Morning Mail: detention releases could top 170, Hong Kong passes security law, Hirst artworks controversy | Australia news

Morning, everyone. The Albanese government is heading for another tricky moment in its attempts to defuse the politically damaging fallout from the immigration detention imbroglio. Our exclusive story shows many more people could be released than previously thought if the government loses the latest legal challenge to the scheme next month. We also reveal a decreasing transparency over what MPs bill taxpayers for ads, the UN confirms last year was the hottest yet, and it turns out some of artist Damien Hirst’s famous preserved animal artworks may have been picked up for less time than was thought.


Bridget Archer and David Pocock. Composite: Guardian Australia/AAP
  • Outstanding leaders | Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer and independent ACT senator David Pocock have won a prestigious prize recognizing outstanding political leaders.

  • Exclusive | A leaked internal estimate obtained by Guardian Australia shows more than 170 people in immigration detention could be released if a court decides the scheme is illegal next month – many more than the 40 reported so far.

  • Expenses fog | The finance department has admitted it is now offering less transparency of what federal MPs bill to taxpayers on junk mail and online advertising in an attempt to reduce admin for public servants.

  • ‘Bowl of vomiting’ | The ABC has defended an international documentary about the Russia-Ukraine war screened on Four Corners after it was criticized as propaganda by the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko.

  • Tasmania’s health fail | With endless waitlists, ambulance scandals and almost no bulk-billing, health has dominated Tasmania’s state election campaign – although it’s not clear if any party has the answer.


A polar bear on Arctic ice floes. Photograph: Ekaterina Anisimova/AFP/Getty Images
  • ‘Red alert’ | Last year was the hottest on record by a clear margin with the planet, never closer to breaching the 1.5C global heating limit, even if only temporarily, the UN weather agency has warned.

  • Gaza ‘value’ | Donald Trump’s son-in-law and former Middle East envoy, Jared Kushner, has praised the potential of Gaza’s “waterfront property” and suggested Israel should remove civilians while it “cleans up” the strip. His father-in-law is also in hot water after he claimed that Jewish Democrats “hate Israel” and “hate their religion”.

  • Exclusive | New documents have shed light on the origins and inner workings of a shadowy US far-right fraternal order and indications that its founders sought inspiration from an apartheid-era South African white men-only group.

  • ‘Regressive step’ | Hong Kong’s parliament has passed a controversial national security law granting the government more power to quash dissent in the latest step in a crackdown triggered by pro-democracy protests in 2019.

  • Exclusive | Three Damien Hirst sculptures that were made by preserving animals in formaldehyde were dated by his company to the 1990s even though they were made in 2017, a Guardian investigation has found.

Full Story

Photograph: The Guardian

Black Box episode three: repocalypse now

When Eugenia Kuyda created Replika, the AI ​​companion app, she had no idea how popular it would become. The results were powerful … but so was the backlash.

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Black Box part 3


Wang Wang at Fu Ni at Adelaide zoo. Photograph: David Mattner/Adelaide Zoo

This week’s visit by China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, has already caused political and diplomatic waves, with former Labor prime minister Paul Keating riding at the crest. But if the visit is the hard end of Australia’s relations with China, then Adelaide zoo’s two pandas, Wang Wang and Fu Ni, are the softer, more cuddly end. Their fate will be decided by this week’s talks and Sharlotte Thou examines how they tell the story of the relationship’s ups and downs.

Not the news

Sharon Stone in Berlin Photograph: Eva Oertwig/Schroewig

“An expression of the feminine that is deeply in touch with natural forces and fundamentally untameable,” says one notable critic of paintings by Sharon Stone as the actor’s work goes on display in Berlin and San Francisco. Now 66, she talks to Stuart Jeffries about giving up acting, her tough childhood, and why the world doesn’t need any more “small penis energy”.

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The world of sport

Australia’s Ellyse Perry in action. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters
  • Women’s cricket | Australia have picked a strong squad including Ellyse Perry as they began a three-match ODI series in Bangladesh this week followed by three T20s.

  • Cricket | A second Australian men’s cricket series against Afghanistan in as many years has been postponed due to the country’s poor record on human rights for women and girls.

  • Rugby union | The governing body is considering reducing the tackle height in the elite game as well as a global trial of the 20-minute red card as part of a radical plan to broaden the sport’s appeal.

The Reserve Bank chief, Michele Bullock, is right to move cautiously on cutting rates, the Financial Review opinions, after she hinted they could stay high for longer. The head of Sydney’s King’s school has attacked the “victimhood” culture, “wokeness” and an alleged brain drain to the public sector, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Two climate activists have been given longer sentences after their blockade of Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge delayed 16 emergency vehicles, the Herald Sun reports. And the West Australian says the state premier, Roger Cook, has defended the $840,000 salary of the state’s agent general because living in London is “expensive”.

What’s happening today

  • Victoria | Stan Grant and Jim Chalmers will speak at ChangeFest in Mildura, where bringing First Nations communities and national policy makers will gather.

  • Tasmanian election | Liberal and Labor leaders will debate each other on Sky News at 4pm.

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Brain teasers

And finally, here are the Guardian’s crosswords to keep you entertained throughout the day. Until tomorrow.