Penny Wong counters Paul Keating’s AUKUS attacks in speech
By Matthew Knott
In case you missed it,Australia cannot rely on diplomacy alone to avoid war in the Asia-Pacific and needs to bolster its defence force to deter potential aggressors and promote peace in the region, according to Foreign Minister Penny Wong.
In her speech at the National Press Club today, Wong will defend the strategic rationale behind the AUKUS pact after former prime minister Paul Keating savaged the government’s planned acquisition of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and Wong’s performance as the nation’s top diplomat in a fiery press club appearance last month.
Wong’s speech will outline a set of principles for how Australia can help “avert war and maintain peace, and more than that, how we shape a region that reflects our national interests and our shared regional interests”.
Lidia Thorpe banned for life from Melbourne strip club after clash
By Ashleigh McMillan
Independent senator Lidia Thorpe has been banned for life from a strip club in Melbourne’s inner north after she was filmed yelling and swearing at a group of men outside the venue.
In footage obtained by 7News Melbourne, Thorpe can be seen berating men assembled on the pavement outside Maxine’s Gentleman’s Club in Brunswick at 3am yesterday, which she attended for a friend’s 50th birthday.
The senator points to each of the men and launches into a tirade laden with profanities, with the men calling her a “racist dog”.
Thorpe said the group of men singled her out and provoked her, taking issue with her stance on Indigenous affairs.
Maxine’s general manager David Ross confirmed he contacted Thorpe’s office today and informed her of the life ban.
“Maxine’s… prides itself on providing a relaxed environment and fostering harmony between patrons of all genders and from all ethnic and religious backgrounds; a fact the staff and dancers are very proud of,” Ross said in the letter sent to the senator.
“With this in mind, and after reviewing security footage and speaking with staff and security, I have to inform you that you are no longer welcome at Maxine’s Gentlemen’s Club. Please do not attempt to enter the venue in future, as being refused entry may cause further embarrassment.”
Victoria Police confirmed to this masthead they were not called to the Brunswick premises following the disturbance on Sunday.
Thorpe’s office has been contacted for comment about the incident.
Online sales take $124m hit as rates and inflation bite
By Shane Wright
High-interest rates and inflation are starting to bite into online spending, with a new measure of internet shopping revealing a $124 million drop in turnover over the past year.
As traditional measures of spending also point to the growing difficulties facing the Reserve Bank, the Airwallex measure of digital expenditure confirms the impact of tight monetary policy and falling real wages on cash-strapped consumers.
Airwallex, a global payment platform started in Melbourne, processes almost $50 billion in transactions every year, many from emerging small and medium businesses.
ACT fire services to test air in Parliament House after evacuation
By Caroline Schelle
Earlier, the Senate wing of Parliament House in Canberra was evacuated following reports of a burning smell.
In an update ACT Fire and Rescue Service will carry out an “atmospheric test” in parts of the Senate wing.
“This will involve them seeking access to some offices, including areas of the Press Gallery, to ensure the area has normal air quality,” according to the Department of Parliamentary Services.
The issue was caused by a drive belt failure in the air handling unit, and it resulted in smoke which triggered an alarm, but there was no fire.
Chalmers says progress made on energy rebates for budget
There has been progress made on energy rebates and household assistance for electricity bills in the budget, the treasurer says.
Jim Chalmers today reiterated the budget would be focused on helping Australians on energy prices, both for householders and small business owners.
“We’ve made progress on the energy rebates, the household assistance for electricity bills,” he said.
“We’ve been working … for some months, with our state and territory counterparts, recognising there are different systems around the country, different pressures, different existing infrastructure when it comes to … that assistance,” he told reporters in Canberra.
He said he hoped to keep people updated about those negotiations before the budget was released next month, but they would “at the very latest” be included within the budget.
“Australians will understand depending on where they live in the country, what kind of assistance they’ll be receiving, who is eligible and how much assistance as well,” he said.
Chalmers also flagged he received advice from Treasury about the commodity price assumptions.
“I’ve said publicly before, and as I’ve said many times privately, there are good reasons to maintain a conservative and cautious approach when it comes to those commodity price assumptions,” he said.
He said he accepted the recommendations from the Treasury about the commodity price assumptions.
“My inclination is to accept the recommendations … when it comes to changing in a moderate way, in quite a restrained way, cautious, conservative way, the way that we go about making those commodity price assumptions in the budget,” he said.
Treasurer says Reserve Bank review to be released shortly
By Caroline Schelle
Staying with Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who said the review into the Reserve Bank of Australia would be released soon.
Speaking in Canberra the treasurer said the review could be released within the next week, but at least in the next two weeks.
“That will be released with an initial review from the government about the 51 specific recommendations contained in the report,” Chalmers said.
He said he had spoken to the RBA governor Philip Lowe about the contents of the report already.
“Before long I want to have a discussion with the opposition and ideally the crossbench about the contents of that report as well,” Chalmers told reporters today.
It is the first time the institution has been reviewed in four decades, and it is expected to contain changes to the way it operates and communicates with the public.
Anger over the bank has intensified since then after the RBA – which had signalled it would hold official interest rates at 0.1 per cent until 2024 – started tightening monetary policy in May last year.
The treasurer was questioned about the recommendations from the RBA review, and said they would require legislative changes.
“There will be a legislative element to the elements that were put forward by the Reserve Bank … review panel,” he said.
He genuinely wanted changes to be bipartisan, he said.
“There are some recommendations which would require legislative change. There are some that would require the governor and the board to change the way that they go about things at the bank,” he said.
Weakest two years of global growth in two decades: Chalmers
By Caroline Schelle
Treasurer Jim Chalmers is speaking in Canberra, where he said the budget will forecast the weakest two years of global growth in the past two decades except for the Global Financial Crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The treasurer went to the US last week for high-level talks about the global economy, including with the International Monetary Fund.
He said this morning the IMF expect an “incredibly weak” five years of global economic growth.
“Our budget in three weeks time, will forecast for [2023 and 2024], the weakest two years of global growth in the last two decades apart from the depths of the GFC [Global Financial Crisis] and of COVID,” he said.
The treasurer said the best antidote to global uncertainty was responsible economic management in Australia.
“That’s what the May budget will represent. We do have as we’ve said in this room a number of times we do have a lot coming at us, but we do have a lot going for us as well,” he said.
The treasurer pointed to low unemployment, high prices for exports and both of those were helping the budget.
The budget was about cost-of-living issues, laying the foundations for growth with a focus on energy and ensuring the economy was resilient to economic shocks.
Watch back: Treasurer Jim Chalmers speaks after US trip
Treasurer Jim Chalmers will hold a press conference in Canberra.
Watch back below:
Liberal supporters of the Voice preparing formal Yes campaign
By Anthony Galloway
In case you missed it, Liberal supporters of the Voice are mobilising to launch the party’s formal Yes campaign once a parliamentary inquiry settles on the wording of the referendum next month, hoping to double support inside the federal party room.
Current and former Liberal MPs and staffers have created a database of party members who support the Indigenous Voice to parliament, as they look to push back against Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s announcement that the party will formally oppose the Voice.
They plan to launch a “Liberals for Yes” campaign after the parliamentary inquiry into the referendum hands down its findings on May 15.
PM praises Farmer on run to support Voice
By Caroline Schelle
As we flagged earlier, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is in Hobart to support the launch of a campaign to support the Voice by former federal Liberal MP Pat Farmer.
Farmer, the former MP for Macarthur in NSW, will run more than 14,000 km and will finish the six-month-long run at Uluru. The ultra marathon runner will run on average 80km a day to complete the run on time.
Speaking at a press conference in Hobart this morning, the prime minister said Farmer’s “Run for the Voice” was an “absolutely perfect” way to show support for the Yes campaign.
“Through this run, [Farmer] will mobilise these local communities where he visits … I know that he’s hoping to mobilise that support throughout Tasmania, firstly, but then throughout the entire nation and finishing … fittingly, at Uluru,” he said.
The PM said the Voice would enable the government to get better outcomes for Indigenous people throughout the country.
“What the Voice is about is a bottom-up approach from local and regional voices to be heard through a national voice, having a say for Indigenous Australians,” Albanese said this morning.
Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney was also in attendance for the launch.
Most Viewed in National