PM warns of a 'more dangerous world'...
(See Translation in Arabic section)
Canberra - M E Times Int'l: Scott Morrison has warned Australia must "prepare for a post-COVID world that is poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly" as he today unveils a $270 billion defence package.
The Prime Minister increased defence spending to two per cent of GDP in the next financial year to bolster the nation's strategic capabilities as growing cyber and security threats loom.
Mr Morrison described his government as "one of the biggest defence spenders" in the nation's peacetime history.
"Not only are we going to hit that target, we're going to hit it in the next financial year, and we're going to hit it ahead of time," he said on Tuesday.
"By allocating such high levels of investment to our defence, we can meet these threats that Australia is facing."
Under the government's proposed changes, defence will receive $270 billion over the next decade - up from the $195 billion promised in 2016.
Mr Morrison wanted the ADF to focus efforts on the Indo-Pacific region to ensure it could deter threats and respond with credible military force.
Australian authorities raised concerns over cyber attacks from China and Russia, terror cells throughout the Indo-Pacific and the shifting regional power balance between China and the United States.
Victoria could go back into lockdown
Melbourne: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the whole state may be placed in lockdown down if the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
His warning came as he said imposing a lockdown on 10 postcodes which were COVID-19 hotspots had been a "difficult call".
Mr Andrews said he was given public health advice to shut down the hotspot suburbs immediately or face "shutting down all postcodes later".
Victoria recorded 64 new coronavirus cases overnight, the 14th consecutive day of double-digit case increases in the state.
Stage three restrictions will remain in place until at least July 29.
"If we don't get control of this really quickly we will end up with … a whole state shutdown," Mr Andrews said on 3AW radio.
"This is not over. This is so wildly infectious that even minor breaches of the rules can lead to this random movement of the virus around the community."
NSW refuses flights diverted from Melbourne
Sydney: NSW will not be accepting international flights diverted from Melbourne.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews appealed to have inbound flights to Melbourne diverted for two weeks as authorities worked to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The NSW Premier’s office said the state was already pulling its weight through the crisis as more than 30,000 returned travellers were processed through hotel quarantine over three months.
The state will dramatically ease lockdown restrictions from today, with the 50-cap limit on indoor venues and function centres lifted as long as patrons are seated and the four-square metre rule is in place.
Community sport is also set to resume, with stadiums allowed to hold 25 per cent capacity.
Molan: “I was surprised that they took such a legalistic view..."
Canberra: Liberal Senator and retired Major General Jim Molan has told reporters Beijing's move to curtail Hong Kong's democratic freedoms shows a willingness to exert its power.
“I was surprised that they took such a legalistic view of it, I was expecting at some stage the People’s armed police would move across the border,” he said.
“It should remind us of one thing, and that is we’re dealing with a country which has a particular view as to the use of power, as to the exercise of its power, it’s not mucking around.”
“This is Australia finally starting to try to explore its strengths ...” Mr Ware
Sydney: Michael Ware says the government’s new defence package will undoubtedly rattle China as relations break down between the two nations over economic and security tensions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will today unveil a $270 billion defence package designed to bolster Australia’s strategic capabilities in the shadow of growing foreign cyber and security threats.
“This is Australia finally starting to try to explore its strengths and its limitations as a middle power,” Mr Ware said.
He told reporter the defence strategy was “purely designed to become a composite part of a broader western-American led policy of containment against China”.
“This is the most aggressive, defensive posture Australia could have possibly made,” he said.
“It is extremely provocative, extremely aggressive.
“Australia’s done the right thing by trying to develop a missile shield, we are taking a step in the right direction - it’s a defensive step but also a very aggressive step in the eyes of Beijing.”
The Consumer Data Right was launched today
Canberra: Australians will be able to unleash the power of their own data to compare and switch banking products as the Morrison Government officially launches the Consumer Data Right today.
The Consumer Data Right, which launches today, will allow customers of the large four banks open access to their transactions, with smaller banks expected to follow suit in the next 12 months.
From November 1, customers will also be able to access and share their mortgage, personal loan and joint account data.
This access, and the ability to share it with other banks and budgeting tools, is expected to allow Australians to compare and switch between services with more ease and encourage competition between service providers – which should lead to better prices.
Customers can compare and contrast themselves or use accredited financial technology companies to make decisions.
Dr Yang denied he was himself a spy and his loyalty was to NZ
NZ: New Zealand Politician Dr Jian Yang has defended his right to serve in the country's parliament after it surfaced he spent a decade teaching English to Chinese spies.
Dr Yang became an MP in 2011 but it wasn't until 2017 that it emerged he'd spent a decade at Chinese military institutions.
"It is just incredible in the extreme that that could be happening in our country," Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said.
Despite having worked at the spy school, Dr Yang denied he was himself a spy and his loyalty was to New Zealand.
Dr Yang's re-selection as a National candidate earlier this year was confirmed in a Chinese-only language statement.
NZ Opposition Leader Todd Muller described the MP as a "hard worker" who "serves Auckland well".
Further ease in NSW from today
Sydney: A raft of coronavirus-related restrictions will lift across NSW today, including a limit on the number of patrons pubs, cafes and restaurants can hold as long as they remain seated and stick to one person per four square metres.
As part of the further ease, there is no limit on how many guests people can have at their wedding, but it depends on how many attendees the venue can hold while adhering to the four-square-metre rule – if there are more than 20 guests, there can be no dance floors.
Some 10,000 people will be allowed to fill stadiums and cultural events, and community sport will resume for both adults and children.