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“We are better placed to meet the economic challenge”: Australia’s Federal Budget

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The Australian treasurer has announced a big spending budget to help get the country back on track.

The government has announced more than $53 billion in new stimulus payments and funding for key services.

Here’s what you need to know

International borders are likely to remain shut for at least 12-months.

The Treasurer promised $8 billion in new tax cuts for low and middle income earners and more than $20bn in further tax breaks for small businesses.

Mr Frydenberg released an 81-page women’s budget statement, featuring $1.1bn for women’s safety, a $1.7bn investment in childcare and $350m for health and wellbeing measures.

The treasurer says the economy is recovering.

‘Australia’s economic engine is roaring back to life’

As a share of the economy, net debt is around half of that in the United Kingdom and United States and less than a third of that in Japan.

“We are better placed than nearly any other country to meet the economic challenges that lie ahead”

tHE TREASURER SAYS.

The Treasurer says that Consumer sentiment is at its highest in 11 years.

“Business conditions reached record highs. And more Australians are in work than ever before.”

The cost to the economy will be huge, the federal deficit is set to reach $161 billion in 2021

The good news is the deficit will be $53 billion lower than expected.

Debt is set to skyrocket again. Net debt to increase to $617 billion.

That’s 30 per cent of GDP this year, and will peak at above 40 per cent.

The treasurer painting a grim picture of Australia’s debt situation, but says it’s nothing compared to overseas countries.

Strong focus on digital economy

The government is focusing on the new economy as part of its recovery plan, announcing over a billion dollars for digital infrastructure.

The government announced a $117.8 million spend over the next four years into artificial intelligence, or AI.

Under the package, Australia’s first Artificial Intelligence Action Plan will be created, which will see the development of world-leading AI projects.

The government has been praised for its decision to invest in the digital economy.

Tony Makin from Griffith University says digital investment is “essential” for productivity growth.

Winners now… but losers later? The reaction.

Makin says the Federal Budget has “too much spending” and not enough attention on other critical areas of the economy

MAKIN’S RESPONSE TO THE FEDERAL BUDGET

Australia’s Sarah Hanson-Young says environment is the big loser in tonight’s budget.

Similarly, Australian politician and former industrial lawyer who is the leader of the Australian Greens and federal MP for Melbourne has shared his response on twitter to the government stating the budget ‘invests in the people’.

Australia’s opposition leader, Anthony Albanese says the budget is “just more of the same from a tired old government”

Global Politics

Organisers reveal how many spectators will be allowed at the Tokyo Olympics

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Up to 10,000 domestic spectators will be allowed to attend events at the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games

The decision comes just weeks before the opening ceremony and ends months of speculation about whether spectators will be allowed at the pandemic-postponed Games.

Medical officials have raised concerns that allowing spectators could worsen the spread of infections.

Despite that – a spectator limit will be set at 50 percent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people in all venues.

Foreign spectators has been banned in March.


The decision was announced – following talks between event organisers and government officials.
The Governor of Tokyo says if there is a “dramatic change in the infection situation”, having no spectators in venues is on the cards.

“In light of the government’s restrictions on public events, the spectator limit for the Olympic Games will be set at 50 percent of venue capacity, up to a maximum of 10,000 people in all venues,”

organisers said in a statement.

A decision on spectators at the Paralympics will be delayed until July 16, a week before the Olympics open.

The opening ceremony is scheduled to take place on July 23.

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Global Politics

Insider reveals death day of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy newspaper

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Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities froze the company’s assets under a national security law, an adviser to jailed owner Jimmy Lai says.

According to reports, Friday will be the last day for the 26-year-old newspaper.

Media advocacy groups say that the closure of Apple Daily would undermine the former British colony’s reputation as an open and free society and send a warning to other companies that could be accused of colluding with a foreign country.

The publisher’s head company Next Digital will hold a board meeting on Monday to
discuss how to move forward after its lines of credit were frozen.

“We must press on”: news raid sends “shockwaves” through Hong-Kong

Following raids on a Hong Kong newsroom last week, a journalist based in the city-state says it has sent “shockwaves” through the entire industry.

500 Hong Kong police offices raided Apple Daily to arrest a number of top executives and seize documents over allegations the publisher breached national security laws.

Elaine Yu from the Wall Street Journal says the incident “raises important new questions about how media outlets can report on topics that are now considered highly sensitive.”

Apple Daily says the company’s CEO, COO and three editors were all arrested during the raids.

The behaviour of the individuals is said to have breached legislation that prohibits sedition, secession and subversion against Beijing.

The assistant to Apple Daily’s chairman says operations at the newsroom are limited because Hong Kong authorities have seized many of the company’s accounts.

He also says “it’ll get harder for reporters to get people to talk to them because the police can now potentially seize reporter’s files and devices through a court warrant.”

Sold out news stands with “we must press on” printed on front page

“We must press on”… that was the message on the front page of Apple Daily, that people in hong kong queued up for.

Many Hong Kong locals have have queued up to buy copies of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily… a day after its newsroom was raided by police.

The paper typically prints about 80,000 copies but increased that to 500,000 to meet demand.. and some news stands sold out.

A total of five executives were arrested including the Editor-in-chief and chief executive officer.

Police made the arrests on suspicion of collusion with a “foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”.

200 Hong Kong police officers arrested five senior executives. Image: Apple Daily.

Meanwhile, this is the second time that police have searched the building.

The company’s founder Jimmy Lai, was recently arrested for national security violations.

Mr Lai is currently serving a 20-month prison sentence.

The raid follows arrests made at the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last month.

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Global Politics

Why Olympic spectators are likely despite widespread opposition

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Olympic Games organisers and government officials are meeting today and it’s expected that a final decision will be made – on how many – if any – domestic spectators will be able to attend events at the Summer Olympics, which commence in a month.


Concerns have been raised by medical experts that allowing spectators could worsen the spread of infections

Foreign spectators are banned from attending the games due to health concerns.

The Olympic Organising Comittee will update the general public today on exactly how many local fans will be allowed in the stands

Local media have reported that a 10,000 spectator cap will be set. 

On the weekend, in a move to reduce the risk of COVID spreading, Tokyo’s Governor announced six viewing sites have been scrapped

Members of the public would have been able to watch live broadcasts of events at these locations. 
That will no longer be happening with some instead set to serve as vaccination sites.

There is still considerable opposition in Japan for the Olympic Games going ahead. A new poll shows almost two-thirds of Japan’s public want the event postponed again or cancelled altogether. 

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