Good morning, this is Eleanor Ainge Roy bringing you the main stories and must-reads on Friday 14 July.
Barnaby Joyce has unloaded on his Liberal colleagues in Canberra,saying constant infighting is driving disaffected voters to One Nation. In an exclusive interview with Guardian Australia, the deputy prime minister and Nationals leader said many voters saw the government as a "philosophers' club" rather than people concerned with improving living standards and creating jobs. Joyce also said a renewed debate within the Coalition about marriage equality would aggravate voters even further, and the government needed to stick by its policy of a plebiscite. Voters would be furious if they were not given a say on an issue that remained divisive in some communities, he said.
The former Australian prime minister John Howard has said he does not believe Donald Trump is a racist, while warning against a "rush to condemn" the US president. "I think people who are writing him off now are foolish," Howard said in Sydney on Thursday evening. "And a lot of people who are doing that still can't accept that they lost."
South Australia has urged the New South Wales Coalition government to join Labor states in formulating their own clean energy target if the federal government cannot resolve its internal brawl about the Finkel review. Energy ministers will meet on Friday, and the SA energy minister, Tom Koutsantonis, said NSW was particularly exposed by the policy vacuum and could face power shortages this summer. The federal energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, said the haste from the Labor states was unreasonable, given that Canberra had adopted most of the recommendations of the Finkel report in a matter of weeks.
Environmental activists are being killed in record numbers around the globe, averaging about four a week. Two hundred environmental activists, wildlife rangers and indigenous leaders trying to protect their land were killed in 2016, according to the watchdog group Global Witness – more than double the number killed five years ago. And the frequency of killings is only increasing. According to data provided exclusively to the Guardian, 98 environmental defenders were killed in the first five months of this year. John Knox, UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said: "There is an epidemic now, a culture of impunity, a sense that anyone can kill environmental defenders without repercussions, eliminate anyone who stands in the way. It [comes from] mining, agribusiness, illegal logging and dam building."
Venus Williams celebrates her semi-final win. Photograph: Mike Frey/BPI/Rex/Shutterstock
The 1930s was a time of rapid modernisation in Australia, with construction and engineering feats such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge butting up against the political and social upheaval of the Great Depression and the second world war. A new exhibition at NGV Australia, Brave New World: Australia 1930s, highlights how Australian artists and designers captured this moment in history. The exhibition includes works by Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, Grace Cossington Smith, Max Dupain and Albert Namatjira.
Donald Trump has arrived in France, making a gushing show of friendshipand the handshake saga continues. First there was an over-long, tense-looking clasp between Trump and the French president, Emmanuel Macron. Then, if that wasn't cringeworthy enough, Trump and Brigitte Macron fumbled to clasp hands, and then Brigitte appeared to pull away, but Trump held steadfast to her right hand, drawing it to him. Really – a bear hug might be a safer at this point. Full points to Melania, who looked graceful and at ease.
The NT News splashes with a special investigation, revealing 5% of Territory students were suspended last year, including one in three at the Centralian Middle School in Alice Springs. The ABC and the Australian report on the extradition of alleged people smuggler Ahmad Zia Alizadah, an Afghan national who was extradited from Indonesia late yesterday. He stands accused of smuggling more than 200 asylum seekers on boats from Indonesia and taking more than US$2m from them.
The federal energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, is meeting his state and territory counterparts in Brisbane to discuss the Finkel review.
A man is due to face court in Melbourne accused of fatally punching heart surgeon Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann at a Melbourne hospital in May. Pritzwald-Stegmann, a cardiothoracic surgeon and father of two, died almost four weeks after the attack at the hospital where he worked. He was allegedly punched at the Box Hill hospital entrance after he asked someone to stop smoking. Joseph Esmaili, 22, was arrested in relation to the attack.
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