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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy

Morning. Hope you all had excellent weekends.

1. Australia is getting its own equivalent of the NASDAQ. According to the AFR this morning, a new S&P technology index will launch in February, giving greater clarity to investors tracking ASX tech stocks. At present, those watching the fast-growing sector individually analyse a number of small-cap stocks. It will be known as the S&P All Technology Index or the S&P AllTech for short.

2. We now know every financial institution involved in the federal government's first home loan deposit scheme. The Commonwealth Bank and the National Australia Bank (NAB) will be the only two major banks to offer the first home loan scheme, with 25 smaller lenders represented otherwise.

3. If you use Afterpay or a similar buy now, pay later service, your bank could reject your home loan. It's another part of the government's new responsible lending guidelines, which also encourage banks to ask about other examples of discretionary spending like streaming service subscriptions and private schooling. Interestingly, the guidelines explicitly describe Afterpay and their ilk as "unregulated credit".

4. Eyewear brand Oscar Wylee is in hot water with the ACCC over its ‘buy a pair, give a pair’ initiative. You've almost certainly seen the ads: for every pair of glasses you buy, the company is supposed to donate one to charity. Well, maybe not. Despite selling more than 320,000 pairs between 2014 and 2018, the consumer watchdog alleges only 3,000 pairs of glasses were donated.

5. McDonald's Australia has taken over two restaurants in north-west Victoria after a video went viral showing one of the company's franchisees harassing an Indigenous artist. Artist Robby Wirramanda filmed his neighbours Karen Ridge and Rob Vigors on his property verbally attacking him and trying to pull down an Aboriginal flag hanging from the side of his house. The company confirmed it had ended its relationship with Vigors in a Facebook post.

6. Sydney's much-vaunted CBD light rail is now officially operating... but it's very slow. The new trams left some scratching their heads over the weekend, as the average travel time between Randwick and Circular Quay was about 50 minutes – not great when existing buses can do it in 35. The transport minister, Andrew Constance, says the trams will get faster as people get used to boarding and alighting them, and as traffic flows are better optimised.

7. Find yourself perversely curious about how Boris Johnson celebrated his landslide victory last week? Allow me to indulge you. Apparently, he enjoyed a glass of wine and attended a Christmas party with Mick Jagger and Princess Beatrice. Ho hum. How droll.

8. A group of Democratic primary candidates in the US are threatening to skip the next official debate over a labour dispute. Campus food service workers at Loyola State University, where the debate is being held, are on strike after contract negotiations for better wages and healthcare broke down on Friday. Five candidates have threatened to pull out of the debate in solidarity with the workers.

9. Our friends in the US have pulled together a list of the top 10 brands which blew up with Gen Z this year. There are a few obvious ones which are reflected in Australia – like Uber – but a few of them, like hard seltzer brand White Claw, might point to forthcoming trends here.

10. If you're keeping an eye on the upcoming battle between the next generation of Xbox and PlayStation consoles, it's becoming clearer and clearer the two will offer almost identical performance. Both consoles are running on almost identical specs, meaning the real battle will be software and the exclusive titles they manage to score.


If you haven't seen it yet, you really have to watch the video of Boris Johnson learning of the results in his electorate next to a fellow candidate in an Elmo costume, and another named 'Lord Buckethead'.