Morning mail: calls to extend mandatory vaccines, Fox News threat, lockdown debate – The Guardian Australia

Good morning. Calls for mandatory vaccinations to be extended in Australia, thousands scramble to escape Kabul, and Australia’s Paralympians go top of the world on day one in Toyko.

Coalition MPs are urging the prime minister to extend a Covid vaccine mandate to all aged care workers, with national cabinet also pondering mandatory vaccinations for disability workers. Queensland MP Warren Entsch and former doctor Katie Allen have both called for an extension to include home care workers as well, amid reports that hundreds of aged care centres are struggling to meet the initial deadline. State and federal governments remain locked in discussion over whether meeting vaccination targets will signal an end to lockdowns, with finance minister Simon Birmingham walking back more inflammatory statements from the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, who earlier threatened withdrawing economic supports if states failed to phase out lockdowns once 70% of Australians over 16 were vaccinated. Meanwhile, debate continues over the topic of at what age children should be vaccinated to help reach herd immunity.

Thousands fear being stranded in Kabul as the US evacuation deadline of 31 August fast approaches. Ninety planes departed the Afghan capital in one 24-hour period between Tuesday and Wednesday, with over 19,000 people onboard – surpassing the 1975 evacuation of Saigon. According to Pentagon reports, 88,000 people have flown out of Kabul since the Taliban re-seized power. But as many as four times that number could be left behind, vulnerable for previously aiding US or western allies. Accusations that the Taliban have looted UN offices and threatened or physically harmed staff have emerged, despite ongoing protestations of non-recriminations. Meanwhile, Russia has claimed the Taliban have captured more than 100 Russian-made helicopters from the overrun Afghan national army.

Australia have made a golden start to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, dominating in the pool and at the velodrome with six gold medals to shoot to the top of the medal tally ahead of China. A big shock came in the wheelchair rugby however, with Australia losing to Denmark, as they chase a third-straight gold in the event.


A woman looks out a window
An Australian report has found abusers used rental bonds, loans and credit cards, and traffic infringements as part of their patterns of control over victim-survivors. Photograph: Roos Koole/Getty Images

A Victorian report has detailed hundreds of stories of economic abuse, in which violent or abusive partners “weaponised” government or industry structures to control their partners. Under the Transforming Financial Security project, $900,000 of victim debt has been cleared.

Australia’s Energy Security Board has promised to work with industry players, following criticism from the renewable energy sector that proposed market rules are designed to prop up ageing coal generators.

A Four Corners report on the cosy relationship between Donald Trump and Fox News has earned the ire of the Murdoch media empire, with News Corp publishing 45 articles attacking the Australian public broadcaster in just two days.

The NSW deputy premier, John Barilaro, has apologised after coming under fire for “highly offensive” comments he made comparing a funeral in the western NSW town of Wilcannia held in compliance with health orders to “the 16 dickheads in Maroubra” who spread Covid after having a party.

The HSC could be delayed in NSW until November, with only major subjects examined in face-to-face tests. The NSW government also seems set to extend the lockdown in regional NSW until the end of September, in line with the lockdown in greater Sydney.

The world

Joe Biden addresses the media
US president Joe Biden has told Rome he is willing to talk to anyone about Afghanistan. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi remains confident he has secured US president Joe Biden’s support for a G20 peace conference on Afghanistan, despite concerns inside the US administration that any agreements with the Taliban would empower China or Russia’s influence in the region.

Samoa’s former prime minister has accused Jacinda Ardern of being “behind” the nation’s recent political crisis, as part of a plan to see him deposed for a female leader. Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi was the world’s second-longest serving prime minister, at the helm of the country for over 22 years.

Tough new censorship laws in Hong Kong will retrospectively be applied to films, in another move that is been seen as an attack on the city’s political and artistic freedom.

“Eco-friendly” LED streetlights have come under fire in England for decimating moth populations, with the new lights affecting populations even more severely than the sodium bulbs they replaced.

Recommended reads

Australian garment manufacturer, Christiaan Kidd
Christiaan Kidd found himself without staff and had to close his business during the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

When the coronavirus pandemic broke, it initially gave a fillip to Australia’s clothing manufacturing sector. But while Australian designers turned to local producers in droves, now that lockdowns have hit Sydney, homegrown companies are starting to hit the wall. As fashion designer Bianca Spender explains: “Summer is our peak season and this is the time for manufacturing these collections. It hurts us as designers, it hurts retailers, and it hurts makers. This is when they make the money that sustains the business for the whole year.” And as Lucianne Tonti writes, others fear the nascent revival of Australian clothing manufacturing could be “killed off”, very quickly.

Book week can be a stress test at the best of times. But between home schooling and the cabin fever that has set in for many families, the annual pageant of book appreciation has been even trickier for some this year. Guardian Australia is looking for your best and worst efforts – please share the love, below the line.

The internet remains a treasure trove of the weird, macabre and sometimes surreal. But this week, we’re once again mainly just trawling for lols, as Jenny Tian presents her 10 funniest things on the internet. And man, did that Einstein really turn into a blowhard after he went big time.

It’s a motley bunch of preeners, posers, lookers and, well, not lookers. Bird of the Year is back, and among the early frontrunners are not just majestic flappers like the New Holland honeyeater, but also more pedestrian rivals like the suburban brush turkey. And while there’s obviously a bit of fun involved (spangled drongo, anyone?), as Birdlife’s Sean Dooley explains, the love expressed for Australia’s avifauna is indeed heartwarming. “You have the exotic and colourful nominations. But you also see the less glamorous birds. The glorious little ones that are common and fly under the radar.”


Tampa, 20 years on. In 2001, Abbas Nazari was a seven-year-old Afghan refugee rescued from a distressed fishing vessel by the MV Tampa. Two decades on, Australia once again confronts its capacity to accept Afghan refugees. On this episode of Full Story, David Marr reflects on the political crisis that came to shape Australia’s refugee politics to this day.

Full Story

How the Tampa affair changed Australia’s stance on asylum seekers



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


Jamie Young training for Western United in the A-League
Western United goalkeeper Jamie Young says coaches should have a deep understanding of human psychology. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Across an 18-year career, footballer Jamie Young has seen as much as any. But the now veteran goalkeeper has a new challenge: as a PhD student interviewing the A-League’s best coaches about their approaches to psychology. Emma Kemp has the story.

England are in the box seat in the third Test against India at Headingley, after a stunning capitulation from the visitors saw them all out for 78. The hosts then powered to 0/120 at stumps with both Burns and Hameed scoring sharp fifties.

Media roundup

Large tourism, hospitality and recreation employers in NSW will be able to access jobkeeper under a plan that will raise the annual turnover threshold for access from $250m to $1bn, writes the Australian. Coronavirus patients in Sydney’s hotspots will be triaged in makeshift units at Westmead and Blacktown hospitals to free up ambulances after paramedics were told to redirect some Covid patients as far as the north shore, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. And a witness in the Brereton inquiry into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan has said she “lives in fear now” after her house was targeted in an early-morning bombing, according to the ABC.

Coming up

Leading Australian businesses are expected to release their full-year results, including Qantas, Woolworths and takeover candidate Huon Aquaculture.

A media briefing is scheduled for Western Australia’s first home-designed and built satellite, to be launched for an International Space Station resupply mission.

And if you’ve read this far …

It’s a find that threatens to shake up demographic history. The discovery of intact DNA from a 7,200-year-old body found in 2015 Indonesia is, in the view of researchers, helping “completely revolutionise our understanding of the early human story”. And while half the genetic makeup of the woman known as Bessé is similar to present-day Aboriginals, genetic sequencing is also showing “a unique ancestral history not shared by anyone living today”.

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Morning mail: calls to extend mandatory vaccines, Fox News threat, lockdown debate – The Guardian Australia

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