Morning Mail: Albanese’s defence ploy, Modi may lose majority in surprise result, Djokovic down and out in Paris

<span>Crossbenchers could get a seat on a powerful new defence strategy committee.</span><span>Photograph: LSIS Matthew Lyall/ADF/AP</span>
Crossbenchers could get a seat on a powerful new defence strategy committee.Photograph: LSIS Matthew Lyall/ADF/AP

Morning everyone. The prime minister is hoping to use the offer of a seat on a powerful new defence committee as leverage with independents in future crossbench negotiations, our top story reveals.

Plus, read our exclusive on how fast food outlets are getting “covert marketing” into the news.

Overseas, Narendra Modi has lost his aura of invincibility after lower-than-expected results in the Indian election, though he should still be able to return as prime minister of a coalition government. Elsewhere, pressure is growing on Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a peace deal, Nigel Farage has copped a milkshake in the face, and Novak Djokovic pulled out of Roland Garros (the French Open).


  • Degree of improvement | Australian universities have improved their global rankings despite warnings that a proposed international student cap on the horizon could dissuade thousands from applying at the country’s institutions.

  • Defence planning | Anthony Albanese has left room to appoint an independent to a new defence committee otherwise restricted to Labor and Liberal members. Guardian Australia understands the prime minister wants the 13th position on the body – which will scrutinise defence strategy, funding, procurement and operations – left vacant for the time being in case he needs to offer something to independents after the next election.

  • Snow death | The average Australian ski seasons will shrink from the current 105 days to 81 by 2030 and just 70 days by 2050 even if emissions are cut radically, a new study claims.

  • Shred ruling | The federal government is fighting for the right to destroy documents when it loses office after a judge warned the practice of shredding paperwork to keep it from incoming opponents could be criminal.

  • Exclusive | Fast food chains are successfully influencing news outlets to produce “covert marketing” for their brands, according to a study based on the press releases of McDonald’s, KFC and Domino’s Pizza over 12 months.


  • Farage shaken | A woman has been arrested after a milkshake was thrown over the UK Reform party leader, Nigel Farage, on his first day of campaigning in Clacton, the Essex constituency where he is making his eighth attempt to become an MP. As the Brexit maverick returns to haunt Rishi Sunak, keep up to speed with our campaign catchup – and check our site for live coverage of the first leaders’ debate.

  • Ceasefire push | Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is facing growing pressure both at home and internationally to support a new ceasefire plan for Gaza, as the US president, Joe Biden, accused him of prolonging the war for political gain.

  • Modi in minority? | India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, has lost his aura of invincibility. Though he looks poised to win a third term in power, early election results indicate he has not achieved the landslide victory many had predicted.

  • Cancer hope | Weight-loss drugs offer a new weapon in the fight against cancer, with “enormous potential” to prevent new cases and shrink tumours, new research shows.

  • Newborn mystery | A newborn baby girl found in a park in east London earlier this year has an older brother and sister who were also abandoned in very similar separate earlier incidents, tests have revealed.

Full Story

A journey on weight-loss drug Ozempic

The company behind the weight-loss drug has made millions, but without health insurance it is unaffordable for many. George Chidi reports.


Disney’s motto since Disneyland opened in California in 1955 has been “where dreams come true” and for a couple of decades now there has been a dream that Melbourne could become the location for one of the company’s famous theme parks. The only problem, of course, is: where exactly those dreams would be realised? Benita Kolovos investigates.

Not the news

A story from our architecture writer in the UK offers hope for people struggling to get on the housing ladder. Oliver Wainwright has been talking to people who have been part of a self-build housing project in London where they’ve laid floors, fitted the bath and hung ceilings. Despite fiendish bureaucratic barriers, the legacy is 36 permanently affordable homes.

The world of sport

  • State of Origin | The Blues are entering a new era under Michael Maguire, but our NRL expert Nick Tedeschi says it will take a lot to dethrone a Maroons team with winning in its blood.

  • Tennis | Novak Djokovic, the world No 1 and defending champion, has been forced to withdraw from the French Open due to a knee injury.

  • Football | Manchester City have launched a full legal assault against the Premier League with the champions challenging everything from sponsorship rules to the means by which decisions are taken by the competition. Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne could leave for Saudi, however, and Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes wants “clarity” about his future.

Media roundup

Fashion brand Country Road faces a staff exodus after an external review cleared the chief executive of misconduct, the Sydney Morning Herald claims. A coroners court in Victoria has heard how a young man suffered a concussion after taking up boxing and died three months later, the Age reports. A ransomware hacker has posted sensitive material from a rare earths miner online after Chinese investors were ordered to sell up from the company, the Financial Review reports. A Victorian-era cottage for sale in Orange for $415,000 has attracted so much interest from across the country that the agent had to cancel the open house, the Central West Daily says.

What’s happening today

  • Sport | The Australian Olympic Committee will host a media conference ahead of Paris Olympics.

  • Economy | An ABS release on national accounts is expected.

  • Media | Michael Miller, the executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, addresses the National Press Club in the wake of recent overhauls at the publisher.

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Brain teaser

And finally, here are the Guardian’s crosswords to keep you entertained throughout the day. Until tomorrow.