Australia news LIVE: PM reveals ‘cyber shield’ plan on first day of US visit; Labor non-committal on childcare, parental leave super changes
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- Unlikely allies Abbott, Kean back Leeser’s return to the frontbench
- ‘Cyber shield’ to be key part of $5b Microsoft investment in Australia
- Labor non-committal on childcare, parental leave superannuation changes
- Zelensky Holds Call With Saudi Prince on Ukraine, Middle East
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Unlikely allies Abbott, Kean back Leeser’s return to the frontbench
Former prime minister Tony Abbott and leading NSW Liberal moderate Matt Kean are calling for Julian Leeser to be returned to the Liberal Party’s shadow cabinet, arguing that the former shadow attorney-general should not be punished for his principled decision to resign from his post to campaign for a Voice to parliament.
Leeser, a long-time supporter of constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, resigned from the attorney-general and Indigenous Australians portfolios in April so that he could campaign for the Voice after the Liberal Party formally resolved to oppose it.
Liberal MPs Bridget Archer and Julian Leeser. Leeser’s return to the Liberal frontbench is being hotly debated.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
This masthead revealed last week that Opposition Leader Peter Dutton had been testing the mood in his party room about Leeser returning to a frontbench position now that the referendum has been held.
There are two vacancies on the Coalition frontbench at present – the cabinet secretary post vacated by former senator Marise Payne and the shadow assistant treasurer’s role formerly held by Stuart Robert, who quit in May.
Read the rest of the report here.
‘Cyber shield’ to be key part of $5b Microsoft investment in Australia
Australia’s online spy agency will join Microsoft to build a “cyber shield” to protect networks from security threats as part of a $5 billion investment by the tech giant in local projects.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will reveal the plans with Microsoft president Brad Smith on the first day of his visit to the United States, promising new jobs in fields such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon arrive in the US for a state visit.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
A key component will be an agreement between Microsoft and the Australian Signals Directorate to toughen protection against online threats, in an example of the business and security agendas in the four-day visit to Washington DC.
Albanese will meet US President Joe Biden before a state dinner at the White House on Wednesday night to be attended by political and business leaders.
But other parts of the agenda have been thrown into doubt, with chaos over the selection of a new Speaker for the US House of Representatives dashing Australian hopes for the prime minister to address Congress.
Learn more about the deal here.
Labor non-committal on childcare, parental leave superannuation changes
Labor has been accused of prioritising submarines over women after Minister for Women and Finance Katy Gallagher would not commit to changes recommended by a government-appointed taskforce, including scrapping the activity test for childcare and paying superannuation on paid parental leave.
The Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce’s final report was released on Monday, highlighting that barriers to women fully participating in the Australian workforce were costing the economy $128 billion.
Katy Gallagher says the government would consider the recommendations of the report into gender inequality.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
The taskforce recommended several immediate changes, including abolishing the childcare subsidy activity test as a first step towards universal access to early childhood education and care, legislating the payment of super on all paid parental leave, and supporting Fair Work actions to increase childcare workers’ pay.
Here’s the full story.
Zelensky Holds Call With Saudi Prince on Ukraine, Middle East
In the latest update on Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky had a phone call with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia to develop ties with the kingdom, according to a social media post.
Zelensky invited a Saudi representative to take part in the next round of Peace Formula talks in Malta which are due to take place this weekend.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Brussels for the defence ministers’ summit earlier this month.Credit: AP
The meeting follows similar gatherings in Denmark in June and Saudi Arabia in August focused on a 10-point plan that calls for the full withdrawal of Russian troops, among other things.
The leaders also discussed the situation in the Middle East, with Zelensky calling for a de-escalation of the conflict and preventing civilian casualties.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning, thanks for joining us this morning.
It’s Tuesday, October 24. I’m Caroline Schelle, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.
Here’s what you need to know before we get started:
- The Greens accused the government of making women wait for much-needed reforms after it wouldn’t commit to the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce recommendations.
- Australia’s online spy agency will join Microsoft to build a “cyber shield” to protect networks from security threats as part of a $5 billion investment by the tech giant in local projects.
- Yes campaigner Thomas Mayo has revealed his pain over the Voice to parliament defeat, as Indigenous leaders debate the role played by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
- Tony Abbott and Matt Kean are from opposite factions in NSW, but they agree that Peter Dutton must return Julian Leeser to the frontbench.
- The head of Australia’s national security agency said it was lawful and appropriate for people to protest and show dissent amid controversy over pro-Palestinian rallies.
- Secret tapes have captured Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt claiming royal advisers asked him to cease payments to the then Prince Charles, to avoid the appearance of a scandal.
- Overseas, Israeli soldiers skirmish with Hamas militants inside Gaza amid air strikes. For the latest details, tune into our live blog on the conflict here.
Let’s get into it.
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