Morning Buzz: Outbreak of homophobic vandalism in Sydney

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Buzz for Tuesday, September 26. It’ll be mostly sunny today with highs of 25 degrees across the city. Enjoy your day!

Outbreak of homophobic violence, vandalism in same-sex marriage campaign

"Vote no to fags": A train carriage in Sydney was vandalised with homophobic graffiti. Photo: Imgur/ecarter6

"Vote no to fags": A train carriage in Sydney was vandalised with homophobic graffiti. Photo: Imgur/ecarter6

Swastikas and vile phrases such as "vote no to fags" have been scrawled on Sydney trains, and homes flying the rainbow flag have been attacked, in an outbreak of homophobic violence and vandalism accompanying the postal survey on same-sex marriage.

Tasmanian police have also laid charges over the alleged assault of a transgender teenager in Hobart on Friday, just a day after former prime minister Tony Abbott was headbutted by a self-proclaimed anarchist DJ in the same area.

The incidents further test Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's claim that "overwhelmingly, Australians are engaging in this debate respectfully", with six weeks to go until the deadline for survey forms to be received by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Read more.

Record dry spell sends Sydney's water use soaring

A sprinkler working overtime at Sydney's parched Centennial Park on Monday. Photo: Brook Mitchell

A sprinkler working overtime at Sydney's parched Centennial Park on Monday. Photo: Brook Mitchell

Sydneysiders are turning on the sprinklers and hoses at the highest rate in years in a bid to save their withering parks and gardens amid temperature spikes and the city's driest spell in more than a century.

The city's water use peaked just shy of 2 billion litres on Saturday, or 42 per cent more than typical for a September day, Sydney Water said.  Read more.

Fresh calls for ban on 'excessive' ATM fees

The major banks' blitz on ATM fees will not include more than half the cash machines in Australia. Photo: Paul Jeffers

The major banks' blitz on ATM fees will not include more than half the cash machines in Australia. Photo: Paul Jeffers

More than half the nation's ATMs will not be included in the major banks' blitz on cash machine fees, re-igniting calls for action to ban or curb the charges. 

The big four banks' rush to scrap ATM fees for customers of other banks has been hailed as a win for consumers, but bank critics on Monday warned it was not enough to prevent gouging by other owners of ATMs outside the major banks. Read more.

Bushfire breaks out in Royal National Park

An emergency warning has been given to a fire in West Nowra. Pic; Nick Moir

An emergency warning has been given to a fire in West Nowra. Pic; Nick Moir

Firefighters are struggling to contain an out of control bushfire that has broken out in the Royal National Park, in Sydney's south.

The fire is burning near Waterfall and has prompted the closure of McKell Avenue in both directions between Lady Wakehurst Drive and east of Waterfall train station. Access is still available to the train station and eastern car park.

The NSW Transport Management Centre says motorists should exercise caution due to heavy smoke in the area. Read more.

Bilpin farmer to help Westmead hospital staff

Organic farmer Aaron Brocken sold veg at Westmead Children's Hospital last week at its Health and Wellbeing Fair.

Organic farmer Aaron Brocken sold veg at Westmead Children's Hospital last week at its Health and Wellbeing Fair.

Bilpin organic farmer Aaron Brocken is helping staff at Westmead Children’s Hospital eat the best stuff they can.

Staff at the hospital were asked by management what improvements they would like in their work environment and the biggest response was a farmers’ market. Aaron was one of the farmers approached and he jumped on board with gusto.

He has organised the first farmers’ market for October 11, and thence fortnightly. He also offered to provide boxes of organic fruit and veg to staff for the season. Read more.

North Korea accuses US of declaring war, threatens countermeasures

In a photo distributed on Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement saying US President Donald Trump will "pay dearly" for his threats. Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

In a photo distributed on Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a statement saying US President Donald Trump will "pay dearly" for his threats. Photo: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

North Korea's foreign minister has accused President Donald Trump of declaring war on North Korea, saying that Pyongyang reserves the right to take countermeasures including shooting down US strategic bombers even if they are not in the country's air space.

"The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country," Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York on Monday, local time. Read more.

Bulldogs to finalise life after Des Hasler at Tuesday board meeting

Gone: Des Hasler's replacement at the Bulldogs may be named on Wednesday. Photo: AAP

Gone: Des Hasler's replacement at the Bulldogs may be named on Wednesday. Photo: AAP

Canterbury's pursuit of Des Hasler's successor will ramp up on Tuesday when Dean Pay fronts the board to put his case forward to take on the job as Bulldogs coach.

Canterbury will hold a board meeting on Tuesday night to finalise plans for life after Hasler but aren't expected to make a decision after the gathering. Read more.

Storm prop Jordan McLean says it will be 'weird' taking on Cowboys - his 2018 teammates

Storming Cowboy: Melbourne prop Jordan McLean will join North Queensland in 2018.  Photo: AAP

Storming Cowboy: Melbourne prop Jordan McLean will join North Queensland in 2018. Photo: AAP

Jordan McLean admits he owes a "massive" debt of gratitude to Melbourne as he prepares for his final game in the purple of the Storm – against the club that he will join in the off-season.

The 25-year-old prop has been in a unique position as the Storm have kept an eye on North Queensland's stunning journey through September to Sunday's grand final. Read more.

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Brownlow medal 2017: It’s done and Dusted

Winning smile: Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

Winning smile: Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin. Photo: Wayne Ludbey

The shortest-priced favourite in Brownlow Medal history saluted, as Dustin Martin kicked off what could become one of the most storied weeks in Richmond history by claiming the medal in a thrilling count at Crown Casino on Monday night.

Ineligible Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield nearly became the third man to miss a medal despite topping the count, drawing level with Martin in the final round on 33 votes.

But Martin avoided the much-feared awkward moment with three votes against St Kilda, the final votes to be read out by AFL chief Gillon McLachlan, to break Dangerfield's one-year-old medal mark of 35 votes, which had been the most polled under the 3-2-1 system. Read more.