Morning Express: Thursday, May 16

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Morning Express is a live news blog produced each weekday from 6am-9am, covering the latest headlines, weather and transport.

Good morning Sydney. Up and at ’em.

It’s a bit warmer out there this morning, thankfully.

Weatherzone tells us it’s currently sitting on 14 degrees in the city, which is five degrees warmer than this time yesterday.

Today we can expect patchy morning fog in the west with a mostly sunny afternoon.

Winds will be north-westerly at 15 to 20 km/h, turning westerly at 15 to 25 km/h in the middle of the day.

A maximum temperature of 22 degrees is forecast in the city, and 20 degrees in Penrith.

Moving to the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald, and Tony Abbott appears set to defy the Gillard government’s expectations and allow the axing of the baby bonus and cuts to family payments in the federal budget to pass through Parliament

On the front pages of the major papers:

The Australian Financial Review reports that shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has warned his frontbench colleagues that the Coalition must consider passing the savings and tax increases in Tuesday’s federal budget, raising the likelihood that the opposition could support most measures, including the abolition of the Howard government’s baby bonus.

The Age in Melbourne has the story of the girl that brought the Prime Minister to tears in Parliament yesterday. Twelve-year-old Sophie met Julia Gillard when she announced her plan to increase the Medicare levy to help pay for DisabilityCare.

The Australian  says Peter Reith will demand today that business aggressively pressure Tony Abbott to introduce more radical workplace policy changes if he wins the election, while stepping up his attack on the Coalition’s paid parental leave policy as unaffordable and “wrong in principle”.

The Daily Telegraph reports that outcast MP Craig Thomson will contest the next election as a fully fledged independent after confirming he will resign from the Labor Party for good – making the controversial politician the first to stand for election with pending criminal charges against him.

Moving to the situation on Sydney’s roads now, and it doesn’t look good on the Great Western Highway.

The highway has been closed in both directions at Doonside Road due to a multi-vehicle crash at Arndell Park.

Emergency services are on site and local diversions are in place.

Motorists are advised to allow plenty of additional travel time.

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