Australia news live: warning over ‘insidious’ new ATO scam, economists say interest rate hikes risk recession | Australian politics

Australians warned over ‘insidious’ tax office scams

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Australians are being warned against falling for “insidious” scams on social media in which criminals create fake profiles appearing to be Australian Taxation Office staff members.

The federal government will ramp up the warnings today, saying such scammers are directly targeting Australians who have posted publicly about experiencing problems with the ATO or the myGov site or who have asked questions about these topics.

A government statement to be issued today explains how these scammers operate:

They then hijack the conversation using a fake ATO profile, contacting the member of the public directly with an offer to help resolve a complaint or follow up on a comment. After earning their trust, the scammer asks them to click on a link or provide personal details.

The government says the ATO is “working with social media platforms and other government agencies to help remove these damaging interactions” but argues “the best defence against such scams is community awareness”.

The assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, urged people to exercise “extreme caution” in their social media interactions. Jones said:

Fake tax officer accounts on Twitter and Facebook can be extremely convincing, which is what makes this scam so insidious. The tax office will never ask for personal information over social media and never send links that ask you to fill out your personal information like your tax file number, myGov log in or bank account details.

Federal assistant treasurer Stephen Jones.
Federal assistant treasurer Stephen Jones. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Key events

Noel Pearson hopes Opposition is not playing a ‘spoiling game’

Noel Pearson is now speaking to ABC Radio saying he finds the shadow minister for Indigenous Australians, Julian Leeser, threatening to withdraw his support “very concerning.”

Because this demand for detail is a diversion. Detail concerns legislation, not constitution. And the referendum is about the Constitution. Legislation is for the parliament.

The responsibility for detail is is Parliament’s. So the people responsible for the detail on the voice are people like Peter Dutton, Anthony Albanese, Adam Bandt, David Pocock Allegra Spender, Julian Leeser himself, Patrick Dodson. It’s the parliamentarians who have the responsibility to come up with the detail, the Australian people are being asked to vote on a constitutional amendment.

And so I think that Julian Leeser, the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, it’s very concerning. They may be just choosing to play a spoiling game. I hope they are not.

Leeser has spoken to ABC Radio’s Patricia Karvelas following threatening to withdraw his support for the Indigenous voice to parliament over the weekend.

The government is in danger of losing me because I just don’t think that they’re listening, and, and I’m really trying to get them to listen to the reasonable concerns that people are raising.

The Prime Minister says, I’ll look at all there in the Calma Langton report but it’s clear the government is not adopting the Calma Langton report and when he cherry picks pick some bits and pieces from the report he gets the detail wrong.

Karvelas:

In your speech you called this the Prime Minister’s referendum. That is a very partisan take after as you say you’ve supported these principles since 1998. Are you politicising this process?

Leeser:

The Prime Minister has set the date for the referendum. He set the timetable. You know, if you’re following the Calma Langton report and following the ordinary process, you will be rolling out the local and regional bodies first, the government has not committed to doing that.

I think the success of this in so in so much depends on those local and regional bodies feeding into a national body. The government is not doing the government is saying we’re going to have a referendum first.

The referendum in some respects is the icing on the cake. Whether this will work or not, whether this will change lives on the ground depends on the detail on the substance of the bodies that are created.

Coalition continue to push back on Indigenous voice to parliament

Over the weekend the opposition has continued to push back on the Indigenous voice to parliament. The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, continues to call on the government to release more detail ahead of the referendum in the second half of this year while the shadow attorney general and minister for Indigenous Australians, Julian Leeser, revealed his backing of the referendum is in danger.

Julian Leeser and Peter Dutton.
Julian Leeser and Peter Dutton. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Circling back to the prime minister’s interview with ABC News Breakfast, Albanese pushed back against Dutton’s comments saying:

There’ll be more detail being worked through the referendum working group, and that will be released. But let’s be clear, already, last July, I released what Australians will potentially be voting for – a draft question and draft constitutional change. That was something that was requested.

There hasn’t been any suggested changes to that draft from the Coalition and they have had more than six months to put forward constructively.

Recession fears if interest rates hiked, Deloitte says

One of the nation’s biggest consultancy firms has painted a bleak picture for the year ahead, saying Australians are at the mercy of the central bank while warning of a possible recession.

Deloitte Access Economics says economic growth will slow dramatically in 2023 as the consumer-led recovery runs out of steam.

Falling house prices, rising interest rates, high inflation, low levels of consumer confidence and negative real wage growth are expected to create a perfect storm of economic headwinds.

Deloitte Access Economics warned of the potentially devastating consequences if the Reserve Bank increased the cash rate again after a series of rate rises.

Partner Stephen Smith said:

Any further increases in the cash rate beyond the current 3.1% could unnecessarily tip Australia into recession in 2023.

At the same time, real household disposable income per capita – a key measure of prosperity – is falling, and will finish the current financial year at levels last seen before the onset of the pandemic.

There is no doubt that Australian households are starting to hurt.

The damage won’t be spread evenly across the country as south-eastern states with higher levels of consumption and pricey housing are left the most vulnerable.

Deloitte says there could be severe consequences if the Reserve Bank increases interest rates again.
Deloitte says there could be severe consequences if the Reserve Bank increases interest rates again. Photograph: Daniel Munoz/Reuters

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said he wasn’t expecting a recession this year and wouldn’t be interfering with advice for the independent Reserve Bank. He said on Sunday:

My job is to make sure that we’re doing what we can to provide that cost of living relief and grow the economy the right way, without adding to this inflation challenge. Our expectation is that the Australian economy will continue to grow.

Deloitte predicted headline inflation this financial year would come in at 7.2%, while wages were tipped to grow at 3.5% – less than half the inflation rate.

Wages were forecast to catch up to – but still lag – inflation in the next financial year, growing 3.7% against consumer price rises of 3.9%.

Deloitte expects real GDP growth to fall to 1.4% in 2023-24, down from the 3.1 % tipped for this financial year.

– AAP

Australians warned over ‘insidious’ tax office scams

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Australians are being warned against falling for “insidious” scams on social media in which criminals create fake profiles appearing to be Australian Taxation Office staff members.

The federal government will ramp up the warnings today, saying such scammers are directly targeting Australians who have posted publicly about experiencing problems with the ATO or the myGov site or who have asked questions about these topics.

A government statement to be issued today explains how these scammers operate:

They then hijack the conversation using a fake ATO profile, contacting the member of the public directly with an offer to help resolve a complaint or follow up on a comment. After earning their trust, the scammer asks them to click on a link or provide personal details.

The government says the ATO is “working with social media platforms and other government agencies to help remove these damaging interactions” but argues “the best defence against such scams is community awareness”.

The assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, urged people to exercise “extreme caution” in their social media interactions. Jones said:

Fake tax officer accounts on Twitter and Facebook can be extremely convincing, which is what makes this scam so insidious. The tax office will never ask for personal information over social media and never send links that ask you to fill out your personal information like your tax file number, myGov log in or bank account details.

Federal assistant treasurer Stephen Jones.
Federal assistant treasurer Stephen Jones. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Albanese says price caps ‘already’ having impact

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, is speaking with ABC News from Canberra after returning from Burwood yesterday where he attended lunar new year celebrations.

He expressed his own enthusiasm for the Chinese year of the rabbit:

A happy lunar new year for all those who celebrate it. For people of Chinese background, of course, it’s year of the rabbit which is particularly auspicious for a South Sydney supporter. And for people of Vietnamese background, it’s year of the cat, the zodiacs are a different different this year. So I had that explained to me last week and now hopefully we’re right on top of it, but happy new year to everyone.

Anthony Albanese walks through Emerald Square and watches a performance during lunar new year celebrations in Burwood, Sydney on Sunday.
Anthony Albanese walks through Emerald Square and watches a performance during lunar new year celebrations in Burwood, Sydney on Sunday. Photograph: Jeremy Ng/AAP

Albanese is asked about the big increases in energy prices Australians are seeing despite the recall of parliament before Christmas to introduce the energy price cap.

He says “the price caps are having an impact already”.

That’s the good news in what is otherwise a difficult story because of what we’re seeing in global prices. When you look at the caps that are there in the futures market, the prices have come down substantially.

‘I mourn my family, I mourn the police officers and I mourn the neighbour,’ says daughter of Wieambilla shooters

Madelyn Train, the daughter of Wieambilla shooters has spoken out publicly to Guardian Australia as well as Channel Nine news last night.

Train opened up to Guardian’s Nino Bucci how her parents upbringing, their descent into conspiracy theories as well as how her own relationship with them had deteriorated.

She told Nine that she is suffering from a stress disorder as a result of the recent tragedy:

I mourn my family, I mourn the police officers and I mourn the neighbour and I developed acute traumatic distress disorder from it because grieving, um, three of your family members is hard enough, but then finding out what they did and then seeing everyone’s reaction to what they did.

Good morning!

And welcome to the live blog this new week.

The government is warning Australians to be on the lookout for scammers pretending to be Australian Taxation Office staff members.

The assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, says the tax office will never ask for personal information over social media and never send links that ask you to fill out your personal information like your tax file number, myGov log in or bank account details.

The communications minister, Michelle Rowland, will convene an online dating safety roundtable to be held this Wednesday following the calls for reform after a NSW man was charged with the murder of a woman he met online last month.

The guest list has been released this morning with social services minister Amanda Rishworth, eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant, state and territory ministers and representatives from dating apps including Match, Bumble and Grindr all set to attend.

Rowland has told ABC Radio this morning:

There are unacceptable levels of abuse and harassment. The Albanese government is deeply concerned about it and we also recognise that we have over 3.2m Australians using video dating apps in 2021 and it’s actually now the most common way to meet a new partner.

In economic news, Deloitte Access Economics is warning that any further interest rate hikes from the central bank could “unnecessarily” tip Australia into a recession in this new year.

The robodebt royal commission resumes today with the third block of hearings getting under way in Brisbane. Later next week the former social services minister Christian Porter and former human services minister Alan Tudge give evidence about their roles in the unlawful debt collection scheme.

Alex de Minaur during a practice hit out at the 2023 Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park on Sunday.
Alex de Minaur during a practice hit out at the 2023 Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park on Sunday. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

In tennis news, the last Australian left in the singles draws, Alex de Minaur, will take on one of the tournament favourites Novak Djokovic which is scheduled for 7pm AEST at Rod Laver Arena.

Let’s get into it.

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