The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Wednesday October 27.

Fully vaccinated Australians will be able to leave the country without exemption from Monday.

Vaccinated Australians will no longer require an exemption or have to apply to the Home Affairs Department to leave the country from Monday.

9News reports this morning that Health Minister Greg Hunt signed off unrestricted outbound travel from November 1. 

Qantas has already brought forward their international flights, with planes from Sydney to Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Johannesburg and Fiji starting ahead of schedule.


Cruises will restart in 2022.

PM rebuffs 2030 climate target pressure after belatedly agreeing to net zero by 2050.

Scott Morrison will use COP26 climate talks to rebuff international demands for Australia to formally strengthen its 2030 emissions target after belatedly agreeing to net zero by 2050.

While new projections show Australia cutting emissions by up to 35 per cent on 2005 levels by the end of the decade, it won't be formalised as a new target. 

Australia's 2050 net-zero emissions target comes five days out from COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, where mid-term commitments will be a strong focus.

"There'll be a lot of words in Glasgow, but I'll be able to point to the actions of Australia and achievements of Australia," the prime minister said.


The UK has committed to cutting emissions 68 per cent below 1990 levels this decade and the European Union 55 per cent.

The US has set a 2030 target of a 50 to 52 per cent reduction on 2005 levels.

Australia had been one of the last countries holding out on a formal commitment to net zero by 2050, alongside China, Singapore, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson labelled Australia's 2050 target "heroic" for a country so reliant on fossil fuels.

Emissions reductions to date and existing policies from the coalition's previously released "technology roadmap" are expected to account for 60 per cent of cuts by 2050.

Another 30 per cent relies on "further technology breakthroughs" and "global technology trends". The remaining gap would be closed by domestic and international carbon offsets.

The plan resulting from drawn out negotiations with the Nationals has been criticised as vague and lacking the ambition needed to tackle Australia's contribution to climate change.


Business groups want to see the modelling behind the government's plan, which Mr Morrison said would be released "eventually".

First Nations people sue over climate harm.

Torres Strait Islander leaders are suing the federal government alleging it has failed to protect their communities from climate change harm.

Gadamalulgal traditional owners from the low-lying islands of Boigu and Saibai are leading a class action alleging the government breached the duty of care owed under native title and the Torres Strait Treaty.

Wadhuam Paul Kabai and Wadhuam Pabai Pabai are seeking a Federal Court order requiring the government to actively take steps to prevent harm by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The two men fear a global temperature rise of more than 1.5C will render their islands, about one and a half metres above sea level, uninhabitable and make Torres Strait Islander people Australia's first climate refugees.


"Our ancestors have lived on these islands for more than 65,000 years. But the government's failure to prevent the climate crisis means our islands could be flooded," Mr Kabai said.

"Becoming climate refugees means losing everything: our homes, our culture, our stories and our identity. If you take away our homelands, we don't know who we are."

The class action was filed in the Federal Court on Tuesday.

Coles and Woolies to sell COVID-19 testing kits from November.

Both Coles and Woolworths have confirmed they will start selling the Hough Pharma COVID Antigen Nasal Test from November.

The Chinese manufactured test is one of eight approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and will retail at $10 for a pack of two or $30 for a pack of five.


It will allow Aussies to swab their own nose and throat, delivering a result within 15 minutes.

If you return a positive, you must then present to an actual testing site for a PCR test.

80 per cent vaccination target to be reached in a week, as more states lift borders.

Australia could hit the 80 per cent full COVID-19 vaccination mark within a week, as at least four states gear up for quarantine-free international arrivals.

The latest forecast on has a best case scenario of 80 per cent - a target set by national cabinet for major changes to restrictions - being hit on November 2, Melbourne Cup day.

The federal health department's latest data shows 74.1 per cent of Australians over 16 are now fully vaccinated, with 87.1 per cent having received a first dose.


It comes as South Australia announced it would scrap isolation requirements for overseas and domestic travellers with two coronavirus jabs when the state reaches 90 per cent immunisation coverage.

Premier Steven Marshall expects the milestone to be reached before Christmas, weeks after state borders open on November 23.


Victoria and NSW will permit double-jabbed overseas arrivals to enter Melbourne and Sydney without having to isolate from Monday.

Tasmania has set December 15 as the date it will throw open borders to international and domestic travellers.

All travellers will be required to test negative for coronavirus.

The SA government's announcement further isolates Western Australia, which is likely to remain shut to countries, states and territories with coronavirus until next year.

Vaccine mandate challenge heads to court.

More than 100 essential workers and employers are challenging Victoria's vaccine mandates in a fresh case before Victoria's Supreme Court.

Melbourne couple Belinda and Jack Cetnar filed a case challenging the mandates last week, but after a judge recommended they get legal advice they've joined a larger action led by healthcare worker Simon Harding.

Mr Harding's case against Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and acting CHOs Deborah Friedman and Benjamin Cowie is set for a directions hearing on Wednesday.

It involves 18 healthcare workers, 13 construction workers, nine people in education, 58 authorised workers and 21 employers.

Represented by Marcus Clarke QC, they want Victoria's vaccine mandates quashed and an order made by the court declaring that they're invalid.


They argue that health officials failed to give proper consideration to human rights and that the declaration is incompatible with Victoria's Charter of Human Rights.

The case, before Justice Melinda Richards, will be live streamed.

Gladys lied about relationship: staffer tells ICAC.

Former premier Gladys Berejiklian lied about the extent of her secret relationship with fellow MP Daryl Maguire, her top staffer has conceded to the state's corruption watchdog.

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian breached public trust when she supported projects championed by her secret boyfriend, the former Wagga Wagga MP Mr Maguire.

Of the three senior staffers who gave evidence at the inquiry on Tuesday, former chief of staff Sarah Cruickshank was the only one who knew the pair had been in a relationship before it was revealed in the course of an ICAC investigation into Mr Maguire last year.


Ms Cruickshank told the inquiry Ms Berejiklian called her on the day Mr Maguire became embroiled in corruption allegations in July 2018, but that the premier said the relationship was "historical". 

Before Ms Cruickshank could ask any questions, Ms Berejiklian said "it was over before I became premier". 

The premier was "categorically clear" on that point and repeated it a couple of times, Ms Cruickshank said.

"I left the conversation with the impression that it was more than just a few dinners, but... I didn't get the sense it was a full blown, intense relationship."

The ICAC has since established the relationship spanned several years. Ms Berejiklian only severed contact with Mr Maguire a month before the pair was outed in October 2020.

Ms Berejiklian resigned as premier on October 1 after ICAC announced it would hold two weeks of public hearings into her conduct. She denies any wrongdoing. 


High hopes ahead of latest Assange hearing.

The British judiciary is preparing to make a potential final decision on the US extradition of Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and the whistleblower's father is hopeful.

John Shipton is in London where the High Court on Wednesday will begin a two-day hearing to consider an appeal lodged by American authorities.

"I imagine that they'll support the decision of non extradition," he told AAP of the High Court hearing. 

Mr Shipton said the bench will comprise the most powerful judges across England and Wales, adding that their ruling will be "unappealable".

The US wants Assange on their soil to face charges of violating the Espionage Act and publishing secret American documents through WikiLeaks.


In May 2019, the government charged him with 17 counts of trying to hack a Pentagon computer and offences under the Espionage Act, that carry penalties of 175 years in prison.

Mr Shipton wants his son returned to Australia with the support of Canberra.

"Bring him to Australia and say 'look, you're free here, there will be no more, we will resist the persecution'," he said.

Mr Shipton said the US is relying in part on falsified claims in its case against his son and Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson added it was time the prosecution ended.

"We say there is a principled reason that this extradition should not happen, this is an unprecedented prosecution," she told ABC Radio.

"He is in difficult prison conditions which are only going to get worse if he is extradited to the US and his life is at risk. 

"It is enough. It has been over a decade and this case ought to be brought to an end."

WTO to examine China-Aust wine dispute.

The World Trade Organisation has set up a dispute settlement panel to examine anti-dumping duties imposed by China on Australian wine.


Trade Minister Dan Tehan and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said in response that Australia would continue to use the WTO dispute settlement system to "vigorously defend" the interests of Australian wine producers and exporters.

"Australia remains open to further discussions with China to resolve this issue," they said in a statement on Tuesday night.

The dispute settlement body, which met behind closed doors in Geneva on Tuesday, agreed to Australia's second request after its first attempt was blocked by China.


"China regrets that Australia decided to further its panel request with regard to the dispute," China's delegate said in a statement to Reuters.

"China will vigorously defend its legitimate measures in the following proceedings and is confident that its challenged measures are consistent with relevant WTO rules."

WTO panels typically deliberate for six months before preparing a ruling. The outcome can then be appealed.

China last year slapped tariffs of around 200 per cent on Australian winemakers. Australian producers had benefited from zero tariffs under the China-Australia free trade agreement.

Rust tragedy could spark law suits.

Alec Baldwin the actor, who pulled the trigger on a prop gun while filming Rust in New Mexico and unwittingly killed a cinematographer and injured a director, likely won't be held criminally or civilly liable for the tragedy.

But Alec Baldwin the producer might be, along with several others in leadership positions for the Western.

Experts predict a tremendous legal fallout from the tragedy, definitely in civil lawsuits and potentially in criminal charges. In addition to Baldwin, a call sheet for the day of the shooting obtained by The Associated Press lists five producers, four executive producers, a line producer and a co-producer. They, as well as assistant director Dave Halls and armorer Hannah Gutierrez, could all face some sort of liability even if they weren't on location on Thursday.


The payouts - which could be covered in part by insurance held by the production company, Rust Movie Productions - would likely be in the "millions and millions" of dollars.

"There was clearly negligence on the set," said Adam Winkler, a professor at the UCLA School of Law and a gun policy expert. "The producers had a duty to preserve the safety of the crew. There were obvious hazards on the set."


Authorities said on Friday that Halls, the assistant director, had handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced "cold gun," indicating it was safe to use. But it was loaded with live rounds. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot and director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was wounded.

Japan's Princess Mako marries commoner.

Japanese Princess Mako has married a commoner and lost her royal status in a union that split public opinion and was delayed more than three years by a financial dispute involving her new mother-in-law.

The marriage document for Mako and Kei Komuro was submitted by a palace official Tuesday morning and is now official, the Imperial Household Agency said. 

They will make statements at a press conference in the afternoon but will not take questions because Mako showed fear and unease at the questions that would be posed, the agency said.

Mako is recovering from what palace doctors described earlier this month as a form of traumatic stress disorder that she developed after seeing negative media coverage about their marriage, especially attacks on Komuro.


There will be no wedding banquet and there have been no other rituals for the couple. Their marriage is not celebrated by many people, the agency has said.

Mako, who turned 30 three days ago, is a niece of Emperor Naruhito. She and Komuro were classmates at Tokyo's International Christian University when they announced in September 2017 they intended to marry the following year, but the financial dispute surfaced two months later and the wedding was suspended.

'Flesh eating" STI on the rise in the UK.

A rare sexually transmitted disease that destroys genital tissue is spreading in the UK.


Known as donovanosis, early symptoms include 'beefy-red lesions' on the genitals or anus.

Left untreated it slowly destroys tissue, and can spread to the thighs and abdomen.

There were 19 cases recorded in 2016, with 30 detected in 2019, according to The Sun.

There was a dip during the 2020 lockdown, but Dr Shree Datta from London’s MyHealthCare Clinic told Birmingham Live: "Figures suggest that donovanosis - which was previously thought to be restricted to places including India, Brazil and New Guinea - is becoming more common on these shores."


Queen back to light duties after hospital, but cancels Glasgow appearance.

Queen Elizabeth has carried out her first official engagement since spending a night in hospital and being ordered to rest by her doctors.

The 95-year-old, the world's oldest and longest-reigning monarch, stayed overnight at London's King Edward VII private hospital last Wednesday after undergoing "preliminary investigations" for an unspecified but not COVID-19 related ailment.

It was Elizabeth's first overnight hospital stay for years, but royal officials said she was in good spirits and she returned to her Windsor Castle home the following day where she got back to carrying out light duties.

On Tuesday, she carried out two virtual audiences to welcome the new ambassadors to Britain from South Korea and Switzerland. Pictures showed the monarch, wearing a yellow dress, smiling and looking her usual self during the engagement.

Buckingham Palace has announced however, that the Queen has pulled out of the climate change summit in Glasgow.


Around the world.

- At least five former Trump administration staffers have voluntarily spoken with the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, CNN reports.

- A US judge has set a deadline of mid-July next year for Prince Andrew to answer questions under oath in the civil sex assault case against him. 

- In what could be the first planet ever discovered outside our galaxy, scientists think they've detected signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way. It's at least 28 million light-years away. 

- With AAP

Feature image: Brendon Thorne/Getty/Yuki Tanaka/Getty. 

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