Morning Buzz, August 24, 2017 | Axe Queen's Birthday holiday instead, says Labor

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Buzz for Friday, August 24. It’ll be partly cloudy today with a medium chance of showers in the morning and afternoon and a top temperature of around 17 degrees. Enjoy your day!

Axe Queen's Birthday holiday: Labor

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley says he believes the Queen's Birthday holiday should be transformed. Photo: Jeremy Piper

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley says he believes the Queen's Birthday holiday should be transformed. Photo: Jeremy Piper

NSW Labor has proposed axing the Queen's Birthday holiday in June and replacing it with a day commemorating Indigenous culture and loss as an alternative to moving Australia Day, which critics say is synonymous with white invasion.

Debate on the appropriateness of holding Australia Day on January 26, the day British ships first arrived in Port Jackson, was sparked by two Melbourne councils who announced they will decline to observe the day with official citizenship ceremonies.

But the NSW Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, said he believed the national day was "set in stone" but that as a compromise the June Queen's Birthday holiday should be transformed to commemorate Indigenous culture. Read more

Homes, businesses to make way for first stage of Parramatta light rail

More than 40 homes and businesses along the 12-kilometre route of the first stage of the new Parramatta light rail line will be compulsorily acquired and another 78 are earmarked for partial purchase for the multibillion-dollar project.

Parramatta's well-known "eat street" al fresco dining strip along Church Street in the central business district also faces significant disruption while two rail tracks are laid. Read more via SMH

Law Council voices alarm at 'unprecedented' citizenship changes

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing citizenships to Diego Torre and his daughter Johanna. Photo Jamila Toderas

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announcing citizenships to Diego Torre and his daughter Johanna. Photo Jamila Toderas

Australia's peak legal body has criticised the government's proposed citizenship crackdown, arguing some elements of the package are unnecessary, threaten the nation's social cohesion and hand the immigration minister a concerning amount of power.

The Law Council of Australia has taken aim at a suite of measures the government first announced in April that have been opposed by Labor and referred to a Senate inquiry. Under the changes, aspiring citizens would have to achieve a "competent" level of English and face a four-year wait as permanent residents before they can seek citizenship.

Applicants would also have to demonstrate integration into society and face an "Australian values" test. Read more

Gillian Triggs labels Turnbull government 'disgraceful'

Gillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission and Senator George Brandis during Budget Estimates at Parliament House, Canberra on Thursday 25 May 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares

Gillian Triggs President of the Human Rights Commission and Senator George Brandis during Budget Estimates at Parliament House, Canberra on Thursday 25 May 2017. Photo: Andrew Meares

Gillian Triggs has unloaded on the Turnbull government, labelling its actions "disgraceful", and accusing it of abusing executive power and manipulating the truth.

In her first public speech since stepping down as president of the Australian Human Rights Commission in July, Professor Triggs attacked Coalition government ministers for interfering with the judicial system and for destroying the integrity of Parliament by peddling "alternative facts". Read more

Former boyfriend claims he dumped Matthew Leveson's body to protect reputation

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 31: Inquest into the death of Matthew Leveson at Glebe Coroners Court.His partner Michael Atkins arrives on October 31, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 31: Inquest into the death of Matthew Leveson at Glebe Coroners Court.His partner Michael Atkins arrives on October 31, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media)

For nine years, Michael Atkins harboured a shameful and dark secret.

He consistently claimed he didn't know what happened to his boyfriend Matthew Leveson, who vanished after leaving a Sydney nightclub 10 years ago.

In truth, Mr Atkins, concerned about his reputation, dumped his younger partner's body in a shallow grave and kept quiet about it for years. Read more

Sacked CSIRO executive: wider investigation expected

An investigation is likely into one of the federal government's biggest land deals, the CSIRO giant Ginninderra Project, after the lead executive on the massive development program was sacked.

Labor is warning the high profile sacking could have serious 'downstream' implications for research into animal diseased that is vital to Australia's food production sector.

Sources close to the government organisations say the project, under the stewardship of former Mark Wallis, is now set to come under scrutiny after Mr Wallace lost his job at CSIRO over alleged "breaches" involving a corporate credit card. Read more

'Yes' side battling to sign up young voters as electoral roll closes

"New enrolments are lower than I would like": Labor foreign affairs spokesman Penny Wong. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

"New enrolments are lower than I would like": Labor foreign affairs spokesman Penny Wong. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Same-sex marriage supporters are in a last-minute flurry to sign up young voters ahead of the electoral roll closing on Thursday night, amid concerns too many young people are still off the system.

The Australian Electoral Commission said 54,545 new voters had joined the roll as of Tuesday night, and more than 520,000 people had updated their enrolment details.

That compared to 132,000 new voters who signed up in the fortnight after the last election was called, and about 555,000 changing their details. Read more

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