Key events

‘A disaster for Mr Putin’: PM

Prime minister Anthony Albanese says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a “disaster” for both Ukrainians and Russians, on ABC News Breakfast this morning.

Albanese says he was briefed three times over the weekend on the Wagner group marching on Moscow. Events were moving so fast “it was unclear what was going on with circumstances that seemed bizarre from this distance” he says.

“Quite clearly, you can’t have events like that and just wipe them out, pretend that you will go back to stability,” he says.

“This has been a disaster for Mr Putin. He overplayed his hand and he got it wrong. And some of the consequences of that, I think we saw playing out on the weekend.”

Albanese says “the best thing that Mr Putin can do” is “withdraw from this illegal invasion [and] retreat back behind his own borders”.

Mr Putin thought he could just roll over international law and roll over the people of Ukraine and have regime change there. President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine have shown enormous courage in standing up for their national sovereignty. And, clearly, the democracies around the world, including Australia, will continue to provide support for the people of Ukraine.

What is very clear to me is that the Russian illegal invasion of Ukraine has been a disaster for the people of Ukraine, most importantly, but it has also been a disaster for the people of Russia.

O’Neil defends decision to keep Nauru offshore processing open

Home affairs and cyber security minister Clare O’Neil was asked about why the offshore processing site on Nauru is being kept open if the last refugee has been removed on ABC RN this morning.

The island of Nauru Photograph: Rémi Chauvin/The Guardian

O’Neil says “our approach to the asylum seeker issue is to be strong on borders, not weak on humanity”.

It is an unmitigated good thing for the country that we’ve transitioned the last asylum seeker off Nauru. This has been a festering sore in Australian politics for more than a decade. And I’m very pleased that our government has taken that approach of making sure that we bring that to a close.

However, it is very important that we maintain our strength on the borders. Offshore processing is a part of our overall approach and that is why Nauru will remain open and on standby.

O’Neil headed to Five Eyes meeting

More from Clare O’Neil on ABC RN this morning.

The minister for home affairs and cyber security is on her way to the Five Eyes Alliance annual meeting, where she will discuss national security intelligence matters with a network of countries including the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

“We will spend quite a bit of time talking about counterterrorism and the ways in which that problem has changed shape over the last decade,” O’Neil says.

“We’ll spend a lot of time on issues like foreign interference and espionage” – which is now described by ASIO as the biggest national security threat – “and also talk a lot about cyber security”.

Albanese confident of yes vote on voice despite polling dip

Prime minister Anthony Albanese says he is confident majority of Australians will vote yes to the Indigenous voice, even as Newspoll suggests support for a yes vote is slipping below 45%.

I think that as Australians focus on what is before the Australian people in the last quarter of this year, recognition and listening all upside, not downside for this proposal.

As they focus on it, as business and unions and faith groups and sporting codes all go out there campaigning, talking to people, having a look at what the actual question is that is being asked here, I believe that a majority of Australians will come to the view that I have come to, which is that we will give greater respect to Indigenous Australians but we will also enrich and lift up our nation.

Albanese tells ABC News Breakfast the referendum comes “from the grass roots,” pointing to the First Nations constitutional convention in 2017 at Uluru.

This is a once in a generation opportunity and we will be saying to Australians, if not now, when will we recognise Indigenous Australians in our constitution?

You can read more on how the public messaging of referendum supporters hopes to offer antidote to fear and misinformation from Lorena Allam and Josh Butler here:

Crean’s support will ‘stay with me forever’, says Clare O’Neil

Clare O’Neil, MP for Hotham and minister for home affairs and cyber security, pays tribute to Simon Crean on ABC RN this morning.

I met Simon when I was 16 years old. I just joined the Labor party and he was an incredible human being. He treated me as a 16-year-old with such generosity and respect. And that travelled with me through my entire journey in politics. He supported me when I ran for local government when I was 22, when I ran for mayor, and then when I succeeded him in Hotham.

I was just reading over his texts this morning and the warmth and enjoyment he got out of the things that I achieved in politics, it will stay with me forever. He was a friend and a mentor.

Unbelievably sad news this evening that Simon Crean, former Labor Leader, ACTU President and MP for Hotham for 23-years, has passed away very suddenly. pic.twitter.com/TxkzpyXZEN

— Clare O’Neil MP (@ClareONeilMP) June 25, 2023

New ferries for Parramatta

Seven new ferries for Sydney’s Parramatta River route will be made in Australia, AAP reports. The move is part of the state government’s election promise to stop buying transport infrastructure made overseas.

Sydney’s Incat Crowthers has designed the new Parramatta Class ferries. The tender has been awarded to Richardson Devine Marine Shipbuilders in Hobart.

The new ferries will allow for future conversion to electric propulsion.

Construction will begin in July.

NSW premier Chris Minns says the new fleet will be an improvement on the 10 problematic River Class vessels that entered service in 2021. They were made overseas.

They were unable to fit under some bridges while passengers were on the top deck, had night-time glare that impeded driver visibility, and reports of asbestos.

Minns said:

The NSW government is committed to building things here again to create jobs, boost manufacturing and end the failed offshore imports of the previous Liberal government.”

With AAP

Tributes flow for Crean

Tributes are flowing after former Labor leader Simon Crean died, aged 74.

The former opposition leader and Australian Council Of Trade Unions president, died suddenly while in Berlin on Sunday.

Crean led the Australian Labor party from November 2001 to December 2003, and spearheaded Labor’s opposition to the Iraq war.

Simon Crean
Simon Crean speaking in 2002. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP

Colleagues across party lines and industry friends are not short in sharing photos, memories and condolences.

Vale Simon Crean. A great servant of the labour movement and a wonderful human being. Our condolences to Carole and all his family. pic.twitter.com/9o1VDcmC2g

— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) June 25, 2023

Deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of Simon Crean. He was a good friend and mentor to me from the moment I entered Parliament, building on the relationship his father had with my grandfather.. A man of enormous intellect, integrity and commitment to this country.

— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyofEM) June 25, 2023

In Simon Crean Labor has lost a former leader & a principled yet pragmatic advocate. As a former trade minister he was always generous to those of us who followed him & continued to work for Australia’s national interest until the end. Vale. https://t.co/wF1d5bA5A6

— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) June 25, 2023

I was so shocked and saddened at the news of Simon Crean’s passing last night. Simon was a labor & union leader of integrity, characterised by a life of service. He also generously gave me wise counsel on many occasions. My condolences to carole and family. RIP Simon Crean

— Peter Khalil MP (@PeterKhalilMP) June 25, 2023

I’m shocked to learn the passing of Simon Crean.

He was a giant of the labour movement, serving as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and federal leader of the Australian Labor Party.

Vale Simon.https://t.co/K02Y9hk74c

— Senator Raff Ciccone (@SenRaffCiccone) June 25, 2023

An Aboriginal teenager with an intellectual disability was likely locked in solitary confinement for more than 500 days at Queensland’s troubled Cleveland youth detention centre, in a situation described to a court as a “major failure in our system”.

On Friday, the children’s court heard that during 744 days in the youth prison, Michael was subject to a regime of “fairly routine” solitary confinement – where he was regularly locked in his cell for more than 20 hours a day – and that this was overwhelmingly due to staffing issues at the centre.

Read the full exclusive from Ben Smee here:

Taiwan wants Australian military officer in Taipei

Taiwan is asking Canberra to install a military officer in its Australian office in Taipei so the two nations can work together to prevent “the worst from happening” amid sustained threats from China, AAP reports.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s government wants the officer to liaise with Taiwanese security agencies, foreign minister Joseph Wu told The Australian. The United States, Japan and Singapore had done so for decades, he said.

The Taiwanese government also want to put a military officer in Taipei’s de facto embassy in Canberra.

Wu said in Taipei:

I think it is very important when the Australian government is paying so much more attention to the regional security issues for the two countries to be able to share their observations, their assessment of the situation.

I know the Australian Office over here has started speaking with our security agencies, and that kind of development is very important.

It showed the Australian government attached importance to speaking with Taiwanese security officials “to understand our perspectives on how to prevent the worst from happening,” Wu said.

Australia does not recognise Taiwan as a country, under a “One China” policy. We do maintain informal ties with officials in Taipei.

With AAP

Budget measures available from 1 July

Josh Butler

Josh Butler

The government is out this morning reminding Australians of its cost of living package, spruiking all the budget measures that come into effect from the end of this week.

A stack of the government’s programs are available from 1 July, including power bill relief, boosts to childcare and paid parental leave, aged care worker pay rises, and asset write-offs for small business. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the new measures will “come into effect right when people need a bit more help”, as well as highlighting comments from Treasury and the RBA that some policies will help reduce inflation.

The suite of policies which will start to roll out from Saturday will make a real difference in the lives of millions of hardworking Australians while delivering an economic dividend and laying the foundations for future growth.

Key policies like energy price relief will directly reduce inflation, while others like cheaper childcare and enhanced paid parental leave will boost the capacity of our economy.

This week also sees changes to the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation to support more lending to community housing providers, as well as expanded eligibility for the First Home Guarantee and Regional First Home Guarantee.

The government highlights that, from July 1, all these policies will activate:

  • Power bill relief for five million households and one million small businesses, in partnership with states and territories

  • Cheaper child care

  • Paid parental leave seeing two separate allowances combined into a single, 20-week scheme

  • A 15 per cent pay rise for 250,000 aged care workers

  • $20,000 small business instant asset write-off

  • Small Business Energy Incentive


Good morning, and welcome to a new week of rolling news coverage.

Here are the overnight headlines to kick off the day.

PwC has announced a new Australian boss and confirmed it will sell off government consultancy work by spinning off a new company for $1. British exec Kevin Burrowes will head it up, as the consulting firm deals with multiple scandals to do with its handling of sensitive public information. The NSW minister for finance Courtney Houssos said the state government would be assessing the integrity of PwC’s $1 divested business, as part of combatting waste and ineffectiveness in consultancy hires.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers is spruiking the government’s cost of living package, reminding Australians of budget measures to come into effect from the end of this week. From 1 July, power bill relief, boosts to childcare and paid parental leave, aged care worker pay rises, and asset write-offs for small business will come into effect.

And looking internationally, a crucial advantage for Ukraine may have just been revealed. A day after renegade Wagner mercenaries almost sparked a civil war in Russia, the top US diplomat Antony Blinken has said the uprising is far from over, and showed “real cracks” in Vladimir Putin’s government.

Stick around for the news of the day. I’m Rafqa Touma, and I’ll be with you for the next few hours. If you see anything you don’t want the blog to miss, let me know @At_Raf_ on Twitter.


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