Australia news LIVE: PM implores Dutton to lift Voice debate; NSW Police withdraw court challenge to George Pell funeral protest

Key posts

  • Childcare workers push for 25 per cent pay rise
  • Alice Springs crime report has been handed to government: reports
  • PM offers Dutton an olive branch on the Voice
  • Stage three tax cuts should be on the table: IMF
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Childcare workers push for 25 per cent pay rise

Childcare workers want the federal government to give them a 25 per cent pay rise in the upcoming budget to stem the flow of workers leaving early childhood education just as cheaper childcare subsidies are introduced.

In its budget submission, the United Workers Union said action on better pay for early childhood educators was long-overdue amid fears an understaffed sector will not be able to cope with increased demand come July 1 when subsidies expand.

Disability care workers received a 9 per cent bump to their minimum award wages last July, and in November aged care workers were awarded a 15 per cent pay rise by the Fair Work Commission.

The United Workers Union early education director, Helen Gibbons, said workers were continuing to leave the sector due to low pay and high stress, and the government needed to commit to a 25 per cent pay increase to give staff a reason to stay.

Read the full story here.

Alice Springs crime report has been handed to government: reports

Radio National is reporting the Alice Springs crime report has been handed to the Albanese government.

RN Breakfast host Patricia Karvelas, who hasn’t yet received the document in full but has been briefed by a government insider, says the report will advise the Northern Territory to “urgently legislate amendments to its liquor act”.

The ABC presenter went on to say the report calls for an indefinite extension of the Alice Springs liquor laws while opt-out provisions are worked through by individual communities.

We have not yet seen the report ourselves. But stay tuned.

As mentioned earlier this morning, the prime minister is scheduled to hold a meeting with Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles later today.

PM offers Dutton an olive branch on the Voice

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made an urgent personal bid to salvage support for the Indigenous Voice by asking Opposition Leader Peter Dutton to set out any changes he wants to the proposal, after weeks of dispute and fears of a rupture that could destroy the Voice.

In a personal letter to Dutton late yesterday, the prime minister held out the prospect of a constructive deal to recognise First Australians in the Constitution as long as those with concerns were willing to put forward their changes to the proposal.

Anthony Albanese has written to Peter Dutton on the eve of the Opposition Leader’s meeting with the Voice working group.Credit:Sydney Morning Herald

But the letter included a firm response to Dutton’s demands for detail by emphasising the power of parliament to decide the structure of the Voice if and when Australians approve the change at a referendum later this year.

“As I have said to you in our meetings, if you have any practical suggestions or amendments on the wording I would welcome your contribution,” Albanese wrote ahead of Dutton’s meeting with Indigenous leaders on Thursday to discuss the Voice.

Read the full story here.

Stage three tax cuts should be on the table: IMF

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has been given the green light by the International Monetary Fund to overhaul the $254 billion stage three personal income tax cuts as part of broader reforms that could include extending tax to the family home.

Warning the country needs tax reform to pay for higher spending baked into the budget, the IMF has used its annual review of Australia to argue for the first time the government may need to balance the cost of stage three tax cuts against their purported benefits to the economy.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

It also urged state governments to change their property taxes, backed a broadening of the GST while arguing the country needs even more policy changes to “reignite” productivity growth.

Ahead of the October budget, Chalmers openly canvassed the future of the stage three tax cuts. But Prime Minister Anthony Albanese shut down possible changes. The cost of the tax cuts has since grown.

More on this issue here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Thursday, February 2. I’m Broede Carmody 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.

  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has extended an olive branch to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton in regards to the proposed Indigenous Voice to parliament.
  • The PM will meet with Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles later today to discuss possible alcohol bans in the NT.
  • The International Monetary Fund has suggested Australia overhaul the controversial stage three tax cuts.
  • George Pell’s funeral will take place in Sydney today. Yesterday, NSW Police dropped its court case relating to a proposed protest route.
  • And in international news, the US Federal Reserve has announced its eighth interest rate hike since March. However, it was a smaller bump than its previous hike – with officials signalling that inflation is easing.
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