Australia news live: police find no evidence of notorious antisemitic chant in video of Sydney Opera House pro-Palestine protest | Australia news

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Dutton says Liberals will not ‘take money away’ from people who benefit from tax changes

Speaking to Nine’s Today show, the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, was asked:

At the end of the day, you know, your own electorate is among those who are going to benefit greatly from these changes to the tax cuts, some 85% of them. You don’t want to take money away from them, do you?


And we’re not going to. I’ve been very clear about the fact that …

He was also asked whether he backed calls from some premier’s that the RBA should cut interest rates. Yesterday, Queensland premier, Steven Miles, said the RBA “needs to start cutting interest rates now to take pressure off households”.

Dutton argued Miles, and Victorian premier Jacinta Allan, were “at odds with their Labor colleagues”, noting the RBA’s independence.

Somebody like Steven Miles or Jacinta Allan and others, frankly, they’d be better off concentrating on how they can deal with the ambulance ramping disaster and youth crime at the moment, which is out of control in many parts of the country.

So, I think they should concentrate on fixing up their own problems at the moment.

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Key events

Police provide more details on Berowra train fatalities

Wrapping up the press conference, the NSW police officer provided some more information around the deaths of two people at a railway in Berowra.

As we reported earlier, emergency services were called to Berowra railway station shortly after 12am following reports a man and woman had been hit by a train.

Police were told a woman, aged in her 30s, was being assisted off the tracks by a man in his 20s when they were both hit by a freight train. The pair were treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics, however they died at the scene. They have not been formally identified.

Speaking in Sydney, the police officer said the matter is still under investigation with “a lot to work through”, but it appears some property of one of the persons was on the railway track.

It appears that two persons then entered the railway track and unfortunately a train approached at the time. A collision resulted and, tragically, two persons have passed away. We will continue to investigate the circumstances of the incident.

Police believe the two people knew each other.

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NSW police expert relying on audio-visual evidence, not witness testimony

Lanyon said several statements were obtained from people who claimed to hear “gas the Jews” at the rally.

Those persons have not been able to ascribe those words to any individual. We haven’t identified any individual who used those words.

But what I’m saying today is the expert has made an examination of the audio and visual files which were taken from outside the Opera House on that occasion. That’s where he has concluded with overwhelming certainty that the words used where “where’s the Jews?”…

We won’t be going back to them to speak about what has subsequently been concluded by the expert, because the expert is relying on what they heard on the audio and visual analysis.

The expert who conducted this analysis is from the National Centre of Biometric Science, “an eminent expert who has been used by law enforcement right across the country, including the NSW police force”, the officer said.

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NSW police: evidence of other antisemitic chants made at rally; audio in video was not doctored

NSW police’s deputy commissioner, Mal Lanyon, said there is “certainly” evidence of other anti-semitic chants being made at the rally, which were “offensive and completely unacceptable”.

But I think the major contention has been about the phrase that was chanted, and quite emphatically, our expert has said that it is ‘where’s the Jews?’

The officer was asked whether the audio in the video had been manipulated? He said the video had not been doctored, but had been compiled from a “parent file”.

What the expert has concluded is that there is a compilation video which has a number of audio and visual files. Those audio and visual files have not been doctored, they’re simply cut from a more parent file… When examined, the parent file and the video compilation have the same audio and visual, and from that, the expert has been able to conclude they are the words that were used. Obviously, subtitles are … an opinion of someone putting those subtitles on there of what they hear…

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Phrase chanted at pro-Palestine protest last year was ‘Where’s the Jews’: NSW police

NSW police are giving a press conference, following news an independent analysis of audio and video files from a pro-Palestine protest at the Sydney Opera House last year found no evidence for claims that anyone had chanted “gas the Jews”.

Deputy commissioner Mal Lanyon said:

As part of the investigation, investigators engaged an eminent expert in biometric science. That expert has conducted an audio, visual and acoustic phonetic analysis of the audio-visual files.

As a result of that examination, the expert has concluded with overwhelming certainty that the phrase chanted during that protest, as recorded on the audio and visual files, was, “Where’s the Jews?” Not another phrase, as otherwise widely reported.

The strike force continues to investigate offences arising from that protest and we urge any member of the public with information to come forward and provide information.

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Man charged for allegedly scaling and tagging Flinders Street station

A man has been charged over allegedly scaling and tagging (spraying graffiti all over) Flinders Street railway station in Victoria.

Victorian police allege that on 12 January, a man scaled and tagged the heritage listed façade of the building and caused “extensive damage”.

It is also alleged tags were painted on walls around the Westgate tunnel project in Spotswood and across Sandringham, Mernda, Craigieburn and Sunbury railway lines.

The damage is estimated at over $200,000, police said.

Police executed search warrants at addresses in West Footscray and Caulfield North and seized a number of items including spray paint, knuckle dusters and a samurai sword.

A 23-year-old West Footscray man has been charged with multiple offences including criminal damage and possessing a controlled weapon. He has been bailed to appear in Melbourne magistrates court on 8 February.

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Speaking to 3AW, Victorian opposition leader John Pesutto was also asked about the opposition’s stance on treaty.

This comes after it withdrew its support for a treaty with the state’s Indigenous people and ended years of bipartisanship on the issue.

Pesutto argued that the opposition never supported the treaty itself, but the “process” of working towards one.

I’ve had some concerns for a while about whether, under any scenario, I could see the Coalition agreeing to a treaty. And I’ll tell you why – the treaty, according to [premier] Jacinta Allan, is a process. [She] has never explained to our listeners or the Victorian people what could be or what won’t be in the treaty.

When asked if he knew what was in the treaty, Pesutto claimed “Jacinta won’t tell us”.

Pesutto says taxpayers not paying for defence on Deeming defamation action

Victoria’s opposition leader, John Pesutto, was speaking with 3AW radio just earlier.

He was asked about the defamation case brought against him from expelled Liberal MP Moira Deeming. He said the matter between the two was “sorted out” from his end – he is not the one bringing the legal action.

There was an outcome last year that had it been observed, would have seen her return to the party room. Things have taken a different course. I’m totally focused on the cost of living issues facing Victorians, I’m not bringing this action, I’m not concerned about it, it’s with my lawyers and they manage it for me.

Asked about the cost of the legal action, Pesutto said “I’m the one who gets the bills and I’ll sort that out”, but taxpayers won’t pay for it and neither will the party.

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Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

The former Labor MP for Hawthorn, John Kennedy, is in court to watch Moira Deeming’s defamation proceedings kick off against John Pesutto – the current member for Hawthorn.

Could this be the beginning of a bid for reelection?

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NSW police say no evidence offensive antisemitic phrase chanted at pro-Palestine protest last year

Tory Shepherd

Tory Shepherd

New South Wales police say an independent analysis of audio and video files from a pro-Palestine protest at the Sydney Opera House last year found no evidence for claims that anyone had chanted “gas the Jews”.

People reported hearing the comments at the protest in October last year, and the reports are being investigated by Strike Force Mealing.

In a statement this morning, police said they would continue their investigation and urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers. Police said:

Strike Force Mealing was established to investigate reported unlawful activity committed during an unauthorised protest at the Sydney Opera House on 9 October 2023.

Police received reports following the protest suggesting that an offensive antisemitic phrase was chanted during the event.

As a result of independent forensic analysis of audio-video files of the demonstration provided to investigators, police have no evidence that this phrase was used.

Police also obtained statements from several individuals who attended the protest indicating they heard the phrase however these statements have not attributed the phrase to any specific individual.

We’ll bring you more after a press conference due to start shortly.

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Benita Kolovos

Benita Kolovos

First hearing to be held in Deeming defamation case against John Pesutto

I’ve just arrived at federal court for the first hearing in expelled Liberal MP Moira Deeming’s defamation action against the Victorian opposition leader, John Pesutto.

She alleges comments he made after she spoke at an anti-trans rally gatecrashed by neo-Nazis in March last year defamed her.

Her lawyers said Pesutto’s comments, as well as a 15-page document his office circulated to Liberal MPs and the media when he moved to expel her from the party, were defamatory as they suggested Deeming “supports, sympathises with or associates with white supremacists and neo-Nazis”, and that she is a white supremacist or neo-Nazi.

Pesutto denies these imputations and his lawyers will largely rely on the honest opinion defence, which allows people to express opinions on matters of public interest, as well as the defences of contextual truth and qualified privilege.

According to the defence document – seen by Guardian Australia – Pesutto will argue her association with the event organisers made her unfit to be a member of the Liberal party room.

The first case management hearing will largely be procedural and should be done within an hour, with neither expected to attend.

But Deeming’s lawyer, high-profile defamation barrister Sue Chrysanthou, has flown down from Sydney to push for another short hearing to determine imputations that could expedite any possible trial. Here’s our preview:

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