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6 things you need to know today

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Published on: Monday, December 18, 2017

  • Treasurer Scott Morrison is unveiling the budget data in Canberra today. The mid-year budget update will show Australia's gross debt will be $23 billion lower by the end of the 2020-21 financial year, compared to the forecasts in the May budget, according to Morrison.
  • Attorney-General George Brandis is leaving federal politics to take up the post of Australia's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, according to the ABC. The move will be announced as part of a broader pre-Christmas reshuffle of Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet.
  • Liberal John Alexander defeated Labor’s Kristina Keneally in the Bennelong byelection by a 54.2-45.8 margin, a swing to Labor of 5.6 points since the 2016 election. The win for Alexander restore's the Coalition's 76 seats in the lower house, returning it to a two-seat majority.
  • A South Korean-born Sydney man was charged Sunday with acting as an economic agent for North Korea in Australia by allegedly attempting to broker sales worth tens of millions of dollars for Pyongyang that included components used in ballistic missiles.
  • Top Republicans in the US have said they expect Congress to pass a tax code overhaul this week, with a Senate vote as early as Tuesday and President Donald Trump aiming to sign the bill by week’s end. The legislation would lower taxes on wealthier Americans and is expected to trigger job growth. 
  • Household power bills are tipped to fall by more than 10% in the next two years, but only after a spike this summer. Australia Energy Market Commission (AEMC) predicts prices across the country will rise sharply in the first quarter of 2018 before falling by 6.2% each year on average over the next two years from July thanks to falling wholesale energy costs.

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