Afternoon Update: turbulence in Queensland Labor; Higgins’ mother gives evidence; and man charged over Daylesford pub crash

<span>Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP</span>
Photograph: Dan Peled/AAP

Good afternoon. As a cyclone bears down on the state’s north, Queensland Labor is experiencing its own turbulence after the sudden resignation of the premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

It’s still unclear who will replace Palaszczuk, with deputy Steven Miles sidestepping questions on whether he had the numbers to become premier. Miles is facing a challenge for the top job from Queensland’s health minister, Shannon Fentiman, who announced her candidacy this afternoon. Meanwhile, the state opposition leader, David Crisafulli, says Palaszczuk was pushed out of office by MPs vying to replace her. The Labor upheaval follows recent polling pointing to a potential LNP victory in the next state election.

Top news

  • Cyclone Jasper prompts Queensland weather warning | Residents of far north Queensland are bracing for wild weather, possible power outages, and internet and water supply disruptions with the arrival of Cyclone Jasper. The Bureau of Meteorology says the cyclone will re-intensify, potentially as a category 2 system, as it approaches the coast and it will make landfall between Cape Flattery and Cardwell, which are north and south of Cairns.

  • Brittany Higgins’ mother gives evidence in Lehrmann defamation trial | Kelly May Higgins says her daughter was “very withdrawn” and “extremely detached” after the alleged rape. She told the court she noticed a marked change in her daughter’s personality in late March and early April 2019, although it took a while for her daughter to disclose to her what was wrong. She described hearing her daughter’s allegation as having been told “a mother’s worst nightmare”. Bruce Lehrmann has denied raping Higgins.

  • Hamas warns no hostages will be released unless demands met | Hamas is seeking a deal that would include the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Meanwhile, Israel has indicated it was prepared to fight for months or longer. Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, told Israel’s Channel 12 TV that the US has set no deadline for Israel to achieve its goals.

  • Man charged over deadly Daylesford crash | A 66-year-old man from Mount Macedon has been charged over the Royal Daylesford Hotel beer garden crash that killed five people. Pratibha Sharma, 44, her daughter Anvi, 9, and partner Jatin Kumar, 30, and their friend Vivek Bhatia, 38, and his son Vihaan, 11, all died after the November crash.

  • Chemist Warehouse to list as $8.8bn giant | Chemist Warehouse plans to become a listed company through a merger with Sigma Healthcare. The Pharmacy Guild raised concerns over the proposed merger last week due to the potential impact on competition as well as community ownership of pharmacies.

  • AFL concussion rules need overhaul, coroner says | The coroner investigating the death of former AFL player Shane Tuck has recommended the AFL limit the number of contact training sessions and hire independent doctors to assess players who receive head knocks to reduce the risk of concussion. The Victorian state coroner John Cain handed down his findings into the death of Tuck today.

  • Hong Kong votes in ‘patriots’-only election | A “patriots only” district election in Hong Kong that barred opposition democrats from the ballot sheet amid a national security crackdown had a record low voter turnout of 27.5% as many voters spurned what was seen as an undemocratic poll.

  • Zelenskiy to visit Washington | The Ukrainian president is hoping to break a Senate deadlock currently blocking further aid to Ukraine. Republican senators last week blocked US$106bn in emergency aid primarily for Ukraine and Israel after conservatives balked at the exclusion of immigration reforms they had demanded as part of the package.

Full Story

Behind Australia’s pro-Palestine protests

Our reporters go behind the scenes of the growing pro-Palestine protests, speaking to organisers, participants and academics to find out what is driving this movement. Click here to listen to this 31-minute episode.

What they said …


“Appeasing Peter Dutton on migration issues hasn’t worked for the past decade and it will not work now. He will pocket whatever concessions he gets and take another giant step to the right.” – Nick McKim, Greens senator

The Greens senator was responding to the Albanese government’s plan to reduce migrant intakes by raising the bar for international students and some workers to get a visa.

In numbers

Australia Post processed a record 53.5m parcels in November – an increase of 1.4% – with fashion the most popular category followed by athleisure, footwear, sporting and outdoor goods.

Before bed read

The two Australias at Cop28: a country at odds with itself on the climate crisis – an analysis from Dubai by our climate and environment editor, Adam Morton.

Daily word game

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

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