The Guardian 2024-02-12 06:01:21


Flight chaos across country after air traffic controller no-shows, Senate told; Linda Reynolds to retire

Two air traffic controllers who failed to report for duty at Sydney Airport on Monday caused cascading flight delays and cancellations across the country, as the government agency responsible for staff is grilled before senate estimates.

Opposition senator Bridget McKenzie opened questioning of Airservices Australia, the government agency responsible for air traffic control (ATC) and airport firefighting services, by raising current operational disruptions at Sydney. Airservices Australia faces a stubborn staffing shortage after a retirement program saw 140 controllers leave the workforce in 2021. There are also concerns of organisational bullying.

On Monday, Airservices requested a ground delay program from 3PM until the airport’s curfew at 11PM (done during times of staff shortages to avoid planes holding mid-air) restricting arrivals at Sydney airport to 26 per hour, down from the normal cap of 80 take offs and landings per hour (roughly split between 40 of each).

McKenzie says this has led to Qantas cancelling flights and an average delay of 72 minutes, while Virgin has already delayed 47 flights and had an average delay of 95 minutes. This affected airports around the country.

The disruptions had nothing to do with weather but were solely related to two air traffic controllers based at Sydney Airport’s control tower – who are entitled to unlimited sick leave under their terms of employment – who didn’t turn up for work on Monday. Airservices Australia CEO Jason Harfield says none of Airservices 950 controllers around the country could replace the absent staff.

McKenzie: “It’s pretty incredible that two people don’t show up for work and the entire country is shut down”.

Harfield replied:

I completely accept that, and this is one of the issues that we’re working through [when] we have an unplanned absence during the day”.

VideoLabor’s Josh Burns ‘in shock’ at Greens’ ‘silence’ over Jenny Leong’s Jewish lobby comments

Burns says Greens MPs have remained silent and failed to rebuke the party’s NSW state MP for Newtown, Jenny Leong, over her comments that ‘the Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby are infiltrating into every single aspect of what is ethnic community groups’ and that ‘their tentacles reach into the areas that try and influence power’. Burns tells parliament the silence of Greens MPs is ‘really hurtful’.

The leader of the Greens, Adam Bandt, has responded to Guardian Australia, saying, ‘Last week the NSW State Member for Newtown wholeheartedly and unreservedly apologised and that was the right thing to do. The Greens oppose antisemitism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism. When someone makes hurtful comments, they should acknowledge it and apologise, as happened here’

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Energy efficient homesLandlords should reveal efficiency to help renters cut bills, report says

Landlords should reveal homes’ energy efficiency to help Australia’s renters cut power bills, advocates say

Acoss report says $2bn federal fund and coordinated policies would reduce costs, protect against heat-related illness and reduce emissions

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Governments should require landlords to reveal the energy performance of homes put up for sale or lease as part of a policy blitz aimed at helping low-income households cut power bills and improve their comfort, according to a report by the Australian Council of Social Service.

The report, released on Monday, also calls for a $2bn federal fund and coordinated policies across all levels of government to assist less-advantaged residents tap emerging technologies. They should also follow Victoria by banning new gas connections.

“There are about 1.8m low-income households in Australia who cannot afford to escape extreme temperatures because they’re stuck in inefficient homes that are expensive to warm or cool,” said Acoss’s energy program director, Kellie Caught.

“Funding upgrades to make homes electric, solar and climate resilient will reduce poverty, protect against heat-related illness, bring down the cost of power and create local jobs while turbocharging Australia’s emissions reduction targets.”

The report noted so-called split incentives – where landlords had little incentive to help tenants reduce their energy bills – were impediments holding back renters from improving the efficiency of their homes. Of the 2.4m private rental properties, more than 270,000 housed people on the lowest 20% of incomes.

The average energy performance of Australia’s 8m dwellings was also just 1.7 stars compared with the 7 stars – out of a possible 10 – required of new residences. Australian homes contribute more than 11% of national greenhouse emissions.

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Energy efficiency is often neglected in policy and media discussions even though it is one of the cheapest ways to cut energy usage and emissions, as recognised by the International Energy Agency, among others.

While the Albanese government has set up the $1.3bn Household Energy Upgrades Fund (Heuf), it won’t overcome financial barriers for people on low incomes or lend to Community Housing Providers or First Nations community-controlled housing, Acoss said.

Jenny McAllister, the assistant minister for climate change and energy, said “the community sector worked hard over the last decade of climate denial and delay to bring attention to the importance of energy efficiency”.

“Small changes can make an enormous difference in the comfort and cost of cooling or heating a home,” McAllister said. “A total of $600m of commonwealth and state funding will make an enormous difference to the wellbeing and energy bills of at least 60,000 families living in social housing across the country.”

Alan Pears, a senior RMIT industry fellow, said the Acoss report was comprehensive and reasonable.

“The challenge is to mobilise governments to act,” Pears said. “My review of EU progress in housing retrofits showed they have also struggled to drive ‘deep’ upgrades, which are really what’s needed to deliver health benefits.”

Apartment refits, though, created additional barriers, given the mix of owners and renters. Many blocks also often had one external facade, with a lot of glazing and little or no shading, making summer energy performance “a major issue”, he said.

CoreLogic, a property data group that has worked with CSIRO to develop artificial intelligence for improving energy efficiency, said a mandatory performance disclosure “should not be difficult [to introduce] as this is standard practice in many other parts of the world, such as the UE/UK energy performance certificates”.

“From a market readiness perspective, however, there are some barriers that impact timing,” a CoreLogic spokesperson said. “These include: lack of market capacity and a nationally standardised processes to assess existing properties and create energy performance certificates for existing homes at scale.”

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‘Pressure works’Greens to stall Labor housing bill in campaign to limit negative gearing

‘Pressure works’: Greens to stall Labor housing bill in campaign to limit negative gearing

System ‘stacked against renters and first-home buyers’ and ministers must change position, opposition MP says

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The Greens are threatening to impede passage of the government’s “help-to-buy” housing scheme as they seek to force Labor into winding back tax breaks on investment properties.

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, on Sunday said the government had no plans to change negative gearing as attention shifted to other areas of tax reform after the government’s amendments to stage-three income tax cuts.

But the Greens say they will use their balance of power in the Senate to force Labor into paring back negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts in exchange for their support in the Senate on the government’s housing bill.

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Labor’s help-to-buy scheme, which is expected to be up and running this year, would help 10,000 prospective buyers a year by the government taking equity of 30% (for an existing build) or 40% (of a new build) in their homes, meaning smaller deposits and loans for the owner’s share.

It faces a potential impasse in the Senate after the Coalition ruled out its support, requiring Labor to team up with the Greens and two additional crossbenchers.

The Greens’ housing spokesperson, Max Chandler-Mather, said the existing policies made it easier for property investors to buy multiple properties rather than allowing first home buyers to get their foot in the door.

“The system is stacked against renters and first home buyers,” Chandler-Mather said. “Pressure works. Labor changed their position on stage-three tax cuts and now they need to change their position on negative gearing and capital gains tax.”

Negative gearing allows investors to claim tax deductions on rental property losses, while the capital gains tax discount halves the amount of excise paid by people who sell assets that have been owned for 12 months or more.

The Greens are believed to be proposing limiting negative gearing to a single investment property. The party is also proposing to replace the capital gains tax discount to a more modest concession linked to the consumer price index.

Chandler-Mather and the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, said the revenue raised from such changes should be redirected to more public housing.

The Australian Capital Territory senator David Pocock is also backing the call to consider capping the number of investment properties you can negatively gear, saying that it is time for leaders to show political courage.

“It shouldn’t be easier to buy your second or third house than your first, but right now in Australia it is,” he said. “We are staring down the barrel of the worst housing crisis in generations and it’s going to require some fundamental changes and more than a bit of political courage to fix.”

The latest figures from Treasury show the 1.1 million people who negatively geared their properties in 2020-21 received a tax benefit of $2.7bn. The benefits flowed mostly to wealthier Australians with 80% claimed by people with above median income, and 37% claimed by people in the top income bracket.

It is a similar scenario with the capital gains tax discount. The Treasury estimates between $14.7bn and $19bn in forgone tax revenue will be lost over the next three years as a result of the policy. Wealthier Australians again benefited most, with 90% received by people with above median income, and 82% of received by people in the top income decile.

Chalmers told Sky News on Sunday that changes to negative gearing were “not something that we’re proposing, not something that we are considering, not something that we are working up””.

The opposition has been pressuring the Albanese government to rule in, or rule out, further changes to taxation.

The shadow treasurer, Angus Taylor, told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday the Coalition had “every indication” negative gearing was on the government’s agenda despite its denials. “We know they’re considering this,” he said. “Their answers in the parliament this week were very wishy-washy.”

The Greens have previously used their balance of power in the upper house to hold the government’s $10bn Housing Australia Future Fund hostage amid negotiations.

The months-long impasse ended last September after the Greens secured a further $1bn for public and community housing but failed to land a national cap or freeze to rental increases.

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Barnaby Joyce says he made ‘big mistake’ after Canberra footpath incident

Barnaby Joyce ‘not looking for sympathy’ after video of footpath incident

Pressure mounts on Nationals to demote MP amid claims response has revealed double standard

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Barnaby Joyce says he is “not looking for sympathy” after explaining that footage of him lying on a Canberra footpath and swearing into his phone was the result of combining alcohol and prescription drugs.

Pressure is mounting on the Nationals leadership to drop Joyce, a former deputy prime minister, from the frontbench amid claims the response has revealed a double standard.

Guardian Australia understands Joyce won’t attend the Nationals party room meeting he was expected to attend on Monday morning, where the episode will be discussed.

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On Friday Daily Mail Australia published night-time footage of Joyce in Canberra lying face up on the pavement with his feet on a planter box, having a phone conversation and uttering profanities.

Joyce told the Seven network on Monday he had “made a big mistake” by mixing alcohol with a prescription medicine he was taking, but he wouldn’t be drawn on whether he should face reprimands for his behaviour.

“I’m on a prescription drug, and they say certain things may happen to you if you drink, and they were absolutely 100% right,” he said. “They did.”

“I’m not looking for sympathy and I’m not looking for an excuse. I’ll just stand by that. What I said is what I said. I came back, I sat on a planter box, I fell off, and I was videotaped. There you go. What else can you say?”

At the weekend the Nationals leader, David Littleproud, and the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, both said they would speak to Joyce this week.

Littleproud has said Joyce will not be demoted, instead offering support. He told Sky News Joyce had given him explanations, some of which Joyce had made public and others he had not.

While other politicians from across the political spectrum have expressed their concern for the Nationals frontbencher, others have questioned whether the response would be different if a female politician were in his place.

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, said while Joyce had offered an explanation it would be up to others whether they accepted it or not.

“I think if a woman politician had found themselves in a similar situation, I feel like there would be widespread condemnation,” he said. “Indeed, we have seen that previously.

“And I think the fact that a lot of people are just going to shrug this off is a bit of a wake-up call as to whether or not we’re applying the same standards right across the parliament here.

“So I’m [asking] for an equal standard to be applied across everyone – the whole parliament and the whole society.”

In 2023 the independent senator Lidia Thorpe was involved in an early-morning altercation outside a Melbourne strip club. Footage showed her involved in an expletive-laden argument with several men.

When asked about the episode, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said at the time the “level of behaviour is quite clearly unacceptable” and he hoped Thorpe “gets some support”.

“These are not the actions of anyone who should be participating in society in a normal way, let alone a senator,” Albanese said. “Lidia needs to be very conscious of the way in which this behaviour has been seen.”

Albanese did not comment on the Joyce footage on Friday, saying the MP was experiencing “clearly difficult circumstances”.

But on Sunday the prime minister called for an explanation.

“I think people will also think to themselves, what would the response be if that was a minister in my government being seen to be behaving in that way?” Albanese said. “I think that there just needs to be an explanation of what occurred.”

Thorpe criticised Albanese’s initial reaction, saying he had made “condescending, inaccurate comments” toward herself and female colleagues in the past in comments to news.com.au.

“Parliament is still a private school boys club, and this is the latest example of the double standards we see from men in power,” she said. “Sexism, misogyny and racism still plague our politics, and it’s clear the prime minister plays a role in that.”

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VideoFormer deputy PM tells Seven’s Sunrise he ‘made a big mistake’

The Nationals MP speaks to Sunrise – after he was filmed lying on a Canberra footpath – amid calls he should be dropped from the shadow frontbench. Barnaby Joyce says he ‘made a big mistake’ and, while there was ‘no excuse for it’, there was a ‘reason’. ‘I’m on a prescription drug, and they say certain things may happen to you if you drink, and they were absolutely 100% right. They did.’

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Chiefs stun 49ers in overtime for second straight NFL title

Super Bowl 2024: Chiefs stun 49ers in overtime for second straight NFL title

  • Mahomes leads winning touchdown drive in OT in 25-22 win
  • San Francisco 49ers 22-25 Kansas City Chiefs – as it happened

The NFL is becoming an easy league to understand, even for those who struggle with its complex schemes and playbooks. All you really need to know is that Patrick Mahomes will, in all probability, be on the winning team. And so it was on Sunday in Las Vegas. Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to their third Super Bowl title in five years with a thrilling 25-22 overtime victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

For much of the season, a Super Bowl appearance looked like a long-shot at best for the Chiefs. With the exception of his favorite target, Travis Kelce, and rookie Rashee Rice, Mahomes was surrounded by receivers with two things in common: they couldn’t catch and they couldn’t get open. That meant fans were met with a first in the Mahomes era: a Chiefs team that lent on its defense, masterminded by the team’s brilliant defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

The Chiefs won the toss and elected to kick, giving the 49ers the first possession. Perhaps the Chiefs thought their defense could stop the 49ers and scratch out an early psychological advantage. It soon did: George Karlaftis, born in Athens to a Greek father and an American mother, forced a fumble from Christian McCaffrey, who days earlier had been voted the NFL’s offensive player of the year, in the Chiefs’ half and the ball was in Mahomes’s hands. The 49ers’ run defense had looked shaky so far in the playoffs but it got a boost of its own, stopping the Chiefs’ percussive running back Isiah Pacheco for a three-yard loss. Short completions from Mahomes weren’t enough to maintain the drive and the Chiefs punted.

While Mahomes’s opposite number, Brock Purdy, has been helped this season by talented teammates on offense, such as McCaffrey, receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel and offensive tackle Trent Williams, he is much more than the game manager his critics have painted him to be: he led the league in passer rating in the regular season, threw the third-most touchdowns and has an appetite for spectacular, risky plays. It took Purdy less than 10 minutes to attempt one in this game: on the 49ers’ next possession he scampered about before throwing the ball across his body – something quarterbacks are told never to do as it disrupts their finely tuned throwing mechanics – to George Kittle for an 18-yard gain. The catch was called back for a holding penalty but Purdy had shown he was going to play the game his way.

The first quarter ended scoreless, a testament to the strength of both defenses. It was San Francisco who opened the scoring shortly afterwards as Jake Moody converted a 55-yard field goal, the longest in Super Bowl history.

The Chiefs looked like they would hit straight back when Mahomes found Mecole Hardman for a 53-yard gain – a rare example of the 49ers pass rush giving Mahomes enough time to complete a throw of more than 10 yards – that took Kansas City to the 49ers’ nine-yard line. But the 49ers forced a fumble of their own as Decommodore Lenoir punched the ball from Pacheco’s grasp and Javon Hargrave recovered.

It had not been, it was safe to say, a classic – the most exciting part of the game so far coming when the cameras cut to Jeff Goldblum in the crowd and he threw up a love heart sign with his hands. The Chiefs didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves either as Kelce roared at his head coach, Andy Reid, on the sidelines as he came off the field.

It was going to take something special to break the game open, and it came through a trick play. Purdy flicked the ball to receiver Jauan Jennings who threw to McCaffrey. The pass was as ugly as you’d expect from a man who catches the ball for a living, and it seemed to flutter in the air for an age. But the shock of it meant McCaffrey was in space – something he exploits ruthlessly – and he surged into the end zone to give the 49ers a 10-0 lead.

The problem for Mahomes was that he simply didn’t trust his receivers to make big plays, the long reception to Hardman aside. That meant the 49ers defense was able to limit Mahomes to short completions and contain his threat. Mahomes did lead a drive that ended in a field goal at the end of the first-half to make it 10-3 but the fact that he was unable to find the end zone said a lot about how effectively he had been contained.

Perhaps Mahomes’s frustration grew over half-time because he went deep early in the third-quarter with an ugly pass that went between two receivers and into the hands of 49ers safety Ji’Ayir Brown. It was a bad pass by the standards of an average quarterback, for Mahomes it was awful. The 49ers offense, however, was hardly distinguishing itself either and their next two drives ended in punts. There was soon another Super Bowl record though: Harrison Butker’s 57-yard field goal cut the 49ers’ lead to 10-6 and ended Moody’s brief stay in the record books.

The Chiefs were soon to take the lead, although much of that was down to sloppiness from the 49ers. Darrell Luter Jr mishandled a punt deep in his own territory, the Chiefs recovered and Mahomes floated a touchdown pass to Marquez Valdes-Scantling. It was a sweet moment for a receiver who had committed plenty of errors of his own this season. The Chiefs led 13-10 going into the final quarter.

It was at this point that Purdy and Mahomes, disappointing for much of the game so far, found a new level. On fourth and three on the next drive, the 49ers had an opportunity to kick a field goal to tie the game. But 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan decided to trust in Purdy, who had been brilliant at the end of comeback victories in San Francisco’s last two games, and his quarterback repaid that faith with a short completion to Kittle. Purdy followed that up with a touchdown pass to Aiyuk but Moody’s extra-point was blocked meaning the Chiefs were within a field-goal at 16-13, a crucial difference when Mahomes marched his team down the field to tie the game at 16-16 with 5:46 left.

Moody was thrust into the spotlight against with 1:53 left when he had a field-goal opportunity from 53 yards, a tough distance for any kicker, let alone a rookie whose last attempt had been unsuccessful. He made it though to give his team a 19-16 lead, and the ball was with Mahomes with the game on the line. Naturally, he led his team to a game-tying field goal with three seconds left. For the first time since the 2016 season (and the second time in history), the Super Bowl was going to overtime.

The 49ers won the toss and started with the ball. It initially looked like their drive had stalled but a defensive holding call on third down gave them a second chance. A few big plays by McCaffrey looked like they would lead to a touchdown but the 49ers were stopped on the Chiefs’ nine-yard line and Moody’s field goal gave the 49ers a 22-19 lead.

Of course, that wasn’t enough to beat Mahomes. Twice it looked like the Chiefs were going to come up short of continuing the drive and twice Mahomes got first downs with his legs. And then the dagger: a pass to Hardman on the goalline. This time, a Chiefs receiver did not drop it.

It was Mahomes’s third Super Bowl title. He’s not even 30.

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Romcom endingTaylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s big night at the Super Bowl

Romcom ending: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s big night at the Super Bowl

The pop star was a focal point during the NFL’s biggest night, getting to enjoy a happy ending with her victorious boyfriend

Taylor Swift, firmly in her WAG era, ended weeks of speculation over her Super Bowl attendance on Sunday night. She successfully managed to jet from a Tokyo arena show to Las Vegas to watch her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, play in the Super Bowl.

In typical Swift style, the appearance was a tightly choreographed affair that reportedly involved two private jets (one on standby, just in case) to ensure that she arrived in Sin City in time. When Swift hit Allegiant Stadium, the entourage included Blake Lively, Ice Spice and Kelce’s sister-in-law Kylie.

Kelce, an already popular and decorated football player in his own right, has enjoyed an unprecedented PR boost from dating one of America’s biggest pop stars. He, too, showed up in style ahead of the game, wearing a custom bedazzled Amri combination of a bouclé shirt and matching shimmering trousers. Kelce also toted a Louis Vuitton bag for good measure. The New York Post estimated that this ensemble cost more than $3,000.

It was a look no doubt coordinated to complement Swift’s outfit: $695 crystal jeans from Area, cropped corset and a bomber jacket blazed with the Chiefs’ logo. Lest we forget the reason why she was there, Swift also wore a custom necklace and a football-shaped clutch sporting 87 – Kelce’s jersey number.

Since Swift and Kelce debuted their relationship early in the season, certain (curmudgeonly) NFL fans grumbled over the numerous camera shots of the singer’s private box. But during the Super Bowl, there were few cutaways, maybe surprisingly so for the fans hoping for more. Eras Tour: Part II this was not.

Those watching the game for Swift alone had to hit up social media for an endless stream of content. During a pregame performance by Post Malone, Swift and Lively cuddled each other while swaying to the music.

Later, Swift greeted fellow pop star Lana Del Rey, leaning down from her elevated perch to hug the star, not unlike the way a princess might greet a peasant. (Lana later joined her in the box.)

Another highlight: Swift chugging beers with longtime friend Nashville stylist Ashley Avignone, as caught on the stadium jumbotron. Well, something has to lift your spirit when your boyfriend’s team is down 10-3 at half-time.

A photo of Swift introducing Ice Spice to Kelce’s brother Jason also made the rounds online, highlighting the improbability of their odd coupling. While Swift may have all the attention, Ice’s presence was particularly delightful.

Like many viewers watching for everything but the game, she seemed to have no clue what was going on, presumably requiring a full explanation of how football works from Avignone at one point.

Cameras caught Kelce yelling at Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid, in an undeniably uncomfortable moment. But some online commentators bizarrely took it one very weird step further, latching on to the scene as evidence of the player’s anger issues.

“These are very disturbing images from Travis Kelce. Are we sure Taylor is safe around this man?” asked one sports account. “If Travis Kelce is this violent with the cameras on him, what about when Taylor Swift is alone with him?” echoed another X (formerly Twitter) user.

Kelce’s visible frustration during the moment might have been incongruous to his desired reputation as a golden retriever boyfriend. But it’s still quite a stretch to call him an abuser just for getting in a ref’s face. The clip gives ammunition to hard-right conservatives who have repeatedly come after the famous couple for what they perceive as liberal leanings.

Kelce advocated for Covid vaccines and supported Black Lives Matter. While Swift typically stays diplomatic and apolitical, she endorsed Biden in 2020, and many – including a livid Donald Trump – believe another endorsement in 2024 is in the works. Apparently, the lovers couldn’t become the hottest pop culture crossover couple without igniting a few uncomfortable conspiracy theories.

After a relatively boring game – at least for Swift fans expecting more from a relatively sleepy Kansas City performance – things perked up near the end of the third quarter. When the Chiefs earned a touchdown, taking over the scoreboard and winning a lead over the San Francisco 49ers, a jubilant Swift and Co jumped around in the private box.

With Swift, Spice, Lively and Avignone hugging each other, it was a picture-perfect visual summery of Swift’s brand: manufactured empowerment, a celebration of pop feminist girl power.

The drama of the game continued well into the fourth quarter, when Kansas City caught up with the 49ers to tie the game right toward the end, leading to overtime. Though the Chiefs eventually took the title, it was a close call the entire way through – as photographs of Swift’s box show, the singer chewed on her nails during the closest calls. If the Swift/Kelce pairing is a government psyop, as conservatives want to believe, the CIA sure knows how to stage damn good football.

The hours-long extravaganza ended the way many fans hoped it would – Swift and Kelce, winners, sharing a kiss on the field. (We do not speak of that Viva Las Vegas performance.) A real-life romcom played out on screen.

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As it happenedChiefs fight back to beat 49ers 25-22 in overtime for repeat Super Bowl title

Celebrities at the Super BowlTaylor Swift, Usher, Justin Bieber and Jay-Z – in pictures

Australia warns Israel’s plans for ground offensive in Palestine could have ‘devastating consequences’

Australia warns Israel’s plans for Rafah ground offensive could have ‘devastating consequences’

Failure to ensure special care for more than 1 million civilians in the area would ‘cause serious harm to Israel’s own interests’, foreign minister, Penny Wong, says

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The Australian government has warned that Israel’s plans for a military offensive on the southern Gaza town of Rafah could have “devastating consequences” for Palestinian civilians sheltering there.

The foreign minister, Penny Wong, also suggested on Monday that a failure to ensure special care for more than 1 million civilians in the area, many in makeshift tents, would “cause serious harm to Israel’s own interests”.

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The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has sought to brush off growing international criticism about the planned ground invasion of Rafah, saying: “We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.”

To date, however, Netanyahu has not spelled out where civilians could safely go.

Wong said 153 countries, including Australia, had already voted at the UN general assembly for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

“Many of Israel’s friends, including Australia, have expressed deep concerns about reports of an Israeli military operation in Rafah,” she said on Monday.

“There is growing international consensus: Israel must listen to its friends and it must listen to the international community.”

Wong said Israel had a special obligation to “more than a million civilians sheltering in and around Rafah”.

“Many civilians who were displaced in Israeli operations in the north have moved south to this area, often under Israeli direction,” she said.

“Israel now must exercise special care in relation to these civilians. Not doing so would have devastating consequences for those civilians and cause serious harm to Israel’s own interests.”

The comments come amid reports of growing frustration between the Israeli government and its top ally, the United States.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the US president, Joe Biden, and his aides no longer viewed Netanyahu as “a productive partner”.

The paper said some of Biden’s aides were urging the president to be more publicly critical of Netanyahu over the Gaza military operation.

Netanyahu has argued that Israel must pursue “the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah”, while the Palestinian Authority said this would be “a dangerous prelude to implementing the rejected Israeli policy aimed at displacing the Palestinian people from their land”.

Hamas has argued a new advance into Rafah would “blow up” ongoing negotiations to return hostages in return for a ceasefire.

Australia has now joined other allies of Israel in warning of the consequences of a Rafah operation.

The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said on Saturday that the people in Gaza “cannot disappear into thin air” while the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, raised concerns about an “unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt”.

The potential of a Rafah operation loomed large over a parliamentary debate in Canberra on Monday.

The Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather moved a motion calling on the Australian government to “end its support for the State of Israel’s invasion of Gaza” and also to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

The International Court of Justice has yet to make a final decision on South Africa’s allegations that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, but in a provisional ruling last month ordered it to “take all measures within its power to prevent” genocidal acts and “prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide”.

Additional reporting by Emine Sinmaz

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Australia warns Israel’s plans for ground offensive in Palestine could have ‘devastating consequences’

Australia warns Israel’s plans for Rafah ground offensive could have ‘devastating consequences’

Failure to ensure special care for more than 1 million civilians in the area would ‘cause serious harm to Israel’s own interests’, foreign minister, Penny Wong, says

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The Australian government has warned that Israel’s plans for a military offensive on the southern Gaza town of Rafah could have “devastating consequences” for Palestinian civilians sheltering there.

The foreign minister, Penny Wong, also suggested on Monday that a failure to ensure special care for more than 1 million civilians in the area, many in makeshift tents, would “cause serious harm to Israel’s own interests”.

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The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has sought to brush off growing international criticism about the planned ground invasion of Rafah, saying: “We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.”

To date, however, Netanyahu has not spelled out where civilians could safely go.

Wong said 153 countries, including Australia, had already voted at the UN general assembly for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

“Many of Israel’s friends, including Australia, have expressed deep concerns about reports of an Israeli military operation in Rafah,” she said on Monday.

“There is growing international consensus: Israel must listen to its friends and it must listen to the international community.”

Wong said Israel had a special obligation to “more than a million civilians sheltering in and around Rafah”.

“Many civilians who were displaced in Israeli operations in the north have moved south to this area, often under Israeli direction,” she said.

“Israel now must exercise special care in relation to these civilians. Not doing so would have devastating consequences for those civilians and cause serious harm to Israel’s own interests.”

The comments come amid reports of growing frustration between the Israeli government and its top ally, the United States.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the US president, Joe Biden, and his aides no longer viewed Netanyahu as “a productive partner”.

The paper said some of Biden’s aides were urging the president to be more publicly critical of Netanyahu over the Gaza military operation.

Netanyahu has argued that Israel must pursue “the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah”, while the Palestinian Authority said this would be “a dangerous prelude to implementing the rejected Israeli policy aimed at displacing the Palestinian people from their land”.

Hamas has argued a new advance into Rafah would “blow up” ongoing negotiations to return hostages in return for a ceasefire.

Australia has now joined other allies of Israel in warning of the consequences of a Rafah operation.

The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said on Saturday that the people in Gaza “cannot disappear into thin air” while the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, raised concerns about an “unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt”.

The potential of a Rafah operation loomed large over a parliamentary debate in Canberra on Monday.

The Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather moved a motion calling on the Australian government to “end its support for the State of Israel’s invasion of Gaza” and also to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

The International Court of Justice has yet to make a final decision on South Africa’s allegations that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza, but in a provisional ruling last month ordered it to “take all measures within its power to prevent” genocidal acts and “prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide”.

Additional reporting by Emine Sinmaz

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ReportIDF says hostages freed after special raid in Rafah

Two Israeli hostages freed in Rafah, says IDF, as Palestinians report dozens of deaths

Israel’s defence forces say hostages were freed during a special raid in Rafah as residents say two mosques and several houses were bombed

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At least 37 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes on the southern city of Rafah, according to Gaza health officials, as the Israeli military said it had freed two hostages during a raid by special forces on the city.

The bodies of 20 Palestinians were at the Kuwaiti hospital, 12 at the European hospital, and five at the Abu Youssef Al-Najar hospital, officials at the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza told Reuters. Residents said two mosques and several houses were bombed.

The two hostages were freed during a raid by special forces in Gaza’s southern Rafah neighbourhood, said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). They were taken to Sheba hospital in central Israel, a statement from the hospital said, and were confirmed by doctors to be in “good condition”.

The hostages were named by the IDF on Telegram as Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, both taken from the Nir Yitzhak kibbutz in the 7 October Hamas attacks.

Hamas said in a statement that the Israeli attack on Rafah was a continuation of the “genocidal war” and the attempted forced displacement that Israel has waged against the Palestinian people.

Heavy bombing caused widespread panic in Rafah as many people were asleep when the strikes started, according to the Reuters news agency which contacted residents by online chat.

The Israeli military said earlier on Monday it had conducted a “series of strikes” on southern Gaza that had since concluded, without providing further details amid international concerns about the prospect of an offensive on the southern city.

The US president, Joe Biden, on Sunday told the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that Israel should not launch a military operation in Rafah without a credible plan to ensure the safety of the roughly one million people sheltering there, the White House said.

Netanyahu has appeared determined to push ahead with a ground offensive against Gaza’s southernmost town of Rafah but has claimed Israel will provide safe passage to the 1.3 million displaced Palestinians sheltering there.

Despite mounting warnings from aid agencies and the international community that an assault on Rafah would be a catastrophe, Netanyahu has reiterated his intention to extend Israel’s military operation against Hamas. Hamas stated that a new advance into Rafah would “blow up” continuing negotiations to return hostages in exchange for a ceasefire.

“We’re going to do it,” Israel’s prime minister told ABC News in an interview aired on Sunday. “We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it.

“We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.”

As Israeli forces have expanded ground operations steadily southwards in their war against Hamas over the past four months, Rafah has become the last refuge for more than half of the strip’s population of 2.3 million.

It remains unclear where the large number of people pressed up against the border with Egypt in overcrowded makeshift tent camps can go. When asked, Netanyahu said Israel was “working out a detailed plan”.

He said: “We’re not cavalier about this. This is part of our war effort to get civilians out of harm’s way. It’s part of Hamas’s effort to keep them in harm’s way.”

The prime minister has not provided details or a timeline on a ground invasion in Rafah, which Israel previously designated as a safe zone.

The southern city has become the last major population centre in Gaza that troops have yet to enter, even as it is bombarded by airstrikes almost daily. The IDF said it had killed two “senior Hamas operatives” in a strike on Rafah on Saturday.

Israel’s war in Gaza, now in its fifth month, was sparked by Hamas’s unprecedented attack on 7 October in which 1,200 people were killed and a further 250 taken as hostages.

The Gaza health ministry, which is controlled by Hamas, said on Sunday that 28,176 Palestinians had been killed and 67,784 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October. It said 112 Palestinians had been killed and 173 injured in the previous 24 hours.

Netanyahu’s announcement on Friday that he had instructed the IDF and defence ministry to draw up plans for troops to enter Rafah and evacuate civilians prompted international concern.

The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, posted on X on Saturday: “The people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air.”

With Emine Sinmaz in Jerusalem and Reuters

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Consultancy firms divided on controversial tax scheme as ATO threatens action

Consultancy firms divided on controversial tax scheme as ATO threatens action

EY and KPMG won’t end practice of partners legally splitting part of income with spouses to reduce their tax burden

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Consultancy giants EY and KPMG will not follow other “big four” firms and ban the use of controversial tax minimisation scheme, which allows partners to legally divert some of their income to family members.

The scheme – known as an Everrett assignment – allows a partner to allocate a portion of their financial stake in a firm’s assets to a spouse. This could reduce their overall tax burden, especially if the spouse has no other income and is within a lower tax band.

While the scheme is legal, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is concerned some partners may potentially have aggressively used it to reduce their tax. Other critics, including Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (Cictar), claim the arrangement does not pass the pub test and should be phased out.

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On Friday, PwC Australia joined rival Deloitte in banning new partners from using the scheme.

The decision came after criticism from senators and the ATO, which has flagged a tougher regulatory approach. About 230 PwC partners use Everetts.

“Our partners have not been entering into them and we have made the decision to prohibit such [arrangements] going forward,” PwC Australia’s chief executive, Kevin Burrowes, told a Senate inquiry into the consulting industry on Friday.

Both KPMG and EY confirmed they would not follow their rival’s lead and will continue using Everett assignments.

Around 30% of EY partners use the schemes. A KPMG spokesperson said the firm did not promote Everett assignments and fewer than 140 of around 700 partners had used them.

“We will continue to monitor relevant ATO policy and seek to ensure we are in line with community expectations on the matter,” a KPMG spokesperson said.

The ATO became concerned about Everett assignments in 2017 when it found some partners were reporting artificially low remuneration while their spouses benefited. The ATO said that in some of these cases, there was no commercial justification for the income-splitting. They believe this may have led to some partners not being taxed appropriately.

“The ATO does not consider these arrangements appropriate under the existing law,” an ATO spokesperson said. “The revenue forgone from these arrangements is not known.”

In 2018, the rules were tightened to limit access to small business capital gains tax concessions.

The ATO then announced a transition period for partners to adjust their tax arrangements before tougher regulatory action was taken against “high-risk” cases. That transition period expires on 1 July.

“Once the transitional period […] ends, any practitioners remaining in the high-risk ‘red zone’ can expect increased ATO scrutiny and enforcement action,” the ATO spokesperson said.

The ATO declined to reveal how many big four partners were considered “high-risk” before the end of the transition period.

Cictar’s principal analyst, Jason Ward, said Everett assignments were opaque and should be phased out.

“It is virtually impossible to research income-splitting of the partners in the big four accounting firms since it is all private and confidential,” Ward said.

“These types of arrangements are not in line with public expectations, but are no surprise given the broader problems with the big four that have now been well identified.”

Everett assignments are also used by law firms and partners at non-consulting businesses. But the ATO has focused primarily on partners who play “a key role within the Australian tax system”.

Labor senator Deborah O’Neill, who has helped lead a Senate inquiry into consultants, has been a long-term critic of partners who push the limits of Everett assignments.

“Inappropriate tax minimisation behaviour is an affront to the majority of Australians who are doing the right thing and paying their share of tax,” O’Neill said.

“If these firms expect to have an ongoing role as trusted practitioners within the financial and indeed government sectors, I would encourage them to have a very thorough look at the ATO’s advice and then consider whether their personal affairs would stand up to scrutiny, not just from a legal perspective, but also a moral and ethical standpoint.”

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South and west bake but Melbourne will have dramatic cool change

Summer heat bakes south and west but Melbourne will have dramatic cool change midweek

Hot weather with 30C-plus temperatures forecast for three mainland state capitals, plus Canberra and Darwin, on Monday

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Southern Australia is in for a hot, sunny start to the week, with three state capitals plus Canberra forecast to record temperatures in the 30s.

The Bureau of Meteorology was warning of extreme fire danger for parts of South Australia and Victoria on Tuesday before a cool change sets in midweek.

Melbourne was expected to reach 35C on Monday and be hit with gusty winds, while hotter temperatures in the low 40s were expected along the Murray.

Mildura could reach 41C and Port Augusta 42C.

But Melbourne can expect a “hell of a change” midweek, the senior meteorologist Dean Narramore, from the Bureau of Meteorology, said. There was a high chance of showers and thunderstorms after a high of 36C on Tuesday, with a maximum of just 19C tipped for Wednesday.

“We’re going to see very strong winds ahead of [the cool change] and then strong and gusty winds behind the change as well,” Narramore said. “Temperatures could drop 10 to 15C with that change.”

Adelaide was also in for a sunny start to the week. Temperatures were forecast to reach 38C on Monday before a cool change arrives on Tuesday morning. The city could reach 27C on Tuesday, staying in the 20s for the rest of the week.

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Melbourne and Adelaide are in for a warm night on Monday, reaching 21C and 19C respectively.

By Tuesday, parts of Victoria and South Australia will have an extreme fire danger rating. Narramore said hot, dry and windy conditions ahead of the cool change will be focused around northern and western Victoria, and eastern parts of South Australia.

Victoria’s Country Fire Authority warned there would be extreme fire danger for the Mallee, Wimmera and Northern Country districts. In South Australia the Murraylands, Riverland, Mid North and Eastern Eyre Peninsula districts had an extreme fire danger listing for Tuesday.

In Western Australia, Perth was expected to hit 35C on Monday after a very hot weekend, with temperatures in the 40s. The heat was expected to stick around until at least Thursday, as northern and eastern parts of the state continue to experience heatwave conditions.

Tasmania is not quite as hot as southern parts of the mainland but still experiencing warm conditions, reaching 27C on Monday and 29C on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the east coast is experiencing fairly seasonal heat. Sydney was expected to reach a top of 29C on Monday and 31C on Tuesday, with showers forecast for Wednesday expected to stick around through to the weekend.

Brisbane was forecast to reach the low 30s throughout this week, with the chance of showers. Canberra had a maximum forecast of 30C for Monday and 32C for Tuesday, before dropping back to the mid and high 20s later in the week.

Darwin was forecast to hit 31C on Monday, with a very high chance of rain.

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At least 42 people treated after carbon monoxide leak at Adelaide Ice Arena

At least 42 people treated after carbon monoxide leak at Adelaide Ice Arena

Fumes from ice resurfacing machine believed to have caused symptoms at rink, with dozens needing hospital treatment

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At least 42 people have sought medical attention following exposure to a carbon monoxide leak at an Adelaide ice rink.

Emergency services were called to the Adelaide Ice Arena at Thebarton on Sunday, where several ice hockey players and spectators had attended a game on Saturday night before being treated in hospital for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is believed fumes from an ice resurfacing machine caused the symptoms.

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At least 16 people between the ages of 17 and 40 presented to the Royal Adelaide hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to SA Health.

But South Australia’s chief public health officer, Prof Nicola Spurrier, told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning, that the number of cases had grown.

“I had an update late last night and we had 42 people, and that included two children as well, and the majority went to the Royal Adelaide,” Spurrier said.

“There were different levels of exposure in the centre and certainly the teams involved with the ice hockey were most symptomatic.”

Spurrier said patients are now in a stable condition and are expected to make a full recovery.

SA Heath yesterday said most people were observed for symptoms, such as headaches, tiredness, nausea and shortness of breath for more severe cases, while others required oxygen therapy.

Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas, with no taste or colour, and can reach dangerous levels when appliances or engines that aren’t well ventilated cause gas to build up, particularly in enclosed spaces.

On Monday morning, the Ice Arena manager, Richard Laidlaw, told FIVEaa the machine behind the dangerous leak was serviced only two and a half months ago and was scheduled for another checkup on Monday morning.

“It just so happened that this happened on Saturday,” he said. “[The machines] are really like a car and we have a maintenance program for ours … When one of the [duty] managers said that they thought it was running a bit rich, we organised for the mechanic to come in.”

Laidlaw said alarms had since been installed to monitor for carbon monoxide and Ice Arena would be launching its own investigation to avoid this issue from happening again.

SafeWork SA is also investigating the incident.

In November 2023 an ice rink in Cheshire, UK, was forced to close after a carbon monoxide leak left a number of people unwell.

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At least 42 people treated after carbon monoxide leak at Adelaide Ice Arena

At least 42 people treated after carbon monoxide leak at Adelaide Ice Arena

Fumes from ice resurfacing machine believed to have caused symptoms at rink, with dozens needing hospital treatment

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At least 42 people have sought medical attention following exposure to a carbon monoxide leak at an Adelaide ice rink.

Emergency services were called to the Adelaide Ice Arena at Thebarton on Sunday, where several ice hockey players and spectators had attended a game on Saturday night before being treated in hospital for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is believed fumes from an ice resurfacing machine caused the symptoms.

  • Sign up for Guardian Australia’s free morning and afternoon email newsletters for your daily news roundup

At least 16 people between the ages of 17 and 40 presented to the Royal Adelaide hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to SA Health.

But South Australia’s chief public health officer, Prof Nicola Spurrier, told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning, that the number of cases had grown.

“I had an update late last night and we had 42 people, and that included two children as well, and the majority went to the Royal Adelaide,” Spurrier said.

“There were different levels of exposure in the centre and certainly the teams involved with the ice hockey were most symptomatic.”

Spurrier said patients are now in a stable condition and are expected to make a full recovery.

SA Heath yesterday said most people were observed for symptoms, such as headaches, tiredness, nausea and shortness of breath for more severe cases, while others required oxygen therapy.

Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas, with no taste or colour, and can reach dangerous levels when appliances or engines that aren’t well ventilated cause gas to build up, particularly in enclosed spaces.

On Monday morning, the Ice Arena manager, Richard Laidlaw, told FIVEaa the machine behind the dangerous leak was serviced only two and a half months ago and was scheduled for another checkup on Monday morning.

“It just so happened that this happened on Saturday,” he said. “[The machines] are really like a car and we have a maintenance program for ours … When one of the [duty] managers said that they thought it was running a bit rich, we organised for the mechanic to come in.”

Laidlaw said alarms had since been installed to monitor for carbon monoxide and Ice Arena would be launching its own investigation to avoid this issue from happening again.

SafeWork SA is also investigating the incident.

In November 2023 an ice rink in Cheshire, UK, was forced to close after a carbon monoxide leak left a number of people unwell.

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Seven detainees released after high court decision were convicted of murder or attempted murder

Seven of the immigration detainees released in Australia were convicted of murder or attempted murder

Home affairs department also reveals 24 former detainees have been charged with visa rule breaches or state offences since their release

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The revelation that seven of 149 people released from immigration detention were convicted of murder or attempted murder has reignited a political firestorm around the government’s handling of the NZYQ high court case.

The home affairs department revealed on Monday that 24 of the people released as a result of the high court’s ruling have already been charged for visa condition breaches or state offences and 36 are not required to wear ankle bracelets.

Senior Liberals plastered new statistics of the criminal records of the 149 people on social media, while the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, claimed they were released by “a weak prime minister and his government”.

The immigration minister, Andrew Giles, explained it had done so to comply with the high court order, as “would have been required under any government”.

On 8 November the high court ruled indefinite immigration detention is unlawful where there is “no real prospect” of it becoming practical to deport the person “in the reasonably foreseeable future”.

The decision prompted the release of 149 people, weeks of political controversy about the government’s preparedness for the decision, and emergency legislation that passed on 16 November to criminalise breach of visa conditions, including curfews and ankle bracelets.

In answers to Coalition senators tabled on Monday, the department revealed that “as of 1 February six individuals have been arrested and charged for offences against the Migration Act for breach of visa conditions”.

“Additionally, the [Australian Border Force] is aware that 18 individuals have been charged by state and territory police for state and territory offences,” the document said.

In response to Coalition questions seeking information on the offences that individuals in the cohort had been convicted of, the department reported:

  • 72 convicted for assault and violent offending, kidnapping, armed robbery

  • 37 for sexually based offending, including child sex offending

  • 16 for domestic violence and stalking

  • 13 for serious drug offending

  • Seven for murder and attempted murder;

  • Fewer than five for people smuggling, crimes of serious international concern; and

  • Fewer than five with “low level or no criminality”

The department revealed that as of 31 January none of the 149 individuals had been re-detained in immigration detention on the basis there is now a “real prospect” of their deportation being practical.

According to the document tabled on Monday, $13m has been spent so far responding to the high court decision, including $8.6m by the department, $3.9m by the Australian federal police and $417,000 of status resolution income support to those released.

The department revealed that Giles “was not asked to sign off on the statement of agreed facts” before it was filed in the high court on 31 May 2023. It said this was “consistent with usual litigation management practice in the department”.

The agreed facts included that “NZYQ could not be removed from Australia, nor was there a likelihood of it occurring in the reasonably foreseeable future”.

The Australian government made this concession before undertaking extensive efforts to deport the plaintiff, NZYQ, which the opposition has seized on to argue it mishandled the case.

The department’s timeline of key dates reveals that it was only on 3 November, just four days before the start of hearings in the case, that the department sent Giles and home affairs minister Clare O’Neil an “operational plan in the event of a loss”.

In a move O’Neil has described as “unusual”, the high court delivered its orders without reasons on 8 November, catching the government by surprise because internal home affairs advice suggested a result was unlikely until 2024.

According to the department, the migration amendment (bridging visa conditions) bill – which imposed the ankle bracelet and curfew conditions and introduced criminal penalties – was developed from 9 to 15 November.

The department revealed that 103 people have been subjected to the toughest visa conditions including electronic monitoring, curfew, and mandatory notification of large financial transactions and debts. A further 15 people had a “mix” of these conditions.

Some 30 people in the cohort “had none of the prescribed conditions imposed”.

In question time the Coalition spent every one of its questions on the NZYQ revelations. The shadow immigration minister, Dan Tehan, repeatedly queried why 36 people in the cohort were not required to wear ankle bracelets and whether any had committed offences.

In response, Giles cited the advice of the community protection board but declined to give details of offending, describing this as an “operational” matter.

Tehan also queried why the government had not made an application for preventive re-detention of anyone in the cohort. Giles said it is proceeding with “caution” due to the “high legal threshold” to convince a court to do so.

Tehan told Guardian Australia the timeline “once again proves that minister Giles was completely asleep at the wheel when it comes to this case”.

The shadow home affairs minister, James Paterson, said it was “truly shocking” it had taken the government four months to release details about those released.

In a statement on Monday, Giles said: “It was Peter Dutton who personally intervened as the then minister for immigration to allow NZYQ to stay in the country for longer – when he knew he was a paedophile.

“His personal decision meant that the convicted paedophile was allowed to remain in Australia until the day the high court made its decision.”

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Lawyer calls for ABC to hand over any communications with the Australian

Antoinette Lattouf lawyer calls for ABC to hand over any communications with the Australian

Presenter also seeking correspondence between ABC managing director David Anderson and outgoing chair Ita Buttrose

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A former ABC presenter who says she was sacked because of her race and political opinion is seeking a court order forcing employees of the public broadcaster to hand over records of any communications they had with a journalist at the Australian.

Antoinette Lattouf was contracted to work five shifts as a casual presenter of Sydney’s Mornings radio program in December but says she was told not to return for the final two shifts.

Lattouf’s lawyer Josh Bornstein lodged an application with the Fair Work Commission last week seeking the production of a range of documents, according to a statement.

She seeks documents created between 15 December and 23 December 2023 about Lattouf between managing director David Anderson, outgoing chair Ita Buttrose and any other person.

The application also seeks any communications between “a leading barrister who agitated for M Latouff’s dismissal” and any ABC employee; as well as communications between employees of the ABC and a journalist at the Australian newspaper.

The Nine newspapers reported that a member of a lobby group had pressured the ABC to sack Lattouf, and was then advised by Buttrose that Lattouf no longer worked there.

The ABC had made submissions that it decided “not to require” Lattouf to perform the last two of her five shifts because she had “failed or refused to comply with directions that she not post on social media about matters of controversy during the short period she was presenting”.

But it now submits it did not terminate her employment and she was not entitled to make an unlawful termination application, and has asked the FWC to dismiss the case.

Bornstein said the correspondence and documents would help the commission determine whether Lattouf had been sacked from her role hosting the popular morning program.

“The ABC is a crucial institution in Australia charged with exposing and reporting the facts,” Bornstein said.

Lattouf claims she was told by acting station manager Mark Spurway on 20 December that she was “sounding great” and that the audience was “responding very well”.

She claims that within minutes of that conversation she was told to pack her bags and go home as she would not be permitted to return to air because she had reposted a Human Rights Watch social media post alleging the Israeli government is using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza.

She also claims that the Australian newspaper was reporting her sacking by the ABC by the time she got home.

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World marathon record holder dies in car crash in Kenya at age 24

World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum dies after car crash in Kenya

  • Runner set the world record at Chicago Marathon in October
  • Sebastian Coe ‘shocked and deeply saddened’ at the news

Tributes have been paid to the world marathon record holder, Kelvin Kiptum, after his shock death, alongside his coach, in a road accident on Sunday.

The 24-year-old, who won the London Marathon in April before setting the world record in Chicago in October, was reported by police to have lost control of his vehicle while driving in Kaptagat, south-west Kenya, at 11pm local time.

His coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also died in the crash, while a third person is said to have been rushed to hospital.

Kenya’s prime minister, Raila Odinga, was among those to pay his respects, writing on X, formerly Twitter: “Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”

Those sentiments were shared by Kenya’s minister for sports, Ababu Namwamba, who added on X: “Devastatingly sickening! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words.”

Meanwhile the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, said he was “shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kiptum and Hakizimana. “An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,” he added.

Local county commander Peter Mulinge told the Nation newspaper that Kiptum had lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree before landing in a ditch.

“This was a self-involved accident where one Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was driving his vehicle with two passengers,” Mulinge added. “Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot and the third person was rushed to Racecourse hospital in Eldoret.”

Last week Kiptum’s world record of 2hr 0min 35sec, which took 34sec off Eliud Kipchoge’s old mark, was ratified by World Athletics. He had also recently announced plans to become the first athlete to run an official marathon in under two hours, in Rotterdam in April.

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Former president gets access to sealed documents on witness threats in Mar-a-Lago case

Trump gets access to sealed documents on witness threats in Mar-a-Lago case

Prosecutors allegedly turn over exhibit on threats made against potential witness to Trump’s lawyers after judge ordered them to

Special counsel prosecutors have produced to Donald Trump a sealed exhibit about threats to a potential trial witness after the federal judge overseeing his prosecution for retaining classified documents ordered the exhibit turned over despite the prosecutors’ objections, people familiar with the matter said.

The exhibit was a point of contention because it detailed a series of threats made against a witness who could testify against the former president at trial, and the matter is the subject of a criminal investigation by a US attorney’s office. Prosecutors had wanted to withhold it from Trump’s lawyers.

But the presiding US district judge Aileen Cannon ordered the exhibit that prosecutors in the office of special counsel, Jack Smith, had submitted “ex parte” – or without showing it to the defense – to be transmitted to Trump’s lawyers after reviewing its contents and deciding it did not warrant that protection.

The prosecutors complied with the order before a Saturday deadline without seeking a challenge – though the justice department would typically be loath to disclose details of an ongoing investigation, especially as it relates to the primary defendant in this case, legal experts said.

The justice department may have decided it was not appealing the order because the exhibit itself is part of a motion from prosecutors asking the judge to reconsider two earlier rulings that would have the effect of making public the identities of dozens of other witnesses who could testify against Trump.

At issue is a complicated legal battle that started in January when Trump filed a motion to compel discovery, a request asking the judge to force prosecutors to turn over reams of additional information they believe could help them fight the charges.

The motion to compel was partially redacted and submitted with 70 accompanying exhibits, many of which were sealed and redacted. But Trump’s lawyers asked that those sealed filings be made public because many of the names included in the exhibits were people already known to have worked on the documents investigation.

Prosecutors asked the judge to deny Trump’s request to unseal his exhibits, using broad arguments that they would reveal the identity of potential witnesses, two sub-compartments of what is described as “Signals” intelligence, and details about a separate probe run by the FBI.

The special counsel’s team also asked to submit their own set of sealed exhibits when they filed their formal response to Trump’s motion to compel. The government’s exhibits involved memos of interviews with witnesses and likely testimony from witnesses, according to the three-page filing.

Cannon in February issued two rulings: one on Trump’s request and one on prosecutors’ request.

With Trump, the judge found that personal identifying information of witnesses and the information about “Signals” intelligence should remain under seal, but everything else could be public. And with prosecutors, she granted their request to file their own exhibits under seal.

The twin rulings appear to have caught prosecutors by surprise. They have previously been successful in keeping materials that could reveal witness identities confidential, and they formally asked Cannon to reconsider those orders.

A motion for reconsideration is significant because if Cannon denies the challenge, it could pave the way for prosecutors to seek an injunctive appeal at the US court of appeals for the 11th circuit using a writ of mandamus – essentially, an order commanding Cannon to reverse her decision.

Cannon has previously drawn scrutiny from the 11th circuit. Before Trump was indicted, she upended the underlying criminal investigation by issuing a series of favorable rulings to Trump before the appeals court ruled she never had legitimate legal authority to intervene.

As part of prosecutors’ motion for reconsideration, they asked to submit alongside their court filings a third set of exhibits under seal and ex parte. Cannon agreed, pending her personal review of their contents. On Friday, she ruled they should not be ex parte – and should be turned over to Trump, as well.

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