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- Biden pulls rank over China as Australia’s better ally in the Pacific
- Israeli troops raid Gaza as Arab ministers condemn bombardment
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Secret report warns there is no safe level for killer stone
Australia’s workplace safety watchdog is warning that no level of silica is safe for tradies in engineered stone products used to make kitchen benchtops, as NSW Premier Chris Minns flagged the state was prepared to go it alone on an all-out ban.
Leaked excerpts of a confidential report call for a blanket ban on engineered stone as there is no evidence lower levels of cancer-causing crystalline silica will be any safer for stonemasons cutting the popular stone slabs, and such levels could even give them a false sense of security.
Unionists outside Parliament House in Sydney yesterday demand a ban on engineered stone.Credit: Rhett Wyman
Minns said he had not read the Safe Work Australia report commissioned by state and federal workplace ministers in February but had been briefed on its key recommendation, indicating his government would be prepared to lead the way on a ban if a national meeting of workplace ministers in Canberra on Friday was unable to reach consensus.
“Major changes are coming,” Minns said yesterday.
“I want to see the national report, and then we’ll have more to say if we can’t get a national agreement.
More on this issue here.
Biden pulls rank over China as Australia’s better ally in the Pacific
US President Joe Biden has tightened the American alliance with Australia in a series of pacts on commerce and foreign policy while warning about the dangers posed by China less than two weeks before Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visits Beijing.
Biden welcomed Albanese to the White House with a call for a stronger alliance that would defend the “international rules of the road” in areas such as maritime security, singling out China for provoking disputes with neighbours in the South China Sea.
US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Albanese in the White House rose garden.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
Positioning the US as Australia’s most reliable partner, the president revealed a private conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping to declare that America was committed to security in Asia despite the growing pressures from conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Sitting alongside Albanese in the Oval Office on Wednesday (US time) while speaking to the press, Biden said Xi had asked him why the US worked so closely with Australia and said he had replied: “Because we’re a Pacific nation.”
Continue reading about the visit here.
Israeli troops raid Gaza as Arab ministers condemn bombardment
Turning to the situation in the Middle East, Israeli ground forces mounted a raid into Gaza overnight to attack Hamas targets.
It comes amid growing anger across the Arab world over Israel’s relentless bombardment of the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza on Thursday.Credit: AP
The operation took place after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said its troops were still preparing for a full ground invasion, while the United States and other countries urged Israel to delay such action, fearing it could ignite hostilities on other fronts in the Middle East.
The UN agency providing aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza said it may have to shut down operations very soon if no fuel reaches the Hamas-ruled territory amid a desperate need for shelter, water, food and medical services.
Here’s the full story, from Reuters.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning, and thanks for your company.
It’s Friday, October 27. 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:
- US President Joe Biden has tightened the American alliance with Australia in a series of pacts on commerce and foreign policy, during Anthony Albanese’s visit to the US.
- The OECD has used its first review of Australian policy settings in two years to urge governments to consider more tax on super, an expanding GST and looser zoning laws.
- New analysis shows rooftop solar would cut the average default electricity bill by about 39 per cent in Victoria and 48 per cent in NSW.
- Australia’s workplace safety watchdog is warning that no level of silica is safe for tradies in engineered stone products.
- A judge found Bruce Lehrmann’s bid to avoid being identified in a Queensland rape case on mental health grounds was undermined by his comments in several national TV interviews.
- The Australian government has committed another $15 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza, which has so far been used to fund water tanks and body bags in Gaza hospitals.
- In other overseas news, police searched for a US Army reservist wanted for murder after 18 people were killed and 13 were wounded in shooting attacks in Maine.
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