Afternoon Update: PM says Coalition ‘just wrong’ on visas; ex-Ten presenter and partner missing; and can you remember these ‘best picture’ films?

<span>Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese speaks to media.</span><span>Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP</span>
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese speaks to media.Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Welcome, readers, to Afternoon Update.

Anthony Albanese has rejected Coalition criticism of the process for issuing more than 2,000 visas to Palestinians fleeing Gaza. It comes after the Coalition’s home affairs spokesperson, James Paterson, questioned how “we can be doing adequate checks on the ground” given the situation in Gaza. The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, made similar criticisms today.

The prime minister said the claims were “just wrong”. “The checks are exactly the same as what was in place under the former government,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Croghan, an Australian logistics expert currently working for Médecins Sans Frontières at a hospital in Rafah, has given a first-hand glimpse of the situation. “Everyone here is struggling, and it is a situation where we have victims caring for victims,” Croghan said. It comes as the city braces for the possibility of a “catastrophic” Israeli ground offensive.

  • Taekwondo instructor charged with triple murder in western Sydney | Kwang Kyung Yoo, 49, was charged on Wednesday night as he remained under police guard at Westmead hospital. He is accused of murdering a 41-year-old woman and her seven-year-old son at his taekwondo school in North Parramatta on Monday night. Police allege he then took the woman’s white BMW to Baulkham Hills where he allegedly fatally stabbed the 39-year-old father of the child. Yoo did not apply for bail at his first court mention.

  • Search for ex-Ten presenter Jesse Baird and partner Luke Davies | New South Wales police are investigating the suspicious disappearance of former Network Ten presenter Jesse Baird and his partner, Luke Davies, from Sydney’s eastern suburbs after bloody items were found in a skip bin. Police said Baird, 26, and 29-year-old Davies who works for Qantas, were both last seen in Paddington on Monday.

  • More detectives called in to search for Samantha Murphy | Victoria police have said there were suspicions about her disappearance and on Thursday confirmed more detectives have been called in to help with the search effort. Experienced detectives from a number of units across the force’s crime and counter-terrorism command were deployed to join the missing persons squad, which is leading the investigation.

  • Former Broome bishop charged with historical child sexual abuse offences | Christopher Saunders has been charged over historical child sexual abuse allegations. The charges include two counts of sexual penetration without consent, 14 counts of unlawful and indecent assault and three counts of indecently dealing with a child aged 16 to 18 as a person in authority. Saunders was refused bail, but denies the accusations.

  • Extreme fire conditions across Victoria as Melbourne prepares to swelter | Victoria’s emergency services are preparing for extreme fire conditions, with Melbourne expected to reach 38C and temperatures of more than 40C forecast for other parts of the state. Hot weather is forecast through Thursday before storms are expected to bring 80km/h winds and dry lightning in the afternoon.

  • Sergeant has ‘no excuse’ for using racist term in text to Zachary Rolfe, inquest hears | Northern Territory police sergeant Lee Bauwens told the inquest into Kumanjayi Walker’s death that there was no excuse for the message he sent to Rolfe four months before Walker was killed at the remote community of Yuendumu. Rolfe, who shot Walker dead during a bungled arrest in November 2019, was later acquitted with his murder by the NT supreme court. Rolfe is expected to give evidence at the inquest next week.

  • Deadly land disputes in PNG highlands | In the lush highlands of Papua New Guinea, tribes are engaged in a bloody conflict that this week left dozens killed in a massacre. An ambush between warring tribes attracted global attention to battles that have been raging, on and off, for years. But as the province struggles with the spread of high-powered weapons and deep tribal divisions, some feel a sense of helplessness as they wonder how and if the bloodshed can end.

  • Helen Mirren says no one remembers which films won the Oscar for best picture | “Do you remember who won best film of the year before last?” the actor said in an interview, shrugging off Barbie’s Oscar snubs. Challenge accepted, Mirren. Test your best picture knowledge here.

In video

From Woolworths CEO to the Wolf of Wall Street: a history of Australian interview walkouts – video

From Mal Meninga’s short-lived political career to the Woolworths CEO, Brad Banducci, calling time on an interview with the ABC’s Four Corners, Guardian Australia takes a look at some famous tantrums.

What they said …


“Diversity, I think, is in and of itself a good thing to have on the board.” – Dr Richard Denniss

The Australia Institute executive director, Dr Richard Denniss, told a Senate hearing of the need for a more representative Reserve Bank board made up of more than just business and economic figures.

In numbers

A damning report into bus services in New South Wales says $10bn is needed over the next four decades to boost the network, which has huge gaps in Sydney’s western suburbs where population growth is strongest.

Before bed read

‘Nature will have her way’: how a desolate Perth shopping mall has been transformed into a sprawling wetland

Perth festival is offering a last chance to spend time in the abandoned Carillon City before it is demolished. It’s not as you remember it. Wetland and Light Event are free to the public until 3 March as part of Perth festival.

Daily word game

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

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