Australian missing in Turkey found alive but two still unaccounted for – as it happened

One missing Australian in Turkey has been accounted for, Wong says

Wong was asked to give an update about the Australian citizens who were in Turkey during Monday’s earthquake.

We have Turkish Australians who are there.

I note, I had previously talked about four who were unaccounted for.

I am pleased I can say one of those Australians in the region is accounted for and safe.

Two people are unaccounted for.

One person has been reported as having died in these earthquakes.

We are working to confirm those reports, and I extend my condolences, and a consequence of those reports, I extend to all those waiting for news my sympathy and expression of support. Not just personal but on behalf of the government of Australia.

Key events

What we learned: Friday, 10 February

With that, we will wrap the blog for the evening.

We’ve made it to the weekend just in time for a mild heatwave. Stay cool, stay safe, we’ll be back first thing tomorrow.

Here were the major developments of the day:

  • The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, has announced the government will nominate Murujuga for a world heritage listing. If it is accepted by Unesco it will be the second site in Australia given World Heritage status for its First Nations heritage – but there’s pushback from some who say the government’s support of local industrialisation is at odds with the environmental nomination.

  • Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle has been upgraded to a category three intensity. It is moving towards the south-east and is expected to make “a direct hit at Norfolk Island” over the weekend.

  • One missing Australia in Turkey has been accounted for, the foreign minister, Penny Wong, confirmed today. Two Australians remain missing after the earthquakes.

  • Meanwhile, Wong told reporters she asked her department to accelerate the replacement of Chinese surveillance cameras in the wake of media reporting this week.

  • The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, has committed to campaigning in Aston to retain the outgoing Liberal MP Alan Tudge’s seat.

  • And Queensland’s deputy premier, Steven Miles, has attacked a magistrate’s decision to release children from an adult watch house, labelling it a “media stunt” that is “putting the community … in danger”. The spray resulted in him being described as a “disgrace” by the Council of Civil Liberties for breaching the doctrine of the separation of powers.

Caitlin Cassidy

Caitlin Cassidy

Todd Murphy takes four wickets in his debut game

Turning attention from politics for a moment to bring you some breaking news taking place over at our India v Australia live blog: Bowler Todd Murphy has just taken four wickets on his debut game.

Murphy, a 22-year-old from the great city of Moama, incidentally has the same name as my dog – Murphy the labrador.

Now I’m not a betting man, nor do I condone gambling, but this could be the first time in the history of cricket that a bowler has taken four wickets while – simultaneously – a Guardian journalist who has a dog with an identical name is liveblogging.

You cannot make this stuff up!

As we know, “now just out of left field first” usually leads to a reasonable (and newsworthy) question.

The opening of Neil Mitchell’s interview with Health Minister Mark Butler today. Babies are “becoming the fashion” in federal parliament apparently. They are taking over!

— Stephanie Dalzell (@steph_dalzell) February 10, 2023

Naplan changes outlined by government

The education minister, Jason Clare, has announced a range of changes to Naplan alongside his counterparts, including bringing forward testing to March instead of May.

Reports will also be reformed to provide ease of reading and clarity on how students are progressing, with schools and parents to receive individualised reports in July.

New proficiency standards for numeracy and literacy will also be implemented including “exceeding, strong, developing” and “needs additional support”.

Benchmarks will be more meaningful and clearer to reflect the personalised online tests that students undertake. They will be set against a challenging but reasonable standard of literacy and numeracy expected for the child at the time of testing.

The Australian Parents Council (APC) firmly backed the changes including the simplification from 10 bands to four levels of achievement.

The standard will support higher expectations for student achievement and ensure students are gaining the important literacy and numeracy skills they will need throughout their lives.

We are really excited about these tweaks to Naplan reporting and believe they will be really useful in stimulating parent-teacher conversations about educational progress.

Guardian Australia’s Afternoon Update is here, with the major news of the day in brief including 12 ways to meditate without actually meditating (for people like myself, who can’t sit still).

With temperatures expected to exceed 30 degrees over the weekend, a total fire ban is in place in New South Wales in the southern ranges and southern slopes area.

In Western Australia, temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees above average according to the Bureau of Meteorology with severe to extreme heatwave conditions.

Maximum temperatures will reach the low to mid 40s for many days with large, but remote areas also exceeding 45 degrees.

High temperatures and heatwave conditions are likely to continue well into next week and intensify over the south of the state, the BoM says.

Before it hits, thunderstorms are continuing:

More on Victoria’s Covid update

Victoria’s chief health officer has released additional details on the state’s weekly Covid update.

There were 2,941 cases detected – a 3.3% decrease on the previous week. There are 114 Covid patients in hospital including eight in intensive care.

There were 52 deaths in the past week, a 67.4% decrease when compared to the same period in the previous month.

Brett Sutton:

There has been a continued decline in Covid cases and hospitalisations this week. The recent wave of transmission has been driven by a combination of waning immunity and multiple emerging Omicron variants.

The most recent wastewater analysis shows the recombinant strain XBF makes up the highest proportion of detections, accounting for approximately 55% of total detections.

Meanwhile from 20 February, all Victorians who have not had a Covid vaccination or confirmed infection in the past six months will be eligible for a booster, irrespective of how many prior doses the person has received.

The announcement is in line with advice issued this week from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (Atagi).

In the Northern Territory, flooding is possible in some coastal rivers from tomorrow.

The Bureau of Meteorology:

A trough currently sitting over the Top End of the Northern Territory is likely to develop into a monsoon trough over the next day or two, causing an increase in showers and thunderstorms.

In the 24 hours to 9am Friday, north west coastal catchments received rainfall totals of 40 to 110 mm. Rivers and creeks can be expected to rise strongly with further rainfall.

Significant rises in streams and creeks leading to localised flooding is expected in many inland areas … this is expected to affect many roads over the weekend and into the next week.

It comes as the Northern Territory government’s planning department has implemented the recommendation outlined in a report to mitigate flooding in Alice Springs.

Chief minister, Natasha Fyles:

We know Alice Springs has experienced destructive flooding, by taking these steps we can reduce the damage and disruption associated with flood events.

Investing in flood mitigation will safeguard residents and properties, making sure local homes and businesses are protected.

Queensland will follow Victoria in donating $1m to those impacted by the recent earthquakes.

Queensland will donate $1 million to support earthquake victims in Syria and Türkiye.

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) February 10, 2023

More on Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle

The Bureau of Meteorology is continuing to monitor Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle, which is expected to produce wind gusts of 224km/h causing hazardous coastal conditions for parts of Queensland and New South Wales.


The cyclone continues to move in a south-east direction, roughly parallel to the Queensland coast and is forecast to track near or over Norfolk Island from Friday night or Saturday morning.

A tropical cyclone warning has been issued for Norfolk Island, where heavy rain, damaging to destructive winds and heavy surf and swell are possible.

The severe weather is expected to continue until Sunday afternoon or evening.

Meanwhile, eastern Australia has been lashed by intense thunderstorms in the past few days, with the highest total recorded at Erina Heights in NSW. The catchment recorded 149mm in the 24 hours to 9am Friday.

A 100km/h wind gust was observed at Dubbo Airport; 85km/h on Sydney Harbour.

Melbourne buildings to be lit up in solidarity with Turkey

A number of buildings in Melbourne will be lit up tonight in solidarity with Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquakes in the region.

Here’s a full list of the sites that will be doused in white:

Release of children from adult watch house a ‘media stunt’: Queensland deputy premier

Eden Gillespie

Eden Gillespie

Queensland’s deputy premier has slammed a magistrate’s decision to release children from an adult watch house, labelling it a “media stunt” that is “putting the community … in danger”.

Guardian Australia confirmed from multiple legal sources that on Thursday, a children’s court magistrate in Townsville asked that all children being held on remand in the watch house be brought before the court.

It comes after the Queensland police service revealed this week that more than 25 children had spent more than three weeks in watch houses so far this year.

But on Friday, Steven Miles was critical of the magistrate’s decision to release the children from the watch house, telling reporters: “Queensland courts need to do their job.”

We cannot allow the safety of Townsville residents to be held to ransom by rogue courts and rogue justices.

In response, extra police were rostered overnight … police are seeking legal advice on each individual instance.

The police minister, Mark Ryan, said “community safety will always come first” and the way to “interrupt the offending” of serious recidivist offenders is by detaining them.

Their comments come after a coalition of more than 50 experts and organisations in the youth justice sector wrote an open letter which called on the government to be “smarter not tougher” on crime and invest in evidence-based solutions, such as early intervention and prevention measures.

University of Melbourne the new ‘wage theft capital’, uni union says

Joo-Cheong Tham, assistant secretary professor at the National Tertiary Education Union Victoria Division, said the ombudsman’s allegations against the University of Melbourne highlighted how the university had become the “wage theft capital” of the sector.

In August, the ombudsman launched the first legal case of its kind against the University of Melbourne over what it said was coercion and punishment of two casual academics from a different faculty who were seeking to be paid for overtime work. The litigation is still ongoing.


It illustrates how the insecure workforce approach of the university systematically results in exploitation. It is high time for the university to overhaul its employment model … and establish job security as a key priority through targets for continuing employment in its enterprise agreement.

The NTEU national president, Dr Alison Barnes, said the scale of the problem across higher education was “reprehensible”.

The ombudsman’s allegations of ‘serious contraventions’ show the gravity of the situation we’re dealing with. We have been warning about the scourge of systemic wage theft in our sector for years. When are we going to see some action that finally puts an end to the endless stream of shameful allegations like these?

The root causes of this insidious problem must be urgently addressed. Insecure work and university governance need serious reform to stop more staff from being ripped off.

A spokesperson for the University of Melbourne said separate to the proceedings, the university was “working very hard” on its remediation program, established two years ago.

The university continues to keep staff and key stakeholders updated as this work progresses. Through this program, the University is also improving its payroll and time-recording systems.

A date for a directions hearing in Melbourne’s federal court has yet to be scheduled.

University of Melbourne faces allegations of staff underpayment

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched legal action against Victoria’s wealthiest university for the second time in six months over alleged underpayment of casual staff to a total of $154,424 and providing “false or misleading” records.

The regulator alleges between February 2017 and December 2019, the University of Melbourne breached the Fair Work Act when it failed to pay 14 casual academics for work at the hourly rates required under its enterprise agreements.

Instead, the university allegedly paid the staff based on “benchmarks”, which varied depending on the faculty, and in some cases described payment for marking at a rate based on “4,000 words per hour” and at one school on “one hour per student”.

It is alleged total underpayments of the staff amounted to $154,424, ranging from $927 to $30,140 for individuals.

The ombudsman alleges the breaches of its enterprise agreements amounted to “serious contraventions” under the Fair Work Act which were “expressly, tacitly or impliedly authorised … because of a corporate culture involving the use of marking benchmarks”.

The Fair Work Ombudsman alleges that the benchmarking practices continued despite the inadequacy of the system being raised with certain managers as early as April 2016 and up to 2019.

If the allegations are proven the university faces penalties of up to $630,000 a breach for serious contraventions – of which penalties are 10 times higher – and $63,000 for the other allegations.

The Fair Work Ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said allegations of universities underpaying employees by systematically failing to follow their own enterprise agreements were of “great concern”.

Universities, like all employers, should have proactive measures in place to ensure they are meeting workplace laws and paying employees correctly for all hours worked.

A spokesperson for the University of Melbourne said the university had cooperated with the investigation and staff affected by the “historical issue” had already been back-paid.

The university has publicly acknowledged and apologised to past and current employees who had been paid less than they were due for work that they had performed.

Norfolk Island has been issued an “orange “warning” alert by the Bureau of Meteorology as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle approaches.

Winds of up to 140 km/h are expected by tomorrow afternoon.

Norfolk Island has just been issued an orange cyclone alert – will likely go to red tomorrow. Locals warned gale force winds could start as early as 6am, strengthening from 2pm. The local hall will be opening as an emergency evacuation centre from 9am @9NewsQueensland

— Anna Rawlings (@AnnaRawlings_) February 10, 2023

The Bureau is forecasting gales within 24 hours, with the community urged to secure boats and properties:

Gales with gusts to 120 km/h are expected to develop at Norfolk Island overnight tonight, gradually increasing during Saturday morning and becoming destructive with gusts to 140 km/h by Saturday afternoon.

As the cyclone centre passes, destructive winds may ease for short period of time, due to the eye of the system, before it suddenly picks up again, blowing from the opposite direction.

Abnormally high tides are expected about Norfolk Island, but the sea level should not exceed the highest tide of the year. Very heavy surf that may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is possible.

Heavy rain is also likely to develop about Norfolk Island during Saturday, before easing on Sunday.


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