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Australia news live: Richard Marles reveals panel to oversee military shake-up; National Reconciliation Week begins

Key events

Jordyn Beazley

Happy Saturday, everyone! I’ll be leading you through the latest developments this morning.

Adelaide rally against planned anti-protest crackdown

Unions in South Australia stepped up their campaign against the state government’s planned anti-protest laws last night with a rally in Adelaide.

Widespread criticism and condemnation of the summary offences bill has grown, SA Unions said, and a coalition of community representatives and experts will also be staging a demonstration at Parliament House on Tuesday when the laws are to be introduced to the legislative council.

Breaking: In a rare intervention the South Australian Bar Association has come out in support of the community concerns re the anti protest laws saying:

“rushing legislation and bypassing scrutiny is not how good laws are made” #ProtectProtest pic.twitter.com/deJAKTQcWH

— CounterAct – Building People Powered Action (@CounterActOz) May 26, 2023

The SA Unions secretary, Dale Beasley, said:

These laws are unacceptable. The bill is a massive overreach, and a mess of unintended consequences. It must not proceed.
Not only have the government rushed this bill through the lower house, they are now rushing to make it law to stifle community outrage and expert legal opinions.


Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage this Saturday. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be bringing you the best of our overnight stories before my colleague Jordyn Beazley fires up the computer.

Our top story is an exclusive reporting that David Littleproud has offered to help Labor bolster competition law protections for farmers and suppliers in a bid to prevent potential abuses of market power by Australia’s big supermarkets. The Nationals leader proposes making the grocery code of conduct compulsory, boosting penalties to a “punitive” $10m maximum and adding powers to break up grocery giants in the event of misconduct. More on that coming up.

Former defence department boss Dennis Richardson is among past top bureaucrats appointed to independently oversee a major shake-up of Australia’s military. An external advisory panel will oversee the rollout of the Defence Strategic Review recommendations. The panel will include Richardson, former finance department secretary Rosemary Huxtable and former foreign affairs deputy secretary Richard Maude. It will be co-chaired by the former federal minister Stephen Smith and ex-defence chief Sir Angus Houston, who wrote the review report. “Realising the review’s ambition requires major reform,” the defence minister, Richard Marles, said.

It is the start of Reconciliation Week and the theme for 2023 is “Be A Voice For Generation”’, which honours those who fought for justice and those working to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation, including the voice to parliament. Prof Megan Davis, who co-chairs the Uluru Dialogues and has been working on constitutional recognition for more than a decade, says this year’s theme referencing the voice has particular resonance. She wants everyone to read – or reread – the Uluru Statement from the Heart and see for themselves what it says. “The Uluru Statement from the Heart has brought meat and bones and substance back to reconciliation,” she said.

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