Australia news LIVE: RBA weighs interest rate decision; Morrison lashes out at robo-debt ‘political lynching’

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Key posts

  • RBA mulls one more rate rise as borrowers tap into savings
  • Morrison lashes out at robo-debt ‘political lynching’, rejects findings
  • Trump braces for two more historic indictments
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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RBA mulls one more rate rise as borrowers tap into savings

The Reserve Bank could inflict its final interest rate rise on the economy today, before an extended period of monetary policy stability amid signs the huge savings buffers built up by Australians through COVID-19 are being eaten into by inflation and high home loan repayments.

As figures showed house values lifted across Sydney and Melbourne last month, the RBA board faces one of its toughest decisions under outgoing governor Philip Lowe – whether to increase the official cash rate by another quarter percentage point to a fresh 11-year high of 4.35 per cent.

The Reserve Bank board faces a tough decision on Tuesday whether to inflict one more rate rise on the economy or hold steady.Credit: Kate Geraghty

The bank has increased the cash rate at 12 of its past 14 meetings and economists are split over its next move, while financial markets put the chance of a further hike at less than one-in-10.

The same markets, and most economists at major private banks including Commonwealth and Westpac, believe after Tuesday the RBA will be finished with rate increases, with expectations of rate cuts in the second half of 2024.

Read more about this issue.

Morrison lashes out at robo-debt ‘political lynching’, rejects findings

In case you missed it, Scott Morrison savaged the robo-debt royal commission’s findings against him, describing them as “disproportionate, wrong, unsubstantiated and contradicted by clear evidence”.

In a fierce speech to parliament on Monday, the former prime minister went much further than his previous criticisms, saying three of the key findings against him – that he allowed cabinet to be misled, provided untrue evidence to the commission and that he pressured departmental officials over the scheme – were wrong.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison rejected the specific findings made against him by the robo-debt royal commission.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“I played no role and had no responsibility in the operation nor administration of the robo-debt scheme. The scheme had not commenced operations when I served in the [Social Services] portfolio, let alone in December 2016 and January 2017, when the commission reported that the unintended impacts of the scheme first became apparent. This was more than 12 months after I had left the portfolio,” he said.

“I do completely reject each of the adverse findings against me in the commission’s report as unfounded and wrong.”

Find out more about what the former prime minister said here.

Trump braces for two more historic indictments

In the latest American political news, security is being beefed up in Washington and Georgia as Donald Trump braces for the possibility of two more criminal indictments within days, both over his attempts to stop Joe Biden becoming president.

In Atlanta, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has confirmed that after a 2.5-year investigation, she was “ready to go” with a decision that could result in racketeering and conspiracy charges against Trump and his allies for interfering in the 2020 election results in Georgia – the state that handed Biden his victory.

An officer in riot gear stands between supporters of President Donald Trump and counter protesters as the groups yell at each other outside of the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.Credit: AP

And in Washington DC, Trump himself predicted on Monday that he would be indicted “any day now” as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s probe into his conduct surrounding the deadly attack on the US Capitol in 2021.

“ELECTION INTERFERENCE! PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT!” he lamented on his Truth Social website, reinforcing his view that the cases against him are a political witch-hunt.

If charged in those two separate cases, it would bring the number of criminal indictments Trump faces ahead of next year’s election to four.

More from on this issue from our North America correspondent here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for your company this morning.

I’m Caroline Schelle, joining you again I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day. It’s Tuesday, August 1.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • UNESCO says Australia’s upgraded climate and environmental commitments mean the Great Barrier Reef should retain its World Heritage status, for the next year.
  • The prime minister called on Peter Dutton to co-operate with a government probe into the offshore detention contracts scandal engulfing the opposition leader’s former home affairs ministry.
  • The Reserve Bank is set to decide on interest rates today, as Australians are using savings built up during the COVID-19 pandemic to weather cost-of-living pressures.
  • The federal opposition is calling on the government to speed up the retirement of the troubled fleet of MRH-90 Taipans after four army aircrew members died in a helicopter crash off Queensland.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton during question time yesterday.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

  • The Greens are prepared to dramatically scale back their demand for extra spending on housing in return for their support of Labor’s key $10 billion housing fund.
  • According to new research marriage equality in Australia produced an increase in same-sex couples saying they lived together, especially women.
  • In culture news, Beatles legend Paul McCartney, 81, will bring his Got Back tour to Australia for six shows.
  • And overseas, Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a voice message published on Monday that his Wagner group was not recruiting fighters at present.
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