Top storiesAustralia may follow US president Donald Trump’s lead and move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The prime minister, Scott Morrison, is expected to make an announcement on Tuesday as part of a foreign policy statement on Israel in Canberra. Morrison has credited the Liberal party’s Wentworth byelection candidate Dave Sharma, a former Australian ambassador to Israel, with raising the issue.
Wentworth, the blue-ribbon Sydney electorate formerly held by Malcolm Turnbull, has a large Jewish community and voters will go to the polls this weekend. Any move by Australia would be a departure from the position taken by Turnbull when he was prime minister and by the former foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, and would have global ramifications.
Thirteen million people are at risk of starvation in Yemen if war continues, in what would be “the worst famine in 100 years”, the UN has warned. If airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition are not halted, famine could engulf the country in the next three months, according to Lise Grande, the agency’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen. She told the BBC: “I think many of us felt as we went into the 21st century that it was unthinkable that we could see a famine like we saw in Ethiopia, that we saw in Bengal, that we saw in parts of the Soviet Union – that was just unacceptable … and yet the reality is that in Yemen that is precisely what we are looking at.” Yemen has been in the grip of a bloody civil war for three years after Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, seized much of the country, including the capital, Sana’a.
Three government MPs have urged Scott Morrison to remove children and their families from Nauru, declaring conditions in offshore detention have now reached a tipping point. Craig Laundy, Julia Banks and Russell Broadbent have appealed directly to Morrison to end what the Australian Medical Association has termed a “a humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention”. Doctors, including Paul Bauert – a Darwin-based paediatrician who has been active in legal cases involving recent medical transfers from Nauru – have been in Canberra lobbying MPs in the hope of achieving a breakthrough.
Donald Trump has said “rogue killers” may have murdered the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who is believed to have been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The US president speculated on the presumed death of the Washington Post columnist as he announced he was dispatching his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to Riyadh to discuss the deepening crisis with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. After speaking to the Saudi king by phone, the US president said Salman “denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened”. Trump told reporters: “It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?”
The Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly has said he wants renewable energy subsidies axed. The outspoken conservative and chairman of the Coalition’s backbench energy committee told Guardian Australia the government needed to wind up the program, which offers subsidies for households and businesses to install renewable energy technology such as solar panels. The former prime minister Tony Abbott has already prevailed upon the energy minister, Angus Taylor, to axe the small-scale scheme and the federal renewable energy target, which is due to wind down from 2020, will not be replaced by the government.
SportGraham Arnold’s reign as Socceroos coach got off to the perfect start overnight with a 4-0 friendly win in Kuwait. Australia led 2-0 at half-time through an own goal and a second from Apostolos Giannou, before Tom Rogic and debutant Awer Mabil added two more in the final 10 minutes.
The mood at suburban basketball courts across Australian is buoyant. Two weeks ago the Liz Cambage-led Opals claimed the silver medal at the Fiba World Cup. And when the NBA begins across the Pacific on Wednesday (AEDT), nine Australians will grace team rosters, several with legitimate hopes of challenging for a championship ring, writes Mike Hytner.
Thinking timeThe photographer David Goldblatt documented the casual horror of apartheid, and captured the unease that pulsed through Alexandra Spring’s childhood. In anticipation of a new retrospective of Goldblatt’s work at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Spring looks back at her own experiences alongside his photos. Goldblatt’s 1980 photograph Saturday Morning at the Hypermarket: Miss Lovely Legs Competition was taken at the supermarket where Spring’s mother shopped. “It recalls things I saw but did not see. And it drags up the old questions that lurk beneath my memories – how could such ordinariness take place while countless horrors were happening off camera?”
The Wentworth byelection must be a referendum on climate change, argue Richard Flanagan and former Howard government adviser Geoff Cousins. Senior members of the Australian government responded to last week’s sobering IPCC report by saying, variously, that they had not read it, did not intend to change policy because of “some sort of report” and would still be tying Australia’s future to coal. “In the face of such sustained stupidity by our leaders many Australians have felt an overwhelming sense of powerlessness,” Flanagan and Cousins write. “But we should not.”
Australia’s housing boom won’t get its hoped-for soft landing. The release of the latest housing finance data shows the biggest annual fall in housing finance commitments for nearly eight years. And both the Reserve Bank and the IMF are pointing to concerns about the level of household debt as we reach a decade since the global financial crisis. Greg Jericho asks how we got here.
What’s he done now?Donald Trump has a new painting hanging in the White House, showing him drinking with his Republican predecessors. Hannah Jane Parkinson asks what we should make of it.
Media roundupThe Sydney Morning Herald calls Scott Morrison’s move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “a historic change of policy that would align Australia with Donald Trump’s controversial shift but jar with much of the western world and risk angering Arab and Muslim nations.” The Herald Sun writes that Labor will today announce its plan for a 200km/h fast rail link from Melbourne to Geelong and Ballarat, rivalling opposition leader Matthew Guy’s $19bn pledge. And the Australian reports that Australia’s grand mufti, Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly, whose standing is disputed by the Australian National Imams Council, has signalled “open hostility to gay teachers in Islamic schools”.
Coming upThe latest Australian Council of Social Services report into poverty in Australia is to be released at noon.
Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, whose pregnancy was confirmed last night, are in Sydney today, where they will open a new research institute at Taronga zoo and greet the crowd at the Opera House.