Australia news LIVE: Reserve Bank to decide on interest rates; NACC receives over 40 online referrals of potential corrupt conduct

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  • RBA must think about ‘fairness factor’ in interest rate decision
  • Prosecutor says Putin’s comment on Wagner ‘like direct evidence’ of illegality
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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RBA must think about ‘fairness factor’ in interest rate decision

Mortgage holders are being disproportionately punished by repeated interest rate rises, economists warn, and the Reserve Bank needs to consider household stress levels as it weighs up another cash rate increase this week in its bid to contain inflation.

Economists are split over whether the Reserve Bank will raise its cash rate at its July meeting today or give homeowners a reprieve after lifting it from a record low of 0.1 per cent in April last year to 4.1 per cent last month.

Households with mortgages are disproportionately bearing the brunt of repeated interest rate rises.Credit: Louise Kennerley

CreditorWatch chief economist Anneke Thompson said if the RBA did not raise rates this week, it risked signalling that rate rises were over despite inflation still being too high. But she added there were also risks in lifting rates.

“The flipside risk is if they increase again, that [for] people holding a home loan and particularly those that bought in the last two years, you make things far too difficult for them,” she said.

More on this story here. 

Prosecutor says Putin’s comment on Wagner ‘like direct evidence’ of illegality

In the latest news about the war in Ukraine, a top prosecutor says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent comments about payments to the Wagner group was “like direct evidence” that mercenaries were an illegal arm of the Russian army in the war.

Putin said last week that Wagner and its founder, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had received almost $US2 billion ($3 billion) from Russia in the past year.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin made the comments in The Hague, where he was attending the opening of the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin tours an exhibition of promising Russian companies during the forum “Strong ideas for the new time” in Moscow on June 29.Credit: Reuters

Kostin said his office had identified Prigozhin as a suspect during investigations this year and that Wagner fighters were responsible for some of the most serious war crimes since the February 24, 2022 invasion.

While Russia attempts to distinguish between Wagner forces and its military, Putin’s comments last week about state budget spending on Wagner was “like direct evidence that they are not only de facto, but probably, illegally, also are part of the Russian army”.

The use of mercenaries by states in armed conflict is banned under the Geneva Conventions.

Among more than 93,000 incidents of potential war crimes the prosecutor’s office was investigating included many atrocities Wagner forces committed, Kostin said.

Find the full story from Reuters here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for your company.

It’s Tuesday, July 4. 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:

  • Experts believe that Australia’s world-first blanket ban on vaping without a prescription will make the problem worse.
  • The Reserve Bank will meet today on whether to raise its cash rate, but economists warn mortgage holders are being disproportionately punished by repeated interest rate rises.
  • The former Coalition minister at the centre of the Brittany Higgins saga has accused the attorney-general of denying her funding for legal assistance throughout the inquiry into Bruce Lehrmann’s trial for political reasons.
  • The federal government is set to relax onerous visa rules for Indonesians who want to visit Australia when Indonesian President Joko Widodo meets Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

Indonesia President Joko Widodo (right), and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will hold talks in Sydney.Credit: AP

  • Nationals leader David Littleproud is staring down a whispering campaign about his leadership, declaring he has the confidence of the party room.
  • International students are concerned about the government’s cap on international students working, after letting them work as many hours as they liked during the pandemic.
  • The head of the National Anti-Corruption Commission has warned he will not tolerate attempts to weaponise unfounded referrals to the agency, and it has already received 44 referrals.
  • Overseas, heavy flooding has displaced thousands of people around China as the capital Beijing had a brief respite from sweltering heat.
  • And Vietnam has banned the new Barbie movie over a scene featuring a map that shows China’s unilaterally claimed territory.
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