Australia Covid news live update: NSW records 444 cases, four deaths; federal cabinet to debate net zero target; vaccination rates surge

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The prominent Murdoch commentator Andrew Bolt says News Corp Australia’s major editorial campaign to speed up climate action is “rubbish” and the “global warming propaganda” provides political cover for Scott Morrison.

“Millions of Australian readers would have got a shock this morning when they picked up their Murdoch newspapers around the country,” Bolt told his Sky News Australia audience after the company published 16-page wraparounds in every tabloid.

“Prime minister Scott Morrison will actually be delighted because he can now have the Malcolm Turnbull-type policy that he wants – net zero emissions – and take it to the next big global warming conference in Glasgow in November, knowing that he has the backing of the Murdoch media.”

On Monday, Murdoch’s Australian arm launched a major editorial project, Mission Zero, to “inform Australians about the key environmental and climate issues of our time” in support of net zero emissions by 2050.

You can read the full report below:

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NSW records 444 new local Covid-19 cases and four deaths

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Environment minister Sussan Ley says she wants Australia to be “heading to net zero and doing it with confidence and seizing the opportunities in provides”.

Speaking to ABC Radio National Breakfast, Ley said she would leave the prime minister to make statements about government policy, but she believed there were “huge advantages” for rural and regional Australia, and opportunities for agriculture.

Asked about Bridget McKenzie’s earlier comments, which seems to emphasis the threat to regional Australia, Ley said:

I don’t see, I don’t get a sense of feeling worried or threatened around me and I feel that I know my community very well, but each community is different. Let’s not forget that. I’m a rural Liberal … we’ll all bring different perspectives, as I know the national party members will, as I know the National party leadership has made clear.

This is a good discussion to be having, because it thrashes out perspectives – every single point of view, and of course I will bring mine. And of course I want us to be heading to net zero and doing it with confidence and actually seizing the opportunities that it provides.

Asked about the growing diplomatic push to strengthen Australia’s 2030 target (which is now just a 26% to 28% cut on 2005 levels), Ley pulled out the “meeting and beating” talking point. Ley said she would leave that issue to the “very live” internal government discussions.

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Five million doses of hydroxychloroquine imported by Clive Palmer were sent for destruction after a standoff with the commonwealth over who should take responsibility for a shipment sitting unclaimed in Melbourne airport.

Last year Palmer promised to donate 32.9m doses of the antimalarial drug to the Australian government, in the hope that it could aid the country’s Covid-19 response, if trials proved it to be an effective treatment.

The commonwealth took about 22.4m doses into its stockpile by June but its enthusiasm for the drug waned, given mounting evidence of its ineffectiveness as a Covid-19 treatment.

The government told Palmer it wouldn’t take any more donations in May, according to documents obtained by the journalist William Summers for Guardian Australia.

You can read the full report by Christopher Knaus and Michael McGowan below:

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Nicks Xenophon makes fresh tilt at federal politics

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