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Australia news live updates: 35 Covid deaths in Victoria and NSW; students go back to school; NSW treasurer condemns lack of federal support

Australia has distributed 18m doses of Covid-19 vaccine to neighbouring countries but is being urged to dedicate money and resources to Covax – the global vaccination mechanism – so that the world’s least-inoculated countries can access vaccines.

Australia’s “vaccine diplomacy”, focusing on bilateral donations to the Pacific and south-east Asia has come at the expense of commitments to the global Covax facility, to which it has committed zero doses and only $130m.

The Delta variant emerged from highly unvaccinated India, and Omicron from Africa, which has the world’s lowest vaccination rates. With major new variants detected, on average, every four months, there are concerns that persistently laggard vaccination rates in the developing world will allow new variants to keep emerging, sparking new global waves and prolonging the pandemic.

You can read the full report below:


Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Future Fund, has invested more than $90m in weapons manufacturer Raytheon Technologies, whose laser-guided bomb was allegedly used in an airstrike on a detention centre in Yemen this month killing nearly 100 civilians.

Documents released under freedom of information laws show the Future Fund, which invests on behalf of the Australian government, had $91.22m invested in Raytheon as of December last year.

Amnesty International claims that a laser-guided bomb was used in an attack by the Saudi-led coalition on a detention centre in Sa’adah in north-west Yemen on 21 January that killed at least 91 people and injured 200 more. It was described by the UN as “the worst civilian-casualty incident in the last three years in Yemen”.

You can read the full report from Ben Doherty and Ben Butler below:

Australian Winter Olympian cleared of Covid ahead of Beijing Games


US coalmining giant Peabody Energy has repeatedly submitted incorrect greenhouse gas emissions reports to the Australian government, prompting questions about the reliability of national climate data based on company assessments.

The Clean Energy Regulator found Peabody had a history of filing inaccurate reports required under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act due to calculation errors, poor record-keeping and inconsistent data collection and analysis.

The mistakes were in both directions, leading to significant under- and over-reporting of emissions from the underground Wambo coalmine in New South Wales. The total error was large – when added up, out by more than 51% of the total emissions from the site – but the under- and over-reporting largely cancelled each other out. It meant the submitted total was 5.4% lower than what it should have been.

You can read the full report below:

Coalition drops to 44-56 in Newspoll

The Coalition has recorded its worst result in the Newspoll since the September 2018 leadership spill that saw Scott Morrison become prime minister.

The Coalition recorded a primary vote of 34% in the poll (down two points) to Labor’s 41% (up three). The Greens attracted 11% of the vote, One Nation 3%, and other independents and minor parties 11%.

On a two-party-preferred basis Labor leads 56% to 44%, which points to a decisive victory if an election were held today and is a massive deterioration in the government vote from the previous poll in December (which Labor led 53-47).

Morrison’s net satisfaction has dropped by 11 points to negative 19, his lowest since the 2020 summer bushfire crisis.

Anthony Albanese’s approval is 43% (up four points), together with a two-point decline in disapproval he has reached net zero.

Morrison has a narrow lead as preferred prime minister, 43% to 41%, although the incumbent traditionally leads this measure and the result is another substantial deterioration in support for Morrison.

Labor now leads the Coalition on the question of which party is best to tackle Covid (33% to 32%), and has improved on a range of other policy measures.

Of course this poll is only a snapshot and there is plenty of time for the Coalition to recover before a May poll, but it seems Australians did not have the hot vaxxed summer Morrison hoped would put them in a better frame of mind about the direction of the country.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese and prime minister Scott Morrison face off during question time in November.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese and prime minister Scott Morrison face off during question time in November. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP


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