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Barnaby Joyce defends leaked texts amid France and Australia’s submarines row



Barnaby Joyce has launched an extraordinary defence of the decision to leak text messages between Scott Morrison and the French president.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has leapt to defend Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the diplomatic row between Australia and France over the axed submarines deal escalates.

Text messages between the two world leaders were sensationally leaked to the media on Monday night in an attempt to discredit French President Emmanuel Macron’s position after he accused Mr Morrison of lying.

Mr Joyce on Wednesday claimed that leaking text messages from a foreign leader was “not as extraordinary” as calling another foreign leader “a liar when they’re not”.

“We had a major political leader call the Prime Minister of Australia a liar and you can’t do that, diplomatically,” he told the ABC.

“You can’t go around calling other leaders of other countries a liar.

“Not (the leader of) a great nation of France. Some tin pot nation in the middle of nowhere, well, I suppose you can say what you like.”

Mr Joyce said the government had been looking at “contingency plans” well before the $90bn submarine contract with France was scrapped in favour of a pact with the US and the UK.

Mr Macron told Australian reporters at a summit in Rome at the weekend that he “knew” Mr Morrison had lied to him over the severing of the contract.

Mr Morrison subsequently denied his account. But just hours later, the text messages emerged, which are believed to have been strategically released to outlets via his office.

French ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault earlier on Wednesday accused Mr Morrison of stabbing Paris in the back.

In a major speech to the National Press Club, Mr Thebault said the relationship between the two countries had sunk to a “new low”.

“The deceit was intentional,” Mr Thebault said earlier, as he unloaded on the Prime Minister in a room full of reporters.

“The way it was handled was plainly a stab in the back.

“What, after such events, can any partner of Australia now think, is the value of Australia’s signature?”

Asked if he believed the Prime Minister was “lying about lying”, Mr Thebault replied: “Yes, he was … I have several examples”.

“Maybe there’s a difference between misleading and lying.

“But, you know, among heads of states and governments, when you mislead a friend and an ally, you lie to him.”

He added the release of the text messages signalled Australia could not be trusted.

“You don’t behave like this on personal exchanges of leaders. Doing so also sends a very worrying signal for all heads of state,” the French ambassador said.

“Beware, in Australia there will be leaks. And what you say in confidence to your partners will be eventually used and weaponised against you one day.”

But in a press conference following the ambassador’s speech, Mr Morrison expressed his desire to end the spat, which has dominated headlines over the past week.

“Claims had been made and those claims were refuted,” he said during a stopover in Dubai.

“I don’t think there’s any further profit for anyone in continuing down this path.”

Earlier in the week, Mr Macron raised doubts over whether the AUKUS agreement would even deliver the proposed nuclear powered submarines in a timely manner: “Good luck”.

Echoing his comments, the French ambassador accused Australia of “magical thinking”.

Mr Thebault’s address is the first time he has publicly spoken since being recalled as ambassador following the announcement of the AUKUS agreement.

While he promised France would always stand with Australia, he cautioned against the government using “cheap words and promises of love”.

“We won’t any more buy on cheap words. We won’t buy on promises of love.

“At the same time … this is a golden opportunity. We can rebuild something substantial. But we start from very far away.”

But should Mr Morrison apologise? The ambassador sidestepped the question.

“Eating one share of humble pie may sometimes be difficult. It’s up to everyone to make his own decision,” he said.

Asked if he would follow the ambassador’s advice, Mr Morrison said he would never offer an apology to France for tearing up the agreement.

“Australia made the decision not to go ahead with the contract for a submarine that was not going to do the job that Australia needed to do.

“I’ll never make any apologies for that decision.”

Originally published as ‘Tinpot nation’: Barnaby Joyce defends leaked text messages over France subs row

Read related topics:Scott Morrison




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Socceroos heading to Sharjah to meet China



China’s inability to play World Cup qualifiers at home means it will ‘host’ the Socceroos in Sharjah later this month.

The Socceroos will return to the Middle East following their Sydney clash against Saudi Arabia, with confirmation their World Cup qualifier against China will be played in the United Arab Emirates.

The Australians will play on home soil for the first time since October 2019 when they host the Saudis – who top Group B in the third round of AFC World Cup qualifying – at CommBank Stadium on Thursday week.

However, while Covid-19 travel restrictions have been lifted to allow the Socceroos to again play at home, it’s a different case in China.

As a result, the Chinese national team must continue to play its home matches on foreign soil.

China will “host” the Socceroos in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, November 17 (AEDT) at the 18,000-capacity Sharjah Stadium.

The Socceroos will have no qualms about playing the match in the UAE after winning a host of games in the Middle East in the past two years.

However, the timing of the match against China isn’t good for A-League champions Melbourne City, who start their title defence on Friday, November 19 at AAMI Park against Brisbane Roar.

City’s star attackers, Mat Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and Andrew Nabbout, are all expected to be named in Graham Arnold’s latest Socceroos squad, set to be announced on Friday.

Any City players chosen in the squad face a tight turnaround in their bid to play in the opening match of the A-League season.

City faced a similar situation in last season’s finals series, but managed to defy the absence of Maclaren, Curtis Good and Connor Metcalfe – who were on Socceroos duty in Kuwait – to win the title.

Socceroos coach Arnold arrived back in Australia on Monday after a stint of almost six months overseas.

Sydney FC defender Rhyan Grant and Melbourne Victory attacker Chris Ikonomidis – the only two A-League players in the Socceroos squad for last month’s World Cup qualifiers against Oman and Japan – are both out of quarantine and training with their clubs.

The Socceroos, whose 11-game winning streak was ended by Japan, are in second place in Group B, three points behind Saudi Arabia, who have a perfect record of 12 points from four matches.

China has just three points from four matches, with only Vietnam behind them on the Group B ladder.

The top two teams from Group A and Group B will automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Originally published as The Socceroos’ road to next year’s World Cup will take them to Sharjah to meet China




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Wall Street records propel ASX higher, RBA follow-up comments ‘settle nerves’



Record highs on US markets propelled the ASX firmly into the green, while fresh comments on interest rates have settled nerves.

The Australian sharemarket was propelled higher by a positive lead from Wall Street, but managed to outperform it, while follow up comments to yesterday’s rates decision appear to have “settled nerves”.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rallied 0.93 per cent to 7392.7, while the All Ordinaries Index strengthened 0.87 per cent to 7713.

CommSec analyst Steven Daghlian said the local bourse outperformed US markets, which hit fresh record highs overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 36,000 for the first time, up 0.4 per cent.

After the Reserve Bank of Australia held its monthly board meeting on Tuesday, keeping the cash rate at a historic-low 0.1 per cent, governor Philip Lowe said he strongly disagreed with current market pricing for hikes in 2022.

“He basically said hikes next year, while not impossible, are extremely unlikely,” Mr Daghlian said.

“But he did say it’s possible for rates to rise in 2023, so it seems to have settled nerves, to an extent.”

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver remains convinced both Australian and US central banks will “start raising rates later next year”.

OMG chief executive Ivan Tchourilov noted reactions to the RBA meeting had been mixed, with the central bank “refusing to match the hawkish outlook of other major financial institutions”, and credited the ASX rise to the upbeat US lead.

“There weren’t a lot of losers today – even iron ore miners were in the green, despite iron ore prices crashing overnight,” Mr Tchourilov said.

Mr Daghlian said the iron ore price had fallen for five straight days, back below $US100 per tonne, and had tumbled about 20 per cent in a little over a week.

“This is on some fresh restrictions on steel production in China in a bid to control pollution ahead of next year’s Beijing Olympics,” he said.

Rio Tinto lifted 1.17 per cent to $89.70, BHP added 1.07 per cent to $35.94 and Fortescue advanced 3.08 per cent to $14.38.

A particularly strong performer was lithium miner Orocobre Ltd, which surged 6.7 per cent to $9.70.

The banks gained ground after three straight trading days of losses.

Commonwealth Bank revealed it will become Australia’s first bank to offer customers the ability to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrency assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, directly through its CommBank app.

The pilot will start in coming weeks and CBA intends to progressively rollout more features next year.

CBA put on 1.17 per cent to $107, National Australia Bank rose 1.35 per cent to $28.58, Westpac inched two cents higher to $23.15 and ANZ gained 2.26 per cent to $28.47.

Investors applauded AMP announcing it had completed its exit from life insurance after more than 170 years in the business, selling its 19.13 per cent interest in Resolution Life Australasia for $524m.

The group sold the majority of the business last year for $3bn and says the divestment of the remaining stake provides balance sheet flexibility ahead of the planned demerger of its private markets division, which holds real estate and infrastructure investments.

“It’s a welcome capital injection for the wealth manager, if their new fancy building in Sydney CBD is anything to go by,” Mr Tchourilov said.

“AMP’s streamlining plans hit a hitch when the company was rinsed at the 2019 Hayne Royal Commission – it seems they are now starting to find their feet again.

“They’re focusing on banking and wealth management and divesting from the rest, usually maintaining a stake in the divested entity.”

AMP shares leapt 9.3 per cent to $1.17.

Telstra renewed its contract with the Department of Defence, clinching a five-year deal worth more than $1bn, but its shares didn’t budge from $3.90.

Packing giant Amcor firmed 0.75 per cent to $16.11 after delivering a solid first quarter result and reaffirming its full-year outlook, despite sales in some parts of the business being hit by raw material shortages.

Insurance Australia Group continued to backtrack, losing 1.11 per cent to $4.45 a day after downgrading its full-year guidance due to higher estimates for hail and severe storm damage claims, which sent its shares tumbling more than 7 per cent on Tuesday.

“Four brokers have reduced their expectations for its shares over the next 12 months,” Mr Daghlian said.

Domino’s Pizza held its annual general meeting, announcing its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050, flagging its plan to operate more than 6650 stores by 2030 – up from 3169 currently – and also warning it expects to be faced with higher food and energy costs next year.

Domino’s shares eased 0.13 per cent to $142.30.

In economic news, building approvals fell by 4.3 per cent in September, but were up 12.8 per cent on a year ago.

Approvals to build detached houses dropped 16.1 per cent in September – which CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said was the biggest monthly decline in 21 years – but higher-density apartment approvals lifted 17.4 per cent.

“Building construction is expected to remain elevated over the next 12 months due to strong homebuyer demand,” Mr Felsman said.

“Builders and their contractors are under pressure to deliver projects on-time and on-budget as they work through a huge pipeline of residential, commercial and infrastructure-related construction work.

“Already construction companies are experiencing skilled trades labour shortages and rising building materials costs due to supply-chain disruptions.”

The Aussie dollar was buying 74.32 US cents, 54.53 British pence and 64.15 Euro cents in afternoon trade.

Originally published as Australian sharemarket surges into the green, notching up gains across the board




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Domino’s Pizza commits to net zero by 2050, details huge expansion plans



Domino’s Pizza has joined a growing number of major companies making the carbon emission pledge, while also outlining expansion plans.

Domino’s Pizza is pushing ahead with massive expansion plans and joined the growing number of companies committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

The company has also warned it expects to be faced with higher food and energy costs next year.

The fast food behemoth held its annual general meeting and provided a trading update on Wednesday.

Chief executive Don Meij said its network was already 15 per cent bigger than this time last year through new store openings and acquisitions.

There are 3169 stores in the network and the plan is to more than double that number by next decade.

“We have a busy new store pipeline and this year, we aim to open a record number of new stores,” Mr Meij said.

“Indeed, we are targeting FY22 to be the largest expansion of our store footprint in our company’s history.

“We also remain active in pursuing additional markets.”

Over the next three to five years, Domino’s is targeting 9-12 per cent new store growth, and chairman Jack Cowan gave more detail in his speech to investors.

“Where other businesses in our category or broader industry immediately went on the defensive when Covid-19 arrived, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises expanded our presence – opening more stores, marketing to more customers, donating more meals to the community,” Mr Cowan said.

“With the acquisition of Taiwan, our tenth market, and a review of our modelling, Domino’s now expects to operate more than 6650 stores by 2030.

“We foresee significant upside beyond 2033 in our existing businesses, particularly Europe and Asia.”

Mr Meij said the network in both regions were “planned to be bigger than the entire Domino’s Pizza Enterprises of today”.

Mr Meij said Domino’s would, in the next 12 months, set time-bound and science-based targets with an interim goal and a commitment to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions before 2050.

“We are embracing this responsibility to take action now, and inspire our industry and supply chain partners.”

He said Domino’s would partner with Compassion in World Farming on the company’s Better Chicken Commitment, expanding its pledge for Europe to include Australia and New Zealand.

“We have also expanded our offerings to vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian customers, with plant-based cheeses and alternatives to our traditional proteins,” Mr Meij said.

On expected higher food prices in 2022, Domino’s said long term contracts would provide some buffer.

Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne asked Mr Cowan, aged 79, whether he planned to emulate the boss of the publisher of this title – News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch – in continuing his career into his 90s.

The executive said that “may be wishful thinking”.

“I may not be that lucky but that would be my desire,” Mr Cowan elaborated.

Originally published as Domino’s Pizza commits to net zero by 2050, pushing ahead with massive expansion plans

Read related topics:Climate Change




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Teenager in hospital after high school stabbing in Melbourne’s west



A teenager is in hospital following a stabbing at a secondary school. Another student is assisting police.

A teenager is in hospital after an apparent stabbing at a high school in Melbourne’s west.

Victoria Police officers were called to the Hoppers Crossing Secondary School in Fraser St just after 11.30am on Wednesday.

A teenage boy sustained minor injuries, a spokeswoman said.

Another student is currently assisting police with their inquiries.

Paramedics treated a person for upper body injuries and they were taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital in a stable condition, Ambulance Victoria said.

Caller Dianne told 3AW radio her grandson, who is a student at the school, told her there had been a stabbing.

“It was quite a big knife,” she told the station on Wednesday.

“It’s my grandson’s friend, so it’s said.

“But he’s going to be alright.”

The incident is understood to have occurred in the food tech rooms, she said.

Hoppers Crossing Secondary College declined to comment, referring inquiries to police.

Originally published as Teenager in hospital after high school stabbing in Melbourne’s west




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WA Police to give update on rescue of Cleo Smith



WA Police will give an update on the rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith who was found just a few minutes from home after being missing for more than two weeks.

West Australian Police will give an update on the rescue of four-year-old Cleo Smith who was missing for more than two weeks before detectives swooped on a property just minutes from her home.

Cleo was allegedly abducted from the family tent at Quobba Blowholes in Macleod, near Carnarvon in the state’s north, on October 16.

It prompted a nationwide search before officers descended on a property in Carnarvon just a short distance from the local police station about 1am on Wednesday.

A 36-year-old man has been taken into custody and Cleo has been reunited with her parents.

Police will soon speak to the media about the incident.

More to come

Originally published as WA Police to give update on rescue of Cleo Smith




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NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole says he will oppose Hawkins and Rumker coalmining proposal



The NSW Deputy Premier says he will oppose a coalmining project in a ‘beautiful’ area of NSW that lies next to a national park.

The NSW Deputy Premier says he will move to stop a controversial coal project near Wollemi National Park.

Paul Toole told a budget estimates hearing on Wednesday that he would propose to the cabinet that the coal exploration project in the Hawkins and Rumker areas should be ruled out.

“It is my intention to take this proposal to my colleagues, and it is my intention to actually rule it out,” Mr Toole said.

The 3000-hectare area of land, just north of Mr Toole’s electorate of Bathurst, has been earmarked for potential exploration, but some locals have argued against the plan.

A report by consultancy firm EarthScapes that was commissioned by anti-mining lobby group Lock the Gate showed there were dozens of Aboriginal heritage sites nearby.

The report said the Hawkins and Rumker areas, and nearby Ganguddy-Kelgoola, had no less than 45 recorded heritage sites between them.

The consultants also said 22 threatened animal species and six threatened plant species would be at risk.

Mr Toole said he was not convinced the project would be commercially viable and “social issues” were also at play.

“It is a beautiful area,” he said.

“And there are commercial issues around its viability, but there’s also social issues that have been identified as well.

“And I think it makes it very clear for me to actually say to my department that when we put the report going up to my colleagues, it will be actually indicating that we rule it out.”

Greens upper house MP Cate Faehrmann, who used her time at budget estimates to ask Mr Toole about his position on the project, said afterwards the Deputy Premier’s announcement was “wonderful news”.

“I am now calling on the NSW government to protect this culturally rich and environmentally significant area by adding it to the national parks estate,” she said.

“This area was originally left out of Wollemi National Park because of its potential for coal exploration.

“Opening it up now would have devastated the local community and the Dabee Wiradjuri people and put 7000 hectares of threatened ecological communities, countless Aboriginal heritage sites and our climate at risk.”

She also said the government should rule out coal and gas projects in Ganguddy-Kelgoola as well.

Originally published as NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole says he will oppose Hawkins and Rumker coalmining proposal




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Will Pucovski won’t be ready for opening Ashes Test after being ruled out of Victoria’s clash with NSW



David Warner will have a new opening partner for the Ashes after Will Pucovski’s concussion comeback hit another hurdle.

Batting star Will Pucovski hasn’t yet returned to the nets a month after his 10th concussion and may not be available for Australia until the middle of the Ashes.

Pucovski won’t play for Victoria against NSW at the MCG in a Sheffield Shield clash starting this Friday, which is a “touch too soon” as he continues to recover from the effects of the concussion suffered on October 5 at training.

Victorian coach Chris Rogers said there was a “strong desire” to get the 23-year-old into the Test team, but everyone was taking a long-term view of Pucovski’s cricket future.

Rogers said Pucovski, who was the frontrunner to open with David Warner during the Ashes, could be ready for one of the later Tests in a “best-case scenario” as he returns to full fitness.

“He hasn’t quite recovered as well as hoped. In discussions with the medical team and the national selectors it was felt we would give him a bit more time to select him to play for Victoria,” Rogers said.

“He hasn’t started hitting the nets, I think that was the main concern. It’s really difficult just to walk into one of these games unprepared. All the people who are in these conversations understand we have an immense talent on our hands and we want him to be playing for five to 10 years, so these are the decisions we are going to make in his best interests to set him up to have a long career.

“There’s some symptoms which are just a little too close to the game.”

Pucovski trained on Wednesday and was “positive” about how his recovery was tracking.

But his playing return may not come until a yet-to-be-confirmed third Sheffield Shield game in mid-November or even a Victorian second XI game.

Rogers said that would delay any chance of him playing in the Ashes until mid-series.

“No doubt it’s a setback. I’d say now it’s unlikely he’d play in the first Test,” he said.

“Hopefully, if we play a third Shield game in mid-November and there may be a second XI game for Victoria as well, that might prepare him for one of the matches in the middle of the Ashes series. That’s the best-case scenario.

“He was very positive about how it was all tracking and pretty hopeful of playing soon, but he felt this match was a touch too early.”

Rogers said Pucovski, who hasn’t played a game since injuring his shoulder in his Test debut last January, was “frustrated” by this latest concussion and its lingering effects.

But the young star also knows he has to be fully ready when he makes a playing return.

“He hasn’t played for seven months. You have to walk straight back in the cauldron and perform against very good opposition. That would have been playing on his mind,” Rogers said.

“Of course he wants to play for Australia for a long time to come. There’s a strong desire to get him into that Australian side, he’s such a talented player.

“I think the decision is to look after him and allow him a bit more time to prepare in the right time rather than rush him to matches which are going to have a lot of intensity and scrutiny.”

Originally published as Batting gun Will Pucovski won’t be ready to play for Australia until the middle of the Ashes as he recovers from another concussion




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Vixens hit hard in pocket for refusing to fly to Perth



The Melbourne Vixens have accepted a costly punishment for refusing to travel to Perth last season to play the Fever.

The Melbourne Vixens have called for Super Netball’s “protocols” to be reviewed after begrudgingly accepting sanctions of more than $80,000 in fines and match costs for their failure to travel to Perth last season to play West Coast Fever.

The punishment comes after the completion of a Netball Australia investigation into why June’s round eight game between the teams had to be rescheduled.

The Vixens refused to travel to Perth after three of their players were denied entry to Western Australia after having visited Byron Bay, a Covid-19 “red zone”.

The Fever claimed the Vixens could have replaced the three “compromised” players but decided not to.

“This is not in the best interests of the competition and devastating for our club, members, sponsors and fans,” the Fever said in a statement at the time.

The investigation – completed by the competition’s compliance manager – found that the Vixens had breached Super Netball’s team participation agreement by not travelling to Perth to play the match.

The Vixens have been fined $50,000 – half of which is suspended for two years – and ordered to pay $31,702.92 for the costs to replay the match at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on July 22.

Netball Victoria, who own and operate the Vixens, have accepted the fine despite their unhappiness with the investigation.

“We are disappointed with the outcome considering the evidence we supplied throughout the review,” Vixens and Netball Victoria CEO Rosie King said.

“We are also disappointed that other options initially presented by the league – such as to delay the game for 24 hours to enable the entire team to travel, or to relocate the game to South Australia or Queensland – were not explored or supported, nor was the league’s ‘Covid-19 decision making process’ enacted which would have provided a framework for teams to follow in such circumstances.

“We understand, however, that the environment in which everyone was working in was extraordinarily difficult with the clock ticking and decisions being made under pressure-cooker conditions.

“The wellbeing and safety of our athletes and staff will always be our priority.

“We hope that the league’s protocols are likewise reviewed as part of a continual improvement exercise.”

Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said while Covid-19 had presented “unique challenges” for the Super Netball competition and that the Vixens had not deliberately attempted to “disrupt the competition”, rule breaches would not be tolerated.

“Netball Australia recognises that clearer processes and protocols are required for the 2022 Super Netball season,” Ryan added.

Originally published as Vixens punished for their refusal to travel to Perth to play the Fever




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Anthony Mundine faces court over Bunnings mask breach allegations: Covid-19 restrictions



Retired boxer Anthony Mundine was back in court on Wednesday over allegations he entered a Bunnings store without a mask.

Retired boxer Anthony Mundine has appeared in court over allegations he breached public health orders by flouting mask rules at a Sydney hardware store.

“The Man” was in July fined for allegedly entering a Bunnings store in southwestern Sydney without wearing a mask and refusing to scan a QR code at the store’s entrance.

Mr Mundine claimed that he had an exemption to not wear a mask and made a purchase before leaving.

Detectives attached to Campsie Police Area Command launched an investigation after they were called to the Bunnings Kingsgrove store on July 20.

Officers then visited a home in South Hurstville where they spoke to Mr Mundine and issued him a $1000 fine for breaking Covid rules.

He was charged with not complying with a noticed direction and his matter was briefly mentioned in Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday.

Mr Mundine did not appear in court and his lawyer John Giang appeared via videolink and was granted a six-week adjournment.

No plea was entered on Mr Mundine’s behalf.

Mr Mundine was fined three times by police during July for allegedly breaching public health orders.

The high-profile and outspoken former athlete was first slapped with a $1000 fine for allegedly flying from Sydney to Ballina on July 9 during the citywide lockdown.

“Officers from Richmond Police District issued a 46-year-old man with a $1000 penalty infringement notice after inquiries revealed he travelled from metropolitan Sydney to Ballina without a reasonable excuse on Wednesday, 7 July, 2021,” NSW Police said in a statement at the time.

The same month Mr Mundine appeared at a Sydney anti-lockdown rally and was issued with a court attendance notice for allegedly breaching the public health order.

Mr Mundine has been outspoken on social media about his anti-vaccination views and has in the past posted links to so-called “freedom” rallies.

“My people don’t get conned in getting the shot,” he wrote on Facebook earlier this year.

“Do your research it’s a death wish.

“F–k the travel for now we fight that sh-t in court it’s all fear mongering.”

Originally published as Anthony Mundine faces court over Bunnings mask breach allegations




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