May 24, 2023
SBS News in Easy English 24 May 2023
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sign two new economic partnership agreements during a bilateral meeting in Sydney this morning [[WEDNESDAY]]. The new migration and labour mobility partnership agreement will make it easier for students and business people to move between Australia and India, while also increasing cooperation to prevent people smuggling. Prime Minister Albanese has also announced the signing of a new Australia / India green hydrogen task force. He says it will ensure their two countries reach global emissions reduction targets. [[" The task force will comprise Australian and Indian experts in renewable hydrogen and report to the Australian Indian ministerial energy dialogue on the opportunities which are there for Australia and India to cooperate in this important area of renewable hydrogen. Investments like the task force will help power our industries in the future. And ensure that Australia and India meet our energy targets in the interests of both our respective countries but also in support of reduction of global emissions."]] ------------ The Indigenous voice referendum is back up for debate in federal parliament today [[WEDNESDAY]]. Parliament is set to vote on the final wording of the referendum question along with the changes to the constitution should the proposal succeed. Opposition leader Peter Dutton says the proposal will re-racialise our nation, a comment that Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney has called disinformation. Deputy Liberal leader, Sussan Ley, denies her party has resorted to scare tactics. [["Absolutely not. Of course, debate should be respectful, and overwhelmingly it is. And we will always call out outliers, who behave in a disrespectful manner, who have divisive language, and who don’t treat this referendum in the way that all referenda should be treated in Australia. We will always call that out. But overwhelmingly, I’m pleased to say that people are asking genuine questions. Unfortunately, they’re not getting answers."]] ----------- Over 100 Australian academics are calling on the Albanese government to rethink its AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine deal, saying the move risks increasing tensions with China. The letter, states that the deal - which may cost up to $368 billion - is "likely to compound Australia’s strategic risks, heighten geopolitical tensions, and undermine efforts at nuclear non-proliferation." Dr Alison Broinowski is an academic and former diplomat for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, currently serving as the president of Australians for War Powers Reform - an anti-war campaign group. Dr Broinowski is one of the 110 academics to sign the open letter and she says the AUKUS deal could be seen by China as provocation and may lead to an arms race in the region. [["What this does is create a potential arms race in the region and it is a clear signal of aggression from Australia and the United States towards China which eventually the Chinese may feel that they have to respond to."]] ------------ Health Minister Mark Butler has announced that medication for children born with the most common form of dwarfism is covered by the government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme ((PBS)) from May 1st. Achondroplasia [[A-kon-dro-PLAY-zha]] is a rare condition which results in impaired bone growth and disproportionately short limbs. The federal government is to list the drug Voxzogo® on the P-B-S to help treat patients with achondroplasia whose growth plates are not yet closed. Without a subsidy, Voxzogo could cost more than $330,000 per year but Minister Butler says the P-B-S listing will allow families with eligible children to have access to the treatment more cheaply. "This is a terrific, exciting new treatment for achondroplasia which is the most common form of dwarfism around the world. We think there are about 140 young Australians who will benefit from this listing every single year. Instead of paying $330,000 a year, this treatment will be available at PBS prices: $30 a script or even $7 for concessional patients." -------- In sport, The Brisbane Lions A-F-L club has come out in support of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament today. The club says they conducted a voluntary survey within their organisation and - after gauging opinions from board members, staff and players - have decided to throw their support behind the proposal. This comes after last week's announcement [[May 18]] that the A-F-L commission would be backing the "yes" campaign in the upcoming referendum. The Lions follow Geelong, Richmond, Essendon, Collingwood and West Coast in publicly supporting the voice and have touted their proud history with Indigenous players. A statement from the club says "we commit to listening, learning and working together to create a Club that respects and welcomes everyone, from our First Peoples to our newest Australians."