Voter ID proposal slammed

A Morrison government proposal to introduce voter identification legislation could disenfranchise Indigenous Australians and people experiencing homelessness, advocates warn.

What we know:

  • The Coalition is introducing a voter ID legislation, which it says is needed to crack down on voter fraud (The Guardian); 
  • The proposed voter integrity bill stipulates that a voter unable to produce ID can only then vote if their identity can be verified by another voter, or by providing other identifying details;
  • “If you flee your home without your papers to escape violence, or have your documents stolen while sleeping on the street, you shouldn’t lose your ability to vote,” Homelessness Australia chair Jenny Smith said;
  • Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers told an estimates hearing the issue of voters submitting multiple votes as “vanishingly small” (SBS); 
  • There were only 2102 cases of multiple votes recorded at the last election out of about 15 million votes in total;
  • “Why we would want to insert US segregationist Jim Crow legislation to corrupt the ballot process I have no idea – you have totally lost your way,” Labor senator Tim Ayres told the hearing;
  • It comes after the Australian Human Rights Commission warned that One Nation’s separate voter ID bill would “create a barrier for people who lack identification documents from exercising their right to vote, leading to further disenfranchisement”.
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US claims it will send Assange to Australia

The US government has told Britain’s High Court that Julian Assange could serve out any jail sentence he received in Australia, as it pushes to secure his extradition. 

What we know:

  • Lawyers for the US are appealing a UK ruling that Assange should not be extradited as he would likely commit suicide if held under harsh conditions in a US federal prison (ABC); 
  • The US government said Assange could be expatriated to Australia to serve any sentence, and while in the US would not be subject to strict detention conditions known as special administrative measures;
  • Assange's legal team argued that the WikiLeaks founder would be at a high risk of suicide while awaiting extradition and that Australia had provided no indication it would allow a prisoner transfer;
  • Assange, who looked frail in intermittent appearances via video link from Belmarsh Prison, is facing a sentence of up to 175 years over WikiLeaks’ role in the release of confidential cables.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

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Morrison rejects Global Methane Pledge

Australia will refuse a US and European-backed pledge for a 30% cut in methane emissions by 2030 at next week’s Glasgow climate summit.

The Morrison government cited the potential impact on the beef industry, coalmining and LNG production as reasons not to participate in the agreement (The Australian). 

The decision leaves Australia as an international outlier on the Global Methane Pledge, which has been signed by dozens of countries.

Methane is 28 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and accounts for about half of the 1.1C net rise in global average temperature since the pre-industrial era (Scientific American). 

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Pfizer approved for booster shot

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on Wednesday provisionally approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for use as a booster shot.

It means anyone over the age of 18 can take their third dose anytime from six months after their second, regardless of the initial vaccine type (The Conversation).

The federal government expects the booster program to start from November 8, but is yet to confirm which groups will get it first.

The boosters will help maintain the vaccine’s effectiveness after six months, at which point there are signs of waning immunity from transmission – although they continue to protect from serious illness and death.

The move by wealthy countries to begin booster shots has triggered criticism over vaccine inequity, with many people in poorer countries yet to receive their first vaccine dose.

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First local game show unearthed

Footage of what is believed to be Australia’s first television game show has been unearthed by the National Film and Sound Archive, 68 years after it was filmed.

The pilot episode of Ask Me Another, a TV version of a long-running radio quiz based on 20 questions and hosted by Jack Davey, was filmed before a live audience in Sydney in 1953 (SMH). 

A trio introduces the show by singing the sponsor’s theme song, followed by the host and panellists singing the show’s theme song before kicking off the quiz.

The filmed version of the radio show formed a key part of the bid by Macquarie Radio to secure a licence three years before the official launch of Australian television.

Ask Me Another was only shown to a handful of commissioners and never aired publicly.

The footage joins a catalogue of more than 30 other quiz and game shows offered online by the National Film and Sound Archive.

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It’s the normal locker room talk – who are you seeing? Who is the lucky girl? I had to learn to live a life of lies.

Adelaide United midfielder Josh Cavallo comes out as gay. Australian sport is such a welcoming, inclusive environment that he is the only openly gay male footballer currently playing (10play).

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Postscript: A Photographer Scours Rooftops Across the Globe for Minuscule Cosmic Particles

According to Olso-based photographer and researcher Jon Larsen, the most exotic particles from across the universe are likely hiding in a rain gutter or scattered among debris on rooftops. Larsen ... has been at the forefront of micrometeorite discovery since 2009 when “a shiny black dot suddenly appeared on my white veranda table while I was having strawberries for breakfast” (Colossal).

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