition wanted to know why there was no formal process or assessment undertaken by Gallagher (who is also the minister for women) in appointing people to the taskforce, or how four members were included in the final taskforce when they weren’t part of the list of people recommended to the minister by the department.

In answer to a question on notice, the department said that “member selection was an iterative process to ensure representation from women with diverse backgrounds, networks and experience”.

The opposition says Labor is hiding “captain’s picks”. The deputy Liberal leader, Sussan Ley, said the Coalition supported the taskforce “even if we have been blocked from receiving briefings on its work” but accused Gallagher of “jobs for mates”.

“These are taxpayer funded roles and appointments should be based on merit not on the vague whim or personal relationship of a minister,” she said. (*coughs in AAT*)

Hume wants to know that the appointments weren’t “just a deal done in a corridor”.

Again. (*coughs*)

16h ago02.58BST

How Anthony Albanese commended the voice referendum bill to parliament

And here is how Anthony Albanese finished his speech:

In this chamber we are each of us one vote among 151. In this referendum we will only be one vote among 18 million. Because this historic opportunity belongs to the people.

This is a chance for Australians from all faiths and backgrounds and from all walks of life to celebrate the best of our nation, to show the best of ourselves.

To vote yes for constitutional recognition. To vote yes for the form that it has been asked for, through a voice. To say yes to the invitation to walk together to a better future.

With humility and hope and optimism, I commend this bill to the House.

16h ago02.52BST

Extracts from PM’s speech on voice

As part of his speech to the parliament, Anthony Albanese said the choice was to listen to Indigenous people, or not.

The choice we have now – as politicians and as citizens – is: are we going to repeat those same mistakes? Should we just keep doing what we have been doing for such a long period of time and expect a different outcome? Are we going to accept another 100 years of expensive, well-intentioned failure by governments of all persuasions?

Across the board, we have failed. That is why we have a Closing the Gap report every year, and why tragically – in so many areas – we have not closed the gap.

Are we going to sentence another generation to lives of lesser opportunity? To, as [the Uluru statement from the heart] says, the ‘torment of powerlessness’? Or are we going to learn from the success of programs that empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people?

… The success stories are there to see – but consulting and listening and cooperating shouldn’t be a matter of luck, or a question of who is in government. It should be available, because consultation and listening is always the best option.

Some of the criticism of the voice to parliament proposal though is that its advice isn’t binding. So the voice won’t necessarily be heard.

16h ago02.39BST

Labor introduces legislation to raise jobseeker by $40 a fortnight

Back in the house and the social services minister, Amanda Rishworth, has introduced the legislation to raise the jobseeker rate by the very modest $40 a fortnight. It is not due to come into effect until September, so there won’t be a rush to get it through the parliament.

The Coalition have already indicated they will be voting against it, at least if you take Peter Dutton’s budget reply speech at face value (and the “welfare budget” criticisms) but there is enough support in the senate to get it passed, although the Greens and independent senators will try and push for more.

16h ago02.32BST

Building partially collapses in blaze – as it happened (1)

Amy Remeikis

It hasn’t been as front and centre this week because the Senate isn’t sitting and the negotiations are happening away from the newspapers. But the industry minister, Ed Husic, was asked about how the housing future fund stalemate was going on ABC Radio Melbourne and said:

Look, we’re very committed to increasing housing stock, particularly affordable housing stock. It’s why we’ve put the housing Australia future fund forward. You know, it is deeply disappointing that we’ve … seen the Greens team up with the Coalition because … look, we have differences of opinion on how to deal with that issue with the Australian Greens, but that quote that you just read out from the Coalition demonstrates the mindset that the Coalition hasn’t learned.

The Australian public wants parliament to function, to work to solve to problems. We’ll have disagreements, but the expectation is we’ll sort through those. Look, we are very focused on this as a government. We want to be able to deliver it. I certainly understand from the point of view the Greens want more social and affordable housing. This is one step towards that. And that’s what we expect will be delivered and we want to be able to work with others to make that happen.

Which is not as spicy as some of the comments government MPs have been giving on this. Looks like negotiations are back in the “finding common ground” space, rather than the “pointing fingers” space we have been in for the last couple of weeks.

16h ago02.30BST

Building partially collapses in blaze – as it happened (2)

Jonathan Barrett

Woolworths buys failed delivery startup Milkrun

Outside of politics, but all over the business Twitter feeds: Woolworths will resurrect collapsed fast delivery startup Milkrun, merging the company into its own app-based system.

The deal comes less than two months after Milkrun closed its operations after burning through tens of millions of dollars in funding. It was unable to make a profit from a business model designed to deliver groceries to inner-city Sydney and Melbourne customers in 20 minutes or less.

Woolworths’ rival fast delivery service, Metro60, will be rebranded to Milkrun as part of the deal that will immediately increase its customer base.

Milkrun said in a statement on Instagram: “The cat is well and truly out of the bag. Milkrun is back in the game, now powered by Woolworths Metro.”

Woolworths said orders would be filled from its Metro-branded stores. The supermarket’s Metro60 app promises grocery deliveries in under one hour.

17h ago01.57BST

PM expresses ‘utmost respect’ for Julian Leeser but says Liberals and Nationals’ voice stance preceded ‘executive government’ clause

In his speech to the house – which, unlike most of the ones he gives, he is reading pretty closely – Anthony Albanese addresses former shadow attorney general Julian Leeser’s suggestion to remove “executive government” from the question to see if that will get more of the Coalition on board.

Albanese says:

Some have suggested that we alter or remove the second clause, specifically the reference to executive government. I certainly respect the member for Berowra and his motives.

We share a passion for advancing reconciliation with First Peoples. And he has my utmost respect.

But the argument put forward is not illegal or an unconstitutional one … They are not saying that the voice should not talk to the executive government, they are just saying that it should not be included in that part in the constitution – in recognition as well, of course, that the executive government under our system, as opposed to systems such as the United States, derives its power from the parliament. From this parliament.

Instead, they want to alter the proposal in the hope of gaining more support. To that I say two things. Firstly, the changes that were made to the Garma draft and agreed to by the referendum working group are aimed precisely at reinforcing the primacy of the parliament.

Secondly, in spite of that, the Liberal party frontbench already locked themselves in to saying no before the committee process, that they called for and said was important, had even commenced its work. And the National party decided to say no before the draft question had even been finalised.

17h ago01.48BST

Building partially collapses in blaze – as it happened (3)

Christopher Knaus

‘Impossible to conclude that no other person was involved’ in Melissa Caddick’s death: NSW deputy coroner

The NSW deputy coroner says it is plausible that alleged fraudster Melissa Caddick died by suicide after a raid on her home by police and corporate regulator investigators in Sydney in November 2020.

She said:

It is certainly possible that Ms Caddick died in this manner.

But Elizabeth Ryan said the evidence was not sufficient to positively find that that was what occurred.

I have concluded that it is not possible to find Ms Caddick died from falling from the cliffs near her home with the intention of taking her own life.

Ryan has found that Caddick is deceased. She is still delivering her findings on the manner of her death.

The deputy coroner has been scathing of the evidence given by Caddick’s husband, Anthony Koletti, who she found was inconsistent and withholding information from police and the court.

She said that made it impossible to rule out that someone else was involved in her death.

His lack of candour makes it impossible to conclude that no other person was involved in Ms Caddick’s death.

17h ago01.46BST

Anthony Albanese is giving his speech on the referendum legislation debate in the house.

Most of the Labor caucus is in the room for the speech.

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