Airlines baulk at arrivals cap

Airlines may suspend services to Australia due to the plan to halve overseas arrivals from next week, with ticket prices surging as stranded citizens scramble to secure a seat home.

What we know:

  • National Cabinet on Friday cut the overseas arrivals cap from 6070 to 3035 a week from July 14;
  • Board of Airline Representatives of Australia boss Barry Abrams claims airlines were not consulted about the decision (The Guardian); 
  • “Many will be asking whether or not it makes more sense to suspend their passenger flights or just run cargo flights,” he said.
  • Abrams added that the idea that airlines were price gouging was “an insult”;
  • Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt warned airlines against seeking “commercial advantage from difficult circumstances” after ticket prices surged as much as $38,000 for a London to Sydney flight (SMH); 
  • The more than 35,000 Australians stranded overseas include 200 unaccompanied children stuck in India (NPR); 
  • UNSW Infectious Diseases doctor Greg Dore backed a home quarantine system for vaccinated Australians, with National Cabinet agreeing to test the idea (Nine). 

Sydney home alone

Sydney is the lone Australian city still in lockdown, with outbreaks across the country contained and restrictions easing over the weekend.

Australia registered 19 new locally acquired cases on Sunday, 16 of which were in NSW, two in Queensland and one in WA (

Just three of NSW’s cases had been in the community while infectious, with all others in isolation.

An aged care home in Sydney has been caught up in the outbreak, with three residents catching Covid-19 from an unvaccinated staff member (ABC).

The three elderly residents are fully vaccinated and experiencing no symptoms.

Only about one-third of the Baulkham Hills home staff have been vaccinated, however.


Climate challenges for power grid

The repair bill to fix a coalmine damaged by recent floods in Victoria will run into tens of millions of dollars, as energy systems around the world buckle under the strain of climate change.

What we know:

  • Flooding at Morwell River following catastrophic storms weeks ago caused cracks up to 200m long in a diversion around the Yallourn coalmine (The Age); 
  • Owner EnergyAustralia is investigating a longer-term fix to avoid the river collapsing, as it implements temporary measures to seal the cracks;
  • The company secured approval to release 232 megalitres of water into the Latrobe River as it restarts mining at the site;
  • EnergyAustralia has denied it plans to bring forward the 2028 closure date for Yallourn power station, which supplies up to 22% of Victoria’s energy needs;
  • The wild weather left hundreds of thousands of Victorians without power, with experts warning climate change is making such disruptions routine (The Conversation); 
  • It comes as an unprecedented heatwave in North America saw energy infrastructure buckle under the strain (Vox); 
  • In Portland, melted power cables shut down the city’s tram network;
  • In Brooklyn, dry ice was distributed so residents could stay cool after power outages left them without air conditioning. 

Tasmanian Labor leader resigns

David O’Byrne has resigned as leader of the Tasmanian Labor Party over sexual harassment allegations.

In a statement O’Byrne said the allegations would be addressed “through the confidential process initiated by the [Labor] state secretary” (ABC). 

The allegations were made by a former employee at the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union regarding incidents in 2007 and 2008.

The complainant alleged Byrne sent inappropriate text messages, twice kissed her without consent, and gave her a verbal warning regarding her performance when she asked him to stop.

O’Byrne had only secured the Labor leadership in June following the election defeat of his predecessor Rebecca White.


Push to connect with Country

A new campaign has marked the start of NAIDOC Week by urging Australians to get to know the traditional Country on which they live.

The Connect to Country campaign is encouraging non-Indigenous Australians to engage with local community and language groups, discover stories about their region, and learn how to acknowledge Country (SBS). 

Residents in NSW regions Brewarrina, Dubbo, Port Stephens and La Perouse will initially be targeted by Facebook’s location-specific technology with stories relating to their local Indigenous community.

More geographically targeted Indigenous storytelling is planned for coming months.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aren't one person and one race,” said organiser Brad Cooke. “One story doesn't reflect the whole country. That's what this website and this movement will show.”

This year’s NAIDOC Week, which runs from July 4-11, is centred around the theme “Heal Country!”, calling for greater protections for land, water and Aboriginal sacred sites.


A cloud of grief and bereavement is not compatible with fine dining and shopping for bespoke retail offerings.

Local councillor Harriet Price is dead against plans for a funeral home next door to a restaurant and shopping strip in eastern Sydney (SMH).


Postscript: Houston Comic Book Shop Sues Hotel For Negligence (In Graphic Novel Form)

When a Houston comic book shop sued the hotel next door for negligence, it did so in perhaps the most fitting way possible: with a 13-page graphic novel, officially filed in Harris County District Court ... alleging that the hotel allowed guests to throw “all manner of items” off of the building’s balconies, including plates, luggage racks and ladders — all of which caused damage to the shop’s roof (Houston Public Media).


Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.