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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Martin Farrer

Morning Mail: Lehrmann’s $450,000 payout, Hamas leader’s house ‘surrounded’, Taylor Swift speaks out

Bruce Lehrmann has received almost $450,000 in payments from the ABC and News Corp
Bruce Lehrmann has received almost $450,000 in payments from the ABC and News Corp. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

Morning everyone. The Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial has gripped the nation in the past two weeks, and it has also brought to light other legal actions with court documents last night revealing that News Corp paid him a $295,000 settlement for its original reporting of the rape allegation, which he has strenuously denied. We have all the details, plus the Israeli ambassador’s fears about antisemitism in Australia, and the latest developments from Gaza where Israel claims to be closing in on Hamas’s top leader amid house-to-house fighting. Plus, Taylor Swift, Time person of the year.


FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: LNG 2023 energy trade show in VancouverFILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A plant decorates the booth of Australian petroleum exploration and production company Woodside Energy during the LNG 2023 energy trade show in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 13, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo/File Photo
  • Drilling fears | Environmental lawyers have raised concern the offshore petroleum regulator is attempting to avoid scrutiny by not publishing its reasons for approving seismic blasting and drilling for a major fossil fuel development in northern Western Australia.

  • Lehrmann trial | News Corp agreed to pay Bruce Lehrmann $295,000 to drop a defamation suit he brought against a article in which Brittany Higgins alleged she had been raped by a Liberal staffer in Parliament House, according to documents filed in the federal court. Lehrmann denies the allegation. At the end of another dramatic day in his defamation case against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson, documents released by the court showed the ABC paid him $150,000 after it was accused of acting maliciously by broadcasting Higgins’ address to the National Press Club in February last year.

  • Centrelink pain | Two people are in jail after Centrelink used unlawful calculations to accuse them of over-claiming welfare benefits, a watchdog has revealed.

  • ‘Very sad’ | The Israeli ambassador says he is “very sad” about a rise in antisemitic incidents in Australia and has urged the government to “take all necessary measures” to ensure people of different faiths feel safe.

  • Jobs squeeze | A lack of suitable jobs and a trend towards insecure work is locking hundreds of thousands of people in poverty, according to a new report that finds there are 26 jobseekers for every entry-level position in Australia.


Camp sheltering displaced Palestinians who fled their houses due to Israeli strikes, in RafahDisplaced Palestinians, who fled their houses due to Israeli strike, shelter in a camp in Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 6, 2023. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
  • Hamas leader’s house ‘surrounded’ | Israeli forces have surrounded the house of Hamas leader and suspected architect of the 7 October attacks Yahya Sinwar amid house-to-house battles along the length of the Gaza Strip. The focus of Israel’s offensive in Gaza is now Khan Younis, the enclave’s second-biggest urban area now being depicted as the “centre of gravity” for Hamas.

  • Boris Johnson | The former UK prime minister says he was not properly warned about the potential seriousness of Covid during early 2020 as he faced his first day of giving evidence to the UK Covid inquiry. He also claimed the UK handled the pandemic better than other European countries.

  • Defence advice | A former head of the British army has joined a lobbying firm run by the veteran Australian political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby as his CT Group seeks to capitalise on business deals in the defence industry.

  • Taylor Time | Taylor Swift has spoken of the psychological damage of her feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and lambasted the music industry over its treatments of young pop stars, in an interview with Time, which has named her their person of the year.

  • Selfie-inflicted mishap | A group of tourists fell into a murky, cold canal in Venice when the gondola in which they were travelling capsized after they failed to heed an order to stop taking selfies and sit down.

Full Story

Australian Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Australian Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Australian Immigration Minister Andrew Giles speak during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, December 6, 2023. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Labor’s preventive detention minefield

The federal government has passed legislation designed to toughen Australia’s immigration law, dubbed “preventative detention”. Paul Karp tells Laura Murphy-Oates about the moral and legal minefield surrounding these new powers.


Geronimo’s Bones screenshot from You Tube. A US couple, referred to by Gareth and Stacey Train, as Don and Annie. The man’s online pseudonym is ‘Geronimo’s Bones. The two couples interacted online before the Wieambilla shooting on Monday.

The arrest and charging of the American conspiracy theorist linked to the Wieambilla shooters has helped to shine more light on the end-of-days religious ideology that appears to have influenced Gareth, Nathaniel and Stacey Train. Donald Day, who is accused of inciting violence in relation to the deadly standoff in Queensland, was prolific on social media where he called on fellow off-gridders to resist the “monsters” who he claimed would introduce forced vaccinations and ban Christianity and private property. Eden Gillespie examines a community readying itself to “fight and die well”.

Not the news

the Valkyries on the phoenix jet, A scene from Die Walkure, from the Ring Cycle production Opera Australia premiered in Brisbane in 2023.

It’s the Olympics of opera: Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen – colloquially, the Ring Cycle. With a 15-hour running time and split into four shows, it’s a bold show for Opera Australia to stage and the performances running in Brisbane during December are the first to have fully-digital backgrounds and scenery. Even so, it still took 27 semi-trailers of hardware to set them up and tickets are pricey. But our reviewer Olivia Stewart says her attention never wavered and was “cast under its spell”. What’s not to love about a show that ends with a Götterdämmerung?


Sam Kerr (r) of Australia celebrates with Hayley Raso and Ellie Carpenter after scoring a goal during the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024 Asian Qualifiers Round 2 soccer match between Australia and the Philippines at Optus Stadium in Perth, Sunday, October 29, 2023. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
  • Matildas | Australia can celebrate the success of the Matildas after a spectacular 2023 – but the pressure will be greater come the Olympics.

  • Australian Open 2024 | Emma Raducanu has missed out on the initial batch of wild card entires for the Australian Open and the British former US Open champion must now try to enter through the qualifying rounds.

  • Premier League | It’s another big football schedule in England with Manchester City visiting Aston Villa and Manchester United hosting Chelsea. Follow the action live.

Media roundup

Amid angst about Sydney’s new underground motorway system, a traffic expert writes in the Sydney Morning Herald that it is working exactly as planned. The Age catches up with the 34-year-old station announcer who has become a cult hero at Melbourne’s Flinders Street. The Cairns Post looks at four different scenarios for Cyclone Jasper as it heads towards Queensland’s north-east coast.

What’s happening today

  • Canberra | Bill Shorten addresses the National Press Club about the NDIS.

  • Media | Lisa Wilkinson sues Ten for costs of the Lehrmann defamation suit at the NSW supreme court.

  • Perth | Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska launches a legal challenge against sanctions placed on him by the Australian government.

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Brain teaser

And finally, here are the Guardian’s crosswords to keep you entertained throughout the day – with plenty more on the Guardian’s Puzzles app for iOS and Android. Until tomorrow.

• This article was amended on 7 December 2023 to clarify a reference to the News Corp payment to Bruce Lehrmann. It previously incorrectly referred to “damages”.

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