Good morning. It's the final day of the working year, and therefore the final day of this newsletter until the beginning of January. I trust you'll be able to fumble your way through the news until then.
1. Scott Morrison is returning from his family holiday. The prime minister's office issued a statement following news two volunteer firefighters had been killed in a truck rollover in Sydney's southwest, expressing "regret" for any offence caused by taking his trip, reportedly to Hawaii, during the bushfire crisis. Although it's being reported that Morrison cut his trip short, it's worth noting acting PM Michael McCormack suggested yesterday Morrison would be back in the country Monday night anyway.
2. Donald Trump was impeached yesterday. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment, charging him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. He's still president, of course, but now the Senate will decide if he is removed from office. Republicans dominate the Senate, so its highly, highly unlikely they will elect to do so. The president is having a good one about it.
3. Shock horror: the most desirable suburbs in Australia are largely in the inner cities. The suburb of Melbourne topped Domain's list of the most in-demand suburbs, but it was Sydney’s inner city that dominated the rankings, taking out the majority of the top 20 places.
4. The government's response to Google and Facebook could result in media companies being forewarned about changes to news feed and search algorithms. That concept was floated by the ACCC's Digital Platforms Inquiry, but the government confirmed to Business Insider Australia it will be covered by a "code of conduct", which media companies and the tech giants need to hash out amongst themselves. If they don't come to an agreeable solution, the government steps in.
5. An Australian website flogging Hawaiian shirts with pictures of Scott Morrison's face on them crashed due to demand. Obviously, it's a reference to ScoMo's holiday jaunt, but you have to wonder if people will remember this saga in the years to come. At some point, you're just wearing a shirt with Scott Morrison's face on it.
6. Women now make up 30% of Australian board positions for the first time, according to The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD). It comes after the AICD set a target to increase representation in 2015, when the number was closer to 20%. The goal was reached later than planned, but the AICD boss says it is still “a great achievement".
7. In 'hell freezing over' news, Apple, Amazon and Google have decided to play nice over smart home tech. The companies announced they will collaborate on standards for smart homes, with the overall goal being to “develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet.” The companies hope it will "increase compatibility for consumers.”
8. Not even Facebook's support forums are free of scammers. Is nothing sacred? According to a new BI investigation, there are hundreds upon hundreds of spam replies redirecting users to a hoax Facebook helpline, drowning out almost all legitimate posts. Many of the posts are as much as five months old, indicating a huge failure of moderation by Facebook.
9. Boris Johnson plans to deliver Brexit in just six weeks. The PM is expecting to ram through the necessary legislation with his new 80-seat majority, with his Brexit bill hitting Parliament on Friday. Footage emerged from the Queen's Speech of defeated Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn completely blanking Johnson. Which is fair enough, considering the size of the defeat.
10. A series of photos have emerged showing a massive backlog of uncompleted Boeing 737 Max planes, following the announcement production would halt on the troubled aircraft. The company announced this week it would be stopping production, but promised it would not be making any layoffs as a result of this decision and that employees would instead be redirected to other tasks.
Usher in the holiday season with some video of everyone's favourite thing: industrial production lines in action.
See you next year.