Brisbane airport covid-19 international arrivals
(Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

FIGHT OR FLIGHT

The Australian government will begin issuing vaccine passports “within weeks” to prepare for flights resuming, the SMH reports. The government is in talks with countries to determine which vaccines will be included in the international travel bubble agreements and is set to roll out their vaccination certificates from October. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said travel overseas could start up again when 80% of us are fully vaccinated, as Guardian Australia reports, but just 39% of the population over the age of 16 has been fully vaccinated so far. Our vaccination status will also be reportedly linked to our passport chips, the paper says.

The PM also told Sky News yesterday that the government was preparing and testing home quarantine and would be raising the issue at Friday’s national cabinet with state and territory leaders. NSW is already testing a proof of vaccination system through Service NSW’s app, as Yahoo reports, while Victoria is looking at following suit, as ABC says.

In Victoria, there has been a tense standoff at a Melbourne synagogue after worshippers came together for Jewish New Year. The Age reports that members of the congregation arrived at 5am on Tuesday and indicated they wouldn’t leave until nightfall. Police and health staff remained outside until the doors opened at 8:20pm, and said those who attended would be fined. The stand-off got pretty hairy — a social media video appears to show people outside the synagogue confronting police and media, demanding to know why they were there.

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MAN SEEKING MISSILE

Defence Minister Peter Dutton wants more access to missiles, The Australian ($) reports. Dutton says the allies need to “pool our know-how and resources” to develop long-range strike weapons, offensive cyber technology, and autonomous drones. The Oz says it comes ahead of the Australian government’s push for “unprecedented” defence cooperation between nations at the upcoming Australia-US Ministerial Consultations. Dutton and Marise Payne are headed to the US on September 16 and will meet with their counterparts in the Biden administration for the first time, following meetings in South Korea, Indonesia and India.

It comes as a diplomatic relationship between Australia and China’s crime-busting departments remains in place, despite our otherwise frosty relationship, Guardian Australia reports. The Australian Attorney-General’s Department said we’ve helped each other on a total of 13 requests in two years, typically on drug investigations and white-collar crime. It was made possible by a Howard-era treaty for mutual legal assistance, signed back in 2006 before relations broke down between Australia and China. It’s pretty generous, allowing “the widest measure of mutual assistance in connection with investigations, prosecutions and proceedings related to criminal matters”.

THE HEAT IS ON

Twenty livestock companies are emitting more greenhouse gas than either Germany, Britain or France and are being paid billions in financial backing, The Guardian reports. Meat and dairy are huge contributors to global warming, with the industries accounting for 14.5% of the world’s emissions. That’s why rich countries were told to urgently lay off the steak in the IPCC’s landmark report. But the 20 companies got more than US$478b in backing from 2500 investment firms, banks, and pension funds, mostly in North America or Europe, an environmental group called Meat Atlas says.

It comes as our animals are “shapeshifting” their beaks, legs, and ears to prepare for a hotter climate, according to research. Sara Ryding, a researcher at Deakin University, said the biggest increase was among some parrot species “which saw their beak size increase by 4% to 10% on average since 1871”, as CNN reports. But Ryding said that the change didn’t mean it was helping the animals cope with global warming. She said they “don’t know whether these shape-shifts actually aid in survival (and therefore are beneficial) or not”.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Love stories are not usually known for their brevity. Indeed some of the most well-known love stories are epics, spanning decades, countries, and class divides. Straying from tradition, The New York Times’ Modern Love section is a collation of reader-submitted essays detailing quirky love stories — it could be anything from the platonic relationship with one’s doorman to a growing crush on a fellow Mormon missionary. The column has been so successful that it’s grown into a podcast, books, and even a TV series. But it has also gone in the other direction — and a micro spin-off, Tiny Love Stories, was born.

The Times has rounded up 10 of the most powerful Tiny Love Stories they have ever received from readers — that’s stories under 100 words (less than the words in On A Lighter Note so far!). They pack a punch, and it’s not always boy-meets-girl — the collection includes a domestic ménage à trois, a step-parent’s family bond with a child, a woman’s peace with grief, a kindergartener’s incredulous affection, and a late mother’s enduring lesson. It’s a rather sweet reminder that love is interwoven throughout all of our lives, if we can only learn to look for it.

Hope it’s a lovely Wednesday, folks.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

I did not sign up and no Victorians signed up to a national plan to vaccinate Sydney. Some don’t like to see this as a race but a race it surely is. What I didn’t know was that Premier Berejiklian’s in a sprint while the rest of us are supposed to do some sort of egg and spoon thing. No, we want our fair share.

Dan Andrews

The Victorian premier is furious his state missed out on 340,000 Pfizer doses after NSW received 45% of the country-wide allocation, continuing that Victorians could have been out of lockdown sooner had they received their “fair share”. Health Minister Greg Hunt said Canberra would be rectifying the disparity “very quickly” to ensure all states received their doses.

CRIKEY RECAP

What would a ‘positive duty’ to prevent sexual discrimination in workplaces look like?

“Sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins told a panel at the national summit on women’s safety yesterday she’s ‘not giving up’ on having all 55 recommendations made in her landmark [email protected] report implemented.

“Of the 16 legislative and regulatory reforms that could have been adopted — with 12 separate legal amendments possible — just six made it into the final Respect at Work Amendment Bill passed last week. Notably missing was a ‘positive duty’ clause, where employers would have a legal obligation to prevent sexual discrimination.”


Behold the salad days of KRudd — ex-PM, slayer of dragons and cultural warriors

“Former prime minister Kevin Rudd beamed out of the screen with a supernatural and beatific calm, as though the prime minister’s office was merely a stepping stone to this period, his true destiny, his star child stage, giving Rupert Murdoch both barrels at every opportunity.

“He rattled off example after example of the ‘cancerous’ affect News Corp has had on Australian democracy — if you wanted to know about racism, sexism, climate denial, COVID misinformation in the Murdoch media, Rudd had three examples and a page of footnotes. There was a sense that no one else in the room had done as much homework as he — which may have been true of most rooms he’s been in. But it went further than that.”


Suddenly everyone is talking about JobKeeper. Why?

“We’ve known for months that millions in JobKeeper payments have funnelled into companies that have made a fortune during the pandemic. But the story has never quite seeped into the mainstream — until now. 60 Minutes has called it the ‘biggest cash grab in Australian history’ and stories of luxury brands pocketing handouts while increasing their revenue are now landing on page 1.

“It’s not just JobKeeper. Inequality is seeping into headlines everywhere, whether it’s travel exemptions for the prime minister or vaccines being prioritised for certain states. We’ve always known the pandemic has been better for some than others. But temperatures have risen, particularly over the issue of JobKeeper and inequality.”

READ ALL ABOUT IT

Taliban announces new Afghan government (Al Jazeera)

With her party fading, Merkel dips into the campaign fray (The New York Times)

Justin Trudeau hit by stones on campaign trail (BBC)

Israel’s military chief says ‘accelerating’ Iran strike plans (Al Jazeera)

Christian conservatives demand ‘Folau clause’ in religious discrimination bill (The Australian) ($)

El Salvador buys 200 bitcoins as the digital currency becomes legal tender (CNN)

Chile protest leader reveals he lied about having cancer (The Guardian)

Chinese authorities drop case against former Alibaba manager accused of sexual assault (The Wall Street Journal)

Hospital worker reveals the horrific seven final stages of COVID (NZ Herald)

Family, fans mourn death of The Wire star Michael K. Williams (SBS)

THE COMMENTARIAT

If you’re not bound by the rules, you can’t understand their impactMichael Koziol (The SMH): “And so it has gone throughout the past 18 months. Ordinary people are separated by shut borders and rigid rules, while the elite and the wealthy navigate a complex web of exemptions to go about their business almost as usual (sometimes aided by a government jet) …

“Furthermore, it seems Morrison had a fair idea of how bad his Sydney sojourn would look, because he resurrected an old family photo for his Father’s Day Instagram post, noting in the caption that it was from ‘earlier this year’. As ever, the cover-up is the crime. No one would begrudge a politician spending time with their family — except when their policies prevent everyone else doing the same. There may have been a time when those measures could be justified, but it has simply gone on too long. People have missed too much of each other’s lives.”

Lorraine Finlay’s appointment as human rights commissioner is a gobsmacking choiceRebecca Huntley (Guardian Australia): “Previous office holders have been eminent jurists — federal and high court judges, silks and legal academics of real stature and renown. Men and women like Hon. John von Doussa, Prof Alice Tay AM and Sir Ronald Wilson. Most recently, the position has been held by Ed Santow, a former chief executive of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

“The appointment of a relatively inexperienced legal academic to one of the highest legal positions in Australia’s public firmament is questionable. Finlay clearly has potential as a career academic, after doing the hard yards — maybe even as a politician, where preselection doesn’t depend on publication. But she’s just landed a hefty six-figure salary package that would satisfy most CEOs in any sector — and a privileged platform for making expert interventions nationally, and globally, on key questions related to Australia’s human rights performance. Her appointment represents a gobsmacking gear shift for Australia — into a nation where it appears in depth experience and expertise doesn’t matter much any more.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Australia

  • CBA’s Gareth Aird and the PM’s Special Envoy for Global Business and Talent Attraction Peter Verwer will discuss the nation’s record-high job vacancies and the economic impact via webinar.

  • Epidemiology professors Nancy Baxter and Tony Blakely will speak on how health news is reported in a webinar by the Melbourne Press Club.

  • Activist Chanel Contos will speak about sexual consent with broadcaster Yumi Stynes and journalist Avani Dias via webinar for the University of NSW.

  • Mt Druitt Community Engagement Officer Julie Williams, PhD candidate Meena Singh, Change the Record’s Sophie Trevitt, and Menzies School of Health Research Nick Fancourt will discuss raising the age of criminality in a webinar for the Australia Institute.

  • Journalist Mahmood Fazal will be in conversation with John Safran about the latter’s new book, Puff Piece, via webinar for Readings.

Ngunnawal Country (also known as Canberra)

  • Afghan refugee Abbas Nazari will address the National Press Club about his new book After the Tampa: From Afghanistan to New Zealand.

Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Former director of infrastructure at the London Olympic Delivery Authority Simon Wright will give an address at a special edition of the Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayors’ Forum.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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