Afternoon Update: national cabinet falls short on primary care, AMA says; US police kill again; and a Chinese spy balloon

<span>Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Happy Friday! The much anticipated Strengthening Medicare report delivered to national cabinet today provides no immediate relief on affordability, the Australian Medical Association has said.

The primary care crisis topped the agenda in Canberra, with the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, calling for “better pay for GPs” among other urgent reforms. But there were no specific announcements on increasing the Medicare rebate or addressing affordability as bulk-billing clinics disappear across the country.

That lack of detail was immediately seized upon by the AMA, who released a statement saying “the problem is there is absolutely nothing in the report as released today that will allow Australians who are struggling to see a GP or struggling to afford to see a GP to see that GP any more quickly”.

The health minister, Mark Butler, did say, however that changes to the Medicare rebate are on the table. You can read the full report here.

Top news

John Barilaro
John Barilaro
  • Labor threatens to refer John Barilaro matter | NSW’s former deputy premier (pictured) has been handed a “please explain” by the state opposition after reports emerged his office withheld bushfire recovery money from Labor electorates. The opposition leader, Chris Minns, is considering referring the matter to the corruption watchdog.

  • Nick Kyrgios assault charge dismissed | The tennis star pleaded guilty to assault after admitting he shoved his ex-girlfriend in 2021. But an ACT magistrate has thrown out the charge as “low-level”. The late-night incident occurred on 10 January 2021, when he pushed his ex-girlfriend Chiara Passari after an argument outside her apartment in the inner-city Canberra suburb of Kingston.

  • Monique Ryan, Sally Rugg reach agreement | The independent MP Monique Ryan and her chief of staff, Sally Rugg, have reached a compromise that prevents the political staffer from being imminently sacked. They will also enter mediation in an attempt to resolve a broader dispute about working conditions in the MP’s office.

Anthony Albanese posing in a suit by the water
Anthony Albanese posing in a suit by the water
  • Albanese speaks to Katharine Murphy | The PM has sat down for a lengthy one-on-one podcast interview with our political editor, Katharine Murphy. Note this down for a listen this weekend – the episode will be out 6am AEDT tomorrow and you’ll be able to find it here.

  • More buses better than grand projects | Underprivileged suburbs would be better serviced by more frequent buses and improved bus routes, rather than expensive infrastructure projects like Melbourne’s suburban rail loop, researchers have found.

  • Chinese spy balloon spotted over US | The Pentagon says it is tracking a Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States but has decided against shooting it down for safety reasons. The balloon was most recently tracked crossing over Montana, where the US has some of its silo-based nuclear missiles.

  • US police kill man cleaning grandmother’s apartment | Joe Frasure Jr, 28, was cleaning a Ohio apartment after his grandmother passed away. Police, however, suspected him of being a burglar and shot him dead. It’s the latest in a string of controversial police killings in the US.

  • Shell oil spills in Nigeria | Thousands of Nigerians are seeking justice in the high court in London against the fossil fuel company Shell, claiming it is responsible for devastating pollution of their water sources and the destruction of their way of life. Shell have been operating on the Niger delta for over 80 years and recently announced they will be ceasing all operations.

  • Tech giants’ earnings below expectations | The A-Team of big tech – Apple, Amazon and Alphabet – have all posted disappointing first-quarter results. Apple shares slid more than 4% after the company delivered rare misses on revenue, profit and sales. Alphabet (Google) also narrowly missed analysts’ expectations, signalling lower demand for its search advertising during a slowing economy.

Full Story

Jim Chalmers frowning
Jim Chalmers frowning

Is Jim Chalmers’ essay capitalist or communist?

The treasurer (pictured) recently penned an essay in the Monthly titled “Capitalism after the crises”, which has prompted debate about Chalmers’ economic convictions. Our editors discuss the essay and the need for nuance in an era of polarisation.

What they said …

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin


“A modern war with Russia will be completely different.” – Vladimir Putin

The Russian leader used a trip to Stalingrad, known today as Volgograd, to claim Russia is being threatened by German tanks “again” – referring to the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union in the second world war. Germany recently decided to send Ukraine battle tanks to help repel the Russian invasion, prompting Putin’s latest warning to the west.

In numbers

The Australian Medical Association’s president, Prof Steve Robson, said the deaths were “tragic but not surprising given the state of a largely neglected aged care sector”.

Before bed read

Edvard Munch’s Spring, an impressionistic painting of two women, one seeming sickly, sitting by a softly lit window with a breeze blowing the curtains

DY0P9B Edvard Munch Spring
Photograph: Artepics/Alamy

Do you ever feel used when you provide support for friends who don’t express a sense of gratitude? This couple do: they’ve been making meals for a family whose child was diagnosed with leukaemia, but now feel their friends are “taking it for granted”. How much should we expect from friends enduring a nightmare? Our advice columnist, Eleanor Gordon-Smith, has some thoughts.

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