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Morning mail: states diverge on Covid roadmaps, climate target debate, bird photography tips

·7-min read
<span>Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/EPA</span>
Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/EPA

Good morning. State premiers are at odds over Covid reopening plans as vaccination rates give light at the end of the tunnel to Australians in lockdown. The debate over the country’s climate goals deepen. And an expert bird photographer shares his tips amid the excitement of the 2021 Australian bird of the year competition.

Fully vaccinated residents in New South Wales can look forward to the end of lockdown on 11 October, when 70% of the adult state’s population is expected to have received two doses of a Covid vaccine. NSW’s reopening will be split into three stages: 70% vaccination coverage, 80% vaccination coverage, and a third and final stage, set for 1 December, when unvaccinated residents will enjoy the same level of freedom as vaccinated people. The same cannot be said for Victoria’s unvaccinated residents. Victorian premier Daniel Andrews stated point-blank that he would not be replicating New South Wales’s roadmap as it would remove motivation to get the jab. Despite the differences in each state’s roadmaps, both have been criticised for the “glaring omission” of details about freedoms for those in aged care.

Some Liberal MPs say the Morrison government needs to adopt both a net zero target by 2050 and a roadmap demonstrating how to deliver that commitment, because one doesn’t work without the other. Energy and emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, has floated the possibility of the government agreeing to a roadmap but not the target. But MP Trent Zimmerman said the target needed to be backed by a roadmap because “you need to demonstrate how you are going to do the hard yards but you also need to have a clear idea of where you are going.” Amid the debate, Barnaby Joyce said he was perplexed that Australia was not spending more time discussing the plight of the UK given it had, in his words, “completely botched it” on energy and was “having to go back and recommission coal-fired plants to keep the lights on”. But is a net zero target to blame, as the deputy PM claims? Adam Morton looks behind Joyce’s claims.

The UK’s petrol crisis is the result of the decision to end freedom of movement with Europe after Brexit, according to Germany’s new potential chancellor, Olaf Scholz. On Monday, as pump prices for fuel in the UK hit an eight-year high as forecourts ran dry, Downing Street faced demands to give ambulance drivers, healthcare staff and other essential workers priority access to fuel. Meanwhile Scholz has announced his intention to forge a “social-ecological-liberal coalition” and will seek to form a coalition government after the SPD emerged as the biggest party in Germany’s federal elections.


The Liberal Democrats are seeking to launch a high court challenge against new laws which could force the party to change its name. The new legislation forces new parties to seek permission to use any words in their name that are already used by existing political parties.

The NSW government has announced bushland in the Blacktown city council area would become one of the largest national parks in western Sydney – except for 20 hectares of the site set aside for a highway. If the highway is constructed, the area, which was designed to offset housing developments, will have to offset the damage to its own offset.

Sydney could face a water shortage in the next 20 years if the population continues to grows at its current rate. A NSW strategy paper recommends Sydney finds ways to increase its water supply from non-rainfall-dependent sources.

The world

Residents were sent fleeing into the streets and schools were evacuated after an earthquake on the Greek Island of Crete.
Residents were sent fleeing into the streets and schools were evacuated after an earthquake on the Greek Island of Crete. Photograph: Eurokinissi/Rex/Shutterstock

One man is dead and 20 people were injured after the Greek island of Crete was hit by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. The quake damaged homes and churches and caused rockslides.

R&B superstar R Kelly has been found guilty of being the ringleader of a decades-long racketeering and sex trafficking scheme that preyed upon Black women and children.

A man has been charged with the murder of Sabina Nessa, the schoolteacher who was found dead in a park close to her south London home.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has reportedly been given extra personal security amid fears of a kidnapping or attack by organised crime after “spotters” were seen scoping out his movements.

A statue depicting a scantily dressed woman from a 19th-century poem has sparked a sexism row in Italy.

Recommended reads

Taking good photos of wildlife can be hard, especially birds, as they often move in three dimensions. The right equipment certainly helps, but like most photography, it’s never just about that. Professional wildlife photographer Doug Gimesy shares his hot tips for how to take photos of birds that stand out from the flock. “Try to tell a story. Whether it’s showing where the bird is, what it’s about to do, what it is doing or what has just happened, great bird (and all wildlife) images usually tell some type of story.” If you’re more on the side of bird-fandom than photography, don’t forget to vote in The Guardian/Bird Life Australia 2021 bird of the year poll.

“ABC TV’s new series, Fires, makes a compelling argument that truly powerful storytelling stems from what happens after the catastrophe,” writes Luke Buckmaster. “Several black summer docos are in the can, but scripted productions can take us to places documentary cannot, using the dramatic properties of performance, narrative and subtext to pursue emotional truth.”

It happens to the best of us. We are working our way through a fresh load of clean laundry when among the twisted cotton jersey we see the sleeve or cuff of something that absolutely should not have been washed in the machine. We pull it from the pile and assess the damage: how much smaller did the combination of heat, moisture and movement make it? Unfortunately, there is no sure way to reverse shrinkage but there are a few things worth knowing that may help avoid disaster in the future.


A Senate inquiry has been told Australia’s disability payment rules need to be “rewritten” as people struggle for months, or even years, before receiving support. In today’s Full Story, Laura Murphy-Oates speaks to inequality editor Luke Henriques-Gomes and 28-year-old Natasha Thomson, whose two-year battle to access the payment ended up at the top level of the administrative appeal tribunal, about the barriers to accessing the disability support pension and the push for reform.

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


“When is the sting of sporting failure worse? To fall just short? To never know how it feels to get close? To land between, avoiding either pole?” asks Geoff Lemon in the wake of the Bulldogs AFL grand final loss.

Media roundup

A new Covid case was reported in Brisbane overnight and a new list of exposure sites listed after a man in his 30s contracted the virus, reports the Brisbane Times. The Daily Telegraph says at-home Covid tests that can produce results in 20 minutes will be available in Australia from 1 November. A Fair Work Commission deputy president has warned against a “medical apartheid” from employers and governments mandating Covid-19 vaccinations, the AFR reported.

Coming up

News from the NSW inquiry into the timber and forest products industry.

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