Afternoon Update: Morrison’s secret ministries ‘inexcusable’; Cairns murder suspect arrested; and a dad sick of parenting | Australia news

The prime minister was swift to criticise Scott Morrison today after a report found Morrison’s secret appointment to five ministries corroded trust in government.

Virginia Bell, a former high court justice commissioned by the Albanese government to investigate Morrison’s conduct, was scathing of the former PM in her report – and Labor wasted no time stressing the point.

Anthony Albanese said Morrison’s behaviour was “unprecedented and inexcusable”, and condemned a “culture of secrecy in which the previous government operated”.

Top news

Former prime minister Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison hosed down suggestions he might resign following a report into his secret ministries. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
  • Bell report | Albanese said the government would accept all six of the report’s recommendations, including requiring public notice of the appointment of ministers to administer departments and hold offices. In his response to the findings, Morrison hosed down suggestions he might resign. “I am pleased that this matter has now concluded and I can continue, as I have since the last election, to serve the people of Cook as their federal member of parliament,” he wrote on Facebook.

  • Covid to peak before Christmas | The bad news is Covid cases have continued to increase nationwide for the sixth consecutive week. The good news is cases are rising at a slower rate, suggesting a peak before Christmas. “I definitely expect cases to be markedly lower by Christmas,” said James Wood, an epidemiologist at the University of NSW.

  • Clive Palmer loses court ruling | The billionaire’s plans to dig Australia’s largest thermal coalmine in central Queensland infringe upon the human rights of future generations, a Queensland court ruled. The case, which began in April, was brought by a group of young people, Youth Verdict, and is led by its First Nations members. The ruling, however, is only a recommendation as the mine’s approval ultimately rests with the Queensland resources minister and the environment department.

Toyah Cordingley
Toyah Cordingley, who went missing in 2018 after taking her dog for a walk on Wangetti beach, north of Cairns. Photograph: Queensland police/AAP
  • Cairns murder suspect arrested | Rajwinder Singh, the alleged killer of Queensland woman Toyah Cordingley, has been arrested in India after four years on the run. Cordingley was murdered on Wangetti beach in October 2018 while walking her dog. Days after the killing, the prime suspect flew to India. Earlier this month, Queensland police boosted the reward for capturing the suspect to $1m. Cordingley was 24.

  • Twitter’s “superspreaders of hate” | QAnon conspiracy theorists and neo-Nazis previously banned from Twitter will be able to rejoin the platform, after billionaire owner Elon Musk announced a general amnesty for suspended accounts. The announcement comes days after Musk lifted bans on the accounts of Donald Trump, Ye – formerly known as Kanye West – and Jordan Peterson.

  • Tesla recall | More than 15,000 of the EVs have been recalled in Australia over faulty tail lights. The recall affects the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles sold this year. Musk’s company has also suffered a financial dip, with its stock price falling to a two-year low earlier this week, down 52% this year. The fall followed a similar tail-light recall in the US, as well as ongoing supply chain issues and the rising price of raw materials.

US president Joe Biden
Joe Biden has renewed calls for a ban on assault weapons. Photograph: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters
  • Biden calls for gun control | The US president, Joe Biden, has renewed calls for a ban on assault weapons after the recent spate of mass shootings. As we noted yesterday, there have been 606 mass shootings in the US this year, making 2022 one of the worst in recent memory. But Biden’s hopes to ban assault weapons are almost impossible with Republicans now in control of the House of Representatives.

  • Colorado shooter’s dad speaks | The father of the suspected Colorado Springs shooter – who has previously worked in adult films – provoked a backlash over homophobic comments he made about the deadly attack at an LGBTQ+ bar. Aaron Brink told San Diego’s CBS8 that when he first received a telephone call from his child’s public defender, his first reaction was to question why his child was in the club. “And then I go on to find out it’s a gay bar. I said, ‘God, is he gay?’ I got scared, ‘Shit, is he gay?’ And he’s not gay, so I said, ‘Phew …’”.

  • Iran footballer arrested | The threat of reprisal from Iran’s leaders ever hangs over the heads of Iran’s World Cup squad, who have expressed support for ongoing pro-democracy protests in the country. That threat became more pronounced after Iranian security forces arrested a prominent footballer, Voria Ghafouri. He was detained after a training session with his local club on charges of having “tarnished the reputation of the national team and spread propaganda against the state”.

Full Story

Electric vehicle parking signage
Electric cars are finally poised to become more accessible after Labor passed a bill this week. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Are electric vehicles about to become affordable? – with Lenore Taylor

For years the majority of Australians have been shut out of the electric vehicle market. But after Labor passed a bill that will phase out public support for petrol-based hybrids, electric cars are finally poised to become more accessible. So when will we see cheaper EVs on the market? Listen to this 18-minute episode.

What they said …

Kos Samaras Twitter screenshot
Photograph: Twitter

The Victorian election will be a series of mini-contests, as Labor strategist-turned-pollster Kos Samaras points out above. If results go the way of minor parties and independents, we could very well see a hung parliament by tomorrow night.

Our state team will be liveblogging the results starting 5pm tomorrow – and we’ll be keeping our eyes on action at the polling booths throughout the day. Be sure to check our website tomorrow or download our app for alerts.

In numbers

Stat for Afternoon Update
Photograph: Antoun Issa/The Guardian

25 November is the International Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women. Earlier this week, MPs read out statements in support of victims of domestic violence as parliament is not sitting today – including this tearful speech by the Liberal MP Karen Andrews.

Before bed read

Edgar Degas painting, Monsieur et Madame Edouard Manet
Photograph: Alamy

A family conundrum to round off the week. A father has written in complaining of “family burn-out”. He shoulders most of the parenting as his wife works long hours, and says he feels like he’s “being used”.

“I’m starting to not even enjoy spending time with them as I’m always bitter about the imbalance in our home situation.”

I can only imagine many mothers in this country would have some advice to offer – read the response from our advice columnist.

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