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Barnaby Joyce defends leaked texts amid France and Australia’s submarines row



Barnaby Joyce has launched an extraordinary defence of the decision to leak text messages between Scott Morrison and the French president.

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce has leapt to defend Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the diplomatic row between Australia and France over the axed submarines deal escalates.

Text messages between the two world leaders were sensationally leaked to the media on Monday night in an attempt to discredit French President Emmanuel Macron’s position after he accused Mr Morrison of lying.

Mr Joyce on Wednesday claimed that leaking text messages from a foreign leader was “not as extraordinary” as calling another foreign leader “a liar when they’re not”.

“We had a major political leader call the Prime Minister of Australia a liar and you can’t do that, diplomatically,” he told the ABC.

“You can’t go around calling other leaders of other countries a liar.

“Not (the leader of) a great nation of France. Some tin pot nation in the middle of nowhere, well, I suppose you can say what you like.”

Mr Joyce said the government had been looking at “contingency plans” well before the $90bn submarine contract with France was scrapped in favour of a pact with the US and the UK.

Mr Macron told Australian reporters at a summit in Rome at the weekend that he “knew” Mr Morrison had lied to him over the severing of the contract.

Mr Morrison subsequently denied his account. But just hours later, the text messages emerged, which are believed to have been strategically released to outlets via his office.

French ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault earlier on Wednesday accused Mr Morrison of stabbing Paris in the back.

In a major speech to the National Press Club, Mr Thebault said the relationship between the two countries had sunk to a “new low”.

“The deceit was intentional,” Mr Thebault said earlier, as he unloaded on the Prime Minister in a room full of reporters.

“The way it was handled was plainly a stab in the back.

“What, after such events, can any partner of Australia now think, is the value of Australia’s signature?”

Asked if he believed the Prime Minister was “lying about lying”, Mr Thebault replied: “Yes, he was … I have several examples”.

“Maybe there’s a difference between misleading and lying.

“But, you know, among heads of states and governments, when you mislead a friend and an ally, you lie to him.”

He added the release of the text messages signalled Australia could not be trusted.

“You don’t behave like this on personal exchanges of leaders. Doing so also sends a very worrying signal for all heads of state,” the French ambassador said.

“Beware, in Australia there will be leaks. And what you say in confidence to your partners will be eventually used and weaponised against you one day.”

But in a press conference following the ambassador’s speech, Mr Morrison expressed his desire to end the spat, which has dominated headlines over the past week.

“Claims had been made and those claims were refuted,” he said during a stopover in Dubai.

“I don’t think there’s any further profit for anyone in continuing down this path.”

Earlier in the week, Mr Macron raised doubts over whether the AUKUS agreement would even deliver the proposed nuclear powered submarines in a timely manner: “Good luck”.

Echoing his comments, the French ambassador accused Australia of “magical thinking”.

Mr Thebault’s address is the first time he has publicly spoken since being recalled as ambassador following the announcement of the AUKUS agreement.

While he promised France would always stand with Australia, he cautioned against the government using “cheap words and promises of love”.

“We won’t any more buy on cheap words. We won’t buy on promises of love.

“At the same time … this is a golden opportunity. We can rebuild something substantial. But we start from very far away.”

But should Mr Morrison apologise? The ambassador sidestepped the question.

“Eating one share of humble pie may sometimes be difficult. It’s up to everyone to make his own decision,” he said.

Asked if he would follow the ambassador’s advice, Mr Morrison said he would never offer an apology to France for tearing up the agreement.

“Australia made the decision not to go ahead with the contract for a submarine that was not going to do the job that Australia needed to do.

“I’ll never make any apologies for that decision.”

Originally published as ‘Tinpot nation’: Barnaby Joyce defends leaked text messages over France subs row

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Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers



Australian housing prices keep creeping higher, pushing more would-be first home buyers off the property ladder and fuelling rate hike talk.

Australian residential property prices keep creeping higher, but experts believe the peak of the current cycle is not far off, with the Reserve Bank tipped to increase interest rates sooner than flagged.

CoreLogic data released on Monday showed national dwelling values inched up 1.5 per cent in October, down from a peak monthly growth rate of 2.8 per cent in March.

That’s a touch higher than predicted by CommSec (about 1.3 per cent) and AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver (1.4 per cent).

The rise brings the national price growth rate over the past 12 months to a whopping 21.6 per cent.

But CoreLogic reiterated what it had been saying for months – the red-hot property market is slowly losing momentum.

That may be cold comfort for already priced out, would-be first home buyers.

“Housing prices continue to outpace wages by a ratio of about 12:1,” CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless said.

“This is one of the reasons why first home buyers are becoming a progressively smaller component of housing demand.”

Other reasons are the end of stimulus measures such as HomeBuilder, more supply on the market – with new listings surging by 47 per cent since hitting a low in September – and, from Monday, the tightening of mortgage assessments in a bid to slow new lending at high debt-to-income ratios.

Inflation data last week was higher than expected, with the most significant price rise being for new homes bought by owner-occupiers.

Economists say pressure is accordingly building on the RBA to up the cash rate from its historic low of 0.1 per cent.

The central bank holds its monthly meeting on Tuesday and every word in the statement that follows will be combed for even the slightest shift in its thinking.

“We now expect the first rate hike in a year’s time,” Mr Oliver said in his latest market update.

“The RBA won’t rush into a rate hike because it wants to see that ‘inflation is sustainably within the target range’.”

The RBA has repeatedly said a hike was unlikely before 2024.

“However, with the economy recovering, we believe that the conditions for the start of rate hikes will now be in place by late 2022, so we expect the first hike to be in November 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.25 per cent, followed by a 0.25 per cent hike in December 2022, taking the cash rate to 0.5 per cent by the end of next year,” Mr Oliver said.

Many other economists are tipping an RBA move in early 2023.

Meanwhile, as housing continues to become less and less affordable, CoreLogic expects demand will skew towards higher density sectors of the market, especially in Sydney, where the gap between the median house and unit value is now close to $500,000.

“With investors becoming a larger component of new housing finance, we may see more demand flowing into medium to high density properties,” Mr Lawless said.

“Investor demand across the unit sector could be bolstered as overseas borders open, which is likely to have a positive impact on rental demand, especially across inner city unit precincts.”

Australia’s apartment markets have generally recorded a lower rate of growth compared to houses, CoreLogic says.

Also on Monday, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed the continuation of a trend seen over recent months – investor mortgage commitments rising as owner-occupier new loan commitments fell.

MEDIAN VALUES AROUND AUSTRALIA:

Sydney: $1.071m (up 25.3 per cent over 12 months)

Canberra: $864,909 (up 25.5 per cent)

Melbourne: $780,303 (up 16.37 per cent)

Hobart: $678,170 (up 28.06 per cent)

Brisbane: $642,097 (up 22.3 per cent)

Adelaide: $543,265 (up 20.07 per cent)

Perth: $526,625 (up 16.37 per cent)

Darwin: $490,236 (up 19.28 per cent)

Originally published as Residential property prices keep climbing as investors push out would-be first home buyers




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Rome G20: Morrison briefly greets French President Emmanuel Macron amid submarine feud



Scott Morrison has revealed what he said to the French President when he ran into him in Rome – in the leaders’ first encounter since a “clumsy” action by the PM.

Scott Morrison has said “g’day” to Emmanuel Macron during their first face-to-face encounter since Australia tore up a French submarine deal.

The Prime Minister again defended his government’s decision to abandon the French submarine contract despite US President Joe Biden describing its handling as “clumsy”.

Mr Morrison briefly greeted the French president at the G20 Summit in Rome but the two leaders will not have a bilateral meeting as tensions between the two continues to simmer.

Last month, Australia, the US and the United Kingdom formed a new partnership – AUKUS – which meant Canberra would scrap its $90b submarine deal with Paris in favour of nuclear technologies made available by London and Washington.

France was blindsided by the deal having been advised on the eve of the AUKUS announcement and, as a result, ambassadors were pulled from Canberra and Washington.

Mr Biden ridiculed the handling of the deal in a meeting with the French President in Italy, admitting it “was not done with a lot of grace”.

“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not coming through,” he said.

“I honest to God did not know you had not been.”

But Mr Morrison defended his government’s diplomatic process and insisted the United States were involved in the strategic handling.

“Australia made the right decision in on our interests to ensure we have the right submarine capability to deal with our strategic interests,” he told reporters in Rome.

“There was never an easy way for us, I think, to get to a point where we had to disappoint a good friend and partner in France that we wouldn’t be proceeding with that contract.

“It was always a difficult decision for Australia, it was the right decision for Australia — we worked closely with the United States and the United Kingdom and we kept them up to date.”

The Prime Minister said he didn’t request a bilateral meeting with the French President at the summit given the tension and wanting to respect Mr Macron’s frustrations though the two briefly greeted during an event in Rome.

“I said g‘day,” Mr Morrison told reporters in Rome.

“He was having a chat to someone, I went up and just put my arm on his shoulder and just said ‘g’day, Emmanuel,’ and ‘look forward to catching up over the next couple of days.’

“That’s the way these events tend to work and he was happy to exchange those greetings.”

Originally published as Rome G20: Morrison briefly greets French President Emmanuel Macron amid submarine feud

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Joe Biden describes France submarine deal snub by AUKUS as ‘clumsy’



The American and French Presidents have sat down in an attempt to repair strained relationships brought about by a submarine deal.

US President Joe Biden has labelled the trilateral handling of a submarine deal, which resulted in a major diplomatic fallout with France, as “clumsy”.

Last month, Australia, the US and the United Kingdom formed a new partnership – AUKUS – which meant Canberra would scrap its $90b submarine deal with Paris in favour of nuclear technologies made available by London and Washington.

But France was blindsided by the deal having been advised on the eve of the AUKUS announcement. As a result, ambassadors were pulled from Canberra and Washington.

While Mr Biden was able to smooth over relations, Mr Morrison has faced more difficulties in repairing the relationship.

Speaking from the G20 leaders summit in Rome, Mr Biden sat aside Emmanuel Macron in their first face-to-face meeting since the deal was signed, admitting the situation could have been better handled.

“It was … clumsy … it was not done with a lot of grace,” Mr Biden said.

“I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not coming through.

“ … That certain things had happened that hadn’t happened.”

Mr Macron was asked whether repairs with the US had been repaired, saying “we clarified together what we had to clarify.”

It comes after Mr Morrison finally spoke to Mr Macron via phone on the cusp of his flying to Europe on Thursday.

While a readout of the call from Paris suggested Mr Macron expected Australia to do more to rebuild their relationship, Canberra said the dialogue had been “productive”.

According to the Elysee Palace, Mr Macron told Mr Morrison the decision had “broken” trust between the two nations.

“It is now up to the Australian government to propose tangible actions that embody the will of Australia’s highest authorities to reduce the basis of our bilateral relationship,” the readout said.

In contrast, a spokesperson for Mr Morrison described the phone call as having been a “candid discussion”.

On Friday, Defence Minister Peter Dutton suggested the reason France remained bitter about the deal was because of a looming election.

“Politicians and elections always make for an interesting mix. I think once we get through the next year, hopefully we can continue with steps to normalise the relationship,” Mr Dutton said.

Mr Morrison, who has arrived in Rome, will come face-to-face with Mr Macron at the G20 leaders summit, before they fly to Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit.

Originally published as Joe Biden describes France submarine deal snub by AUKUS as ‘clumsy’

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The China Australia trade war could get even worse according to the Australian ambassador to Beijing



Trade tensions between China and Australia could get worse, according to one key figure.

The Australian ambassador to China has warned that ongoing trading disputes between Canberra and Beijing could get even worse.

Graham Fletcher, who has been Australia’s ambassador to China since 2019, spoke frankly about his concerns over the global superpower when he addressed The Daily Telegraph’s Bush Summit panel on Friday.

“To be honest, things are not great in the trading relationship with China on the whole,” Mr Fletcher said.

“There are a lot of people who I would normally expect to see (in China) that I’ve got an instruction that they shouldn’t communicate with us at an ambassadorial Level.

“The kind of informal and more casual access that Ambassadors would normally expect to have across the system is very difficult in China at the moment.”

Tensions have risen dramatically between Australia and China over the last 12 months as Beijing has sought to coerce Canberra’s political decisions by punishing Aussie exporters with trade tariffs.

Mr Fletcher warned that while Australia’s overall trade numbers had held up because iron ore exports were doing so well, this did not mean things could not get even worst.

“For other producers who are dealing with China, I think everyone is on notice that there are potential problems in the relationship which could affect our trading future further than what we’ve already seen,” he said.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott expressed similar concerns when he address the Bush Summit panel, but said it was unlikely that trade disputes would turn into more serious military confrontations.

“The Chinese communist government is, in my judgment, pretty unsavoury,” Mr Abbott said.

“But people can be bad without being mad.”

Mr Abbott said that despite China’s rhetoric suggesting it will pursue war if other countries stand in its way of ruling Taiwan, Xi Jinping is unlikely to follow through on this threat.

“Obviously he doesn’t want to do something which is going to cause massive, massive costs to his country,” Mr Abbott said.

“Xi Jinping has declared time and time again that it is inevitable and necessary that Taiwan be under Beijing‘s rule.

“But the higher the price of taking back Taiwan, the less likely it is to happen. That’s why AUKUS is important.”

Originally published as Ambassador warns Chinese-Australian trade disputes could worsen ‘further than what we’ve already seen’




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Socceroos; Australia will play first home game in more than two years in November.



Qualifying for the 2022 World Cup has suddenly taken on a whole new look for the Socceroos after a big announcement.

The Socceroos are finally coming home after 763 days on the road and will play their next World Cup qualifier in Sydney.

A clash with Saudi Arabia is locked in at Western Sydney Stadium in Parramatta on Thursday, November 11, the first match at home for the Socceroos since taking on Nepal in Canberra in October 2019.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold had urged NSW government officials to throw open the door to fans after a last-start loss to Japan ended an 11-match winning streak.

The stadium will be at 75 per cent capacity for the game, which means up to 22,500 people will be able to cheer on Arnold’s men.

“I believe that playing in front of home fans at a beautiful stadium and on a great pitch will help us,” Arnold said.

“Fans can provide energy to players and teams, and after having been away from Australia for so long, I expect that our players will harness and use the support that will be in Western Sydney Stadium on November 11.

“Now I urge the players, together with the fans, to enjoy the moment and feed off one another’s energy as together we strive to take another positive step towards qualification for Qatar.”

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said it was a big moment for the Socceroos to come home.

“The Socceroos are an iconic Australian team and one that has always enjoyed a very close connection with the Australian public,” he said.

“Unfortunately, throughout the team’s pursuit of qualification for a fifth consecutive World Cup, they have had to play 11 of their 12 matches abroad.

“Despite the challenges which this has presented, the Socceroos have performed exceptionally well.

“We’re delighted that the team will have the opportunity to return to Australia to continue their World Cup quest in front of Australian fans.

“It will also be a chance for the Australian public to witness some exciting new national team talent, including players like Ajdin Hrustic, Martin Boyle, and Harry Souttar who have been making great contributions to the squad throughout 2021.”

“We thank the NSW government for working closely with us to bring the Socceroos home in line with their Reopening NSW road map.”

Australia will play its second match of November’s FIFA window against China on Tuesday, November 16. The details of this match are yet to be finalised.

Final home fixtures against Vietnam and Japan next January and March are also set to be played in Australia, with borders open and quarantine restrictions being eased.

COMING HOME

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round)

Matchday 5: Australia v Saudi Arabia

Date: Thursday, November 11, 2021

Venue: Western Sydney Stadium, Parramatta

Kick-off: 8:05pm AEDT

Originally published as Socceroos will play first game on home soil for more than two years against Saudi Arabia in Sydney




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Josh Giddey NBA news: OKC Thunder vs LA Lakers final result, Josh Giddey only second to LeBron James after OKC’s wild win



Josh Giddey rocketed himself into an elite tier with an insane stat that only LeBron James can lay claim to as the Thunder won a thriller.

Aussie star Josh Giddey sits behind only NBA superstar LeBron James in the youngest players to notch ten assists in a game as the blistering start to his NBA career continued against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Giddey’s jaw-dropping passing range was on full display as he also posted his first career double-double with 18 points, including two three-pointers in Oklahoma City Thunder’s stunning 123-115 victory over King James’ team.

James holds the record as the youngest player to dish out ten assists in a game at 18 years and 355 days and is also the second youngest having done it twice.

Giddey achieved the feat only 17 days after his 19th birthday and in just his fifth NBA game.

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The Australian young gun thread the needle on multiple occasions with spectacular assists that had Thunder fans in the Paycom Center out of their seats as he took the fight to the 17-time NBA champions.

It was also Giddey’s second-highest points tally since making his NBA debut this season, with his season-best the 19 points he scored against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Thunder couldn’t have got off to a worse start as the Lakers ran riot in the first quarter and raced out to a 41-19 lead.

However, Giddey played a starring role as the Thunder mounted a monumental 26-point comeback in the second and third quarters as they held on for their first win of the season.

The NBA world continued their love affair with the Aussie and raved about his incredible performance.

For the Lakers, a strong showing from star duo Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook ultimately wasn’t enough to earn their third win of the season. LeBron James sat out for the second straight game with an ankle injury.

Davis scored 30 points and Westbrook posted his first triple-double of the season as the Lakers fell to a 2-3 record.

Patty Mills was unable to build on his stellar showing for the Brooklyn Nets earlier in the week as the Eastern Conference heavyweights slumped to a 106-93 defeat to the Miami Heat.

Mills had a horror shooting day, only making one bucket from 15 attempts to add to his two successful attempts from the charity stripe.

While it may have been doom and gloom on the court for Mills, that certainly was not the case off it.

The Boomers captain was announced as one of four nominees for the ACT Australian of the Year award.

Mills was nominated as a result of his spectacular work with Indigenous basketball, including launching the Indigenous Basketball League earlier this year.

The Canberra native also was Australia’s first Indigenous Australian flag bearer at the Tokyo Olympics.

Originally published as Josh Giddey only second to LeBron after OKC’s wild comeback win over the Lakers




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Scott Morrison’s late night climate promise



Scott Morrison has sought to alleviate concerns over his newly announced net zero target in a late night interview.

Scott Morrison has used a late-night interview to pitch his newly-released climate plan, rejecting concerns the government has broken a promise not to increase climate targets.

Mr Morrison on Tuesday outlined his plan to reach net zero ahead of his trip to a major UN climate summit in Glasgow. Under the plan, more than $20 billion will be invested in low emissions technologies including carbon capture and storage.

The Prime Minister also unveiled new projections, which if reached, could see Australia reduce emissions by 30 to 35 per cent by 2030.

Speaking with Sky News, the Prime Minister declared “nothing has changed” and insisted the shift towards a carbon neutral future was consistent with his rhetoric at the 2019 election.

“Well in 2019 there was two plans. There was Bill Shorten’s plan which he said he wanted to reduce emissions by 2030 by 45 per cent and there was our plan to reduce it by 26 to 28 per cent, ” Mr Morrison said.

“Now that’s what we’ve gone ahead with. The 45 per cent plan was rejected.”

Seeking to assure voters, Mr Morrison insisted the government had not backflipped on previous proposals and the and the last election was decided on 2030 targets, not net zero.

“Nothing has changed at all,” he declared.

“There was no discussion of net zero by 2050 at the last election. That wasn’t the debate … It was a choice between those two 2030 plans.”

Mr Morrison said he couldn’t shield the country from climate change – or the global fallout from perceived policy inaction.

“I said I would only ever contemplate (net zero) if we had a plan that enabled us to achieve it,” he said.

“We can’t just pretend these things aren’t going to happen from overseas. These things are occurring.

“And as Prime Minister I need to protect Australia from those impacts, decisions being made in other parts of the world, gonna have an impact here.

“Our plan helps us both protect Australians from that and realise the opportunities so we can succeed as we have all along.”

Addressing the concerns of the “quiet Australians”, Mr Morrison vowed Australia would keep mining and farming.

“We‘re not asking anything to be closed down. We’re going to keep digging, we’re going to keep mining, we’re going to keep farming,” he told Sky News.

“We’re going to keep doing all of these things, and nothing in our plan is about shutting any of those things down.”

Earlier, Mr Morrison dismissed comments he had been forced to this position by the United States and the United Kingdom.

He also denied the signing of the AUKUS agreement was contingent on adopting more robust climate targets.

“We decide what our policy is here, and this is in Australia‘s interest to do this,” he told 6PR.

“That said, of course, they have some strong views on this but their plans are different to ours, they’re going down a different path.”

On nuclear power, Mr Morrison told Sky News he would not subject Australians to the debate, considering it did not have bipartisan support.

“Right now there’s a moratorium on nuclear (energy) here in Australia and the Labor Party are totally opposed. And I’m just not going to put Australia through the argument,” he said.

Originally published as Scott Morrison pitches climate plan in late night interview

Read related topics:Climate ChangeScott Morrison




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