Documents leaked to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age reveal that while Australia’s banks faced scrutiny at the royal commission into banking, National Australia Bank chairman Ken Henry privately confided to auditors that the bank was ripping off its customers and would eventually trigger compensation. Dr Henry and dozens of other executives last year told NAB’s auditor EY about serious shortcomings in risk management, yet the auditor did not include these details and other points of concern in its draft report. Labor MP Deborah O'Neill responded to the revelations by calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the relationship between the big banks and the nation’s largest accounting firms.
Queensland Liberal National MP George Christensen billed taxpayers $1600 for a trip to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef to meet controversial far-right YouTuber Lauren Southern, only to be stood up by the far-right Canadian. MP financial interest disclosures reveal Christensen accepted a “reef trip from Cairns to Great Barrier Reef” from Axiomatic Events, an organiser of right-wing events. Southern is known for stunts such as obstructing a charity vessel attempting to rescue migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean. Axiomatic Events director Dave Pellowe told Guardian Australia Christensen was “there and available but [Southern] pulled the pin. Well, she missed the communication. He wasn’t collaborating with the tour but he was going to be available if she had questions about the reef and tourism.”
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will today deliver a speech to a Chinese think tank in Beijing, urging the country to help rewrite trade rules that give it special “developing nation” status. US President Donald Trump has announced another round of tariffs on $US300 billion in Chinese goods from September. This represents almost all of the remaining products the US has yet to place tariffs on, such as clothing and iPhones, effectively signalling the end of free trade between the two rival powers.
A key nuclear arms treaty is due to expire today, with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warning the world is set to “lose an invaluable brake on nuclear war”. Unless Russia destroys a new medium-range missile, the United States will pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty in order to develop its own equivalents. The treaty saw the destruction of 2700 medium-range nuclear missiles, weapons that would have given targeted countries only a few minutes warning of an impending strike. The governments of US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are both undertaking aggressive nuclear weapon modernisation programs, with the US developing a nuclear missile to be mounted on a mobile launcher. The treaty expiry coincides with another missile launch by North Korea — its third round of missile tests in the space of a week.
In cricket, Steve Smith has rescued Australia from a disastrous start to day one of the first men’s Ashes test. On his return to test cricket after being suspended in March last year for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, Smith helped Australia recover from 8-122 to post a first innings total of 284. England survived two overs before the close of play to finish with 10 runs for no loss of wicket.