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Julia Bergin

More pain for Putin


The Russian army is losing ground and Vladimir Putin is losing face after the sustained success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The setbacks have inspired the world’s biggest economies to double down on the Kremlin’s purse strings and put a price cap on Russian oil. The SMH ($) reports that Australia will follow suit and sign on to the US-led G7 initiative. Australia blacklisted Russian oil, gas and coal back in February when Putin first ordered the invasion of Ukraine so the announcement is less a Hail Mary and more a sure sign of support. Domestically, Treasurer Jim Chalmers called the cap a means to combat “rising energy prices” and the “skyrocketing cost of living”.

It is hoped that the ceiling will cripple cash flows into Moscow, but experts are sceptical. The New Daily reports that the West has underestimated Russia’s resilience and economic “safety cushion” (aka China and India). Russia is still running a budget surplus with oil revenue up 40% last month, according to Reuters. The incoming caps likely won’t thwart supply and sale to cosier counterparts in the Indo-Pacific, but come December Putin will have to deal at a reduced price, the AFR ($) says. Crude oil is trading at just over $125 a barrel, but this could rise to $180 when the European winter hits, says the Financial Times ($). The US is yet to put a number on the new ceiling, but Reuters reports that it could be as low as $90 a barrel.


Greens leader Adam Bandt has called on Labor to cancel almost $2 billion of “zombie fossil fuel subsidies” promised to the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) courtesy of the Coalition government, Guardian Australia reports. The Greens-backed inquiry into the PBO found that none of the money set aside for Morrison’s “gas-fired recovery” had actually been committed. For once, the lack of follow-through from the former government is being heralded as “good news”. But Labor doesn’t look to be issuing any move-on notices to the fossil fuel funding pot. Opposition spokesman on climate change and energy Ted O’Brien accused the Greens of having “no regard for regional Australia nor the traditional industries that many Australians rely on”.

But industry is moving on … somewhat. Origin Energy is walking off its Beetaloo Basin shale fields, The Australian ($) reports, trading in a “high-cost, high-risk long-term exploration portfolio” for something in realm of renewables. The latter comes with a “faster payday and green credibility”. The catch? The energy giant will retain royalties in the Beetaloo and continues to invest big in other gas projects, including its flagship Australia Pacific LNG joint venture. AGL on the other hand is facing more internal combustion problems with the appointment of Patricia McKenzie as its new chair and Miles George as non-executive director, says The Australian ($). Its initial pick, Paula Dwyer, was shot down last week by major shareholders, as the AFR ($) reports.


The rolling coverage of the late queen’s state funeral has supercharged the news cycle over the past 24 hours. To spare you the trouble of hours of livestreams and rigorous royal analysis, her majesty has now officially been laid to rest in the royal vault at Windsor Castle. That inside scoop from the ABC’s London entourage. The event was a who’s who of world leaders, many of whom should not be in the same space, says The Australian ($). Put 200-250 “friendly” and “less friendly” heads of state and senior dignitaries in a room together and there is much “diplomatic opportunity and risk”. Tensions flared between Australia and Britain when respective broadcasters drew blanks on the identity on the other’s head of state. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro missed the memo that the occasion was meant to be apolitical and convened an impromptu election “rally” in front of the Brazilian embassy where he postured on domestic policies on drugs, abortion and “gender ideology”, The Guardian reports. Clearly no time for tea and biscuits.

Online onlookers were more attuned to the finer details of the funeral, says The Guardian. A spider was crowned king of the camera, while others saw red over the less favourable coverage afforded to a young choir boy.


In the world of cycling, the arms race to conquer aerodynamics has gone to riders’ heads. Helmet designs have leaned heavily into streamlined cranium-cradling structures that “guide the passing air beyond the rear of the head with minimal turbulence”. While the smooth surfaces might well shave seconds off the clock, the phase-out of any and all wind traps (helmet holes) are proving a death trap for riders when it comes to birds. No holes, no mechanism to attach zip ties. No zip ties, no defence mechanism or early warning detection system for aerial attacks.

The UCI World Road Championships at Wollongong have been a racy affair for elite athletes attempting to ward off both wind resistance (public enemy number one) and Australia’s aerodynamic springtime special, The Age/AAP reports. Magpies and minimalism don’t match. There’s been a few ruffled feathers (birds and riders), but thus far no one has been knocked out of the competition in one fell swoop. Plus cyclists can’t say they weren’t warned. There’s a sign near the finish line that reads: “Birds swooping. Dismount and walk your bike through this area.”

Hoping you breeze through your Tuesday, folks.


The more that Putin is pushed into a corner, the more he acts like a wounded animal that lashes out.

Peter Khalil

The Labor MP discussed next moves for the Kremlin on the ABC’s RN Breakfast, telling listeners that he is “very concerned” about Vladimir Putin’s propensity to roll out chemical, biological or, “even worse”, nuclear weapons following the sustained success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.


What’s with the creepy one-fingered salute by Trump supporters?

“Strange things happen in crowds and it’s highly likely the signal isn’t a point to early 20th century fascism and the Nazi ‘Sieg Heil’ salute or a far-right conspiracy theory gesture but rather a spontaneous outburst of collective emotion at an event designed to elicit exactly this kind of feeling.

“However, as The Q Origins Project writes on Twitter, just because it didn’t begin as a QAnon gesture it won’t stop the far-right movement from adopting it. It’s fairly likely you’ll see it repeated at rallies and discussed at length in columns as Trump ramps up his campaign to become the 47th president of the United States.”

Meet the young, vaccine-sceptic face of Sky News Australia’s TikTok account

“Since 2019, News Corp Australia’s television network Sky News Australia has built an enormous digital presence on platforms like YouTube and Facebook off the back of its opinion video content. Now it’s got its sights set on the newest tech behemoth, TikTok, and it has picked up reactionary millennial Carla Efstratiou to be the face of its account.

“… Efstratiou has frequently appeared in the media as a small-business owner and young conservative. In 2012 she wrote about how she was a dyed-in-the-wool Liberal voter and Alan Jones listener with a picture of Margaret Thatcher next to her bed and a crush on Malcolm Turnbull. In 2014 she earned the ire of the Triple J audience by saying there’s no reason to be homeless and arguing against spending money on the environment.”

Top bureaucrat in Barilaro saga is posted — out of public service

“The bureaucrat at the centre of the appointment of John Barilaro to a NSW trade commission post in New York, secretary of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade Amy Brown, has been sacked from the NSW public service.

“Brown announced her departure overnight, saying: ‘My tenure has come to an end.’ Grilled repeatedly by a NSW upper house inquiry into Barilaro’s appointment, and the prior withdrawal of an offer of the post to successful candidate Jenny West, Brown revealed that then trade minister Stuart Ayres had repeatedly been engaged in the process involving Barilaro, despite his claims that it was conducted ‘at arm’s length’ from him. Ayres resigned from the ministry in early August but was later cleared of breaching the ministerial code of conduct by an independent report.”


Taliban release US engineer Frerichs as Biden approves swap for drug smuggler (Reuters)

UN: warring sides committing atrocities in Ethiopia’s Tigray (Al Jazeera)

Major earthquake shakes Mexico’s central Pacific coast (The Guardian)

Russia seeks closer security ties with China as key goal (The Washington Post)

Biden again says US forces would defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression (CNN)

Queen of Soviet pop denounces Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine (SBS)

Spielberg’s The Fabelmans wins Toronto film festival People’s Choice award (The Guardian)


A superb monarch — even for the life-long republicans — Greg Sheridan (The Australian): “I once stood up Prince Charles, as he then was, for a social occasion. I may be the only Australian ever guilty of such a solecism. Forty-odd years ago I was working for the now defunct Bulletin magazine. A friend in the state government sent me an invitation to a morning tea with the visiting prince. I was a republican, but not remotely hostile to the prince. Nor did I have any interest in him. He seemed a bit lame and daffy — listening to his plants and all that — but really he just had no claim on my mind. I didn’t boycott the event, I just forgot to attend.

“Here is a paradox of the new king’s situation. If he is to be a successful head of state for Australia, he must become just as boring as he was then, but in an entirely new way. People often say to politicians: don’t just stand there, do something! For Charles, good advice is the exact reverse: Don’t do something, just stand there.” 

Focus should now be on boosting COVID immunity, not avoiding infection Peter McIntyre (SMH): “The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautiously flagged the ‘beginning of the end’ for the pandemic. But in Australia, familiar voices have been lamenting shortened isolation periods, minimal mask-wearing and low coverage of COVID-19 vaccines among children under 12.

“They say advocates of less rigorous measures are driven by financial or self-interest and ignore expert health advice. These criticisms rang true as little as nine months ago when Omicron was devastating Australia, causing large increases in deaths in residential aged care due to low booster coverage. But the nature of the game has changed.”



  • UNSW’s national drug and research centre will host its annual research symposium. The two-day event will delve into illicit drug markets, trends in use, novel treatments and interventions.

Eora Nation Country (also known as Sydney)

  • The third iteration of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Global Education Conference will begin today. Run in partnership with Sport Integrity Australia, the three-day event is dedicated to keeping sport and athletes clean.

Kulin Nation Country (also known as Melbourne)

  • Journalist Kristine Ziwica, author of the latest Crikey Read Leaning Out, will talk at Readings about her book on gender equality in Australia. As a prelude to the in-conversation event, you can read an excerpt or listen to our very own Crikey Talks.

Whadjuk Nyoongar Country (also known as Perth)

  • Teal independent Kate Chaney MP will talk at a breakfast in the Crown grand ballroom about policy and politics.

Turrbal and Jagera/Yuggera Country (also known as Brisbane)

  • Author, screenwriter and former director Greg Woodland will chat to Evelyn Saunders about his new thriller The Carnival is Over at Avid Reader Bookshop.


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