Question time in federal parliament is due to begin at 2pm.

Watch below:

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton kicked off question time moments ago with an attacking query towards Prime Minister Anthony Albanese about today’s higher-than-hoped inflation figures, but the Labor leader’s response was cut short when a Coalition MP raised a point of order, taking issue with Albanese not using Dutton’s correct title.

The opposition leader had asked the prime minister if he “took responsibility” for cost-of-living pressures Australians were facing.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in parliament yesterday.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in parliament yesterday.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Here’s how Albanese began his response, moments after both leaders acknowledged the presence of the Solomon Islands prime minister in the chamber (edited for length and clarity):

I’ll leave people to draw their own conclusions between the gap, that was there, of mere seconds, of speaking about the importance of a relationship with our neighbours, and with the world, and that question!

… He asked me about what we are doing, what we’re doing is dealing with cost-of-living pressures… [and] he has voted against every single one of them!

The energy price relief! What did he do? Vote against it. Whether it be the tax cuts for every Australian that will come in on Monday – all 13.6 million taxpayers…

They said they would reverse that. He said we should go to an election on it. That is how strongly he felt about it before he voted for it.

But soon, the Member for Moncrieff Angie Bell raised a point of order.

“Members should be called by their correct titles, Mr Speaker,” she said. “The prime minister has repeatedly called the opposition leader ‘he’.”

As the prime minister rose to respond, at least one MP could be heard shouting, seemingly towards Dutton: “What’s your pronouns?”

Whoever shouted this was not visible on the camera recording the House of Representatives.

Albanese himself responded: “I wasn’t aware that he was a ‘they’… Anything is possible on that side, Mr Speaker.”

Two of this masthead’s journalists have received honours in the National Press Club’s annual Excellence in Health Journalism Awards.

Laura Banks, a NSW health reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, was the winner of the Health Policy, Health Economics & Business category for her investigation into an alarming increase in psychological injury claims and workplace-related suicides among frontline public health workers.

“Health journalism is so very important, now more than ever,” Banks said. “I am so thankful that I am trusted to tell these stories.”

The series included revelations that at least eight nurses and midwives had taken their lives in the past three years, one in 12 paramedics had submitted a WorkCover claim for psychological injury, and the heartbreaking testimony of former midwife Karen Buckley, who was forced to take a medical termination after receiving a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.

Federal health reporter Natassia Chrysanthos also received a commendation for her series on autism, particularly for her feature on what is driving the rise in autism diagnoses, and a deep dive into the identity politics behind the disorder.

Good afternoon.

I’m Lachlan Abbott, and I’ll be keeping you updated with the latest Australian news for the rest of the day.

Thanks so much to Josefine Ganko for her blogging efforts this morning.

As we head towards question time in Canberra, let’s look back at the news of the day so far.

  • Julian Assange is bound for Australia after his plea deal was formalised in a US court this morning. The WikiLeaks founder pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defence information under the Espionage Act and was sentenced to time already served – 62 months in prison. You can follow dedicated live coverage here.
  • New inflation figures released this morning show annual inflation has lifted to 4 per cent – its highest level since November – raising the prospect of the Reserve Bank lifting interest rates again. In April, the annual figure was 3.6 per cent.
  • Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hosted Solomon Islands Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele in Canberra this morning. It was Manele’s first overseas trip since taking over from Manasseh Sogavare, who alarmed Australian officials by striking a wide-ranging security pact with China.
  • In Victoria, the chief of one of the state’s largest health services has warned the state government’s budget cuts are more challenging than anticipated and imposed an immediate hiring freeze.
  • In NSW, a family home – with five adults and four girls – was peppered with bullets and a young man was hospitalised after being shot in the stomach in two separate Sydney shootings overnight.
  • In Queensland, the family of Tia Cameron have emotionally erupted at a brief court hearing for the Brisbane City Council bus driver charged over her death.
  • In Western Australia, WAtoday this morning revealed a man who spent 22 years behind bars after he violently raped and attempted to kill a five-year-old girl on a family camping trip has been re-arrested.
  • In business news, the Australian sharemarket has fallen after higher-than-expected inflation data raised the odds that the Reserve Bank might consider raising rates, instead of much-hoped-for rate cuts.
  • In international news, the gambling scandal engulfing the British election has claimed its first victim of the Labour opposition, with a candidate suspended because he placed a bet against himself winning his own seat.

Members of the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group just held a press conference at Parliament House, led by one of Assange’s most dedicated supporters, independent Andrew Wilkie.

Wilkie spoke alongside Labor MP Josh Wilson, Liberal MP Bridget Archer, and Greens Senator David Shoebridge. Many other MPs from across the political spectrum stood in the background.

Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, addresses the media during a joint press conference with the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group.

Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, addresses the media during a joint press conference with the Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“It is obviously thrilling news that Julian Assange is free and on his way home,” Wilkie said.

“For many years, a series of Australian governments were either disinterested in Julian Assange or downright hostile. It is pleasing that this government was the government, finally, that listened to the community and took up the challenge and did a lot – a real lot – of difficult, quiet, behind-the-scenes work with foreign governments to bring about today.

“I would also like to acknowledge the millions of people, right around the world, [who] have rallied for Julian for years.”

Wilkie said it was still “alarming” that Assange had been charged and had to plead guilty today to secure his freedom.

“I think it sends a chill down the spine of journalists worldwide that this precedent has been set,” Wilkie said, “and it means that there is more work to do to push for media freedom and protections for journalists so that they can do their job.”

Julian Assange’s plane has now left the runway in Saipan and is heading to Australia’s capital.

Vision aired on the ABC moments ago showed the private jet taking off from the Northern Mariana Islands, where the WikiLeaks founder pleaded guilty this morning to a single charge under the US Espionage Act, ending a long-running saga stemming from the publication of secret government cables more than a decade ago.

A plane believed to be carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lands at Saipan International Airport earlier today.

A plane believed to be carrying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange lands at Saipan International Airport earlier today.Credit: Getty

Assange is now bound for Canberra and thousands are tracking his plane – a chartered Bombardier Global 6000 with call-sign of VJT199 – flying south from the US territory, where he appeared in court today, towards Australia.

He is now heading past Guam and is expected in Australia in less than eight hours.

Live air traffic website Flightradar24 estimates he will arrive at 8.54pm AEST. Although, his scheduled landing time is 6.53pm and another flight tracking website, FlightAware, suggests he will land at 7.32pm local time. Assange departed slightly later than scheduled, it appears, which may have scrambled his estimated time of arrival.

To keep updated with when he arrives, follow our dedicated live coverage here.

Victoria will close two prisons, including a privately-run maximum security one, and shift inmates to a $1.1 billion facility that has been sitting idle for almost two years.

Port Phillip Prison will close by the end of 2025 and the 59-year-old Dhurringile Prison will close within months, Corrections Minister Enver Erdogan announced on Wednesday.

Port Phillip Prison is privately operated by G4S, and has been open since September 1997 with a capacity of 1087 inmates.

Port Phillip Prison in Truganina.

Port Phillip Prison in Truganina.Credit: Craig Abraham

The state’s contract with G4S was renewed in 2015 and agreement extensions were expected to continue for 20 years, depending on performance.

Workers at both prisons will be given the opportunity to work elsewhere in Victoria’s justice system.

Inmates at Dhurringile will likely move to the Beechworth minimum security prison.

Victoria’s Yoorrook Justice Commission, the truth-telling inquiry run as part of the state’s treaty process with Aboriginal people, heard in 2023 that the $1.1 billion Western Plains prison was sitting idle.

The decision to build the prison was made before the COVID-19 pandemic when detainee numbers were increasing, Corrections Victoria Commissioner Larissa Strong told the inquiry.

Construction was completed in November 2022, and at the time of her appearance in May 2023 at the commission, Strong estimated the empty prison had cost Corrections Victoria $36 million to maintain and secure.

AAP

Treasurer Jim Chalmers responded to the monthly inflation figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, saying that while inflation lowered slightly in May, the annual rate was still too high at 4 per cent.

“As we’ve said many times before, the monthly CPI number is volatile and can jump around because not every item in the basket is updated each month,” Chalmers said in a statement.

“We know people are under substantial pressure, but the ABS clearly confirmed again today that inflation would be even higher if it wasn’t for our cost-of-living policies.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been freed under a plea deal in which he pled guilty to one espionage charge in exchange for a 62-month time-served prison sentence.

He has just left the court in Saipan, a US territory in the Pacific Ocean, where the deal was entered in a District Court.

His lawyers briefly addressed the media and answered a few questions, but Assange himself did not speak.

He will now board a flight bound for Canberra, where he will arrive later today.

Our rolling coverage continues on our dedicated live blog, so head over there for more updates.

Labor MP Julian Hill, a long-time supporter of Julian Assange, has praised the prime minister for his role in securing the WikiLeaks founder’s freedom.

Labor MP Julian Hill

Labor MP Julian HillCredit: Alex Ellinghausen

“The prime minister deserves enormous credit for his calm, professional, dogged and effective advocacy in this case,” Hill told Sky News.

“Julian Assange is an Australian.”

Hill has been advocating for Assange for years, noting that he supported his bid for freedom “before it was trendy”.

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