Australia news LIVE: RBA lifts interest rates to 2.6 per cent as treasurer sends warning over global recession; Labor, Liberal MPs defend stage three tax cuts

Key posts

  • Optus recruits crisis expert as data breach fallout continues
  • Tax cuts in spotlight after UK backdown
  • Big four banks, Macquarie pass on latest rate rise in full
  • This morning’s key headlines at a glance
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Optus recruits crisis expert as data breach fallout continues

Optus has hired former Howard adviser and journalist David Luff to help it navigate through its hacking crisis amid ongoing criticism from the federal government and customers on its handling of the attack that exposed the personal data of nearly 10 million customers.

Government services minister Bill Shorten turned up the heart on Optus yesterday, taking the telco’s executives to task over the long delays in telling customers how badly they had been affected by the hack.

Optus has apologised to customers over the data breach. Credit:Nikki Short

Shorten added to the criticism from the weekend in a press conference on Tuesday, declaring Optus’ senior management were “kidding themselves” if they believed they had done a good job of communicating with customers, as he acknowledged the telco had handed over the information requested by Service Australia.

An Optus spokesperson had this to say: “We recognise that many people have been frustrated by this theft of their personal information. Optus is working constructively with the more than 20 government agencies and regulatory bodies to support and protect our customers.”

Read the full story here.

Tax cuts in spotlight after UK backdown

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has heightened concerns about the $243 billion cost of the stage three tax cuts for workers on higher incomes while cabinet ministers put the plans under the spotlight after financial turmoil forced a rethink on similar cuts in the United Kingdom.

Vowing to put economic priorities ahead of politics, Chalmers said the government had not changed its tax policy but warned the “storm clouds” in the global economy were a major factor in looming decisions on tax and spending.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers speaking to the media from Parliament House yesterday. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The ferocious response from the financial markets to the UK policy, which forced British Prime Minister Liz Truss to drop the tax cuts less than a week after they were unveiled, was discussed in an expenditure review committee meeting of federal cabinet ministers yesterday.

“What we have seen play out in the United Kingdom is not irrelevant to us,” Chalmers said when asked about the parallel between the British and Australian tax cuts.

“It is not irrelevant to us because it is a cautionary tale about what can happen if you get your policy settings out of whack in a way that does not suit the economic conditions and particularly the
global economic conditions.”

More on this issue here.

Big four banks, Macquarie pass on latest rate rise in full

The big four banks have raised their variable mortgage rates by 0.25 per cent, swiftly passing on the latest official rise in the cash rate to their customers in full.

NAB was the first major bank to respond to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision on Tuesday afternoon to lift the cash rate for a sixth consecutive month by 0.25 of a percentage point, taking it to a 9-year high of 2.6 per cent.

The gap between the rate being offered to new customers by banks and the rate being paid by existing customers is expected to increase, experts say.Credit:Rob Homer

Variable mortgage rate changes at NAB, ANZ, CBA and Macquarie will come into effect from October 14.

The latest interest rate rise will widen the gap between the variable mortgage rates the banks are offering existing customers compared with new customers, with borrowers being urged to negotiate with their lenders to ensure they are getting the best deal.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s key headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Wednesday, October 5. 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.

  • The big four banks have raised their variable mortgage rates by 0.25 per cent following the Reserve Banks’s decision to once again increase the cash rate. Yesterday, RBA governor Philip Lowe said the latest hike is unlikely to be the last.
  • David Crowe writes that there is no cabinet consensus regarding the much-discussed stage three tax cuts. Senior Labor MPs have discussed reconsidering the package – legislated by the former Coalition government – in the wake of the British government’s backdown on tax cuts for the wealthy.
  • Optus has hired a crisis communications expert and former adviser to John Howard as the fallout from the recent data breach continues.
  • And in international news, British cabinet ministers have accused colleagues of trying to stage a coup against Prime Minister Liz Truss. She has been the UK’s prime minister for just under a month. Latika Bourke has the full story.
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