Daily News Roundup

November 28, 2018

Sydney weather sparks road chaos, as drivers rescued and flash flooding inundates homes

NSW Police have lashed Sydney’s “idiotic” drivers as the biggest November downpour in more than three decades wreaked havoc on the Harbour City’s roads.

Key points:

  • Parts of Sydney received more than 100mm of rain this morning
  • The rain is expected to return this afternoon
  • NSW police are urging Sydneysiders to avoid driving if they can

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy warned people to avoid getting behind the wheel, as torrential rain cut Parramatta Road near Concord and closed westbound lanes on the ANZAC Bridge.

A female police officer was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in a serious condition after a tree fell on her while she was trying to help motorists trapped in flood waters.

“We’ve already had people speeding,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

“We are really worried about people trying to cross flooded streets or flooded streams in this weather. (And) we’ve already seen idiotic driving today.

“It is extremely dangerous practice, particularly in smaller cars and we’ve seen people get wash away and killed before on many occasions both in NSW and throughout Australia.”

Assistant Commissioner Corboy said a passenger died in a two-car collision in Thornleigh, in Sydney’s north-west.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has received 510 calls for help after a line of severe thunderstorms closed in on the city before the morning commute.

“We are out there doing our best for you, so we need you to do your best for us,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

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Deepwater residents urged to flee bushfire’s path as crews brace for potential ‘firestorm’

Firefighters battling “horrendous” blazes in central Queensland are bracing for potential firestorm conditions as authorities warn residents who choose to stay are playing Russian roulette.

Residents of Deepwater, Baffle Creek, Rules Beach and Oyster Creek areas are being warned “an extremely large and intense fire” is expected to impact those areas today.

State Disaster Co-ordinator Bob Gee has reiterated that it’s time to act now.

“Already police and members of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service are putting themselves at risk trying to help you, you are playing Russian roulette,” he said.

“If you have children with you, you need to think really hard about not losing a house but losing the people you care most about.

“It’s not normal for Queensland. People will burn to death. Their normal approaches most probably won’t work if this situation develops the way it’s predicted to develop. It’s no different from a category five cyclone coming straight through your door,” he said.

Earlier Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk issued an urgent plea to a small group of residents in Rules Beach to evacuate immediately.

However, several of the evacuation roads have now been impacted by the fire.

“Firefighters may not be able to hold the containment lines,” she said.

The Premier said people in 50 homes were refusing to leave and warned the beach was not going to be safe.

A fire at nearby Round Hill is burning within containment lines but a watch and act alert remains in place.

“This is not an ordinary fire … this is a dangerous fire that could result in a firestorm,” Ms Palaszczuk said late on Tuesday afternoon.

The “firestorm” conditions expected today occur when strong winds blow burning material beyond containment lines.

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Conservative senators walk out as Greens leader slams their treatment of women

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has slammed conservative crossbench and government senators, prompting three of them to walk out of the Senate when he said their behaviour was repeatedly “offensive and harmful”.

His comments came as Senate leaders from across the political spectrum told the Parliament the standard of behaviour needed to improve.

Just a day earlier, Senator Di Natale was suspended from the Senate for refusing to withdraw comments he made while defending his Greens colleague, Sarah Hanson-Young.

Speaking in the chamber this morning, Senator Di Natale said he would no longer sit in silence and ignore the comments made by his conservative colleagues.

“They do it over and over and over again. Sometimes you don’t hear it, but we do,” he said.

“Sometimes they put it on the record. It’s deliberate. It’s calculated. Then they withdraw it. But those words can never be taken back.

“They hurt and they damage.”

Senator Di Natale’s comments prompted the Nationals Barry O’Sullivan, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm and independent Fraser Anning to walk out of the chamber.

“Those people who are walking out right now who aren’t strong enough, who simply cannot hear the truth,” he said.

“They are the cowards here.”

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