Australia news LIVE: Disposable vapes to be banned; RBA to decide on interest rates; Voice debate continues – Sydney Morning Herald

Australia news LIVE: Disposable vapes to be banned; RBA to decide on interest rates; Voice debate continues - Sydney Morning Herald

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Compulsory payday super plan welcomed by consumer advocate

By Caroline Schelle

A super consumer advocacy group welcomed the Albanese government’s plans to make employers pay superannuation to workers at the same time as wages.

Super Consumers Australia welcomed the move today and said it would make it easier for people to manage their money.

“Not paying super on time can lead to real consumer harm. Currently, people miss out on months of investment returns and risk missing life insurance premiums when they fall due,” director Xavier O’Halloran said.

He said payment will strengthen the Australian Tax Office’s ability to identify missed payments.

“This will allow the ATO to take timely action to remind employers who have made a genuine mistake to pay, and take more serious action against employers who are engaging in wage theft.”

It comes as Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said millions of Australians would benefit in retirement from the change, which it wants to start from July 1, 2026.

“This simple change will strengthen Australia’s superannuation system and help deliver a more dignified retirement to more Australian workers,” they said in a statement.

Inflation still ‘frustratingly elevated’, says Woolies boss

By Emma Koehn

In business news, supermarket giant Woolworths says there are signs that grocery prices are moderating but boss Brad Banducci says shoppers are still bearing the brunt of stubbornly high inflation.

Woolworths recorded an 8 per cent jump in sales to $16.3 billion for the March quarter and said while customers were increasingly hunting for value, shopping habits were remaining stable.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci.

Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci.Credit: Natalie Boog.

The average price of goods increased by 5.8 per cent at Woolies supermarkets for the quarter, an improvement on the 7.7 per cent jump that it recorded in the second quarter thanks to improved fruit and vegetable growing conditions.

Read the full story here. 

Victorian Coalition formally agreed to free vote on Voice

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

Returning to state news, the Victorian Coalition formally agreed to give its MPs a free vote on the upcoming referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to federal parliament.

State Liberal and Nationals MPs today endorsed shadow cabinet’s position to allow all members campaign and vote Yes or No, rather than forcing them into a party position. This puts the state Coalition at odds with federal leader Peter Dutton.

In the Liberal party room meeting, Ryan Smith and Bev McArthur were the only two MPs to vote against the shadow cabinet position.

Liberal MP Beverley McArthur.

Liberal MP Beverley McArthur.Credit: Eddie Jim

At a joint Liberal and Nationals party room meeting straight after, McArthur was the only MP to vote and speak against the plan, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

McArthur recently penned an opinion piece for the conservative online publication Spectator Australia likening the Voice to racial divisions in South Africa, saying it would divide the nation on colour alone. She said the body would become a legal and legislative nightmare.

The Western Victoria MP told the joint party room meeting the state Coalition should back Dutton’s stance, and formally campaign against the Voice, according to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Pesutto said yesterday he believed it was important for his team to have a non-binding position on what he described as a “very important issue for our nation”.

Ryan Smith was asked to comment today and said: “[I’m] never going to talk about party room decisions or proceedings, and I think, frankly, anyone that does should consider their future with our party.”

McArthur told this masthead: “Extraordinary how the party room is leakier than the best sieve. Maybe we should open it up to the public and therefore the media, and be done with it.”


Incoming Qantas boss wants a ‘constructive relationship’ with unions

By Caroline Schelle

Incoming Qantas boss Vanessa Hudson says she wants to build a strong and sustainable airline, and would work constructively with unions.

Speaking at a press conference today Hudson, the airline’s chief financial officer, said she was excited and proud to be taking on the role later this year, after Alan Joyce steps down.

“It is striking that right balance which is the most important for a successful organisation but also a sustainable one, and focusing on what is to come in terms of delivering aircraft but also hitting our sustainability targets,” the Qantas executive said today.

Hudson told reporters she was looking forward to meeting unions leaders within the company.

“I look forward to developing a constructive relationship with them, for the benefit of our people but also for the benefit of our organisation,” she said.

She said she wanted to build relationships that were transparent and on mutual trust.

“Focusing on that constructive relationship to the benefit of our people but also to the benefit of our organisation is what is going to be my focus.”

Vanessa Hudson to be first female boss of Qantas

By Caroline Schelle

Qantas CFO Vanessa Hudson will be the airline’s first female chief executive when she takes over the role in November.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce, will step down later this year and welcomed the move saying it was the first time in the company’s 103-year history a woman was appointed.

“This is the first female CEO and that length of time and that is a credit to the merit and the capability of the strong women that we have in the management team,” Joyce said at a press conference this morning.

Vanessa Hudson has worked in a number of executive positions across the group over the past 28 years.

Vanessa Hudson has worked in a number of executive positions across the group over the past 28 years.Credit: Bloomberg

Hudson said this morning she was incredibly honoured to be taking on the role, and said Qantas was in an incredibly strong position.

“We are an incredibly strong position, we have many things in the pipeline, that is not to say that the past three years have not been challenging, they have,” she said today.

“There will be many challenges I am sure ahead.”

She said her focus when she stepped into the role would be delivering for customers, staff and shareholders.

“But until then, my job … as CFO delivering the results that are coming up, and I look forward to working with Alan and Richard over the coming six months to make sure that we have a very smooth transition.”

Watch: Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce to step down

Qantas executives are holding a press conference after it was announced CEO Alan Joyce will step down in November, to be replaced by CFO Vanessa Hudson.

Watch below:


Peter Dutton says opposition will support ‘sensible’ measures on vapes

By Caroline Schelle

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton says he would wait and see on the details about the government’s proposed vaping changes before supporting them.

It comes after the Albanese government plans to ban disposable vapes in Australia as part of a black market crackdown.

Dutton said vaping was a significant problem in the country, but wanted to see what the governments plan would look like.

“It needs to be addressed,” Dutton said this morning.

“We would support the Government in sensible measures, which saw a reduction in the rates,” he said.

One of his proudest achievements was seeing smoking rates reduce while he was in government, the opposition leader told reporters.

“I don’t want to see those rates go back up,” Dutton said.

Labor senator says Qantas boss should resign immediately

By Angus Thompson

Meanwhile, Labor senator and former Transport Workers’ Union secretary Tony Sheldon says Alan Joyce should give the Qantas workforce “an early Christmas present” by resigning immediately.

His comments come after the news the head of Australia’s national carrier will step down towards the end of the year, to be replaced by chief financial officer Vanessa Hudson.

Senator Tony Sheldon says the Qantas boss should resign immediately.

Senator Tony Sheldon says the Qantas boss should resign immediately.Credit: Kate Geraghty

Sheldon – no friend of Joyce – said the resignation of the Qantas boss wasn’t enough.

“Rather than waiting until the end of the year, Alan Joyce could give Qantas workers and customers an early Christmas present by resigning today,” Sheldon said in a statement.

He added he could bring back 1700 ground staff whose jobs the airline outsourced during the pandemic, as well as pay back government handouts.

Sheldon said Vanessa Hudson “will inherit an incredibly dedicated and passionate workforce, which is by far Qantas’ greatest asset”.

NSW opposition leader will work with Latham despite homophobic slurs

By Alexandra Smith

The NSW Liberal leader Mark Speakman has vowed to work with Mark Latham in the new parliament and not block the One Nation MP from securing any extra powers despite widespread condemnation of the political firebrand’s homophobic slurs.

NSW Police confirmed they have launched an investigation into online harassment after Latham tweeted a highly graphic and offensive homophobic comment aimed at Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, who is gay.

Liberal leader Mark Speakman will work with Mark Latham in parliament.

Liberal leader Mark Speakman will work with Mark Latham in parliament.Credit: Nikki Short

As well as his police statement, Greenwich has lodged a complaint of homosexual vilification with Anti-Discrimination NSW and his lawyers have told Latham that defamation proceedings will begin if he does not apologise for his comments by May 5.

The full story on this issue is here. 


Victorian Liberals granted free vote on Voice, at odds with federal counterparts 

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

Turning to state news, Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto will allow all his MPs a free vote on the Indigenous Voice to federal parliament, saying his members value the freedom to make their own choices on significant national issues.

Pesutto confirmed that his shadow cabinet agreed to give MPs the right to campaign and vote for Yes or No, rather than forcing them into a party position.

Liberal leader John Pesutto .

Liberal leader John Pesutto .Credit: Darrian Traynor

This puts the state Coalition at odds with federal leader Peter Dutton, who has forced his frontbench to campaign against constitutional change.

“This is a very important issue for our nation, and I certainly believe as leader of the opposition here in Victoria, that it is important for the members of the Coalition to have a non-binding position,” Pesutto said.

Read the full details on the decision here.

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