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Anthony Albanese has appointed 19 female frontbenchers and says the team is ‘overflowing with talent’.
Anthony Albanese has appointed 19 female frontbenchers and says the team is ‘overflowing with talent’. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AP

Morning mail: Labor ministry surprises, NDIA’s legal bill, hopes for bumper ski season

Anthony Albanese has appointed 19 female frontbenchers and says the team is ‘overflowing with talent’. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AP

Wednesday: Anthony Albanese’s new frontbench, including a record number of women, to be sworn in. Plus: chefs share favourite warming winter soups

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Good morning. The Labor ministry will be sworn in today after Anthony Albanese appointed his first cabinet and outer ministry on Tuesday evening with a record number of women and a few surprises.

The NDIS agency is on track to rack up nearly $50m in lawyers fees this financial year to fight against people with a disability and their advocates appealing cuts to support packages. The figure is a 140% increase on the previous 12 months, and comes after a significant increase in the number of NDIS participants challenging decisions to reduce their funding. Critics argue people with disability and their advocates, who often are not lawyers, are being pitted against solicitors from some of Australia’s top firms.

Pork-barrelling should be prohibited and a major overhaul of the way government makes grants is needed, according to a report commissioned by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption. The report by law expert Prof Anne Twomey argues that grants should be made strictly on merit after assessments against clear criteria. Twomey will present her report at a forum organised by Icac on Friday, in which a group of experts will explore whether the practice of pork-barrelling is lawful and ethical, and whether it could constitute corrupt conduct under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act.

Residents in the eastern Ukraine city of Sievierodonetsk have been warned to stay in hiding after an airstrike hit “a tank with nitric acid at a chemical plant” on Tuesday, as Russian forces took control of most of the city. Ukraine welcomed EU sanctions, but criticised the “unacceptable” delay of 50 days between the fifth and sixth sanction packages. The African Union warned EU leaders that Moscow’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports risks “a catastrophic scenario” of food shortages and price rises. Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, who chairs the union, said “the worst is perhaps ahead of us” if current global food supply trends continue.

Australia

Snow in the high country
Covid lockdowns disrupted the past two Australian ski seasons. One resort says it opened for only 40 days last year. Photograph: Vail Resorts

Australian ski resorts are gearing up for big season with almost a metre of snow expected in high traffic areas in coming weeks. A polar blast across southern and eastern Australia has already resulted in good falls along Kosciuszko, Mount Buller and kunanyi/Mount Wellington.

Australia’s new climate minister has vowed to quickly cut taxes on electric vehicles and meet with state counterparts to address a “real vacuum of national leadership” on energy, but says new climate legislation will be limited.

Produce prices are expected to remain high despite Australian farmers setting up for a third bumper season of crops in a row. Farmer will plant a record 24m hectares this year, but higher fuel and fertiliser costs mean high yields will be unlikely to provide relief at the cash register.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is being urged to mount a full investigation into potential civil or criminal action against people involved in Youpla, a funeral insurance group that has collapsed leaving at least 13,000 Indigenous people without coverage.

Victoria’s environmental watchdog’s failure to properly engage with residents over the handling of contaminated soil shows community groups cannot be kept in the dark “like mushrooms”, an expert says.

The world

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is facing mounting calls for a confidence vote in his leadership, as two more MPs suggested they had lost faith in the government.

A lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign was acquitted of lying to the FBI when he pushed information meant to cast suspicions on Donald Trump and his alleged links to Russia in the run-up to that year’s race.

Shanghai has lifted a painful two-month Covid lockdown, to the relief of the city’s 25 million residents.

US supreme court clerks may be required to hand over their phone records as the investigation into who leaked the Roe v Wade opinion draft widens.

Recommended reads

French Onion Soup by Marc Kuzma, owner of Claire’s Kitchen at le Salon, Sydney.
French onion soup by Marc Kuzma: soup does not have to be complex to be tasty. Photograph: Lucy Tweed/The Guardian

As the weather cools and the sun begins to set earlier, there’s nothing better than sitting down with a filling bowl of soup to keep warm. After surveying a selection of Australia’s best chefs and cafe owners on their favourite soup, the classics came up time and time again. From different varieties of pumpkin soup to a family recipe for minestrone, one thing became clear: soup does not have to be complex to be tasty.

Need a good book to go with a warm soup? Here are Guardian Australia editors and critics top picks of the new titles they’ve already devoured – or can’t wait to get their hands on.

The sheer size of the China trading relationship is why Australia has to share its feasts and famines with Beijing, writes Satyajit Das. Facing economic difficulties, China is prioritising self-sufficiency and reduced dependence on Australian raw materials.

Listen

A new wave of teal independents is about to enter parliament after claiming six seats from the Liberals. How did they mobilise so much support in Liberal heartland? In today’s Full Story, Laura Murphy-Oates speaks to investigations editor Anne Davies about the strategy behind the independent campaigns and what the teal wave means for the future of the Liberal party.

Full Story

The teal playbook: how independents pushed out Liberals

00:00:00
00:26:23

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.

Sport

Darcy Parish is tackled by Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters during Essendon’s most recent AFL defeat, on Sunday at Adelaide Oval.
Darcy Parish is tackled by Port Adelaide’s Zak Butters during Essendon’s most recent AFL defeat, on Sunday at Adelaide Oval. Photograph: Matt Turner/AAP

Less than a month ago, Essendon president Paul Brasher said the club would not bow to pressure and conduct a review into its football operations. Then, after a third loss in as many weeks, Brasher announced to members that the club has decided to take a deep dive into its operations. But a full-scale review of the embattled AFL club appears to lack resolve to turn over every stone, writes Craig Little.

Lia Thomas, who earlier this year became the first transgender swimmer to win a major US college title, has pushed back against criticism that she had an unfair advantage over her competitors. “People will say, ‘Oh, she just transitioned so she would have an advantage, so she could win.’ I transitioned to be happy, to be true to myself,” she said.

Media roundup

Two of Australia’s biggest banks, ANZ and NAB, have moved to curb high-risk home lending, as the regulator revealed it has been warning some institutions to cut back on risky loans, reports the ABC. In South Australia, a man who has been missing for two years has been charged with the murder of another missing man, whose body was found in a house on Monday, reports the Advertiser.

Coming up

The new Labor ministry will be sworn in.

A ban on single-use plastic bags comes into effect in New South Wales.

And if you’ve read this far …

An undercover comedian crashed the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston, Texas, and sarcastically thanked the organisation’s president for his repeated “thoughts and prayers” after deadly mass shootings across the US over the years.

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