Australia news LIVE: BoM officially declares El Nino weather event; No campaign infiltrated by conspiracy theorists

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  • Anti-Voice rallies organised by pro-Putin conspiracy theorist
  • Sikh separatist claims ‘Australia is next’ after alleged assassination
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Anti-Voice rallies organised by pro-Putin conspiracy theorist

Back in Australia, rallies opposing the Indigenous Voice to parliament planned around Australia are being organised by a pro-Kremlin activist and anti-vaccination campaigner living in a Russian consulate.

The official No campaign has distanced itself from the latest iteration of the “world freedom rallies”, which have long been organised by Simeon Boikov, who is also known online as “the Aussie Cossack”.

NSW Liberal Democrat MP John Ruddick says Putin sympathiser Simeon Boikov (pictured) has been important in organising a No rally in Sydney this weekend.Credit: Wolter Peeters

While posters for the rallies were originally framed around opposing Australian aid to Ukraine and an array of conspiracy theories, they have now been rebranded as anti-Voice events and are expected to draw crowds in the thousands.

A spokesman for the major No outfit, Fair Australia, said the events scheduled for Saturday were “not supported, endorsed or funded by us in any way”.

“We expect there will be many grassroots events and organisations springing up in communities across the country in opposition to the divisive Voice and that is understandable,” the spokesman said in a written statement.

The full story is here.

Sikh separatist claims ‘Australia is next’ after alleged assassination

In other overseas news, the Indian government expelled a Canadian diplomat after rejecting allegations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that it was involved in the assassination of an Indian separatist on Canadian soil.

The tit-for-tat follows weeks of tension between India and Canada as one of the Indian movement’s leaders claims separatists in Australia are also in danger.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (centre) walks past India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo during the G20 Summit in New Delhi.Credit: AP

In a series of assertions that have escalated the dispute between two of Australia’s closest economic and diplomatic partners, Trudeau said Canadian intelligence services had credible allegations that the Indian government may have had links to the shooting of Canadian-Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Nijjar was a key figure in the Khalistan separatist movement, which is campaigning to establish an independent state for Sikhs in the northern Indian region of Punjab, before he was gunned down outside a cultural centre in British Columbia on June 18.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Monday she had expelled the Indian head of intelligence in Canada over the allegations. India kicked out a Canadian diplomat in response on Tuesday.

Continue reading about this here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for joining us.

I’m Caroline Schelle, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day. It’s Wednesday, September 20.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • The Australian government has committed to delivering full employment as one of five key objectives in its employment road map, to be released next week.
  • The Reserve Bank fears the slowdown in China’s economy will batter Australia as the OECD warns the Chinese government has limited tools to counter the slowdown.
  • Rallies opposing the Indigenous Voice to parliament planned around Australia are being organised by a pro-Kremlin activist living in a Russian consulate.
  • Australian sporting icon Cathy Freeman has thrown her weight behind the Voice referendum.
  • The Bureau of Meteorology has finally declared that an El Nino weather pattern is underway, increasing the likelihood of a hot dry summer for Australia.
  • In NSW, an increase in stamp duty and payroll tax are the major drivers behind an extra $17.6 billion rolling into the state’s coffers.
  • The Victorian government will today use new projections for the state’s population to justify its major reforms of the housing and planning sectors.
  • And overseas, US authorities say the owner of a New York City daycare centre where a one-year-old died after being exposed to fentanyl took steps to cover up her involvement.

Let’s get into it.

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