Australia news LIVE: Albanese warns of cuts to federal budget; Ukraine given candidate status by European Union; ABS under fire over ‘non-binary’ census question

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‘Garbage data’: ABS under fire over ‘non-binary’ census question

LGBTQI advocates fear the 2021 census results, which start to be unveiled next week, will dramatically underestimate gender diversity in Australia because of a poorly worded question asking whether people identify their sex as male, female or “non-binary”.

Some advocates believe the results will be so flawed the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) should not release the figures showing how many Australians chose the new “non-binary” option when asked to identify their sex.

LGBTQI advocate Teddy Cook is concerned about the accuracy of the latest census data.Credit:Rhett Wyman

Rodney Croome, a spokesman for the Just.Equal Australia lobby group, said the non-binary sex option was a “useless hybrid” that conflated people who are transgender and intersex as well as those who identify as gender non-binary.

“Many transgender people would have ticked male or female, people with a non-binary gender identity would have wondered if ‘non-binary sex’ applied to them and many intersex people would also have found it confusing,” Croome said.

“My fear is that the number of people who ticked ‘non-binary’ will be very low and this will be weaponised by opponents of transgender equality and inclusion.”

Teddy Cook, a board member of the Australian Professional Association for Trans Health, said the ABS was well-intentioned, but the sex question would produce “inaccurate data that’s highly likely to mislead”.

Read the full article here.

Brakes on spending: Albanese warns of budget cuts

Cabinet ministers have started work on spending cuts in the federal budget after identifying programs they want to scrap, sparking a warning to Australians to prepare for curbs on outlays to bring the nation’s finances under control.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Labor government’s first budget would “really put the brakes on” federal spending to address problems highlighted by the expenditure review committee (ERC) of federal cabinet.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.Credit:Rhett Wyman

“We’re going to have to really put the brakes on some of the spending which is there,” he told the ABC’s 7.30 program on Thursday night.

With budget deficits forecast to reach $261.4 billion over the four years to 2025, the incoming government is rejecting some spending options despite pressure from state leaders and community groups for long-term boosts to outlays on health and social services such as Newstart.

“I’ve made it very clear there is a range of things that I would like to do that we won’t be able to do in our first budget,” he said.

“We will also be going through, line by line, looking for the waste which is there.

“And, already, we’ve identified a range of measures that were made by the former government that, frankly, don’t stack up.”

Read the full article here.

Today’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Friday, June 24. I’m Ashleigh McMillan 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.

  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Labor government’s first budget would “really put the brakes on” federal spending to address problems highlighted by the expenditure review committee (ERC) of federal cabinet. “We’re going to have to really put the brakes on some of the spending which is there,” he told the ABC’s 7.30 program last night.
  • Albanese is being urged to visit Kyiv after he attends the NATO summit in Spain next week, after an official invitation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyto. World leaders have stepped up their support for Ukraine in recent days with pledges of civil and military aid as well as visits to the capital. Australian government officials are currently considering the security risks of the journey.

  • Thousands of doses of expensive antiviral drugs could be wasted if more Australians do not become eligible to take the treatments that have been found to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19, according to the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

  • The European Union has agreed to put Ukraine on a path towards membership at a meeting at a summit in Brussels. Leaders of the EU’s 27 nations were unanimous in their approval to grant Ukraine candidate status which is part of a long process that could take years or even decades.
  • LGBTQI advocates fear the 2021 census results, which start to be unveiled next week, will dramatically underestimate gender diversity in Australia because of a poorly worded question asking whether people identify their sex as male, female or “non-binary”.
  • Four of the Victorian government’s most senior ministers – Deputy Premier James Merlino, Health Minister Martin Foley, Police Minister Lisa Neville and Sports Minister Martin Pakula – will announce their retirement from politics at the next election, joining two other ministers who have already announced they will retire.

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