Australia news live: Penny Wong flies home after China talks; Liberal brand ‘not fit for purpose’ | Australia news

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Key events

Australia and China to resume regular high level talks

Good morning! Natasha May on deck with you.

The foreign minister Penny Wong last night spoke to her counterpart in Beijing, Wang Yi, in a meeting which lasted 90 minutes.

She told reporters following the bilateral meeting that China and Australia would be resume regular high level talks:

We’ve continued to put the view that we are able to grow our bilateral relationship and uphold our respective national interests if we navigate our differences wisely, and that is the challenge for this generation.

I did set out our positions on issues which I know are so important to Australians and are important to the government – relevant consular matters, trade blockages, human rights, as well as regional security, international security and the norms and global rules which underpin our prosperity.

There was a discussion about opportunities for further dialogue to work through how we might do what I think is in the best interest of both countries and consumers in both countries.

We have agreed to maintain high-level engagement and we’ve agreed to further dialogue in a range of those areas.

You can read more about that meeting from our foreign affairs correspondent Daniel Hurst:

Liberal party ‘not fit for purpose’, internal report says

Martin Farrer

Martin Farrer

The Liberal party brand is no longer “fit for purpose” and has lost its volunteer base on the ground, according to an internal review seen by the Australian. The report says membership numbers have dwindled amid factional battles and it is also expected to conclude that the unpopularity of former prime minister Scott Morrison was a key factor in May election defeat.

The Australian reports:

A key recommendation, which the report says was fundamental to the party being competitive at the next election, was the resurrection of a volunteer base and grassroots campaign activity. This, it claims, was a major factor in the party’s inability to defend against teal independents who had swamped key Liberal seats with volunteer brigades of 1500-2000 people.

Good morning

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the day’s news. Natasha May will be along soon to take you through the day but in the meantime this is Martin Farrer getting the news rolling along – and these are the stories making the headlines this morning.

Penny Wong will return to Australia today after what appeared to be a successful trip to Beijing for talks with her opposite number Wang Yi designed to rebuild bridges burned between the two countries in recent years. The foreign affairs minister said she had raised the key issues of human rights and trade during the discussions in Beijing. A joint statement published after the meeting said China and Australia had agreed “to a relationship based on mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and navigating differences”.

Kathryn Campbell, the former social services department chief who was grilled at the robodebt commission hearings, remains on her top-tier salary package of nearly $900,000 a year, despite no longer managing any people in her new role as roving Aukus adviser. Defence has confirmed Campbell “currently has no direct reports” – meaning people she supervises directly – and “retains conditions of employment from her previous role as secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade”.

Multiple media outlets have received legal letters from lawyers for Bruce Lehrmann, as the former Coalition staffer begins potential defamation action over coverage of allegations by Brittany Higgins that she was raped in Parliament House in 2019. Guardian Australia has been told by a source close to Lehrmann’s team that media outlets including News Corp Australia, Paramount and the radio station WSFM have been issued with concerns notices.


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