The Headlines: A Lot of Experts Reckon the RBA’s Going to Keep Hitting the Interest Button

Trigger warning: this article contains references to sexual assault.

Hello folks, just to let you know, not everything in the news today has been all that kind or comfy. In fact, some of it is as serious as it gets. Here are this Friday’s biggest headlines:

The Cash Rate Is Predicted to Go Up Again

Since April, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) cash rate has skyrocketed. It’s also more than likely that this rate has no plans on plummeting back down. 

The cash rate is the rate that the RBA lends money to the banks. When that rises, the interest rates that banks charge us goes up in tandem. A lot of homeowners would be negatively impacted by this rise, as it would increase the amount of money that they are paying on their mortgage. 

Finder asked 39 experts and economists if they believe that the Australian cash rate will go up, hold steady, or drop. In worrisome news for homeowners, 38 of these individuals believe that it will go up again, with 35 believing this increase will be by another 25 basis points. 

As Finder’s Head of Consumer Research, Graham Cooke, said, “The current series of rate hikes has added almost $9000 to the annual cost of a $500k mortgage. Another 25-basis-point hike will push that cost up to near $10,000.” 

The Entire Jury of the Bruce Lehrmann Trial Has Been Dismissed

Bruce Lehrmann is the man accused of sexually assaulting Brittany Higgins in Parliament House back in March 2019. This led to a trial taking place in 2022, which took place for 12 days and had 29 witnesses take the stand. Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to the allegations made against him. 

However, the entire jury of this trial has now been dismissed, with a new trial taking place in February 2023. This is because one of the junior jurors brought a research paper about sexual assaults into the courthouse. All of the jurors were explicitly instructed that they couldn’t do their own research regarding this case.

“It has come to my attention that one of you, contrary to directions, has undertaken research in relation to issues in the case and that material has entered the jury room that ought not to have,” said Chief Justice, Lucy McCallum.

“I have heard an explanation, and it may be that no harm has been done, but that is not a risk that I can take. In the circumstances, I have discharged that juror, and I have to discharge you all.”

Outside of the court, Higgins said, “I told the truth no matter, how uncomfortable or unflattering, to the court. Today’s outcome does not change that truth. When I did speak up, I never fully understood how asymmetrical the criminal justice system is, but I do now.”

“I was required to tell the truth under oath for over a week in the witness stand and was cross-examined at length. He was afforded the choice of staying silent in court, head down in a notebook, completely detached. He never faced one question in court about his story and the criminal charges.”

She also said, “In the ACT during 2020, only 16 per cent of sexual offences reported to police resulted in a charge. Only half of that number again resulted in a conviction. That is to our national shame.”

Lehrmann’s lawyers have referred Higgins’ remarks to both the Australian Federal Police and the court.

Related: Stealthing Might Be Banned in Victoria — So, What Is It?

Related: Disclosing Sexual Assault — As a Survivor, or as a Friend

The $800 Million Northern Rivers Buyback Scheme

As of October 27, the NSW Government and the Federal Government are teaming up to give flood victims a bit of much-needed support. These governments have created a $800-million programme called the Northern Rivers Resilient Homes Fund. This programme will buy back around 2000 homes that were smashed by the Northern Rivers floods. 

The Northern Rivers Resilient Homes Fund is opt-in only and will purchase property at pre-disaster prices. It is specifically for certain impacted houses in the Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Tweed, and Richmond Valley areas. These homes must have been damaged by the devastating floods or landslides of February or March 2022. 

Moreover, this fund will also give homeowners $100,000 to raise their house or $50,000 to reduce flood risks through retrofitting their homes. 

Outreach for the Northern Rivers Resilient Homes Fund will begin sometime in the next number of weeks.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a sexual assault, please contact the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence National Help Line on 1800 Respect (1800 737 732) or head to The Australian Human Rights Commission for a list of state by state resources.

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