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Shock move for Australia’s Government

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Barnaby Joyce has reportedly taken over the National Party’s leadership from Michael McCormack

The Nationals whip Damian Drum has confirmed that Barnaby Joyce will be Australia’s new deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party.

The Nationals dumped current deputy PM Michael McCormack despite support from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Joyce had previously been leader of the Nationals until he resigned in 2018. He stepped down from politics amid a sexual harassment allegation, which was unable to come to any conclusion.

Sexual harassment allegations

This comes after Catherine Marriott lodged a complaint of sexual harassment against the former vice PM, which remains inconclusive.

The NSW Nationals issued a brief statement confirming the party had finalised the investigation, which would remain confidential.

“This outcome simply isn’t good enough,” says Mariott.

Joyce has continued to deny the claims,calling them “spurious and defamatory”.

Catherine Mariott is the Chief Executive Officer of Riverine Plains, an independent farming systems group

Tamil Asylum Seeker family

This comes after Barnaby Joyce slammed his own party over the treatment of the Tamil asylum seeker family, who have been detained in detention for over three years.

Three-year-old Tharnicaa Murugappan was medically evacuated to Perth to be treated for a blood infection last week.

‘Tharnicaa and Kopika were born in Australia,’ he said on Sunrise on Monday. 

‘Maybe if their names were Jane and Sally and they were playing the local netball side, we’d think twice about sending them back to another country which they’re not from.

What’s Barnaby Joyce’s stance on climate?

In 2019, Barnaby Joyce suggested ‘God is the solution to climate change‘, urging Australians to ‘respect God’s plan’.

Joyce was a leading campaigner against the former Labor government’s attempts to tax carbon as a way to bring down Australia’s emissions. He claimed claiming so would ‘send the cost of a Sunday roast to $100.’

“Now you don’t have to convince me that the climate’s not changing, it is changing and my problem’s always been whether you believe a new tax is going to change it back,” he said.

This position comes in contrast to former deputy PM Michael McCormack, who has previously said Australia must “absolutely” take more action on climate.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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Ukraine expects Russian offensive this month

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Ukraine expects a possible major Russian offensive this month, but Kyiv has the reserves to hold back Moscow’s forces even though the latest Western military supplies will not all arrive in time

 
Russia could launch the new attack for ‘symbolic’ reasons around the first anniversary of its invasion, but its resources are not ready from a military point of view, Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov told a news conference.

“Despite everything, we expect a possible Russian offensive in February. This is only from the point of view of symbolism; it’s not logical from a military view. Because not all of their resources are ready. But they’re doing it anyway,” he said.

Russian forces have been making incremental advances in the east as Moscow tries to capture the embattled city of Bakhmut and revive its faltering invasion after a string of battlefield setbacks in the second half of last year.

Reznikov said the offensive would likely be launched in the east – where Russia is trying to capture all the heavily-industrialised Donbas region – or the south where it wants to widen its land corridor to the occupied peninsula of Crimea.

He estimated that Russia had 12,000 troops in Belarusian military bases, a number that would not be enough to launch a significant attack from Belarus into Ukraine’s north, reopening a new front.

The United States and other Western governments have pledged billions of dollars in new military assistance including tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to help Ukraine withstand a new attack as well as to help Kyiv launch a counteroffensive.

“Not all of the Western weaponry will arrive in time. But we are ready. We have created our resources and reserves, which we are able to deploy and with which we are able to hold back the attack,” Reznikov said.

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China describes spy balloon saga as ‘overreaction’

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China has strongly opposed the U.S. approach to the suspected spy balloon that was shot down – describing it as an overreaction

 
They also once again explained that this was a civilian airship that was simply monitoring the weather and was blown astray into US airspace.

These are claims that Washington have disputed.

It has been interesting to watch China’s reaction throughout this affair.

On Friday, when they first admitted that this balloon belonged to them, Beijing were apologetic and said they regretted how it had ended up in US territory.

It was an uncharacteristic approach from China who are usually more aggressive in these statements.

But as time passed, Beijing’s tone changed and they started to accuse U.S. politicians and the media of using this incident as a way of attacking China.

This affair has now renewed tensions between these two global superpowers, with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken cancelling his much-anticipated trip to Beijing at the last minute.

Although his visit was largely seen as symbolic – as opposed to making any substantive policy breakthroughs – it was still seen as another big step in repairing relations between China and the U.S.

Instead, face-to-face talks have been cancelled and it looks likely that it will now be some time before Secretary Blinken makes the journey to Beijing.

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Blaze burns down Buddhist temple in Australia

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A massive blaze burnt down a Buddhist temple in Australia

Footage shows fire engulfing Melbourne’s Bright Moon Buddhist Society Temple on Sunday evening.

More than 80 firefighters battled the blaze into the night as the fire quickly spread throughout the building.

It’s not yet known if anyone was inside when the fire started.

Roads in the surrounding area are closed as investigations into the cause of the fire are underway.

The temple is understood to draw thousands of visitors to the area each year.

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