Afternoon Update: Michael Pezzullo stands aside after leaked texts; Collingwood anger over grand final tickets; and Qantas flags higher air fares

<span>Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Good afternoon. Michael Pezzullo – one of the nation’s most powerful bureaucrats – has stood aside as head of the home affairs department pending an investigation into alleged partisan texts.

Pezzullo is alleged to have sent a series of texts to Liberal powerbroker Scott Briggs advocating for rightwing politicians to be put in charge as minister for his department, potentially breaching a code of conduct requiring public servants to be apolitical and independent.

Top news

  • Collingwood fans outraged over grand final ticket allocation | Collingwood’s chief executive has called for the AFL to provide clubs with more grand final tickets after this week’s allocation process prompted anger and disappointment from members who missed out. Footy fans who do get to the game against the Brisbane Lions at the MCG on Saturday have been told to expect an atmosphere that is quieter and a crowd that is less involved than previous finals matches, due to the relatively high number of corporate tickets provided.

  • Experts say Covid-19 inquiry too narrow | Law experts say the pandemic inquiry must focus on all levels of government to deal effectively with the lessons learned, not just the commonwealth response. The Albanese government was criticised last week for announcing an inquiry that excluded decisions made by states and territories.

  • Key changes to welfare in Labor’s employment white paper | Job seekers will be able to work for longer while retaining social security concessions, and changes to allow pensioners to work more before payments are reduced will become permanent, under two major welfare law reforms. Read this explainer on the five key changes.

Qantas planes at an airport
Qantas has warned customers to expect higher ticket prices. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
  • Qantas flags higher air fares | The embattled airline says it may increase already high ticket prices in response to rising jet fuel costs. The link between aviation fuel and ticket prices has long been contentious, with airlines typically raising prices promptly when oil costs increase, but acting with less haste when the reverse occurs.

  • NT woman charged over alleged crepe attack | A woman has been charged with aggravated assault after allegedly pushing a cream-covered crepe into the face of the Northern Territory chief minister, Natasha Fyles.

  • Gymnastics Ireland race row | A video of a medal ceremony from March last year has sparked international outrage after it showed a judge handing out participation medals to a line of young gymnasts, except for the only black girl. The girl’s family says there’s “systemic problem” at Gymnastics Ireland.

  • France to withdraw from Niger | France will withdraw its ambassador from Niger followed by the French military contingent in the next months, Emmanuel Macron has said in the aftermath of the coup in the west African country that ousted the pro-Paris president.

Sag-Aftra members and supporters walk the picket line as Screen Actors Guild members strike in New York in July
Sag-Aftra members and supporters walk the picket line as Screen Actors Guild members strike in New York in July. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images
  • ‘Tentative’ deal in Hollywood writers’ strike | After five days of negotiations with studios and streaming services, the writers’ union says it has an “exceptional” deal for members to vote on.

  • No recycled plastic Lego | The Danish company has stopped a project to make bricks from recycled drinks bottles instead of oil-based plastic, saying it would have led to higher carbon emissions over the product’s lifetime.

Full Story

Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch walking side by side
Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

The Murdoch succession

What can we learn from Lachlan Murdoch’s past business dealings and his political ideology? How might they shape one of the most powerful media companies in the world? Listen to this 15-minute episode.

What they said …

Senator Lidia Thorpe at the National Press Club last month
‘We get crumbs’: Senator Lidia Thorpe. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


“There are communities being torn apart, families are fighting one another over yes or no, and what do we get at the end of the day … we get crumbs on the table. And that is not good enough.” – Lidia Thorpe

The independent senator said the voice campaign had been an “absolute nightmare” building up to the referendum. Meanwhile, the Law Council and more than 125 health organisations have openly reiterated their support for the voice.

In numbers

Before bed read

It’s that time again! Bird of the Year is back and the polls are open! Get your vote in and read this excellent opener by our climate and environment editor, Adam Morton, who writes that bird of the year is a celebration as well as a call to action.

Daily word game

Today’s starter word is: REAR. You have five goes to get the longest word including the starter word. Play Wordiply.

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