Morning Mail: new testimony in Lehrmann defamation trial, budget hints, the long way to Eurovision

<span>Former Seven producer Taylor Auerbach, centre, will give evidence today in the defamation trial involving Bruce Lehrmann and Lisa Wilkinson. </span><span>Composite: AAP/Sky News</span>
Former Seven producer Taylor Auerbach, centre, will give evidence today in the defamation trial involving Bruce Lehrmann and Lisa Wilkinson. Composite: AAP/Sky News

Morning everyone. Today was supposed to be the day we learned the verdict in the Bruce Lehrmann defamation saga; instead, a little-known former Seven producer will give testimony in the federal court that could have a huge impact on the trial. We have a deep dive into what we know about the evidence, plus why we can expect budget smoke signals today from Anthony Albanese and the long journey from rural South Australia to the finals of Eurovision.


  • Family guy | Anthony Albanese will give the strongest signal yet that the government will extend energy price relief when he uses a speech in Sydney today to declare that small businesses and families will be “front and centre” in the May budget. Our economics guru asks what a possible surplus will tell us.

  • Case for the defence | TV producer Taylor Auerbach, described in the federal court as “dancing in the sunlight for two weeks”, will be the star witness today when Channel Ten re-opens its defence of the defamation action brought by Bruce Lehrmann. Ten hope Auerbach’s allegations about Lehrmann’s spending on sex workers, drugs and expensive dining – not tested in court – will show that parts of the former Liberal staffer’s evidence may have been false. Lehrmann and Seven deny the claims.

  • Reporting fears | New South Wales’s peak Indigenous legal body has called for an independent investigation after state police briefed media outlets about the alleged involvement of a five-year-old in a break-and-enter and car theft before officers had spoken to the alleged offenders or laid charges.

  • ‘Cartel behaviour’ | Labor has accused franchise businesses of cartel-like behaviour for agreements not to poach each other’s employees, arguing fast-food workers could earn more if allowed to change jobs more easily.

  • ‘Canberra ketamine’ | The organisers of Queensland’s first festival pill-testing service say many drugs sold as MDMA turned out to be other substances, including one recently dubbed “Canberra ketamine”.


Full Story

Bake for Gaza: Inside the kitchen supporting Palestinian arrivals

For the Arab diaspora in Australia, the rising death toll and looming famine in Gaza has cast a dark shadow over Ramadan. Mostafa Rachwani meets the volunteers who have turned a cafe in western Sydney into a place where recently arrived Palestinian families facing hardship can break their fast. And for today’s Full Story podcast, Nour Haydar joins the women behind the Bake for Gaza initiative and meets a mother of three who fled the besieged territory to seek safety in Australia.


“She’s strategic, clever and an elevator of voices of people who ordinarily don’t get one. And she’s an influencer par excellence.” Not a bad set of qualifications for a top job, and they belong to Sam Mostyn (pictured), the incoming governor general, whose appointment has been met with broadly positive reaction despite grumblings about her so-called “woke” agenda. Amy Remeikis looks at how Mostyn’s career spanning law, politics, business and non-profits will help her settle into life in Government House.

Not the news

It’s a long way from the Aboriginal song grounds of Milili to Malmö, but that’s the journey that Zaachariaha Fielding completes at Eurovision in the Swedish city next month. Along with keyboardist Michael Ross, Fielding makes up pop duo Electric Fields and they tell James Norman about the thrill of representing the nation, growing up queer in rural Australia and why they aren’t focused on backing the anti-Israel boycott of Eurovision.

The world of sport

Media roundup

The Sydney Morning Herald has an exclusive interview with the family of killed aid worker Zomi Frankcom calling for a war crimes investigation into Israel. Asbestos-contaminated mulch has been found in a park in Melbourne, echoing the ongoing scandal in Sydney, the Age reports. Queensland’s premier, Steven Miles, was jeered by residents in a small town earmarked as the site for the world’s largest pumped storage station, the Courier Mail reports. Two rescues of drowning swimmers in less than a month have spurred locals in Apollo Bay to push for a promised swimming centre, according to the Geelong Advertiser.

What’s happening today

  • Sydney | A hearing in the Bruce Lehrmann defamation case regarding new testiony will be held from 9.30am, with Taylor Auerbach expected to appear from 2.15pm.

  • Economy | The ABS will release household spending and building approval figures.

  • New South Wales | A directions hearing for Greenlife Resource Recovery Facility at the NSW land and environment court over alleged asbestos contamination in mulch.

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Brain teaser

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