Morning mail: NSW to tighten pub coronavirus rules, palace letters release, Trump's 'tsunami of untruths'

Emilie Gramenz
·6-min read
<span>Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: James D Morgan/Getty Images

Good morning, this is Emilie Gramenz bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Tuesday 14 July.

Top stories

NSW is bracing for a potential coronavirus outbreak as cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel in south-west Sydney grow. The state will introduce tighter restrictions on pubs in response to the cluster. Australians are increasingly anxious about coronavirus, and public approval of the way Scott Morrison and Daniel Andrews have handled the pandemic has slipped, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll. Google has used a submission to the Senate’s select committee on foreign interference through social media to highlight a pandemic-related spike in online activity.

The WHO says there will be “no return to normal” for the foreseeable future, as Covid-19 cases accelerate in Latin America and the US. There is “compelling” evidence that air pollution significantly increases infections, hospital admissions and deaths, according to the most detailed and comprehensive analysis to date, and heart scans of coronavirus patients in hospital have revealed a range of abnormalities. Anthony Fauci appears sidelined by Donald Trump’s White House after repeatedly contradicting the president’s view about the effectiveness of the government response. A German study has suggested schools may not play as big a role in spreading the virus as some had feared.

The imminent release of secret royal correspondence surrounding the dismissal of Gough Whitlam will again call the role of the monarchy in modern Australia into question, experts say. Today Australia’s national archives will release the much-anticipated “palace letters”, a series of more than 200 exchanges between the Queen, her private secretary, Martin Charteris, and Sir John Kerr, Australia’s then-governor general, in the critical period leading up to Kerr’s hugely controversial dismissal of Whitlam’s Labor government in November 1975.

Australia

The former NSW water minister has defended controversial legislation that effectively excludes some of the driest water years from figures used to calculate sustainable water allocations for irrigators, towns and the environment.

An inquest into the death of an Indigenous man in NSW custody has heard the young father may have had multiple seizures and was distressed to be separated from his cellmate on his last night in remand. Tane Chatfield died in September 2017 after being held on remand at Tamworth correctional centre for two years.

Parliament is facing calls to wind back some of the most restrictive aspects of Australia’s counter-terrorism laws. They includes the Abbott-era power to ban travel to conflict zones such as in Syria and Iraq.

A government-ordered inquiry into the funding of legal class actions descended into acrimony on its first day of hearings when the first witness from a Liberal party thinktank was accused of misquoting a federal judge and citing unreliable figures.

The world

Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable discussion in the White House
Donald Trump has made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims, the Washington Post says. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Donald Trump has made 20,000 false or misleading claims while in office, according to the Washington Post, which identified a “tsunami of untruths” emanating from the Oval Office.

Israeli police have clashed with protesters outside Benjamin Netanyahu’s house as the embattled prime minister faces heightened criticism for alleged corruption and his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Video footage shows city officials and police in masks removing banners while scuffling and arguing with people in the street.

Poland’s ruling populists have been given free rein in their mission to reshape the country after liberal hopes of taking the presidency were crushed in a narrow defeat. The incumbent president, Andrzej Duda, was elected for another five-year term.

Justin Trudeau has apologised for taking part in a cabinet decision to use a charity he and his family have worked with to administer a C$900m student grant program.

Recommended reads

People queue outside a Centrelink office
People queue outside a Centrelink office. Photograph: William West/AFP via Getty Images

To make jobseeker fit for purpose, its temporary rise should be permanent, Greg Jericho writes today. He argues that the base rate doesn’t do enough to keep job hunters out of poverty or to support the economy: “The Australian Council of Social Services estimates that the current poverty line for a single adult is $457 per week – meaning the pre-Covid-19 level of jobseeker was nearly 40% below the poverty line.”

The tale of marauding Martians may be familiar but less well-known is the fact that The War of the Worlds book and the radio play both have Australian antecedents. HG Wells’ 1898 piece of pioneering science fiction was inspired by the British colonial treatment of Indigenous Tasmanians. A biographer of HG Wells says the socialist novelist and his brother discussed what an alien invasion would be like and concluded it would be a terrifying disaster – not unlike how the first Tasmanians must have felt when their island was invaded.

Anab Mohamud, a single mother from the Fitzroy public housing flats, plans to run for Yarra council as a Greens candidate in October’s local government elections. “I have a dream to be prime minister one day,” she says with a laugh, in the final instalment of our six-part series on life inside Melbourne’s high-rise public housing.

Listen

Full Story will cover this morning’s long-awaited release of the palace letters in an episode featuring the historian Jenny Hocking later today.

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

Sport

Socceroos fans during the 2015 Asian Cup match between Australia and Korea Republic in Brisbane
Socceroos fans during the 2015 Asian Cup match between Australia and Korea Republic in Brisbane. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Football in Australia is doomed to be a marginal sport unless its leaders show vision, writes Simon Hill. He cites a unique opportunity in 2015: “The Asian Cup triumph should have been the catalyst for a major growth spurt. Instead, the A-League was left to its own devices, and crowds and TV ratings tumbled. It was one of many moments on which FFA should have capitalised, and Ange Postecoglou, in particular, grew frustrated at an apparent lack of vision.”

Super Netball officials are contemplating a condensed competition with teams playing more than once at week in an attempt to ensure a full draw is completed at a reduced cost. Victorian teams will relocate interstate on Wednesday due to soaring coronavirus cases in Melbourne. As a consequence Netball Australia, which does not have the funds of a football code, is considering a number of scenarios.

Media roundup

The NSW government will prioritise economic recovery over pre-emptive lockdowns, even as it slashes the number of people who will be allowed in the state’s pubs and ramps up enforcement against venues flouting the rules, according to the Australian. The Australian Financial Review reports that the Morrison government will revamp and extend the jobkeeper program beyond September but struggling business owners are being cautioned to think twice before signing up again because it might send them broke. And top bureaucrats warned senior health officials at the beginning of the Andrews government’s botched hotel quarantine scheme that security guards were ill-equipped for the work and demanded that police be called in to take control, according to the Age.

Coming up

We will liveblog the release of the palace letters, which begins at 10am.

The president of the National Farmers’ Federation, Fiona Simson, will address the National Press Club in Canberra.

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