What we learned; Tuesday 16 May

That’s where we’ll leave the blog for today – thanks so much for joining us. Here is a wrap of the day’s biggest stories:

  • Police had a “bizarre approach” to the Bruce Lehrmann case, and Brittany Higgins’s allegation of rape would have been ignored had it not allegedly taken place in parliament house, a lawyer has told the inquiry into Lehrmann’s trial.

  • Opposition leader Peter Dutton called the Nazis on the steps of Victoria’s parliament house “scumbags” and “sick individuals.”

  • An international group has scored Australia’s latest UN climate pledge a “zero” because it fails to recognise the health risks and benefits of its approach to reach its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

  • Queensland police say a teenager is in serious condition after being stabbed on school grounds in Kamerunga, a suburb of Cairns.

  • A retail worker in Melbourne’s CBD has been stabbed and is seriously injured after they confronted two people allegedly attempting to steal a bag, Victoria police said.

  • Transport union leaders gave the NSW premier, Chris Minns, a standing ovation as he pledged to amend the state’s decades-old workplace laws to include ride-share and food delivery drivers.

  • The disability royal commission has found that Anglicare failed to properly investigate allegations that a woman, known by the pseudonym of Niky, was sexually assaulted at one of its respite centres in southern Queensland.

  • Billionaire businessman James Packer has given $7m to UNSW for mental health research and the establishment of a chair in his name on mood disorders.

  • Human trafficking support services will get a $24m boost as the government works to crack down on modern slavery.


New South Wales needs to rapidly double the number of apartments being built every year, according to the state’s building commissioner, David Chandler.

He said the state was currently building 14,000 to 15,000 apartments annually but that number needed to reach 30,000, and he would need to ensure they were built to a high standard if the public was to regain trust in new builds.

He said:

We’ve got to double. My job is to make sure that those projects that are completed are in fact completed to a level that the public can be confident in.

Asked if he agreed with the goal, the premier, Chris Minns, said he was not yet ready to commit to such a figure.

He said:

We’re working up our growth targets in the metropolitan city area. We’re not ready to release them now. But I did make a promise in the election campaign that I thought it needed to be rebalanced, particularly along public transport routes.


AAP is reporting that human remains have been found in dense bushland near an area being searched for a missing man in Western Australia.

Police say a member of the public alerted local officers to the discovery near Nannup, about 265km south of Perth, on Monday.

Detectives and forensic officers were at the scene on Tuesday working to identify the deceased person.

“At this time it is not appropriate to speculate whose the remains may be,” inspector Geoff DeSanges told reporters.

“However, the remains were located close to a search area for a man who has been missing since 2021.”

No suspicious evidence was found and investigations continue.


Victorian clubs and RSLs to be allowed give up pokies entitlements

Victorian clubs and RSLs will be able to surrender pokies entitlements they are no longer able to use, with any remaining debt scrapped.

Football clubs and RSLs wanting to leave the gambling industry had been unable to offload licenses due to being locked into 20-year deals. Some councils had also barred clubs from operating machines they have entitlements to in an attempt to crack down on gambling harm.

The state’s gaming minister, Melissa Horne, said the surrender scheme would allow funds to be reinvested by clubs into their communities:

This is good news for clubs and RSLs who have entitlements they can’t use. It means they can put more money back into the communities they support.


Supply the ‘missing jigsaw piece’ in NSW housing crisis, premier says

Restoring confidence in the troubled NSW high rise apartment industry is key to boosting dwelling numbers and unwinding the escalating housing crisis, the state’s premier said, according to AAP.

NSW premier Chris Minns in Sydney on Tuesday.
NSW premier Chris Minns in Sydney on Tuesday. Photograph: Jenny Evans/AAP

“Supply is the big part of the missing jigsaw piece of the housing crisis in NSW,” the premier, Chris Minns, told reporters on Tuesday.

“I’ve seen for too long confidence being undermined by poorly constructed, poorly built communities and buildings across NSW, which has meant that there hasn’t been the support for dense urban living that we need in a place like Sydney.”

The solution ahead lay in more densely populated suburbs filled with high rise apartments, the premier said.

“To do it well, you need to have a cop on the beat, who’s looking after the people of the state.”

It comes as the Minns government commits to establishing a building commission as the single body overseeing the construction sector.

It is hoped the commission will be up and running by the end of this year after the government consults with the sector.

The Minns government announced plans to establish the commission in the lead-up to the state election, partly in reaction to the fiasco at Mascot Towers which left owners of the 132-apartment block in Sydney saddled with debt.

Led by the NSW building commissioner, David Chandler, the commission will oversee and regulate the construction industry, which comprises 10% of the state’s economy.

The government will also introduce legislation to cut red tape, and restrict the operations of private building certifiers, limiting their work to 50% with a single builder or developer.


‘Making most of the energy transformation’ to be Chalmers’ legacy

One year into his stint as Australia’s 41st treasurer might be a big early to discuss legacies, but Jim Chalmers was asked about what he thought his might be at a lunch in Sydney today.

The gathering, hosted beside a sparkling Sydney Harbour by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and Business NSW, was mostly a ‘roadshow’ to sell last week’s budget. And the mood was convivial (perhaps because the audience reckons Chalmers and his government might be around for a bit yet) with most topics touched on with a broad brush.

Anyway, asked about what he wanted his legacy to be, Chalmers said he “thought a lot about what Paul [Keating] left behind”.

“For what was for him, opening the economy up to the world … if we can get one thing right in the time that I’m treasurer it would be that energy transformation.”

“So much of what we want to achieve together hinges on that one way or another,” he said, adding the coming decade would be a defining one for Australia. “It will determine whether we were good enough to grab these opportunities, or whether or not they went begging”.

An interesting priority, and one that probably means the energy minister, Chris Bowen’s, actions are being watched closely in Chalmers’ office.


Australia scores 'zero' for UN climate pledge that ignores health impacts

An international group has scored Australia’s latest UN climate pledge a “zero” because it fails to recognise the health risks and benefits of it’s approach to reach its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

The Global Climate and Health Alliance assessed the climate pledges of the 58 countries that submitted revised versions to the UN’s climate convention between 1 October 2021 and 23 September 2022.

In June last year, the Albanese government submitted a revised pledge – known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) – to cut emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030, an improvement on the previous Coalition government’s 28% cut.

Australia was one of only six countries to score zero in the report, alongside Bahrain, Belarus, Japan, New Zealand and Turkey.

Fiona Armstrong, founder of the Australia-based Climate and Health Alliance affiliated with the global group, said:

The latest [report] reveals just how far Australia has fallen behind other countries in the last decade when it comes to action to protect people’s health from climate change.

As many other countries recognise the deep links between a changing climate and the health of populations, Australia is being left far behind as other countries adopt an integrated approach to climate change.

This assessment of Australia’s NDC takes a deep dive into the extent to which climate’s consequences for human health are recognised in Australia’s global commitments to act on climate change.

The 0/18 score reflects the current absence of any policies mentioned in the NDC that explicitly invest in health, including, for example, a national climate and health adaptation plan, investment in strengthening the capacity of the health workforce to respond to climate change, or investing in climate strategies that also deliver health benefits.

Only 16 countries scored above 10 out of a possible 18 in the report, and all were low to middle income nations, with Burundi in first place and Cote d’Ivoire in second.


Victorian farmers’ deadline for flood support pushed back

Victorian farmers will have more time to take stock of flood and storm damage after the government pushed back the cut-off date for financial support applications, according to the AAP.

The Andrews government on Tuesday announced eligible primary producers would have until 13 July to apply for support – an extension of more than two months from the previous 30 April date.

The support programs are joint-funded by the state and federal governments and include flood recovery grants of up to $75,000, rural landholder grants of up to $25,000, transport grants of up to $15,000 and flood recovery concessional loans of up to $250,000.

“Last year’s disaster caused significant damage and disruption to communities across Victoria, through flash flooding, landslips, road damage and closures and impacts from fallen trees,” the federal emergency management minister, Murray Watt, said.

“By extending the date for applications, we’re making sure farmers who were affected later have time to assess damages and complete their applications for financial support.”

The state government also announced concessional loans of up to $250,000 for primary producers in the Greater Shepparton and Yarra Ranges local government areas who were affected by the 23 March hailstorm.

The storm was the third significant one to hit Greater Shepparton during the horticultural season, Watt said.

Melbourne Water was tasked with independently reviewing October’s devastating Maribyrnong river floods.


Melbourne department store worker stabbed

A retail worker in Melbourne’s CBD has been stabbed and is seriously injured, Victoria police say.

In a statement, police say the male staff member at a department store on Little Bourke street was stabbed in the arm after confronting a man and a woman who had allegedly stolen a handbag.

The male offender then reportedly stabbed the worker in the arm before fleeing with the woman.

The retail worker has been taken to hospital with serious injuries.

The Melbourne Crime Investigations Unit are investigating the incident, however they say that no arrests have been made yet.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Thanks Natasha, Mostafa Rachwani with you this afternoon to take you through the rest of the day’s news.

Thanks for your attention this Tuesday. Passing the blog baton onto Mostafa Rachwani!

Warragamba Dam facing ‘risks’, premier says

Warragamba Dam may need to undergo “remediation works” due to “geotechnical risks”, the New South Wales premier, Chris Minns, has confirmed.

It comes after revelations that new ministers had been briefed that safety issues might necessitate work on the giant wall.

Asked about any possible safety concerns at a press conference this afternoon, Minns said:

There are other geotechnical risks associated with the dam wall which means that Water NSW and the board of Water NSW may have to take action in relation to remediating the structure from an engineering point of view.

I’m not in a position to release that advice right now but I can confirm we’ve had briefings from engineers at Water NSW about next steps.

He would not be drawn on the nature of the concerns, nor the steps needed to fix them.

Minns repeatedly ruled out raising the wall by 14 metres, as was promised by the previous government.


Drag storytime cancellation ‘damaging’ for community

We reported just before that another storytime event has been called off. In response, Bathurst-based drag performer Betty Confetti says the cancellation sends a “damaging” message to the LGBTQ+ community.

Confetti was meant to host a rainbow story time at Goulburn Library on 3 June, but the council has called off the event.


In the words of my parents, I’m not angry, just disappointed.

The cancellation of this storytime goes further than the death and violent threats, it’s the fact the visibility, love and acceptance for LGBTQIA+ people won’t be on show (in a beautiful sequin dress mind you).

I wanted to be a glittery beacon for that love and acceptance for regional areas and the cancellation is damaging for the Goulburn community.


In more tax news…

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has rebuffed calls to scrap stamp duty in favour of a broad-based land tax in Victoria, but flagged changes to planning laws in an effort to boost housing supply.

Stamp duty is now being examined by the Department of Treasury and Finance as well as by a parliamentary inquiry, chaired by non-government MPs. Experts told the inquiry last week that the tax is deepening the state’s housing affordability crisis.


Greens call for further Labor support on negative gearing reform

The Greens leader, Adam Bandt, is calling on Labor to listen to their backbenchers pushing for the party to clamp down on negative gearing. The independent senator David Pocock also applauded the move from the Labor MPs who have spoken out on the need for more ambitious housing policy to meet community sentiment.

Limit negative gearing to one property.

That’s the Greens’ policy.

It would free up billions to fund a rent freeze & build more public housing.

Labor needs to get behind it. Now. https://t.co/qwxQi4x79V

— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) May 16, 2023

Greens policy - to stop handouts to property moguls by limiting negative gearing to one property - is getting the backing of some Labor rank and file.

But Labor MPs won’t vote for it & the PM has ruled it out.

Only the Greens will fight for renters. https://t.co/5BdmE1Jwod

— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) May 16, 2023

Why is negative gearing back in the headlines? Read more here:


Rubbish workers to strike in Sydney and Victoria

It’s not good news for Sydney-siders and Victorians who were hoping to get their rubbish tomorrow as waste disposal workers strike to protest working conditions and wages, AAP reports.

The Transport Workers Union plan to walk off the job for 24 hours from Wednesday in the City of Sydney and Victorian local government areas of Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Golden Plains, Moonee Valley and Hobsons Bay.

TWU members protest in Sydney’s CBD

Earlier, members of the Transport Workers Union protested in Sydney’s CBD, halting traffic at the intersection of York Street and King Street to remember the 301 truck drivers who have died on the roads since 2016 when the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was abolished.

Members of the Transport Workers Union stage a sit down on the corner of York and King streets in a vigil remembering fallen transport workers.
Members of the Transport Workers Union stage a sit down on the corner of York and King streets in a vigil remembering fallen transport workers. Photograph: Jenny Evans/AAP
TWU General Secretary Michael Kaine (C), holds a cross as Members of the Transport Workers Union march in a vigil remembering fallen transport workers.
TWU general secretary Michael Kaine (centre), holds a cross as members of the Transport Workers Union march in a vigil remembering fallen transport workers. Photograph: Jenny Evans/AAP
Members of the Transport Workers Union stage a sit down on the corner of York and King streets in a vigil remembering fallen transport workers.
Members of the Transport Workers Union in Sydney’s CBD this morning. Photograph: Jenny Evans/AAP


NSW premier commits to ‘historic’ gig worker equality

Transport union leaders gave the NSW premier, Chris Minns, a standing ovation as he pledged to amend the state’s decades-old workplace laws to include ride-share and food delivery drivers, AAP reports.

Minns told the Transport Workers Union national conference in Sydney today:

We’re committed to modernising our laws and to address what we regard as a historic inequality. I can’t wait to introduce that legislation with a former colleague of yours and now treasurer of NSW, Daniel Mookhey.

Minns said gig economy workers had experienced a decade of rapid growth, but NSW laws had failed to keep up.

He said by denying minimum conditions, leave entitlements and other protections available to every other Australian in the workforce, it was almost as if a second class of worker was being engineered. Minns said:

Not every issue in politics is about life and death, but this one is.

Like many people were, I was shocked in 2020 that five people lost their lives working in this economy.

He couldn’t say when the amendment would be introduced into parliament, but said consultation was under way.


Victoria formalises emissions target

The Victorian government has formalised its target to reduce emissions by 75% to 80% by 20235.

The minister for climate action, Lily D’Amborsio, on Tuesday formalised the target under Victoria’s Climate Change Act 2017. Advice provided to the government also called for an end to coal power by 2035.

She said the government will legislate the 75% to 80% by 2035 target, as well as another to reach net zero emissions by 2045, later this year. Both were key election commitments, alongside its plan to revive the publicly owned State Electricity Commission.

The government also plans to reach 95% renewable energy generation and a renewable energy storage target of 6.3 GW by 2035.

D’Amborsio said:

Victoria has cut emissions by more than any other state since 2014 and we’re laying the foundation for more long-lasting change with significant investments in renewable energy such as bringing back the SEC.

Victoria has set a 75-80 per cent target for greenhouse gas emissions in 2031-2035 (from 2005 levels). Advice provided to government also calls for end to coal power by 2035. #springst pic.twitter.com/vDn8SZljKi

— Kieran Rooney (@KieranJRooney) May 16, 2023


Another drag storytime cancelled

Another drag storytime – this one in NSW – has been cancelled amid threats, meaning at least 12 queer events across NSW and Vic have been cancelled or postponed in the past six months.

The Bathurst-based drag performer Betty Confetti was meant to host a rainbow story time at Goulburn Library on 3 June, but the council has announced it has had to call off the event.

The Goulburn Mulwaree Council CEO, Aaron Johansson, said:

Over the course of the last week council staff have been subjected to direct and indirect intimidating behaviour, from members of the community.

As I am unable to guarantee the physical and psychosocial safety of council’s employees the event has been cancelled. Threats received have been referred to the relevant authorities.

Another event, scheduled for Eltham Library in Victoria this week has been moved online.


Anglicare failed to address harm of sexual assault victim, inquiry finds

The disability royal commission has found that Anglicare failed to properly investigate allegations that a woman, known by the pseudonym of Niky, was sexually assaulted at one of its respite centres in southern Queensland.

The royal commission’s report released on Tuesday found Anglicare did not conduct a comprehensive internal investigation and did not follow procedures and policies on mandatory reporting to police. It recommended Anglicare consult with Niky and her parents about redress and take immediate action to review its incident and complaint management systems. In a statement, the royal commission said:

The Commissioners’ report concludes that Anglicare failed to adopt a trauma-informed approach when dealing with Niky and her family, and failed to address the harm she experienced.

Anglicare has already apologised “unreservedly” to Niky, saying:

Anglicare acknowledges that its actions in relation to the ‘Niky Case Study’ departed from standard practice and its own policies and procedures. Anglicare recognises that it can and should do better going forward in order to ensure it is able to provide safe, high quality services.

Public hearing 17 was held in two parts across 2021 and 2022, and focused on the experience of women and girls with disability with a particular focus on family, domestic and sexual violence.


Woman stabbed at school in Queensland

Queensland police say a teenager is in serious condition after being stabbed on school grounds in Kamerunga, a suburb of Cairns.

An 18-year-old man has been taken into custody after the incident, with the victim taken to hospital in a serious condition.

Police were called to the school at about 10.35am this morning, after reports that an 18-year-old woman had sustained stabbing wounds at a school on Cowley Street.

In a statement, police said it is believed that the two people were known to each other, and that there is no further threat to the public.

Investigations are continuing.


‘I’ve never seen a situation in housing like we’re seeing today,’ regional Victorian MP says

Another independent member of parliament, Helen Haines, says that the housing troubles used to be a “story of the cities” but has hit rural populations too.

She’s addressing the national rural press club as part of a panel called “Regional Australia’s Housing Crisis: Plenty Of Room But Nowhere To Call Home.”

Haines says she has never seen the situation so dire in her own regional Victorian electorate:

In more than 35 years that I’ve lived in my rural and regional electorate of Indi in north-east Victoria – all beautiful 29,000 sq km of it – I’ve never seen a situation in housing like we’re seeing today.

Whether I’m in a small town or a large regional centre, people tell me how hard it is to find a place to live that’s affordable and appropriate to their needs.

And they tell me that they’re shocked to see people living in tents in our council parks, to learn of the countless people couch-surfing. This used to be a story of the cities. But this is a story of country Australia too.


The independent senator David Pocock has applauded the Labor backbenchers pushing for more ambitious housing policy and to limit negative gearing. Pocock says if those at the top choose to listen, it will bring at least one major party up to speed with community sentiment.

In the most acute housing crisis in decades, putting limits around generous tax concessions on investment properties is long overdue reform.

This push will hopefully see at least one of the major parties catch up with community sentiment.https://t.co/lcwhJXYA5f

— David Pocock (@DavidPocock) May 16, 2023


Protesters occupy lobby of Australian Pork office in Canberra

Protesters from the animal advocacy group Farm Transparency Project have occupied the lobby at Australian Pork Limited’s Canberra office, and covered the walls with images of pigs gasping for air inside what they claim are gas chambers.

The project’s director, Chris Delforce, gained access to the office dressed as a construction worker before being joined by other protesters requesting a meeting with the Australian Pork CEO, Margo Andrae.

Delforce said occupying the lobby was a last resort for the group after Andrae refused to respond to footage taken by the group that shows the final moments of pigs in Victoria’s three largest slaughterhouses, which he describes as “agonising”.

Protesters from animal advocacy group Farm Transparency Project occupied the lobby at Australian Pork Limited’s Canberra office this morning.
Protesters from animal advocacy group Farm Transparency Project occupied the lobby at Australian Pork Limited’s Canberra office this morning. Photograph: Farm Transparency Project

Delforce said:

This same footage has already led to one of Victoria’s three largest pig slaughterhouses closing its doors, after an investigation by government regulator PrimeSafe into our ‘serious and disturbing’ footage led them to order the slaughterhouse to install CCTV in its gas chamber. Despite this, the industry’s own CEO has refused to meet with us or even publicly acknowledge our footage, except for doubting its validity.

Delforce says actions like today’s will continue to happen until the government and pork industry ban gas chambers, which the Greens and the Animal Justice party support.


A 2.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded an hour ago in the Melbourne suburb of Croydon with 85 “felt reports” received so far.

A 2.5 magnitude #Earthquake has been recorded at 11:15am this morning with an epicentre near Croydon.

85 ‘felt reports’ have been received so far by Geoscience Australia. No requests for assistance or reports of any damage. pic.twitter.com/zECWibOggg

— VICSES News (@vicsesnews) May 16, 2023


Education sector ‘not fit for purpose, when it comes to quality’, inquiry hears

The regulatory body for training providers has been placed under pressure at a parliamentary inquiry into the integrity of the international education sector.

The Labor MP and deputy chair of the committee, Julian Hill, asked ASQA how many of about 178,000 international students in the system were interviewed on training outcomes, noting the current regulatory model doesn’t allow for assessment of quality.

ASQA CEO Saxon Rice said it wasn’t “easy to answer” because the body focused on risk.

We are using our intelligence and data to focus our attention on the providers and the risks that we are assessing … I can’t give you a figure for the number of students.

The committee chair and Labor senator Deborah O’Neill said these were “critical numbers that we need”.

We need to know how high the risk is, we need to know how many students you’re going to interview, and the sector needs to know that and regularly as well because if they think nothing’s going to happen, the whole system begins to be compromised.

Menelaos Koumides, managing director of the Australian Academy of Vocational Education and Trades, said most students would be “delighted” they received an automatic pass and didn’t have to study.

Education institutes, the minority of them, have been able to game the system since before ASQA came into being … I’ve walked into a few and you’ll see a teacher on every desk on a computer in an empty classroom … it’s not fit for purpose when it comes to quality, it never was.

Extinction Rebellion promises to make oil and gas feel ‘unwelcome’

Extinction Rebellion South Australia has hit back at comments by the state’s minister of energy and mines, Tom Koutsanton, with the protest group promising to make the oil and gas sector feel “unwelcome”.

During a speech to the APPEA conference, Koutsantonis told his audience that the industry was “welcome” in Adelaide, that South Australia was “happy to be a recipient of APPEA’s largesse” and that the state government was “at your disposal”.

The Extinction Rebellion South Australia spokesperson, Anna Slynn, said the comments were “dangerous” giving the imminent threat posed by the catastrophic risk of climate change.

The world’s climate scientists have been completely clear; there should be no further expansion of oil and gas if we want to avert complete climate catastrophe. Life is in the balance. We will continue to make APPEA feel unwelcome until they leave.

Slynn also said the government’s promotion of carbon capture and story was “like putting out a forest fire with a water pistol”.

It is extremely costly, and though it might remove a few tonnes of carbon from the air, it will never come close to offsetting the enormous amount released from burning all the gas and oil these companies sell.


‘Many’ providers in training sector shut down, inquiry hears

Poor regulation of the VET sector is allowing dodgy providers to game the system, a parliamentary inquiry has heard.

About 900 providers in the registered training sector cater to international students. Asked how many had been shut down in recent years, the ASQA CEO, Saxon Rice, said “many” but didn’t provide an exact figure.

Guardian Australia put private questions to ASQA asking how many complaints it had received in the past year. It confirmed since July 2022, the body had received 470 complaints and intelligence about training providers. In the same time period, just seven have had their registrations cancelled or suspended.

The International Education Association Australia CEO, Phil Honeywood, said “nine times out of 10” cancelled providers took an appeal to VCAT, hiring consultants who were former employees of regulators to make sure the “books are refreshed” and “records are sanitised”.

There’s a number of very bad providers that have benefited from this.

Menelaos Koumides, managing director of the Australian Academy of Vocational Education and Trades, said the current regulatory system wasn’t fit for purpose and “never was” when it came to quality.

We see institutes that we think really should not be here … they’re highly competent in licensing requirements [and they’re] gaming the system. What is severely lacking in this industry which is actually fundamental is to hold RTOs accountable by having independent assessments … and to make these transparent.

Students at the moment … have a dependency on agents, [there are] blow-outs in agents commissions … 98% of students are going through agents in international VET … these are all consequences of a regulatory system … that was never fit for purpose.


Senior police said he’d resign if Lehrmann found guilty

Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer, Steven Whybrow, has spoken about meeting with a senior police officer investigating the case who he says told him he would resign if Lehrmann was found guilty.

Brittany Higgins alleged that Lehrmann raped her in parliament house in 2019, an allegation Lehrmann has strenuously and consistently denied. The trial was ultimately aborted, and there is an ongoing inquiry into how the trial was run.

Mark Tedeschi, who is acting for the ACT director of public prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, asked Whybrow about his meeting with detective inspector Marcus Boorman. Boorman was “quite distressed” and “thought Mr Lehrmann was innocent”, Tedeschi put to Whybrow.

Whybrow said:


Tedeschi said:

And then in the context of that conversation, he said to you that if the jury came back with a guilty verdict, that he would resign from the police force.

Words to that effect, is my recollection, yes.

Nino Bucci covered the original story on Whybrow’s statement here:


RBA was on preset course for another rate hike, minutes show

An indication the RBA had been intent on at least one more rate rise after April’s pause was that members noted forecasts at the meeting “were predicated on a technical assumption” that the cash rate would increase from 3.6%.

The RBA minutes concluded:

Members also agreed that further increases in interest rates may still be required, but this would depend on how the economy and inflation evolve.

The RBA minutes preceded the federal budget released last week. Economists offered mixed assessments on the budget’s inflationary implications but investors viewed it as neutral.

May’s rate rise stunned most economists and the markets, which had noted – as did the RBA board – that consumption in the economy had been weak especially on a per capita basis.

Many households were already “experiencing significant financial pressures”, the RBA said. The rolling shift of low fixed rates to higher ones as terms expired would also increase debt repayments.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release wage price index for the March quarter on Wednesday and April jobs figures the following day.

The RBA said wages growth was stabilising. “[A] range of indicators suggested that wages growth was running at an annual rate of around 3.5% to 4% in the March quarter,” it said, with the wage price index expected to peak later in 2023 “before easing slightly”.


‘Finely balanced’ RBA rate rise implies some reprieve for borrowers

The Reserve Bank‘s surprise decision to lift interest rates last month was “finely balanced” and aimed at diminishing the risks of high inflation becoming entrenched in the economy.

Those risks include “strong population and low rental vacancy rates” pushing rental growth “even higher” than the RBA’s main forecast, the bank said in the minutes from its 2 May board meeting that hiked the cash rate another 25 basis points to 3.85%.

The meeting weighed up two options: leaving interest rates unchanged for a second consecutive month or increasing it for an 11th time in 12 gatherings.

The strong jobs market - with an unemployment rate remaining at near half-century lows of 3.5% and most new positions being full-time roles - was one factor tilting in favour of another rate hike. Weak productivity growth was another.

The bank minutes said:

[T]he labour market remained tight and ... inflationary pressures were significant. That information point to upside risks to the outlook for inflation.

Given “the arguments were finely balanced” as to whether to hike interest rates or not, pundits will likely assume another rate rise in June is unlikely without some surprisingly strong economic data being released.

Dutton defends Stuart Robert’s parliamentary absence

Dutton has also defended Stuart Robert’s lack of attendance in parliament since announcing his retirement as the “normal course of events”.


Since Stuart Robert announced his retirement he hasn’t turned up to parliament and hasn’t been taking questions from the media. Are you going to require him to turn up to parliament?


I don’t think that’s unusual at all. Once Kevin Rudd announced his retirement from the parliament or Julia Gillard the same story. That brings their public life to an end and there’s a preselection process that would be under way in both parties to preselect candidates and there will be a decision made by the speaker to set the date for the byelection. That’s the normal course of events.


Dutton: ‘If you don’t have investment properties, renters don’t have accommodation to rent’

Dutton goes on to defend the importance of investment properties for renters and “mums and dads” retirement income:

If you don’t have investment properties, renters don’t have accommodation to rent.

And for mums and dads who save and, as part of their retire income, put some money aside and buy a rental property, they rent it out and that’s supplementing their income – particularly for people that don’t have a big superannuation balance – that is a perfectly legitimate investment for them to make.

I don’t understand why the prime minister is being deceptive about this, but clearly there’s a big divide between he and the treasurer at the moment.


Dutton criticises push for negative gearing changes

The leader of the opposition, Peter Dutton, has criticised the push for negative gearing changes.

The Nine newspapers report this morning that Labor backbenchers will advocate for more ambitious housing policies and to limit negative gearing at the party’s national conference in Brisbane in August.

Speaking in Queensland this morning, Dutton said any changes to negative gearing would undermine investment.

People who are renting at the moment who can’t afford to buy, I don’t know what happens to them if property investors decide it’s an unsafe asset class.

… The prime minister went to an election promising that there would be no changes. If he’s proposing to change it, as Mr Chalmers is suggesting and his backbencher are demanding, then we should have some honesty from the prime minister.


Public sector to vote on 10.5% pay rise offer

The public sector union will now vote on whether a pay offer is good enough after the public service commission today offered a 10.5% rise over three years.

The Australian Public Sector-wide pay offer includes a 4% rise in the first year, 3.5% in the second year and 3% in the third year. However, the union’s pay claim endorsed overwhelmingly by its members wants a 9% rise in the first year, 6% in the second year and 5% in the third year.

Melissa Donnelly, the national secretary of the union, says “our pay claim is ambitious because it has to be” after a decade of attacks on the public service.

To be engaging in genuine negotiations with the government, on pay and conditions, is a far cry from where we were just a year ago.

To rebuild the APS, service-wide bargaining must deliver improvements to pay and conditions that are not ignorant to the consequences of the last decade.

The public, public sector workers and the federal government need the APS to catch up, and catch up quickly to meet the demands and competition that exist in the modern labour market.


Lucy located!: First Dog subject finally receives Go Fund Me proceeds

Here’s a heartwarming tale. Lucy, one of the three homeless women whose story was told in First Dog on the Moon’s biting Christmas cartoon, has been tracked down and will at last receive the proceeds of a Go Fund Me campaign.

The man whose tweet about Lucy first inspired the cartoon says it had been difficult to get the money to her.

He had seen her on the street in March to pass on the news about the Go Fund Me response, and gave her a surplus phone to facilitate the communication. However, she was later assaulted and robbed, and lost the number. Her car died, and she was back to sleeping rough.

And then today, while searching for another homeless guy I saw yesterday,  THIS HAPPENED. 👇👇

I found her again! Her identity was finally able to be confirmed and verified, and those GFM funds are being transferred to her tonight! pic.twitter.com/HWk6QAVGdd

— Muz De Sac (@MuzzaDavo) May 15, 2023

But he says this morning he’s found her again and the funds from the Go Fund Me will help her get back on her feet:

She plans to buy a small car that she can at least lock herself and her possessions in, and sleep securely in at night. And a walking stick, for her injured foot. She was crying again as I wished her well and left.


‘We’ve got to deal with this,’ MP says of education training sector

Labor MP Julian Hill has told a parliamentary inquiry if urgent action isn’t taken to clean up malpractice in the “bottom end” of registered training providers, the sector’s reputation will be tattered.

In the past two days, the committee has heard instances of VET providers working with international education agents to steal students from prestigious public institutions, offer 50% commissions, sell work visas and open “ghost schools” where students don’t attend classes and get handed degrees.

The behaviour of that cohort harms students in the sector and the reputation but it’s also going to destroy the social licence of this sector.

I couldn’t put it more clearly … if you need more tools, tell the government you need more tools, tell us we can make recommendations. But if we don’t act more urgently, the community will start to turn on this sector … we’ve got to deal with this.

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) CEO Saxon Rice said the body, which regulates the sector, was “acutely aware” poor practices by a “small number of providers” had the capacity to inflict “significant harm on students” and damage reputation.

Hill said the conversation over poor practice in the VET market had been had “over and over again” yet no fundamental changes had been made to regulatory frameworks.

Year after year, nothing seems to happen … Home Affairs isn’t even enforcing the current rules, let alone new rules … all the evidence we get is you don’t regulate quality, you regulate the ecosystem around the provider, police paperwork, you have no line of sight to the quality of the graduates which are being produced from these institutes.


Red Rooster accused of 355 breaches of Victorian child labour laws

Two fast-food businesses in Victoria are facing hundreds of charges for allegedly breaking child labour laws, AAP reports.

Red Rooster in Wodonga has been hit with 355 charges while iconic ice-cream chain Cold Rock in Shepparton is facing 124 charges, amid a crackdown by the state’s child employment watchdog.

Wage Inspectorate Victoria alleges both businesses breached the Child Employment Act on various occasions, including for employing children for more hours than they were allowed to work.

Read more here:

Victorian government to overhaul building laws after Porter Davis collapse

The Victorian government is set to overhaul its building laws and strengthen domestic building insurance requirements in the wake of the collapse of Porter Davis.

The premier, Daniel Andrews, today announced a review of the Domestic Building Contracts Act to ensure Victorians building or renovating their homes are better protected. He told reporters:

We don’t know what the outcomes of that review will be because it’s a genuine look at each and every line of the act, each and every provision that’s there at the moment. What we can say is that we will introduce a specific offence for builders who take a deposit, and are meant to take out insurance for that customer [but don’t].

Porter Davis went into liquidation in March, leaving about 1,700 homes in Victoria and Queensland unfinished.

In Victoria, the building watchdog is currently investigating whether the company broke the law by not taking out domestic building policy insurance for customers when they received their deposits. These homes had not started at the time the company entered liquidation.

Andrews said about 560 families lost their deposits due to the failure of the company to take out insurance cover on their behalf:

They paid their deposit, they paid their insurance and no money had been forwarded on to the insurer in order to protect them as it should.


Carbon capture and storage has been ‘judged too soon’ and ‘does work’, Woodside CEO says

The Woodside CEO, Meg O’Neill, says Australia’s oil and gas industry requires “regulatory certainty” from government to underpin future investment.

O’Neill, who is also the Appea chair, began her address at the industry group’s annual conference with a sneak peek of a national advertising blitz that will hit television screens to tell Australians about the role of natural gas in achieving net zero.

She said Appea wanted to work with government to develop a plan for developing carbon, capture and storage technologies.

In Australia, this is a technology that has been judged too soon. It does work.

O’Neill said research Appea has commissioned suggests Australia’s heaviest polluting industries were clustered together in specific areas around the country and could be grouped together in order to develop strategies to help them decarbonise.

She also said hydrogen represented an opportunity for the industry:

The challenge is in scaling up from where we are today. We know there is strong demand for hydrogen and the oil and gas sector as the commercial and technological expertise to meet that demand. All options must be on the table.


Police took ‘bizarre approach’ to Lehrmann case, inquiry hears

Police had a “bizarre approach” to the Bruce Lehrmann case, and Brittany Higgins’s allegation of rape would have been ignored had it not allegedly taken place in parliament house, a lawyer has told an inquiry into Lehrmann’s trial.

Mark Tedeschi, acting for the Australian Capital Territory director of public prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, appeared this morning at an inquiry into how that trial was handled by police and prosecutors.

Tedeschi said a report had found ACT police were “undercharging” when it came to accusations of sex abuse.

Drumgold knew that, he said, and it was part of the reason his relationship with police was poor. Tedeschi said:

That’s one aspect, one of three aspects.

Step two is the other side of the coin, the attitude of the police to the DPP because they knew that he’d been responsible for this committee being set up and they were resentful of the fact that the DPP was in effect going back and looking at all of their decision making.

The third thing is that we anticipate making a submission at the end of the day that what we say is the bizarre approach of the police about whether Mr Lehrmann should be charged is just an example of a general attitude.

We want to prove that it’s true they did have this attitude to sex cases generally and this was just a classic example of it.

Tedeschi is cross-examining Lehrmann’s lawyer, Steven Whybrow, who said in his opinion it was Drumgold who was hostile to police.

Lehrmann has consistently denied allegations that he raped Higgins, a colleague and fellow political staffer, in the office of the then defence industry minister, Linda Reynolds, in March 2019. He pleaded not guilty to one charge of sexual intercourse without consent, denying that any sexual activity had occurred.


‘We cannot do net zero without you,’ SA energy minister says to oil and gas conference

The South Australian energy and mining minister, Tom Koutsantonis, has followed federal resources minister Madeleine King’s opening address by telling the Appea conference that it is not possible to decarbonise without the oil and gas industry.

You must feel as if you’re under siege, [as if] you’re not welcome, that the risks and endeavour you undertake are not thought of as productive for the country.

Nothing could be further from the truth. This industry, as Madeleine said, is a key pillar in our path to decarbonisation.

We cannot do it without you. We cannot make the advancements without you. We cannot do net zero without you. We can’t decarbonise our steel industry without this industry. We cannot make electricity without this industry. We cannot transform our economy to net zero without this industry. Those people who are misinformed outside, who attempt to belittle or criticise this industry, do not understand the contribution you make.

Koutsantonis says South Australia is committing $600m to developing hydrogen production for export and that investment in gas technology would allow South Australia – and Australia – to “save on the cost of the transition”.

This means rather than having to build billions and billions and billions of dollars of renewable resources, we can sweat our gas generators harder.

In an extraordinary close, Koutsantonis tells his audience “you are welcome here”:

We are thankful you are here. We are happy to a be recipient of Appea’s largesse in the form of coming here more often.

The South Australian government is at your disposal, we are here to help and we are here to offer you a pathway to the future.


Resources minister says carbon capture and storage ‘necessary’ for wider decarbonisation

The federal resources minister, Madeline King, has announced the government will develop a future gas strategy during her opening address at the Appea conference today.

King says it was necessary to ensure Australia continue to support “reliable, essential” energy for its domestic and export markets.

King also said capture and storage is a “necessary part of a wider decarbonisation effort” with the government having released new acreage for greenhouse storage projects for the “first time in years”.

The will is there, the knowhow is there. We want a regulatory system for carbon capture and storage that is robust and responsive and positions Ausstralia’s resources sector to bring new CCS projects on line.

But King also said the emissions reductions would only count towards credits under the safeguard mechanism if they are successful or lowering limits below their baseline – “if they are verified and scientifically sound”.


‘There’s policy debates about everything’ at ALP conference: Albanese

Albanese goes on that debating policy is what’s supposed to occur at the national conference:

I saw the article and it says there will be a policy debate about issues at ALP national conference. Ho-hum. There’s policy debates about everything. That’s why we have an ALP national conference. We are a party that debates our policy live on national TV.


PM says government’s position on negative gearing ‘very clear’ despite backbench dissent

The PM was also asked about the internal pushback within Labor ranks, which the Nine newspapers are reporting this morning, with backbenchers wanting to see more ambitious housing policies and limit negative gearing.


The evidence is really clear about needing to make tax changes including to negative gearing. Your MPs have also expressed a hope to revisit negative gearing. Do you take all of that on board?


The government’s position is very clear and it’s a position for which we received a mandate at the 2022 election and I’m someone who keeps the commitments that we made and our 2022 election commitments we’re busy implementing.

(So that’s a no on changes to negative gearing.)


Strongest threat to security has been rightwing extremism ‘for some time’: PM

Albanese says there is no place in the country for the neo-Nazi demonstrations which took place in Melbourne over the weekend at an anti-immigrations rally:

For some time the strongest threat that has been identified for our security has been rightwing extremism.

There is no place in Australia for the sort of demonstrations that we’ve seen now on a number of occasions here in Melbourne with people paying tribute to nazism, an evil doctrine that resulted in the mass murder of people on the basis of their religion, on the basis of who they were, on the basis of their sexual preference.

The time for tolerance of those matters has long gone. People should have a look at the consequences of that hatred. And it is an ideology of hate.

It’s rejected overwhelmingly by all fair-minded Australians and certainly the authorities will continue to monitor and will have every support for any recommendation that is put forward by those authorities to the government.


PM says Greens also blocking medium-density development in Brisbane

Albanese says the Greens “can’t have it both ways”, blocking the government’s housing bill at the same time as their housing spokesperson runs petitions against developments in Brisbane.

One of the things that I find remarkable is that at the same time as the Greens are blocking additional support for social housing, they’re also running petitions of their housing spokesperson to block any development in medium-density and development of more housing supply in Brisbane. You can’t have it both ways.


PM expresses frustration over blocked housing bill

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has been speaking in Victoria expressing his frustration at the government’s $10bn housing future fund being blocked in the senate without support from the Greens or the opposition.

This is a commonsense position that last week in the Senate we couldn’t even get put to a vote.


Sports minister agrees with PM that betting ads are ‘annoying’

Wells – who is also sports minister – agreed with her boss, Anthony Albanese, that she too finds sports betting advertisements “annoying”. However, she isn’t going as far as the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, who wants them banned.

Wells says she’s deferring to the inquiry looking into the issue:

I agree with the prime minister that [they’re] annoying …

I listen to national sporting organisations as the sports minister and they have so far been putting constructive submissions into the inquiry … being run by my excellent friend and colleague Peta Murphy. And I trust Peta’s judgment and I wait for the results of her inquiry.

Pressed on the urgency of an issue ruining people’s lives, Wells says the Albanese government responded to the urgency by setting up an inquiry in the first year of government to work through the issues.


Wells outlines measures to ensure care workers’ pay rise passed on in full by providers

Circling back to the aged care minister Anika Wells’ interview. The government committed $11bn in the budget to pay for the 15% wage rise for aged care workers, but there’s still questions around how they can ensure providers pass on the wage rise in full to workers.

Wells says providers’ attestation in their regular reporting, public data and a schedule of pay that workers can consult will all ensure workers do see the full benefit of that wage rise:

What we’re going to do is make providers attest through their regular reporting to us as the government department that they have passed along those wages in full … and if they lie in their attestation that is a criminal offence.

Also, that data is going to be published from January 1, so that anybody who has an interest or concern about this – and I know a lot of aged care workers do – will be able to see that data.

Finally … we’ve managed to strike a compact with providers and the unions so that we will publish a schedule – because it’s incredibly complex, all the different rates of pay, awards – a schedule that will provide anyone, personal carers, aged care workers in particular, where they can look up the schedule, check that they are being paid what they should be paid under the pay rise. And if not, they could work with their local union to a local resolution and if not, they can escalate it.


The employment relations minister, Tony Burke, is not impressed with Peter Dutton’s answer earlier refusing to back the minimum wage being brought in line with inflation.

Peter Dutton just refused to back a pay rise for workers on the minimum wage.

He spent 10 years as a senior member of a Government that deliberately kept wages low. He hasn’t changed.

Labor wants a pay rise for low-paid workers. Dutton wants them to go backwards. @RNBreakfast

— Tony Burke (@Tony_Burke) May 15, 2023


PM says Australia would stay in Commonwealth realm in event of successful republican vote

On Fox FM, Anthony Albanese was asked about whether an Australian prime minister will attend another coronation.

He said:

I don’t know. At some stage I think there will be another vote on the republic at some stage. But the Australian prime minister would still go because we’d still remain part of the Commonwealth …

There’s 57 Commonwealth countries, but there’s only 15 now that are part of the realm, that is, have the king as our head of state.

So, at some stage – I’m a republican – I think we will make that decision to have an Australian as our head of state, but we’ll stay in the Commonwealth. It’s an important part of our history.

On the government’s vaping crackdown, Albanese said:

[Vaping] is not a good thing. And the problem with vaping is that it’s a bit of an entry point into then full-on tobacco use.

And the problem with vaping as well is that it does of course contain nicotine, many of them, and some of the marketing [contains] things with little dinosaurs and stuff … pretty colours unicorns and all that stuff.

… It’s not healthy, not a good thing.


Too soon to predict aged care worker growth, minister says

The aged care minister, Anika Wells, has admitted it’s still too early to predict how many new workers will be added to the sector, after a new priority agreement for migrant workers.

Under an aged care labour agreement, skilled migrants would gain access to priority visa processing along with a two-year pathway to permanent residency as an incentive for new aged staff.

While the first aged care facility in Perth signed on to the scheme, which will net 570 workers in the next five years, Wells it was too soon yet to determine how many new staff would come to the industry nationwide.

She told ABC Radio earlier this morning:

It’s far too early for us to try and predict how many workers it will yield. We just know this is the number one thing that providers have been asking us to do.

It’s taken collaboration, not just across the providers, the unions and the workers who seek to address workforce shortages in aged care but across different portfolios of government.



PM says voice ‘won’t have an impact on most people’s lives’ but could improve lives of Indigenous Australians

Anthony Albanese is doing a round of FM radio interviews in Melbourne, canvassing a lot of personal topics including the coronation, his relationship with Jodie Haydon, his car crash and his glow-up.

On the Indigenous voice referendum, Albanese said:

I’m worried about the impact on Indigenous people if it doesn’t get up; I’m worried about the way that Australia will be perceived. This is a pretty gracious and generous request. It’s simply asking to be recognised that our history didn’t begin in 1788. We should be proud that our history includes sharing this continent with the world’s oldest continuous culture. And that should be a source of pride.

And secondly, we should just listen to people, ask them if we’re going to have an impact on them. That’s just really common courtesy. And importantly you get better results when you involve people in things that impact them.

Albanese was asked if he regrets not explaining to people in the suburbs sooner what the voice is about. He said:

No, no. The referendum won’t be held for many months. So for a whole lot of your listeners, they will focus from now going forward. We haven’t passed the legislation yet, it’ll be sometime between October and December. And the truth is that overwhelmingly it won’t have an impact on most people’s lives …

There’s no right of veto. None of that, that’s all just nonsense. Those [are all] scare campaigns. But it just might make the lives of the most disadvantaged group in Australia better. We still have a 10 year expectancy gap in life. We have the highest incarceration rates. We have gaps in health, housing and education outcomes and we need to do better.


Protesters demonstrate outside oil and gas conference in Adelaide

It’s a frosty morning in Adelaide, where the leading lights of Australia’s oil and gas industry are filtering into the Convention Centre for their annual conference.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) represents oil and gas producers in Australia as their peak industry group.

Outside, a group of protesters have blocked the entrance to the car park along North Terrace – a continuation of a skirmish that began yesterday. Two protesters, including Deanna “Violet” Coco, were arrested during a protest at the South Australian Drill Core Library where Appea had organised a site visit.

Inside the conference centre, the Appea board is holding a private meet-and-greet ahead of opening addresses by Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King, South Australian minister for energy and mining Tom Koutsantonis and Woodside CEO Meg O’Neill.

The last oil and gas conference in Adelaide was met with fierce protests over the industry’s role in contributing to climate change, who interrupted a government-led industry roundtable event at the Wine Centre:


Another drag storytime cancelled over security fears for queer events

In Melbourne, another drag storytime event has been cancelled, and one moved online amid increasing security concerns for queer events.

At least ten queer events in the past six months have been called off in Melbourne because of far-right activists.

Frock Hudson, aka Dean Acuri, was scheduled to perform a drag storytime at Eltham library on Wednesday to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

Over 50 people had registered to go but it has been moved to Zoom after far-right activists repeatedly called and emailed abuse to staff at Yarra Plenty Regional Library.

In a statement last night, the Rainbow Community Angels, a new group formed to hold counter-protests at queer events attended by fascists, promised to still hold an event on Wednesday:

We very sadly need to let you know that the wonderful Eltham Library have been forced to move their Drag Storytime online due to Victoria Police advice.

But we are not going anywhere! We are defending Councils’ important work to promote inclusion, respect and safety for everyone in their communities.

Join the angels to celebrate local community inclusion of LGBTIQA+ people, especially young people and kids from rainbow families.

Another event scheduled to take place at Woodleigh school on the Peninsula to celebrate IDAHOBIT, with Acuri and drag performer Dolly Diamond, has also been cancelled.

Acuri performed at the school for IDAHOBIT in 2022. The school has been contacted for comment.


The ‘dog whistling’ comments Dutton brushed off

Just taking a step back to provide some context on the “dog whistling” comments Dutton brushed off as being from Labor staffers masquerading as journalists.

He’s referring to author, columnist and former adviser to Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, Sean Kelly’s commentary in the Nine papers yesterday.

Kelly took a look at Dutton’s rhetoric around immigrants in the past (including Dutton’s 2018 gangs comments) in light of his decision to home in on the government’s migration projections of 1.5 million people over the next five years as a key budget response. Kelly wrote:

It is always tempting for politicians to follow that old American advice: split the country in two and tear off the bigger half. In certain times, and in relation to certain issues, it is crucial they resist that temptation.


‘We should have a broad membership’, Dutton says after question on Moira Deeming

Dutton is backing the Liberal party as a broad church; asked about whether there is still a place for people like Moira Deeming after she was expelled from the party room last week, he says:

I believe that we should have a broad membership when people express their views, provided they’re not breaching the law. Their views might not be consistent with mine, but I will defend their right to express it.

We’re not cyborgs who have a compulsion to have the same view.


Nazis in Melbourne ‘scumbags’ and ‘sick individuals’, Dutton says

Asked about the Nazis on the steps of parliament house on Spring Street in Melbourne over the weekend who are galvanising around the issue of immigration, Dutton said it “deeply concerns me”.

They are scumbags, they are sick individuals, and of all things of all causes to take up – how on earth anybody in their right mind could take up a Nazi cause or wave that flag or salute in a way that a monster taught them to salute is beyond me.


Dutton also brushed off the idea that he needs to be careful with his language around migration.

Now in terms of the dog whistling comments and the rest of it. They are comments made by former Labor staffers who now masquerade as journalists. So I don’t take that as authoritative sort of assessment of my view which I think is quite valid.


Dutton remains uncommitted over raising minimum wage to match inflation

Circling back to Dutton’s interview. The opposition leader isn’t weighing in on whether he thinks the minimum wage should be brought in line with inflation (as the unions and government are urging). Instead, he’s insisting:

The best thing we can do for Australian families at the moment is reduce their mortgage payments.


James Packer donates $7m to UNSW

Billionaire businessman James Packer has given $7m to UNSW for mental health research and the establishment of a chair in his name on mood disorders.

The James Packer Chair in Mood Disorders will lead a new unit at UNSW to conduct research in mental health, with a focus on mood disorders including bipolar disease.

Packer said it was “no secret” he had struggled with mental health problems in the past.

I am a passionate advocate of finding ways to improve mental health outcomes and I am hopeful that my contribution towards this research will generate positive outcomes in this field and in so doing significantly improve the lives of people battling mental health issues both in Australia and around the world.

The gift will also fund a team of researchers to support the chair.


Dutton points out NAB rate call despite bank describing budget as ‘broadly neutral’ for inflation

Dutton continues to accuse the budget of being inflationary, but he doesn’t have his facts quite right.

I think some of the economists have pointed out that this is an inflationary budget and that interest rates will stay higher for longer.

You have the NAB yesterday saying that they see the prospect of two interest rate rises as a result of his budget.

But that’s in fact the opposite of what NAB specifically noted yesterday:

Importantly, our rate call is not a response to the recent federal budget, which we judge to be broadly neutral in terms of its effects on inflation and implications for monetary policy.


Dutton questions whether increase to jobseeker payment is inflationary

Dutton says the cost of the government’s jobseeker measures is $4.6bn and the opposition’s policy is “about half of that figure” – in the order of $2.3bn.

And the question at the moment is in an inflationary environment, do you want to be pumping $4.6 billion worth of money into the economy. Is that inflationary?


Dutton wants increased work hours for those on jobseeker but holds out on backing payment rise

Dutton’s continuing to call on the government to increase the hours someone on jobseeker can work before their payments are reduced.

But he won’t say whether the opposition will in exchange back the increase to the jobseeker payment.

We’ll have a look at it, at the time. But we want a discussion with the government to properly consider what we’re putting forward.


The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, is discussing his criticisms of the federal budget on ABC Radio.


Chalmers emphasises ‘responsibilities to each other’ in budget welfare measures

The treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has defended the budget having measures to support “middle Australia” but emphasised Australians’ responsibilities towards one another.

He told ABC’s Q&A program last night:

What I wanted to pick up on, respectfully, is I do believe that we do have responsibilities to each other.

But there is part of our society who would prefer it if people were left to fend for themselves, if we had this kind of dog-eat-dog world where people who were down on their luck are especially vulnerable for a whole range of different reasons, and we’ve heard some of them tonight.

I do really firmly believe that we’ve got responsibilities to each other, and that the basis of social security not just in our country, but in every good country, is that if you are especially vulnerable, or if you need the help of the rest of us, then you should get some help.

One of those stories of hardship the treasurer heard was an unemployed mother who broke down in tears explaining she will be forced off the single parent payment when her daughter turns eight in August, leaving her unable to cope with an impending rent increase.

As part of the budget, the age limit for the payment will rise to 14, but not until September, leaving this mother without the payment for a month before the new rules kick in.


Funds for survivors to break shackles of modern slavery

Human trafficking support services will get a $24m boost as the government works to crack down on modern slavery, AAP reports.

The federal budget allocation will help the services to better meet the needs of victim-survivors by increasing the minimum support time from 45 days to 90, social services minister Amanda Rishworth said.

The four-year funding package will also ensure financial support for visa holders who cannot access social welfare payments, and enable check-ups on people who have left the program at three, six and 12 months.

The funding provides a pilot program allowing direct referrals to the support program from community providers without engaging federal police will also be created next year.

The pilot, to be established next year and last for up to 18 months, is designed to help people come forward, with some victims hesitant to get police involved. It is estimated four out of every five victim-survivors go undetected.


Good morning!

The minutes from the Reserve Bank’s board meeting will be released today, which will offer more insight into the central bank’s decision making behind the last interest rate hike.

The most recent May interest rate increase surprised many experts who’d expected the RBA board to keep the cash rate on hold following a pause in April and weakening inflation data for the March quarter.

Meanwhile, the government is cracking down on human trafficking, with support services set to receive a $24m boost.

Social services minister Amanda Rishworth said the federal budget allocation will help the services to better meet the needs of victim-survivors by increasing the minimum support time from 45 days to 90.

Speaking to the ABC’s Q&A program last night, the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, insisted there is a lot in the budget for middle Australia but has pressed the point that Australians do have responsibilities towards each other.

In Victoria, the Greens are pushing to expand the state’s anti-vilification laws following recent ugly clashes over transgender and immigration rights.

The Greens will introduce a bill to state parliament this week to change the laws to cover vilification on the basis of sexuality and gender.

Let’s get into it!


Mostafa Rachwani and Natasha May (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
McKim calls for Lowe to stand down – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

06, Sep, 2022 @8:46 AM

Article image
Ruston dismisses suggestion Liberal party has ‘lost its way’; Hunter candidates square off – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis

04, May, 2022 @10:11 AM

Article image
Central bank going ‘rogue’, senator claims – as it happened
This blog is now closed.

Emily Wind and Natasha May (earlier)

06, Jun, 2023 @8:35 AM

Article image
PM says prospect of Chinese naval base in Cambodia ‘concerning’ – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor, Mostafa Rachwani and Caitlin Cassidy (earlier)

07, Jun, 2022 @8:33 AM

Article image
Labor to meet Greens over housing bill – as it happened
This blog is now closed.

Emily Wind and Rafqa Touma (earlier)

01, Aug, 2023 @8:31 AM

Article image
PM reportedly issued invitation to visit Beijing – as it happened
This blog is now closed.

Emily Wind and Natasha May (earlier)

04, Apr, 2023 @8:40 AM

Article image
LGBTQ+ event cancelled after threats – as it happened
This blog is now closed.

Jordyn Beazley and Natasha May (earlier)

08, Jun, 2023 @8:30 AM

Article image
TGA extends shelf life of Covid anti-viral stock – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Cait Kelly and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

02, Aug, 2022 @9:16 AM

Article image
Sydney trains delayed due to ‘communication issue’ – as it happened
This blog is now closed.

Mostafa Rachwani and Amy Remeikis and Martin Farrer (earlier)

08, Mar, 2023 @7:44 AM

Article image
ABC misses out on final leaders’ debate; key independents back call for robodebt inquiry – as it happened
This blog is now closed

Caitlin Cassidy (now) and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

02, May, 2022 @9:04 AM