Morning mail: Australia ‘ill-prepared’ for food insecurity, millennials overtaking boomers, Baz Luhrmann’s films ranked

<span>Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Good morning. Sydney residents will today begin to feel the effects of this week’s industrial action being undertaken by rail workers, nurses and teachers. Nurses will walk off work today for between one and 24 hours, while train drivers will limit their speeds to 60km/h and under. Teachers are also set to strike for 24 hours on Thursday. Meanwhile, Anthony Albanese is in Spain for Nato talks.

Australia is “ill-prepared” for food insecurity fuelled by the climate crisis and war, according to former military leaders. A new report describes Australia and the Asia-Pacific as a “disaster alley” for climate change and says governments in Canberra have not properly planned for the impact of “cascading and compound events”. The former Australian defence force chief Chris Barrie said a rapidly heating planet “fundamentally threatens our ability to secure our food and water supplies … It is clear that a lack of food – driven by war, climate change or a combination of both – can destabilise and lead to even more conflict.”

Australia’s millennials are overtaking baby boomers to become the nation’s largest generation, according to the latest census results released today. The new data shows both demographic groups comprise 5.4 million people but the 2021 statistics reflect a diminishing number of boomers compared with the 2016 survey. The national snapshot also reveals that more than one in two Australian residents were born overseas or had a parent born overseas, and Christianity remains the nation’s most prevalent religion.

At least 13 people are dead and scores more injured after a Russian missile strike hit a crowded shopping centre in the central Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, wrote on Telegram that more than 1,000 civilians were inside the shopping centre and that the number of victims was “unimaginable”. Zelenskiy is understood to have told G7 leaders not to let the conflict in his country “drag on over winter”, and Nato’s secretary general has said this week’s Madrid summit will put 300,000 troops at high readiness in response to the invasion.

The New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called for supreme court justices to be impeached for misleading statements about their views on Roe v Wade as political pressure mounts on Joe Biden to take more action to protect abortion rights across the US. Ocasio-Cortez took aim at Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who signalled that they would not reverse Roe v Wade during confirmation hearings.


Australia’s almond harvest is in jeopardy after the discovery that a deadly parasite being described as “Covid for bees” has hit apiaries. The discovery of varroa mite at Newcastle port has led to NSW beehives being locked down, with a potentially “devastating effect” on crops.

Fears are growing for the wellbeing of older Australians as 65,000 aged care workers leave the sector each year, and the shortfall of workers has doubled since August.

A majority of voters support the pay boost for Australians on low incomes but people are divided about whether the Albanese government should stick with its 43% emissions reduction target or go for something more ambitious, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll.

NSW residents are bracing for a series of interruptions as unions plan to strike throughout the week as part of ongoing industrial disputes with the state government over pay and conditions. We’ve taken a look at why this is happening now, what it means for you, what the demands are and if they’re likely to be met.

Jobseekers are dissatisfied with the poor-quality service and punitive treatment they’ve received under a $1bn-a-year privatised employment services program, according to a new report.

The world

A Scottish government memo obtained by the Guardian reveals that “it is almost certain” draft laws have been secretly changed to secure the Queen’s approval. The Guardian identified at least 67 instances in which Scottish bills were vetted by the monarch.

Thirteen people have died and 251 have been injured in a toxic gas leak from a storage tank at Jordan’s Aqaba port after a cable lifting a tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine snapped, sending the container crashing to the ground.

Wildfires raging across Cyprus have united the war-split Mediterranean island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriots. So rare was the sight that yesterday the country’s permanent UN representative praised the “very positive” show of unity battling the fires.

The Northern Island protocol looked likely to easily pass the first voting stage in the House of Commons. The proposed legislation will allow the UK to unilaterally rip up Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland at the risk of a trade war with the EU.

Recommended reads

As we know from having our senses pounded by various glitter-filled, hyperactive and blinding spectacles, Baz Luhrmann’s films don’t talk – they shout. Luhrmann is at his best when focusing on musical inspirations and performative elements. His best two films are very good; his worst two are cataclysmically awful; and the rest are spectacles that are nothing if not intoxicating. Here they are, ranked from lemon to (apologies) Luhrmannastic.

Even if they’re not actually intelligent, AIs may shift the nature of human expression itself, writes JR Hennessy. “Impressive pattern-matching machines like DALL-E 2 and GPT-3 may not understand meaning, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t radically disruptive … Here’s the thing. Yes, large language models are incredibly impressive tech, and an afternoon spent playing around with GPT-3 is a frequently mind-blowing experience. But it’s crucial to remember they’re not really intelligent.”

Winter is upon us and ski gear getting a workout on the slopes. Generally speaking, skiing and snowboarding require technical gear to make embracing the cold, well, less cold. Like most things, technical gear will last longer if you take care of it properly. We spoke to experts who explained exactly how to do that.


So-called “beauty filters” have become commonplace for selfies on social media. They offer users an instantly made-up, blemish-free version of themselves to share with the world online. But filters can insidiously reinforce western beauty standards and encourage some to resort to drastic measures to conform with them in real life. In today’s Full Story, producer Karishma Luthria speaks to social media reporter Matilda Boseley about cosmetic filters’ harms and what can be done to prevent them.

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


Thousands of tennis fans are cheering on Emma Raducanu and Andy Murray at Wimbledon on Monday as the tournament returns to capacity for the first time in three years. Emma Raducanu defeated Alison Van Uytvanck to reach the second round. Stay across all the grand slam action with our live blog.

Media roundup

Census data is revealed today, with the Australian Financial Review focusing on Australia becoming a majority migrant nation and the Sydney Morning Herald highlighting the imminent millennial takeover, with the generation’s population matching baby boomers at about 5.4 million each. The Australian reports that men could soon access 20 weeks of commonwealth-funded paid paternity leave.

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