Monday, July 15, 2019

Government cuts deeming rate for 1m pensioners

The federal government is reducing deeming rates for pensioners in a move that will see about 1 million Australian welfare recipients’ payments increase. Single pensioners will be given another $804 a year, while couples will receive an additional $1053. Deeming rates are used to calculate how much pensioners receive based on their income assessment. The lower limit will drop from 1.75 per cent to 1 per cent for financial investments up to $51,800 for singles and $86,200 for couples, while the upper limit will reduce down to 3 per cent from 3.25 per cent for financial investments above that. The government has been under pressure to decrease deeming rates in line with reduced market interest rates of recent years, particularly as retirees are earning less and access to the pension has not increased. Shadow social services minister Linda Burney criticised the rate cut saying it did not go far enough and should be more in line with interest rates. “The cash rate is 1 per cent, the Government has not moved on deeming rates for four years, they have made a lot of money on the back of retirees,” she said. Changes will also impact income-tested welfare payments including the disability support pension and carer payment and Newstart.

Two Australians and one Spaniard have been gored by a bull during the final bull run at the San Fermin festival in the city of Pamplona in Spain. The bull broke away from the pack flipping one man over its horns, goring him in the leg, while another man was gored in the right arm, and a third in the armpit. Eight people in total have been gored over the course of the festival’s bull runs this year. 

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake has been felt along the Kimberley coast in Western Australia, between Port Hedland and Broome. GeoScience Australia said it was equal to the previous biggest recorded earthquake in Australia, which occurred in the Northern Territory in 1988. Yesterday’s quake hit at a depth of 33km and about 200km out to sea. While there was no threat of tsunami, the government agency has recorded several aftershocks, measuring between 3.8 and 5.2.   

In tennis, Novak Djokovic has beaten Roger Federer in the men’s final to win his fifth Wimbledon title, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 (7-3). The match was longest ever men’s single final at the tournament, and the first time a 12-12 tie-break game had occurred at Wimbledon, which allowed the result to be determined by a tie-break game in the fifth set. Djokovic said, “I think this was, if not the most exciting and thrilling final I was ever part of then definitely top two or three in my career against one of the greatest players of all time in Roger, who I respect a lot.” Romanian player Simona Halep defeated Serena Williams in the women’s final to secure her first Wimbledon title. Halep won the match in less than an hour, beating Williams 6-2, 6-2. And Australian player and world No.1, Dylan Alcott, took out the inaugural quad wheelchair singles tennis final, beating Briton Andy Lapthorne 6-0, 6-2. It is Alcott’s fourth straight Grand Slam win, and 12th in total. 

In cricket, England has had a sensational win over New Zealand in the men's cricket World Cup final. After 50 overs, England and New Zealand were tied, pushing the match into a super over, after which they again tied. As both sides had scored 15 runs in their super over, a previously unused “countback” rule, based on the team that hit the most boundaries, was then used to crown England champion.   

The extinction rebellion
Extinction Rebellion is not focusing on one project; it’s focusing on the system as a whole. Scott Ludlam on how change can come from just a small portion of society participating in sustained non-compliance.


“Goddard argues that as the housing bubble grew, governments and local councils became addicted to the ‘sugar hit’ of stamp duty and increased rates, respectively. Many consumer protections, such as home warranty insurance for buildings over three storeys, were ditched or diluted. ‘The only voices governments have been hearing since the beginning of this century are the voices of developers,’ he says.”


“The workings of this two-tiered treatment has led to a wider unease about neo-feudal aspects of the US justice system. In jurisdictions where the theft of single cigarettes sometimes results in jail time, judges, prosecutors, editors and politicians have co-ordinated to keep the wealthy, powerful and connected free from accountability.”


“Amen suggests three things to help minimise risk and protect the brain. The first is ‘love it – you have to care about your brain’. Second, ‘avoid anything that hurts it’, including smoking, alcohol, marijuana, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Finally, he advises engaging in brain-healthy habits, focusing on diet, exercise and consuming omega-3 fatty acids.”


“French website produced two graphs this week, showing Tour doping statistics over each decade since the 1960s, the percentage of riders testing clean improving for the last five years – just over 80 per cent of the peloton, compared to 50 per cent in 2000, and closer to 40 per cent in 1998. The percentage of top-10 finishers testing clean this decade has been 67.78 per cent, compared to 43 per cent in the 2000s, and 21 per cent in the 1990s.”


“A chess grandmaster has been accused of using a phone hidden in a toilet to cheat during a tournament in France, with the player reportedly since saying he had played his ‘last game’. The International Chess Federation is investigating 58-year-old Igors Rausis who voluntarily withdrew from the tournament in Strasbourg, after photos allegedly depicting him using a phone on a toilet were circulated online.”



“For example, there’s the moment a Wimbledon security guard temporarily blocked Woody Harrelson from returning to his seat, and he had to sort of hang out, drinking, in a stairwell for a while.”

Anna Horan
is a Melbourne-based editor and writer.