Afternoon Update: NSW election campaign gets messy; Uganda’s homosexuality death penalty; and polygamy killing male elephant seals

·5-min read

Yesterday the NSW election campaign was referred to in this newsletter as “dull”, and today it is anything but. Three days out from the election, the premier, Dominic Perrottet, has denied he called the health minister, Brad Hazzard, in order to receive a faster ambulance response for his sick wife. Perrottet said he only rang his colleague for health advice.

Meanwhile, two men were arrested after LGBTQ+ protesters say they were set on by “a mob” outside a church event where the NSW One Nation leader, Mark Latham, was speaking. The premier has called the violence “a disgrace”.

A teal independent is also accusing the Liberals of “deceiving” voters in a blue ribbon electorate after the party put up signs telling voters to “you can just vote one” – a reference to the fact preferential voting is not mandatory in NSW state elections.

And the day is not over yet: Perrottet will face off with the NSW Labor leader, Chris Minns, in the final leaders’ debate tonight.

Top news

  • Labor dismisses the Nationals’ ‘silly’ vaping policy | Mark Butler, the federal health minister, said the Nationals were seeking to “normalise vapes” with a “silly policy” that would relax laws on retailers selling vapes to adults. Butler said the government was considering a range of options to control the growing use of vapes among children and a burgeoning black market.

  • NT to review bail laws after weekend killing | The NT government is considering a suite of measures – including a look at bail laws and penalties for weapons offences as well as boosting police presence – after the alleged stabbing of 20-year-old bottle shop worker Declan Laverty in the Darwin suburb of Jingili on Sunday evening.

Samoa’s prime minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa and Anthony Albanese.
Samoa’s prime minister Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa and Anthony Albanese.
  • Australia, Samoa vow to work together | Anthony Albanese received Samoan PM Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa in Canberra today where the pair signed a partnership arrangement and pledged to “engage with trust”. Elsewhere in the Pacific, a Chinese firm has won a tender to redevelop the international port in Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands. Referring to the port, Fiamē mentioned the importance of recognising “the sovereign rights of countries to make decisions”. She acknowledged, however, that although “this is a commercial port … I think the fears are that it might morph into something else”.

  • Fertility apps collecting unnecessary personal data | Four of Australia’s Top 12 fertility apps are unnecessarily collecting highly sensitive information and have left the door open to selling the data to other companies, a study has found. Some were found to collect extensive data not required for the app, including diseases, financial situation, housing, safety and education level.

An Ugandan member of parliament, John Musira, in a white gown that has anti-LGBTQ+ slogans emblazoned on it.
An Ugandan member of parliament, John Musira, in a white gown that has anti-LGBTQ+ slogans emblazoned on it.
  • Uganda institutes death penalty for homosexuality | Ugandan MPs have passed a controversial anti-LGBTQ+ bill which would make homosexual acts punishable by death, attracting strong condemnation from rights campaigners. The bill marks the latest in a string of setbacks for LGBTQ+rights in Africa, where homosexuality is illegal in most countries. In Uganda, a largely conservative Christian country, homosexual sex was already punishable by life imprisonment.

  • New Zealand allows anti-trans activist to enter | Kellie-Jay Keen caused a stir in Melbourne last weekend when neo-Nazis appeared at a rally where she was speaking. That led to calls for New Zealand to revoke the British national’s permission to travel there for rallies to be held this weekend – calls that were denied by the immigration department, because she meets all the legal and regulatory criteria to enter.

  • Extreme polygamy deadly for elephant seals | The busy activities of male southern elephant seals may be driving them to an early death, new research suggests. “One huge beachmaster can have a harem of up to 100 females,” a researcher said – a huge responsibility that, apparently, not even the giants of the beach can manage.

  • Helping teens with breakups | The New Zealand government has launched a campaign to help teens get over their first loves, dubbed “Love Better”. Nearly 80% of New Zealand’s 16- to 24-year-olds have been in a relationship and 87% of those have experienced harm that went beyond the normal hurt of breaking up, according to research government commissioned in 2022.

Full Story

Brian Cherrie tying ribbons to the fence of St Patrick’s Cathedral
Brian Cherrie tying ribbons to the fence of St Patrick’s Cathedral

How the Catholic church is blocking survivor compensation claims

Some Australian Catholic orders and dioceses are trying to stop survivors’ compensation claims for clergy abuse from going ahead in cases where the alleged perpetrator has died. Listen to this 20-minute episode.

What they said …

Adam Bandt
Adam Bandt


“Why not put something in the legislation that actually requires emissions to go down so that these corporations can’t offset their way out of the crisis?” – Adam Bandt

Negotiations over the safeguard mechanism continue, with the Greens leader saying “pollution can actually go up” under the government’s current draft legislation as it will permit corporations to buy an unlimited amount of carbon offsets, as opposed to cutting emissions directly.

In numbers

The ABS has released its latest data on homelessness based on the 2021 census, with women making up the vast majority of the newly homeless.

Before bed read

Celeste Barber – the Instagram influencer who found fame by skewering celebrities – speaks to us about her first Netflix series Wellmania, which pokes fun at the wellness industry.

“Some of it might not be a fad – it might actually be quite good – but sometimes it is just bullshit. The wellness industry is like the new form of church or organised religion: a lot of people find answers in it,” Barber says.

Daily word game

Today’s starter word is: LINT. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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