Australia news LIVE: Fake diplomats ran spy ring in Australia; one-year since start of war in Ukraine

Key posts

  • From breakfast at the Fairmont Hotel to hiding in a shelter as missiles rained down
  • Fake Russian diplomats revealed as heart of spy ring
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
  • 1 of 1

From breakfast at the Fairmont Hotel to hiding in a shelter as missiles rained down

As the war continues in Ukraine, political correspondent Anthony Galloway writes about his experience reporting from the country.

Here’s what he says:

Three months in Ukraine, bearing witness to the horror and trauma, teaches you to never underestimate the power of optimism over cynicism and perseverance over despair.

In countries such as Australia, it can be all too easy to succumb to cynicism.

On one day in July last year, just after I had returned from my second trip to Ukraine, one of the biggest political stories in Australia was the fact that all Labor MPs were wearing a face mask in parliament, while most Coalition MPs were sitting in the chamber bare-faced.”

The full story is available here. 

Fake Russian diplomats revealed as heart of spy ring

A highly active “hive” of Russian spies posing as diplomats operated in Australia for more than 18 months before it was dismantled as part of a sweeping and aggressive counter-espionage offensive by ASIO.

The Australian intelligence agency spent months tracking the Russian spy ring, which comprised purported embassy and consular staff and operatives using other deep cover identities, before ASIO finally moved to force the ring’s key players out of Australia, according to sources with knowledge of its operation.

ASIO director Mike Burgess warned Australia is facing its highest level of foreign interference ever.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

ASIO director-general Mike Burgess described the spying operation in a major speech he delivered in Canberra on Tuesday, but did not name Russia.

More on the exclusive investigation is available to read here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for your company today.

It’s Friday, February 24. I’m Caroline Schelle, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • Today marks one-year since Russia invaded Ukraine, and foreign affairs correspondent Anthony Galloway reflects on the war and the people on the front lines.
  • As the conflict continues, the Australian government committed $33 million for military drones for the country.
  • It has also been revealed an active “hive” of Russian spies posed as diplomats in Australia.
  • The debate for the Voice to parliament continues after the Yes campaign launch, as Sussan Ley claims Labor is using the referendum to wedge the opposition
  • Meanwhile, working women earn $253.50 less than men a week, as real wages fall to record lows.
  • Two supermarket giants offered to take responsibility for thousands of tonnes of soft plastics stockpiled in warehouses after the failed REDcycle recycling program.
  • And Australia could miss out on the hydrogen jobs boom unless there is urgent financial help.
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