Key events

Australia signs global treaty to protect high seas

Lisa Cox

Lisa Cox

Australia has become a founding signatory to a global treaty to protect the high seas, which will enable the establishment of marine protected areas in parts of the ocean outside national boundaries.

The foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, announced at the United Nations general assembly in New York overnight that Australia would join like-minded nations, including Pacific partners, in signing the treaty that has been two decades in the making.

The treaty will be crucial for meeting a global pledge to protect 30% of the world’s coastal and marine areas by 2030. Sixty countries must ratify it for it to take effect.

The Albanese government said it was committing $3m through the Office of the Pacific Oceans Commissioner to support Pacific countries to sign and ratify the treaty.

Wong said:

We have worked alongside our Pacific partners to make this treaty a reality – safeguarding our blue Pacific for future generations.

Australia is working to ratify the treaty and bring it into force as soon as possible.

The environment and water minister, Tanya Plibersek, said the high seas covered 60% the world’s surface and only about 1% of these oceans were protected:

International cooperation to protect and manage them is crucial. This treaty will enable us to meet our global goal of protecting 30% of our earth’s oceans.

Conservation groups praised the Australian government for taking a “leading role in ensuring this crucial treaty enters into force rapidly”.

At a meeting of the Pacific regional environment programme in Samoa last month, Plibersek worked to secure agreement from Pacific countries, the United States, the United Kingdom and France to sign and ratify the treaty as soon as possible.

Christabel Mitchell, oceans director of the Pew Charitable Trusts, said “this treaty will enable the establishment of marine protected areas in the high seas, which are critically important to protect our global marine life and build resilience in the face of climate change”.


Good morning and welcome to our live news blog. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll be taking you through a few of the breaking overnight stories before handing the controls to my colleague Jordyn Beazley.

Anthony Albanese and the health minister, Mark Butler, are expected to front the media in Adelaide today to announce a special commission of inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic. Nine newspapers first reported the story and said that the inquiry will be formed of three members – an economist, an epidemiologist and a public administration expert – to examine how Australia responded to the pandemic. But the Albanese government has already been criticised by the Coalition for not choosing a stronger form of inquiry such as a royal commission with tougher investigative powers.

The Australian Electoral Commission has struggled to get Twitter to remove posts that it says are inciting violence against staff and promoting disinformation about the electoral process ahead of the Indigenous voice to parliament referendum, documents reveal. Meanwhile, the Albanese government has been urged to remove the “professional news content” exemption from its crackdown on misinformation on social media, amid concerns that coverage of the voice and Covid-19 has spread false information and lies. And a senior Coalition frontbencher, James Paterson, has warned fellow no voters against attending anti-voice rallies this weekend promoted by a pro-Kremlin activist, arguing the events are a “shameless” attempt to push “wacky and extreme causes”.

The AFL promotion machine is in full swing with the preliminary finals this weekend. But our story this morning shows how the league promotes bets that have an 85% fail rate while taking a cut of the losses, drawing criticism from politicians and harm reduction advocates who want such ads banned.Analysis of the offers promoted by Sportsbet over 90 matches since 23 June reveals punters would have won on 17 occasions, but the betting agency would have profited on 73 games.

Post Source Guardian

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