Good morning. A former Australian Democrats leader has joined Climate 200 to help independent candidates taking on Liberal MPs. Twenty-seven people are confirmed drowned after trying to cross the Channel. And Midnight Oil has announced its Resist Tour early next year will be its last.
As Scott Morrison comes to the end of a ragged parliamentary week, the organisation bankrolling independents challenging Liberal incumbents in their urban heartland has amassed an election war chest of more than $4m in less than four months, and bolstered its advisory body. A former leader of the Australian Democrats, Meg Lees, has joined the advisory council of Climate 200, as has the former Liberal party leader John Hewson, and the Labor veteran Barry Jones. Moderate metropolitan Liberals facing challenges from independents supported by Climate 200 have stepped up their visibility during the major policy debates of the last few months – climate change, religious discrimination, and the long-delayed federal integrity commission. On Thursday former ABC reporter Zoe Daniel announced she would run as an independent in the Melbourne seat of Goldstein against Liberal MP Tim Wilson. She’s backed by Voices of Goldstein, one of a number of campaigns under the “Voice Of” movement.
At least one pregnant woman and three children were among the 27 people, mostly Kurds from Iraq or Iran, who drowned trying to cross the Channel in an inflatable boat, French authorities have said. The United Kingdom’s home secretary, Priti Patel, is facing three legal challenges over her controversial plans to push back refugees on small boats in the Channel who are trying to reach the UK. Several charities including Care4Calais and Channel Rescue are involved in two linked challenges arguing that Patel’s plans are unlawful under human rights and maritime laws. Freedom from Torture is involved in a third challenge. The Guardian has revealed that government lawyers have warned Patel she is likely to lose any legal challenge against her pushbacks policy. But Patel said it was up to France to stop refugees crossing the Channel in small boats.
A Brisbane construction company had $8 in assets, and had not commenced trading, when it was awarded a government contract – ultimately worth $1.6bn – to run Australia’s offshore processing on Nauru. The contract was awarded after the government ordered a “financial strength assessment” that was ultimately done on a different company. With just over 100 asylum seekers and refugees still held on the island after eight years, it now costs more than $4.3m each year – more than $350,000 a month – for each person held.
Disabled Australians are being left behind in three major states after governments failed to make minimum accessibility standards mandatory for new houses, disability advocates say.
Aboriginal elders, health organisations and frontline workers in the Northern Territory’s Covid outbreak have condemned false information about public health measures on social media, with the NT chief minister blaming the misinformation on “tinfoil hat wearing tossers, sitting in their parents’ basements in Florida”.
New South Wales’ laws criminalising the use of secretly recorded vision of animal cruelty and abuse are posing “too great a burden on speech”, animal rights activists have told the high court.
On Friday, Midnight Oil announced the group’s concert touring days will come to a close early next year. The tour’s promoter said Midnight Oil would use it final tour to call for governments to urgently take action to reduce carbon pollution.
Scott Morrison has said gay teachers should not be fired from religious schools for their sexuality, adding to his longstanding but still unfulfilled commitment to protect gay students from expulsion.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was warmly welcomed by European leaders on his tour of the continent as part of a global effort to restore his reputation – and that of his country – after a torrid few years for both. Lula is now the leading candidate to unseat Brazil’s incumbent president, the rightwing populist Jair Bolsonaro.
Google’s Irish subsidiary has agreed to pay €218m (£183m) in back taxes to the Irish government, according to company filings on Thursday. The United States tech giant, which had been accused of avoiding hundreds of millions in tax across Europe through loopholes, said it had “agreed to the resolution of certain tax matters relating to prior years”.
Apple has told Thai activists they are targets of “state-sponsored attackers”. At least 17 people including protest leaders have received alerts about devices possibly being compromised.
HIV drug resistance is on the rise, according to a new report, which found that the number of people with the virus being treated with antiretrovirals had risen to 27.5 million – an annual increase of 2 million.
The former frontman of Silverchair, Daniel Johns, was 15 when he became globally famous, and much of the hit new Spotify podcast Who is Daniel Johns? is about the trauma resulting from such intense and early fame. As Brigid Delaney writes, “anxiety is a common thread that runs through the five episodes of the podcast. But I wonder how it would be possible to be famous, and not anxious?”
In Chelsea Watego’s new book, Another Day in the Colony, Watego’s essays draw from other great Black thinkers to argue for a future based not in inclusion and hope, but self-determination. “Some people may think that calls to retire hope for nihilism are irresponsible,” she writes. “But what is irresponsible is to require us to maintain the status quo of keeping Black bodies connected to life support machines they’ve been deemed never capable of getting off.”
Despite Thatcher and Reagan’s best efforts, there is and has always been such a thing as society. The question is not whether it exists, Jill Lepore says, but what shape it must take in a post-pandemic world. “This year, while the world begins to remake itself, and as each of us, like so many hermit crabs crawling along the blinding sand, try to get our bearings, it may be that the future of society can be found in its past.”
It’s the “mystery that must be solved”. Seven-and-a-half years after the Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared with 239 people on board, head of news Mike Ticher recommends this story as he remembers covering the tragedy when the news broke.
As military tensions heat up between Taiwan and China, defence minister Peter Dutton says it would be “inconceivable” that Australia would not join military action if the US defended Taiwan. Labor has accused the Coalition of warmongering ahead of an upcoming election.
Gabrielle Jackson talks to Lenore Taylor and Daniel Hurst about the threat of war, and the trouble with politicising foreign policy.
Australian Open director Craig Tiley expects up to 95% of players will be vaccinated against Covid-19 in time for the January tournament but is unsure whether Novak Djokovic will be among them despite the world No 1’s hunt for a record 21st grand slam title.
Australia has been given an effective green light to stage the 2027 men’s Rugby World Cup after being listed by the governing body as the “preferred candidate” to host the global tournament.
Masks, QR codes and vaccination certificates will no longer be required in retail and restaurants from mid-December, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, while school closures will be a thing of the past from next week. Australia is facing a shortage of live music this summer, with the ABC reporting the industry’s peak body says concerts and festivals won’t be back in “a major way” until the end of next year.
And if you’ve read this far …
Australia’s barbecue culture is changing, and getting higher-tech, too. Here experts share their thoughts on ceramic grills, firepits and Bluetooth thermometers.
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