Afternoon Update: Labor stings RBA governor on wages remark; Friendlyjordies’ home ‘firebombed’; and the world’s oldest meal

<span>Composite: AAP</span>
Composite: AAP

The RBA governor, Philip Lowe, drew a sharp response from Labor after warning of the impact of rising wages on inflation.

Lowe said it was “best [to] avoid” pushing wages up to compensate for inflation, prompting these comments from Labor minister Bill Shorten: “Why is it that the experts who complain about people on less than $100,000 a year getting wage rises – they’re not the ones who are under $100,000 a year.”

Lowe, who has previously faced calls to resign from the Greens and Nationals, earns $1m a year.

The fact is wages have risen 3.1% in the past year, but in reality, workers have suffered a pay cut of 3.9% because inflation is much higher. Lowe’s remarks and renewed threat to raise interest rates further puts the RBA at odds with the Albanese government, which has made wage growth a priority.

It’s also worth noting that while interest rates have caused pain for most Australians, banks are raking in hundreds of millions in extra profit – prompting calls for a super tax.

Top news

Independent MP for Kooyong Monique Ryan speaks during House of Representatives Question Time
Independent MP Monique Ryan and the Greens will renew a push to make 16 and 17-year-olds eligible to vote. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP
  • Voting age push | Independent MP Monique Ryan and the Greens will both renew a push to lower the voting age in Australia in the new year. Ryan has said she will introduce a private member’s bill, to require 16 and 17-year-olds to vote but without the threat of fines. The move follows a New Zealand court ruling that the current voting age of 18 is discriminatory.

  • Disability pension | Labor has dropped a controversial plan that would have made it harder for people with drug and alcohol-related conditions to get access to the disability support pension. But it is still facing calls to do more to address longstanding problems with the design of the disability pension, amid record levels of people on jobseeker living with a disability.

  • Friendlyjordies fire | NSW police have established a crime scene after a suspicious fire at the Sydney home of YouTube comedian Jordan Shanks-Markovina – better known as Friendlyjordies – this morning. In a statement, Shanks-Markovina’s lawyers claimed his Sydney home in Bondi had been “firebombed” and hoped police would dedicate “every resource possible” to investigating what happened.

  • The Project | Ten’s flagship news program is undergoing a massive revamp after the exodus of Peter Helliar, Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore. Sarah Harris will join Waleed Aly as the show’s co-hosts for 2023. While the departures have been framed as a personal choice, sources say flagging ratings and revenue at the flagship news program may be the reason behind the exit of three highly paid presenters within weeks.

  • Tasmanian rock carvings | Aboriginal petroglyphs carved into stone roughly 14,000 years ago are finally being returned to their traditional owners in the far north-west coast of lutruwita (Tasmania). The petroglyphs were crudely sawed off by anthropologists in 1962 and will be reattached to bare rock face this weekend.

  • Trump’s tax records | The US supreme court will allow Congress to receive copies of Donald Trump’s tax returns, ending a three-year battle by the Democratic-led body to see the documents the former president has refused to release since his first White House bid. Damning information published by the New York Times in 2020 showed chronic business losses and the fact that Trump paid barely any federal income tax.

  • California’s inclusive legislature | The state assembly now boasts 10% LGBTQ+ lawmakers after this month’s midterms – a figure believed to be a first for any legislature in the country and a sign of progress amid rising anti-LGBTQ+ hate across the US.

  • UK digital tax | The digital services tax, introduced in April 2020 and largely targeting US tech giants, has added £360m (AU$644m) to the UK government’s coffers in its first year. The Albanese government is likely to be taking note as it considers measures to raise tax revenues from global tech giants through a possible multinational tax.

A soccer fan wearing a curly wig in yellow and green Australian sporting colours
Socceroos fans filled Melbourne’s Federation Square early this morning to watch the World Cup opener. Photograph: Diego Fedele/AAP
  • Socceroos thrashing | Socceroos fans enjoyed 18 minutes of hope after the team scored the first goal in their Group D opener against France. And then it was a painful descent to a classic drubbing – the French coming out on top 4-1. Read Emma Kemp’s review from Qatar.

Full Story

Former U.S. President Donald Trump announces he will run for president in 2024 at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach
Former U.S. President Donald Trump announces he will run for president in 2024 at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach

Donald Trump re-enters the battleground for the presidency

Donald Trump has announced his third run for president, and not all Republicans are happy about it. Could this be the moment the Republican party finally breaks away from Trump’s legacy? Listen to this 25-minute episode.

What they said …

Greens senator Penny Allman-Payne makes her first speech in the Senate chamber at Parliament House in Canberra
The Greens senator Penny Allman-Payne, a former secondary school teacher, accused Pauline Hanson of using ‘young people as political footballs’. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


“I will not subject young people in this country to your bigotry and hate. I will stand up every time I see it.” – Penny Allman-Payne, Greens senator

The senator was responding to Pauline Hanson’s attempt to import US culture wars with an anti-LGBTQ+ bill “to challenge teaching in schools such as gender fluidity theory”. The bill never stood a chance, but Allman-Payne – as a former secondary school teacher – was having none of it. Read the transcript.

In numbers

Australians are losing a total of $92bn a year in unpaid overtime. The Greens are pushing for a “right to disconnect” from work in future workplace legislation, as Labor’s current industrial relations bill doesn’t directly address the issue.

Before bed read

Nothing like a cool scientific discovery to whisk you to sleep. Researchers have found traces of the world’s oldest meal – a real paleo diet consumed by animals 550m years ago.

Fossils of a slug-like creature known as Kimberella contained compounds suggesting it ate algae and bacteria from the ocean floor – not exactly a hearty meal, but a sign the animal had a mouth and a gut, and digested food the same way some modern invertebrates do.

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