Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles has confirmed that the government has returned its first boat for asylum seekers.
Mr Marles also called the Morrison government’s decision to send voters text messages on election day about a boat that was intercepted near Christmas Island as a “disgrace” that made the nation “less secure”.
A spokesman for Australia’s border forces said Operation Sovereign Borders had safely returned the boat back to Sri Lanka on Tuesday after.
“The direction of the acting prime minister was clear to me – this government remains committed to Operation Sovereign Frontiers and the protection of people’s lives at sea,” said Rear Admiral Justin Jones, commander of the Joint Agency’s Operational Operation Border.
Mr Marles said Labor’s policy on the return of boats had not changed since 2015, and refuted Morrison’s former government’s decision to release a press release on the interception.
“I think what we saw on Saturday was a disgrace,” he told Sky News on Tuesday.
“And it was a very low moment in the way the former government was involved in the politicization of national security.
“It should never have been in the public domain. The text sent out by the Liberal Party at the time made our country less secure, made our borders less secure.”
Mr Marles said he had asked the Secretary of the Interior to inform the government of the circumstances of the release of information on election day, describing it as “not routine”.
“In fact, it is clear that the former liberal government was much more interested in its own political interests than in its national interests,” he said.
“She sought to create a division where there was none. Everyone knew that there was a bipartisanship over maintaining strong borders, and it was a national treasure.
“But what this government has done is to undermine it for its political purposes.”
The acting prime minister has promised that the Albanian government will not use national security issues for “political gain” and will act in the national interest.
“Serious economic situation”: Treasurer Jim Chalmers warns that inflation will continue to rise
Consumer confidence has stabilized after weeks of decline due to concerns about the cost of living, but new treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned that inflation will continue to rise.
Mr Chalmers was sworn in on Monday after Labor secured at least a minority government in Saturday’s federal election, and in recent days he has been receiving briefings from Treasury officials.
“There is no use, this is a serious economic situation that we inherited from our predecessors,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.
“What will change is that you now have a government that understands this pressure on the cost of living and has a plan to deal with it over time.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia expects inflation to reach 6 percent by the end of the year, having already reached 5.1 percent, the highest level in two decades.
The ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly consumer confidence index, an indicator of future household spending, rose 1.7 percent, partially recovering from a 7.7 percent drop last month to its lowest level since August 2020.
However, at an index of 90.3 and below 100 it still shows that pessimists are dominated by optimists.
Australian economy chief David Planck said a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.9 per cent, the lowest since 1974, could boost sentiment.
“Most of the poll was conducted before the results of the federal election were known, so the reaction to the election will be reflected in next week’s index,” Mr Planck said.
Labor to “work with all countries in the region”
The new Albanian government says it wants to co-operate with all countries in the region after Beijing signaled a possible thaw in frosty relations between China and Australia.
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang reportedly sent a congratulatory message to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, saying Beijing was ready to develop bilateral ties with Canberra.
“The credible and stable development of Sino-Australian relations is in line with the fundamental interests and common aspirations of the two peoples, as well as promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region,” said the Chinese Communist Party. This was reported by China Daily.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reportedly sent a congratulatory message to Anthony Albanese (Ding Haitao / Xinhua News Agency via AP) Source: AAP / Ding Haitao / AP
Australia’s relations with the regional power plant have deteriorated in recent years, and Beijing has refused to accept calls from the weekend and blocking imports of various goods despite a free trade agreement between the two countries.
Asked on ABC radio whether China has come out of the “deep freeze”, Mr Chalmers said: “We want to work with the countries of our region to make sure it is stable and prosperous”.
This was the reason that Mr. Albanez and the new Foreign Minister Penny Wong were in Tokyo to meet with Australian colleagues on the US Quad, India and Japan, he said.
“That’s why the developments on the trade front are so exciting, because we want the region to grow strongly,” Mr Chalmers said.
“We want all our economies to benefit from this, and we will work with countries in the region on that basis.”
China cut off diplomatic and trade channels with Australia in a largely symbolic act of fury last May after clashes over issues including human rights, espionage and COVID-19.
Tensions between the countries have risen after Canberra called for an independent investigation into the origins of the pandemic and banned telecom giant Huawei from building Australia’s 5G network.
China has responded by imposing tariffs or shutting down more than a dozen key industries, including wine, barley and coal.
The Barnaby Joyce Nationals leadership is under pressure
Citizens will postpone talks on their coalition with the Liberal Party after a crushing defeat in the federal election, says current leader Barnaby Joyce.
But his leadership of the Junior Coalition Party and his deputy, David Littleproud, will be revealed at a meeting of national MPs next week.
“After the election, you return to two separate parties and negotiate a coalition,” he told ABC News Breakfast.
“I am very convinced that the democratic process is the best way to determine which way the party will go, and I accept its outcome.”
Barnaby Joyce is under pressure to retain the leadership of the National Party. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH / AAPIMAGE
Although independent candidates emphasize its unpopularity among urban voters, the Liberal Party did not pull under the coalition.
“People are not so stupid … they know they are voting for the candidate from the nationalists or the candidate from the liberals … there were many other problems,” he said.
He added that none of the Nationals members told him that his unpopularity had cost the government the election.
Work towards the majority government
It seems Labor will rule with a majority in parliament, but Mr Albanese has already won the confidence of the five laureates.
Official figures show that Labor holds 75 seats in the House of Representatives for 151 seats, which is expected to meet for the first time in late June or early July.
The Liberal-National Coalition is leading with 59 seats, and the vote count continues after Saturday’s election.
Six seats have candidates within 1,000 votes of each other, and another six are waiting for the election commission to calculate a preferred position for the two candidates.
Mr Albanese, who was sworn in on Monday along with four senior ministers, said he had confirmed that Rebecca Sharkey, Bob Cutter, Hall Steggal, Andrew Wilkie and Helen Haynes would not support a no-confidence vote in parliament.
This gives the Prime Minister a buffer of confidence in the event that Labor does not gain a majority after the vote count.
but the coalition is on track to get 30 seats, and Labor – 25 in the 76-seat chamber from 1 July.
Labor will need 14 extra votes in the upper house to pass the law, counting on the support of the Greens.
ABC election analyst Anthony Green said he expected retain a seat in the Senate in Queensland.