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Barnaby Joyce defends leaked texts amid France and Australia’s submarines row



Barnaby Joyce has launched an extraordinary defence of the decision to leak text messages between Scott Morrison and the French president.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has leapt to defend Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the diplomatic row between Australia and France over the axed submarines deal escalates.

Text messages between the two world leaders were sensationally leaked to the media on Monday night in an attempt to discredit French President Emmanuel Macron’s position after he accused Mr Morrison of lying.

Mr Joyce on Wednesday claimed that leaking text messages from a foreign leader was “not as extraordinary” as calling another foreign leader “a liar when they’re not”.

“We had a major political leader call the Prime Minister of Australia a liar and you can’t do that, diplomatically,” he told the ABC.

“You can’t go around calling other leaders of other countries a liar.

“Not (the leader of) a great nation of France. Some tin pot nation in the middle of nowhere, well, I suppose you can say what you like.”

Mr Joyce said the government had been looking at “contingency plans” well before the $90bn submarine contract with France was scrapped in favour of a pact with the US and the UK.

Mr Macron told Australian reporters at a summit in Rome at the weekend that he “knew” Mr Morrison had lied to him over the severing of the contract.

Mr Morrison subsequently denied his account. But just hours later, the text messages emerged, which are believed to have been strategically released to outlets via his office.

French ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault earlier on Wednesday accused Mr Morrison of stabbing Paris in the back.

In a major speech to the National Press Club, Mr Thebault said the relationship between the two countries had sunk to a “new low”.

“The deceit was intentional,” Mr Thebault said earlier, as he unloaded on the Prime Minister in a room full of reporters.

“The way it was handled was plainly a stab in the back.

“What, after such events, can any partner of Australia now think, is the value of Australia’s signature?”

Asked if he believed the Prime Minister was “lying about lying”, Mr Thebault replied: “Yes, he was … I have several examples”.

“Maybe there’s a difference between misleading and lying.

“But, you know, among heads of states and governments, when you mislead a friend and an ally, you lie to him.”

He added the release of the text messages signalled Australia could not be trusted.

“You don’t behave like this on personal exchanges of leaders. Doing so also sends a very worrying signal for all heads of state,” the French ambassador said.

“Beware, in Australia there will be leaks. And what you say in confidence to your partners will be eventually used and weaponised against you one day.”

But in a press conference following the ambassador’s speech, Mr Morrison expressed his desire to end the spat, which has dominated headlines over the past week.

“Claims had been made and those claims were refuted,” he said during a stopover in Dubai.

“I don’t think there’s any further profit for anyone in continuing down this path.”

Earlier in the week, Mr Macron raised doubts over whether the AUKUS agreement would even deliver the proposed nuclear powered submarines in a timely manner: “Good luck”.

Echoing his comments, the French ambassador accused Australia of “magical thinking”.

Mr Thebault’s address is the first time he has publicly spoken since being recalled as ambassador following the announcement of the AUKUS agreement.

While he promised France would always stand with Australia, he cautioned against the government using “cheap words and promises of love”.

“We won’t any more buy on cheap words. We won’t buy on promises of love.

“At the same time … this is a golden opportunity. We can rebuild something substantial. But we start from very far away.”

But should Mr Morrison apologise? The ambassador sidestepped the question.

“Eating one share of humble pie may sometimes be difficult. It’s up to everyone to make his own decision,” he said.

Asked if he would follow the ambassador’s advice, Mr Morrison said he would never offer an apology to France for tearing up the agreement.

“Australia made the decision not to go ahead with the contract for a submarine that was not going to do the job that Australia needed to do.

“I’ll never make any apologies for that decision.”

Originally published as ‘Tinpot nation’: Barnaby Joyce defends leaked text messages over France subs row

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‘Scott no friends’: Scott Morrison mocked for G20 photo



We’ve all experienced an awkward moment before a family photo, but Scott Morrison’s was broadcast live around the world.

The Prime Minister has been mocked for being a “Scott no friends” after an awkward moment at the G20 which even saw him snubbed by an old friend.

After a frosty phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on the way to the leaders’ summit, Scott Morrison was left without a friend to chat to during the “family photo”.

West Australian MP Patrick Gorman took to Twitter on Monday to make hay of the matter at the Prime Minister’s expense.

Speaking with NCA Newswire, the Labor MP said Mr Morrison has form when it comes to political photo ops.

“It is hard to see someone go through their awkward teenage phase in the middle of the G20,” Mr Gorman said.

“In a week’s time, Scott Morrison will get a poll telling him this was funny and he will laugh at it, too.

“World leaders saw what happened last time he hugged Malcolm Turnbull, Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump.”

In video from the meeting, it appeared several world leaders snubbed Mr Morrison as he approached them as they gathered in front of cameras.

Walking onto the podium, the Prime Minister was given the cold shoulder by Rwanda President Paul Kagame and South Korea President Moon Jae-In, who did not seem receptive to a three-way handshake.

Mr Morrison then approached old friend and long-time parliamentary ally Mathias Cormann, who should have been a sure bet for a chat.

But his former finance minister looked to his feet before turning away from the Prime Minister, before the two could exchange pleasantries.

The interaction was made all the more awkward because Mr Morrison strongly supported and campaigned for Mr Cormann to become secretary-general of the OECD.

To add to Mr Morrison’s woes, US President Joe Biden and Mr Macron could be seen enthusiastically chatting before the picture.

It’s not the first time Mr Morrison has had an awkward encounter on the world stage.

At the G7 summit in Biarritz, Mr Morrison was left out in the cold, looking down at his phone, while other leaders chatted happily away while getting in formation for the photo.

But there is still a chance for the Prime Minister to redeem himself with his peers, as the UN climate summit gets underway in Glasgow this week.

He’ll be hoping Australia’s net zero commitment will be enough to convince his stately colleagues he is serious about tackling climate change, but only time will tell.

Originally published as ‘Scott no friends’: ScoMo mocked for awkward G20 photo

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Macron says Australian PM lied to him over subs spat



France’s President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he addresses media at a press conference in Rome on October 31, 2021, during the G20 Summit

French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday said Australia’s prime minister outright lied to him over a cancelled submarine deal, deepening an already fraught diplomatic crisis.

Morrison on Sunday defended his behaviour, refuting Macron’s view and denying that he lied to the French leader at a private meeting in June.

Originally published as Macron says Australian PM lied to him over subs spat




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International travel: Rules for Australian flights as border opens



Families will be able to reunite, and Aussies will be able to explore the world again after international travel opens back up tomorrow. Here are the rules you need to follow.

After more than a year and half of being closed of from the rest of the world, Australians will finally be able to travel overseas again from Monday.

But international holidays will look very different from what they used to.

The ongoing complications of Covid-19 will mean travellers will need to be extremely organised and informed about the rules and requirements of their destination country before they can even set foot on the plane.

Australian Traveller founder Quentin Long warned Aussie travellers that planning their trip would be no easy task.

“It is really, really complex,” Mr Long told the Today show on Friday.

“My No. 1 piece of advice is use a travel agent because they will know all of the rules and protocols.

“They will be able to tell you, for example, does the airline require you to have a PCR test even if you don’t need it to arrive in the country. Those sort of complexities are what we are facing and you will needs a much happen as possible.”

But for Aussies who are hesitant to fork out the funds on a travel agent, a self-guided trip will be difficult, but certainly not impossible.

Below are the rules and restrictions for Australia’s favourite overseas destinations from next month.

Leaving Australia

Only fully vaccinated Australians will be permitted to travel overseas without an exemption from November 1.

Travellers will need to provide evidence of their vaccination status when they check-in at the airport with an Australian-issued International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC).

Children under 12 and people who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons will be treated the same as fully-vaccinated travellers.

If you are over 12 and not fully vaccinated, you will need to apply for an exemption to leave Australia.

United Kingdom

Fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel to the UK without having to quarantine from November 1.

The UK will only consider travellers 14 days after their second Covid-19 vaccine.

Fully-vaccinated travellers do no need to test negative for Covid-19 before boarding their plane to the UK.

Upon arrival in the UK, travellers will need to get a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 48 hours and test negative for Covid-19.

The UK will allow unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Australians to enter their borders, but travellers will be required to follow an extensive set of rules.

Before arriving in the UK, travellers will need to have a Covid-19 test with a negative result taken within 3 days before they depart Australia.

Travellers will also need to complete a passenger locator form before departing Australia, along with booking and pay for two PCR tests and 10 nights of accommodation for quarantine once they arrive in the UK.

One they arrive in the UK, unvaccinated and partially travellers will need to quarantine for 10 days and test negative for Covid-19 on day 2 and day 8 of quarantine.

US and Canada

Fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel to the US and Canada without having to quarantine from November 8.

For travel to the US, the full vaccination requirement applies to anyone over 18. For Canada, it applies to anyone over 12.

All travellers must have had their second vaccine shot 14 days before entry.

Any Australians who have travelled to the UK, Ireland or the Schengen zone (26 European countries including Italy, Germany and Greece) within the past 14 days will not be permitted to enter the US or Canada.

Before boarding their flight to the US or Canada, travellers must be able to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result. The test must have been taken within 72 hours before departure.

For travellers to Canada, a ArriveCAN application, which includes your travel and contact information, quarantine plan and Covid-19 symptom self-assessments, must also be submitted before departure.

Once arriving in the US or Canada, travellers are not required to complete another Covid-19 test.

Australians cannot use land, rail and ferry crossings to travel over the US-Canada border.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Australians will not be permitted to travel to the US or Canada unless it is for an approved reason.

Singapore

Fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel to Singapore without having to quarantine from November 8.

All travellers must have had their second Covid vaccine shot 14 days before entry.

Children under 12 are exempt from Singapore’s vaccine requirement.

Before booking a trip, travellers will need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) to enter as a short-term visitor under Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL).

Applications for VTPs open for Australians on November 1.

Before boarding their flight to Singapore, travellers must be able to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result. The test must have been taken within 48 hours before departure.

Upon arrival in Singapore, travellers are required to have another Covid-19 PCR at the airport.

After this, travellers will have to stay in a hotel approved by Singapore health authorities for one night as they wait to receive a negative test result.

As a popular layover destination, Australian travellers will need to be mindful of Singapore’s rules about other countries outside of Australia.

Layovers will not be permitted for any Australian travellers who have visited any country outside of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, US or Switzerland in the past 14 days.

Thailand

Fully vaccinated Australians will be able to travel to Singapore without having to quarantine from November 1.

Thailand considers travellers fully vaccinated 14 days after completing a course of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Children under 12 are exempt from Thailand’s vaccine requirement.

Before boarding their flight to Thailand, travellers must be able to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result. The test must have been taken within 72 hours before departure.

Travellers must also provide proof of travel health insurance covering health care and treatment expenses for Covid-19 with a coverage of no less than 100,000 USD before boarding their flight.

Upon arrival in Thailand, travellers are required to have another Covid-19 PCR at the airport.

After this, travellers will have to stay in a hotel approved by Thai health authorities for one night as they wait to receive a negative test result.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated Aussie travellers will also be permitted to travel to Thailand, but must complete either ten or 14 days quarantine upon arrival.




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Rome G20: Morrison briefly greets French President Emmanuel Macron amid submarine feud



Scott Morrison has revealed what he said to the French President when he ran into him in Rome – in the leaders’ first encounter since a “clumsy” action by the PM.

Scott Morrison has said “g’day” to Emmanuel Macron during their first face-to-face encounter since Australia tore up a French submarine deal.

The Prime Minister again defended his government’s decision to abandon the French submarine contract despite US President Joe Biden describing its handling as “clumsy”.

Mr Morrison briefly greeted the French president at the G20 Summit in Rome but the two leaders will not have a bilateral meeting as tensions between the two continues to simmer.

Last month, Australia, the US and the United Kingdom formed a new partnership – AUKUS – which meant Canberra would scrap its $90b submarine deal with Paris in favour of nuclear technologies made available by London and Washington.

France was blindsided by the deal having been advised on the eve of the AUKUS announcement and, as a result, ambassadors were pulled from Canberra and Washington.

Mr Biden ridiculed the handling of the deal in a meeting with the French President in Italy, admitting it “was not done with a lot of grace”.

“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not coming through,” he said.

“I honest to God did not know you had not been.”

But Mr Morrison defended his government’s diplomatic process and insisted the United States were involved in the strategic handling.

“Australia made the right decision in on our interests to ensure we have the right submarine capability to deal with our strategic interests,” he told reporters in Rome.

“There was never an easy way for us, I think, to get to a point where we had to disappoint a good friend and partner in France that we wouldn’t be proceeding with that contract.

“It was always a difficult decision for Australia, it was the right decision for Australia — we worked closely with the United States and the United Kingdom and we kept them up to date.”

The Prime Minister said he didn’t request a bilateral meeting with the French President at the summit given the tension and wanting to respect Mr Macron’s frustrations though the two briefly greeted during an event in Rome.

“I said g‘day,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Rome.

“He was having a chat to someone, I went up and just put my arm on his shoulder and just said ‘g’day, Emmanuel,’ and ‘look forward to catching up over the next couple of days.’

“That’s the way these events tend to work and he was happy to exchange those greetings.”

Originally published as Rome G20: Morrison briefly greets French President Emmanuel Macron amid submarine feud

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President Emmanuel Macron and Scott Morrison speak after AUKUS fallout



After ignoring Scott Morrison’s pleas for weeks, French President Emmanuel Macron has finally spoken to the Prime Minister.

Scott Morrison and Emmanuel Macron have spoken for the first time since Australia abandoned a major submarine deal with the French last month.

In a readout of the call provided by the Élysée Palace, Mr Macron told Mr Morrison the decision to scrap the French contract in favour of the acquisition of nuclear submarines under the AUKUS alliance with America and the UK “broke” trust between the two nations.

“President Macron recalled that Australia’s unilateral decision to scale back the French-Australian strategic partnership by putting an end to the ocean-class submarine program in favour of another as-yet unspecified project broke the relationship of trust between our two countries,” the statement said.

“The situation of the French businesses and their subcontractors, including Australian companies, affected by this decision will be given our utmost attention.

“It is now up to the Australian Government to propose tangible actions that embody the political will of Australia’s highest authorities to redefine the basis of our bilateral relationship and continue joint action in the Indo-Pacific.

The readout also made reference to the upcoming climate summit in Scotland.

“Looking ahead to the upcoming G20 in Rome and COP26 in Glasgow, the President of the French Republic encouraged the Australian Prime Minister to adopt ambitious measures commensurate with the climate challenge,” the French said.

“In particular the ratcheting up of the nationally determined contribution, the commitment to cease production and consumption of coal at the national level and abroad, and greater Australian support to the International Solar Alliance.”

The Prime Minister’s Office has been contacted for comment.

More to come.

Originally published as Morrison and Macron speak for first time since AUKUS fallout

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Surfers or seals all the same prey to near-blind sharks



White, tiger and bull sharks are the usual suspects for the majority of attacks on humans

Sharks suffer such poor vision that they are unable to distinguish people surfing or swimming from animal prey like seals and walruses, according to a study published Wednesday. 

But a new study published by the Royal Society’s Interface review found that the sharks barely pick up colour and have a very poor ability to distinguish shapes.

Originally published as Surfers or seals all the same prey to near-blind sharks




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France footballer Hernandez avoids jail as Madrid court accepts appeal



Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez will not go to a Spanish jail for violating a restraining order in 2017 after a Madrid court on Wednesday accepted an appeal by the French player. 

The court said Wednesday it had accepted Hernandez’s appeal based on his current family situation and the low probability that he would commit a crime again.

Originally published as France footballer Hernandez avoids jail as Madrid court accepts appeal




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Matildas news; Mary Fowler and Kyra Cooney-Cross nominated as future stars



When the World Cup hits Australia in 2023, a couple of the Matildas teen sensations will be ready to rip it apart.

They’re the teen sensations of the Matildas set-up and coach Tony Gustavsson won’t hide Mary Fowler and Kyra Cooney-Cross from positions of high responsibility as they loom as key building blocks for the 2023 World Cup in Australia.

The exciting duo lit up the first half of Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Brazil with a glorious pass each that had the 12,000 plus crowd gasping in awe.

Cooney-Cross from deep in midfield to release Sam Kerr on the right flank. Fowler with a penetrating through ball to play in Caitlin Foord down the left.

They were the moments that gave you a glimpse into the next generation star power of the Matildas but also provided a firm reminder of the impact the duo can have in the now.

And that’s both in January’s Asian Cup and the home World Cup in 2023.

With 17 caps and five goals to her name, including a quarter-final strike against Great Britain at the Olympics, 18-year-old Fowler, who plays for Montpellier in France, has already solidified her status in the Matildas line-up.

But the emergence of 19-year-old Cooney-Cross from the Melbourne Victory, in the high pressure position of defensive midfield, caught the eye over the course of the Brazil series.

It’s a move that the Swede Gustavsson concedes he wouldn’t have made in the early days of his journey as a manager.

“In my early coaching career, it was classic with young players to say ‘hey, we’ll give them a couple of minutes on the wing, in a smaller role and then they can grow into it’,” he said.

“That’s not what I’m about anymore as a coach. I’m about quality of players and growing them into the position where they can be the best.”

“Kyra Cooney-Cross is really good in the centre of the park. We’re looking for depth in that defensive role, I think she was brilliant in the first game. This game showed she has some work to do at international level when it comes to tempo, which is natural.”

Gustavsson was looking likely to secure his first back-to-back wins as Matildas boss when Australia went up 2-0 in the second half courtesy of a sublime Sam Kerr hit to finish off a brilliant team move.

But while the team’s defensive issues emerged again, conceding two goals quickly to level up proceedings, the coach wasn’t downcast with the work at the back.

“I do think there was some improvement defensively in this game. They didn’t get in behind us as many times as they did in the first game, we were better at reading when to drop off,” he said.

“The other thing we did well was the amount of shots that we blocked in and around the box and that’s something we’ve worked on in terms of our mindset.

“Of course, I’m disappointed that we conceded from that corner. They scored too easily and that’s something we need to work on.

“There is no shame in a draw with the world’s seventh-ranked side, however, especially with six-time world player of the year Marta back in the starting line-up.”

The 35-year-old immortal played for Gustavsson in Europe and the pair enjoyed a catch-up on Australian soil at full-time.

“I had the privilege working with her for a lot of years at our Swedish club and won the title with her in Sweden and went to the Champions League Final,” Gustavsson said.

“She’s a world class footballer and person and it’s the first time we’ve connected in a long time and I said to her you were a different team tonight and we were a bit lucky to get away with it there.”

Originally published as Matildas’ future in good hands after star showings from teen stars against Brazil




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Latest climate plans worlds away from 1.5C target: UN



The UN’s Environment Programme says national plans to cut carbon pollution amount to ‘weak promises, not yet delivered’

Countries’ latest climate plans will deliver just a tiny percentage of the emissions cuts needed to limit global heating to 1.5C, the United Nations said on Tuesday in a damning assessment ahead of the COP26 climate summit.

In its annual Emissions Gap assessment, UNEP calculates the gulf between the emissions set to be released by countries and the level needed to limit temperature rises to 1.5C — the most ambitious Paris Agreement goal.

Originally published as Latest climate plans worlds away from 1.5C target: UN




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