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    Anthony Albanese to Become Australian Prime Minister

    Like Biden before him, Anthony Albanese enters office more on the back of disgust at the conservative incumbent than enthusiasm for his leadership.SYDNEY, Australia — The incumbent prime minister, Scott Morrison, pushed Australia to the right and called himself “a bit of a bulldozer.” His Labor challenger, Anthony Albanese, ran as a modest Mr. Fix-It, promising to seek “renewal, not revolution.”In the end, moderation triumphed. Mr. Albanese won Saturday’s election with a campaign that was gaffe-prone and light on policy but promised a more decent form of politics, delivering a stark rejection of Mr. Morrison after nearly a decade of conservative leadership in Australia.It was a combination that carried powerful echoes of President Biden’s victory a year and a half ago. Both Mr. Albanese and Mr. Biden are political lifers, working-class battlers with decades of experience in government and reputations for pragmatic compromise.But they also both face the problem of how they won. Disgust with an incumbent put them into office. Governing, and staying in power, requires rallying enthusiasm from a fickle public.“It’s a question of whether he can be a galvanizing leader,” said Paul Strangio, a politics professor at Monash University in Melbourne. “Whether he can learn on the job.”In a reflection of Australia’s broader mood of discontent, voters did not just grant Labor a clear victory. They delivered a larger share of their support to minor parties and independents who ran against the political status quo, with a surge of grass-roots enthusiasm for candidates demanding more action on climate change and greater accountability in government.Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceding defeat on Saturday in Sydney.Loren Elliott/ReutersIn Sydney, Allegra Spender, an independent, was projected to defeat Dave Sharma, a moderate from the conservative Liberal Party. In Melbourne, the current treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, who has often been mentioned as a future prime minister, was projected to lose to another independent, Monique Ryan, a pediatrician, while Zoe Daniel, an independent and a former journalist, also won in the city’s bayside suburbs.“What this says is that community can make a difference,” Ms. Daniel said at a victory party on Saturday night.“Climate, integrity, equality,” she added. “We now have a chance to actually make a difference.”In addition to the victories by independents, minor parties — from the Greens on the left to the United Australia Party on the right — also made gains, delivering what analysts described as a “tipping point” in a country that has been gradually moving away from major party dominance.“Voters have sent the major parties the message that their support can’t be guaranteed,” said Jill Sheppard, a politics professor at the Australian National University.“It’s really a massive shift,” she added. “And it’s one we don’t really have our heads around yet.”Australian voters have called for more action on climate change after severe flooding and bush fires.Matthew Abbott for The New York TimesFor Mr. Albanese, who has spent his entire career in Labor Party politics, including 23 years in Parliament, this sea change presents an unexpected challenge.Contrasting his approach with the pugnacious style of Mr. Morrison — who led a government that passed little memorable legislation but successfully managed the early months of the pandemic — Mr. Albanese ran a “small target” campaign.He proposed incremental reforms, including a promise to increase the minimum wage and provide more support for health care, nursing homes and child care. Mostly, though, he focused on altering the tone and style of leadership.“I want to change politics,” he said after voting on Saturday in the Sydney neighborhood where he grew up. “I want to change the way it operates.”Without a grand and well-defined vision already sold to the electorate, some analysts said it would be more difficult for Mr. Albanese to make rapid progress on his agenda.“It doesn’t make it impossible, but governments need momentum,” said Tim Soutphommasane, a politics professor at the University of Sydney.Some of the issues voters want addressed are unsurprising. The cost of living is rising. Businesses are struggling with labor shortages and wondering when the usual flows of skilled migrant workers will return. The pandemic has revealed gaps in health care and nursing homes.A Covid-19 ward in Melbourne. Gaps in health care, laid bare by the pandemic, were of concern to voters.Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York TimesBigger questions — about how to bring light to a political system awash in dark money, or how to build a less racist, more equal society, or how to counter a more ambitious and belligerent China — were largely sidestepped by both Labor and its opponents in the campaign.“It’s been a very mundane election campaign, but that doesn’t deny the fact that there is still a global pandemic and a war and shifting global power dynamics in the Indo-Pacific,” said Professor Sheppard, of the Australian National University.Mr. Albanese, 59, does arrive with a reputation for building consensus, and for nodding toward colleagues in his cabinet on issues in which they have greater expertise. During the campaign, Penny Wong, who will serve as foreign minister, announced Labor’s plans to expand aid and diplomatic ties to Southeast Asia in an effort to counter Chinese influence.“He’s got an experienced and pretty talented frontbench, so I expect he will govern in a very collegial way,” said Professor Strangio, of Monash University.“The general view is he’s workmanlike,” he added. “He’s not exceptional. But maybe that’s the sort of leader we need — workmanlike, incremental change, dogged, doesn’t think he’s the smartest man in the room at all times. Maybe it’s the kind of government that would suit Australia’s circumstances.”In the best of times, Australians tend to see their government as a service provider more than a battleground for ideology. Now, with the pressures from the pandemic and the geopolitical fallout of the Ukraine war, they are even more eager to see policies that produce tangible results, and they are less convinced that traditional party politics can do the job.A polling station at Bondi Beach in Sydney on Saturday. Many voters threw their support to minor parties and independents who ran against the political status quo. Steven Saphore/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images“We have these antiquated parties that are male-dominated,” said Roslyn Lunsford, 74, a voter in Western Sydney on Saturday. “It’s the same old, same old — we need a broom to go through.”As if he could sense the need for a bolder policy statement, Mr. Albanese opened his acceptance speech Saturday night with a promise to support the Uluru Statement From the Heart, a call from Indigenous Australians to establish a formal role for Australia’s First Nations people in the Constitution. It was issued in 2017 — and rejected by the conservative coalition.Similarly, Mr. Albanese pledged to make equal opportunity for women a national priority, to end Australia’s “climate wars,” which have held back pledges for emissions cuts, and to make the country a renewable energy superpower.Recognizing increased concern about integrity in government and oversight of public spending, Mr. Albanese also promised to quickly pass legislation to create a federal anticorruption commission, following through on an unfulfilled promise from Mr. Morrison in the last election.“Tomorrow we begin the work of building a better future,” he said. “A better future for all Australians.”Supporters of Mr. Albanese reacting to polling updates in Sydney on Saturday. Jaimi Joy/ReutersTo get it done, he now has to persuade a more fractured and more demanding country to believe in him and stick with him, at a time when it is cautiously emerging from two years of Covid isolation, with a surge of coronavirus cases, rising inflation and growing government debt all fueling anxiety.At the same time, China’s regional ambitions have become more threatening, with a new security agreement in the Solomon Islands. And the raging bush fires of 2020 have given way to extreme flooding — a relentless reminder of the country’s vulnerability to climate change, even as it remains the world’s largest exporter of coal.The challenges are colossal. The opposition from a more conservative Liberal Party promises to be fierce. And many analysts note that Mr. Albanese lacks the charisma of prior Labor leaders who won elections and moved the country in a new direction.“It usually takes excitement and a bit of dazzle in a Labor leader to change the government,” said James Curran, a historian at the University of Sydney. “Albanese upsets that historic apple cart.”Victoria Kim contributed reporting from Sydney, Natasha Frost from Melbourne and Yan Zhuang from Cessnock, Australia. More

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    Hochul’s Lt. Governor Pick Says He Is Afro-Latino. Some Latinos Object.

    The three major Democrats running to become New York’s second-in-command have Latino roots, but Antonio Delgado’s claim to the heritage is being challenged.In New York’s Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, one goal had unified two outsider candidates, Diana Reyna and Ana Maria Archila: vying to be the first Latino elected to statewide office.Achieving that objective has now gotten more complicated.This month, Gov. Kathy Hochul named Representative Antonio Delgado as her new lieutenant governor and running mate, replacing Brian Benjamin, who resigned in April after being indicted on federal bribery charges.In announcing the choice, Ms. Hochul heralded Mr. Delgado’s Afro-Latino ethnicity, and noted his membership in both the Black and Hispanic congressional caucuses.Prominent Latino Democrats, who lobbied Ms. Hochul on the decision and have long pushed for greater representation in state government, were quick to celebrate an appointment that, once it becomes official, will make Mr. Delgado the first Latino to hold statewide office in New York.But as the congratulatory statements began to circulate, so did questions about Mr. Delgado’s background, putting a spotlight on issues of ethnicity, self-identity and representation in advance of the June 28 primary.Asked about his Afro-Latino heritage at the news conference where he was introduced as Ms. Hochul’s choice for lieutenant governor, Mr. Delgado gave a winding answer. He said people had surmised that he was Afro-Latino because of his name, or perhaps because he briefly lived in Puerto Rico, where he played semipro basketball. He then seemed to suggest that his Latino heritage stemmed from his family’s ties to Cape Verde, a small island nation off the west coast of Africa that was once a Portuguese colony.The answer mystified some of his supporters, and created an opening for his opponents to scrutinize his claims of being Latino.Luis A. Miranda Jr., a founding partner of the MirRam Group, a political consulting firm, posted celebratory comments on Twitter about Mr. Delgado’s appointment when it was announced. But after hearing his remarks at the news conference, Mr. Miranda said he was “puzzled by his explanation on ethnicity.”Mr. Delgado, in an interview with The New York Times, described the complexity of how he views his ethnicity. He said his mother grew up at a time when she felt safe identifying only as Black or white, but eventually embraced the Mexican, Colombian and Venezuelan ancestry of her father, whom she did not know.“She became someone who identifies as a proud Black woman with Latino roots,” Mr. Delgado said in the interview. “And as I’ve tried to orient myself and my sense of identity through her, that is the entry point.”Asked how he identified himself, Mr. Delgado said: “I am a Black American man with Cape Verdean roots and Latino roots. When it pertains to my Latino roots, that comes from my mom’s side, whose own story around her identity is multifaceted and complex.”When Ms. Hochul picked Mr. Benjamin for the job, her choice was influenced by a desire to have her running mate be a person of color from the New York City area as a way to help broaden her appeal beyond her base as a white politician from western New York.Mr. Delgado offered many of the same qualities, giving the governor a running mate with name recognition and the potential to appeal to downstate Black and Latino voters as she seeks a full term this year.Ms. Archila, who has been endorsed by Representative Nydia M. Velázquez, the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the House, and Ms. Reyna said they understood why Ms. Hochul would want a Latino running mate. Latinos are the second-largest ethnic group in the state and make up 19 percent of the population. But the two women questioned Mr. Delgado’s rationale for describing himself as Latino and cast Ms. Hochul’s decision as a political ploy.“Gov. Hochul is being extremely opportunistic and simplistic,” said Ms. Archila, whose running mate is Jumaane Williams, New York City’s public advocate. “I think he should say more than, I have an ancestor who once was born in Colombia.”In selecting Mr. Delgado, Gov. Kathy Hochul, right, chose a running mate of color who may appeal to downstate voters who are not part of her natural base.Cindy Schultz for The New York TimesMs. Reyna, whose running mate is Representative Thomas R. Suozzi, said at a recent campaign event that a “last name does not make you Latino.” The first statewide Latino official should be “authentic,” have “lived experience” and a record of helping Latino communities, she told Encuentro New York, a Latino advocacy group.“She tells us that her lieutenant governor is a member of the Latino community,” Ms. Reyna said of the governor. “This is not about identity politics. This is about being truthful.”Ms. Hochul and her campaign have said little about the questions surrounding Mr. Delgado’s ethnicity. They referred to him as Afro-Latino in the third line of a news release announcing his appointment; an email sent out the next day about a fund-raiser did not mention his ethnicity.“He identifies as Afro-Latino,” Jerrel Harvey, a spokesman for Ms. Hochul’s campaign, said.The focus on Mr. Delgado’s ethnicity adds a new wrinkle to the primary for lieutenant governor, which was upended after the resignation of Mr. Benjamin, the presumptive favorite. For weeks, it appeared that he would remain on the primary ballot despite the criminal charges, but state lawmakers ultimately passed a bill allowing him to remove himself.It was then that Ms. Hochul chose Mr. Delgado to succeed Mr. Benjamin.Camille Rivera, a Democratic political strategist who identifies as Afro-Latina, said Ms. Hochul had missed an opportunity to energize an important voting bloc that could help decide the general election. Among the issues Latino leaders say they want state government to address are affordable housing, child care and inequalities in health care.“You have no statewide Latino representation, right?” Ms. Rivera said. “Here was an opportunity to actually lift up Latinos in a real way.”There has been little scrutiny of Mr. Delgado’s Latino heritage. Several news articles over the years have identified him incorrectly as Puerto Rican. Some articles from 2018, when he defeated John J. Faso, the Republican incumbent, to claim the House seat representing the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions, referred to him as Black.Asked whether he had ever corrected the record about being Puerto Rican before the news conference where he was introduced as lieutenant governor, Mr. Delgado said in a statement that he was “raised as a blend of heritages,” including “Latino roots.”“That’s the background I grew up with and how I identify,” he said in the statement. “My mom’s maiden name is Gomez and she grew up identifying as having Latina roots.”Racism and colorism may also play a role in how Mr. Delgado’s description of being Afro-Latino is being received, said Representative Ritchie Torres of the Bronx, who identifies as Afro-Latino.“I find it curious that those of us with Black skin often have our Latino identity questioned,” said Mr. Torres, who supports Mr. Delgado. “As an Afro-Latino, I have been told repeatedly that I do not look Latino, whatever that means, and therefore, I must be less authentically Latino than those with lighter skin.”Zaire Z. Dinzey-Flores, an associate professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies at Rutgers University, said she understood why some Latinos were upset about the appointment. Being Afro-Latino in the United States, she said, involves a complicated mix of race, language and culture.“Experience informs what you see, how you perceive things, how you bring in issues that might go unseen or unrecognized,” Professor Dinzey-Flores said. Choosing someone from an Afro-Latino background so that constituency is represented in government, she added, should be about “authentically” capturing that experience and not “checking a box.”Melissa Mark-Viverito, a former New York City Council speaker who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, concurred, saying that Mr. Delgado’s claim of Latino heritage “raises the question and the concern of people loosely taking on certain identities and not being completely honest.”“That concerns me because as someone who fully embraces the importance of representation, we have two qualified Latinas running and a chance to make history,” Ms. Mark-Viverito said, referring to Ms. Reyna and Ms. Archila. “Yet it feels like we are being duped. It’s all very messy.”Days after Ms. Hochul named him as Mr. Benjamin’s successor, Mr. Delgado gave a 15-minute speech at the Harlem headquarters of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Mr. Sharpton said he was surprised that Mr. Delgado did not address the confusion about his Afro-Latino identity.“I think it’s something he can’t ignore,” Mr. Sharpton said in an interview after Mr. Delgado spoke that day.Instead, Mr. Delgado reminisced about growing up in a Black Baptist church and drew hearty amens and nods of approval from the mostly Black crowd. He talked about why he pursued a career as a rapper after graduating from Harvard Law School, an issue opponents tried to use against him when he first ran for Congress.“I know the power of the culture,” Mr. Delgado said. “I am the culture.” More

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    Judge Approves N.Y. House Map, Cementing Chaos for Democrats

    The new district lines, approved late Friday night, will create pickup opportunities for Republicans and force Democratic incumbents to run against each other.A state court formally approved New York’s new congressional map late Friday, ratifying a slate of House districts drawn by a neutral expert that could pave the way for Democratic losses this fall and force some of the party’s most prominent incumbents to face off in primary matches.The map, approved just before a midnight deadline set by Justice Patrick F. McAllister of State Supreme Court in Steuben County, effectively unwinds an attempted Democratic gerrymander, creates a raft of new swing seats across the state, and scrambles some carefully laid lines that have long determined centers of power in New York City.Jonathan R. Cervas, the court-appointed mapmaker, made relatively minor changes to a draft proposal released earlier this week whose sweeping changes briefly united both Republicans and Democrats in exasperation and turned Democrats against each other.In Manhattan, the final map would still merge the seats of Representatives Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, setting the two Democratic committee leaders, who have served alongside each other for 30 years, onto an increasingly inevitable collision course.Another awkward Democratic primary loomed up the Hudson in Westchester County, where two Black Democratic House members were drawn into a single district. But the worst outcome for Democrats appeared to be averted early Saturday morning when one of the incumbents, Representative Mondaire Jones, said he would forego re-election in his Westchester seat. He said he would run instead in a newly reconfigured 10th Congressional District in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, a race that has already drawn the candidacy of Bill de Blasio, the former New York City mayor, but which no other sitting House member is expected to enter.Republicans were already eying pickup opportunities in the suburbs of Long Island and in the 18th and 19th Districts in the Hudson Valley that could help them retake control of the House. Representative Mondaire Jones said he would run in a newly reconfigured 10th Congressional District.T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York TimesAnd in New York City’s only Republican-held district, Representative Nicole Malliotakis breathed a sigh of relief that Mr. Cervas had reversed one of the boldest moves by the Democratic leaders in the State Legislature, when they inserted liberal Park Slope, Brooklyn, into her Staten Island-based district.Some of the most notable changes between the initial and final district lines came in historically Black communities in Brooklyn, where Mr. Cervas reunited Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights into single districts. He had faced uproar from Black lawmakers and civil rights groups after his first proposal divided them into separate seats.What to Know About RedistrictingRedistricting, Explained: Here are some answers to your most pressing questions about the process that is reshaping American politics.Understand Gerrymandering: Can you gerrymander your party to power? Try to draw your own districts in this imaginary state.Killing Competition: The number of competitive districts is dropping, as both parties use redistricting to draw themselves into safe seats.Deepening Divides: As political mapmakers create lopsided new district lines, the already polarized parties are being pulled even farther apart.Responding to feedback from community groups, Mr. Cervas also revised the map to reunite Manhattan’s Chinatown with Sunset Park in Brooklyn, another heavily Asian American community, in the 10th Congressional District. In each case, he said the communities had been “inadvertently split” in his first proposal.Justice McAllister’s order approving the congressional and additional State Senate maps on Friday makes New York one of the final states in the nation to complete its decennial redistricting process. But both parties were already girding late Friday for the potential for civil rights or political groups to file new, long-shot lawsuits challenging the maps in state or federal court.Justice McAllister used the unusual five-page order to rebut criticisms leveled at Mr. Cervas and the court in recent days, as the maps were hastily drafted out of public view. He conceded that the rushed time frame was “less than ideal” but defended the final maps as “almost perfectly neutral” with 15 safe Democratic seats, three safe Republican seats and eight swing seats.“Unfortunately some people have encouraged the public to believe that now the court gets to create its own gerrymandered maps that favor Republicans,” wrote Justice McAllister, a Republican. “Such could not be further from the truth. The court is not politically biased.”The final map was a stark disappointment for Democrats, who control every lever of power in New York and had entered this year’s decennial redistricting cycle with every expectation of gaining seats that could help hold their House majority. They appeared to be successful in February, when the Legislature adopted a congressional map that would have made their candidates favorites in 22 of 26 districts, an improvement from the 19 Democrats currently hold.The new map reverses one of the boldest moves by Democratic leaders: inserting Park Slope, Brooklyn, into Representative Nicole Malliotakis’s Staten Island-based district.Stefani Reynolds for The New York TimesBut Republicans sued in state court, and Justice McAllister, a judge in the state’s rural Southern Tier, ruled that the maps violated a 2014 state constitutional amendment outlawing partisan gerrymandering and reforming the mapmaking process in New York. In late April, the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, upheld the decision and ordered a court-appointed special master to redraw the lines.Justice McAllister appointed Mr. Cervas, a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon with few ties to New York and scant experience drawing state lines, and delayed the congressional and State Senate elections until Aug. 23.On Friday, Mr. Cervas produced a 26-page report explaining the rationale of his map, in which he tried to balance the need to protect communities of shared interest, existing districts, and other constitutional requirements.Mr. Cervas eliminated one district overall, carving it out of central New York to shrink the state’s congressional delegation to 26. The change was required after New York failed to keep pace with national population growth in the 2020 census.How U.S. Redistricting WorksCard 1 of 8What is redistricting? More

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    Why Australians Must Vote on Election Day

    After Australia’s 2016 federal election, a parliamentary committee urged the country’s election commission to investigate the worryingly low voter turnout, saying the trend may signal trouble for the health of its democracy.The turnout in question: 91 percent.In the U.S. presidential election that same year, barely 60 percent of eligible Americans cast a ballot.Australia is one of a couple of dozen countries, including Belgium, Brazil and Peru, whose citizens are legally required to vote. Those who fail to do so are subject to a fine of 20 Australian dollars — about $14 — which can balloon with repeat offenses or if the fine goes unpaid.Voters may have their fines waived if they have a “valid and sufficient” reason for not turning up to vote.Australia’s election commission says compulsory voting is a “cornerstone” of its democratic system because it incentivizes candidates to cater to everyone in the electorate, not only to those more engaged. Some in the United States have cited it admiringly, including Barack Obama, who noted in a 2015 speech that those who are less likely to vote are disproportionately young, lower income, immigrants or minorities.“It would be transformative if everybody voted,” he said. “That would counteract money more than anything. If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country.”Surveys in Australia also indicate that without the mandate, voter turnout would be uneven. Less than half of those younger than 35 say they would definitely vote without the requirement, whereas 71 percent of those 55 and above say they’d still go to the polls, according to the Electoral Integrity Project.The law, which has been in place since 1924, enjoys broad support, but isn’t without its detractors.Some who are dissatisfied with the choices they’re given cast what’s known as a donkey vote, where they rank preferences for candidates on the ballot in the order in which they happen to be listed. (The “reverse donkey” is another protest vote, ranked from bottom up.)One politician in East Gippsland Shire, in southeastern Australia, Ben Buckley, said in local media reports that he had refused to vote since 1996 — including in races in which he was a candidate — because he believed that it was an illegal coercion by the government.“If you’ve got a right to vote, you should have a right not to vote,” Mr. Buckley, a bush pilot, told a Melbourne newspaper in 2015, saying he had lost count of how many times he’d been hauled before a court for failing to vote. More

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    A Guide to Australia’s Election

    Election Day has arrived. Here’s what to watch.The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. Sign up to get it by email.Australians go to the polls on Saturday to choose a new government. Will Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his conservative coalition be given another three years, or will Anthony Albanese, the opposition Labor Party leader, seize a victory?A hung Parliament may also be a very real possibility. If that happens, the wave of “teal independents” I wrote about this week could be the kingmakers for a minority government.Their emergence in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and elsewhere reflects a major shift for Australia — a backlash against the major parties and the status quo from the political center, led by community groups and accomplished women who are stepping forward as candidates for the first time.Understand Australia’s Federal ElectionAustralians go to the polls on May 21 as the country faces rising inflation, climate change anxiety and foreign policy challenges. A ‘Manchurian Candidate’ Strategy: Ahead of the election, Prime Minister Scott has attempted to exploit rising fears of China. Dark Money: Shadowy financing, unreported donations, payouts from coal barons: This political season has shone a light on a culture of opacity. Identity Issues: The tone and arguments of the campaign debate around the rights of transgender people feels very American. How Climate Fits in: Australia has been hit hard by climate disasters. But it’s also making tons of money from fossil fuels.Read my story to get a sense of why many analysts believe their efforts amount to a revival for Australian democracy.We also have what we call an election explainer for you this week, which attempts to lay out what’s at stake and offers capsule reviews of the major issues and candidates. Starting on Election Day, we’ll have a live briefing where we’ll follow news and put the campaigns — and results — into context.Yes, for those who are wondering, we will also be sure to address the Grand Unifier of all Australians: the democracy sausage.And if you have thoughts on why this election matters — and what the result might reveal about Australia — shoot us an email at nytaustralia@nytimes.com.Now here are our stories of the week.Australia and New ZealandBuildings in Cobargo destroyed by fire, January 2020.How the Long Recovery From Bush Fires Could Decide Australia’s Election. The fires that tore through the country in late 2019 and early 2020 are history, but halting recovery efforts have kept memories vivid and anger fresh.How Australia Saved Thousands of Lives While Covid Killed a Million Americans. The United States and Australia share similar demographics, but their pandemic death rates point to very different cultures of trust.How a Group of Female Independents Aims to Revive Australian Democracy. A community-driven movement has recruited around 25 candidates, most of them successful women preaching pragmatic reform. They could shape the balance of power after Saturday’s election.Opinion: Australia’s Prime Minister Ignored the Climate. Voters Could Make Him Pay.Around the TimesPresident Biden departing for South Korea on Thursday. Mr. Biden’s first trip to Asia will pose diplomatic challenges on several fronts.Doug Mills/The New York TimesBiden Begins Trip to Asia Meant to Reassure Allies of Focus on China. With the administration’s attention having shifted to Ukraine, President Biden plans to emphasize that the United States can counter aggression in both Europe and Asia.Puberty Starts Earlier Than It Used To. No One Knows Why. Some girls are starting to develop breasts as early as age 6 or 7. Researchers are studying the role of obesity, chemicals and stress.Doctors Gave Her Antipsychotics. She Decided to Live With Her Voices. A new movement wants to shift mainstream thinking away from medication and toward greater acceptance.Prince Charles and Camilla Visit Canada, Confronting Legacy of the Crown. Prince Charles acknowledged the “suffering” of the Indigenous community in a visit to the Northwest Territories on the last day of his three-day tour of the country, where polls suggest there is little support for the monarchy.Enjoying the Australia Letter? Sign up here or forward to a friend.For more Australia coverage and discussion, start your day with your local Morning Briefing and join us in our Facebook group. More

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    Jeffries Fights New York District Maps: ‘Enough to Make Jim Crow Blush’

    Hakeem Jeffries hopes to pressure New York’s court-appointed special master to change congressional maps that split historically Black communities.Representative Hakeem Jeffries, the second-highest-ranking Black lawmaker in Congress, has launched an aggressive effort to discredit a proposed congressional map that would divide historically Black neighborhoods in New York, likening its configurations to Jim Crow tactics.Mr. Jeffries is spending tens of thousands of dollars on digital advertising as part of a scorched-earth campaign to try to stop New York’s courts from making the new map final without changes later this week.As construed, the map would split Bedford-Stuyvesant in central Brooklyn into two districts and Co-Op City in the Bronx into three, for example, while placing Black incumbents in the same districts — changes that Mr. Jeffries argues violate the State Constitution.“We find ourselves in an all-hands-on-deck moment,” Mr. Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat, said in an interview on Thursday. In the most recent ad, he says the changes took “a sledgehammer to Black districts. It’s enough to make Jim Crow blush.”Mr. Jeffries may be laying the groundwork for an eventual legal challenge, but his more immediate aim was to pressure Jonathan R. Cervas, New York’s court-appointed special master, to change congressional and State Senate maps that he first proposed on Monday before he presents final plans to a state court judge for approval on Friday.The stakes could scarcely be higher. After New York’s highest court struck down Democrat-friendly maps drawn by the State Legislature as unconstitutional last month, the judges have vested near total power in Mr. Cervas, a postdoctoral fellow from Carnegie Mellon, to lay lines that will govern elections for a decade to come.Mr. Cervas’s initial proposal unwound a map gerrymandered by the Democratic-led State Legislature, creating new pickup opportunities for Republicans. But it also significantly altered the shapes of districts in New York City — carefully drawn a decade earlier by another court — that reflected a patchwork of racial, geographic and economic divides.What to Know About RedistrictingRedistricting, Explained: Here are some answers to your most pressing questions about the process that is reshaping American politics.Understand Gerrymandering: Can you gerrymander your party to power? Try to draw your own districts in this imaginary state.Killing Competition: The number of competitive districts is dropping, as both parties use redistricting to draw themselves into safe seats.Deepening Divides: As political mapmakers create lopsided new district lines, the already polarized parties are being pulled even farther apart.Mr. Jeffries was far from alone in lodging last-ditch appeals. The court was inundated with hundreds of comments suggesting revisions from Democrats and Republicans alike — from party lawyers pressing for more politically favorable lines to an analysis of the differences between Jewish families on the East and West Sides of Manhattan.A broad coalition of public interest and minority advocacy groups told Mr. Cervas this week that his changes would risk diluting the power of historically marginalized communities. They included Common Cause New York and the United Map Coalition, an influential group of Latino, Black and Asian American legal groups.The proposed map would divide Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and Brownsville — culturally significant Black communities in Brooklyn — between the 8th and 9th Congressional Districts. Each neighborhood currently falls in one or the other.The northeast Bronx, another predominantly Black area that includes Co-Op City and falls within Representative Jamaal Bowman’s district, would be split among three different districts.The groups have raised similar concerns about Mr. Cervas’s proposal to separate Manhattan’s Chinatown and Sunset Park, home to large Asian American populations, into two districts for the first time in decades. Other Jewish groups have made related appeals for their community in Brooklyn.Most of the changes are likely to have little impact on the partisan makeup of the districts, which are safely Democratic. But Lurie Daniel Favors, the executive director of the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, said that cutting through existing communities would further dilute the political power of historically marginalized groups.“Now, when Bedford-Stuyvesant wants to organize and petition at the congressional level, they have to split their efforts and go to two separate representatives,” she said.The maps would also push four of the state’s seven Black representatives into two districts, forcing them to compete with one another or run in a district where they do not live. Under the special master’s plan, Mr. Jeffries and Representative Yvette Clark would live in the same central Brooklyn district, and Mr. Bowman and Mondaire Jones would reside in the same Westchester County seat.How U.S. Redistricting WorksCard 1 of 8What is redistricting? More

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    Israeli Government Loses Parliament Majority, Raising Prospect of Election

    A second lawmaker has defected from the government coalition. The move edges Israel closer to the polls for the fifth time in three years.CAIRO — A second lawmaker has quit Israel’s governing coalition, giving the opposition a narrow two-seat majority in Parliament and raising the possibility of a fifth election in three years that would deepen the country’s political stasis.Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, a member of Israel’s Palestinian minority from the left-wing Meretz party, resigned from the coalition on Thursday, the second lawmaker to do so in two months.Ms. Rinawie Zoabi attributed her decision to the government’s treatment of the Arab community in Israel, and its expansion of settlements in the West Bank. She said recent police interventions at the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and the police assault on mourners at a journalist’s funeral last week were the final straws.“Again and again, the coalition leaders have preferred to adopt hawkish, hard-line and right-wing positions on important basic issues of unparalleled importance to the general Arab society,” Ms. Rinawie Zoabi wrote in a resignation letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.“No more,” she added. “I cannot continue to support the existence of a coalition that conspires in this disgraceful manner against the society from which I have come.”Without Ms. Rinawie Zoabi, the government could still survive with a minority in Parliament until March 2023, when it will need a majority to pass a new budget. As prime ministers, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Shamir each led minority governments for extended periods, including when Mr. Rabin negotiated the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.The current coalition could also try to entice members of the opposition to join the government, reinstating its majority.But Ms. Rinawie Zoabi’s defection means that opposition lawmakers now control 61 of the 120 seats in Parliament, enough to vote to dissolve the body and call for another election, the fifth since April 2019.Opposition parties also have enough seats to create their own new coalition government without going to elections. But they are divided and may not be able to agree on a candidate for prime minister, making new elections more probable.The defections could offer a political lifeline to Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister who was ousted in June when the current coalition was formed. The eight parties of the coalition overcame profound ideological differences because they shared a desire to remove Mr. Netanyahu, whose refusal to resign despite standing trial for corruption had alienated many of his natural allies on the right.As a left-winger, Ms. Rinawie Zoabi is not expected to support a Netanyahu-led government. But she could join the opposition in voting for new elections as early as next week.A spokesman for Ms. Rinawie-Zoabi said that she had not decided whether or not to support a vote to dissolve Parliament.That would give Mr. Netanyahu another chance to win more seats for his right-wing alliance, giving them a majority in Parliament.Ms. Rinawie Zoabi’s departure from the coalition is the latest manifestation of the incompatibility of the government’s eight constituent parties — a fractious alliance of right-wing, left-wing, secular, religious and Arab groups that joined forces in June after multiple inconclusive elections had left Israel without a state budget or a functional government.The coalition was cohesive enough to pass a new budget, Israel’s first in more than three years. It also made key administrative appointments and deepened Israel’s emerging relationships with key Arab states.At its formation, Ms. Rinawie Zoabi said she had hoped the government would forge “a new path of equality and respect” between Jewish and Arab Israelis. In a first for Israel, the coalition included an independent Arab party, Raam, while an Arab was appointed as a government minister for only the third time in Israeli history.But despite that early optimism, the government’s members clashed regularly over the rights of Israel’s Arab minority and over settlement policy in the occupied West Bank.Tensions came to a head during the recent holy month of Ramadan, when the Israeli police regularly clashed with Palestinian stone-throwers at the Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, a site sacred to both Muslims and Jews. They escalated further last week, when a Palestinian journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot dead in the West Bank during an Israeli raid — and when police attacked mourners carrying her coffin at her funeral two days later.But while Mr. Bennett managed to persuade Raam to stay in the coalition through these successive crises, he has few means of preventing further defections from its left-wing and Arab members. He is also struggling to prevent further rebellion from the coalition’s right-wing members, who feel he has already boosted Arab society enough.Last month, a right-wing member of the coalition, Idit Silman, became the first member of government to defect — and there are fears that others may follow, particularly with the administration under pressure from the right to respond more forcefully to a rise in terrorist attacks.Should new elections be called, Israel could also be led by a new interim prime minister until a government is formed. Under the terms of the current coalition agreement, Mr. Lapid, the foreign minister, could take over from Mr. Bennett in the event of snap elections, depending on the manner in which the government collapses.That could leave Mr. Lapid, a centrist former broadcaster, in charge for at least several months, through an election campaign and the protracted coalition negotiations that will most likely follow.Carol Sutherland contributed reporting from Moshav Ben Ami, Israel. More

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    How a Group of Female Independents Aims to Revive Australian Democracy

    A community-driven movement has recruited around 25 candidates, most of them successful women preaching pragmatic reform. They could shape the balance of power after Saturday’s election.SYDNEY, Australia — On a cool morning at 5:50 a.m., Allegra Spender prepared to dive into the surf alongside dozens of ocean swimmers at Bondi Beach. She was there not just for exercise. She was there to meet voters.Her name was all over volunteers’ teal T-shirts and swim caps, identifying her as an independent candidate for the Australian federal Parliament.“Takes a lot of courage, what you’re doing,” said Jason Carr, 50, a security consultant, who came over to pledge his vote. “Good luck shaking things up.”Ms. Spender, 44, looked down and laughed.A first-time candidate, she said she still found the attention that comes with politics embarrassing. But that has not stopped her from shaking the political establishment — she is part of a movement of around 25 independents, nearly all of them women with successful careers, who are aiming to do nothing less than rejuvenate Australian democracy by saving it from the creep of corruption, right-wing populism and misogyny.The so-called teal independents, who tend to share the campaign colors of a Pacific wave, offer a sharp rebuke to Australia’s rigid party system. Recruited by energetic community groups that have formed only in the past few years, they are the public face of a fresh approach to politics that hopes to pull Australia back to the middle with a focus on climate change solutions, integrity and values like kindness.The “teals” could have a profound impact on Saturday’s election. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the leader of the conservative Liberal Party, has warned of a “cavalcade of chaos” should too many independents win. But if the vote is close, as expected, and if neither the Liberal coalition nor the opposition Labor Party wins a majority, this group of loosely organized women who share common goals of making government more responsive and productive could decide who leads the next Australian Parliament.Ms. Spender, center in black, during a swim to meet voters at Bondi Beach in Sydney.Stephanie Simcox for The New York TimesThe gray-haired men fighting for power in the world’s third-largest exporter of fossil fuels — where sexual harassment in politics has long been ignored, where money pours in and out of government without oversight, where conservatives promoting populism make bans on transgender athletes a campaign plank — could soon find themselves forced to negotiate with independent working mothers demanding change, backed by mobilized constituents.“It’s a rebellion from the sensible center,” said Ms. Spender, who is challenging a Liberal incumbent in a district her father once represented in Parliament as a Liberal, in the days when the party was more center-right.“No, rebellion is the wrong word,” she added. “It’s a move by people who feel that they are not represented, and have had enough, and are hoping things will change.”The Indie From IndiAustralia’s major parties are gatekeepers with old operating systems. There are no primaries, and dark money pays a lot of the bills. The parties decide who runs, and those who win rarely break ranks, because a single breach can end a political career.In many districts, there has long been a sense that political ambition and party loyalty matter more than local interests. And while some of that discontent has flowed to minor parties like the Greens on the left and One Nation on the far right, what’s happening now with independents is more focused on how to improve representation rather than channeling frustration into one partisan wing or another.It began far from the cities, with a no-nonsense leader. Her name is Cathy McGowan.A sheep farmer and former president of Australian Women in Agriculture, she reached Parliament in 2013 as an independent from Indi, a rural area northwest of Melbourne. She defeated the Liberal incumbent. And the way she got there was even more groundbreaking than the victory itself.The process started before her candidacy with a group of local residents — Voices for Indi — gathering to discuss what they loved about their community and what they wanted to see changed. More than 400 people participated in 55 conversations around kitchen tables, over coffee or a beer, after a class or while camping.Those casual chats led to a thoughtful report that listed concerns from poor mobile phone reception to climate change. It also sought to define good political representation with phrases pulled from the conversations like “walk the talk” and “asks the community what it needs and is willing to listen.”Voices for Indi was the catalyst for Ms. McGowan’s campaign. When she won, Australians around the country started calling and emailing.“I was quite surprised by the response,” Ms. McGowan said. “There was huge interest.”Cathy McGowan in Parliament in 2019. Her campaign sprang from a local grass-roots movement.Tracey Nearmy/Getty ImagesTo share what she had learned, she hosted small events in 2014 and 2017.After another voices group in Sydney helped an independent candidate, Zali Steggall, unseat former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2019, the movement suddenly went viral.Ms. McGowan, who left Parliament that year, passing the seat to another independent, Helen Haines, wrote a book in 2020 that told her personal story. She also started leading conferences over Zoom during the pandemic, connecting hundreds of people with similar inclinations.Each voices group that emerged embarked on a listening tour and ended up with its own list of concerns. The groups also hosted virtual events with policy experts.“Political parties have become disconnected from any kind of local membership,” said John Daley, a professor at the University of Melbourne Law School who wrote a major report about disengagement and gridlock last year. “The independent playbook goes precisely in the other direction — it goes back to the original idea of representative democracy.”The strongest efforts seem to have sprung up in areas with conservative roots, professional families and intense frustration with the tilt away from the political middle by the Liberal-led governing coalition.Most of the contenders are pro-business, pro-innovation (especially on energy) and proudly pro-equality (on both race and gender).Their campaigns have been bolstered by money from a group called Climate 200, which has collected more than 12 million Australian dollars, or about $8.5 million, from 12,000 donors to go to 22 independent candidates.That has led critics to claim they are not really independent. But Ms. McGowan and others, including Simon Holmes à Court, a founder of Climate 200, say the traditional major parties just don’t get that they’ve been disrupted.The independents and their supporters describe what’s happening as a 21st-century movement, organized on Slack and Zoom, crowd-funded, decentralized and committed to pragmatism.“Whatever the issue may be,” Ms. McGowan said, “what they want is action.”Fun … and Climate ChangeFor first-timers like Ms. Spender, who has worked in education and renewable energy and for the fashion company founded by her mother, Carla Zampatti, campaigning with new community groups often feels like her swim toward a distant buoy with energetic neighbors — exhausting, a little scary, but also rewarding.After her ocean jaunt in Bondi, she walked to a nearby cafe with all the others. Waiting in line for coffee, Ms. Spender warmed up near other swimmers and a few dogs wearing Allegra scarves. For the next hour, she did less talking than her volunteers.“This is the alternative to a career politician,” said Jonathan Potts, 51, who said he spends five hours a day volunteering to get Ms. Spender elected. “It’s a different philosophy — we want to look after long-term interests rather than party interests.”In interviews, many of the independents said they were initially reluctant to run, but had been surprised by how fun it had been to work with an ideas-first, community-driven approach.Zoe Daniel, a former foreign correspondent for Australia’s national broadcaster who is an independent candidate in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs, said she had been amazed to see young schoolgirls stopping outside her campaign office, taking selfies. There is even a choir that sings songs with “Zoe-ified lyrics.”An independent candidate, Zoe Daniel, center, greeting constituents in the suburbs of Melbourne earlier this month.Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times“All of us feel that we’ve made lifelong friends with like-minded people through this,” she said.Dr. Monique Ryan, a pediatric neurologist who is challenging Josh Frydenberg, the national treasurer, said the local support pointed to the power of “small ‘l’ liberal values.”In her district, 2,000 volunteers have come out, including several hundred with Voices of Kooyong, who signed up before she was their candidate. They’ve knocked on around 50,000 doors — almost every single household in the electorate.“We offer something that’s not the normal partisan politics,” she said. “We also offer something that’s very values based. For me, it’s about integrity and transparency and action on climate, which a lot of people feel deep anxiety about. It’s about gender equity, it’s about a more cohesive society.”Polls show close contests for Ms. Daniel, Ms. Spender and Dr. Ryan. Incumbent independents, including Andrew Wilkie in Tasmania and Ms. Steggall in Sydney, also appear to be in strong positions. The fortunes of some other independents are harder to gauge, but the momentum has clearly set conservative politicians on edge.Mr. Frydenberg, who has been talked about as a potential prime minister, recently admitted he was facing “the fight of my political life.”Ms. Spender, at a recent climate event with two other independents — Georgia Steele, a lawyer, and Kylea Tink, a businesswoman — said they were trying to fill a national void.“I’m angry, I mean, really angry that the moderates of the coalition and even the Labor Party are not taking enough action right now and that other people have to stand up in their stead,” Ms. Spender said.“This is a national transformation,” she added. “It’s not one business, it’s not one community. It’s all.”Yan Zhuang contributed reporting. More