News in five.

1. Billions granted without open bids

A new report warns that of more than $60bn in federal government grants, nearly half did not go through a competitive open tender process and a quarter of regional grants went to major cities.


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2. Asylum seekers caught in Covid outbreak

A Covid-19 outbreak is spreading among asylum seekers confined in hotel detention in Melbourne, with poor ventilation, low vaccination rates, and the health impacts of prolonged detention exacerbating the danger.


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3. Palmer dominates online advertising

Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party spent $1.2m on advertising across Google’s platforms, dwarfing the spending of all its political rivals this year.


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4. Tax chief refuses to reveal JobKeeper winners

The tax commissioner is facing an investigation by the Senate privileges committee, after refusing to reveal the names of big businesses that received JobKeeper.


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5. First female Wiggle bows out

The retirement of Australia’s first female Wiggle has prompted a wave of tributes over her legacy for gender equality and inclusivity.


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News

Exclusive: Government documents reveal Indigenous infection rates

Leaked documents show Covid-19 infections among Indigenous people are almost double the national average.

News

News

Wuhan: What the Markson book
tells us

A significant figure globally in the culture war over Covid-19, Sharri Markson gives an account of the virus’s outbreak that is lucid, flawed and revealing.

News

Palmer’s UAP now largest party by membership

“The story of how Craig Kelly came to leave the Liberal Party and join forces with Clive Palmer is long and convoluted but ultimately traces back to Donald Trump and a crackpot doctor in the United States.”

As membership of the United Australia Party surges, its policy platform remains built almost entirely around Covid-19 conspiracies.

News

Clock ticks for the Nationals on climate

The Nationals meet on Sunday to decide their climate change policy, although some members worry Barnaby Joyce has already done a deal with Scott Morrison.

News

The climate case that has the Morrison government scrambling

The leaking by the Morrison government of court submissions shows its antagonistic attitude towards the judiciary, particularly in cases related to climate change.

News

What are the Labor IBAC hearings actually about?

As federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne is embroiled in Victoria’s branch-stacking probe, the party is watching to see who else may be called to testify in front of the commission.

The big story. Every day. Listen now.

7am is a daily news podcast from Schwartz Media. Every day it tells you what you need to know: who's involved, what it means and why it matters. It's news with narrative, every weekday. Follow 7am wherever you get your podcasts.

World

China blasts Abbott’s ‘insane’ visit to Taiwan

Prime Minister James Marape’s mixed messages on Papua New Guinea and Covid-19. Bangladesh is moving 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote Bay of Bengal island. The trial begins over 1987 assassination of Burkina Faso leader Thomas Sankara.

Opinion

Opinion

Chris Wallace
Can Labor win the election?

“This time next year Australia will be well into the Albanese government’s first term or the Morrison government’s third. If you had to bet your house on it now, which would you predict?”

Opinion

Paul Bongiorno
Mission zero, credibility less

“The dramatic shifts in the politics of climate change have finally caught out Scott Morrison. It’s a reckoning that’s been coming since the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires.”

Opinion

John Hewson
Selling off the dead

“The latest development in New South Wales politics – the ascension of a new premier, Dominic Perrottet – may soon see the increased influence of the Catholic Church in matters of NSW government administration.”

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial

Cartoon

Read

Editorial
Moral capacity

The number on its own is terrible enough: in the past seven weeks, 100,000 Afghans have sought asylum from Australia.

Letters

Coalition’s lack of fiscal discipline

Good to read Rick Morton’s analysis of the hollowing out of the public service by this government (“How private management consultants took over the public service”, October …

We need a federal ICAC

The absolute hypocrisy of politicians clutching their pearls at the thought of public ICAC hearings is breathtaking (Karen Middleton, “Netting Porter”, October 9-15). They seem to conveniently …

Read More

Culture

The Influence

Judy Watson

Judy Watson has been enchanted for almost two decades by the lightness and ephemerality of Pat Steir’s Waterfall Mirage.

Fiction

Passing bells

“Atchison believed a church bell would be like the belt of his trousers. It would save him, save us all, from embarrassment. I have heard that many men in these parts see no need for conventional accoutrements such as underpants, but a bell was of a different order. It would keep us from being spiritually, civically, communally naked. Rung out and resonant rather than strung out and desperate. Selwyn Atchison, Presbyterian burgher, barley farmer and barely above the ruminant, would not settle for less. His happy collie came straight for me and my pocket of lozenges as Selwyn settled his dray and formally tap-tapped a bony knuckle on our rufous she-oak door.”

Books

Michelle de Kretser
Scary Monsters

Valentin Gendrot
Cop

Bronwyn Adcock
Currowan

Life

Food

Rhubarb compote with fennel pollen

Health

Why tinnitus is on the rise

The pandemic has seen an increase in people reporting tinnitus. Although the cause is not known, it could be related to the stress and anxiety of Covid-19.

Fashion

Sydney fashion label Commas

The designer behind resortwear label Commas has attracted local awards and international interest for his relaxed beach aesthetic paired with high-end materials.

Sport

‘I wanted to offer something new’: Brandon Jack on becoming a writer

In becoming a writer, Brandon Jack studies Charles Bukowski and Patti Smith with the same dedication as he trains for the AFL – but struggles with the final ruthlessness of memoir.

Puzzles

Quotes

Diplomacy

“Tony Abbott is a failed and pitiful politician.”

spokespersonThe Chinese embassy criticises Tony Abbott over remarks he made in Taiwan regarding China’s human rights record. A rare moment where both parties are equally right.

Comics

“Today, Superman, the strongest superhero on the planet, is coming out.”

Tom TaylorThe DC Comics writer announces that the new Superman will be bisexual. His kryptonite is cuffed jeans and Brunswick share houses.

Law

“We lost, in my opinion, because ... the contract is effectively the law.”

Peter RiddThe climate sceptic loses a High Court appeal over his sacking by James Cook University. The judgement was unanimous, which must have been especially galling.

Space

“Australia, we’re going to the moon!”

Melissa PriceThe Science minister announces that she has signed a deal with NASA to send an Australian-built rover to the moon. At this point, the government’s only real constituencies are the mining sector and Rob Sitch’s production company.

Police

“Worse things are said about judicial officers every day in court proceedings.”

Jacqueline MilledgeThe magistrate dismisses a New South Wales Police Force application to have videos relating to the arrest of a FriendlyJordies producer taken down. She said they were “absolute gibberish” but not “contempt of court”.

Medicine

“She is basically anti-Covid and does not believe people should be forced into vaccinations.”

Damien PowellThe detective acting inspector says a Gold Coast woman has been charged with pretending to be a doctor and issuing 600 fake vaccine exemptions. Without being rude, that probably makes her more pro- than anti-Covid.