Australia news LIVE: Albanese backs AUKUS leap in defence capability; Voice to parliament debate continuesFebruary 21, 2023
- Australia’s intelligence boss warns of ‘spy hives’
- AUKUS ‘the single biggest leap’ in defence capability
- Rent shock ahead as warnings grow of bust in new home market
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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New quake brings fresh losses to residents in Turkey, Syria
And turning to the latest news out of Turkey and Syria, where a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the region on Monday.
The earthquake that struck had its epicentre in the Defne district of Turkey’s Hatay province, which was of the area’s worst affected by the February 6 magnitude 7.8 quake that killed nearly 46,000 people in the two countries.
A destroyed mosque is seen amid the rubble of destroyed buildings on in Hatay.Credit:Getty
Turkey’s disaster management authority, AFAD, said the latest quake killed six people and injured 294 others, including 18 who were in critical condition.
In Syria, a woman and a girl died as a result of panic during the earthquake in the provinces of Hama and Tartus, pro-government media said.
Monday’s quake was felt in Jordan, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt.
A magnitude 5.8 quake followed, along with dozens of aftershocks.
The White Helmets, northwest Syria’s civil defence organisation, said about 190 people suffered injuries in rebel-held areas and that several flimsy buildings collapsed, but there were no reports of anyone trapped under the debris.
Australia’s intelligence boss warns of ‘spy hives’
Staying with national security, where the head of ASIO warned Australians to be vigilant as he revealed the nation was experiencing the highest level of foreign interference and espionage in its history.
In his latest annual threat assessment – the first since the federal election in May 2022 – Burgess also revealed his agency had disrupted and deported a “hive of spies” in the past 12 months who had recruited proxies and agents as part of a broader goal to steal sensitive information.
ASIO director Mike Burgess warns that Australia is facing its highest level of foreign interference ever. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
He said the hive was bigger and more dangerous than a nest of spies dismantled several years ago and reported by ASIO, saying he had decided to highlight the case to “dispel any sense that espionage is some romantic Cold War notion”.
Further details available here.
AUKUS ‘the single biggest leap’ in defence capability
Australia must cement a far-reaching alliance on nuclear-powered submarines to ensure its security at a time of profound uncertainty in the region, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will declare in a speech on Wednesday defending the $100 billion pact with the United States and the United Kingdom.
Taking on critics who say the deal will weaken Australian sovereignty, the prime minister will preview an unclassified version of the government’s defence review by positioning the AUKUS alliance as a crucial step that is much larger than the submarine proposal to be revealed within weeks.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will preview an unclassified version of the defence review.Credit:Getty
But he will pledge to develop more local defence manufacturing to avoid relying on foreign allies to deliver the ships, submarines and weapons needed to defend the country, promising to reveal the major details before the May 9 budget.
More on this issue here.
Rent shock ahead as warnings grow of bust in new home market
The housing industry fears new home construction will tumble to its lowest levels in a decade as the Reserve Bank drives up interest rates, while tenants have been warned national rents could soar more than 11 per cent over the coming 12 months.
As minutes of the Reserve’s latest board meeting showed it considered hitting borrowers with a 0.5 percentage point lift in rates this month, analysis by St George suggests renters may have to pay an extra $10 billion to their landlords this year in a move that would slow the overall economy.
Higher interest rates are contributing to problems for tenants, with St George predicting another 11.5 per cent jump in rents.Credit:Peter Rae
The RBA has come under fire since its February 7 meeting, when it raised the cash rate by 0.25 percentage points and flagged further increases over the coming months to bring inflation under control. Financial markets expect the cash rate to hit 4.1 per cent by the middle of the year.
The full story is available here.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning, and thanks for your company.
It’s Wednesday, February, 22. I’m Caroline Schelle, 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 AUSKUS alliance and nuclear-powered submarines are key to ensure security in the region, according to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
- Staying with national security, the ASIO boss has said the country is experiencing its highest level of foreign interference and espionage ever.
- Abuse and neglect of Australians with a disability costs $46 billion a year, according to an analysis published by the disability royal commission.
- There are also fears new home construction will fall to the lowest level in a decade as the RBA drives up interest rates.
- Turning to news overseas, where Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of starting the war in Ukraine.
- And in an update to the devastating situation in Turkey and Syria, where at least six people died and hundreds injured.
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