Matthew McConaughey’s White House speech goes viral.
Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey has called on Congress to "reach a higher ground" and pass gun control legislation in honour of the children and teachers killed in last month's shooting rampage at a primary school in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.
In a highly personal 22-minute speech at the White House, McConaughey exhorted a grid locked Congress to pass gun reforms that can save lives without infringing on the US' Second Amendment rights.
McConaughey, a gun owner himself, used his ‘star power’ to make an argument for legislation. He also vividly detailed the deaths of the 19 children and two teachers in the second-worst mass school shooting in US history.
He specifically called on Congress to bolster background checks for gun purchases and raise the minimum age to buy an AR-15-style rifle to 21 from 18.
"We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won't make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns," McConaughey said.
The actor, who earlier this year considered a run for governor of Texas, met briefly in private with President Joe Biden before addressing the White House press corps.
Also on Tuesday, the son of Ruth Whitfield, an 86-year-old woman killed when a gunman opened fire in a racist attack on Black shoppers in Buffalo, New York, last month, called on Congress to act.
McConaughey said his mother taught kindergarten less than a mile from Uvalde's Robb Elementary School, the site of the May 24 shootings.
The actor, who won the 2014 Oscar for his lead performance in Dallas Buyers Club, said he and his wife drove to Uvalde the day after the massacre and spent time with the families of some of the victims.
He said every parent he spoke to expressed "they want their children's dreams to live on".
"They want to make their loss of life matter," McConaughey said.
He related the personal stories of a number of the victims, including Maite Rodriguez, an aspiring marine biologist.
McConaughey's wife, Camila, sitting nearby, held Maite's green Converse sneakers, which had a red heart on the right toe to represent her love of nature.
"These are the same green Converse, on her feet, that turned out to be the only clear evidence that could identify her after the shooting," McConaughey said.
He also held up artwork from Alithia Ramirez, who dreamed of attending art school in Paris. And then there was Ellie Garcia, who loved dancing and church and already knew how to drive tractors.
The 52-year-old acknowledged gun legislation would not end mass shootings but suggested steps could be taken to reduce the chances of such tragedies.
"We need to invest in mental health care. We need safer schools. We need to restrain sensationalised media coverage," he said.
"We need to restore our family values. We need to restore our American values and we need responsible gun ownership. Is this a cure-all? Hell no, but people are hurting."
Camila Alves McConaughey, wife of actor Matthew McConaughey, holds a pair of shoes worn by one of the victims of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, as her husband makes a passionate plea for gun reform at White House press briefing. https://t.co/dixXUpJH94 pic.twitter.com/KnQwp1nnYi— ABC News (@ABC) June 7, 2022
Matthew McConaughey: "These bodies were very different... They needed extensive restoration. Why? Due to the exceptionally large exit wounds of an AR-15 rifle. Most of the bodies so mutilated that only DNA tests or green Converse could identify them." pic.twitter.com/ARz3wBcxYN— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) June 7, 2022
"Uvalde, Texas, is where I was born...Uvalde is where I was taught to revere the power and the capability of the tool that we call a gun. Uvalde is where I learned responsible gun ownership," Matthew McConaughey says at White House press briefing. https://t.co/1quO6DxJFF pic.twitter.com/ilI86xkYth— ABC News (@ABC) June 7, 2022
A MAFS Bride and a shock diagnosis: is reality TV failing its stars?
We finally have word on who's been offered the part of Madonna in the forthcoming biopic about the pop icon.
Plus, Michael B Jordan's breakup with Lori Harvey mightn't be as amicable as initially thought with Lori's mum posting a video on Instagram that seemed to throw shade his way.
And former MAFS contestant Domenica Calarco has revealed a 'shock diagnosis' due to her experience on the show. So are reality TV makers really doing all they can to protect the people who sign up?
Listen to The Spill below:
Biloela family start their journey home, and all the news you need to know this morning.
Good morning everyone, News Editor Gemma Bath on deck for you on this fine Wednesday.
Did you hear the news out of Queensland last night? Public high school students will get free period products such as tampons and sanitary pads from July. HOW GOOD!
The state government is trialling vending machines that dispense six tampons and two sanitary pads and hallelujah - way to go Queensland!
Now, on to the top five stories of the morning:
1. The Murugappan family are on their way home to Biloela.
The youngest daughter of the Biloela family held in detention for more than four years will celebrate her birthday in her hometown for the first time.
Parents Priya and Nades and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, six, and Tharnicaa, four, are expected to depart Perth early on Wednesday and arrive in the central Queensland town on Friday afternoon.
The family has been through protracted legal proceedings in a bid to stay in the country as they were moved from Melbourne to Christmas Island before arriving in Perth, but it was a change in government that paved their way home.
Biloela family to return home to central Queensland community in time for daughter’s birthday. https://t.co/GvqlyAeHff— PerthNow (@perthnow) June 7, 2022
They were taken from Biloela in March 2018 and put in immigration detention, kicking off a more than 1500-day campaign from town locals to get them back
Tharnicaa was just nine months old. She turns five on Sunday.
2. Single biggest cash rate rise in 22 years for Australia.
The Reserve Bank has announced the biggest single rise in the cash rate in 22 years as Australia’s central bank tries to quash inflation before it gets out of control.
At its regular monthly meeting, the RBA board lifted its cash rate target 50 basis points to 0.85 per cent. Economists were surprised by the size of the move, predicting a 25 or 40 point increase.
We were expecting it, but we weren't expecting it to hit us this hard.— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) June 7, 2022
The Reserve Bank has hiked the official cash rate by half a per cent - the biggest jump in more than 20 years. @TMFScottP #9News pic.twitter.com/ezUWe4e9eF
Corelogic’s Tim Lawless says the back-to-back monthly rate rises of a combined 75 basis points will add about $200 per month for a $500,000 loan compared with April.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers concedes the big spike will come as difficult news for households already facing skyrocketing costs of living and wages not keeping pace with inflation.
3. NASA lifting off from the Top End marking "new era" for Aussie space industry.
NASA rockets will lift off from the Northern Territory in the US space agency's first launch from a commercial launchpad on foreign soil.
The launch will be used to investigate heliophysics - the nature and influence of the sun - and astrophysics and planetary science only observable from the southern hemisphere.
NASA will launch three sounding rockets from a facility in Australia’s Northern Territory from June 26, the first time the space agency has used a commercial launchpad outside of the US in its more than 50-year history https://t.co/GmrNpIhkIZ— Bloomberg (@business) June 7, 2022
Three suborbital sounding rockets will ascend from the Arnhem Space Centre between June 26 and July 12 in NASA's first Australian launch since 1995 in Woomera, South Australia.
Around 75 NASA personnel will be in Australia for the launch, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hailing the launch as a "new era" in Australia's space industry.
4. 5000 mafia members operating in Australia.
Thousands of Italian mafia members are operating in Australia and until recently had gone largely undetected, while "pulling the strings" of other criminal gangs, Australian Federal Police say.
Members of the notorious Calabrian mafia concealed themselves within the community for decades while conducting money laundering in secrecy.
People could be living next door to members and have no idea, AFP Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan said on Tuesday.
Italian mafia 'pulling the strings' of Australia's outlaw motorcycle gangs, AFP says https://t.co/FU2EmvyFxa— ABC News (@abcnews) June 7, 2022
It is believed up to 5000 mafia members are operating in Australia, in league with their colleagues in Italy.
The Calabrian mafia work with other organised crime groups including bikie gangs and Asian or Middle Eastern crime groups to co-operate on drug importation, money laundering and violence.
They are headed by senior figures with authority over their clans, keep a low profile and run businesses to present a legitimate front.
"They've been able to stay under the radar while living modest lives in modest homes. They funnelled the illegitimate wealth into their legitimate construction, agricultural and catering businesses," said Mr Ryan.
Authorities uncovered this intelligence through an encrypted app called ANoM. Criminals did not realise that the AFP and FBI were monitoring the 25 million messages sent on the platform.
Last year, more than 200 people with links to organised crime were arrested based on information seen on the app.
5. PM arrives home following 'successful' Indonesia talks.
Improved ties with Indonesia would allow for Australia to better diversify its economy amid growing Indo-Pacific tensions, according to the prime minister.
Anthony Albanese has wrapped up his two-day tour of Indonesia, declaring his first bilateral overseas visit as prime minister to have been a success.
The prime minister returned home on Tuesday night, landing in Darwin (ahead of the NASA launch mentioned just above), following his trip to Jakarta and the eastern Indonesian city of Makassar.
With Indonesia expected to be among the top five economies in the world, Mr Albanese said boosting ties with the Asian nation was critical.
A wonderful visit to Indonesia. Thank you to our gracious hosts. I hope to strengthen our cooperation at the G20 in Bali in November. Sampai ketemu lagi. 🇦🇺🇮🇩 pic.twitter.com/bsTCEohDfy— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) June 7, 2022
"It is clearly in Australia's interest to boost that investment," he told reporters in Makassar.
"Australia in terms of Indonesia as a trading partner is 13th on our list. It should be much higher."
Mr Albanese was the first Australian prime minister to visit Makassar, indicating the country wanted to extend the relationship with Indonesia beyond just Jakarta and Bali.
During the visit, he committed to attending the G20 summit being held in Bali in November, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin also being at the event.
And that's it for now. Check back in this arvo for a wrap of the day's news.
Sibling Rivalry: Is It Inevitable?
Squabbling with your siblings is pretty common when you are a kid, but what happens if that escalates into a full-blown rivalry, or something even worse when you become adults?
Is it inevitable that you will always feel in some kind of competition with your brothers and sisters?
The Quicky speaks to an expert in family relationships to find out what the psychology behind sibling rivalry is, and what both parents and kids can do to stop it before it escalates.
Feature image: Facebook/Bring Priya, Nades and their girls home to Biloela/9News/Getty/Indonesia Presidential Secretariat.