Daily News Roundup

November 12, 2020

 

Thursday, NOV 12

Australia’s Foreign Minister has issued a sharply worded statement criticising China’s Government over its latest crackdown on Hong Kong.

Yesterday, Hong Kong’s Government forced out four pro-democracy politicians after China passed a resolution saying any politician who supported Hong Kong independence should be disqualified.

Hong Kong’s remaining pro-democracy opposition politicians responded by announcing they would all resign in protest.

They have also declared the episode is the “death knell” for the One Country Two Systems framework which is meant to govern Hong Kong.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the disqualification of the politicians “seriously undermines Hong Kong’s democratic processes and institutions, as well as the high degree of autonomy set out in the Basic Law and Sino-British Joint Declaration”.

“Australia calls on authorities to allow the Legislative Council to fulfil its role as the primary forum for popular political expression in Hong Kong, and to remain a key pillar of the rule of law and the One Country, Two Systems framework,” she said.

“This is critical to maintaining international confidence in Hong Kong.”

Senator Payne’s statement is likely to further inflame relations between Australia and China.

Australia and other Western nations have persistently criticised the Chinese Government’s attempts to erode democratic and legal protections for the media, protesters and politicians in Hong Kong.

Pro-democracy MPs submit their letters of resignation after four of them were ousted by the Chinese Government.

The Chinese Communist Party has responded furiously to any criticism of its rule over the city, accusing the United States and its allies of trying to sow discord in Hong Kong in order to weaken China.

But Senator Payne said Australia and the international community would “continue to monitor developments closely and maintain a consistent focus on human rights and the principles of freedom, transparency, autonomy and the rule of law”.

The Greens also attacked the Chinese Government’s move.

Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Janet Rice said the Chinese Government’s ousting of pro-democracy politicians made “a mockery” of One Country, Two Systems.

“This law is a transparent attempt by the Chinese Government to repress opposition and undermine Hong Kong’s democracy and autonomy,” said Senator Rice.

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Gold Coast MP David Crisafulli has been elected unopposed to be the Liberal National Party’s new leader, with Toowoomba South MP David Janetzki to serve as his deputy.

The party room voted for the duo during a meeting at Parliament House today.

Former Opposition leader Deb Frecklington announced her intention to step aside following the party’s election loss on October 31.

Mr Crisafulli, a father of two, began his political career in north Queensland, well before he moved to the state’s south east.

He is a former journalist who grew up in Ingham and worked both there and in Townsville until he became the youngest person elected to Townsville City Council.

He moved into State Parliament as part of Campbell Newman’s landslide victory in 2012, then went on to serve as local government and community recovery minister.

Mr Crisafulli moved to the Gold Coast when he lost his seat in the LNP’s drubbing in 2015.

Ahead of the 2017 election, he trumped former MP Verity Barton for preselection in the seat of Broadwater, and won his second term in the seat in the October 31 poll, picking up a substantial first preference swing.

Speaking to his party members, Mr Crisafulli called himself a “conviction politician” and said he wouldn’t knock government decisions just for opposition’s sake.

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A Sydney man who fatally bashed Rose Tattoo rocker Angry Anderson’s son while high on ecstasy has been found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Mathew Flame, now 22, told police he “lost his mind” and was possessed by “some form of entity” after partying in Darlinghurst with his close friend Liam Anderson in November 2018.

During a trial in the NSW Supreme Court, jurors heard he took up to 10 MDMA pills that night — in addition to drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis — before they ended up alone in a park at Queenscliff, on the northern beaches.

There, the apprentice plumber was seen “stomping” on Mr Anderson’s head and claimed he was hallucinating that his friend was a demon who wanted him dead.

It was not disputed that Flame’s ferocious attack killed Mr Anderson, but his defence team argued he was not criminally responsible due to a disease of the mind — schizophrenia.

It took a jury just over two full days to acquit Flame of murder but find him guilty of manslaughter.

Flame briefly closed his eyes as he learned his fate.

From the public gallery, his mother began quietly weeping.

When Justice Richard Button had left the bench, Flame hugged his mother from the dock and apologised.

“Don’t ever be sorry,” she replied through tears.

Liam Anderson’s mother, Lindy, also hugged Flame before he was led away.

Outside court, Ms Anderson said “no one’s winning out of this” and that she had forgiven Flame.

When he was arrested, Flame ranted to officers about Satan.

During the three-week trial, the court was shown a video of Flame sitting in a cell hours after Mr Anderson’s death, in which he spoke calmly and frankly about his night.

“No-one’s going to believe me … it was so real,” he told an officer.

“He became a demon and apparently he was really angry with me … and it wanted me dead.

“It was real f***ing dark shit.”