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The Guardian - AU
The Guardian - AU
Martin Farrer

Morning Mail: democracies at risk from ‘truth decay’, no’s false ballot claims, Davis Cup comeback

Chief of the Australian Defence Force Angus Campbell has warned the west is at risk from ‘truth decay’.
Chief of the Australian Defence Force Angus Campbell has warned the west is at risk from ‘truth decay’. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Morning everyone. While tanks, shells and mines are the tangible weapons of war in Ukraine, Australia’s military chief has warned that future wars could be won by the opponents of western democracies without even firing a shot. He says these countries could succeed if they “fracture and fragment’ western societies with disinformation spread by bots, troll farms and deepfakes, inducing “truth decay”. This plays into another story this morning about how the Indigenous voice no campaign is spreading unfounded claims about the voting process. We are also looking at new concerns about government use of consultants, and “Orwellian” censorship of the King’s coronation.


ANUDetail from the Johnson Vase showing Herakles. ANU is handing it back to Italy.
  • ‘Stunning example’ | The ANU’s Classics Museum has agreed to return to Italy a 2,500-year-old vase depicting Herakles fighting the Nemean lion to Italy after it emerged that it was stolen by looters.

  • ‘Weapon of statecraft’ | In a speech last night, Australia’s top military leader, Gen Angus Campbell, has warned that artificial intelligence tools employed as a “a weapon of statecraft” by countries such as Russia could eventually leave citizens struggling to sort fact from fiction. Such campaigns could increasingly be used to fracture “the trust that binds us”, he said.

  • Doubting voice | Anti-voice campaigners are making unfounded claims about the impact ticks and crosses on ballot papers could have on the outcome of the referendum, with one campaigner claiming to volunteers that the issue could account for “5% of the vote” being discounted.

  • Qantas concerns | The heads of the Reserve Bank and the Productivity Commission face calls to turn down membership of Qantas’s high-end Chairman’s Lounge as concerns about the airline’s soft-power influence continues.

  • KPMG consultants | The Victorian government paid a consultancy firm that has spent decades working for big tobacco to lead the state’s consultation on changes to tobacco and vaping laws, before the process was abandoned.


FILE - Britain’s King Charles III and Queen Camilla wave to the crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace after the coronation ceremony in London, Saturday, May 6, 2023. King Charles III will travel to France later this month for a state visit that was postponed in March due to fears that protesters demonstrating against President Emanuel Macron’s economic policies would disrupt the pageantry. Charles and Queen Camilla will visit Paris and Bordeaux from Sept. 20-22, Buckingham Palace announced Wednesday. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)
  • ‘Orwellian’ | British television channels agreed to let Buckingham Palace censor television coverage of King Charles’s coronation, according to the former boss of Sky News, including an “Orwellian” request to ban footage retrospectively.

  • US gun woe | School shootings in the US doubled to a record high of 327 last year, with 57 deaths, according to federal figures. In New Mexico, the Democratic governor has banned the carrying of weapons on state property for 30 days after a spate of shootings but now faces multiple lawsuits.

  • Crimea attacks | A missile strike on a shipyard in Crimea has severely damaged and possibly destroyed a Russian landing ship and a submarine, satellite footage shows, as Kyiv continues its attacks in the occupied region.

  • Dam fury | Libyans are demanding an inquiry into the catastrophic floods that have killed tens of thousands of people, including into allegations that officials imposed a curfew on the night Storm Daniel struck. A Libyan poet wrote about the danger of flooding days before he died in the disaster.

  • Licence loss | Kim Davis, the Kentucky official who refused to issue a marriage licence to a same-sex couple in 2015, must pay them $100,000, a court has ruled.

Full Story

Professor Marcia Langton AO addresses the National Press Club in Canberra, Wednesday, September 6, 2023. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Newsroom edition: are the no campaign’s negative tactics here to stay?

A month from the Indigenous voice referendum day, the no campaign’s lead appears to be growing. Lenore Taylor and head of newsroom Mike Ticher discuss how divisive politics are shaping the debate.


Top down aerial view of a car park, AustraliaTop down aerial view of a half full car park, Sydney, Australia

In case you didn’t know it, today is international Park(ing) Day. The parentheses give a clue that this is not about people celebrating finding a rock star spot outside their favourite cafe or restaurant. It’s about reclaiming car parking spaces and repurposing them, for one day only, as spaces for socialising and playing. Our transport reporter talks to parking expert David Mepham about why our cities have to rethink the amount of space given over to parking cars.

Not the news

Gene Simmons, singer and bassist, of the U.S. band Kiss performs onstage during a concert in Cologne, Germany, Sunday, July 2, 2023, at the Lanxess Arena. As part of their farewell world tour “End Of The Road,” the band will play a total of four concerts in Germany. (Thomas Banneyer/dpa via AP)

Kiss are back in Australia for the last time and you can be forgiven for thinking you’ve heard that one before, because it’s just 14 months since the last time they were back for a final time. But Gene Simmons, the 74-year-old frontman of the American glam rockers, is adamant this is for quits. He talks to Elmo Keep about sex, luck and the magic of songwriting partnerships.

The world of sport

2023 Davis Cup Finals Group Stage Manchester - Day 3MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell of Team Australia celebrate with a chest bump after winning the doubles match against Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Nicolas Mahut (not pictured) winning a point during the Davis Cup Finals Group Stage match between France and Australia at AO Arena on September 14, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matt McNulty/Getty Images for ITF)
  • Tennis | Lleyton Hewitt’s Davis Cup team have fought back from the brink of elimination to keep their hopes well and truly alive with a 2-1 comeback triumph over France in Manchester.

  • Football | The Asian Football Confederation faces a potential legal challenge after seemingly ignoring its own regulations and allowing three Saudi-owned clubs to enter the Asian Champions League in which Australian teams compete.

  • AFL | When Carlton take the field against Melbourne tonight for their semi-final, they will be representing not just their thousands of fans but an entire community whose allegiance is enmeshed with generations of immigrants.

Media roundup

Five hospital wards fitted out for Covid at a cost of $341m are lying empty in Sydney’s inner west, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The Andrews government actively hindered the federal inquiry into the Commonwealth Games fiasco, the Herald Sun reports. A former teacher at a top Adelaide school says a petition airing concerns about its leadership is “like a witch hunt”, the Advertiser says. Queenstown, a rugged town on Tasmania’s west coast, has been named Australia’s top small tourist town, prompting some modest surprise from the Hobart Mercury.

What’s happening today

  • Health | Diabetes Australia, the AMA and other groups will appear at the first public hearing of an inquiry into diabetes.

  • Sydney | Anthony Albanese will address News Corp’s Future Energy summit.

  • Crime | Chris Dawson’s sentence hearing for carnal knowledge of student.

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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.

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