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Senate Inquiry pushes for Press Freedom in Australia

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Australia’s Press freedom inquiry requests Australian Government proves actual harm by journalists publishing classified information

Australian Government agencies should have to prove “real and serious” harm caused by any publication that contains classified intelligence and information before a criminal investigation can be launched, according to a Senate committee investigating press freedom in Australia.

The inquiry which has been dominated by Labor and Greens senators, and chaired by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, has been demanding an urgent review of national security legislation, finding a culture of secrecy has permeated through the current government.

Hanson-Young says the call to action was sparked back in 2019, after the Australian Federal Police raided the Canberra home of then News Corp political journalist Annika Smethurst and the Sydney headquarters of the ABC over separate stories based on leaked classified documents.

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young chaired an inquiry into press freedom. / Photo: AP

The raid sparked anger across the Australian media and brought disparate publishers and broadcasters together under a campaign banner that demanded greater protections for journalists and whistleblowers.

No charges were made against Ms Smethurst or the ABC journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, despite police investigations dragging on for many years.

In its final report determined current legislation that protects secret information was far too broad, and “capture[d] a range of ordinary journalistic activity”

AFP officers entering the ABC headquarters in 2019 as part of an investigation into leaks / Photo: ABC

“It’s a really worrying sign, we need press freedom in this country to ensure Government accountability and a robust democracy”

Sarah Hanson-Young told Ticker News

The Greens Senator says that journalists in Australia deserve press freedom – and Aussies deserve to know the truth, ‘especially with what is happening in Government.’

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Global Politics

“I did what I came to do”: Everything you need to know from Biden-Putin summit

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It’s the talk the world was waiting for. U.S President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have completed the “first meeting of its kind” since 2018. Here’s the top 5 outcomes you need to know:

1. The US is not against Russia… but for the American people

The summit is being viewed as a milestone event for the two nations, with relations between Russia and the US at an all-time low.

Biden says his agenda is “not against Russia”, but the President is working to defend the American public and America’s democracy.

Biden says “it’s always better to meet face-to-face” and both leaders praised the talks, but it is seen as just a small step towards mending the fractured diplomatic relationship.

Bruce Wolpe, Ticker’s US political contributor and a visiting fellow at the U-S Studies Centre says the world seems “a little bit safer now”.

“If both men understand each other, the chance of making mistakes and things getting out of hand, because they don’t know what the other side is doing… has diminished,” Wolpe told Ticker NEWS.

Bruce Wolpe, Ticker’s US political contributor

2. The road to mending fractured diplomatic relations

The leaders began with discussions about nuclear arms control and agreed that they would both return ambassadors to each other’s capitals.

The Russian and American envoys were withdrawn in March following allegations that Russia meddled in the US election.

When the meeting wrapped up, both leaders praised the talks, but it is seen as just a small step towards mending the fractured diplomatic relationship.

Putin says Biden is “an experienced statesman” and believes the two leaders “spoke the same language”.

Biden says Russia does not want “another cold war”, and there is now a genuine prospect to improve relations.

“if progress can be made because russia is cooperating, that will set a good tone for the next couple of years”

3. Cyber attacks: What President Biden told Putin was ‘off-limits’

Putin says most hackers are based out of the United States, with Biden responding by saying that his country’s critical infrastructure, like water and energy, is “off-limits”.

Putin says his talks with President Biden were “quite constructive,” and that they reached an agreement on cyber security.

Lester Munson, a Senior Fellow at the National Security Institute told TickerNEWS LIVE that following recent ransomeware attacks, cyber security is one of America’s biggest threats.

Lester Munson, a Senior Fellow at the National Security institute.

However, it’s important to mention that cyber security isn’t the most critical threat and the senior fellow says Putin has another agenda.

munson on putin’s agenda as a world leader.

In the past week, Putin has described Donald Trump as an extraordinary and talented individual.

Munson says Biden has done a ‘better job’ than Trump to “be on the global stage of diplomacy”.

Munson says biden has “a leg up” on the global stage

4. The west doesn’t listen to Russia enough

Putin wanted to make it clear that Russia remains a world leader and is an important country with an economy that still matters to the United States and to the world, and that’s why President Biden arranged the meeting.

Emeritus Professor from La trobe university Joseph Camilleri who says the West doesn’t listen to Russia enough.

Camilleri says the West hears very little about putin’s agenda.

5. What does this mean for the rest of the world?

Firstly, Biden believes Russia is “being squeezed by china” and it is in Putin’s best interest to engage in a productive relationship with America.

When discussing the fate of Alexi Navalny, Putin says the Russian opposition leader “ignored the law” and denied accusations that he was poisoned by Russian officials.

Biden was also asked why he thought Russia would have any desire to cooperate with the US.

On this, Biden says Russia is in a “very difficult spot right now”, and the country is trying to stay relevant and remain a major power.

The US president was also pressed by reporters who asked why he is so confident that Putin’s behaviour will change.

Wolpe says the message Biden is sending is showcasing “what the United States is all about”

“Both countries need to regard themselves as being on an equal footing,”

PROFESSOR Camilleri.

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Global Politics

China launches crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12 in historic mission

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China has marked a major moment in space history

Launching a spacecraft carrying three astronauts, the mission is now on to complete the country’s space station by the end of next year.

It will be the longest stay in low Earth orbit by any Chinese national.

As part of its plans to have a fully crewed space station by December 2022, China successfully launched the first core module earlier this year.

There is no official announcement yet on when the other sections of the space station will launch, but the module is expected to operate for at least 10 years.

Chinese astronauts have long been excluded from the international space station, due to US political objections and legal restrictions.

The three-month stay for the three men will be the longest for any Chinese astronauts, and one focus will be seeing how they handle their relatively long time in orbit.

During their sojourn on the cylinder-like Tianhe, slightly bigger than a bus, the three men will test the module’s technologies, including its life-support system.

The Tianhe, which means “Harmony of the Heavens”, is a cylinder 16.6 metres long and 4.2 metres in diameter.

The men will also be monitored for how they fare in space physically and psychologically for an extended period of time.

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Global Politics

Hong Kong police raid pro-democracy newspaper

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Hong Kong police storm the Apple Daily headquarters.

Hong Kong police have raided a pro-democracy newspaper.

200 police carried out a search warrant and 200 entered the Apple Daily headquarters. Police arrested the chief executive, the editor and three other senior executives.

The government says police arrested four men and one woman aged between 47 and 63 for “suspected contravention”, of the nation’s security law.

Police made the arrests on suspicion of collusion with a “foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”.

200 Hong Kong police officers arrested five senior executives. Image: Apple Daily.

Meanwhile, this is the second time that police have searched the building. The company’s founder Jimmy Lai, was recently arrested for national security violations. Mr Lai is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence.

The raid follows arrests made at the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last month.

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