Morning mail: Trump poll boost, messages revealed in Taylor-Moore row, new climate warning |

Good morning, this is Imogen Dewey bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Monday 2 November.

Top stories

Donald Trump has embarked on a blistering final campaign sprint in an effort to defy negative polls and replicate his shock election win in 2016. A new poll that shows the president up in Iowa could have Democrats rattled, as Trump enjoyed the same lead over Hillary Clinton days before he won thanks to narrow victories in key midwest states – but by many metrics, Joe Biden is still a narrow favourite for 3 November. Authorities confirmed that North Carolina police pepper sprayed and arrested attendees at a get-out-the vote rally because participants blocked the roadway without authorisation. And as the election looms, dozens of historians of fascism and authoritarianism have warned of the collapse of democracy, and urged ordinary people to take action.

Angus Taylor was told almost immediately after his office disseminated figures about the Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore’s spending on travel last year that the numbers were wrong, new documents obtained by Guardian Australia reveal. Despite that, the federal energy minister did nothing to correct the record until Moore wrote a formal letter of complaint. Guardian Australia revealed the mistake soon afterwards, prompting questions in parliament, and has now obtained more documents, including a series of WhatsApp messages between Taylor and his staff that cast light on the saga surrounding the original dodgy figures.

Australia might’ve recorded its first “donut day” in months with zero new locally transmitted coronavirus cases yesterday, but the northern hemisphere isn’t faring so well. The White House is on edge after senior public health expert Anthony Fauci said the US should prepare for “a whole lot of hurt” under the pandemic, predicting a winter of 100,000 or more cases a day and a rising death toll. England’s new Covid lockdown could be extended beyond 2 December, top minister Michael Gove said on Sunday. Spain’s PM has had to call for calm after violent anti-lockdown protests, and frustrations and infections are both rising in Naples as a second lockdown looms for Italy. Geneva goes into partial lockdown today, and France has recorded more than 46,000 new cases in the last day alone.


Labor maintains the government is ‘there for the photo op, not for the follow-up’. We examine some of the pledges where the speed of delivery has been questioned.
Labor maintains the Morrison government is ‘there for the photo op, not for the follow-up’. Photograph: Glenn Hunt/EPA

Two weeks of Senate estimates scrutiny have helped Labor frame Scott Morrison as the ad-man who has failed to deliver. Here are the major promises the Coalition has made and where they’re up to.

Police in New South Wales have continued to strip-search dozens of children despite widespread condemnation of the controversial practice. A disproportionate number of those – about 21% – were Indigenous, including one child who was 11.

Labor is warning of an unemployment “tsunami” coming for Australia’s male-dominated industries, with the recession’s looming “organic” downturn likely to hit construction, manufacturing and professional services.

Australia’s economy will be 6% smaller, there will be 880,000 fewer jobs and $3.4tn in economic opportunities will be lost if the climate crisis goes unchecked for next 50 years, new analysis from Deloitte shows.

The world

Police officers walk in front of the Notre Dame church before a mass to pay tribute to the victims of the knife attack in Nice.
Police officers walk in front of the Notre Dame church before a mass to pay tribute to the victims of a knife attack in Nice. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

French police investigating the terrorist attack in Nice have arrested three more men, bringing to six the number of people taken in for questioning. On Sunday, Toussaint – All Saints’ Day – churches were under extra protection after the country’s security alert was raised to its highest level.

A powerful super typhoon slammed into the eastern Philippines, killing at least 10 people and causing volcanic mudflows to bury houses before weakening as it blew towards Manila.

Police in Quebec City have arrested a man dressed in medieval clothes over a stabbing rampage that left two people dead and five others injured near the provincial legislature on Halloween night.

Two men who allegedly duped a doctor into buying an “Aladdin’s lamp” for more than £70,000 – even conjuring up a fake genie – have been arrested in India, according to officials.

Recommended reads

“All over Australia, local communities want access to land previously dedicated to golf. The details vary from locality to locality. Collectively though, the demands represent a fascinating development.”
‘All over Australia, local communities want access to land previously dedicated to golf.’ Photograph: Christopher Hopkins/The Guardian

“A few reclaimed golf courses won’t stop the Arctic melting but it’s the sentiment we need,” writes Jeff Sparrow, explaining why our new hunger for open spaces is so important. “The climate crisis, and the broader ecological collapse of which it is part, requires massive changes in our relationship with nature – and it requires them now. The pandemic provides the obvious basis for a radical pivot. After all, in the early phases of the crisis, governments reacted to Covid how they should have responded to climate.”

US professor Dorsey Armstrong became an unlikely TV star this year, with a series about the plague. She explains what the 1348 pandemic can tell us today about conspiracy theories, recklessness, deurbanisation and social unrest, and how we might come out of Covid-19 with more than just a wave of new virus lit. “In some places, people who had been at the bottom of the social order were able to carve out a better situation for themselves,” she says, “If they survived.”

Reporting from America’s battleground states, Guardian US southern bureau chief Oliver Laughland has “met voters who share one nation but believe in two wildly opposed ideals for its future”. Ahead of what Barack Obama believes is “the most important election of our lifetime, Laughland asks which will triumph: “On one end, a feverish loyalty to the president, where not even the most sensational of scandals have a bearing on political belief … On the other what often feels like a greater enthusiasm for removing Trump from office than for the Democrat on the top of the ticket.”


An election victory in Queensland was always predicted to be close. It relied on bringing together voters on all sides of some of Australia’s most divisive issues: climate change, mining and state borders during the pandemic. Annastacia Palaszczuk overcame expectations and looks set to bring in a majority Labor government, leaving Liberal National party members scrambling to regroup after political disaster. In this episode of Full Story, Ben Smee asks: how did she do it?

Full Story

How Annastacia Palaszczuk brought together a divided state

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


“To death and taxes you can add Australian horse racing,” Scott Heinrich observes. “It is arguable no sport has been confronted with as many challenges – many of them self-inflicted – and continually come out the other side. Even a global health crisis was no match. While Covid-19 brought most walks of life to their knees, the racing industry in this country pushed on through … only a horse race could stop a nation already on pause.”

“It’s time for Rugby Australia to bite the bullet and make all overseas-based players eligible for the Wallabies,” writes Bret Harris. “Saturday’s record loss to the All Blacks provided a compelling argument that Australia cannot continue with its current domestic-oriented selection policy and hope to regain the Bledisloe Cup.”

Media roundup

Australia’s lobster exports might be the next victim of tensions with China, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. BP is slashing 20% of its Australian staff, reports the Australian. And the West Australian reports that Perth rentals are expected to jump 20% when the increase ban put in place during the Covid emergency is lifted.

Coming up

The Northern Territory government is set to open its border to residents of regional Victoria.

An inquiry into the Juukan Gorge destruction will hear evidence in Karratha.

And if you’ve read this far …

“You find this in medieval buildings ... They’re usually in dark corners where only another stonemason would find them.”
‘You find this in medieval buildings … They’re usually in dark corners where only another stonemason would find them.’ Photograph: Cro Magnon/Alamy Stock Photo

A British art historian’s painstaking study of a cathedral in north-western Spain has uncovered a 900-year-old prank: a selfie carved into the 12th-century edifice by an enterprising stonemason. The male figure has gone unnoticed by millions of worshippers who have made the long pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. He has looked down on them for centuries from the top of one of the many pillars that soar upwards, each decorated with the carved foliage in which he is concealed.

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