Key moments from campaign as state heads to polls


Tasmanians have been heading to the polls on Saturday for a state election where the campaign has been littered with bizarre moments for many candidates.

Liberal candidate Adam Brooks, of the north-western seat of Braddon, is fending off allegations he created a fake profile to catfish a woman into a months-long online relationship on a dating app.

The ABC reported on Friday that Victorian authorities are investigating claims Mr Brooks created a fake driver’s licence with the name Terry Brooks, an alias he was allegedly using to pretend to be a Melbourne-based engineer named Terry.

A woman claimed to the broadcaster that she had exchanged messages with the politician from June 2019 to March 2020 after connecting on OkCupid.

She claimed they met in person in Sydney four times — with Mr Brooks allegedly pretending to be Terry the whole time.

He denies the fake profiles are his and Liberal Premier Peter Gutwein has stood by him as a candidate.

Meanwhile, the Premier created a stir earlier in the campaign by revealing he had a bicep tattoo of a black panther when receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mr Gutwein took to TikTok to explain that he got the ink in his youth to commemorate his first martial arts black belt.

Labor leader Rebecca White had her own viral moment when she clapped back to a tweet from ABC election analyst Antony Green, who said her pregnancy, and due date close to the election date, could complicate Labor’s campaign.

“I’m not sure why?” she replied.

“Plenty of pregnant women continue to work. I’m no different and I can assure everyone that as far as I’m concerned it’s game on!”

Her snappy response prompted a flood of approving commentary on social media, with more than 750 retweets and 4500 likes.

Independent candidate Sue Hickey used her parliamentary privilege in March the year to slam Tasmanian federal politician Eric Abetz, claiming he had “slut-shamed” Brittany Higgins — the woman who helped ignite a national movement after she bravely went public with an allegation she had been raped inside Parliament House.

Ms Hickey was formerly a Liberal Party member but made her statements shortly after announcing she would run in the 2021 election as an independent, after the Premier told her she wouldn’t be re-endorsed by the party.

Mr Abetz categorically denies making the comments and hit back that Ms Hickey’s timing was suspect.

Ms Hickey alleged he said: “As for that Higgins girl, anybody so disgustingly drunk who would sleep with anybody could have slept with one of our spies and put the security of the nation at risk.

Ms Hickey said she “accepted” they were “deeply held views by the senator”.

“However they are not endorsed by our wider community, who view this judgment as slut-shaming,” she said.

“My immediate thoughts were — what if this girl’s drink had been spiked?

“And even if she was drunk, wouldn’t a caring man make sure she got home safely?

“No one, no matter how drunk or what they wear or where they walk at night, deserves to be sexually assaulted.”

Polls close in Tasmania at 6pm with counting to begin from then.

The incumbent Liberal Party has campaigned on its performance leading the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it’s strict border policies were popular with locals.

Labor, meanwhile, has pitched promises on education and health to voters.

The Greens, lead by Cassy O’Connor, have campaigned on house prices, protecting nature, and more government transparency.



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Australian states and territories where Anzac Day won’t mean a day off work in 2021


Anzac Day is coming up, the day of remembrance to commemorate Australian and New Zealand veterans that usually also means a day off work for many Australians.

But because April 25 is a Sunday this year, people in three states won’t get an extra day off.

NSW, Victoria and Tasmania will not give residents an extra public holiday on the Monday after Anzac Day.

But Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the ACT, and the Northern Territory will.

All those states and territories will make April 26, the day after Anzac Day, a public holiday this year.

Each state and territory’s public holiday rules are set out in local laws, and legislators have made differing judgments about when to give people time off.

In NSW, for example, the Public Holidays Act 2010 sets out the holidays where there will be an additional day off in the event it falls on a weekend.

Specifically, Australia Day, New Year’s Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day all warrant an extra day off if they fall on a Saturday or a Sunday.

But the entry for Anzac Day simply reads: “Public holiday on 25 April.”

An online commonwealth list of public holidays says that some jurisdictions, like the Northern Territory and SA, will consider April 26 the public holiday instead of the day before.

Other states, like WA, consider both Sunday and Monday public holidays.

The April 25 date was chosen to commemorate a major offensive in 1915 on the Gallipoli peninsula by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the First World War.

The peninsula, in what today is western Turkey, was a strategic target because controlling it would mean opening up a seat route towards the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was an enemy in the war.

But the troops from Down Under faced fierce resistance, and what was supposed to be a decisive battle became an eight-month stalemate.

By the time the Anzac troops were evacuated, more than 8000 Australian soldiers had been killed.

The following year, April 25 was first commemorated as Anzac Day.

Broad public interest in the Remembrance Day has ebbed and flowed throughout the decades, with a resurgence from the late 1980s and onwards.

These days it’s seen as an important opportunity to pay respects to Australians and New Zealanders who have contributed to their countries’ efforts in armed conflicts.

With last year’s ceremonies largely scuttled by coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, many Returned Services League clubs hope it will be possible to properly commemorate the day this year.



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Possible cyclone and rain but blue skis for south


There are three things you might want to remember this Easter: fish on Good Friday, a chocolate egg or two on Sunday and an umbrella for the whole weekend.

Forecasters are warning it could be a soggy Easter in the country’s east and south west while the Top End and north west Western Australia may need to start hunkering down for a coming cyclone.

“We could see an increase in rain through the Easter weekend,” said Sky News Weather meteorologist Ron Sharpe.

That could be concentrated around the Queensland and northern New South Wales coasts as well as the Northern Territory.

But if you’re in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania or much of Western Australia, sunshine and pleasant weather is likely to be on the menu for Easter lunch.

A high pressure system over southern Australia will should lead to generally fine and mild conditions over much of the country leading into the Easter weekend.

But instability is brewing.

Possible tropical cyclone brewing

Off the north coast of Australia, the monsoon is bubbling back into life once more. The real drama is further west, though, said Mr Sharpe.

“There’s low pressure system and that’s expected to strengthen.

“It’s about a 50/50 chance to become a tropical cyclone — maybe even slightly greater than that,” he said.

“It’s most likely to develop off the coast of the Kimberley. However, some models do bring it a bit closer to the Top End, so we cannot rule it out that it could be nearby to Darwin.”

The NT city should see some rain during the week but a combination of the monsoon and a possible cyclone somewhere in the vicinity, should lead to a wet Easter with 30mm on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures will hover around 31C.

Queensland and NSW Easter weather outlook

To the east, rain is building without the encouragement of a cyclone.

“A cold air pulse is slowly edging up Queensland over the coming days. With a trough off the Queensland coast, showers will start to build up along the coast and as it drifts further south it will start to interact with upper level cold air over the centre of the state increasing areas of rain and probably triggering a small low or two to develop.”

Mr Sharpe said there was some uncertainly with the metrological models, with Easter still some days away, but it was pointing to substantial downpours — although not the level of the recent floods.

They could mean an average of about 50mm of rain along the Queensland coast and into northern NSW. But that could seesaw from 20mm in some areas to over 100mm in others.

For Brisbane, possible showers all week but it’s set to crank up over the weekend and into next week with as much as 25mm on Easter Monday and into Tuesday.

Heading south across the border and some of those sodden areas, fresh from the flooding, could get a top up of moisture particularly towards the end of the Easter weekend with 25mm falling.

Port Macquarie should expect 10mm on Monday and a further 15mm on Tuesday.

Mostly Sunday in Sydney this week with temperatures in the mid-20s. Rain is a possibility from Easter Monday, potentially heavy on Tuesday.

Easter weather around the other capitals

Head further south, however, and the rain will likely peter out, particularly away from the east coast.

Canberra should be sunny all week with highs heading into the high 20s.

Similar in Melbourne but it could top out at 30C on Easter Saturday before falling to 21C on Sunday.

Dry in Hobart with a high of 28C on Saturday and then, like Melbourne, the mercury will sink by as much as 10C on Sunday.

Blue skies and a few clouds in Adelaide; temperatures will slowly creep up into the low 30s this week, peaking at 33C on Good Friday and then sliding back into the mid-20s from Sunday.

A trough could sheer through south west WA towards Easter. Margaret River is looking at showers on Maundy Thursday and a storm on Good Friday before the sun makes a return on Saturday.

It will be more settled in Perth with a week around the high twenties and low thirties and a maximum of 32C on Easter Sunday.



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Two systems set to collide bringing more rain


Forecasters’ fears are coming to pass with a second major wave of rain bearing down on the country’s east, exacerbating the already dire conditions.

Meteorologists have said there are “grave concerns” for communities, particularly along the NSW north coast as a “conveyor belt of heavy rain” heads east topping up already flooded rivers.

A metre of rain has fallen across parts of the NSW mid north coast over the last few days. Red Oak and Comboyne received almost 900mm in the last week and as much as 200mm more could fall over the coming days.

RELATED: Follow our blog for live flood updates

TWO RAIN SYSTEMS SET TO COLLIDE

This new weather event is currently barrelling through Central Australia. It should head into western NSW and Queensland during Monday. In some of these arid regions, where rainfall is far lower than the coast, it could bring an entire season’s worth of rain in just a couple of days.

The fresh burst of rain should then hit the NSW coast on Tuesday morning. That could see Byron Bay, already underwater, drenched with another 100mm or more of rain.

“These two system will collide on Monday night and into Tuesday and its likely we will see a significant multistate rain band,” Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) Jonathan How said.

A severe weather warning image from the BOM (below) vividly illustrates the two separate systems over NSW. One warning area covers the coast, where the trough has lingered while a huge lick of moisture coming in from the west is the new band.

RELATED: Full list of road and rail closures due to rain and floods in NSW

RELATED: Dam spilling one Sydney Harbour a day

RAIN BLAST’S ‘LAST HURRAH’

The new system should help expand the rain beyond NSW.

“Southeast Queensland joined the party yesterday with heavy rain and thunderstorm activity late yesterday and then continued overnight, and through today we’re still seeing areas of rain running through that region,” Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said on Monday morning.

Brisbane could see between 100mm and 150mm of rain between now and Wednesday; while rivers in the Gold Coast have burst their banks.

Some of that moisture could hit Victoria and Tasmania as well as large swathes of the outback.

“Heavy falls are threatening multiple regions; we’re going to see further flooding in multiple other areas today due to this weather event,” Mr Sharpe said.

He added the rainfall was likely to intensify on Tuesday before it finally heads off into the Tasman.

“For east coast areas we’re looking at one final hurrah, on Tuesday, in the afternoon for most areas.”

For Sydney, another 40-70mm of rain could fall today and then up to a further 80mm on Tuesday before sunny skies on Wednesday.

In Port Macquarie, heavily affected by the current event, up to 90mm could rain down on Monday and then 70mm on Tuesday.

Extraordinary conditions are forecast for Bourke. The inland NSW town, some 800km from the coast, can usually expect just 16mm of rain in March.

But as that new weather band moves through, it could see at least double that amount of rain on Monday, possible as much as 60mm. A further 35mm is set to descend on Tuesday.

That could mean the entirety of Bourke’s autumn’s rainfall might be surpassed in less than two days.

The rain gauge in Brisbane could almost reach 100mm today followed by a top-up of between 30-45mm tomorrow and a further 25mm on Wednesday.

Canberra can expect up to 20mm of rain today followed by very heavy downpours on Tuesday delivering up to 70mm of precipitation before drier conditions on Wednesday.

RELATED: Most shocking photos from NSW floods

RAIN HEADING INTO VICTORIA, TAS

“The heavy rain will run down into parts of Victoria and Tasmania as a small low pressure system forms,” Mr Sharpe said.

Melbourne is looking at light showers today and then up to 10mm on Tuesday with further rain as the week progress.

The rain is set to arrive in Hobart on Tuesday but Wednesday will be the wettest day with 10-25mm falling and another 10mm on Thursday.

A separate system could bring a touch of rain to Adelaide from midweek onwards. But it will be mostly dry in the South Australian capital with temperatures in the mid-twenties.

Soggy in Darwin will have afternoon thunderstorms and rain totals of 10-15mm each day this week. Alice Springs could see storms on Monday and Tuesday with as much as 30mm in the gauge.

No rain in Perth where it will remain sunny this week. But the mercury should dip from its scorching highs last week to settle in the mid-to-high twenties.



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Warnings of floods in Sydney as rain forecast to swamp east


There are warnings that Sydney could flood this weekend as a huge rain event batters large parts of eastern Australia.

Already, some communities have seen their wettest March for two years and forecasters have warned that “many months of rain could fall” in the coming days.

Those planning a weekend getaway to northern New South Wales are advised to delay their trip, with holiday spots like Port Macquarie to be the heaviest hit with up to 120mm forecast to fall on Friday alone.

As much as 300mm could fall on parts of the state over the next few days, forecasters have cautioned.

A severe weather warning for heavy rain and flash flooding is in place for the NSW coast from Yamba in the north to Newcastle in the south.

Coonamble, in central NSW, and Yeppoon, near Rockhampton in Queensland, both saw their heaviest March rainfall in two years

“This is a potentially dangerous and developing weather situation,” said Sarah Scully from the Bureau of Meteorology.

“Catchments in many parts of NSW and Queensland are saturated so more rains means an increased risk of flooding.”

RELATED: The weather in your capital city

Rain is likely just about anywhere along the east coast from Queensland to the Victorian border today.

On Thursday, the heaviest falls are likely in the Capricornia region on Queensland and northern NSW.

As we head into Friday that moisture monster edges down towards the mid north coast of NSW and the Hunter.

At the same time heavy falls can also be expected in inland areas, including the outback, in a line form the Northern Territory down to northern South Australia.

Sky News Weather meteorologist Alison Osborne said it was “an absolute deluge”.

“There is some uncertainty about where the heaviest falls will be this weekend. There is a risk of that flooding reaching Sydney and the rain spreading into northern and eastern parts of Victoria.”

“With 150-300mm forecast in the northern half of NSW for some that will be almost a month’s worth of rain in just a few days. In the outback (where less rain falls) there could be many month’s worth of rain in the next few days.”

RELATED: Wet conditions sent to linger until May

Ms Osborne warned that travel in affected regions, particularly the NSW coast north of Sydney, could be treacherous.

“Flash flooding and river rises are real threats so that’s something to be aware of when planning a weekend trip.

“You may not want to be out in the road in those areas.”

This rain is being caused by a strong high pressure system to the east of Tasmania.

Winds blow anticlockwise around highs and as a result very humid moisture from the Tasman and Coral seas is being pumped into a trough line over the east.

Downpours are almost a certainty every day in Sydney with particularly high falls from Thursday to Saturday. Up to 80mm could descend on Friday and 100mm on Saturday.

Brisbane will be wet too, but not quite as dramatic. Around 25mm could come down on Saturday and 15mm on Sunday. Expect showers on Thursday and Friday too.

There will be some rain in Canberra over the next few days but it could get heavy from Saturday when 20mm may fall on the capital with 10mm the next day.

Northern Australia is also looking like it will get some decent falls of between 25-50mm.

In Darwin, during warm 32C week, totals of 10mm will be usual. West of Darwin along the coast into WA, towards Kununurra, heavier downpours are forecast.

However, in much of the rest of Western Australia, heat is the main play. Perth will top out a 32C today but its set to rise to a sunny 38C by Friday as a heatwave kicks in.

It will be mostly sunny in Adelaide with highs touching 30C. Very little rain should reach populated areas of South Australia until Monday.

Similarly, Melbourne should remain mostly dry into the weekend but cloudy with maximums of around 25C. However, some heavier falls are on the radar for early next week.

Some sun between the clouds in Hobart with highs in the mid-twenties but umbrellas will likely not be needed.



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New rain band bringing sodden conditions forecast


Huge areas of the east are already sodden with warnings of flash flooding in place for parts of central Queensland.

Now forecasters have warned a second band of heavy rain is creeping from west to east across the country that could extend the deluge and deliver more flooding in the week to come.

Some locations could see three times’ March’s rainfall descend in just a few days. It’s almost certain that most parts of the NSW coast and into southern Queensland will at least surpass their average monthly rain in the coming week.

“Huge amounts of rain could fall over the next eight days,” Sky News Weather senior meteorologist Tom Saunders said.

However, in Western Australia, it’s not rain but hot weather on the cards with a low-intensity heatwave over Perth upping temperatures well into the thirties.

On Wednesday morning, some Queensland residents were told to move to higher ground after towns in central parts of the state received more than 130mm in three hours overnight.

An emergency alert was issued by the Central Highlands Regional Council for residents in Sapphire, northwest of Emerald, shortly before 5am, urging residents in low-lying areas to move to higher ground immediately.

More than 215mm of rain fell in the Gemfields overnight, with Retreat Creek rising 9m in just four hours. Nearby, Clermont recorded 129mm of rain, it’s heaviest in two years.

“This rain is being caused by a strong high to the east of Tasmania. Winds blow anticlockwise around highs and as a result of very humid easterly from the Tasman Sea and the Coral Sea, that’s pumping moisture into this trough line over the east, and that’s what’s causing the rain,” Mr Saunders said.

Over the next few days the intensity of the rain should ease a touch over Queensland. Some of the heavier falls should then move south towards northern and mid-coast NSW where up to 200mm could fall over the next six days.

That’s more than enough for localised flash flooding. Some of that heavy rain is also likely to find its way down to Sydney.

NEW RAIN BAND SET TO APPROACH

The system causing the incessant rain is already in place. But looking ahead a new moisture monster is approaching. It looks like the rain just isn’t going to cease.

“A second bout of rain is starting to move across the interior,” Mr Saunders said.

“It will arrive early next week bringing widespread heavy rain potentially spreading through the southeast inland around him Murray Darling Basin.

“Over the next eight days that could bring over 50mm to north west NSW and south east Queensland, with 200mm for the NSW coast and Sydney likely to see around 100mm of rain.”

If Sydney does pick up 100mm in the next week that will be just shy of its 132mm March monthly average rain. However, Sydney has already recorded 87mm in the gauge this month, so by next week it could have exceeded the usual March rain total by a substantial margin with a week to spare.

Port Macquarie’s expected 200mm would easily push past March’s usual 175mm. While Cobar, south of Bourke and deep into central NSW, could pick up 100mm of rain in the coming week, three times the average. That amount of rain will mean flooding is a real risk.

Downpours are almost a certainty every day in Sydney for the coming week with particularly high falls from Thursday to Saturday when up to 50mm could fill the gauge in a single day. Highs will be in the mid-twenties.

It’s much the same rain outlook for Brisbane with up to 20mm today. However, later in the week the precipitation should lessen with the rain concentred in showers. The mercury will edge towards 30C as the week goes on.

There will be some rain in Canberra over the next few days but it could get heavy from Saturday when 15mm may fall on the capital. That will set a pattern into next week. Maximum temperatures will hover around 20C.

Northern Australia is also looking like it will get some decent falls of between 25-50mm.

Very heavy rain is expected in Darwin on a warm 30C Wednesday when up to 30mm could fall.

Following that, 10mm each day won’t be a rarity. West of Darwin near the coast, towards Kununurra, heavier downpours are forecast.

However, in much of the rest of Western Australia, heat is the main play. Perth will top out a 31C today but its set to rise to a sunny 38C by Friday as a heatwave kicks in.

It will be mostly sunny in Adelaide with highs touching 30C. Very little rain should reach populated areas of South Australia.

Similarly, Melbourne should remain mostly dry into the weekend but cloudy with maximums of around 25C. However, some heavier falls are on the radar for early next week.

Some sun between the clouds in Hobart with highs in the mid-twenties but umbrellas will likely not be needed.



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World’s media reacts to uprising in Australia


Australian women and the allies who marched with them during a “furious reckoning” about sexism and rape culture on Monday have made headlines around the world.

Tens of thousands joined March For Justice rallies in cities around the country and outside Parliament House in Canberra demanding cultural change.

Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who claimed she was raped inside a parliamentary office and sexual assault survivor and Australian of the Year Grace Tame delivered powerful speeches in Canberra and Hobart respectively.

It was a significant moment in Australian history that did not go unnoticed by the world’s media. Time Magazine, the BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Irish Times and Al Jazeera each dedicated significant coverage to the events.

Time Magazine’s headline read:‘We’ve Had Enough.’ Furious Australian Women Force a Reckoning on Sexism After a Rape Allegation in the Government.

The publication’s story touched on how deeply ingrained the culture of sexism and sexual harassment has become.

“Furious women across Australia are now opening up with their own experiences of sexism, sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” it read. “And it’s begun conversations about inherent discrimination and mistreatment of women — both within the halls of Australian government, and across the wider society.”

Al Jazeera made note of the historic rape allegation against Attorney-General Christian Porter and the allegations of inappropriate behaviour against Craig Kelly’s political advisor, Frank Zumbo.

“Allegations have been laid by six women against a senior parliamentary aide Frank Zumbo, drawing attention to what many critics say is a toxic culture of masculinity within the nation’s federal parliament,” Al Jazeera wrote.

“Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to refuse to hold an independent inquiry into the allegations against Porter, and on Monday also refused to meet protesters on the parliament’s lawn in Canberra.”

The New York Times made mention of the longstanding issues Australia has failed to address.

“Wearing black and holding signs reading; enough is enough’, thousands took to the streets across Australia on Monday to protest violence and discrimination against women, as a reckoning in the country’s halls of power sparked by multiple accusations of rape continued to grow,” the Times wrote.

“The marches in at least 40 cities represented an outpouring of anger from women about a problem that has gone unaddressed for too long, said the organisers, who estimated that 110,000 people attended the demonstrations nationwide.

“With the next national election potentially coming as early as August, experts say it is something that the conservative government, which has come under stinging criticism for the way it has handled the accusations, ignores at its own peril.

The Washington Post celebrated those who took to the streets with messages denouncing the ongoing poor treatment of women.

“(Protesters) carried placards decrying misogyny, victim-blaming, abuse and rape,” the newspaper wrote.

“In Melbourne, a banner listed 900 women who have lost their lives at the hands of men since 2008. The rallies follow a wave of allegations of sexual assault, abuse and misconduct in some of the highest offices of Australian politics.

“They come amid a growing global movement demanding officials do more to protect women and to hold perpetrators of harassment and assaults accountable.

“The reckoning over assault allegations has reached the highest ranks of government. On Monday, the country’s top law official filed a defamation suit against the state broadcaster over an article that reported a letter had been sent to the prime minister containing a historic rape allegation.”

The BBC wrote that Monday’s rallies “could be the biggest uprising of women that Australia’s seen. And the Irish Times wrote that “public anger over the government’s handling of the alleged incidents mirrors the sentiment on display at protests in London over the weekend following the killing of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who disappeared while walking home at night-time”.

“Mr Morrison said Australia had made big strides toward gender equality over the years, though he acknowledged the job was ‘far from done’ and he shared the concerns of the protesters.

However, he raised some hackles by expressing pride in the right to peaceful protest when he said ‘Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets, but not in this country.’”



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Brittany Higgins’ full speech in Canberra


Former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins delivered an emotional speech at the Canberra March 4 Justice rally on Monday, in her first appearance since going public last month.

Ms Higgins’ harrowing story of an alleged sexual assault in the Canberra office of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds sparked the movement behind the March 4 Justice rallies around Australia.

Here is the full text of her speech.

“I speak to you today out of necessity. We are all here today not because we want to be here, but because we have to be here. We fundamentally recognise the system is broken, the glass ceiling is still in place and there are significant failings in the power structures within our institutions.

“We are here because it is unfathomable that we are still having to fight this same stale, tired fight. As it has been said before, time can be used constructively or destructively. Human progress rarely rolls on inevitability. It is through dedication and effort that we move forward. When we fall asleep at the wheel, what tends to happen is that the tide becomes an ally of those who seek stagnation.

“We regress.

“It is the custodians of the status quo keeping the existing order alive. To see real progress, we must seek it out.

“I am cognisant of all the women who continue to live in silence. The women who are faceless. The women who don’t have the mobility, the confidence, or the financial means to share their truth. Those who don’t see their images and stories reflected in the media, those who are sadly no longer with us. Those who have lost their sense of self-worth and are unable to break their silence, all of which is rooted in the shame and stigma of sexual assault.

“One out of every five women in Australia will be sexually assaulted or raped in their lifetime and if you are a woman of colour the statistics are even higher.

“Thanks to Chanel Contos we now know how rife this sort of behaviour is in our schools. There is a confronting sense of finality about sexual violence in our community.

“I was raped inside Parliament House by a colleague, and for so long it felt like the people around me neither cared because of where it happened and what it might mean for them. It was so confusing because these people were my idols. I had dedicated my life to them. They were my social network, my colleagues and my family. As suddenly they treated me differently. I was not a person who had just gone through a life changing event, I was a political problem.

“Amanda Vanstone, a former Liberal minister summed it up the other day. If there was a young girl alleging she had been raped in a different office, would it be on the front page? No it would not. I think Ms Vanstone is missing the point. There is a horrible societal acceptance about sexual violence experienced by women in Australia. My story was on the front page for the sole reason that it was a painful reminder to women that it can happen in Parliament House, it can truly happen anywhere.

“These past few weeks on a personal level have been extremely difficult. Like many of you I have watched this all play out in the media. I watched it happen via a laptop in a spare bedroom in my dad’s apartment on the Gold Coast.

“I watched as the Prime Minister of Australia publicly apologised to me through the media, while privately his team actively discredited and undermined my loved ones. I tuned into Question Time to see my former bosses, people that I had dedicated my life to, deny and downplay my lived experience. I read the news updates every day at five am because I was waking up to new information about my own sexual assault through the media. Details that were never disclosed to me by my employers, information that would have helped me answer questions that have haunted me for years.

RELATED: Australian of the Year Grace Tame speaks at Hobart rally

“I watched as people hid behind throwaway phrases like ‘due process’ and ‘presumption of innocence’ while failing to acknowledge how the justice system is notoriously stacked against victims of sexual crimes.

“I read the advice from defence chief Angus Campbell who advised women on how not to fall prey to those who have the proclivity to harm others. Advice aimed solely at modifying the behaviour of victims and does nothing to address the actions of perpetrators.

“I was dismayed by senior male journalists who routinely implied that my partner was pulling the strings behind the scenes. The sudden inference being that a traumatised woman wasn’t capable of weaponising her own story. I watched as advocates on the macro level disappeared when the issue hit too close to home at the micro level.

“I had my suspicions confirmed when the media exposed a long list of people who knew what had happened to me. A list that seemed to grow by the day as truths about internal reviews, Senate committee submissions, office cleans and witness accounts were all unearthed. These are the people making our laws and governing the country. As our leaders, they should be the exemplar – the gold standard. Sadly, this just isn’t the case.

“If they aren’t committed to addressing these issues in their own offices, what confidence can the women of Australia have that they will be proactive in addressing this issue in the broader community?

“This isn’t a political problem. This is a human problem. We’ve all learned over the past few weeks just how common gendered violence is in this country. It’s time our leaders on both sides of politics stop avoiding the subject and sidestepping accountability. It’s time we actually address the problem.

“I decided to resign and share my story because it was the only thing I felt I could do to say that I didn’t co-sign this behaviour. That I don’t believe what happened was right. That I don’t believe a brochure is adequate support. That I don’t believe people should be isolated, intimidated and ignored after traumatic incidents inside the workplace. I came forward with my story to hopefully protect other women.

“By staying silent, I felt like it would have made me complicit and if something of this nature had ever happened again, my ongoing silence would have inadvertently said to those people in charge that you can treat people in this way and it’s okay. I want to be clear — it’s not. So I have spoken out with what little I have to say this isn’t okay and they need to do better. We all need to do better.

“I encourage each and every one of you to set boundaries for yourself and be ruthless in your defence of them. Speak up. Share your truth and know that you have a generation of women ready, willing and able to support you.

“Take ownership of your story and free yourself from the stigma of shame. Together, we can bring about real, meaningful reform to the workplace culture inside Parliament House and, hopefully, every workplace, to ensure the next generation of women can benefit from a safer and more equitable Australia.”



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‘Prolonged, major rain event’ to hit Australia


The clouds may briefly have parted along parts of the east coast today, but it won’t last. A “major rain event” is under way during what has now been the wettest beginning to a year for nearly a decade in some places.

More than March’s average monthly rainfall could descend on Sydney over the next eight days.

But while people in the top two-thirds of Australia might be wise to keep an umbrella handy, across the far south of the country – from Perth to Melbourne – the weather will remain dry and in some places hot as well.

RELATED: Wet conditions sent to linger until May

“We’ve got a major, prolonged rain event on our hands this week across Australia,” said Sky News Weather on Foxtel meteorologist Rob Sharpe today.

“It started on the weekend and it’s now pushing into southeast Queensland but there is a lot more where that came from.”

A high-pressure system in the Tasman Sea is scooping up moisture and pushing it back towards Australia.

In good news for farmers, that rain won’t be confined to the coast, with large swathes of the interior, particularly in Queensland and northern NSW, set to get a soaking. However, that may prove challenging for some trying to harvest crops.

There could be flooding in some parts of Queensland where 67 per cent of the state remains in drought.

For NSW, this week looks even more sodden than last with at least eight consecutive wet days for the coast.

“The heaviest rain will arrive from midweek as rain spreads back south from Queensland. Most of the NSW coast will see close to 100mm, including Sydney,” said Mr Sharpe.

“Pockets of flooding are possible along the coast from Thursday onwards.”

The La Nina climate driver, which has led to a wetter than usual summer, may be on the way out but as this week is set to prove, it still has some power in yet.

“This rain event is typical of a La Nina phase and there are early signs next week will bring another round of soaking rain to eastern Australia.”

RELATED: The weather forecast where you live

In Brisbane, do yourself a favour and keep the brolly close. There will be significant showers most days this week, with up to 20mm in each 24-hour period. Highs will be in the mid to late twenties.

Elsewhere in Queensland, Townsville will also be soggy, as well Cairns. inland, the rain looks set to be in abundance with up to 55mm falling on Longreach on Tuesday and Wednesday and potentially more than 100mm in Charleville.

The region from Rockhampton to Bundaberg to Kingaroy has had a near-record dry start to the year with rain as low as 20 per cent of the average. However from 50 to 100mm could be recorded in the gauge this week.

There will be a brief reprieve from the wet weather in Sydney on Monday, but the grey clouds will return on Tuesday. That might be a mere a 6mm to begin with, a fairly modest amount, but it’s just the start. Heavy and persistent downpours look to be the typical conditions all the way into the weekend with as much as 40mm set to fall on Thursday.

Overall, the Harbour City could see 50 – 130mm of precipitation, meaning the monthly average of 101mm could well be bettered over just the next few days.

It should be still be relatively warm, however, with maximums of around 25C or more.

Canberra will start off sunny this week but the rain is on its way. Thursday and Friday could both be soggy days in the capital. Mild maximums bouncing around 20C with overnight lows dipping to 8C early on Tuesday.

Darwin is looking wet and stormy with highs of 31C and around 10mm of rainfall daily.

Melbourne will see highs in the mid-twenties this week and should mostly escape the wet with cloudy days and some sun. But rain is possible in inland areas of Victoria, particularly in the north, towards the end of the week.

It should be dry in Hobart. Highs of around 20C at the beginning of the week will rise to around the mid-twenties with Thursday the sunniest day.

A cloudy week with some sunny spells in Adelaide. Warming up with highs of 29C from Wednesday to Friday.

Perth is also looking sunny and it will be toasty in the west with maximums above 30C all week, and as high as 36C on Friday. But further north in WA it will be wet with Broome, Kununurra and Karratha all set for showers which will be heavy at times.



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Australian of the Year Grace Tame tells March 4 Justice rally it’s time to make noise


Sexual assault survivor and advocate Grace Tame has told protesters at Hobart’s March 4 Justice rally that evil thrives in silence and it’s time for “making noise”.

The Hobart resident, who was 15 when she was raped by her 58-year-old teacher, told the throngs gathered that the fear of doing nothing must outweigh the fear of doing something.

“Evil thrives in silence,” Ms Tame told the crowd during a speech that roused thunderous applause and cheers.

“Behaviour unspoken behaviour ignored is behaviour endorsed.

“The start of the solution is quite simple – making noise.”

Ms Tame said the pursuit of progress did not need to be adversarial.

“Men are not the enemy, corrupt behaviour is,” she said.

“Corrupt behaviour always has been and always will be the enemy.”

She encouraged women to consider their contribution as a “little domino” who together could make positive strides for the treatment of women.

“That’s all you need to be – be a domino,” she said.

“Ten years next month I made a choice to stand up against a man who repeatedly raped me.

“I’m not going to name him, he doesn’t deserve any airtime, but I was afraid of doing something until a different kind of fear usurped that fear.

“The fear of doing nothing should outweigh your fear of doing something.”

Ms Tame acknowledged while having a voice in these conversations is “terrifying”, women needed to know “the power belongs to us”.

“And that power is love. Keep on living, keep on listening, keep on learning but always keep on loving,” she said.

Ms Tame was named 2021 Australian of the Year for her bravery in shining a light on child sex abuse, trauma impacts and the warning signs of grooming.

She is the first Tasmanian to win the award in its 61-year history.



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