Tonga receives more Pfizer vaccine doses

“This is indeed timely and needed assistance. We have been preparing the Cold Chain Storage and eagerly awaited the vaccines’ arrival. We are thankful to the Government of Australia for this timely assistance since the Pfizer Vaccines have just finished. Our teams are prepared to deploy the vaccines so our people are better protected. This is not the first time Australia has helped and we look forward to your continued support in future. Thank you also to UNICEF for its key role in facilitating the logistics and necessary training so that we are ready for deployment” said Dr.

Australian Prime Minister to declare floods a national emergency

The declaration gives the federal government power to intervene and deploy resources.

It is a legislative power that Morrison sought after the 2019-2020 bushfire crisis.

Morrison is also set to outline more money to help communities recover from floods on the east coast when he visits Lismore today, as government ministers expect anger from residents whose lives have been upturned.

The federal government has been criticised for the pace and scale of its response to the floods.

Sydney rainfall breaks record as flood emergency continues

The weather station on Observatory Hill in the CBD has recorded 822mm of rain so far this year.

That's about 70 percent of the amount that would normally fall in a year, or what would have accumulated by August.

The wet start has broken the previous record of 783mm up to 8 March, which was set in 1956.

The third wettest start to the year was recorded in 1990, when 754mm of rain fell.

Reprieve from the weather is forecast for Thursday as the east coast low moves offshore.

Asbestos scare emerges as HMAS Adelaide's troubled Tonga mission concludes

Defence has confirmed members of Operation Tonga Assist discovered asbestos material while clearing debris and destroyed local infrastructure on Atata Island after the January disaster.

The revelation comes as HMAS Adelaide begins returning home from a troubled six-week deployment that saw the Navy's largest warship hit by a COVID-19 outbreak and crippling power failures on board.

Tonga PM extends sympathy to Australia and welcomes ship

He made the statement while welcoming the HMAS Canberra which is part of the Australian Government’s Operation TONGA Assist 22 at the Vuna Wharf, in Nuku’alofa on Tuesday.

PM Hu’akavameiliku extended the messages to High Commissioner Rachel Moore.

“I am very mindful of the severe flooding in Brisbane and parts of New South Wales and on behalf of His Majesty’s Government and the people of Tonga would like to extend our sympathy and condolences to the Government of Australia and the people of Australia,” he said.

HMAS Canberra arrives to support Tonga’s recovery efforts

HMAS Canberra was guided by Guardian Class Patrol Boat VOEA Ngahau Siliva which was gifted by Australia to His Majesty’s Armed Forces’ under the Pacific Maritime Security Program.  HMAS Adelaide and Supply were in company.

The Australian High Commissioner, Rachael Moore said it was a significant day today for the two countries, with Australia’s two largest ships, HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Canberra, and one of two new Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships HMAS Supply in Tongan waters under Operation Tonga Assist 2022.

Australia floods kill seven as severe weather pummels Queensland

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk compared the weather to a cyclone event, as Brisbane, the Queensland capital, was bracing for flooding on Sunday, before the rainfalls ease by Monday.

Australia PM: There must be a price

They will target specific Russian individuals and corporations "who are at the heart of this bullying and aggressive behaviour".

"The reason we're doing this is there must be a price for the unprovoked, unlawful, unwarranted, unjustified attacks and threats and intimidation that has been imposed by Russia on Ukraine," Morrison tells reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

Ukrainians currently in Australia and with visas that expire by 30 June will have them extended by six months.

Claim that Russian troops are peacekeeping is nonsense, says Australia's PM

He's dismissive of Vladimir Putin's claim that he is sending troops to separatist areas for a peacekeeping mission.

The "suggestion they are peacekeeping is nonsense", he says.

He says he hopes that diplomatic efforts can avoid a violent confrontation and says he will be "in lock-step" with other countries in quickly putting in place sanctions on Russia.

"Russia should step back. It should unconditionally withdraw. It's unacceptable, it's unprovoked, it's unwarranted," he says.


Australia's border reopens to international visitors

The country imposed some of the world's strictest travel bans after shutting itself off in March 2020 due to Covid.

Australians and some others were allowed to return from late last year, but most foreigners have had to wait.

There were tearful reunions at Sydney Airport on Monday as hundreds of people began arriving on flights.

One young girl, Charlotte, shared an emotional hug with her grandfather. She told the local Nine Network: "I've missed him so much and I've looked forward to this trip for so long."