Australia news LIVE: Israel-Hamas ceasefire extended; Lehrmann trial continues
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- Lehrmann cross-examination to continue today
- Israel, Hamas agree to extend ceasefire
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Analysis: Pezzullo’s fallen empire nothing to be missed
Home Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo was sacked yesterday following an independent investigation into allegations he used his power for personal and political gain.
Michael Pezzullo will not return as Home Affairs chief.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
Our investigative reporter Nick McKenzie has penned an analysis piece looking at the future of the department he helped create and its impact on the government. He writes:
“Before he was sacked on Monday, there were murmurings in Canberra that Labor would rue the anticipated departure of fallen public service chief Michael Pezzullo. The argument went that Pezzullo is indispensable because of his unique ability to manage a security crisis, such as the recent order by the High Court that immigration detainees with criminal records be released into the community.
“This simplistic view ignores the fact that, while the hawkish Pezzullo can take much credit for running Operation Sovereign Borders and other hardline border security operations, the Home Affairs empire he built and oversaw never worked as intended and has failed at critical junctures.
“As a result of these departmental failings, organised criminals have slipped into Australia and stayed here for far too long; women have been trafficked and exploited as part of an underground sex trade; pockets of the international education sector and Home Affairs’ regulated migration agents’ industry have hosted entrenched corruption.”
Read the full piece by Nick McKenzie.
Lehrmann cross-examination to continue today
Now to the Federal Court in Sydney, where Bruce Lehrmann will face another day of cross-examination starting later this morning.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s chief reporter Jordan Baker observed yesterday’s proceedings in the defamation case the former federal Liberal political staffer has brought against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson. She writes:
Bruce Lehrmann often refers to struggles with his “headspace” amid the fallout from Brittany Higgins’ sexual assault allegations. He says he resorted to cocaine because he was spiralling. “I was in a pretty bad place,” he told the court.
So one can only imagine what was going on in his head as he braced for Kings Counsel Matt Collins to rake over his every move on Monday, picking apart closed-circuit footage of his movements, texts with his boss, and pages of messages with his friends.
In an intense day of questioning … Collins walked the political staffer-turned-law student through deep detail of two of the worst days of his life.
The day he was told to leave then-defence industry minister Linda Reynolds’ office in disgrace, and the day he realised Higgins had gone to journalists with allegations she was raped in Parliament House and they had worked out she was talking about him.
While Higgins is expected to give evidence later this week, Lehrmann will return to the stand at 10.15am today.
We’ll bring you the link to watch the cross-examination later this morning. In the meantime, read Jordan Baker’s full report.
Israel, Hamas agree to extend ceasefire
Sticking with that final topic of the Israel-Hamas conflict, where the two parties have agreed to extend their ceasefire for an extra two days.
It continues a pause in seven weeks of fighting that have killed thousands and laid waste to the Palestinian enclave. The deal, brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, was announced just hours before the original four-day truce was due to expire early this morning (AEDT).
Egyptian Red Crescent workers load humanitarian aids, from Saudi Arabia on its way to Gaza Strip.Credit: AP
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said that under the deal, more hostages taken by the militant Hamas group in raids on Israel on October 7 would be released and dozens more trucks carrying aid would be allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip.
Kirby, said he wanted to see a further pause in the fighting after the additional two days had elapsed, confirmed 20 more women and children would be handed over by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
He revealed US President Joe Biden had personally worked on the extension during a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overnight.
Asked if the pause could enable Hamas to regroup and launch fresh attacks on Israel, Kirby said that was a real risk.
“This is a calculated risk that Prime Minister Netanyahu is willing to take in order to get those hostages out, so it’s a balance,” he said.
More than 13,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza, according to Hamas-run organisations, while 1200 Israelis have died, mostly in the initial October 7 attack by Hamas.
Read the full report here. We’ll bring you further updates as they occur today.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning, and thanks for joining us today.
It’s Tuesday, November 28. I’m Michael Fowler, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.
Here’s what you need to know before we get started:
- The decision by ex-Home Affairs boss Michael Pezzullo to hand a contract to a firm without declaring it was owned by his lobbyist friend was among the conduct that led to his dismissal.
- Disposable vapes won’t be allowed into Australia from New Year’s Day under a bold plan to stop a new generation becoming addicted to nicotine.
- A new committee report suggests federal parliament should be expanded by up to 49 extra MPs and the threshold to declare donations should drop from $16,300 to $1000.
- Former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty has joined teal independents in calling for additional funding and action against family violence.
- In NSW, the state government will force councils to lift long-standing bans on building terraces, townhouses and two-storey apartments in a major housing density push.
- In Victoria, many development projects are facing delays of up to five months after the collapse of an Indigenous land council that was investigated over fraud allegations.
- And in overseas news, more details are emerging of the conditions experienced by hostages kept and now released by Hamas.
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