Emergency declaration lifted after chemicals detonated in Bilinga

The bomb squad squad has carried out a series of controlled explosions after the discovery of dangerous chemicals in Bilinga.

An emergency declaration was declared on Thursday after the discovery of the chemicals in an apartment on the corner of Cahill St and Pacific Parade.

An exclusion zone was established just before 3.30pm after the chemicals were deemed ‘unstable’ with residents on Cahill St and on Pacific Parade urged to remain inside their homes.

Multiple officers from Queensland Police and Queensland Fire and Rescue remained on scene throughout the afternoon.

Officers from the bomb squad were seen entering the complex before exiting with the chemical.

Image: Nine News

A short time later the chemicals were transferred to a grass area on Pacific Parade near the beach.

A bomb squad officer was seen placing them in a shallow hole before they were detonated around 4.30pm.

A second explosion was carried out around 5pm.

The chemicals were rendered safe and the emergency declaration revoked a short time later.

It’s still not clear what chemicals were involved.

Roads have since been reopened and residents allowed to return to their homes.

Police have thanked local residents for their cooperation.

Image: Nine News

Image: Nine News

Image: Google Maps

 

 

Attorney-General Christian Porter denies sexual assault allegations

Australia’s Attorney-General Christian Porter has vigorously denied allegations he raped a 16-year-old woman in Sydney more than 30 years ago.

Addressing the country from a press conference in Perth on Wednesday, Mr Porter declared his innocence, stating the accusations made against him are “not true”.

“The only thing that I can say, the only thing I’m ever going to be able to say, and it’s the truth and it’s that nothing in the allegations that have been printed ever happened,” he said.

The Senior Minister revealed he had met the woman, who was aged 16 at the time, at an end-of-school debating competition at the University of Sydney in 1988, while he was aged 17-years-old.

He admitted they had spent time together, but said they were never alone and were in the company of another two boys.

“I did not sleep with the victim, we did not have anything of that nature happen between us,” he said.

“I can say categorically say that what has been put in various forms, in allegations, simply did not happen.”

Mr Porter said he made the “difficult decision” to remain silent over the past few days in order to follow the rules and processes of the law.

“I was determined to follow the process set out by the AFP commissioner. It’s a process which, because of my background I know well, to not comment on allegations through the media because it risks prejudicing any investigation,” Mr Porter said.

“So I have waited until the NSW police have concluded their investigations.

“While I have followed the rules and stayed silent, I have been subject to the most wild, intense and unrestrained series of accusations that I can remember in modern Australian politics.”

Through tears, the 50-year-old apologised to his colleagues, who he said have become the “target of allegations and speculation themselves.”

“My colleagues are my friends and I deeply apologise for that,” he said.

Mr Porter said he will be taking a period of leave to address his mental health, but confirmed he will not be standing down from his position.

“After speaking with my doctor, I’m going to take a short period of leave to assess and hopefully improve my own mental health,” he said.

“All of my life I have pushed through, but for the many caring family and friends who have asked me that question over the past week, I have to say I really don’t know.

“I’m not ashamed to say that I’m going to seek some professional assessment and assistance on answering that question over the next few weeks.”

The allegation was made public last week after an anonymous letter was sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, along with Labor Senate Leader Penny Wong and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

However, NSW police confirmed on Tuesday that they had closed their investigation into the matter due to “insufficient admissible evidence”.

In the statement, police said the woman attended an Adelaide Police Station in November 2019 seeking advice about reporting historical sexual offences, which allegedly occurred in 1988 in Sydney.

The matter was then referred to NSW Police, but for “various reasons the woman did not detail her allegations in a formal statement,” police said.

The woman withdrew her complaint before taking her own life in June last year.

New South Wales Police says it came into possession of a personal document purportedly made by the woman before her death.

“NSW Police have since sought legal advice in relation to these matters,” it said in a statement.

“Based on information provided to NSW Police, there is insufficient admissible evidence to proceed.

“As such, NSW Police Force has determined the matter is now closed.”

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Canberra Parliament House

Minister accused of rape set to go public

A Morrison government cabinet minister accused of a brutal historical rape will publicly identify himself in a declaration of innocence.

The man is expected to front the media on Wednesday to protest his innocence for the first time after the allegations surfaced last week.

The alleged sexual assault occurred in 1988 when the woman was 16.

She went to police last year but decided to withdraw the complaint before taking her own life in June.

NSW Police closed its investigation into the historical allegations on Tuesday because there was not enough “admissible evidence” to proceed.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted it’s a matter solely for police despite pressure to conduct a judicial inquiry.

One of the woman’s friends, Jo Dyer, said the acts she described were shocking.

“The detail she recounted, the lucidity with which she recounted it and the clear impact that it had on her, all of these things persuaded immediately she was telling the truth,” she told the ABC.

Mr Morrison has said the cabinet minister has vigorously denied the allegations.

The minister has also sought advice from highly regarded defamation lawyer Peter Barlett, a partner at MinterEllison.

Federal police have been in contact with their NSW and South Australian colleagues over the matter but have no jurisdiction over it.

The South Australian coroner is investigating the woman’s death but it’s uncertain if that will lead to a coronial inquest.

Nationals senator Matt Canavan said he could not see any reason why the minister should not continue in his role.

“To this day what we have seen are allegations, serious allegations,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

“But if the simple mere allegation or making of an allegation would cause someone to be removed from office, that obviously sets a very dangerous precedent.”

Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce is backing calls for an independent inquiry but wants it held behind closed doors to avoid a trial by media.

“If someone set an independent person away from the parliament to have a look at this, I’ve got no problems with that because I wish I had had that opportunity,” he told the ABC.

“If this crime happened, people should resign, they should go to jail – that’s where you belong.”

Mr Joyce faced sexual harassment allegations in 2018, which contributed to his resignation as deputy prime minister.

He has vehemently denied the allegations.

The government has been under intense scrutiny for more than two weeks after former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019.

© AAP 2021

Prince Philip

Prince Philip transferred to another hospital for heart tests

Prince Philip has moved to another hospital in London and will spend at least the rest of the week receiving treatment.

The 99-year-old was admitted to King Edward VII almost two weeks ago now, with the Palace reporting that he was feeling unwell.

He was visited there by his son Prince Charles, while other reports suggested that his grandson Prince Harry had begun isolating in the US in case he needed to travel home quickly.

Buckingham Palace then put out another statement saying that Philip was receiving treatment for an infection and would have to spend a few more days in the hospital.

It’s understood he’s now been moved to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which specialises in cardiovascular treatments.

He’s undergoing further treatment and observation there as well as tests for a pre-existing heart condition.

Buckingham Palace has released the following statement about the Prince’s condition.

“He is comfortable and responding to treatment but is not expected to leave hospital for several days.”

Teens on phones

Qld launches new app to streamline hospitality check-ins

Hospitality businesses across Queensland can now sign up to use a streamlined ‘check in’ app, to save time for customers at the door.

The state government has launched a new ‘Check In Qld’ app that will save users information so it can be used at any venue that uses the app.

It’s hoped to save diners time in checking into venues with various different QR code apps.

It’s up to businesses to sign up for the app, and it’s not mandatory to do so.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says that having one app is easier for contact tracers to work with.

“It simplifies compliance with Public Health Directions for all hospitality venues, with patrons and customers able to self-check-in and have their information stored securely.

“Once people have used the Check In Qld app at one business, it remembers your details, saving you time in the future and providing easy on-going, check-in across all participating venues.

“The more businesses sign up, the better it will be for all of us.

“Having a safe and consistent check-in app has been a top priority, as we embrace the ‘new normal’ of a COVID safer environment.

“Importantly, the app removes some of the everyday burdens of COVID-19 restrictions for licenced venues, cafes. and their customers.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to help keep our community safe, and effective contact tracing still remains at the heart of our public health response.

“The new Check In Qld app is free, contactless, secure and convenient and I know it will be embraced by venues and people right across the state.”

The app was tested and trialled between Cairns and Ipswich since January, with more than 204 businesses now registered to use the app.

More than 29,000 customers have checked in at these venues.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath says Queensland Health has also endorsed the app, and will play a critical role in the state’s contact tracing efforts.

“The new Check In Qld app will help Queensland Health’s hard-working contact tracing team to quickly identify and assist anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19

“Acceptance of the app will strengthen our efforts to unite and recover from COVID-19 by ensuring contact tracing can be quickly carried out in a time-critical situation.

“People can have confidence, knowing check in details will be stored securely by the Queensland Government for 30 to 56 days and will only be used if required for contact tracing purposes.

“Businesses outside the hospitality sector can also take up the app on a voluntary basis,” Ms D’Ath said.

For more information or to download: https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/check-in-qld