Cyclone Yasi, Soldier’s Death, Egypt: Today’s Briefings

  • Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten – Flood Insurance. (8m)

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  • 1.50pm AEDT – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. (8m)

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  • 1.30pm AEDT – Queensland Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts. (17m)

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  • 11.35am AEDT – Prime Minister Julia Gillard. (25m)

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  • 10.30am AEDT – Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. (32m)

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  • 10.00am AEDT – Lt. Gen. David Hurley announces the death of another Australian soldier in Afghanistan. (9m)

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Cyclone Yasi About To Hit: Bligh And Gillard Speak

Cyclone Yasi is about to hit far north Queensland and Premier Anna Bligh and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have spoken at press conferences to offer advice and support to people in the cyclone’s path.

Julia Gillard

  • Listen to Gillard’s press conference. (20m)

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  • [Read more…]


Today’s Political Activity

  • Queensland Premier Anna Bligh held a series of press conferences today to provide information about Cyclone Yasi. This one was at 2pm. (16m)

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  • Bligh held another press conference at 4.30pm with Commissioner Ian Stewart. (9m)

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  • Leader of the House Anthony Albanese brief the media on arrangements for next week’s return of Federal Parliament. (14m)

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  • In light of the government’s agreement with Andrew Wilkie, Families Minister Jenny Macklin released legal advice provided to the government on its powers to deal with problem gambling. (8m)

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  • Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten spoke about flood insurance. (5m)

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  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard addressed CEDA on her vision for Australia. (25m) – Transcript of Gillard’s speech is here.

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  • Stephen Smith and Jason Clare made a series of announcements about Defence procurement. (36m) – Transcript of Smith and Clare is here.

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Flood Levy Debate: Don’t Patronise Me, Neil

The debate over the Gillard government’s flood levy got willing today as the Prime Minister clashed with Neil Mitchell on Melbourne radio station 3AW.

Towards the end of the interview, Gillard and Mitchell clashed over Cabinet support for the levy and oversight of the flood recovery spending.

  • Listen to Gillard and Mitchell: “Don’t patronise me, Neil.” (3m)

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  • For the complete context of the encounter, listen to the complete Gillard-Mitchell interview. (20m) – transcript below.

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Later in the morning, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and Treasurer Andrew Fraser held a press conference to outline infrastructure rebuilding plans.

  • Listen to Bligh and Fraser. (26m)

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In a speech this afternoon to the CEO Institute in Brisbane, the Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, defended the government’s plan for the flood levy. He argued that in a growing economy it is important “to pay your way as you go”. Swan said it would have been irresponsible to borrow to fund the rebuilding program.

  • Listen to Wayne Swan’s speech. (25m)

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Transcript of Julia Gillard’s interview with Neil Mitchell.

GILLARD:

Good morning, Neil.

MITCHELL:

Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it. Prime Minister, with your Government’s history of mis-management, like the insulation program, school re-building, who are you going to put in charge of the spending of this money you’re going to take from us? [Read more…]


Flood Levy Details, Fact Sheets and Reaction

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a package of measures including a one-off levy to pay for the flood damage in Queensland and elsewhere.

  • Full Text and Audio of Julia Gillard’s National Press Club Address
  • Listen to Gillard’s speech.

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  • Listen to Greens Senator Christine Milne comment on the package.

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  • Listen to Independent member Rob Oakeshott comment on the package.

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  • Listen to Tony Abbott announce the coalition’s opposition to the flood levy.

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  • Listen to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh comment on the package.

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  • Flood Levy Fact Sheet (PDF)
  • Flood Levy Questions and Answers (PDF)
  • Flood Levy Attachments 1-5: Relief funding, Recovery and Reconstruction, Temporary Flood Levy, Infrastructure and Flood Recovery, Skills and the Flood Recovery Task (PDF)
  • FloodLevy.com – website that allows you to calculate the levy for any income. Definitely worth a look.
  • Flood Levy Indicative Estimate Calculator (Excel)

Summary of Measures – Julia Gillard

Rebuilding after the floods

The Prime Minister today announced the Gillard Labor Government’s response to the immense national challenge of rebuilding flood-affected regions across Australia.

Preliminary estimates, following consultation with the Queensland Government, indicate that the Government will need to invest $5.6 billion in rebuilding flood-affected regions, with the vast majority going on rebuilding essential infrastructure. [Read more…]


Queensland Floods: Latest Briefings

  • Anna Bligh says the crisis is not yet over.

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  • Julia Gillard inspects flood areas in Victoria.

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  • Resources Minister Martin Ferguson discusses flood reconstruction.

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Queensland Floods: Latest Briefings

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has maintained her media presence over the weekend as the Queensland flood emergency continues.

Bligh announced this morning that the body of a Grantham woman has been identified, bringing to 16 the number of people killed in the Lockyer Valley region. One man has also died in Brisbane.

  • Listen to Anna Bligh’s press conference announcing the latest confirmed death.

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  • Listen to Anna Bligh’s interview with Kieran Gilbert on Sky News.

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Queensland Floods: Latest Briefings

  • 4.30pm AEDT – Anna Bligh press conference.

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  • 3.45pm AEDT – Defence Minister Stephen Smith, in Perth, announces details of the ADF commitment to the rescue operation in Queensland.

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  • 3.00pm AEDT – Tony Abbott press conference in Brisbane.

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  • 1.30pm AEDT – Tony Abbott, interviewed on ABC News 24, says “I don’t want to get too political at this stage.”

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  • 12.40pm AEDT – Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts and Commissioner Ian Stewart briefing.

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  • 12.30pm AEDT – Julia Gillard speaks at Amberley Air Force Base in Queensland.

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  • 11.10am AEDT – Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisale discuss the flood situation.

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  • 10.35am AEDT – Anna Bligh press conference.

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Queensland Floods: Latest Briefings

  • 16.45pm AEDT – Anna Bligh briefing.

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  • 16.15pm AEDT – Tony Abbott on foresight.

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  • 2.40pm AEDT – Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson briefing.

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  • 2.20pm AEDT – Tony Abbott speaks to ABC News24.

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  • 1.30pm AEDT – Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman speaks about flood conditions and arrangements.

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  • 1.10pm AEDT – Prime Minister Julia Gillard speaks to the media in Brisbane.

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  • 12.30pm AEDT – Premier Anna Bligh announces that a 24-year-old man has died after being sucked into a stormwater drain in Brisbane.

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  • 11.50am AEDT – Opposition Leader Tony Abbott speaks to Channel 9.

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  • Brisbane Flood Peaks; 13th Victim Found

    11.20am AEDT – Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has held a press conference to provide an update on the Brisbane floodwaters which peaked overnight at around 4.5/4.6 metres, lower than expected.

    Anna Bligh press conference in Brisbane

  • Listen to Premier Anna Bligh’s Press Conference.

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Bligh said Queensland is reeling this morning from possibly the worst disaster in our history. The reconstruction program will be of post-war proportions.

Whilst flood levels are slowly falling elsewhere, Bligh said concerns remained about Goondiwindi and Condamine where it is still rising.

A 13th victim was found this morning in a field near Grantham. 70 people are still missing. A major search and rescue mission is now underway in the Lockyer Valley. Police did not confirm media questions about a “mass grave” under a collapsed bridge in Grantham. Some reports suggest up to 30 victims are trapped there.

There are major supply issues in places like Rockhampton where water is not falling as fast as anticipated.

In the south-east 118,000 residences are without electricity. The traffic management system is struggling because traffic cameras are out. Bligh urged people not to use the roads unless absolutely necessary.

Bligh said thousands of people have woken to the “unbearable agony” of homes and businesses washed away. Bligh’s voice broke as she talked:

Listen to Anna Bligh:

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“As we weep for what we have lost and as we grieve for family and friends and we confront the challenge that is before us, I want us to remember who we are. We are Queenslanders. We’re the people that they breed tough north of the border. We’re the ones that they knock down and we get up again. I said earlier this week that this weather may break our hearts – and it is doing that – but it will not break our will. And in the coming weeks and the coming months we are going to prove that beyond any doubt. Together we can pull through this and that’s what I’m determined to do and with your help we can achieve it.”

Bligh spoke of the floating walkway as the modern face of a thriving, sophisticated city, “and we watched it float away.” The 300 tonnes of concrete broke loose last night but was steered out of the river system by a tug.

As the focus of the flood centres on Brisbane, Bligh was at pains to resassure regional Queenslanders that “you will not be forgotten.”

Bligh said 70 towns and cities across Queensland have been affected by the flood, either inundated to some extent or cut off. Rockhampton is still cut off by air.

Bligh said there will be further difficult news to come. Towns may have to build something different from what has been destroyed.


Queensland Floods: Latest Briefings

  • 8.35pm AEDT – Premier Anna Bligh and Police Commisioner Bob Atkinson briefing.

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    Bligh said 1000 homes in Ipswich are now inundated although the flood has peaked there. Brisbane’s peak at 4am tomorrow will be slightly lower than expected. Chinchilla has peaked.

    Anna Bligh media briefing on Queensland floodsThe death toll stands at 12, the number unaccounted for at 43. There are grave concerns for some of them and “we are despondent about finding them all.”

    The Moggill ferry has broken a guide rope. A 1.5 tonne anchor will be flown in by helicopter in the morning and will be used to secure the ferry. The Island barge/boat will either be secured or scuttled. Naval divers are on their way to assist in the event of a decision to sink it.

    The Floating Walkway around New Farm is at risk of disloding. It will be broken up into sections and disposed of.

    115,000 properties have had the power cut off already. This is another reason to evacuate now.

    Police say they have had only one case of forcible evacuation of a man with a firearm. There has only been one case of looting.

    Bligh said the flood will peak at 4am tonight. Many people will find water their streets tonight and should make the decision to leave. Now is not the time for complacency.

    Bligh said Brisbane residents will take up to scenes like they’ve never seen in their lives. People need to brace themselves for what they will witness. Already there are parts of Brisbane that are unrecognisable with some areas looking like inland lakes.

    There will be a substantial economic impact, Bligh said. The coal industry would take several weeks, if not months, to get back to normal. Agricultural producers have been seriously affected. Cotton growers have lost their second crop in a row.

    Cuts to supply lines, especially railway lines and major arterial roads, will have a major impact. Bligh said the state can recover quickly and reconstruction will be the top priority after the crisis is over.

    Police have still not gathered details about the two people who have been found alive after they were swept away by flood waters.

  • 4.45pm AEDT – Qld Minister for Police and Emergency Services Neil Roberts and Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson briefing.

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    The death toll now stands at 12. There are grave fears for 9 people and 51 are unaccounted for.

    Police are aware of two people found alive after having earlier been swept away by flood waters.

    The Brisbane River is now at 4.16 metres and rising, expected to peak at 5.5 metres around 4.00am. This is above 1974 levels.

    Ipswich flood level is around 19 metres but still expected to rise about 20 metres.

  • 2.30pm AEDT – Anna Bligh press conference.

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    Bligh announced the bodies of two men have been found in the Lockyer Valley.

    Bligh said the number of people unaccounted for is now 66. The number fluctuates.

    Chincilla is bracing for a worse flood than the one they had two weeks ago.

    The river at Ipswich is 19.2 metres. Many areas of Ipswich inundated.

    The Moggill ferry in Brisbane has broken one of its two ropes and may be sunk to prevent it becoming a torpedo down the river.

    3585 people are located in 57 evacuation centres, 1500 of these in Ipswich.

    Buses into the Brisbane CBD have stopped, although trains are running on public holiday timetable. All tolls have been cancelled on roads. Bligh said the Central Business District will look like a ghost town around now and for the next few days.

    Substantial aerial support is available: 25 helicopters, 11 of them military are in use, some transmitting streaming live footage of conditions back to the emergency control room.

  • 2.15pm AEDT – Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman press conference (end only).

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  • 2.00pm AEDT – NSW Premier Kristina Keneally and Director-General of Emergency Services Murray Kear press conference in Grafton.

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  • 11.30am AEDT – Premier Anna Bligh, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Chief of Defence Angus Houston held a joint press conference with an overnight update on the flood situation.

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    Overnight the peak flood level for Ipswich has been revised downwards to 20.5 metres but this is equivalent to the 1974 peak.

    The death toll now stands at 10, with 90 missing.