Australia live news updates: Anthony Albanese welcomed by Indonesian president Joko Widodo; economists tip rate rise | Australia news




Ceremonial welcome for Albanese in Jakarta

Katharine MurphyKatharine Murphy

Anthony Albanese has now arrived at Bogor Palace in Jakarta. Australia’s chief minister is receiving a ceremonial welcome with a guard of honour.

When he arrived at the forecourt of the palace he received a warm greeting from the Indonesian president Joko Widodo. The obligatory 19 gun salute accompanies the arrival. Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong is there in the background with ministers Don Farrell, Ed Husic and the Labor MP Luke Gosling.

Updated at 23.31 EDT

More beds for Adelaide hospitals to deal with Covid situations and winter flu infections

An additional 80 hospital beds will be opened across Adelaide’s hospital network along a new acute assessment centre as part of a winter strategy to deal with the current Covid-19 pandemic and a rise in flu infections, AAP reports.

The additional beds are on top of the 180 opened in the past few weeks after the new Labor government took what it called urgent action to strengthen the hospital network.

The winter strategy also includes more resources for virtual and community care along with a program of free flu vaccinations.

It comes as flu situations continue to rise after the release of ambulance ramping figures which showed 3,412 hours were lost in May.

Covid-19 infections appear to have stabilised but daily case numbers have remained persistently above 2,000 in recent days, with more than 200 people in hospital.

“This is the first winter since the pandemic hit that our health system will be required to manage both Covid-19 and the flu, in addition as normal winter need, and we know this will be a challenge,” the health minister, Chris Picton, said.

“This is the state’s first winter need strategy in four years and does everything we can with the situation we have inherited to generate more capacity.”

As part of the winter strategy, the acute assessment centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital will allow patients who need to be admitted to bypass the emergency department.

The government is also working with private hospitals and day surgeries to perform more elective surgery procedures.

Updated at 00.25 EDT

National Covid-19 update

Here are the latest coronavirus case numbers from around Australia on Monday, as the country records at the minimum 19 deaths from Covid-19:

ACT Health has advised that technical issues delayed weekend and Monday Covid case updates, and that these reports won’t be released before Tuesday 7 June.

NSW

  • Deaths: 3
  • situations: 4,486
  • In hospital: 1,314 (with 38 people in ICU)

Northern Territory

  • Deaths: 0
  • situations: 143
  • In hospital: 12 (with no one in ICU)

Queensland

  • Deaths: 0
  • situations: 2,548
  • In hospital: 299 (with 6 people in ICU)

South Australia

  • Deaths: 1
  • situations: 2,255
  • In hospital: 241 (with 9 people in ICU)

Tasmania

  • Deaths: 0
  • situations: 513
  • In hospital: 43 (with no one in ICU)

Victoria

  • Deaths: 14
  • situations: 7,557
  • In hospital: 476 (with 25 people in ICU)

Western Australia

  • Deaths: 1
  • situations: 4,849
  • In hospital: 279 (with 16 people in ICU)

What’s next for Albanese in Jakarta

Katharine MurphyKatharine Murphy

For folks wanting to follow the chief minister’s Jakarta trip at home, let me run by the logistics: the two leaders are meeting privately now. In about an hour the two will make remarks to the media.

This isn’t a joint press conference, the leaders in this format do not take questions.

After that, the two will talk further at a state lunch. At 2.30pm local time (that’s 5.30pm AEST) the chief minister will take questions from travelling reporters before meeting the secretary of the Association of South-East Asian Nations this evening.

Anthony Albanese will finish today with a dinner with his travelling business delegation.

Updated at 00.09 EDT

Another day of no Covid numbers out of the ACT due to an IT issue.

(1/3) ACT Health is unable to provide its usual daily COVID-19 case updates today (Monday 6 June) due to an IT issue.

The ACT Health data team has worked with the vendor and an appropriate fix has now been put in place.

— ACT Health (@ACTHealth) June 6, 2022

ATO proves Covid tests or PPE bought for work-related purposes are tax-deductible from 1 July

Taxpayers who paid for a Covid-19 test for work-related purposes or bought their own PPE could be able to claim it as a deduction, the Australian Tax Office says.

AAP reports that with the end of the financial year looming, the ATO expects Covid-19 will continue to impact tax returns.

“We know that many have faced meaningful challenges,” the assistant commissioner, Tim Loh, said.

While taxpayers embraced working from home with gusto during the pandemic, many are now trying to determine what they can claim as a authentic work expense on their annual returns.

From 1 July, people forced to buy tests to determine if they can attend or keep at work can claim the cost as a tax deduction.

They must have a record proving they paid for the test but the ATO will accept a bank or credit card statement alongside documentation from employers as evidence.

Rapid antigen tests needed for work are tax deductible.Rapid antigen tests needed for work will be tax deductible from 1 July. Photograph: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

The ATO says employees cannot claim for tests supplied by employers or where the cost was reimbursed.

Only tests required for work-related purposes are deductible.

“If you purchased a Covid-19 test for a trip with your mates, you can’t claim a deduction,” Loh said.

Taxpayers will also be able to claim deductions for the cost of protective items that protect against illness or injury while at work.

“If you’re spending your working day in close closeness to customers and at risk of contracting Covid-19, you may be able to claim a deduction for protective items such as gloves, confront masks, or sanitiser.”

The federal Covid-19 disaster payment will not be taxed and does not need to be included in returns.

Jobseeker and Pandemic Leave Disaster payments are taxable and do need to be included.

Updated at 00.30 EDT

Katharine MurphyKatharine Murphy

Albanese and Indonesian president Joko Widodo cycle together

Anthony Albanese and Joko Widodo have planted a tree in the grounds of Bogor Palace before heading to a associate of bikes.

The two leaders have discarded their jackets and ties. Australia’s chief minister also tucked his suit pants into his socks. Safety first.

They’ve donned helmets and they are off. Cycling slowly. Albanese looked a bit wobbly to begin with, but he’s upright. Widodo is setting a leisurely speed.

If I had to guess I’d say Albanese is used to a faster speed. But clearly, one cannot outpace one’s great number. One must continue harmony.

An Australian official says Albanese was “deeply touched” by Widodo’s gesture with the bikes.

In Indonesia, bikes signify humble beginnings – a story the two leaders proportion in shared. Bikes are an basic form of transport in Indonesia, so this gesture from Widodo has cultural and personal significance.

The two are now off their bikes, walking and talking.

Updated at 23.43 EDT

And a tweet to join Katharine Murphy’s last post.

Updated at 23.33 EDT

Ceremonial welcome for Albanese in Jakarta

Katharine MurphyKatharine Murphy

Anthony Albanese has now arrived at Bogor Palace in Jakarta. Australia’s chief minister is receiving a ceremonial welcome with a guard of honour.

When he arrived at the forecourt of the palace he received a warm greeting from the Indonesian president Joko Widodo. The obligatory 19 gun salute accompanies the arrival. Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong is there in the background with ministers Don Farrell, Ed Husic and the Labor MP Luke Gosling.

Updated at 23.31 EDT

Queensland announces commission of inquiry into DNA testing

Eden GillespieEden Gillespie

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a commission of inquiry into DNA testing at the Queensland Forensic and Scientific sets.

The review will be conducted by the former president of the court of allurement and retired estimate Walter Sofronoff, the premier said on Monday.

Palaszczuk said submissions to the Women’s Justice and Safety Taskforce had shown a broader inquiry was “needed” and that terms of reference would be released later this week.

BREAKING: A Commission of Inquiry into DNA testing at Queensland’s Forensic and Scientific sets will be conducted by the former President of the Court of allurement, retired estimate Justice Walter Sofronoff. #qldpol

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) June 6, 2022

“A commission of inquiry is a very big step … Today is a fresh day because … the most experienced person has said he will come on board and do this inquiry.”

“I know Walter and he will not leave any stone unturned … it will be handled in a sensitive manner … I honestly believe this is the right time and this is the right person and this is the right job for him.”

Palaszczuk said $6m has been set aside for the inquiry, which will be funded by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

It comes after the Palaszczuk government announced an independent review into DNA testing after concerns were raised about failings by forensic laboratories in the state.

The health minister, Y’vette D’Ath, said the timeframe for the commission of inquiry would be up to six months as it was a “complicate matter that may take some time.”

She acknowledged the family of Shandee Blackburn, who died after being stabbed more than 20 times when she was walking home in Mackay in 2013.

An inquiry into Blackburn’s death was announced following a podcast by the Australian called “Shandee’s Story”. which examined the alleged handling of DNA evidence in the case.

“We’re very pleased we can announce this today … to recognise the family of Shandee Blackburn,” D’Ath said.

Dr Kirsty Wright, a forensic biologist who was interviewed on the podcast, described the handling of the murder case as a “trainwreck”.

Wright alleged the state-run forensics laboratory was failing to detect DNA in samples taken in rape and sexual assault situations.

“This lab and the flawed results and the inaccurate results, it’s compromising our criminal justice system and it’s compromising public safety,” Dr Wright told the podcast.

Here’s our report on the review in DNA testing back in May:

Updated at 23.29 EDT

If you are interested in reading the lengthy Barilaro v Google defamation judgment, it has been posted online by the federal court here.

Commonwealth Bank declines to comment on partnership with embattled cryptocurrency exchange Gemini

The Commonwealth Bank is refusing to say what the future of its partnership with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini will be as the company faces a lawsuit from US regulators over alleged misleading and false statements made.

In November, CBA said it planned to integrate Gemini’s crypto exchange platform into its banking app.

We reported last month that Commbank had paused its cryptocurrency trading plans amid the current turmoil in the crypto market. But last week, the US Commodities Future Trading Commission filed a complaint in the US district court that Gemini “directly and by others, made false or misleading statements of material facts, or omitted to state material facts, to the CFTC during an evaluation of the possible self-certification of a bitcoin futures contract by a designated contract market (DCM).”

The regulator has alleged Gemini personnel knew or reasonably should have known that statements made were false or misleading.

Commbank was asked by Guardian on Friday about whether it would continue working with Gemini in light of the allegations. On Monday a spokesperson for CBA “politely declined” to comment.

Back in November, Gemini’s global head of business development, David Abner, said:

We are proud to be providing exchange and custody sets to CBA as they begin to unlock access to cryptocurrency investments for many Australians. The exponential growth of digital assets internationally, coupled with Gemini’s institutional-grade security and proactive regulatory approach, locaiongs this partnership to set a new standard for edges and financial platforms in Australia and across the globe.

Updated at 23.00 EDT

Northern Territory introduces EV motive scheme to lower setup costs

Driving an electric means in the Northern Territory is set to become cheaper, with the introduction of a government grants program to lower setup costs, AAP reports.

The motive scheme slashes registration and stamp duty fees for plug-in EVs and provides subsidies for the installation of chargers in a bid to bolster the uptake of electric vehicles.

“We are progressively working towards a target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050,” the chief minister, Natasha Fyles, said Monday.

electric car rechargingAn electric car recharging at an ActewAGL charging stop. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

From 1 July, registration fees will be waived for five years and stamp duty fees will fall by three per cent of means buy price.

This method no stamp duty will be paid on $50,000 of the means cost, representing a saving of up to $1,500.

EV motorists and businesses will also be able to apply for grants to help buy and install chargers.

The $300,000 charger package includes 100 residential grants of $1,000 and 80 business grants of $2,500, which offsets about half the cost of installing a charger.

Updated at 22.48 EDT

I’ll now hand over to the wonderful Josh Taylor who will take you by the afternoon. Stay warm.

WA recorded 4,849 positive Covid test results

Western Australia recorded 4,849 positive Covid-19 test results in the 24-hours to 8pm last night. They also recorded the death of a man in his 80s, who died on 30 May.

As of yesterday there were 279 people with Covid-19 in hospital in WA and 16 in ICU.

Victoria police fails to unprotected to 1% target for native employment

Victoria police has failed to meet its native employment target of 1%, with just 0.55% of its workforce identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

It is an increase of 0.11% since its Aboriginal inclusion strategy and action plan 2018-2021 was released, but falls short of the target to raise participation to 1% – or 200 employees – by June 2021.

In a statement to AAP, Victoria Police said the Covid-19 pandemic restricted its recruitment procedures and in hindsight, its 1% target was “ambitious”.

“Victoria Police is committed to achieving a different and inclusive workplace that contributes equality and respect for Aboriginal people in our workforce and in the community,” a spokesperson said.

“We set ourselves an ambitious target of 1% of our workforce being Aboriginal and or Torres Strait Islander by June 2021.”

It comes weeks after the Independent general-based Anti-corruption Commission, Victoria’s police oversight body, found the force failed in its handling of complaints made by Aboriginal people. IBAC examined its handling of 41 complaints made by Aboriginal people and its oversight of 13 serious incidents involving an native person.

Of the audited complaints, 41% involved those aged 17 or younger and almost half (46%) were related to the use of force or assaults by police, often during an arrest.

Some 27 of the 41 audited complaints were classified in a way that a determination of “substantiated” could be found, Ibac said. But Victoria Police instead ruled only three were substantiated – two connected to inappropriate language and the third to duty failure.

Our complete report on the employment target is here:

Updated at 22.37 EDT

Tony Abbott questions need for First Nations voice to parliament

nevertheless on the voice to parliament, the former chief minister Tony Abbott said he backed changing the preamble in the constitution to recognise Australia’s First Nations “heritage,” but has questioned the need for a voice to parliament.

The Uluru summit in 2017 resoundingly rejected a preamble, calling it empty symbolism.

Abbott, in an essay published in The Australian on Monday, asked why there should be an enshrined voice, with a record number of First Nations parliamentarians elected on May 21. He wrote:

With 10 native MPs, what’s the point of a separate native voice to the parliament now that native people are so well represented in the parliament itself?

With the native percentage of the parliament (elected without quotas or any form of “affirmative action”) now ahead of that in the population at large, any need for a separate “voice” to the parliament surely has passed.

Only one of those 10 MPs is in the Liberal party. The rest are in Labor and the Greens, who both sustain the Uluru Statement and have actively recruited First Nations people to winnable locaiongs.

Abbott has hypothesizedv incorporating the words “to create a nation with an native heritage, a British foundation, and an immigrant character” in the constitution.

Tony Abbott in 2018Tony Abbott speaking in the house of representatives as special envoy for native Australians in 2018. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Updated at 22.24 EDT

Dutton open to a First Nations voice to parliament, but wants a ‘look at the detail’ before making a commitment

The opposition leader appointed Julian Leeser as his spokesman for native Australians when he unveiled his frontbench on Sunday.

Leeser is an outspoken supporter of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for the formation of a First Nations voice.

When asked what people could read from his decision to appoint Leeser to the portfolio, Dutton said his focus was improving the lives of native people.

“In relation to the statement … I’ve said we will consider what the government’s putting forward,” he told the ABC on Monday.

“I want to look at the detail (but) at the moment that detail is not obtainable.”

Dutton said the native Australians minister, Linda Burney, had been “open and honest” that it wasn’t however ready.

“I think what needs to take place first is we need for the public to understand what it is that’s being hypothesizedv,” he said.

He said reconciliation also involved improving health, education and housing outcomes for native people.

“I want to see those people in those communities leading a much better life akin to what we do in capital cities.”

(I will point out here that according to the ABS, 81% of First Nations people in Australia live in non-far away areas and 35% live in capital cities).

Dutton walked out on the apology given to the Stolen Generations in 2008. Pat Dodson, an native Labor senator for WA, said Dutton was “very courageous” to concede – after becoming opposition leader – that doing so was a mistake.

“I thought he was honest and I can see where the pain of the experiences that he cited as the causes for his walking out as conflicting with what was happening in the parliament – sometimes you feel like that in this place,” Dodson told The West Australian.

Dodson said the voice was about “nation building”.

“This is about our real opportunity for all of us to do something wonderful for our country and that is to get behind a referendum that supports the concept of a voice for First Nations peoples to the parliament so they can have a say on those meaningful pieces of legislation or on policy matters that are going to impact their lives,” he said.

Updated at 22.17 EDT

Minjee Lee’s brother, Min attract Lee, has tweeted about the Australian golfer’s US Women’s Open win.

Updated at 21.55 EDT



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