February 1, 2024

Australia news LIVE: Coalition mulls Labor’s stage 3 tax cut changes; Dutton to pledge $900m project for Dunkley byelection

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Premier says Tasmanian parliament ‘unworkable’ as early election looms

By Callum Godde

Briefly to state news, Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff announced today he is attempting to redraw his government’s deal with two Liberal defectors in a bid to avoid an early election.

Lara Alexander and John Tucker plunged the Liberals into minority government in May when they quit the party to sit as independents over concerns about Tasmania’s deal for an AFL stadium and team.

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Tucker put the Rockliff government on notice last month, warning he would move a no-confidence motion when parliament resumed in March if animal welfare monitoring in abattoirs wasn’t improved.

While remaining steadfast in his government going full term, Rockliff said it was clear the pair were not sticking to their pledge to provide confidence and supply.

“As a result, the parliament is becoming unworkable,” he wrote on Friday.

“Despite the government upholding and delivering on our end of the agreement … Mr Tucker and Mrs Alexander are not honouring the intent of the agreement.

“Instead, they have continued to shift the goalposts and threatened to withdraw confidence and supply unless they get their own way.”



ASX set to rise as Wall Street rebounds; Meta, Amazon surge

By Stan Choe

Wall Street burst out of its hangover, as US stocks bounced back in a widespread rally following their worst day since September.

The S&P 500 gained 1.2 per cent to recover three quarters of its sharp loss from the day before. The Dow Jones rose 1 per cent, while the Nasdaq composite leaped 1.3 per cent.

Tech stocks recovered some of their sharp tumble a day before.Credit: Bloomberg

The Australian sharemarket is set for gains, with futures at 5.02am AEDT pointing to a rise of 30 points, or 0.4 per cent, at the open. The ASX shed 1.2 per cent on Thursday to retreat from its record high.

Big Tech stocks led the way in a mirror reversal of the day before, when Alphabet and Microsoft sank despite reporting stronger profits than analysts expected. Microsoft climbed 1.6 per cent a day after falling 2.7 per cent. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, added 0.8 per cent after tumbling 7.5 per cent.

Keep up to date with all local sharemarket developments today here.


Stage 3 tax cut legislation needed before Coalition decides position: Ley

By Olivia Ireland

Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley says the Coalition will not give a position on the government’s reformed stage 3 package until they see the legislation, causing Education Minister Jason Clare to accuse them of “prevaricating” because they cannot decide on their position.

During a panel debate on Seven’s Sunrise program, Ley was asked a number of times on what the Coalition’s position would be on the stage 3 package.

Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“We will make our decision when we see the legislation because there’s no justification for how this has come about, and it doesn’t stack up, and when we see what the prime minister has said in all of the language he’s used, it’s just not clear why he has done this,” Ley said.

“One day we hear the prime minister saying, ‘I won’t do deals’, the next day he says ‘I might do deals’, the next day the Greens are saying ‘we won’t support it’. So clearly there’s going to be quite a lot of argy-bargy between Labor and the Greens before we see the fine print.”

Clare disputed Ley’s position, saying the detail was already available from Treasury and data.

“They’re just prevaricating because they can’t make up their minds,” Clare said. “Almost every single person watching is going to get a bigger tax cut here.

“If the Liberal Party would just get out of the way – they were very quick to bag Woolies because they wouldn’t sell what they wanted them to sell, they’re quick to bag the journalists up in the press gallery.

“But it’s taken you over a week, and you still can’t work out that Aussies deserve a bigger tax cut, that people are doing it tough, and they need you to get out of the way and help make it happen.”


‘Economic idiocy’: Ley, Clare clash over premier’s interest rate call

By Olivia Ireland

Liberal deputy leader Sussan Ley has slammed state premiers calling for the Reserve Bank and big banks to start cutting interest rates as “economic idiocy”.

In a post to X, Queensland Premier Steven Miles called for the RBA to lower interest rates, which Education Minister Jason Clare justified as something all Australians want to see.

“All Aussies want to see interest rates go down, ultimately, it’s a matter for the RBA,” Clare told Seven’s Sunrise.

“To get the RBA to cut interest rates, we’ve got to get inflation down and that’s happening.”

In response, Ley accused the Labor Party of “economic idiocy” to call on an independent body to cut interest rates.

“If we let politicians set interest rates, interest rates will always be low,” she said.

“I’d like Jason to call out those Labor premiers today on breakfast television because Australians are hurting, they’re opening household bills, and they’re struggling, and we know that the cost of living relief that they promised is insufficient.”

Clare responded, accusing Ley of “throwing political mud on morning television”.


Dutton says Liberals support lower taxes, but still to confirm position

By Olivia Ireland

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has indicated he will support tax cuts, saying the Liberal Party has always supported lower taxes.

Speaking on Nine’s Today program, Dutton was asked multiple times about what the Coalition’s position would be on Labor’s stage 3 tax cut changes.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

He said they will announce their position in due course and rejected the suggestion the Coalition would take money from lower and middle income earners that would benefit from the package tweaks.

He also questioned the government’s costings and criticised Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for breaking an election promise.

“[We’ve] been very clear, the Liberal Party is the party of lower taxes. We always have been, we always will be because we manage the economy more effectively,” he said.


“We’ll announce our position in due course, but we think there’s a massive black hole in what the government’s doing at the moment.”

Dutton also said he did not believe the government when saying they have no planned changes to negative gearing.

“We are not going to attack aspiration, we’re not going to attack people that work hard and provide for their families,” he said.

The opposition leader will speak in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Frankston later this morning.

Stay tuned.


New Zealand moves closer to AUKUS inclusion

By Matthew Knott

Australia and New Zealand have vowed to create two seamless militaries that co-operate more closely as New Zealand moves towards being included in part of the AUKUS partnership between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Australian officials will soon travel to New Zealand to brief their counterparts on developments relating to “pillar two” of the AUKUS pact and to investigate what New Zealand could contribute to the grouping.

(From left) New Zealand Defence Minister Judith Collins, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong at Treasury Gardens, Melbourne.Credit: AAP

Pillar two relates to collaboration on advanced technologies such as hypersonic weapons, cyber, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

The two nations’ defence and foreign ministers met in Melbourne on Thursday, their first gathering since a new conservative government was elected last year.

Read more about the development here.


Familiar faces and virtual unknowns pump millions into politics

By David Crowe and Paul Sakkal

Wealthy donors have poured millions of dollars into political action groups in a bid to shape decisions on climate change and conservative social issues, escalating a contest for cash after the main political parties collected almost $200 million between them last year.

Young energy trader Marcus Catsaras gave $1 million to Climate 200 to help it influence federal policies to favour renewable energy, while a Perth investor donated $1 million to conservative group Advance Australia while it campaigned against the Indigenous Voice.

New donation disclosures reveal millions were spent on political action groups focused on climate change and conservative social issues.Credit: Marija Ercegovac

The donations highlight the race among new donors to add firepower to the campaign groups that operate outside the big political parties, while mining magnate Gina Rinehart backed the Liberals with $150,000 and packaging boss Anthony Pratt favoured Labor with $1 million.

Read the full story here.


This morning’s headlines at a glance

By Lachlan Abbott

Good morning.

It’s Friday, February 2. Welcome to our national news blog. I’m Lachlan Abbott, and I’ll be anchoring the blog this morning.

Here’s what is making news across Australia:

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton will throw nearly a billion dollars at a long-discussed train line to win the pivotal Dunkley byelection in Melbourne’s south-east. The Coalition leader will travel to the electorate today to make the announcement.Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the government’s stage 3 tax cut changes will boost the nation’s workforce by the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs at the same time as the Coalition argues the overhaul will reduce workers’ aspirations.Key crossbenchers have already flagged a slew of workplaces changes being debated in federal parliament next week will need major changes to win their support. Workers would be able to tell their bosses to stop making unreasonable contact after hours under the current proposal.In New South Wales, pubs and clubs with more than 21 poker machines have until July to appoint responsible gambling officers to identify problem gamblers in the latest wagering crackdown.In Victoria, confidential reports have revealed security gaps, under-resourcing and patchwork governance in mental health care across the state’s justice system are fuelling violence in jails, placing staff and inmates at risk of serious harm. Read more of Nick Mckenzie’s story here.In Queensland, Premier Steven Miles has called on the Reserve Bank to quickly cut interest rates after better-than-expected inflation data was released earlier this week.

In Western Australia, temperatures soared into the mid-40s in Perth yesterday amid a heatwave across much of the state. The Swan Valley set a record for its hottest day ever, reaching 45 degrees by noon.

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