The Guardian 2024-03-25 10:01:16


Australia’s $4.6bn Aukus funding to help create more than 1,000 jobs in UK, Rolls-Royce says

Company says work is already under way ‘to double the size of the Rolls-Royce Submarines site in the UK

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Australia’s Aukus funding will help create more than 1,000 new jobs in Derby in the United Kingdom, according to the beneficiary, Rolls-Royce.

The project – which is jointly funded by the UK’s Ministry of Defence – is also expected to see the construction of new office space in addition to manufacturing facilities.

The Australian government revealed late last week that it would send A$4.6bn (£2.4bn) to the UK over the next 10 years to ensure the Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor production line in Derby was able to supply reactors for use in Adelaide-built submarines.

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

The government has not provided detailed information about what the funding will cover, except to say it will “enable the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby to operate at an increased rate of production”.

Rolls-Royce, however, has been more forthcoming. It has welcomed the Australian government funding and said work was already under way “to double the size of the Rolls-Royce Submarines site in Raynesway, Derby”.

“Now jointly funded by UK MOD and the Australian Department of Defence, the expansion work announced last summer will create over 1,000 new jobs in Derby across a range of disciplines, including manufacturing and engineering,” the company said in a statement published on its website.

“It will also see new manufacturing and office facilities being built on recently acquired land surrounding the existing Raynesway site.”

The year-by-year breakdown of the Australian funding over the next 10 years has not yet been disclosed.

But the Australian government sees the investment as crucial to ensuring nuclear reactors are able to be built on time for both Australian and UK needs.

It insists that despite the plans to spend billions of dollars on boosting the industrial base in both the UK and the US, a much bigger sum will be spent on infrastructure and skills development in Australia.

On Friday the Coalition’s defence spokesperson, Andrew Hastie, said he was pleased to see the government take “these next steps in concert with the UK and the US”.

But Hastie called on the government to “be honest with the Australian people and provide further details around costs, workforce and preparedness”.

“In October last year, Defence revealed there was no provision in the Defence budget for the $5bn payment to the UK,” Hastie said.

“Labor must be upfront and clarify if the funding announced today has come from further reprioritisation within Defence – and therefore at the cost of existing capabilities.”

That was based on a Senate estimates exchange in October when an official said that the government had a provision of US$3bn to boost the US industrial base but “on the UK side we’re still working through what that provision might be”.

A spokesperson for the deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, said it was increasingly clear that the Liberal party did not understand the budget process.

“As was made clear at Senate Estimates by officials when asked about this, they confirmed that funding had been set aside in the provisions for the Nuclear-Powered Submarine program for UK and US uplift,” the spokesperson said.

The Australian investment in the UK industrial base falls within the previously announced overall funding envelope for the Aukus submarine project, which was $50bn to $58bn in the first 10 years of the plan.

Guardian Australia understands funding was set aside in the provision for UK and US industrial costs, but it sat as “unapproved” because the government had to sign off on detailed individual proposals after international negotiations.

In parliamentary question time on Monday, Marles said Aukus would be “one of the biggest undertakings in our country’s history”.

He said thousands of people would be employed at the Osborne shipyard in South Australia where the new class of submarine SSN-Aukus would be built.

He said the latest announcements – including the UK funding and establishing a joint venture with the British defence contractor BAE Systems – demonstrated that Aukus was “happening and progressing well”.

The Greens’ defence spokesperson, David Shoebridge, said it was “an extraordinarily bad deal” for Australian taxpayers.

Explore more on these topics

  • Aukus
  • Australian politics
  • Richard Marles
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

NSW police officers at pro-Palestine rally allegedly wore badges associated with rightwing extremism

Legal Observers NSW says ‘several officers’ at Port Botany protest – where 19 people were arrested – wore thin blue line patch on uniform

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

At least one New South Wales police officer wore a “thin blue line” badge – which has been co-opted by far-right and extremist groups – when working at a pro-Palestine protest at Port Botany, according to Legal Observers NSW.

Guardian Australia has seen a photograph of one officer wearing the badge on Sunday night and observers who attended the protest said “several” other officers also wore the patch showing a black-and-white Australian flag with a blue line running across it.

“Several officers were observed wearing thin blue line patches, an iconography associated with fascist movements,” a spokesperson for Legal Observers NSW said on Monday. “Many of these officers were the most aggressive with protesters.”

Nineteen people were arrested at the pro-Palestine rally where protesters – including members of the Maritime Union of Australia – were demonstrating against the Israel-owned ZIM shipping company amid the conflict in Gaza.

Police allege the group blocked the road and access to the port at about 9.30pm and were directed to move. Some did not comply and were arrested.

All 19 were taken to Surry Hills police station where they were charged and issued a notice to appear at Downing Centre local court on 8 May.

The thin blue line has been used to recognise officers who died while on duty and as a pro-police symbol. But it has been criticised as divisive in recent years after it was adopted by people opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Lydia Shelly, said the patches were “not part of the standard police-issued uniform” and were “associated with rightwing extremism”.

“Policing of protest in NSW is out of control,” she said on Monday.

“We have called on the premier, the attorney general and the police commissioner to meet with us to discuss concerns about police conduct towards peaceful protestors and legal observers. We are extremely concerned that at the Port Botany protest, Legal Observers NSW observed several police officers wearing a patch that is not part of the standard police-issued uniform which has been associated with rightwing extremism”.

Jana Fayyad from the Palestine Justice Movement Sydney, which co-organised the protest, said she saw a police officer wearing the badge and spoke to others who claimed they saw other officers wearing them too.

“They’re all dressed almost identically and there was that badge that really stood out,” Fayyad said.

She claimed she witnessed “heightened violence” from police on Sunday night. She claimed officers pushed and shoved protesters and dragged people – including a woman with epilepsy – along the pavement even though they were not resisting arrest.

A police spokesperson said the force respected people’s right to protest but public safety was “the first priority” and unlawful behaviour would “not be tolerated”.

“A formal direction to move from the roadway was issued to protesters last night and they were given some time to do so,” the spokesperson said. “Those who chose not to comply were dealt with accordingly.”

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi, who addressed the crowd at the event, called the police response an “alarming attack” on people’s right to protest.

She urged the NSW government to “immediately investigate” the allegations that at least one officer was wearing a thin blue line badge.

NSW police said the force had “not received any reports of an officer wearing the patch which is not part of the standard NSWPF uniform”.

The Queensland police force advised officers in 2020 not to display symbols that weren’t part of the standard uniform and that had been co-opted by far-right groups.

The rules regarding “morale” patches were reinforced after an officer wore an American flag thin blue line patch to a Black Lives Matter protest in Brisbane.

Victorian police reportedly cautioned employees to stop wearing the symbol in 2020, with then assistant commissioner Tess Walsh writing in an email: “The badge is counter to our/your organisational values.”

Last year in the UK, thin blue line badges were banned by the Metropolitan police with the force’s chief, Mark Rowley, stating the equivalent symbol in the US had been used by “hard-right groups”.

The NSW police minister, Yasmin Catley, when asked about the patches on Monday directed Guardian Australia to a press conference given by the premier, Chris Minns, earlier in the day.

Minns said protesters at Port Botany were trying to disrupt shipping and that would have “major implications for the economy”.

“Ultimately, a lot of these protesters are going to do more damage to their cause than strengthen it as a result of disrupting tens of thousands of people through these activities,” the premier told reporters.

“NSW police gave a lawful directive. They’ve got a responsibility. So I want to say thanks to the NSW police – I won’t be apologising for upholding the law.”

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties wants anti-protest laws – introduced in 2022 to protect major facilities such as railways and ports – to be repealed.

“We cannot have a functioning democracy unless the right to protest is protected,” Shelly said. “The right to protest is not just a question of legality or morality, it is about power. A government with widespread support who stands up for human rights should not fear protests.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Australian police and policing
  • New South Wales
  • Far right
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

‘It’s not Banksy’s; it’s mine’: artist says Bristol plaque to adulterer is a copy

London-based artist raises copyright infringement issues when artworks go viral online and are recreated without credit

It began as a story about a mysterious plaque on a Bristol bench – but the strange tale of an engraved tribute to a deceased adulterer is now raising wider questions about copyright and who gets credit for creativity in the art world.

Photos of the brass plate paying tribute to a supposedly deceased adulterer called Roger went viral last week, after it was affixed to a wooden bench on Royal York Crescent in the upmarket district of Clifton.

Who put up the plaque commemorating the “husband, father, adulterer” – which included the payoff line “Roger, I knew” – remains unknown. But while locals speculated that Banksy may have been involved, another artist has now suggested they are the victim of a rip-off.

The London-based creator, who operates under the name The Misfortuneteller, said they created a near-identical plaque in March 2020 after wandering around New York’s Central Park and looking at the inscriptions on benches.

“Plaques are fine but they’re not really that truthful,” they say. “I wanted to do honest memorial plaques. Bittersweet ones.”

He mocked-up a series of images featuring offbeat tributes to the deceased. Some of the designs were sold as real engraved plaques. An ex-girlfriend is commemorated with a real-life plaque reading: “For Barbara – Who was awful when hungry but otherwise pretty solid.”

Others took on a life of their own after going viral, often being shared without credit or posted by meme aggregation accounts on Instagram.

No one bought his design paying tribute to a “cherished husband, dad and adulterer”, even though the image proved popular online.

As a result, The Misfortuneteller said he was surprised to see his original design and phrasing reappear on the Bristol bench this week, prompting him to : “It’s not Banksy’s; it’s fucking mine.”

Whoever put up the Bristol plaque had used almost exactly the same phrasing as the original 2020 design, albeit changing the name of the supposedly deceased adulterer. And while there is no suggestion they are seeking to profit from their actions, the original artist said they felt infuriated by the potential copyright infringement: “I’m mad at the person who took this, copied it, and put it on a bench. It’s a reflection of how intellectual property these days is so hard to enforce.”

He said there is a tension between delight at creating work that resonates with the public and not receiving any credit for it.

“It’s just interesting how things go viral – on the one hard you should be pleased that you’re amusing people,” he said. “But if a million people like your post you get nothing from it.”

Drawing a parallel to the early days of illegal music downloads on the internet, the artist said: “Even my followers say I should be happy. It’s a bit like Napster – the internet is used to getting things for free and they expect to get everything for free and not to credit everybody. There’s an assumption that if you find something amusing and share that the person doing it is doing really well.”

There is a long history of fake plaques in the UK. In 2013 a man emigrating to Australia left behind a bench inscription reading “In memory of Roger Bucklesby, who hated this park and everyone in it.” A fake English Heritage blue plaque commemorating the residence of Victorian timetraveller Jacob von Hogflume appeared on a London townhouse in 2012. And the artist Gavin Turk created a plaque as a mocking tribute to his own importance while still a young artist.

The Misfortuneteller insisted he does not want to stop others creating subversive plaques. He said appreciates it is a powerful and effective medium: “There are other artists in my orbit who have attempted to do plaques. I have never said I own all plaques, just like I don’t own ink and paper. I feel this is different because it’s word-for-word.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Street art
  • Bristol
  • features
Share

Reuse this content

Anthony Albanese among several politicians to declare free Taylor Swift tickets

The PM was captured on video at Sydney Eras concert with his fiancee, Jodie Haydon, apparently on balcony of corporate box

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Anthony Albanese accepted free tickets to Taylor Swift’s sold-out Sydney concert last month, one of several federal politicians who were gifted passes to the hotly anticipated Eras tour.

The prime minister declared “I’m a Swiftie” when the American pop star swept through Australia in February. He has now declared receiving tickets to her performance, disclosing “tickets to Taylor Swift concert in Sydney from Universal Music Group” under the “travel and hospitality” heading on his parliamentary register of interests.

Universal is Swift’s record label.

Albanese was captured on video by a fellow concertgoer at Swift’s Sydney gig, dancing along to Shake It Off alongside his fiancee, Jodie Haydon. The pair, amid a crowd of other fans, appeared to be on the balcony of one of the corporate boxes at Accor Stadium.

The sports minister, Anika Wells, also recently disclosed “two Tickets to Taylor Swift- The Eras Tour” on her register of interests, adding that she was “guest of Frontier Touring” – the promoter of the tour.

Alison Byrnes, the first-term Labor MP for the Illawarra seat of Cunningham, also attended Swift’s Sydney concert – courtesy of her husband, Paul Scully, a New South Wales state Labor MP and minister for planning and public spaces.

“My husband, Paul Scully MP, received two tickets and hospitality for the Taylor Swift concert at Accor Stadium Sydney on 25 February 2024. I attended as his guest,” Byrnes wrote on her federal interests register.

Other federal politicians posted photos online attending Swift’s concerts, including Coalition MPs Andrew Wallace, Hollie Hughes and the former prime minister Scott Morrison.

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

Wallace’s office said he paid for tickets for himself and his family to attend a Melbourne concert; the member for the Queensland seat of Fisher ran a campaign online asking the singer to perform in his state. Hughes said her tickets were a Christmas gift from a family friend.

During the leadup to Swift’s Australian tour, when her performances were a leading news item for many media outlets, the prime minister spoke often of the American singer. On Nova radio, Albanese declared “I’m a Swiftie”. On Kyle and Jackie O’s program on KIIS FM, he said he would be attending the Sydney concert.

The deputy Liberal leader, Sussan Ley, at the time challenged the prime minister to give up his ticket to “a real Swiftie” instead.

Guardian Australia reported last month on federal politicians accepting dozens of free tickets over the summer to cricket and tennis matches, horse races and concerts from large companies, sporting organisations and alcohol brands.

Since then, more politicians have disclosed free tickets to popular events.

The Liberal MP Karen Andrews disclosed two tickets to Pink’s Gold Coast concert, courtesy of the Gold Coast Suns. Tony Burke, the federal minister for employment and the arts, disclosed a list of gifts including tickets to corporate suites for Paul McCartney and the Foo Fighters last year, courtesy of Frontier Touring and Sony Music respectively, as well as accommodation at the Woodford folk festival, and tickets to Womadelaide, Wicked and the Handa Opera.

The health minister, Mark Butler, also disclosed tickets to Womadelaide. The Labor MP Cassandra Fernando disclosed two tickets to dinner and a soccer game, courtesy of the Melbourne City Football Club. The resources minister, Madeleine King, received tickets to the Seven West Media corporate box for the WWE Elimination Chamber wrestling event in Perth.

Wells, in her register, disclosed tickets to SailGP from Australian Sailing, and two tickets to a Brisbane Broncos NRL match. The trade minister, Don Farrell, accepted two tickets and hospitality to the Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival, from marine transport provider Sealink. The shadow resources minister, Susan McDonald, disclosed domestic travel, convention registration and accommodation from the Minerals Council of Australia as she attended the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australian politics
  • Taylor Swift
  • Anthony Albanese
  • Australian political interests disclosures
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Anthony Albanese among several politicians to declare free Taylor Swift tickets

The PM was captured on video at Sydney Eras concert with his fiancee, Jodie Haydon, apparently on balcony of corporate box

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Anthony Albanese accepted free tickets to Taylor Swift’s sold-out Sydney concert last month, one of several federal politicians who were gifted passes to the hotly anticipated Eras tour.

The prime minister declared “I’m a Swiftie” when the American pop star swept through Australia in February. He has now declared receiving tickets to her performance, disclosing “tickets to Taylor Swift concert in Sydney from Universal Music Group” under the “travel and hospitality” heading on his parliamentary register of interests.

Universal is Swift’s record label.

Albanese was captured on video by a fellow concertgoer at Swift’s Sydney gig, dancing along to Shake It Off alongside his fiancee, Jodie Haydon. The pair, amid a crowd of other fans, appeared to be on the balcony of one of the corporate boxes at Accor Stadium.

The sports minister, Anika Wells, also recently disclosed “two Tickets to Taylor Swift- The Eras Tour” on her register of interests, adding that she was “guest of Frontier Touring” – the promoter of the tour.

Alison Byrnes, the first-term Labor MP for the Illawarra seat of Cunningham, also attended Swift’s Sydney concert – courtesy of her husband, Paul Scully, a New South Wales state Labor MP and minister for planning and public spaces.

“My husband, Paul Scully MP, received two tickets and hospitality for the Taylor Swift concert at Accor Stadium Sydney on 25 February 2024. I attended as his guest,” Byrnes wrote on her federal interests register.

Other federal politicians posted photos online attending Swift’s concerts, including Coalition MPs Andrew Wallace, Hollie Hughes and the former prime minister Scott Morrison.

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

Wallace’s office said he paid for tickets for himself and his family to attend a Melbourne concert; the member for the Queensland seat of Fisher ran a campaign online asking the singer to perform in his state. Hughes said her tickets were a Christmas gift from a family friend.

During the leadup to Swift’s Australian tour, when her performances were a leading news item for many media outlets, the prime minister spoke often of the American singer. On Nova radio, Albanese declared “I’m a Swiftie”. On Kyle and Jackie O’s program on KIIS FM, he said he would be attending the Sydney concert.

The deputy Liberal leader, Sussan Ley, at the time challenged the prime minister to give up his ticket to “a real Swiftie” instead.

Guardian Australia reported last month on federal politicians accepting dozens of free tickets over the summer to cricket and tennis matches, horse races and concerts from large companies, sporting organisations and alcohol brands.

Since then, more politicians have disclosed free tickets to popular events.

The Liberal MP Karen Andrews disclosed two tickets to Pink’s Gold Coast concert, courtesy of the Gold Coast Suns. Tony Burke, the federal minister for employment and the arts, disclosed a list of gifts including tickets to corporate suites for Paul McCartney and the Foo Fighters last year, courtesy of Frontier Touring and Sony Music respectively, as well as accommodation at the Woodford folk festival, and tickets to Womadelaide, Wicked and the Handa Opera.

The health minister, Mark Butler, also disclosed tickets to Womadelaide. The Labor MP Cassandra Fernando disclosed two tickets to dinner and a soccer game, courtesy of the Melbourne City Football Club. The resources minister, Madeleine King, received tickets to the Seven West Media corporate box for the WWE Elimination Chamber wrestling event in Perth.

Wells, in her register, disclosed tickets to SailGP from Australian Sailing, and two tickets to a Brisbane Broncos NRL match. The trade minister, Don Farrell, accepted two tickets and hospitality to the Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival, from marine transport provider Sealink. The shadow resources minister, Susan McDonald, disclosed domestic travel, convention registration and accommodation from the Minerals Council of Australia as she attended the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australian politics
  • Taylor Swift
  • Anthony Albanese
  • Australian political interests disclosures
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

That’s a wrap everyone, but before we sign off let’s recap the day’s main events:

  • The Albanese government announced details of its submission to the Fair Work Commission’s annual wage review, calling for the real wages of Australia’s low-paid workers to “not go backwards”.

  • The national security legislation monitor said laws may need paring back.

  • The Asio chief defended investigating journalists for potential threats to security.

  • A student called on MPs to ‘do their job’ to stop discrimination in schools.

  • The ombudsman found a Russian soldier documentary did not breach ABC standards and was not propaganda.

  • The Greens reshuffle moved McKim, Shoebridge to new roles.

  • Crossbench MPs joined the Australian Conservation Foundation in slamming the Albanese government’s offshore gas bill.

  • The assistant minister for trade, Tim Ayres said Australia has not supplied weapons to Israel for past five years.

  • The Greens lost a motion for a debate on the gas bill.

  • Catherine King accused the Liberals of having ‘glass jaw’ about low female representation.

Have a lovely evening!

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Russia has cast doubt on assertions by the US that the Islamic State militant group was responsible for the terrorist attack on the Crocus City concert hall outside Moscow which killed at least 137 people and injured 182 others.

On Sunday, Islamic State released new footage of Friday’s deadly attack, corroborating the terror group’s claim to have masterminded the massacre, even as Russia sought to place the blame on Ukraine, which Kyiv denies.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, has now called into question US assertions that Islamic State, which once sought control over swathes of Iraq and Syria, was behind the attack.

“Attention – a question to the White House: Are you sure it’s Isis? Might you think again about that?” Zakharova said in an article for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

Zakharova added that the US, which has said it received intelligence that the terror group acted alone, was spreading a version of the “bogeyman” of Islamic State to cover its “wards” in Kyiv.

Here are some of the other main developments to catch up on:

  • Russia’s defence ministry said its forces destroyed 11 Ukraine-launched drones over the south-western Russian Rostov region.

  • Emergency power outages were introduced in Ukraine’s port of Odesa on Monday after a Russian air attack damaged one of the high-voltage facilities there, accrording to Ukraine’s top energy provider, DTEK.
    “The situation remains difficult,” DTEK wrote on Telegram. “In order to reduce the load on the network, electric transport will not operate in the city today, and industrial consumption is also limited.” The administration of Odesa said the city and the region were attacked by several waves of drones launched by Russia, with four of the air weapons shot down over the Odesa and neighbouring Mykolaiv regions.

  • Russia will not stop if it wins the war in Ukraine, Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to the UK, told Sky News. She told Sky News she is “optimistic” that the US will release more funding for Ukraine, but said “anybody who thinks that Russia may stop after this, I think is wrong”. “I was ambassador [to France and Monaco] in 2014, and I saw what happened in Crimea. I don’t know why anybody would say, ‘oh this is it for Russia’,” Hartley added.

  • Ukraine hit two Russian military ships stationed at the illegally occupied peninsula of Crimea, the Ukrainian military said on Sunday. The targets were the landing ships Yamal and Azov, a communications centre and other Black Sea fleet infrastructure. “It was the most massive attack in recent times,” said the Russian-appointed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev. He said a 65-year-old man was killed and four people injured. Footage shared on social media showed a large blast in the city, sending a fireball and black smoke into the air.

Prosecutors weigh up Australia’s first case under government secrecy laws

Revelation comes as the new independent monitor raises concerns about the laws which can send someone to jail for up to 10 years for revealing classified information

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Federal prosecutors are considering Australia’s first prosecution under broad-ranging general secrecy laws that can send someone revealing classified government information to jail for up to 10 years.

Nobody has ever been prosecuted under part 5.6 of the Criminal Code Act, which was introduced in December 2018 as a catch-all, general secrecy law designed to protect high-level commonwealth information, the release of which would be “inherently harmful”. It targets commonwealth officials but also contains an offence that covers anyone – including journalists, academics or the wider public – disclosing information that the government has stamped “secret” or “top secret”.

The office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has revealed it has received seven agency referrals recommending prosecutions under part 5.6. The detail is included in a submission to the office of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, which is reviewing the operation and breadth of part 5.6 and its offences.

The CDPP did not proceed with six of the referrals but says one is still being considered.

“Of the seven referrals, five were from the Australian Federal Police, one was from the Department of Home Affairs and one from the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (Aclei),” its submission says. Aclei was folded into the new National Anti-Corruption Commission when it was established in July last year.

The CDPP does not reveal any details of the unresolved referral. The federal attorney general would need to approve any prosecution.

Part 5.6 consolidated a range of disparate secrecy offences. The high-profile prosecutions of the former Defence lawyer David McBride and Australian Taxation Office official Richard Boyle preceded its existence.

Under a sunset clause, the part 5.6 general secrecy offence expires this year. The government must decide whether to renew, amend, replace or remove it.

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

The new Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (Inslm), Jake Blight, told public hearings on Monday that some information clearly needed protection. But he is concerned that the definition of “inherently harmful” is unclear and that high-level classifications may be being assigned too readily.

“I’m talking about a 10-year offence … – quite a serious offence – and I’m looking to see that only those things which are necessary and proportionate to an offence of this type are covered,” Blight said.

Agency chiefs defended a broad definition.

The Department of Home Affairs deputy secretary, Nathan Smyth, was prepared to countenance limited changes to 5.6 provided they “do not result in the net watering down of the robustness” of national security protections. The Australian federal police deputy commissioner Krissy Barrett emphasised that classifications should not be used to cover up “embarrassment” or hide impropriety.

Asio and the Australian Signals Directorate argued that disclosing any information from their agencies was harmful in itself.

“Secrecy provisions are here for deterrence purposes,” the Asio director general, Mike Burgess, told Monday’s hearing. “Once someone has received something, the deterrence provisions are not having the desired effect … It’s what happens next … And that’s the problem we need to focus on.”

The ASD acting chief operating officer, Stephen McGlynn, was firmer.

“We say once there is a disclosure, there is harm,” McGlynn said.

Blight said it was accepted that information about highly sensitive intelligence activities, operations, capabilities and technologies must be protected.

“The bit I’m struggling with is the jump from there to everything,” Blight told McGlynn.

In what became a slightly testy exchange, Blight posed a hypothetical scenario involving a culture of bullying or sexual harassment and asked why secrecy law should protect such information.

McGlynn said it could identify people or their work to foreign intelligence agencies seeking to harm Australia.

“We don’t know if a piece of information isn’t the missing piece that’s going to tell a broader story,” McGlynn responded.

However, Burgess said such information that did not identify people or jobs may not need to be classified secret.

The chief of defence intelligence, Lt Gen Gavan Reynolds, cautioned against watering down secrecy provisions or proscribing more of his agencies’ operations in law. Reynolds said different kinds of information within them should be treated consistently.

Kieran Pender, a senior lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre, whose clients include a robodebt whistleblower, told the hearing that part 5.6 favoured secrecy over transparency and needed overhauling.

“The breadth and vagueness of the offences in Part 5.6, together with inadequate defences and the flaws in the wider whistleblower protections framework, have a chilling effect on whistleblowing,” Pender said.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australian politics
  • Australian intelligence agencies
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Labor and Coalition cut short debate on offshore gas bill labelled ‘window dressing’

First Nations activists call legislation ‘a betrayal’ while Greens leader tells parliament Labor are ‘climate con artists’

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

The Albanese government and the Coalition have voted to cut short debate on Labor’s offshore gas bill, which the crossbench and environment groups have labelled “window dressing” that fails to prevent new rules watering down First Nations consultation.

Seeking to clear the decks before Easter, the government is expected to reveal tweaks to its proposed vehicle efficiency standards this week. And on Monday Labor introduced amendments to add safeguards to the offshore gas bill after widespread concerns, including from within it own ranks.

After the Greens failed to suspend standing orders to protest the offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage (OPGGS) bill throughout the day, the leader of the house, Tony Burke, moved to close debate on symbolic amendments shortly after 6pm.

Earlier the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, told parliament Labor were “climate con artists” prepared to “work with the climate deniers in the Coalition to fast-track offshore gas”.

The resources minister, Madeleine King, said parliamentary debate had been full of “egregious misinformation claims” about the bill, which is now likely to pass the second reading stage with Labor and Coalition support before going to the Senate on Wednesday.

The OPGGS bill states that approved offshore gas projects are taken to be compliant with environmental laws even if they wouldn’t otherwise be.

The bill has been panned by environmental groups, who are concerned it is an override designed to shelter offshore gas from imminent higher environmental standards, and First Nations groups, who warn it will hand power to the resources minister to rewrite regulations on consultation.

On Monday King introduced changes requiring the environment minister to agree that changes to consultation are consistent with ecological sustainability development principles.

The amendments include a sunset clause so that the override of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is phased out after 12 months.

Kirsty Howey, the executive director of Environment Centre NT, said the requirement for new regulations to be consistent with ESD principles was “practically meaningless”.

Louise Morris, oil and gas campaign manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said ESD “is a principle, not something that has any legally enforceable powers or structures”.

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

Environment groups have seized on a provision that, even if the resources minister fails to consult the environment minister, the validity of new regulations “will not be affected”, according to the explanatory memorandum. Howey said this meant the new safeguard was “technically pointless [and] nothing more than window dressing”.

A spokesperson for King said: “If there is disagreement between the two ministers, the regulations could still be validly made – however, if that were to happen then companies would be required to seek separate environmental approvals through both the OPGGS Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.”

A group of First Nations advocates, including Raelene Cooper, Josie Alec and Bruce Pascoe, have written to the Albanese government warning that the bill is a “betrayal”.

The group, who include First Nations leaders with responsibilities for sea country, will travel to Canberra on Tuesday to lobby against the bill, which they said was “intended to remove our consultation rights, rights to be heard over developments on our sea Country that affect our cultural heritage and songlines”.

On Monday Bandt attempted to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives, accusing Labor of being “more pro gas than Scott Morrison”.

The Greens have offered the government support to pass vehicle efficiency standards, in return for Labor dropping the controversial provisions of the OPGGS bill.

Guardian Australia understands the government has confidentially briefed stakeholders on vehicle emissions standards and is preparing to introduce minor amendments focused on light commercial vehicles and utes to bring them in line with US changes.

The climate change minister, Chris Bowen, said: “Obviously the changes being made to the US standards announced this week are of interest to us, and are one of the things we’re considering as we finalise this policy.”

Auto industry leaders, including a group who attended a government briefing on the new vehicle efficiency standard last week, have called for tweaks including adding more credits into the scheme, as there are in the US version. An industry source who spoke to Guardian Australia was optimistic the government would ease its proposed NVES in line with these concerns.

“Supercredits” for the cleanest of vehicles, “off-cycle credits” for specific green technologies used in cars that are not measured in tailpipe emissions, and “air conditioning credits” for using greener refrigerants, only feature in the least ambitious NVES model being considered but not the government’s preferred “option B”.

Earlier on Monday Bandt fired a warning shot on both gas and emissions standards, warning that “Labor has to choose its dancing partner on climate change”

In question time King accused the Greens of wanting “to continue a lawyers’ picnic of approvals” going through courts, which she said delayed traditional owners having their say.

A spokesperson for King said “the bill is not and was never intended as an exemption for the resources sector to nature positive reforms”.

The Labor Environment Action Network, which had lobbied against elements of the original bill, said the amendments were a “workable resolution of a situation that threatened a huge own goal”.

The independent MPs Zali Steggall, Zoe Daniel, and Sophie Scamps all criticised the changes as inadequate to fix the original bill.

The independent senator David Pocock said: “The Albanese government legislating a backdoor approvals process for offshore gas stinks.”

Annika Reynolds, national climate adviser of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said the ACF was still “deeply concerned” that the amendments did not address its “fundamental concerns”.

Explore more on these topics

  • Energy
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Adam Bandt
  • Gas (Business)
  • Gas (Environment)
  • Australian politics
  • Labor party
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Labor and Coalition cut short debate on offshore gas bill labelled ‘window dressing’

First Nations activists call legislation ‘a betrayal’ while Greens leader tells parliament Labor are ‘climate con artists’

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

The Albanese government and the Coalition have voted to cut short debate on Labor’s offshore gas bill, which the crossbench and environment groups have labelled “window dressing” that fails to prevent new rules watering down First Nations consultation.

Seeking to clear the decks before Easter, the government is expected to reveal tweaks to its proposed vehicle efficiency standards this week. And on Monday Labor introduced amendments to add safeguards to the offshore gas bill after widespread concerns, including from within it own ranks.

After the Greens failed to suspend standing orders to protest the offshore petroleum and greenhouse gas storage (OPGGS) bill throughout the day, the leader of the house, Tony Burke, moved to close debate on symbolic amendments shortly after 6pm.

Earlier the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, told parliament Labor were “climate con artists” prepared to “work with the climate deniers in the Coalition to fast-track offshore gas”.

The resources minister, Madeleine King, said parliamentary debate had been full of “egregious misinformation claims” about the bill, which is now likely to pass the second reading stage with Labor and Coalition support before going to the Senate on Wednesday.

The OPGGS bill states that approved offshore gas projects are taken to be compliant with environmental laws even if they wouldn’t otherwise be.

The bill has been panned by environmental groups, who are concerned it is an override designed to shelter offshore gas from imminent higher environmental standards, and First Nations groups, who warn it will hand power to the resources minister to rewrite regulations on consultation.

On Monday King introduced changes requiring the environment minister to agree that changes to consultation are consistent with ecological sustainability development principles.

The amendments include a sunset clause so that the override of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is phased out after 12 months.

Kirsty Howey, the executive director of Environment Centre NT, said the requirement for new regulations to be consistent with ESD principles was “practically meaningless”.

Louise Morris, oil and gas campaign manager at the Australian Marine Conservation Society, said ESD “is a principle, not something that has any legally enforceable powers or structures”.

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

Environment groups have seized on a provision that, even if the resources minister fails to consult the environment minister, the validity of new regulations “will not be affected”, according to the explanatory memorandum. Howey said this meant the new safeguard was “technically pointless [and] nothing more than window dressing”.

A spokesperson for King said: “If there is disagreement between the two ministers, the regulations could still be validly made – however, if that were to happen then companies would be required to seek separate environmental approvals through both the OPGGS Act and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.”

A group of First Nations advocates, including Raelene Cooper, Josie Alec and Bruce Pascoe, have written to the Albanese government warning that the bill is a “betrayal”.

The group, who include First Nations leaders with responsibilities for sea country, will travel to Canberra on Tuesday to lobby against the bill, which they said was “intended to remove our consultation rights, rights to be heard over developments on our sea Country that affect our cultural heritage and songlines”.

On Monday Bandt attempted to suspend standing orders in the House of Representatives, accusing Labor of being “more pro gas than Scott Morrison”.

The Greens have offered the government support to pass vehicle efficiency standards, in return for Labor dropping the controversial provisions of the OPGGS bill.

Guardian Australia understands the government has confidentially briefed stakeholders on vehicle emissions standards and is preparing to introduce minor amendments focused on light commercial vehicles and utes to bring them in line with US changes.

The climate change minister, Chris Bowen, said: “Obviously the changes being made to the US standards announced this week are of interest to us, and are one of the things we’re considering as we finalise this policy.”

Auto industry leaders, including a group who attended a government briefing on the new vehicle efficiency standard last week, have called for tweaks including adding more credits into the scheme, as there are in the US version. An industry source who spoke to Guardian Australia was optimistic the government would ease its proposed NVES in line with these concerns.

“Supercredits” for the cleanest of vehicles, “off-cycle credits” for specific green technologies used in cars that are not measured in tailpipe emissions, and “air conditioning credits” for using greener refrigerants, only feature in the least ambitious NVES model being considered but not the government’s preferred “option B”.

Earlier on Monday Bandt fired a warning shot on both gas and emissions standards, warning that “Labor has to choose its dancing partner on climate change”

In question time King accused the Greens of wanting “to continue a lawyers’ picnic of approvals” going through courts, which she said delayed traditional owners having their say.

A spokesperson for King said “the bill is not and was never intended as an exemption for the resources sector to nature positive reforms”.

The Labor Environment Action Network, which had lobbied against elements of the original bill, said the amendments were a “workable resolution of a situation that threatened a huge own goal”.

The independent MPs Zali Steggall, Zoe Daniel, and Sophie Scamps all criticised the changes as inadequate to fix the original bill.

The independent senator David Pocock said: “The Albanese government legislating a backdoor approvals process for offshore gas stinks.”

Annika Reynolds, national climate adviser of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said the ACF was still “deeply concerned” that the amendments did not address its “fundamental concerns”.

Explore more on these topics

  • Energy
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Adam Bandt
  • Gas (Business)
  • Gas (Environment)
  • Australian politics
  • Labor party
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

West Papuan man filmed being bound and tortured in water-filled barrel allegedly by Indonesian soldiers

Footage allegedly filmed during February military raid in Puncak regency renews calls for international intervention in contested region
Warning: this article contains graphic content

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

Footage of a West Papuan man, bound in a water-filled barrel and being beaten and cut with knives, allegedly by Indonesian soldiers, has reanimated demands for international intervention in the contested province.

Two videos of the man being tortured are alleged to have been filmed in early February this year, during a military raid in the Omukia and Gome districts in Puncak regency, in the Central Papua province.

The footage – which the Guardian has seen but chosen not to republish – shows the man sitting in a 44-gallon barrel that is filled with bloodied water.

In one video he is repeatedly punched, elbowed, hit with sticks and kicked as he sits in the barrel. Blood can be seen running from numerous injuries on his face and head.

In another, a knife is repeatedly run over his back – which is already bleeding – while a hand holds his head. He can be seen to be bleeding from his ear and head, and he is shivering.

The man, with his arms behind his back, does not speak nor resist during the assaults. The assailants are dressed in civilian clothes, however, at least one is wearing camouflage pants that match the uniform of the Indonesian military, the TNI.

The executive president of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Menase Tabuni, condemned the assaults on civilians.

“This kind of action violates human values. No law can condone heinous acts of torture as seen in the two video clips.”

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

Tabuni said the UN high commissioner for human rights should “immediately form an investigation team to carry out investigations into human rights violations and threats of genocide against the Papuan people”.

A visit by the UN high commissioner for human rights to West Papua was negotiated in 2018 – and has since been publicly supported by more than 100 countries – but has not materialised.

Exiled West Papuan leader Benny Wenda, the president of ULMWP, said while the videos were “extreme and shocking”, they “merely expose how Indonesia behaves every day in my country”.

“Torture is such a widespread military practice that it has been described as a ‘mode of governance’ in West Papua,” he said. “I ask everyone who watches the video to remember that West Papua is a closed society, cut off from the world by a 60-year media ban imposed by Indonesia’s military occupation.

“How many victims go unnoticed by the world? How many incidents are not captured on film? Every week we hear word of another murder, massacre, or tortured civilian.”

Rumadi Ahmad, a deputy chief of the Indonesian presidential staff, said in a statement that the Indonesian government was committed to bringing development and security to Papua, but those efforts would be undermined if military personnel committed acts of violence and torture.

“While we hold a strong hope that our soldiers are not involved in such reprehensible acts, if proven true, the individuals responsible must be held accountable in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations,” Rumadi said.

“If the video is proven to be true, the actions by a few irresponsible individuals could be very disruptive to the development that has been planned and implemented so well,” Rumadi said.

Col Gusti Nyoman Suriastawa, a military spokesman in Papua, told BenarNews the video was being investigated.

“We are verifying its authenticity … if it is genuine, we need to determine where and when it occurred.”

The four contested Indonesian provinces on the island of Papua (also referred to as New Guinea island) are referred to collectively as West Papua.

Indonesia has controlled the former Dutch colony since invading in 1963. It formalised its annexation through the controversial UN approved “Act of Free Choice” in 1969, widely regarded as a sham referendum, in which just over 1,000 selected Papuans were forced – some threatened with violence – to vote in support of Indonesian rule.

In the decades since, security forces have been accused of severe human rights violations, with an estimated 500,000 Papuans killed. A Guardian investigation last year detailed consistent reports of torture and murder of civilians, including children, by military officials.

The Indonesian state has always maintained that the West Papuan provinces are an indivisible part of the Republic of Indonesia.

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia news
  • West Papua
  • Indonesia
  • Asia Pacific
  • Torture
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Spectacular aurora australis expected after severe geomagnetic storm eruption on sun’s surface

Southern lights may be visible in Tasmania, along Victoria’s coastline and on Western Australia’s south-west coast

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

The spectacular aurora australis could be visible from Victoria to Western Australia this week after a severe geomagnetic storm erupted on the sun’s surface.

The shimmering spectacle comes on the same night as a penumbral lunar eclipse, which will be visible across the nation.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s space weather forecasting centre issued an aurora alert on Monday morning, which said that the storm was in progress and the southern lights could be visible.

The storms are caused by coronal mass ejections, when clouds of plasma erupt from the sun’s outer atmosphere. Particles stream towards Earth, creating the spectacular display as they strike the Earth’s magnetic field.

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

The storm peaked at 6 on the Kaus Index (on a scale of one to eight measuring geomagnetic activity), which means auroras will potentially be visible across Tasmania, along Victoria’s coastline and even on Western Australia’s south-west coast.

They are more commonly seen from Antartica but the more severe the storm, the further north they appear.

Severe storms can disrupt power networks and the satellites that provide navigation, surveillance and communication services. They can also pose a radiation risk to astronauts and people in high-flying aircraft.

The BoM advises people hoping to see the aurora australis to find somewhere dark, like a beach or a hill with an unobstructed view south. The best viewing time is between 10pm and 2am.

Last year, there were reports of shimmering night skies from Busselton in WA, to Ballarat and Canberra.

Macquarie University astronomer Dr Stuart Ryder said the 11-year solar cycle was likely nearing its peak.

“It goes from a relatively benign, calm state with very few sunspots on the surface to a very active phase about five or six years later, with a maximum number of sun spots,” he said.

“It’s much more likely to release huge flares of energy, enormous quantities of charged particles radiating away from the sun … their characteristic colours are green or red but people report blues, yellows, even purples.

“The more powerful the flare and the more it puts out, the greater the chance that people who live more towards the equator might get to see them.”

Tonight and tomorrow night will be the best time, he said.

Meanwhile, at about 7pm tonight in Sydney and 7.30pm in Melbourne, the Earth’s shadow, or penumbra, will dim the moon.

It will be visible in spots including North and South America, as well as parts of Asia and Africa. In Australia, the details for people hoping to catch it are published on timeanddate.com.

Ryder said the eclipse will be half over by the time the moon clears the horizon. “Even when it does, the moon won’t pass through the deepest part of the Earth’s shadow,” he said. “It will be a full moon, and the upper part could appear a bit darker, because it’s deeper into the Earth’s shadow.

“Then the moon will move out of the shadow that it’s in and will be restored to full brightness … which unfortunately could ruin people’s chances of seeing the aurora.”

Explore more on these topics

  • Australia news
  • Australia weather
  • Victoria
  • Tasmania
  • Western Australia
  • Astronomy
  • Space
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

NSW police commissioner says appointment of media adviser under review after new information received

Karen Webb says checks still under way in the appointment of Channel Seven journalist Steve Jackson to the role of police media adviser

  • Follow our Australia news live blog for latest updates
  • Get our morning and afternoon news emails, free app or daily news podcast

The New South Wales police commissioner, Karen Webb, has revealed the appointment of a new police media adviser is under review after she received new information about the candidate.

A spokesperson for NSW police told Guardian Australia the review of the appointment of the Channel Seven and News Corp journalist Steve Jackson to the $320,000-a-year role “remains ongoing”.

Webb dismissed her former executive director of public affairs Liz Deegan earlier this month after the commissioner’s media strategy was criticised in the wake of the alleged murders of Sydney couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

She appointed Jackson to the interim role for a period of six months after a “baseline check” but a thorough security check was now under way, the commissioner said.

Questions about the appointment were raised last week when images of Jackson, a producer on Seven’s Spotlight program, began circulating in the media industry in Sydney.

The images were of Jackson with an unnamed woman he had interviewed in 2019 when he was working for the Australian newspaper. According to media reports there is no sexual activity and nothing illegal about the photos.

Jackson was one of the producers of Spotlight’s exclusive interview with Bruce Lehrmann, for which the network paid his rent for a year to the tune of $100,000.

Approached by Guardian Australia, Jackson said he had no comment.

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

On Monday morning Webb broke her silence on the controversy, saying Jackson has passed a “baseline check” but a “more thorough” security check was now under way.

“It’s a position that does require access to sensitive information,” Webb told Nine Radio’s Ray Hadley.

“What is happening now is that the [job] offer is made but there [is] security vetting that goes on in the meantime … the question was asked … ‘were we aware of information’. Information has been provided to us and it is being reviewed as part of that employment process.”

Webb revealed that Jackson was recommended by the police minister Yasmin Catley’s chief of staff, Ross Neilson.

She said she turned to Neilson for advice because she does not “have a lot of connections in the media” and he used to run the police media unit.

“I asked the minister’s chief of staff, who’s been around in this game for a long time,” Webb said.

“So he was an ideal person to ask. And did he have any suggestions? He gave me a couple of suggestions. And I followed up with Steve.”

A spokesperson for Catley said the employment of Jackson was a matter for the commissioner. The minister has been approached for comment about Neilson’s role.

Webb agreed with Hadley when he suggested recent headlines were “not a good way to start your career as the person advising the chief law officer in terms of a police commissioner”.

In the interview with Hadley, Webb conceded she was not experienced in dealing with the media and had made mistakes in her public appearances.

She came under scrutiny last month when she referenced a Taylor Swift lyric in a media interview where she attempted to defend her response to the alleged murders of Baird and Davies.

Asked on Seven’s Sunrise program about her delay in speaking publicly after the alleged murders and whether she should face criticism over her handling of the case she said: “There will always be haters. Haters like to hate. Isn’t that what Taylor [Swift] says?”

Explore more on these topics

  • Australian police and policing
  • New South Wales
  • Australian media
  • news
Share

Reuse this content

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona ‘will be completed in 2026’

New date for Antoni Gaudí’s basilica announced but enormous, controversial stairway will take another eight years

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia basilica has a new completion date of 2026, which will come 144 years after the first stone was laid.

The president of the organisation tasked with completing Antoni Gaudí’s masterwork announced the date last Wednesday, which coincides with the centenary of the death of the building’s architect.

Esteve Camps said they had the money and material to finish the building, including the 172.5-metre central tower dedicated to Jesus Christ, making the Sagrada Familia Barcelona’s tallest building.

Although the building is set to be complete by 2026, work on sculptures and decorative details and, above all, the controversial stairway leading to what will eventually be the main entrance, is expected to continue until 2034.

When work began in 1882 the site was open farmland but in the intervening years the city has grown up around the church. The stairway, which would extend across two large city blocks, would involve dislodging about 1,000 families and businesses.

While some Gaudí scholars dispute it, Camps insists that the stairway was always part of the architect’s plan.

“We are following Gaudí’s plan to the letter, he said. “We are his heirs and we can’t renounce his project. The plan presented to the local authority in 1915, which was signed by Gaudí, includes the stairway.” He added that they were in talks with the mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, over the plan, as the local authority has the last word. “I don’t have a crystal ball to tell me when they will make a decision,” he said.

Since its inception, the Sagrada Familia has been dogged by war, neglect and a lack of finance. Most recently, the Covid pandemic led to a two-year hiatus in work on the site.

Before the advent of mass tourism, work was to be funded exclusively by donations from repentant sinners, which made cashflow unpredictable and many doubted that the work would ever be completed. The poet Joan Maragall described the basilica as “the poetry of architecture … a temple that will never be finished, that is constantly becoming”.

For decades now, tourism has guaranteed a steady income, with close to 5 million visitors a year paying €25-40 (£20-£32) a visit. Slightly more than half of the €125m this brings in goes to completing the work. How the rest is spent remains a mystery as the church is not obliged to publish its accounts.

In 1936, at the start of the Spanish civil war, anarchists set fire to the crypt and destroyed Gaudí’s workshop and the plaster models he made as a guide for his successors to complete the work. The architect Lluís Bonet i Garí rescued the fragments and Gaudí’s models were painstakingly reassembled. Many of the technical details of how to realise Gaudí’s design were later ironed out by the New Zealand architect Mark Burry using aeronautical software.

The Sagrada Familia is regarded as one of the wonders of the modern world but that wasn’t always the case. Salvador Dalí described its “terrifying and edible beauty” while George Orwell considered it “one of the most hideous buildings in the world” and commented that the anarchists showed a lack of taste for failing to blow it up when they had the chance.

Explore more on these topics

  • Barcelona
  • Spain
  • Antoni Gaudí
  • Europe
  • Architecture
  • Catholicism
  • Catalonia
  • news
Share

Reuse this content