Good morning. Have you heard? The biggest football match in Australia’s history kicks off at 8pm tonight, with all eyes on the Matildas as they face England’s Lionesses in their Fifa Women’s World Cup semi-final. The Matildas say they have been taking things one day at time at this tournament, but with each win the ground around them has shifted as Australians have embraced the team in spectacular fashion. Matildas fever is now giving way to sweaty palms and heart palpitations as the nation holds its collective breath.
Meanwhile, there’s fresh scrutiny over the use of consultants by the government following revelations that PwC did not disclose any real or potential conflicts of interests before being awarded a multimillion-dollar aged care contract that has been suspended since June amid a continuing investigation. The firm did not respond to questions about why no real or perceived conflicts of interest were disclosed given its paid work in the sector. It referred to an earlier statement that said the firm was “unable to comment on client engagements”.
Plus: there’s an outcry over the felling of a tree estimated to be hundreds of years old, after photos emerged of the giant eucalyptus being trucked out of Tasmania’s Florentine Valley.
PwC Australia | The consultancy firm did not disclose any real or perceived conflicts of interest before it was awarded a $2.3m aged care contract that has since been suspended pending investigation. “PwC Australia has strict conflict and risk management processes to ensure adherence with our conflict of interest rules – and these processes are always followed rigorously before an engagement is commenced,” a spokesperson said in June.
‘There is a big increase’ | Demand for Lifeline services is soaring as Australians grapple with the cost-of-living crisis – reaching levels previously seen only with disasters, Christmas and Covid lockdowns.
‘You can’t backtrack’ | Australia’s ban on non-therapeutic and single-use vapes will be underpinned by new laws – rather than a focus on regulation – in a development welcomed by public health experts.
‘National disgrace’ | The PM has been urged by environmentalists to visit central Tasmania to witness damage being inflicted on native forests by logging, amid protest over the felling of a massive, centuries-old tree.
Exclusive | The Albanese government has refused a request from the royal commission into defence and veteran suicide for a further one-year extension, citing “significant delays” getting information.
‘Profound sadness’ | Hillary Clinton, who lost the US presidency in 2016 to Donald Trump, has said she does not feel any satisfaction as 13 more criminal charges were levelled against the former US president in Georgia.
Operation Xapiri | Brazil has targeted gold-mining camps that are contaminating the Amazon in one of the biggest federal actions against illegal mining in more than a decade.
Another Brick in the Wall | In a scientific first, researchers have reconstructed a Pink Floyd track by eavesdropping on people’s brainwaves – decoding it from recordings of electrical brain activity.
Two Matildas on why it’s time for glory
Tonight the Tillies will face England’s Lionesses, the European champions, in the Women’s World Cup semi-final. The winner will face Spain in the final this weekend. But do the Matildas have what it takes to go all the way? Two women who have played for the side – Joey Peters and Chloe Logarzo – tell Laura Murphy-Oates what it’s like playing for Australia, why this is the golden generation of women’s football, and how the girls can bring this one home.
Five down, two to go. The Matildas have gone to the highest high but are now back on earth, facing forward, with eyes on the prize of Women’s World Cup glory ahead of tonight’s semi-final against England. Australians are willing their team to go all the way. Since the Matildas beat France on Saturday night to secure their spot in the semi-finals, desperate fans have combed official and unofficial platforms. But with seats at the biggest football match in Australian history hard to come by, scammers move in to exploit World Cup demand.
Not the news
The Brisbane Ekka has long been billed as a meeting of the bush and the big smoke. The state’s largest event – formally the Royal Queensland Show – is experiencing a renaissance amid record crowds, with organisers predicting that 55,000 people will go through the gates on Wednesday. As an increasingly metropolitan city grows around the event, not too much has changed since the original Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876 – where the event gets its moniker. After 147 years the Brisbane show is still a rollicking good time.
The world of sport
Women’s World Cup | Spain has reached their first Women’s World Cup final after a late winner sank Sweden; the seismic impacts of this Women’s World Cup could be even greater than Euro 2022; the Matildas brand is now “more valuable” than any other national sports team.
Football | Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne could miss the rest of year due to a hamstring injury; Neymar has completed a big money transfer to Saudi club Al-Hilal.
Cycling | Richard Freeman, the former chief doctor of Team Sky and British Cycling, has been handed a four‑year doping ban.
The Age reports that Victoria’s parliament has been sitting on a plan for more than two years to make it safer for MPs and staff, meaning a proposed independent commissioner to examine complaints levelled at MPs won’t be established until later this year – at the earliest. Despite grim housebuilding forecasts, Australian voters are rejecting the idea of going to the polls before 2025 even if the deadlock over federal housing policy continues, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Schools are training teachers as “lay therapists’’ to help anxious students “have a go’’, as principals criticise “helicopter parenting’’ for stoking high anxiety among primary school children, reports the Australian.
What’s happening today
Women’s World Cup | The Matildas take on England in their semi-final in Sydney, with kickoff at 8pm.
ACT | Senator Lidia Thorpe is scheduled to address the National Press Club in Canberra.
New South Wales | A public hearing is scheduled in the inquiry into the NSW government’s use and management of consulting services.
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