world

Morning mail: aged care vaccination blitz urged, PM’s approval drops, Ash Barty at Wimbledon


Good morning. Leaders will gather today for the first “war game” meeting of Operation Covid Shield, the federal government’s revamped vaccine rollout strategy. And Australian tennis champion Ash Barty is dominating Wimbledon.

The federal government should fund a state government-operated vaccination blitz of aged care workers, according to the main nursing union, who say it is “enormously frustrated” and “angry” at the commonwealth’s repeated failures, lack of urgency and blame-shifting. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) federal secretary Annie Butler wants the federal government to fund the program that would vaccinate staff in their workplaces as initially intended. “It makes sense to us to fund the states and let them manage an on-site vaccination program for aged care, and then we can get it done,” she says.

It comes as more than 600 NSW health workers have been forced to isolate after being deemed close contacts of an unvaccinated student nurse who worked across two Sydney hospitals while infectious with Covid, wreaking havoc on staffing levels. New South Wales confirmed 35 new Covid cases on Monday. The race to obtain Covid vaccine supply has been likened to The Hunger Games as Australia’s rollout continues to lag behind similar nations, with just 7.2% of the population fully vaccinated. Australia’s peak Aboriginal health group has urged leaders at today’s Covid Shield meeting to speed up the vaccine rollout to prioritise Aboriginal remote communities.

England looks set to become “the most unrestricted society in Europe” from 19 July, with Boris Johnson expected to revoke hundreds of Covid regulations, despite saying new cases could soar to 50,000 a day before masks and social distancing are ditched. The announcement comes as Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, self-isolates after contact with someone who later tested positive after returning from Wimbledon on Friday afternoon.

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Speaking of Wimbledon, Ash Barty has secured a spot in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time after defeating French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 7-5, 6-3. Trailing the Czech 4-2 in the first set and within a point of going 5-2 down, Barty steadied the ship and started to attack, taking the game to Krejcikova. “Probably for the first 15 or 20 minutes, I felt like I was really struggling to pick up her ball off her racket. I wasn’t able to give myself a chance to get into games, plain and simple. Once I was able to do that, getting a break back instantly at 4-3 to level things out was a good game,” Barty said.

Australia

Auditor general’s report into the Coalition’s $660m commuter car park program found the approval of 47 projects ‘was not demonstrably merit-based’
The auditor general’s report into the Coalition’s $660m commuter car park program found the approval of 47 projects ‘was not demonstrably merit-based’. Photograph: Dan Peled/EPA

The Coalition’s commuter car park fund paid $115,000 a space, almost double the benchmark price, for a project in Melbourne. Parking Australia’s Stuart Norman said he could not see “any logical reason” why the project should cost so much.

Voter approval of Scott Morrison has dropped six points in a month, as support for the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic dipped from 53% to 44%, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.

Catholic doctors are being urged to support George Christensen’s “nonsensical” abortion bill. Medical professionals have been offered anonymity if they choose to support the bill, but critics say patients have a right to know if their provider supported the bill.

Australia’s export credit agency, Export Finance Australia, provided 80 times more in finance to fossil fuel projects than renewables between 2009 and 2020. A new report found up to $1.69bn in financing went to coal, oil and gas projects compared with $20m for renewable projects.

The Victorian Nationals will push for a bolder position on climate change at the party’s next federal council, while exploring the “ramifications” of cutting ties with the federal party in protest at the return of Barnaby Joyce as leader.

Aboriginal traditional owners have told mining giant Rio Tinto they will no longer do “welcome to country” for Rio related events, and are refusing to meet with the company until it demonstrates it is “serious” about modernising its agreements with them.

The world

Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, took office in January 2019 vowing to ‘forever free the fatherland from the yoke of corruption’.
Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, took office in January 2019 vowing to ‘forever free the fatherland from the yoke of corruption’. Photograph: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has been personally implicated in an alleged corruption racket. The allegations suggested Bolsonaro, already accused of mishandling Covid, was involved in embezzlement scheme during his almost 30 years as a lawmaker in the lower house of congress.

Gunmen have kidnapped 140 children from a boarding school in north-western Nigeria, the latest in a wave of mass abductions targeting schoolchildren and students.

The former head of a dam company, Roberto David Castillo, has been found guilty of being a co-collaborator in the assassination of the indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres in Honduras.

Recommended reads

Who has the better lockdown, Sydney or Melbourne? Sydney has great weather to be locked down in and Melbourne’s came with culture. It’s always tempting to compare each other’s lockdowns, but let’s just shut up and get through it, says James Colley. “If you listen to 5/7ths of the nation, they’ll tell you that the global pandemic isn’t actually about the endless, pointless competition between Sydney and Melbourne. I’ve even heard rumours that Brisbane, the Northern Territory and other places are also affected by this current outbreak.”

The effects of “weird weather” were already being felt in the 1960s, but scientists linking fossil fuels with climate change were dismissed as prophets of doom, writes Alice Bell. “In August 1974, the CIA produced a study on ‘climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems’. The diagnosis was dramatic. It warned of the emergence of a new era of weird weather, leading to political unrest and mass migration (which, in turn, would cause more unrest) … The direction in which the thermometer was travelling wasn’t their immediate concern; it was the political impact.”

Listen

Uncle Jack Charles traces his ancestry and reconnects with living family members on SBS’s Who Do You Think You Are?
Uncle Jack Charles traces his ancestry and reconnects with living family members on SBS’s Who Do You Think You Are? Photograph: Don Arnold/WireImage

Uncle Jack Charles is known as many things – an Indigenous activist, a survivor of the stolen generations, a former addict and a brilliant actor. The story of his life has been told many times, through documentary, memoir and theatre. Now, he is going on a journey of self-discovery for the SBS show Who Do You Think You Are? He speaks to Laura Murphy-Oates about his life, career and the impact of finding family.

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

Sport

The Wallabies’ rallying cry for the three-Test series against France is “vive la renaissance”, suggesting we are about to witness the rebirth of the national team. But how much of that catchphrase is based on reality, and how much is just marketing hype?

Ben O’Connor’s raw talent was revealed to the world seven years ago, in the Tasmanian wilderness. It was stage two of the Tour of Tasmania, the most gruelling domestic race in Australia, featuring a 120km day from Strathgordon, near Lake Pedder. But it was clear that day that O’Connor would not settle for second place for long.

Media roundup

Australia could be blacklisted by large foreign investment funds if the government fails to commit to a net-zero 2050 target, reports the Financial Review, citing $1.9 trillion investment management firm Invesco, which says Australia’s climate change policies are an important consideration under its environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) rules. NRL player Jack de Belin hid underneath a bed when NSW police came to break up teammate Paul Vaughan’s house party, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Coming up

The Juukan Gorge inquiry hearing.

St George Illawarra will hold a press conference after its players were fined for breaching Covid rules.



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