Morning mail: reef lobbying, Brisbane’s Olympic fate, Bezos in space

Good morning. Millions of Australians are waking up in lockdown as the latest Covid outbreaks continues to grow. South Australia and parts of regional New South Wales are the latest to enter lockdown. Meanwhile, critical decisions on the future of the Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane’s Olympics bids are expected shortly as lobbying efforts for both intensify.

Australia’s global lobbying offensive to keep the reef off the world heritage “in danger” list has secured support from at least nine members of the 21-member committee that will make the decision, according to a diplomatic email seen by Guardian Australia. Australia’s Paris-based ambassador to Unesco, Megan Anderson, said in the email she believed the government had won enough support to delay the decision on the “in danger” listing until at least 2023.

The Brisbane company and Liberal party donor running Australia’s offshore processing regime on Nauru has won another uncontested contract extension, bringing its total revenue to more than $1.5bn. While no new asylum seeker arrivals have been sent to Nauru since 2014, the regime there will cost Australia more than $400m this year.

As Brisbane prepares to win the bid for the 2032 Olympics today, the chief of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee has not ruled out cancelling the Olympics if Covid cases rise sharply, as more athletes tested positive for the virus and sponsors ditched plans to attend Friday’s opening ceremony. The UK has reported its worst daily Covid death toll since March as England lifts almost all Covid measures. A further 96 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid as of Tuesday; the highest reported daily figure since 24 March.

The climate crisis is affecting millions around the world, with unprecedented fires burning in Siberia, unusually heavy rains and massive flooding in China’s Henan province and Oregon’s explosive summer of wildfire threatening to escalate further, with thunderstorms and lightning set to spark more blazes. But the world still has a chance of staving off the worst impacts of climate breakdown – only if governments step up in the next few months with stronger commitments on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the US envoy for climate change has said.


Facebook Twitter Data released by the federal health department shows 120,011 of 276,910 aged care workers in Australia have reported receiving a first vaccine dose – or 43.4%. Photograph: Aaron Bunch/AAP

Just one in four aged care workers are fully vaccinated while 43% have received their first dose eight weeks out from the enforcement of a government mandate requiring them to be inoculated.

Scott Morrison’s attempt to nudge his government in the direction of a net zero commitment by 2050 is expected to face resistance at this weekend’s annual convention of the Liberal National party.

Two commuter car parks in a NSW Labor seat received federal funding because they were selected by the office of neighbouring Liberal MP and minister Angus Taylor, the audit office has revealed.

A survey has found 80% of Muslim people in Australia have experienced unfavourable treatment. Muslim Australians shared their experiences of Islamophobia with Guardian Australia.

The world

Facebook Twitter Jeff Bezos completes his space flight. He has attracted criticism for putting his fortune into space tourism amid concerns about working conditions at Amazon, and ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance. Photograph: Blue Origin/Zuma Press Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

The Amazon founder Jeff Bezos hailed “the best day ever” after completing his pioneering foray into space with three crewmates, including the oldest and youngest humans to fly into space.

The leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus project includes the mobile phone numbers of 14 world leaders, including the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The decision by Ben & Jerry’s to stop selling its ice-cream products in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem has been met with fierce criticism from the Israeli political establishment.

A woman stole diamonds worth £4.2m from a luxury London jeweller by posing as a gem expert and swapping them for garden pebbles.

Recommended reads

Facebook Twitter ‘Nanna and I were two peas in a pod – strong, camp women who speak their minds freely.’ Composite: Getty

Australia first met Em Rusciano on reality TV. She was 24 and a finalist on season two of Australian Idol, where she finished in ninth place. But since her Idol days, Rusciano has built a career as a radio host, podcaster and standup comic. Later this year she’ll head around the country with her new Live and Unleashed tour. She tells us about a “life changing” purchase, as well as the story of two other important personal items.

Bill Onus is remembered as a leading Indigenous activist but a new documentary by his grandson reveals he blazed another trail. Onus might have become famous for the cinematic portrayal of the plight of his people, had his documentary film work seen the light of day. “He was directing stuff designed to function in a very specific way for the causes he was fighting for,” says his grandson Tiriki Onus. “This wasn’t a hobby; this was a powerful tool in Bill’s arsenal.”

Non-alcoholic drinks aimed at adult palates are booming but they are not necessarily an option for those who never drank in the first place. Rather than increasing option for many young Muslims who don’t drink, the rise of zero-alcohol drinks created a conundrum. According to Food Standards Australia, brands can label their products as “non-alcoholic’’ with anything less than 0.5% alcohol by volume. But while drinks with 0.5% alcohol may be labelled non-intoxicating by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, Islam, like many other religions, has stricter rules for food and drink consumption.


Facebook Twitter Federal environment minister Sussan Ley spent eight days flying around Europe to lobby ambassadors from 18 countries for support against Unesco labelling the Great Barrier Reef ‘in danger’. Photograph: AP

This week Unesco’s world heritage committee will decide whether the Great Barrier Reef should be labelled “in danger”. Environment reporter Graham Readfearn explains how the Morrison government is turning to an old playbook to lobby against this move. He also explores what an “in danger” listing would mean for the future of the reef and for Australia’s approach to climate change.

Full Story A historic decision on the future of the Great Barrier Reef Sorry your browser does not support audio – but you can download here and listen 00:00:00 00:27:14

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


In April, as the Matildas’ group-stage games for the Tokyo Olympics were revealed, the storylines of Group G emerged like an echo from the past. New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA: three teams, three histories, three narratives that, come 21 July, will shape the start of this new era for the Australian women’s national team.

“In recent weeks, while navigating my own Olympic-related logistical difficulties, I have often recalled the sentiment expressed by AusCycling performance director Simon Jones. Since the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were rescheduled last year, every time Jones and I spoke he would tell me: ‘Just turning up is the challenge,’” writes Kieran Pender in Tokyo.

Media roundup

The Courier-Mail reports it will cost $5bn for Brisbane to host the Olympics and Paralympics but the ABC has analysed the sustainability of the Queensland capital hosting the Games and says “the costs of infrastructure remains unclear”. Satanists have been refused access into Queensland state schools because the education department had decided the Temple was not a religious denomination or society, says the Brisbane Times. And a work health and safety company that harassed a Sydney Water employee when it featured her on a poster reading “Feel great – lubricate!” without her knowledge has lost its attempt to overturn a $200,000 payout, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Coming up

The fate of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic bid will be revealed today.

And if you’ve read this far …

Father Donal Roche called it the most disturbing funeral he has ever attended, a homage to a life of crime. Dean Maguire, 29, an Irish burglar with more than 25 convictions, had died in a fiery motorway crash and mourners decided to give a memorable farewell, including a screwdriver and a torch, tools of a nocturnal trade, carried to the altar.

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