Afternoon Update: Brittany Higgins testifies; most young Australians voted yes on voice; and ATO apologises for debt recovery letters

<span>Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP</span>
Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Good afternoon. Brittany Higgins broke down in court today as she testified, in graphic detail, about the night she alleges Bruce Lehrmann raped her.

Higgins claimed Lehrmann had been “handsy” with her at a nightclub prior to going to Parliament House, before describing the alleged sexual assault. Higgins told the defamation trial she was very intoxicated when she arrived at parliament, and that she awoke after feeling a pain in her leg and found Lehrmann on top of her “having sex with me”.

Lehrmann has repeatedly denied sexually assaulting Higgins.

Top news

Australian dollars
Australia’s CPI rose last month at an annual rate of 4.9%, which is lower than economists had forecast. Photograph: Joel Carrett/AAP
  • Inflation rate eases to 4.9% | Inflation eased sharply in October as weak consumer spending made it less likely the Reserve Bank will inflict another interest rate rise on the economy. Economists had expected CPI to come in at 5.2%.

  • Australia supports further truce extensions in Gaza | The federal government welcomed the two-day truce extension in Gaza “and supports further extensions”, but stopped short of calling for a permanent ceasefire. Meanwhile, Hamas has invited Elon Musk to visit Gaza to see the “extent of destruction” by Israeli strikes. The invitation comes after the tech billionaire accompanied the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to inspect an Israeli kibbutz that was attacked by Hamas.

  • Storm and flood warnings for east coast | The Bureau of Meteorology has warned of a thunderstorm risk for “most of the east coast” today – from south-east Queensland all the way to northern Victoria. The largest impact of the thunderstorms will be felt along the NSW south coast.

  • ATO apologises for on-hold tax debt recovery letters | The Australian Taxation Office has paused a letter campaign alerting taxpayers they have historical “on-hold” debts after conceding its communication caused “unnecessary distress”. Thousands of Australians were recently advised they had money owing – ranging from a few cents to thousands of dollars – that might be decades old and would be taken from future refunds.

Clare Nowland, 95, in an aged care home in regional NSW in May
Clare Nowland, who died after being Tasered at an aged care home. Photograph: AP
  • Charges upgraded to manslaughter in Clare Nowland death | Sr Const Kristian White, the New South Wales police officer accused of Tasering 95-year-old Clare Nowland who later died, has been charged with manslaughter after advice from the state’s director of public prosecutions. The 33-year-old officer had already been charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault after the encounter at the Cooma aged care facility.

  • Climate crisis the biggest concern for Australian teenagers | A new survey of almost 20,000 Australians aged 15-19 has found almost half consider climate change and severe weather to be an important concern, ahead of discrimination and the economy.

The superior court of justice in Belleville, Ontario, Canada
The superior court of justice in Ontario, Canada. Photograph: Lars Hagberg/Alamy
  • Canadian ‘incel’-motivated murder | A Canadian man who used a machete to murder a Toronto massage parlour employee has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing that the judge deemed to be an act of terrorism motivated by the online “incel” subculture.

  • Iowa rights groups sue over law banning LGBTQ+ books | Several families are suing to stop Iowa’s new law that bans books from school libraries, forbids teachers from raising LGBTQ+ issues and forces educators in some cases to out the gender identity of students to their parents. Republican lawmakers say the laws are designed to affirm parents’ rights and protect children.

In pictures

Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump arrive at the Rosalynn Carter memorial
Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump arrive at the Rosalynn Carter memorial. Photograph: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Rosalynn Carter memorial

Jimmy Carter, Joe Biden and former first ladies gathered on Tuesday to celebrate the former first lady Rosalynn Carter’s life after a public memorial. Click here to see the gallery.

What they said …


“I remember him (Bruce Lehrmann) on top of me. And she (Fiona Brown) … used the words ‘Oh, god’.” – Brittany Higgins told the federal court.

In numbers

Australians aged 18-24 were more than twice as likely to vote yes than those aged 75 and over, new data reveals.

Before bed read

File photo of people anxiously fidgeting their hands while sharing stories during a group therapy session
Participants in a resilience training course were asked to rate their friends and family. Photograph: fotostorm/Getty Images

Melissa Fisher believed her jobseeker payments would be cut off if she didn’t complete a resilience training course.

So the South Australian-based artist, who has a disability and has been on income support for several years, signed up. She found herself being asked to rate her friends and family, whether God played an important role in her life and if she felt grateful she had enough to eat.

At one point in the four-day course, she was shown pictures of Brad Pitt in a chicken suit to illustrate how people can go from “nothing to something”.

“I found all of it so condescending,” Fisher says of the resilience training run by WISE employment.

Read the story.

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