Daily News Roundup

September 25, 2018

Image: ABC News

FRIDAY, September 21

Indigenous people and culture would be celebrated on a new public holiday, under an idea being floated by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The proposal comes amid renewed debate over national celebrations being held on January 26, the date the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove, writes ABC Political reporter Dan Conifer.

The Prime Minister rejected calls to move the date of Australia Day, and instead suggested it would be “good to have a chat” about the concept of a new public holiday with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, along with states.

“It should be a day for celebrating and acknowledging and respecting our Indigenous peoples … and what they’ve been able to achieve over 60,000 years-plus,” Mr Morrison told Channel Seven.

While not nominating a date for the new public holiday, Mr Morrison noted the ACT now holds a Reconciliation Day public holiday on May 28, which marks the anniversary of the successful 1967 Indigenous referendum.

“We don’t have to pull Australia Day down to actually recognise the achievements of Indigenous Australia, the oldest living culture in the world; the two can coexist,” Mr Morrison said.

Government frontbencher Ken Wyatt, an Aboriginal man from Western Australia, backed the idea and suggested holding the event during NAIDOC Week in July.

“This is something I’d raised previously with a former prime minister and even suggested, during NAIDOC week we should have a celebratory public holiday in which we recognise the oldest continuing living culture,” he said.

The Federal Government has stripped Byron Shire Council of its right to hold citizenship ceremonies after the local government moved its Australia Day ceremony forward by a day.

Three Melbourne councils last year decided to stop holding future celebrations on January 26, and were similarly stripped of their powers.

Yesterday, commenting on Twitter about the Byron Shire Council’s decision, the Prime Minister insisted January 26 remained a day to reflect on the nation’s modern history and said “indulgent self-loathing” would not make Australia any stronger.

Being honest about the past does. Our modern Aus nation began on January 26, 1788. That’s the day to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, become, still to achieve. We can do this sensitively, respectfully, proudly, together.

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Teenagers from 14 to 19 will be eligible for free vaccines against four strains of the deadly meningococcal disease under a new program to be announced today.

More than one million teenagers will be eligible for the vaccinations against A, C,W and Y meningococcal strains over the next four years at a cost to the Federal Government on $52 million, reports Jenelle Miles in The Courier Mail.

But a vaccine against the meningococcal B strains will not be funded after being rejected by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) three times.

So far this year, 40 Queenslanders have been diagnosed with meningococcal infection compared with 69 cases for the whole of 2017.

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US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has said he will not step aside after a second woman accused him of sexual misconduct decades ago, with President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans showing no signs of relenting in their push for his Senate confirmation.

“I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process,” Mr Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge nominated by Mr Trump in July for a lifetime job on the top US court, wrote in a letter to the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee, which is overseeing the confirmation process.

“The coordinated effort to destroy my good name will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. The last minute character assassination will not succeed,” he wrote.

The allegations, dating to the 1980s, have put in jeopardy Mr Kavanaugh’s chances of winning confirmation in a Senate narrowly controlled by Mr Trump’s party, with high-stakes congressional elections just weeks away.

The committee has scheduled a hearing for Thursday to hear from Mr Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, a university professor who last week accused him of sexual assault in 1982.

A second woman, Deborah Ramirez, accused him in an article published in the New Yorker magazine on Sunday of sexual misconduct during the 1983-84 academic year when both attended Yale University.

Mr Kavanaugh and his Republican allies portrayed the allegations, which the judge has denied, as part of a “smear campaign” by Democrats who have fought his nomination from the outset.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made clear that no matter what happens at the hearing, the full Senate will vote on Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

 

This daily news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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