Australia news live: Labor orders review of Covid vaccine deals; Seven bid to terminate cricket broadcasting rights

Anthony Albanese and Justin Trudeau meet on Nato summit sidelines

Prime minister Anthony Albanese has met with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Madrid.

Standing in front of each country’s flags and making brief remarks in front of the media, Trudeau made some general comments about looking forward to working with the new Albanese government.

Trudeau also called Albanese “Tony”.

Albanese did not appear to bring up his new nickname, but told Trudeau that Australia would no longer be in the “naughty corner” in regards to climate action.

Anthony Albanese shakes hands with Justin Trudeau
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese shakes hands with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau during a bilateral meeting ahead of the Nato leaders summit in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated at 03.17 EDT

Aboriginal Australian activist calls for end to deep-sea mining at UN meeting in Portugal – video

Anthony Albanese and Justin Trudeau meet on Nato summit sidelines

Prime minister Anthony Albanese has met with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the Nato summit in Madrid.

Standing in front of each country’s flags and making brief remarks in front of the media, Trudeau made some general comments about looking forward to working with the new Albanese government.

Trudeau also called Albanese “Tony”.

Albanese did not appear to bring up his new nickname, but told Trudeau that Australia would no longer be in the “naughty corner” in regards to climate action.

Anthony Albanese shakes hands with Justin Trudeau
Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese shakes hands with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau during a bilateral meeting ahead of the Nato leaders summit in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated at 03.17 EDT

I’m deeply disappointed @markdreyfusQCMP has refused to exercise his public interest power to stop the prosecution of ATO whistleblower and hero, Richard Boyle. No-one in the public service will blow the whistle on illegal or improper conduct knowing persecution follows. #auspol

— Rex Patrick (@Senator_Patrick) June 30, 2022

Monkeypox detected in South Australia

South Australia has reported its first case of monkeypox in a man who recently returned from overseas, reports AAP.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the man was in a stable condition and was isolating at home.

She said no close contacts had been identified in SA so there was no risk to the wider community.

“This is somebody who has picked up the infection overseas, has seen the travel advice, got diagnosed and is stable and there is no further risk to us,” prof Spurrier said on Thursday.

“We don’t expect this to be spreading widely.”

Updated at 03.05 EDT

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Senate committee says Western Sydney Airport project land buy ‘breached social contract’

The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee has issued a report on the Western Sydney Airport project, which includes some criticism of the Leppington Triangle purchase.

The Australian National Audit Office found the $30m price tag paid by the infrastructure department was almost 10 times its fair value.

The committee, chaired by Labor senator Tim Ayres, said in its report:

It is clear that this transaction has breached the social contract between the commonwealth and the public, by not providing any clear value for money and by creating arbitrary differences between landholders with varying degrees of access to decision-makers.”

The committee called for:

  • Ongoing scrutiny of the Western Sydney Airport project through the 47th parliament
  • An update on how the department is implementing ANAO recommendations
  • A federal integrity body must be established as a matter of priority

It said:

The incoming Labor government has committed to establishing an independent and powerful national integrity commission. This commission will promote proper public administration and provide a vital accountability measure to rebuild public trust in the administration of commonwealth funds.

It will also ensure that any future significant commonwealth transactions, like that of the Leppington Triangle, represent value for money for the taxpayer and adhere to the relevant Commonwealth Procurement Rules.”

Updated at 02.54 EDT

Channel Seven seeks court ruling to end cricket broadcasting deal

Mike Hytner

Mike Hytner

Channel Seven is seeking a court declaration that would allow them to terminate a multi-million dollar Test cricket and Big Bash League broadcasting rights deal with Cricket Australia.

Seven West Media Limited on Thursday filed court proceedings in the federal court in relation to “multiple quality and standard breaches by CA” of the existing $450m media rights agreement.

“The SWM (Seven West Media) proceedings will seek both a court declaration that Seven is entitled to terminate the MRA (media rights agreement) on the basis of material contract breaches by CA which were not remedied, and damages arising out of past breaches,” a Seven statement read.

It is understood the court proceedings will start early next year and the upcoming summer of cricket is unlikely to be affected, with Seven intent on performing its obligations in terms of broadcasting a busy summer of Test and BBL cricket.

There are two summers remaining on the six-year deal but it is understood that the BBL is the sticking point for Seven, after the past two seasons were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Seven previously obtained preliminary discovery proceedings in the federal court relating to the claims,” the Seven statement added. “Seven’s intention is to terminate the MRA, conditional on the federal court granting a declaration that Seven is entitled to do so. Seven has the right to waive this condition. The damages action is not conditional.

“Seven has pursued the informal dispute resolution procedure under the MRA but the procedure failed to resolve the dispute.”

Updated at 02.57 EDT

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Senate committee repeats call for ‘disassembly’ of Administrative Appeals Tribunal

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has reported back on the future of merits review, and has simply reiterated that its view in March is the same: that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal should be “disassembled”(and replaced by another merits review body).

In a brief note the chair, outgoing Labor senator Kim Carr, wrote:

A substantive interim report was tabled on 31 March 2022, which took account of the 38 submissions received and outlined the committee’s views and recommendations.

This process enabled the committee to consider the issues raised in, and conclude its examination of, the terms of reference. As such, the committee is of the view that re-referral of the inquiry in the 47th Parliament is not necessary.”

We’ve asked the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, if this is the government’s view.

The committee has also handballed two further inquiries:

  • One on a Centre Alliance bill about altering the constitution to recognise freedom of the press, which was started in 2019 and got 30 submissions but did not conduct any hearings. Thanks for submitting, no need to bother the 47th parliament with it, was the gist.
  • One on missing and murdered First Nations women and children, which was only referred in November but did not progress due to parliament being prorogued in April. The committee said it will be up to the new Senate to decide whether to proceed.
Kim Carr
Outgoing Labor senator Kim Carr. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Updated at 02.14 EDT

Accounts of bruising on Lynette Dawson part of bigger picture, prosecution alleges

Witness accounts that Lynette Dawson was seen bruised before she vanished in January 1982 were small pieces of a larger picture showing she was murdered by her husband, prosecutors have told a court.

As the murder trial against Christopher Michael Dawson, 73, enters its closing phase, crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC said that evidence of the bruising could lead the NSW supreme court to find Lynette Dawson had been killed instead of having left home.

Dawson has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder and denies having any involvement in his wife’s disappearance.

Read more:

Updated at 01.33 EDT

National Covid summary

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 60 deaths from Covid-19:


  • Deaths: 1
  • Cases: 1,250
  • In hospital: 122 (with 2 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 23
  • Cases: 11,504
  • In hospital: 1,534 (with 37 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 354
  • In hospital: 15 (with 2 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 10
  • Cases: 5,286
  • In hospital: 642 (with 14 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 0
  • Cases: 3,129
  • In hospital: 237 (with 8 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 2
  • Cases: 1,268
  • In hospital: 44 (with 3 people in ICU)


  • Deaths: 17
  • Cases: 9,926
  • In hospital: 465 (with 21 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 7
  • Cases: 5,548
  • In hospital: 219 (with 11 people in ICU)
Melissa Davey

Melissa Davey

AMA president criticises government for ending Covid-19 telehealth services

President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Omar Khorshid, says the federal government has failed an early test of its pandemic response by refusing to extend Covid-19 telehealth services, despite the ongoing challenges to the health system.

Without telehealth services being extended from 1 July, vulnerable patients’ will be impacted in particular, he said.

This decision means telephone access to doctors will be significantly limited and this will hit vulnerable patients hardest, including those who do not have access to high bandwidth internet and those who can’t operate the necessary IT systems.

This means that older patients, those with chronic health conditions including cancers and those who are immune-suppressed will have less access to care from tomorrow and may be put at increased risk of contracting Covid if they now have to attend their doctors appointment face to face.”

Earlier on Thursday the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) issued a similar statement. They want specialist telehealth items, especially items by phone, to be made a permanent feature of the healthcare system.

RACP president Dr Jacqueline Small said:

We’re approaching the deadline, but there’s still time for the government to make a positive change at the eleventh hour”.

Updated at 00.56 EDT

Melissa Davey

Melissa Davey

Pfizer Covid vaccine provisionally approved in six-month-old children

As posted earlier, Australia’s drugs regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration [TGA] today provisionally approved the Pfizer vaccine in children from six months old.

Provisional determination is just the first step in the registration process and it means that Pfizer is now eligible to apply for registration of their vaccine for children under five.

Associate Professor Hassan Vally, an epidemiologist at Deakin University, said it means that Pfizer has been given the go-ahead to apply for provisional registration for the use of this vaccine in young children.

When they do this, the TGA will go through all of the available information with a fine tooth comb before making a decision whether to approve the vaccine for this age group,” he said.

If this were to happen, it would then be up to ATAGI [Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation] to take on board all that we know about Covid-19 in this age group and the relevant vaccine safety and effectiveness data to decide whether to recommend this vaccine for children this age group.

As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic ATAGI is very thorough in reviewing the data and very cautious when it comes to recommending vaccines. Despite this, there is little reason to expect that the vaccine wouldn’t be recommended as all of the available data from clinical trials suggests that the vaccine in the doses selected for young children is very safe and effective.”

Updated at 00.31 EDT

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Penny Wong winds up trip to Malaysia

The minister for foreign affairs, Penny Wong, is about to finish her trip to Malaysia. She has spoken with reporters in Kota Kinabalu, where she spent the early years of her life.

Wong is clearly seeking to deepen Australia’s ties with south-east Asian countries:

I think it matters that Australia speaks to south-east Asia in a way that recognises that we are part of this region and that our futures are shared. These are challenging times in the world, we’re all seeking to navigate these challenging times and we do it best when we do it together. And that collectivity comes from an understanding that our future prosperity and security is shared.

Wong is also seeking to present a picture of modern Australia. She notes that one in two Australians were either born overseas or have parents who were born overseas:

I hope that my personal story can contribute to the relationship but more importantly what I want to emphasise is that it is not only my story – this is a story that many Australians can tell.We have so many Australians who were born overseas or whose parents were born overseas who have connections with south-east Asia and other countries around the world.

We are a multicultural and diverse nation. And I hope in part my story can contribute to reminding people in this region and throughout the world that Australia is a modern, diverse multicultural society which is keen to continue engaging with the region.”

Penny Wong with Saifuddin Abdullah
Australian foreign minister Penny Wong with Malaysian foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah. Photograph: Ministry of Foreign Affairs HANDOUT/EPA

Updated at 00.14 EDT

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Reforms to parliament rules flagged

Tony Burke, the leader of the house, has met with crossbench MPs this morning about new proposed standing orders for the House of Representatives.

Burke signalled early in the term of the new government that he was “determined to fix” how parliament works in response to a long list of demands to give the crossbench more say.

Guardian Australia understands the new rules include more opportunities for the crossbench to speak including more questions in question time, a move criticised by manager of opposition business, Paul Fletcher, who thinks the opposition are better at scrutinising the government than the crossbench.

On Thursday, Burke said:

I have been conducting productive consultations with Labor, the crossbench and the manager of opposition business about potential changes to standing orders. These changes have also been informed by the Jenkins review. Final drafting is not yet complete but I am hoping to introduce changes in the first week of parliament.”

Regarding the signal about the Jenkins review, it’s worth noting that it recommended:

  • A “review of the Parliamentary sitting calendar and the Order/Routine of Business with a view to enhancing wellbeing, balance and flexibility for parliamentarians and workers in Commonwealth parliamentary workplaces”. Could that mean shorter sitting hours? Allowing MPs to vote remotely, as the Senate allowed during covid?
  • A committee to establish a code of conduct for parliamentarians – an idea that has been taken up with enthusiasm by independent MP Kylea Tink

Independent MP Zoe Daniel said the meeting was “productive and collaborative”. So sounds like things are going more smoothly than the cut to crossbench staff, which will be revisited when Anthony Albanese returns from his Nato trip.

Tony Burke
Leader of the house Tony Burke. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated at 23.56 EDT

Government announces review into Covid vaccine and treatment contracts

The Albanese government has ordered an independent review into Australia’s existing procurement contracts for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments “to ensure that they are fit-for-purpose” now and into 2023 as new subvariants emerge.

Announcing the review in Canberra, health minister Mark Butler said that Jane Halton – who led the national review of hotel quarantine earlier in the pandemic and is co-chair of the Covax initiative – will conduct the independent review “as a matter of some urgency”.

Butler said the review will “take stock of current contracts and the existing supplies we have in country of vaccines and treatments” for all different age groups.

He has also asked Halton “to cast forward and to provide us with some advice about likely developments in (Covid variants and treatments) over the rest of 2022 and into 2023”. Halton will also be asked to advise the government if she believes any existing arrangements should be altered.

Butler stressed that the review is “not about looking back and examining the rights and wrongs of the former government’s approach to negotiating these contracts in the first place”. Rather, he said, it is to “ensure that arrangements that might have been fantastic three months ago are fit-for-purpose for the rest of this year and into next year”.

Butler said there is no deadline for the review, but that the government wants it conducted “in weeks, not many months” due to the urgency of the risk posed by emerging variants and subvariants of Covid. He said:

We are determined as a government to stay on the front foot in the fight against this virus and ensure that the Australian community has priority access to the best possible vaccine protection against this virus and all of its variants, and the best possible cutting-edge treatments to prevent severe illness and death for vulnerable Australians.”

Mark Butler
Federal health minister Mark Butler. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Updated at 23.40 EDT

Federal government urges people to get third and fourth Covid vaccinations

Health minister Mark Butler has called for Australians to get their third Covid vaccine doses, and fourth for those eligible, amid community spread of new subvariants throughout winter.

Butler issued the plea as the Therapeutical Goods Administration announced provision approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged six months up to five years. (This is only the first step – for the vaccine to be provided, it will also need to be recommended for administration to this age group by Atagi.)

Speaking from Canberra, Butler said:

Two doses does not give you sufficient protection against these new variants. I have also talked about the need to lift our efforts in getting fourth doses into the arms, particularly of aged care residents.

I’m pleased to say that that rate has increased by about 10% since I was last before you a week or so ago. There’s still more to do, there’s no question about that. Only 64% of aged care residents eligible for their fourth dose have now got it. I want to see that rate increase dramatically.”

Butler said the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of Omicron are starting to become the predominant infections on the eastern seaboard, and “they are starting to see not just case numbers increase in a number of jurisdictions, but very worryingly hospitalisation numbers increase as well.”

Butler said:

We’re only still starting to understand the impact of BA.4 and BA.5 in terms of its transmissibility, in terms of the ability for people who might have had one of the other subvariants of Covid earlier in the year to become reinfected with this new subvariant.

And also whether or not this new subvariant is or is not more severe than some of the other subvariants with some research indicating that it might impact the lungs a little bit more than others.”

Updated at 01.24 EDT