February 13, 2024

Australia news LIVE: Federal laws on ‘doxxing’ to be brought forward; Anniversary of Stolen Generations apology

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4.49pm

WA treasurer issues warning to feds on GST

By Hamish Hastie

Any federal government that walks back the GST deal would lose every seat in Western Australia, state Treasurer Rita Saffioti says.

Saffioti delivered the warning at a business breakfast in Perth on Tuesday, amid concerns of more cost blowouts on the deal.

WA Treasurer Rita Saffioti.Credit: Jesinta Burton.

The state’s Liberal opposition is also claiming the federal government could renege on the current GST deal as it did with stage three tax cuts.

“I believe that no federal government will change it because you basically will lose every seat in the state,” Saffioti said.

“That deal will not be changed and we’ll continue to fight to make sure it’s protected, but I’ve had full confidence, including from the prime minister and the federal treasurer, that that deal will not change.”

Read the full story here. 

4.28pm

ANZ to cut 170 jobs in business banking: union

By Millie Muroi

The country’s fourth largest bank is cutting 170 staff in a restructure of its business banking operation, according to the Finance Sector Union.

On Tuesday, union national president Wendy Streets said ANZ’s restructure would affect 1300 jobs, with 170 staff expected to be made redundant.

ANZ will cut 170 jobs, the Finance Sector Union says. Credit: Oscar Colman

“If ANZ wants to lead the industry in delivering services for businesses, it won’t get there by sacking 170 staff,” she said.

“Staff are being told this is about being the best in the industry but it’s hard to understand how ANZ can seriously believe that story when this will lead to jobs disappearing, the remaining staff being forced to pick up the work and cuts to the numbers of business centres the bank operates.”

An ANZ spokesperson said the changes would allow the bank to flexibly support more customers with simpler needs across branches, digital platforms and its national business centre.

“While we recognise this is a challenging time for our people affected by these changes, we’re providing support and we’re confident many employees will find alternative roles within ANZ,” they said.

4.20pm

ABC hearing turns to definition of a pay rise

By Calum Jaspan

Back to the ABC, where Senator Sarah Henderson and ABC boss David Anderson have been arguing in Senate estimates over the definition of a pay rise.

The Liberal senator has accused Anderson of misleading the committee at a hearing in May last year, when he said he had not received a pay rise alongside his new contract, which was not public at the time.

ABC boss David Anderson appears at Senate estimates on February 13. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Henderson has been arguing an extended five-year contract equates to a pay rise. Committee chair Karen Grogan could be overheard saying “this is ridiculous”.

Anderson said that at the time of his new contract being awarded it did not come with a pay rise.

Henderson argued Anderson was being “cute” over terminology, while Anderson said one of the reasons the announcement about the contract was made was due to looming reorganisation at the ABC in June last year, which resulted in redundancies.

“I would suggest one of the reasons would be to be after that period, not before,” he says, while not wanting to speak on behalf of the board who took the decision.

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3.38pm

Government seeking to return some detainees to custody

By Olivia Ireland

After eight questions during Question Time, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles confirmed the government was preparing applications to re-detain some of the 149 immigration detainees released last year, under the laws rushed through parliament last December to allow high-risk offenders to be returned to custody.

Tehan asks: “Evidence in estimates has revealed the government has not even applied for a single community safety order to protect the public from these criminals. Minister, how is this possible?”

Coalition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Giles responds, saying: “I remind them too, including the Leader of the Opposition who was the minister at the time, that it took more than three years for the first continuing detention order application to be lodged under the high-risk terror offenders scheme.

“We are preparing applications and we are making sure as the evidence … made clear in the Senate estimates yesterday that we will do so properly.”

3.33pm

ABC racism review to deliver findings mid-year

By Calum Jaspan

Back to Senate estimates, where ABC boss David Anderson says a review into racism at the broadcaster, led by Terry Janke, will deliver its results in the middle of 2024.

Work on the review began on October 20. Anderson says he would like the results sooner but accepts the reasons Janke has given for its timing.

ABC boss David Anderson is speaking about the national broadcaster’s racism review. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

The review was prompted by the broadcaster’s handling of criticism directed at Stan Grant after his appearance on the ABC’s coverage of King Charles III’s coronation.

Anderson says there is no evidence of institutional racism at the ABC but he worries there are people at the broadcaster that don’t feel comfortable raising these issues.

“If people don’t feel comfortable coming forward then we haven’t done enough and we’re not doing enough and the managers aren’t doing enough to make sure they do feel comfortable.”

3.29pm

Burney addresses rumours she will quit

By James Massola

Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney says she intends to keep serving in the parliament, despite Labor colleagues saying it could be her last term.

Speaking in Canberra after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tabled the Closing the Gap report, Burney also said work to create a Makarrata Commission – a body to record the history and treatment of Indigenous Australians since colonisation – was still underway.

Linda Burney addresses Parliament today.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Some Labor MPs, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they could not speak out of party ranks, believe that Burney, who served for years in the NSW parliament before going federal, could quit at the end of this term because of ongoing health issues.

“I am incredibly busy and very honoured to be doing the job that I’m doing, and I intend to keep doing that job,” Burney said in response to a question on her position this afternoon.

“The second point [on the Makarrata Commission] is an issue that has not been resolved yet, but I think that what we can say and what’s important on a day like today, is not about disappointment, it’s about recognising the incredibly important role that Patrick Dodson has undertaken.”

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3.02pm

Chalmers praises colleague for war on ‘evil’ scams

By Olivia Ireland

Independent MP Russell Broadbent has asked Treasurer Jim Chalmers about the issue of customers withdrawing cash from banks and being scammed, asking what more can be done.

Chalmers responds saying: “I want to be upfront and say that I’d take absolutely no credit for the government’s focus on scams and that is because the work of the Assistant Treasurer [Stephen Jones] in this regard has been absolutely terrific,” he said.

Jim Chalmers addresses Question Time.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“He has worked tirelessly to tackle and take on this evil in our community and in our economy in a really impressive way and he has done that in collaboration with the banks, he has done that in collaboration with key institutions and with other ministers.

“In last year’s budget we invested $86.5 million in fighting scams and online fraud, $76 million to bust fake investment websites, $58 million for the ACCC to establish a world-leading national anti-spam centre and over $10 million for ACMA to enforce an SMS registry to stop scam texts.”

2.55pm

Origin Energy’s $1b profit prompts new tax question

By Olivia Ireland

Independent MP for North Sydney Kylea Tink has asked Treasurer Jim Chalmers if the government will consider taxing windfall profits after Origin Energy reported a net profit of more than $1 billion, listing elevated commodity prices as a contributing factor.

Chalmers quips by thanking Tink for her question, saying “at last someone in that direction who cares about the cost of living”, which gets a rowdy reaction from the Coalition.

Independent MP Kylea Tink.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“The principle that is in the Member for North Sydney’s question is a principle we have adopted, trying to raise more tax out of the industry that she identified to fund some of our priorities,” Chalmers continues.

“Because of our responsible economic management … we have managed to get the budget in much better nick.”

2.49pm

Coalition targets Giles over detainees

By Olivia Ireland

In the first half-hour of question time, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has been asked five times about the 149 people released from immigration detention last year.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles during question time today.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Coalition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan and deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley, Liberal backbenchers Llew O’Brien and Jenny Ware have all asked Giles for further details on the released detainees.

Ware asks: “Does the government know the whereabouts of the seven murderers and 37 sex offenders?”

Giles responds: “All individuals in the cohort that are required to be released as a [result] of the court’s decision [continue to] be monitored.”

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2.35pm

Tehan questions cost of supporting freed detainees

By Olivia Ireland

In question time, opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan is asking about the 149 people released from immigration detention last year, after the High Court found their indefinite detention was unlawful.

Details tabled in Senate estimates yesterday revealed none of the detainees has been locked up again under subsequent laws that were rushed through parliament in December, to allow high-risk offenders to be returned to custody.

Dan Tehan speaks to Peter Dutton in parliament yesterday.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Tehan asks: “At a time when Australian families are living through a cost of living crisis and struggling to make ends meet, can the minister confirm hard-core criminals he has released, including rapists and murderers, have now received over $3 million in free accommodation and welfare payments?”

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles responds saying that the decision to release the detainees from immigration detention was made by the High Court.

“I remind [Tehan] as well, the arrangements in place for the support for people who are from immigration detention were the same as they were when he was the minister responsible,” Giles said.

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