The mail carrier’s chief executive has been asked to stand aside after revelations of luxury watches gifted to executives, but the company is facing much deeper crises.Much of the week’s drama has returned to some form of the same question: Is the national postal service completely out of touch with community expectations?
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will tonight announce a record deficit of $210 billion, as he unveils a federal budget loaded with fast-tracked tax cuts and infrastructure spending. After Labor and the Greens warned against plans to accelerate Stage 3 tax cuts worth $11,640 a year for people on annual incomes of $200,000, Frydenberg is expected to focus only on bringing forward Stage 2 and backdating the cuts to July. That will includes increases to the top threshold for the 19 per cent rate from $37,000 to $45,000 and the 37 per cent bracket from $90,000 to $120,000. It was due to come into force in 2022. The plans will also include wage subsidies for young people, and loss-back provisions that allow businesses to claim back a rebate on tax they have previously paid. The budget will be released just hours after the Reserve Bank monthly board meeting, with a cut in interest rates widely expected.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will today commit to establishing an Australian Centre for Disease Control if Labor wins the next federal election, claiming such a body would have seen the country better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic. The Australian Medical Association earlier this year recommended the establishment of such a body to provide independent advice to governments about the management of pandemics, and ensure a national stockpile of essential equipment was in place for the any future crisis. Labor’s CDC body would not have statutory independence but it would be similar to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, an advisory body that sits within the Department of Health.
The lawyer for the man who gave evidence against George Pell has denied her client ever received money, amid reports by Italian media La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera that Pell rival Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu sent €700,000 ($A1.14 million) in Vatican funds to people in Australia to help secure the sex assault conviction against the cardinal. The money was allegedly sent as Pell was investigating the Vatican’s finances, although there is no detail on who received the funding and in what way it was connected to the case. Becciu has denied the allegations.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called for a ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the contested enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in the south Caucasus. Turkey urged the alliance to call for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the region, which belongs to Azerbaijan under international law but is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians. Ethnic Armenian officials in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh said 21 more servicemen had been killed in fighting with Azerbaijan, bringing its total military death toll to 223 since war broke out eight days ago. Azerbaijan does not disclose its military losses but says it has lost 25 civilians. Two civilians have been killed on Armenian territory.