Morning mail: new freedoms for NSW, ‘alarming secrecy’, kitchen diversity

Good morning. Millions in New South Wales awaken to new freedoms after 106 days of lockdown. Australian deportation law changes described as “authoritarian”. The campaign for Australia to donate vaccines across Asia Pacific ramps up.

Bars, retail, gyms and hairdressers reopen across NSW and Scott Morrison has backed plans to fast-track the resumption of international travel as soon as the state’s home quarantine program is ready. In a Facebook livestream on Sunday, the prime minister said he had had discussions with NSW premier Dominic Perrottet about bringing forward the start date of international travel for fully vaccinated people.

Civil rights groups have warned of a “regime of alarming secrecy” if new federal legislation that seeks to deport migrants on the basis of secret evidence is passed. Debate on the new proposals could take place in the federal parliament before the end of the year, but the lead solicitor at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Dr Carolyn Graydon, says the bill represents “a truly authoritarian-style law” that denies even parliamentary committees oversight into how visa decisions are being conducted. The new law would allow the Australian government to unilaterally cancel a person’s visa without telling them why, or on what evidence the visa was being cancelled.

Reverend Tim Costello has urged Australia to “become a vaccine factory for the region”, calling on the nation to donate 20m extra vaccine doses to lower-income countries across Asia Pacific. Costello heads a group End Covid For All, that argues the pandemic won’t end until it “ends for everyone”. Meanwhile, former hotel quarantine residents in Queensland have accused the state of neglect, after it halted its contract with Red Cross Australia to perform daily mental health checks. Several former residents have told Guardian Australia they received little or no support during their stays. And, the prime minister has flagged bringing forward the date on which fully vaccinated international travellers can visit NSW, saying it could be earlier than mid-November, providing the state’s home quarantine program is up and running.

Facebook executive Nick Clegg has evaded questions over the tech giant’s role in spreading misinformation ahead of the deadly US Capitol riot in January. The former British deputy prime minister, now Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs, promised the company would become “more transparent”, but refused to clarify whether it bore responsibility for amplifying lies by Donald Trump that the US election had been stolen, as alleged by company whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen accused the company of fanning mob outrage by failing to check hate speech or misinformation disseminated across the company’s platforms.


Carpentaria-1 exploration well in the Beetaloo Basin
Empire Energy’s Carpentaria-1 exploration well at its Beetaloo Basin gas site. The company received a $5m refundable research and development tax offset. Photograph: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

A Liberal-linked gas company has received a $5m tax incentive through a research and development scheme that prohibits “prospecting, exploring or drilling activities” to explore the Beetaloo Basin. Empire Energy has told Guardian Australia drilling will be conducted to enable research and development.

Afghan humanitarian visa applicants have told a Senate inquiry they live in fear, as the Taliban are “hunting us down like animals”. Greens Senator Janet Rice has described the testimonies as “gut-wrenching”, undermining Taliban claims they will not seek retribution against those who previously aided western forces.

Australia’s peak farming lobby group will meet with Nationals MPs to demand a dedicated income stream from sequestered carbon should the Morrison government commit to a net zero emissions policy by 2050.

The world

Election officials count ballots in Baghdad
Election workers count ballots at the close of polling day in Baghdad, Iraq. Photograph: Hadi Mizban/AP

Election turnout in Iraq has plummeted to below 25%, in a trend that experts suggest signals waning faith in the democratic process that many Iraqis believe to have failed them. Anti-government protests in October 2019 saw at least 600 killed by state-backed forces.

US treasury secretary Janet Yellen has expressed confidence that Congress will approve an agreement on a global minimum corporate tax rate. 136 nations committed to a 15% rate on Friday, in a move that US president Joe Biden has heralded as a landmark deal.

More than 1,100 asylum seekers have crossed the Channel from France into the United Kingdom over the weekend, with the French interior minister accusing Britain of failing to provide the £55m it had promised to address the issue.

Sixteen people have died after a plane carrying skydivers crashed, in central Russia. It’s the third deadly crash in the country this year involving a L-410 twin-engine aircraft.

Recommended reads

Graves at Sydney's Waverley cemetery
The issue of who controls Sydney’s cemeteries has been prompted by a far more pressing problem – the city is running out of burial space. Photograph: Idealink Photography/Alamy

“The cemeteries of the state need to remain under a state operator, not under a religious entity.” So says Muslim community leader Samier Dandan regarding a dispute over Sydney’s cemeteries that could now even be referred to Icac. The Catholic church is resisting a move to strip it of control of several major burial grounds, but they may have a powerful ally in new state premier, Dominic Perrottet, Anne Davies and Mostafa Rachwani write. And dwindling burial space across Sydney is only set to intensify the debate over who gets to dictate the allocation of new plots.

You may not have heard of them, but Australia is bursting with home cooking businesses. Food writer Nicholas Jordan has been trying new kitchens from diverse cultural backgrounds during lockdown, enjoying Afghan feasts and Georgian delights, all at affordable prices. But not all home kitchens are operating within the full letter of regulations – jeopardising their customers as well as legitimate operators and the industry in general, Jordan explains.

Like many writers, Charlotte Wood is obsessed by descriptions of other artists’ working routines. She talks with Guardian features editor Lucy Clark about “the joys, fears, and profound self discoveries of creativity”. “In her latest book, The Luminous Solution: Creativity, Resilience and the Inner Life, the award-winning author probes all manner of creative impulses and processes in a collection of essays that, all added up, seek to answer the overarching question: what is a rich inner life?”


She’s the whistleblower who’s helping US Congress put Facebook under scrutiny. On this episode of Full Story, global technology editor Dan Milmo unpicks why Frances Haugen’s testimony is being praised by politicians.

Full Story

The whistleblower who plunged Facebook into crisis

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


Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen has edged into the overall F1 championship lead after a second placed finish at the Turkish Grand Prix. Photograph: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The F1 title race appears set to go down to the wire, as Max Verstappen regained an overall championship race lead over Lewis Hamilton, after the Dutchman finished second behind Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in Turkey.

England have named a full-strength team for the forthcoming Ashes, ending concerns that leading players might opt out of the tour due to Covid quarantine-related reasons. Notable exceptions include Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes however who are sidelined with injury.

Media roundup

“Cleanskin” casino company Star Entertainment has been embroiled in allegations of enabling money laundering, organised crime, and large-scale fraud, the Sydney Morning Herald claims, even years after its board became aware of the charges. Labor’s candidate against Christian Porter in the WA seat of Pearce expects “unpleasant threats”, writes the West Australian, but has said she’ll run with “strength and dignity”. And billionaires and blue-collar workers have united as part of Mission Zero – a new plan for cleaner, smarter Australia, Newscorp mastheads are reporting.

Coming up

The Ibac inquiry into Victorian Labor branch stacking allegations begins in Melbourne.

A Senate inquiry into Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan begins public hearings today.

And if you’ve read this far

It’s been claimed as the purest possible air. Just as mankind was unleashing the full force of the Industrial Revolution, in 1765 a pocket of air was locked in ice – which now forms the centrepiece of a new exhibit in Scotland. But displaying a 250-year ice section without it melting has proven quite the technological challenge.

Sign up

If you would like to receive the Guardian Australia morning mail to your email inbox every weekday, sign up here.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or comments about any of our newsletters please email

Sign up to Inside Saturday to get an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the top features from our new magazine delivered to your inbox every weekend.