The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Monday September 20.

Christian Porter resigns from Morrison ministry.

Christian Porter has resigned as the federal minister for industry after failing to explain who was behind an anonymous donation to pay for his court case.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Sunday he had accepted Mr Porter's resignation and had appointed Energy Minister Angus Taylor to act in his role.

"His actions have been about upholding the standards," Mr Morrison said.

A "blind trust" paid the settlement for an outstanding court case of Mr Porter's stemming from when he sued the ABC in March. The legal action was over a story that revealed a now-deceased woman's historical rape allegation against a cabinet minister.

Mr Porter emphatically denied the allegation and the case was settled before trial.

Mr Morrison said that in discussion with Mr Porter over the last few days, the minister was unable to practically provide further information because of the nature of the donation arrangements.

"He has this afternoon taken the appropriate course of action to uphold those standards by tendering his resignation as a minister," Mr Morrison said.

"I expect my ministers, all of them, and myself, to uphold the ministerial standards and to act in accordance with those ministerial standards."

Mr Porter will now return to the backbench to serve as the member for the Western Australian seat of Pearce.

Body found in search for missing American, Gabby Petito.

Authorities have found a body at Grand Teton National Park in Moosey, Wyoming, which they believe to be missing 22-year-old American Gabby Petito. 


FBI personnel and local law enforcement started searching the camping area on Saturday. 

While they don't have an ID "100 percent" confirmed, an FBI press conference has expressed their condolences to Gabby's family as they "mourn their loss."

A cause of death is yet been confirmed.

Gabby and her fiance Brian Laundrie have been travelling full-time in a mobile home since earlier this year, however in late August he returned home to Florida without her and is yet to cooperate with police.

The couple was documenting their trip via social media, and the most recent post on Gabby's Instagram was on August 25. She also had a conversation with her mother just days earlier.

She was believed to be in the Grand Teton National Park, which is where a body has been found. 

While he has been named as a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance, Brian has not been arrested or charged and no formal police interview has taken place. He has been missing himself since Tuesday.

Read more: here.

Vic plan to reopen criticised by business.

Victoria's roadmap out of lockdown has been described as a "roadblock" by business groups, who say it is too conservative when compared with NSW's. 

Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday unveiled the state's roadmap out of lockdown. 

It details some small changes to Melbourne's restrictions when 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received a single vaccine dose, including an increase of the 10-kilometre travel limit to 15km. 


But lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians are double vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26.

At that stage, the city's curfew will be lifted, the travel limit will increase to 25km and hospitality can open outdoors with a limit of 50 fully vaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated people will also be able to get a haircut and gather outdoors in groups of 10.

Once Victoria reaches its 80 per cent double-dose target, forecast for November 5, the travel limit is scrapped altogether, retail, gyms and beauty services can reopen for the fully vaccinated and hospitality can resume indoors. 

Home gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed, while at Christmas the figure is expected to increase to 30.

The reopening of schools will not be tied to vaccination coverage, with Year 12 students going back to class on October 6 and a staggered return of other years starting with Prep to Grade 2s on October 18.

Mr Andrews said the plan was "cautious" and would prevent the state's hospital system from being overrun. 

But the opposition and business groups have described it as conservative, given Sydney is on track to enjoy far more freedoms about a fortnight earlier than Melbourne, despite having recorded more COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

The Australian Hotels Association Victorian president David Canny said he was "gutted" and called for consistency between states.


The Australian Retailers Association chief executive Paul Zahra said the road map was "disappointing" and would cost the industry $6 billion.

On Sunday, Victoria recorded 507 new COVID-19 cases and the death of a man in his 90s, bringing the toll from the latest outbreak to 11.

Three more Victorian towns last night entered a seven-day lockdown, Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell shires, due to rising COVID-19 case numbers.

Rules relax in Sydney COVID hotspots

Those in Sydney's hardest hit suburbs are set for their first taste of freedom in months, with recreation rules relaxing as vaccination rates continue to climb.

Reporting 1083 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Sunday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian thanked residents in a dozen LGAs of concern for their resilience before offering them the extra freedoms granted to the rest of the city a week earlier.

"The opportunity for us to ease the restrictions in the areas of concern, or equalise them in line with the rest of Sydney, is due in large part to the high rates of vaccination," Ms Berejiklian said.


"We have seen some of those communities go from rates of around 19 or 20 per cent up to nearly 90 per cent and that is extremely encouraging."

Fully vaccinated adults in the 12 government areas will from Monday be able to exercise outdoors with no time limits, and gather in groups of five for outdoor recreation within five kilometres from home. Children under 12 are not included in the gathering limit.

Conditions for authorised workers and travel permit requirements will remain in place in the LGAs of concern, however.

Public pools will also reopen in NSW from September 27.

Despite the relaxation of some restrictions, Ms Berejiklian warned the state's situation remains "precarious", as NSW reported 13 deaths on Sunday – an outbreak record.

"We are anticipating our worst weeks in ICU and hospitals will be in October," she said.

Of the 13 people who died with COVID-19 in the latest reporting period, one was in their 40s, two in their 50s, two in their 60s, five in their 70s, and three in their 80s.

There are 1238 COVID-19 cases in hospital, with 234 people in intensive care, 123 of whom require ventilation.

Cop union asks why riot squad not at violent Melbourne rally.

The police union will ask Victoria Police why the riot squad was not deployed to a violent anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne that left several officers in hospital.

Between 500 and 700 demonstrators gathered in Richmond about midday on Saturday, after the location of the protest was changed from Melbourne city centre at the last minute in an attempt to evade authorities.

At one stage, dozens of people ran at police in a clash that saw officers knocked to the ground and protesters doused with capsicum spray.


Police Association of Victoria secretary Wayne Gatt described the rally as "horrific" and said 10 police were injured, including six who were taken to hospital. 

"Significant violence confronted those individuals, we had bottles thrown at their faces; projectiles and rocks. This group came to assault the police," he told 3AW radio on Sunday.

"There's a range of injuries from dislocated shoulders, torn pectorals, broken bones (and) noses." 

Mr Gatt said the riot squad was not deployed to help uniformed officers in Richmond, despite being in the city on standby.

"They are discussions that we will have with Victoria Police," he said.

"We'll do work in the coming days and during the coming hours just to work out what happened and why those decisions were taken, because the last thing we want is our members to go home with serious injuries."

PM heads to US for Quad leaders' summit.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is heading to the United States for a series of meetings culminating in the first face-to-face Quad leaders' summit.

The White House meeting of the leaders of the US, Australia, India and Japan comes as senior Morrison government figures and defence officials have warned of the "deteriorating strategic environment" in the Indo-Pacific region.

A more assertive China flexing its diplomatic, trade and military muscle is a key driving force behind the Quad.

Mr Morrison will also meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Washington, having announced a security pact between Australia, the UK and US known as AUKUS.


The AUKUS agreement brought with it a deal to build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines to replace Australia's Collins-class vessels.

It is expected the Quad leaders, who met virtually in March, will announce partnerships in the areas of COVID-19 vaccines production and supply, climate, and critical and emerging technologies.

Mr Morrison is not expected to make any announcements on climate policy, as he and other leaders prepare for the COP26 talks in Glasgow in November.

Wines wins Port's first AFL Brownlow Medal

Port Adelaide's Ollie Wines admitted to mixed emotions after winning his club's first AFL Brownlow Medal, saying the award and their disastrous end to the season have him rattled.

In a pulsating count on Sunday night that was one of the most entertaining in Brownlow history, Wines polled 36 votes to finish three clear of Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli.

The Bulldogs star had led since round 12, but did not poll after round 19.

Wines, who entered the count as the slightest of favourites, hit the lead with one vote in round 22, and snared another two votes in round 23 - against the Bulldogs - to secure the medal.

It was some small consolation for the Power after the Bulldogs humiliated them by 71 points two Saturday nights ago in the preliminary final.

The Bulldogs will play Melbourne next Saturday in the grand final.

"I'm a little bit rattled, to be honest, still," Wines said on stage at Perth's Optus Stadium, the grand final venue.


"There are so many great players that I still look up to at my age ... and a lot of them are obviously playing on Saturday in the biggest game of the year.

"I'm extremely envious of them and I'd love to be in their position."

Female Kabul city staff told to stay home.

Female employees in the Kabul city government have been told to stay home, with work only allowed for those who cannot be replaced by men, the interim mayor of Afghanistan's capital says.

The decision to prevent most female city workers from returning to their jobs is another sign the Taliban, who overran Kabul last month, are enforcing their harsh interpretation of Islam despite initial promises by some they would be tolerant and inclusive. 

In their previous rule in the 1990s, the Taliban barred girls and women from schools, jobs and public life.

In recent days, the new Taliban government issued several decrees rolling back the rights of girls and women. 

It told female middle and high school students they could not return to school for the time being, while boys in those grades resumed studies this weekend. 

Female university students were informed that studies would take place in gender-segregated settings from now on, and they must abide by a strict Islamic dress code. 

On Friday, the Taliban shut down the Women's Affairs Ministry, replacing it with a ministry for the "propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice" and tasked it with enforcing Islamic law.


Aussie swim champ Madison Wilson hospitalised with COVID.

Aussie Olympic champion Madison Wilson has been hospitalised with COVID-19 despite having been double vaccinated against the virus. 

She is currently in Naples, Italy where she is competing with the Los Angeles Current in the International Swim League.

"I am extremely disappointed and upset not to be racing alongside my teammates in match 8 here in the ISL," Wilson wrote on Instagram on Sunday evening (AEST).

"I recently tested positive for Covid and yesterday was moved into hospital for further care and observation.

"Even though I am double vaccinated and took the right precaution set in place through the ISL, I have managed to fall to this virus. It’s been a crazy few months and I believe being run down physically and mentally may have made me more susceptible," she said.

"I feel extremely unlucky but I do believe this is a huge wake up call, COVID is a serious thing and when it comes it hits very hard."

Around the world.

- Chris Rock has tested positive for coronavirus and urged his followers to get vaccinated.


 - Princess Beatrice has been admitted into a London hospital at the weekend, according to reports, with at least one royal expert claiming a birth announcement is "imminent".

- The 73rd Primetime Emmys ceremony is being broadcast from Los Angeles at 10:00am AEST with Apple TV's Ted Lasso up for 20 nominations. The Handmaid's Tale and The Crown have 11 each.

- With AAP

Feature image: Sam Mooy/ Darrian Traynor/Getty/Instagram @madiwilson.

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