Australia news LIVE: Victorian election results 2022 revealed … – WAtoday

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The country’s top spy agency has lowered the national terrorism threat level below “probable” for the first time in eight years, reflecting a reduced risk of violence by radical Islamists.
Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation director-general Mike Burgess said he had taken the repatriation of Australian relatives of Islamic State fighters from Syria into account when deciding to reduce the terrorism threat level from probable to possible.
ASIO director-general Mike Burgess.Credit:Rhett Wyman
ASIO elevated the national terrorism threat level to probable in 2014, a time when significant numbers of radicalised foreign fighters, including Australians, were travelling to Syria and Iraq to join Islamic terrorist groups.
“A decision of this nature is not taken lightly or made casually,” Burgess told reporters in a press briefing at ASIO’s Canberra headquarters today.
Read the full story here.
Asked about Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe’s apology to the thousands of Australians who took out mortgages expecting interest rates to stay unchanged until 2024, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the government had confidence in Lowe and his position.
“I do note that he has taken that action, but it’s not up to me, as prime minister, to give an ongoing, running commentary on the actions of the governor of the Reserve Bank,” he said.
Facing a parliamentary committee this morning, Lowe said the economy had recovered much quicker than expected from a “dire situation”.
Lowe said the RBA had failed by not making clear that its commentary about steady interest rates was heavily conditional on the state of the economy.
Read more about Lowe’s apology here.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is delivering a press conference about the success of the Respect@Work legislation, which enshrines a positive duty for employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Speaking in Canberra, Albanese said the legislation was among a raft of Labor commitments to advance gender equality in the workplace, including its cheaper childcare reforms, and making gender equality an object of the Fair Work Act.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
“Everyone in this building will remember that, two years ago, women marched for justice. They gathered in their thousands outside this building. They gathered to say, ‘Enough is enough’,” Albanese said.
A review into workplace culture was conducted by Sex Discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins, who produced the Respect@Work report, calling for employers to face higher accountability over protecting their workers from sexual harassment.
“The Jenkins report was an important report. I pay tribute to all those who came forward and gave evidence to that inquiry. And to Kate Jenkins, in her report, deserves a great deal of credit,” Albanese said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has confirmed parliament will move a censure motion against former prime minister Scott Morrison over his multiple ministries.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during a press conference at Parliament House.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
“We will introduce legislation later this week to make sure that this can never, ever happen again,” Albanese told press in Canberra.
“And this week, as well, the House will be moving a censure motion in the Member for Cook as a result of the findings of Virginia Bell and the inquiry, which found that the actions of the former prime minister fundamentally undermined the principles of responsible government because the former prime minister wasn’t responsible to the parliament – and through the parliament to the electors – to the departments that he was appointed to administer.
“And that that had real consequences of acting to undermine public confidence in government and were corrosive of trust in government.”
The censure motion was considered by cabinet this morning after five Labor MPs demanded Morrison be censured for his actions after the release of a scathing inquiry by Bell, a former High Court judge, into the secret ministries saga.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke alongside Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus at a press conference earlier.
Watch back below.
Shanghai: Protesters angered by strict anti-virus measures called for China’s powerful leader to resign, an unprecedented rebuke as authorities in at least eight cities struggled to suppress demonstrations on Sunday that represent a rare direct challenge to the ruling Communist Party.
Police using pepper spray drove away demonstrators in Shanghai who called for Xi Jinping to step down and an end to one-party rule, but hours later people rallied again in the same spot.
Chinese police officers block off access to a site where protesters had gathered in Shanghai on Sunday.Credit:AP
Police again broke up the demonstration, and a reporter saw protesters under arrest being driven away in a bus.
The protests — which on began Friday and have spread to cities including the capital, Beijing, and dozens of university campuses — are the most widespread show of opposition to the ruling party in decades.
Read more here.
The financial services watchdog has put Medibank Private’s management on notice, flagging it would take further action against the health insurer’s executives if the company’s risk management is found to be inadequate.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) today said it had intensified its supervision of Medibank in response to the recent cyberattack that exposed its entire customer database.
Sensitive Medibank customer data has been leaking onto the dark web.Credit:Getty Images / Louise Kennerley
APRA member Suzanne Smith said the regulator had provided its input into the external review announced by Medibank on 16 November to ensure that it will meet APRA’s requirements.
The external review, to be carried out by Deloitte, will examine the cyberattack, the effectiveness of Medibank’s controls and the company’s response to the incident.
Read the full story here.
Circling back to some of the reaction this morning to the government striking a deal to pass its industrial relations legislation this week, business group representative Andrew McKellar said on Channel Nine that the legislation was “fundamentally flawed”.
McKellar, who is chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), told the Today show that independent senator David Pocock’s deal to raise the threshold for a business being exempt from multi-employer bargaining from 15 to 20 employees “doesn’t make a huge difference”.
“The reality is this is very complex legislation … each and every day that goes by we’re finding more and more issues with this,” McKellar said.
When asked whether Pocock’s amendments alleviated some of the ACCI’s concerns, McKellar said: “Unfortunately I don’t think it addresses the concerns we have. This is fundamentally flawed legislation. It’s going to impose significant additional complexity on business across the board.”
McKellar said the business group’s biggest concern remained that firms could be brought into collective, multi-party agreements against their will. He also said the government had misreported the financial impact of negotiating the new pay deals in Senate estimates, claiming the process could cost a medium-sized business more than $100,000.
When Today show host Ally Langdon asked whether McKellar was “fearmongering because you lost the battle”, he said the costings were in the government’s regulation impact statement.
“This is the homework the government had to do before it submitted this legislation to the Senate,” he said.
People should expect a fall in their real wages this year, Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has said while warning that lifting wages in line with inflation would deliver higher interest rates and cause even more problems.
Lowe, giving evidence to a Senate estimates hearing this morning, said pain this year would likely be rewarded in future years as inflation fell and wages picked-up.
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe during a hearing at Parliament House today.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
“I understand this is really hard message for people to say inflation’s 8 [per cent], wages, maybe 3 or 4 [per cent],” he said. “So your real wage is actually declining this year. And so that’s a hard message for everyone. But the alternative is even more difficult.”
The governor, who has come under fire for the bank’s lift in official interest rates since May, said those rate increases would reduce demand across the economy and help bring down inflation.
He said a 20 per cent lift in house construction costs over the past year had added 2 percentage points to inflation. Petrol prices had also climbed by 37 per cent over the past year.
Neither were likely to increase as much again over the coming year, suggesting inflation would come down naturally through 2023 and 2024.
Lowe said the pain being felt now would give way to real wage increases over the coming 18 to 24 months.
“As difficult as it is we’re going to get better outcomes over the medium term by accepting some modest reduction in real wages this year,” he said.
“By the time we get to 2023 our expectation is that growth in labor costs will be around 4 [per cent] and that’s perfectly OK.
“So real wages, real incomes of people will be rising again, as we go into 2024.
“But if we seek to have no reduction in real wages this year, we’ll have to have higher interest rates later on.”
Lowe said he believed it was unlikely wages would jump to be in line with inflation, as they were in other countries. He said the bank was only drawing attention to the risks of a surge in wages to keep up with inflation.
“If it just goes on and on we’re in this world [of] the 1970s, and it worked out really badly,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re going to return to it. But in the meetings of central banks that I go to and talk to the governors of the central banks a lot. This is something that everyone’s talking about, this possible risk.
“Australia is in a better position than most others. We’re not seeing that risk manifest.”
The Australian sharemarket has opened lower after a weak lead from Wall Street, with lithium and iron ore miners making a poor start to the week.
The S&P/ASX200 was down 18.30 points or 0.25 per cent to 7241.2 at 10:15am AEDT today, as mining heavyweights BHP and Rio Tinto dropped 1.7 and 1.6 per cent respectively. Lithium players Pilbara Minerals and Allkem were also on the back foot, slumping 6.7 and 8.4 per cent respectively, following concerns of lockdowns in China.
Wall Street has made a weak start to the week.Credit:AP
All four big banks were in the green at open after flip-flopping between negative and positive territory last week, however, Bank of Queensland (BoQ) slipped 5.8 per cent following news that chief executive George Frazis was leaving the bank.
BoQ chairman Patrick Allway has taken on the role of executive chairman while the bank searches for someone to fill the role.
Read more here.
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