Afternoon Update: MPs react to Asio claims; Greens protest Philippines president; Wonka rip-off’s forebears

afternoon update: mps react to asio claims; greens protest philippines president; wonka rip-off’s forebears

Australia’s former treasurer and US ambassador Joe Hockey has called it ‘absurd ’ that the Asio boss won’t name the former politician working with foreign spies. Photograph: Lukas Coch/EPA

Welcome, readers, to Afternoon Update.

Following yesterday’s revelation that a former Australian politician had been recruited by foreign spies, MPs and senators both past and present have spent much of the day undertaking a moral stocktake of sorts resulting in several different positions on the topic.

Australia’s former treasurer and US ambassador Joe Hockey, for one, has called for the former politician to be named, deeming them “a traitor”.

On the other side of things, Liberal senator James Paterson, who allegedly has a “fair idea” of who it is, says it’s not necessary for the former politician to be publicly named – a position shared by defence minister Richard Marles. The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, is in the same camp saying he respects Asio chief Mike Burgess’s decision and “I don’t intend to second-guess it”.

Top news

    MPs protest the Philippines president as Albanese announces ‘strategic partnership’ | The arrival of Ferdinand Marcos Jr at parliament today has been met with mixed responses. Several MPs staged a protest, including Greens senator Janet Rice, who commented it was a “grave mistake to give legitimacy to President Marcos Jr”, while prime minister Anthony Albanese celebrated a newly signed “strategic partnership” between the two counties.

    Alleged murder of Jesse Baird by Beau Lamarre was premeditated, NSW police claim | Assistant police commissioner alleges Lamarre bought a single surfboard bag ahead of last week’s shootings. NSW police now believe that Luke Davis, Bairds partner, was not initially a target, and was killed due to his “presence” at the house.

    Victorian premier confirms annual iftar dinner cancelled | Victorian premier Jacinta Allan has confirmed the annual iftar dinner has been cancelled after Muslim peak bodies said they would boycott the event over Victorian Labor’s stance on Israel. The decision comes after Australia’s peak Muslim bodies also rejected an invitation to attend a NSW iftar dinner. Allan has since comment that she will commemorate iftar with “private occasions”.

    Donald Trump barred from Illinois primary ballot | Former US president Donald Trump has announced he will appeal a ruling from an Illinois state judge that saw him removed from the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot. Judge Tracie Porter cited the events of January 6 as the reason, but has delayed her ruling from coming into effect, given the expected appeal from Trump.

    Biden deemed ‘fit for duty’ after annual physical | Joe Biden continues to be able to fully execute all his responsibilities, according to a summary of his annual physical performed by his doctor. Biden’s health is under scrutiny due to the upcoming elections even as the physician declares the 81-year-old “active, healthy, robust”.

    First North Korea spy satellite is ‘alive’ | Changes in orbit of North Korea’s spy satellite Malligyong-1 suggest Pyongyang is successfully manoeuvring the satellite, say space experts. North Korea successfully launched the rocket into orbit in November. Pyongyang’s state media claimed it has photographed sensitive military and political sites in South Korea, however for now its capabilities remain unknown.

    Euphoria star Hunter Schafer arrested at pro-Palestine | The 25-year-old actor was among 30 demonstrators taken into custody during Joe Biden’s appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, organisers confirmed. Schafer and other protesters wore black shirts reading “Ceasefire Now” and “Not in Our Name” while chanting “Let Gaza live” and other slogans as Biden’s motorcade pulled into the area

    Trump Jr fans still waiting for refund to delayed Australian shows | Some Australian fans who paid for tickets to Donald Trump Jr’s delayed Australian tour are still waiting for refunds, with one fan saying the organiser has failed to respond to emails for close to a month. Organisers said in September that the event had been postponed because of a “scheduling conflict” with Trump Jr. In early December, ticket holders received another email stating the event would be moved to 2024. “Now it’s just incommunicado … ,” says one frustrated ticket holder.

    Before Wonka: the original rip-off events that left children in tears | Willy’s Chocolate Experience is a challenger for the worst immersive off-brand experience of all time. But Fortnite Live Norwich and Santas Winter Village in Adelaide were the pioneers, writes Stuart Heritage.

In pictures

Australia’s best photos of the month – February 2024

Swiftmania at the Eras concert tour, dirt bikes, pet pugs and dumpster diving: here is Guardian Australia’s selection of the most striking shots from last month.

What they said …


“The time for Australia to show leadership on the international stage … ACFID is calling on the Australian government to prioritise the humanitarian need in Gaza, recognise UNRWA’s commitment to neutrality and immediately reinstate its $6m aid package. It is the right thing to do.” – The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) CEO, Marc Purcell.

Australia Council for International Development urges government to reinstate UNRWA funding. The federal government has suspended $6m in funding it announced earlier this year, following allegations from Israel UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attack.

In numbers

A parliamentary inquiry has found that current income support rates – ranging from $43 and $54 a day – fail to cover rising living costs. The Greens-chaired panel wants base rate of income support payments lifted to $88 per day.

Before bed read

After sifting through monuments of childhood, Margaret McNally realised it was time to confront her own belongings – and those of her late husband.

Daily word game

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

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