February 1, 2024

Australia news LIVE: PM welcomes inflation falling to 4.1 per cent; Labor spruiks stage 3 tax cut changes

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Donors give more money to Libs than Labor

By Paul Sakkal

The Liberal Party secured $27 million more in political donations than Labor last financial year.

The Australian Electoral Commission released a log today of all financial contributions made to political parties, unions and other political campaigning organisations between July 2022 and the end of June this year.

Gambling and consulting companies were among those who donated to political parties, along with and wealthy individuals like mining billionaire Clive Palmer, who donated $7 million to the United Australia Party, making him the year’s largest donor.

The Liberal Party and its state divisions gathered more than $110 million over the past financial year, compared with Labor’s $83 million.

The contributions were received after the May 2022 election. Donations are greater in the periods before elections.

We’ll have more detailed information on the biggest spenders later this morning.


Experts urge greater EV charger investment, despite limited delays

By Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson

Dire predictions about lengthy waits at electric car charging stations have failed to materialise these summer holidays, experts say, even though the use of public chargers more than doubled across Australia.

Representatives from two of the country’s biggest providers, Chargefox and Evie Networks, told AAP electric cars experienced their “biggest week ever” for public charging this holiday season, and use across the period soared by 150 per cent.

EV charger waits were less than expected this summer.Credit: Shutterstock

But Electric Vehicle Council energy and infrastructure head Ross De Rango said the success should not lead businesses or governments to become complacent as battery-powered cars continued to grow in popularity.

The news came after sales of electric cars more than doubled in Australia during 2023, and after some drivers suffered 90-minute charging delays during the 2023 summer holiday break.



PM laments political partisanship, blames opposition

By Olivia Ireland

Speaking on multiple radio programs this morning, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has expressed concern about the state of politics, placing blame on the opposition.

When asked on Sydney radio station WSFM if Australia was heading down the same path as the US with people divided along party lines, Albanese responded that he was concerned about the conduct of the opposition.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen, Nine News

“I am concerned about the politics where the opposition just oppose everything … I used to say I’m the Labor leader, not the opposition leader, because my job is to do the right thing,” he said.

“For example, throughout the pandemic … even where we thought the government’s measures weren’t perfect, we said we won’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”


Albanese wants to see interest rate cuts in future

By Olivia Ireland

Rate cuts are something Albanese would like to see in the future, saying he would like to see any measure that takes pressure off low- and middle-income earners.

Asked if he expected the Reserve Bank of Australia to start cutting rates, Albanese began by saying it was an independent body, but when asked if he believed households needed to see cuts to their interest rates, he conceded he would like to see any measure to help Australians.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“I’d like to see any measure that takes pressure off low- and middle-income earners, particularly people in middle Australia [who] have had to deal with inflation, [who] have had to deal with the interest rate increases,” he said.

“There [are] two ways essentially that this government can [use]: it can encourage an increase in real wages; we’ve done that.

“The second is taxation, and that is why this plan is targeted squarely at middle Australia.”


PM says probe into UN worker links to October 7 needs resolution

By Olivia Ireland

Circling back to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s lengthy interview on ABC radio this morning, during which he would not pre-empt meetings into Australia pausing its $6 million humanitarian aid package to the United Nations agency for Palestinians in Gaza as the organisation investigates allegations that a dozen staff might have been involved in the October 7 attacks on Israel.

During his interview, Albanese noted that the UN agency, UNRWA, plays an important role as it provides essential services in Gaza but he also said the allegations needed to be taken seriously.

“UNRWA is the only United Nations body with the mandate to provide relief and services to Palestinians in the region. It is providing essential services in Gaza directly to those who need it,” he said.

“This issue needs to be resolved. We cannot have a circumstance where the … allegations are that there’ve been some, a small number, but still, it’s deeply concerning that someone [was allegedly] involved in the October 7 terror attack.”

Albanese would not say if the UN has satisfied Australia that the issue had been resolved, saying officials were consulting the body.

“We consider these issues after consultation … we want to make sure, ensure, that every dollar that Australia contributes – as would the other contributors like the US and Canada – goes to helping people on the ground who really need it,” he said.


Labor minister denies Albanese-Chalmers rift

By Olivia Ireland and Lachlan Abbott

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher has brushed off rumours that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers are not getting along, saying she does not know where the speculation come from.

Speaking on Nine’s Today program, Gallagher said she worked closely with both Albanese and Chalmers and said they were “good mates”.

Much to discuss: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers in November last year.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“They work closely together and it’s great to work with both of them … particularly over the last couple of weeks. We’ve been in daily contact and working really closely together on finalising the tax cuts package,” she said.

“I don’t know where the speculations come from, but it’s certainly not true.”

Cameron Milner, a columnist at The Australian newspaper, claimed the pair was no longer on speaking terms in an article published yesterday morning. Milner was briefly chief of staff for former Labor leader Bill Shorten in 2016 and is now director of GXO Strategies, a lobbying firm.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Gallagher also would not commit to saying there would be no changes to negative gearing under the Albanese government.

“It’s just not on our agenda at all … we’ve explained why we’ve changed our view on tax, we’ve been upfront with people, it has been a change to [our] position. We’ve fronted up, we’ve accepted that, we want more tax cuts in more people’s pockets,” she said.


Dunkley byelection not a referendum on tax cut changes: Albanese

By Olivia Ireland

The prime minister says the Dunkley byelection is not a referendum on the government’s changes to tax.

The byelection will be held in March following the death from cancer of Victorian federal Labor MP Peta Murphy in December.

Asked on ABC Radio National if he sees the upcoming byelection as the first time voters will be able to make a judgment on the government’s tax cuts, Anthony Albanese disagreed.

Anthony Albanese with Jodie Belyea at Frankston Bowling Club in January.Credit: Paul Jeffers

“Dunkley is an opportunity for people to elect Jodie Belyea, who will carry on the legacy of Peta Murphy,” he said.

“Jodie will be outstanding, she’s such a strong advocate, a local, a local mum who’s really in touch with her community.”


Albanese welcomes CPI figures, disputes claims tax cuts would add to inflation

By Olivia Ireland

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has welcomed annual inflation dropping to 4.1 per cent in the December quarter, while disputing the government’s new stage 3 tax cut package would have an impact on inflation.

Speaking on ABC Radio National in a wide-ranging interview this morning, Albanese acknowledged the government had a way to go when it came to cost-of-living relief.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“This is welcome and encouraging progress and the challenge of dealing with inflation, but that work continues because we know that people are still under pressure,” he said.

Asked about economist concerns that interest rate cuts by the RBA might be delayed because of the government’s rewrite of the stage 3 tax cuts, Albanese disagreed this would happen.

“[W]e released the Treasury documents – eight pages of analysis as well as a number of pages including graphs and the assessment. That’s why we very much focused on making sure [it] was revenue-neutral, the changes that we [made],” he said.

“That’s why we also consulted the RBA governor and the treasurer and treasury secretary, and this will not have an inflationary impact.”


Community, youth sport to introduce 21-day concussion stand-down

By Iain Payten

Adults in community sport and children aged 19 and under will be sidelined for a minimum of 21 days if they suffer a sport-related concussion, under new guidelines released by the Australian Institute of Sport.

The Youth and Community Sport guidelines, which effectively cover everyone in sport outside elite levels, have been created to provide “simplicity and clarity” about the widely varied protocols used in Australian sport for a safe return to play after a concussion.

Concussion protocols vary from sport to sport.Credit: Getty, NRL Photos

While minimum post-concussion timelines have previously been applied to children, the new guidelines also include mandatory stand-down protocols for adults in community sport for the first time.

With no regulatory power, the AIS advice remains just that, but the national bodies of more than 30 sports have already indicated they will adopt the new guidelines.

The changes come in response to last year’s Senate inquiry into concussion and head trauma in contact sports.

Read more about the new national protocols here.


Analysis: Could the Reserve Bank get it wrong again?

By Shane Wright

Inflation blindsided the Reserve Bank when it took off through 2021 and early 2022.

Now, it could catch the central bank on the downside as inflationary pressures ease far more than the RBA had anticipated.

Wednesday’s report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, showing inflation at 4.1 per cent through the 12 months to December, confirmed other signals the economy and price pressures are slowing faster than expected.

It was only in November that the RBA believed both headline and underlying inflation would end the year at 4.5 per cent. Instead, they are 4.1 per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.

Read more of Shane Wright’s analysis here.

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