July 5, 2022

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Morning mail: pandemic accelerating, Keating defends super, NSW’s big renewables push | Australia news

Good morning, this is Richard Parkin bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 10 July.

Top stories

The coronavirus pandemic is “still accelerating” and “not under control”, according to the World Health Organization, on a day when the US announced a record 59,000 new infections overnight. The former NZ prime minister Helen Clark has been appointed alongside the Nobel peace prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to co-chair an inquiry into the global Covid-19 response that will hand down a major report in November. Riots have rocked Serbia for a second night as police and protesters clashed over the prospect of the nation re-entering lockdown, while Iran has reported its highest daily death toll, with 221 people succumbing to the virus.

In Australia, 165 of the 182 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were in Victoria, as more than 125,000 border passes were issued for people travelling to NSW from their southern neighbour. Eight of Melbourne’s nine public housing towers will move to stage three restrictions, with the Alfred Street tower set to remain in quarantine for an extra nine days. In part two of our six-part series on life inside Melbourne’s high-rise public housing, we hear from the Somalian refugee Farhio Nur and siblings Nor and Hiba Shanino on childhood memories inside the towers.

Paul Keating has made an impassioned defence of the superannuation system as rumblings over legislated 0.5 percentage point increases over the next five years continue to grow. In this column for Guardian Australia, the former prime minister and architect of the 1992 superannuation guarantee argues that claims rising super contributions amid a period of static real wage growth will hurt workers directly are “demonstrably untrue”, even in the context of Covid-19: “If we keep our nerve and play to our strengths, which include an expanding and dynamic pool of superannuation assets, the Australian growth engine will fire again.”

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Students at Sydney University

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic on PhD students has the potential of ‘gentrifying’ university degrees. Photograph: Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 5/Alamy

Nearly one-in-two Australian PhD students are contemplating “disengaging” from their studies due to the financial impact of Covid-19, with a study of more than 1,000 doctoral students warning that those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds could be locked out.

An 8,000-megawatt renewable energy zone in NSW’s New England region could power 3.5m homes under an ambitious new plan from the state government. “This is a huge stimulus package,” said the environment minister, Matt Kean, “It’s good for the economy, it’s good for the environment.”

NSW’s central west is also set for an intriguing new project with the announcement of a $1m grant to fund what the deputy premier, John Barilaro, has called “an electric flying car” at a testing site near Narromine.

The world

Park Won-soon

Park Won-soon at an event in Seoul this week. Photograph: Yonhap News Agency/Reuters

Park Won-soon, the mayor of Seoul – long considered a potential South Korean presidential candidate – has been found dead, hours after he was reported missing by his daughter. A police complaint had allegedly been filed against Park and his daughter reported he had left home after what sounded like “last words”.

At least 180 civilians have been killed since November in one town in Burkina Faso, with evidence suggesting the involvement of government security forces, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

Police in England and Wales face an inquiry into potential racial bias, with stop and search powers and the use of force against ethnic minorities a central focus. Less than 1% of claims of racism lodged against the police are upheld, according to figures from the London mayor’s office.

A US court has handed down a major win for conservationists – and bears – ruling that grizzlies in the vast Yellowstone ecosystem will remain federally protected. Sports hunters had pushed for restricted licences to hunt the animals, whose numbers have rebounded since the 1970s.

Recommended reads

Aboriginal protesters at a Black Lives Matters event in Perth

Aboriginal protesters at a Black Lives Matters event in Perth. Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

Community strength and resilience have been called upon in 2020. It helped many get through the bushfires. It helped many survive Covid-19 isolation. And now, write Tom Calma and Mick Gooda, it’s needed once more in the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests. And an achievable, measurable first step that Australians can get behind is the introduction of targets to reduce disproportionate rates of incarceration for Indigenous Australians – starting with the national cabinet meeting on Friday.

“It is proof of a fine novel when its characters enter your spirit as you are reading and take up residence there.” For the Stella prize-winning novelist Carrie Tiffany, Elizabeth Jolley’s 1989 novel My Father’s Moon is that work. “It is the most intimate of feelings. Film can’t achieve this, or theatre, or visual art; perhaps music gets closest. It’s only the novel that can show you the grain of another’s soul.”

Behind the big guitars and catchy melodies there’s a self-effacing sentiment to the Beths. And after opening for Pixies, Weezer and Death Cab for Cutie, the shy New Zealand foursome are grappling with their own expectations to deliver their second album, Jump Rope Gazers, as much as they are the world’s wider changing landscape, writes Brodie Lancaster.

When it comes to Sichuan, you have the potential to either light up or burn down an entire evening. But whether it’s “Yuxiang” eggplant or a classic chilli-fired dumplings you have in mind, Billy Law has three must-make recipes to create an evening for your friends that long stays in the memory.


Power, privilege and sexual harassment are in the spotlight. The high court judge Dyson Heydon has categorically denied allegations that he harassed six junior staff but an independent investigation’s finding to the contrary has helped spark Australian law’s #MeToo moment. On this episode of Full Story, Laura-Murphy Oates delves into the matter.

Full Story

Power, privilege and sexual harassment in the Australian legal profession

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.


West Indies players celebrate

Jason Holder accepts congratulations from his West Indies teammates after dismissing Jofra Archer on day two of the first Test. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/AFP/Getty Images

The West Indies captain, Jason Holder, has notched a sixth five-wicket haul in his last 10 innings to have England on the ropes on day two in the first Test. England were all out for 204 before the hosts put on 1/57 before stumps.

How many yellow jersey winners can a Tour de France team manage at once? For Team Ineos there’s no room for sentimentality, with the news that three is officially a crowd – and that four-time winner Chris Froome will be the one to make way.

And, it wouldn’t be Friday without David Squires … on the Melbourne A-League teams’ not-that-great escape.

Media roundup

Malcolm Turnbull has warned that the jobkeeper wage subsidy program is propping up unsustainable businesses while Anthony Albanese has pushed the government to clarify its timeline for disabling the program, reports the Age. A parks and wildlife district manager has surfaced for the first time since images of him posing with dead safari animals in Africa emerged, writes the West Australian. The premier, Mark McGowan, has ordered a review into his hiring. And a single Powerball entrant has won $80m, according to Nine News, meaning that the day of at least one person in Victoria has got significantly better.

Coming up

The national cabinet is meeting to consider a proposal from the prime minister to cap international arrivals to ease the pressure on quarantine arrangements.

Queensland is welcoming all visitors from midday on Friday except, of course, those from Victoria which is in lockdown after a resurgence in Covid-19 cases.

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