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Morning mail: ‘Explosive potential’ of Melbourne outbreak, Ghislaine Maxwell’s arrest, First Dog speaks

Good morning, this is Emilie Gramenz bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 6 July.

Top stories

Health authorities in Victoria are desperately trying to quash the “explosive potential” of a Covid-19 outbreak across nine public housing towers in Melbourne from escalating into a city-wide crisis. Mariam Tokhi, a frontline GP in Broadmeadows, says the coronavirus hotspot needs support beyond the pandemic. And a group of scientists says the potential for Covid-19 to spread through airborne transmission by lingering in the air is being underplayed by the World Health Organization. The WHO has reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with 212,326 in just 24 hours, amid a surge in the United States, Brazil and India. Scientists are also investigating why some Covid-19 sufferers report long-term symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating and aching muscles.

Deloitte Access Economics has argued jobseeker should not be lowered to its old rate of $40 a day, because the safety net will be required to support people excluded from other payments such as the jobkeeper wage subsidy. In its latest business outlook report, Deloitte praises the speed at which fiscal stimulus has been delivered but warns that withdrawing supports too soon to fight the “phantom menace” of government debt will harm the recovery. It expects employment will contract by 6.6% in the June quarter, and unemployment to rise to 8.5% by March 2021.

Five years after the Liberal National party’s unexpected defeat at the Queensland election, the unsuccessful backroom attempt to undermine and replace the state leader, Deb Frecklington, has exposed old and complicated divisions. Guardian Australia has spoken to more than 20 current and former LNP members who revealed the growing discord with a small “cabal” of backroom powerbrokers, especially as the party grapples with an influx of conservative grassroots members dubbed the “Christian soldiers”. But conservative LNP members say the term is used by their opponents to marginalise a segment of the party that is rapidly growing in numbers and influence.


The federal government will devote $190m towards new recycling infrastructure, as it looks to divert more than 10m tonnes of plastic, paper and glass waste from landfill. The funding will be contingent on state and territory governments and industry groups matching the federal contribution.

Commercial television broadcasters have called for the scrapping of regulations that force them to produce Australian drama, documentary and children’s programming. It comes as audiences drift away from free-to-air TV towards streaming services.

Labor has claimed victory in the Eden-Monaro byelection. Kristy McBain says she will not be “hyper-partisan” and will put her electorate first, with a focus on rolling out bushfire relief to ravaged communities.

The world

Pubs, restaurants, places of worship, hairdressers and other businesses have reopened their doors across England after more than three months of lockdown. Photograph: Vickie Flores/EPA

Fears that emergency services would be overwhelmed after pubs and restaurants reopened in England were not realised, according to initial reports. Before pubs opened for the first time since 23 March, NHS England told hospitals and ambulance services that demand for care was likely to match that of New Year’s Eve.

Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of grooming underage victims for sexual abuse by the disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein, is scheduled to appear in a New York court this week as fresh details emerge of her arrest in an FBI raid.

Newly published satellite imagery shows that an incident at one of Iran’s main nuclear sites this week caused far more extensive damage than was disclosed by authorities. It intensifies suspicions that there may have been an attack on the facility.

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, rapper Kanye West has declared he plans to run for US president. He chose American independence day to make the surprise announcement on Twitter, triggering a social media storm. But if the rapper is serious about running against Donald Trump and Joe Biden, he has significant obstacles to clear.

Recommended reads

Survey upon survey show a vast majority of Australians now want remote working to be a regular feature of their lives.

Surveys show the vast majority of Australians want remote working to be a regular feature of their lives. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Remote working is not going away, but who wins and loses when workers stay home? Surveys show a vast majority of Australians now want remote working to be a regular feature of their lives. The good news is the benefits aren’t going unnoticed – business leaders are wasting little time making the necessary changes to accommodate remote working. But as Antoun Issa writes, the sudden enthusiasm for remote working over recent months could evaporate just as quickly.

Luke Henriques-Gomes talks to people experiencing unemployment for the first time after widespread job losses because of Covid-19. Sky, 34 and a chef in Melbourne, lost her job in mid-March. While she’s been flat-out applying for jobs and has had to withdraw money from her super, she says overall this period has been good for her mental health – she’s actually had a bit of time to herself. “I felt trapped in hospitality to be honest. It’s given me a way to think about how I can get out and move forward with my life.”

Today we have a rare interview with First Dog on the Moon. Guardian Australia’s award-winning cartoonist, bandicoot enthusiast and national treasure shares his favourite characters, the challenges of cartooning on dark subjects and, in a world-first revelation, how he came to be on the moon.


On Full Story today: understanding white privilege, with Reni Eddo-Lodge. Eddo-Lodge became the first black British author to top the UK nonfiction bestseller list with her 2017 book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. In an exclusive interview with the Observer’s Nosheen Iqbal, she talks about global discussions on racism following the death of George Floyd.

Full Story

Understanding white privilege, with Reni Eddo-Lodge

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


Heritier Lumumba during an AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Adelaide Crows.

Héritier Lumumba during an AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Adelaide Crows. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Collingwood have appointed professor Larissa Behrendt to lead an investigation into allegations of racism levelled at the AFL club by former player Héritier Lumumba, expecting it to produce a “full and frank account”. The Magpies’ integrity committee is examining Lumumba’s assertions that he was subjected to racial slurs, including the nickname Chimp, during his 10-year playing career at the club.

Valtteri Bottas took the win for Mercedes at the F1 Austrian Grand Prix as teammate Lewis Hamilton suffered a dramatic late-racing demotion from second to fourth.

Media roundup

The Age reports that staff, a healthcare worker and a guest at a quarantine hotel at Melbourne’s airport have raised concerns that some guards and staff are continuing to flout hygiene protocols. In the Daily Telegraph, the Australian government is facing calls to ban TikTok amid growing national security concerns. And Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy boss Paul Everingham is considering putting his hand up to fill the Senate vacancy that will be created by Mathias Cormann’s exit from politics, according to the West Australian.

Coming up

Counting of postal votes will continue in Eden-Monaro.

The bushfires royal commission hearings resume.

And if you’ve read this far …

It’s the question approximately 51% of us are asking: will the great lingerie liberation of lockdown last? Lockdown has changed a lot of things about the way we present ourselves to the world, and for many women, ditching their bra has been a particularly popular one.

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