Morning mail: Lambie open on medevac, Giuliani's legal jeopardy, apostrophe catastrophe

Helen Sullivan
Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Good morning, this is Helen Sullivan bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 2 December.

Top stories

Jacqui Lambie will meet with Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton on Monday to discuss the medevac repeal. After outlining a non-negotiable – but undisclosed – condition for securing her support, Lambie told Guardian Australia the government was prepared to discuss her demand, saying the “door is wide open”. While the key crossbencher has refused to disclose details of her ultimatum, saying it relates to issues of national security, it has been reported she wants the Coalition to accept the offer from New Zealand to take 150 refugees from offshore detention. Lambie has not denied the report.

The second victim of the London Bridge terror attack has been named as Saskia Jones, 23, a former Cambridge student. Jones was named a day after Jack Merritt, 25, was identified by his father as the other person killed by Usman Khan in his knife attack at Fishmongers’ Hall on Friday. Khan was attending an event for the Learning Together initiative when he began the attack. Academics and former staff at a prison-based education project have voiced support for the initiative, saying its message should not be undermined.

Detained Australian writer Dr Yang Hengjun is being subjected to daily interrogations with his arms and legs shackled, as Chinese security officials try to “break” him, his lawyers say, pushing for him to confess to unspecified allegations of espionage that potentially carry the death penalty. Yang, an Australian citizen and globally influential pro-democracy political blogger, has been held by China’s Ministry of State Security since being detained in Guangzhou in January.


Freed Taliban hostage Timothy Weeks says he never gave up hope he would be rescued during his three years in captivity in Afghanistan. Speaking publicly for the first time since his release as part of a complex prisoner swap almost two weeks ago, the Australian teacher thanked those who helped secure his freedom, and said he had formed extraordinarily tight bonds with some of his Taliban captors.

Federal parliament will debate a call for the return of countless thousands of looted Aboriginal artefacts, many of which remain in the British Museum.

Australia’s carbon emissions would be more than 200m tonnes lower if the Greens had supported the carbon pollution reduction scheme a decade ago, says Labor frontbencher Pat Conroy.

The Westpac scandal highlights the problems Australian institutions have with detecting and reporting dodgy transactions. The allegations have also provoked concerns about the ability of the big banks to comply with the law.

The world

Rudy Giuliani: ‘The president knows that everything I did, I did to help him.’ Photograph: Charles Krupa/AP

Legal storm clouds are gathering over Rudy Giuliani, America’s tarnished mayor. Analysts say an indictment is likely as prosecutors focus on Giuliani’s work for Trump and himself in Ukraine.

The future of Angela Merkel’s government is in doubt after her junior coalition partners the Social Democrats elected a new leftwing leadership duo who have pledged to renegotiate the terms of the alliance.

The gang rape of a veterinary doctor whose body was set on fire and dumped under a bridge has sent shockwaves through India, with hundreds of women taking to the streets in protest.

Iran has warned it may “seriously reconsider” its commitments to the UN atomic watchdog if European parties to a nuclear deal trigger a dispute mechanism that could lead to fresh sanctions.

Recommended reads

Iranian protesters block a road during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices in the central city of Shiraz on 16 November. Photograph: AFP via Getty Images

Michael Safi writes about Iran’s brutal crackdown in Shiraz, its city of Roses. “‘What are you scared of?’ the woman in the black coat shouts. ‘Help me to understand.’ She marches up to a man in uniform guarding the petrol station. ‘You’re ruining us,’ she screams, as the man walks away. The exchange comes from footage taken around 1am on Friday 15 November in the south-central Iranian city of Shiraz. Hours earlier, in a surprise announcement, Iran’s government had said it was raising the price of fuel by up to three times, adding to the strain on a population already struggling with an economy suffocated by US sanctions.”

Emergency = R × U = p × D × τ / T. Knowing how long societies have to react to pull the brake on the Earth’s climate and then how long it will take for the ship to slow down is the difference between a climate emergency and a manageable problem. Rather than being something abstract and open to interpretation, Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber says the climate emergency is something with clear and calculable risks that you could put into a formula. And so he wrote one.


What is it like when someone you love dies in prison? This episode of Breathless follows the family of David Dungay Jr, a 26-year-old Dunghutti man who died in Sydney’s Long Bay jail in late 2015, as they grapple with his death in custody. The Guardian’s Breathless podcast has been documenting the journey of David Dungay Jr’s family for the past three years. If you want to hear the story as it unfolded you can start with episode one here, and read our coverage and see photos of his family here.


Mitchell Starc of Australia celebrates after dismissing Azhar Ali of Pakistan as it begins to rain during day three of the second Test Match between Australia and Pakistan at Adelaide Oval on Sunday. Photograph: Scott Barbour/AAP

Mitchell Starc avenged his Ashes disappointment to put Australia within touching distance of a big second Test win over Pakistan, before rain curtailed play in Adelaide.

Arsenal have hit back to draw with Norwich in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game in charge. Arsenal responded to their new interim head coach’s presence, showing a greater appetite to play on the front foot than in the latter days of Unai Emery’s reign, writes Nick Ames.

What’s awry at Perth Glory? asks Richard Parkin. In the A-League’s short 15-year history, only once has the reigning premiers been bottom after eight rounds – there’s a residual bonhomie in the dressing room, or conversely a fear factor in opponents, that sees the top team start the follow-up campaign brightly.

Media roundup

Tamra McBeath-Riley, one of the three hikers missing in central Australia has been found alive, the ABC reports. “More than 20 refugees approved for relocation in the US have ­instead been flown to Australia under the medevac regime, fuelling concern that the laws are undermining third-country resettle­ment efforts,” writes the Australian. The New South Wales government has spent over $6.4m on consultants for Tafe since June 2018, the Sydney Morning Herald reveals.

Coming up

Parliament resumes with the repeal of medevac laws to be debated in the Senate, as the government negotiates with Jacqui Lambie after the humiliating loss on its union-busting bill. Outside parliament, a convoy of farmers will protest the government’s handling of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

NSW’s Law Enforcement Conduct Commission will hold a public hearing into the strip-searching of several young people at the Lost City music festival on 23 February.

And if you’ve read this far …

A society dedicated to preserving the “much-abused” apostrophe is to be shut down as its chairman said “ignorance and laziness” had won. John Richards, who worked in journalism for much of his career, started the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001 after he retired. Writing on the society’s website, he said: “Fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language. “We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!”

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