Morning Mail: ‘foreign actors’ election warning, feral deer ‘plague’, Sussexes’ doco reveals palace wars

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Morning everyone. Among the fallout from the shocking Wieambilla shootings is a new focus on the security threat posed by the conspiracy theorist fringe and extreme rightwing groups.

A senior Liberal MP has warned that “foreign state actors” may have tried to use anti-government movements during the pandemic to interfere with this year’s federal election. One of those overseas actors could, perhaps, be Russia, where Vladimir Putin is said to be planning a major new offensive against Ukraine in the new year.


Nathaniel Train pictured with Stacey Train, who later married his brother Gareth.
  • ‘Her life went downhill’ | The family of Stacey Train, who died in the Wieambilla shootings alongside her husband, Gareth Train, and former husband Nathaniel Train, say they rue the day the “quiet girl” met the brothers. A relative says she shut herself off from her family when she entered a “controlling” relationship with Gareth.

  • Exclusive | Andrew Wallace, deputy chair of parliament’s intelligence committee, has spoken out about the nexus of rightwing extremism and possible malign foreign attempts to influence the May federal election.

  • High energy | Anthony Albanese warned the gas industry not to “talk down” its prospects amid furious lobbying against his government’s energy price caps, which passed through parliament yesterday despite some cynical politicking by the opposition leader, Peter Dutton.

  • ‘A major win’ | Electricity generated by burning native forest wood waste will no longer be allowed to be classified as renewable energy under a regulatory change adopted by the Albanese government.

  • Deer ‘plague’ | Populations of feral deer have increased so much in the past two decades that numbers are too high to be managed by recreational hunting, and the animals risk becoming the “next rabbit plague”.


The former Russian military base in the Ukraine’s village of PervomaiskeKHARKIV REGION, UKRINE - DECEMBER 15: A Ukrainian military man descends to look at a crushed Russian tank in the de-occupied village of Kovsharivka, Kharkiv region, Ukraine on December 15, 2022. (Photo by Sofia Bobok/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • Exclusive | Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, says Vladimir Putin is preparing for a major new offensive in the new year, despite a series of humiliating battlefield setbacks for Russia in recent months.

  • Gun culture | Americans have bought an estimated 150m guns since the Sandy Hook massacre, as a decade of mass shootings and other violence has convinced more people that owning a gun for self-defence will make them safer.

  • Royal rumpus | The Duke of Sussex has claimed his brother shouted at him and his father said things “that just simply weren’t true” at the fraught Sandringham summit that led to Harry and Meghan quitting the UK and royal duties.

  • Space smash | A major leak from a Russian capsule docked on the International Space Station was most likely caused when a small meteoroid smashed into a radiator, leading to coolant being sprayed into space.

  • ‘Losing the plot’ | Donald Trump is being widely mocked over what was trailed as a “major announcement” that turned out to be a new trading card collection depicting the former president as a superhero.

Full Story

Australia Holds ElectionAnthony Albanese, leader of the Labor Party, second left, stand on stage with his partner Jodie Haydon, second right, his son Nathan Albanese, right, and Penny Wong, Australia’s shadow foreign minister, during the party’s election night event in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, May 21, 2022. Australia’s Labor Party is set to take power for the first time since 2013, as voters booted out Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative government in a shift likely to bring greater action on climate change and a national body to fight corruption. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The most pivotal stories of the year – with Lenore Taylor and Mike Ticher

From flooding to the election, and from the cost of living crisis to the end of pandemic restrictions, Guardian Australia’s editor, Lenore Taylor, and head of news Mike Ticher look back on the biggest stories of 2022.



At West Wallsend high school near Newcastle, there were was a mood of quiet satisfaction yesterday as HSC results showed that this year’s cohort had continued its remarkable turnaround. The school, which has a large number of disadvantaged children, “shouldn’t be doing well”, but it is. Krystal Bevin, the principal, pictured, said: “I think the big ticket here has been aspirations and actually opening the door to young people whose parents or grandparents didn’t have the same academic pathway.”

Not the news

Summer City Guide Melbourne

Live arts, big festivals and major international tours are kicking off again. To celebrate, Guardian Australia’s arts writers and critics are curating the best in performing arts, live music, festivals and visual arts hitting every capital city (with a few regional treats thrown in). Check it all out in our interactive guide.

The world of sport

David Warner is seen during an Australian cricket team training session, ahead of the first test match between Australia and South Africa, at Allan Border field in Brisbane, Thursday, December 15, 2022. (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING
  • Cricket | David Warner may have been treated badly after the ball-tampering scandal but he has nevertheless been successful back in the fold and can’t really argue that he has been hard done by.

  • World Cup | Azzedine Ounahi of Morocco and Saudi Arabia’s Saud Abdulhamid are among our top seven breakout stars from the World Cup in Qatar.

  • Tennis | The three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker has been deported from the UK after being freed from jail, where he was serving time for hiding assets to avoid paying debts.

Media roundup

The Australian has an interview with Santos boss Kevin Gallagher in which he calls the government’s energy plan “Soviet” and bound to lead to higher bills. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a public school – Killara High – jumped 120 places in the HSC rankings to finish 55th in the state. Victoria has secured the rights to the Australian Grand Prix for another two seasons – helped by the timing of Ramadan, according to the Age. And the WA premier, Mark McGowan, is considering an inquiry into historical forced adoptions, according to the West Australian.

What’s happening today

  • NAB protest | Anti-coal activists will protest outside the bank’s annual general meeting in Melbourne today.

  • Immigration data | The Australian Bureau of Statistics releases data on migration in and out of the country in 2021/22.

  • Wieambilla vigils | Western Downs community groups and residents in Tara are are expected to gather for vigils following the Wieambilla shootings.

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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.


Martin Farrer

The GuardianTramp

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