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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy
·4-min read

Good morning team.

1. Victoria's COVID-19 spike "will get worse before it gets better" said the state's chief health officer Brett Sutton. He also indicated it was “absolutely an option” to put some hotspot suburbs into a secondary lockdown. The hotspot suburbs are Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir, Pakenham, Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows.

2. Are parts of Australia, like Victoria, headed for mandatory face masks in infection hotspots and on public transport? Health Minister Greg Hunt isn't ruling it out. "They have developed a set of protocols here where if somebody is in close proximity on public transport, it's perfectly appropriate [to wear a mask] or if there is an outbreak then state or territory authorities are empowered and in a position to decide whether this should be encouraged or even mandatory," Hunt told ABC's 7.30 last night.

3. JobKeeper should remain beyond its September cutoff date, think tank The Grattan Institute has urged. In a 122-page report, it cautioned the government from going down the path of cutting support programs, including JobKeeper, JobSeeker and rental assistance, too early. Instead, it advised that JobKeeper should be expanded to include temporary migrants, short-term casuals and unis, while JobSeeker payments should be lifted permanently.

4. Regional Express Airlines says it will go ahead with plans to launch services between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane – which will put them in direct competition with Qantas and Virgin. The airline floated this idea back in March through the media – which led the ASX to freeze trading of its stock over the creative interpretation of disclosure rules.

5. Several Australian corporate heavy hitters have backed a plan to create 1.8 million jobs through renewable energy and low emission projects. Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, First State Super chief executive Deanne Stewart and former Macquarie Group chair Kevin McCann are all signed on. "Let's look at the natural advantages we have and we can build a renewable energy superpower with a very low cost of energy generation," Cannon-Brookes said at the launch of the million jobs plan on Monday by energy think tank Beyond Zero Emissions.

6. Facebook shares fell roughly 1% on Monday as more advertisers boycotted its platform. The two-day stock decline has resulted in roughly $US60 billion being erased from the company’s market value. Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Verizon have all suspended their advertising on Facebook and, in some cases, other social-media platforms – ostensibly as a protest against hate speech policy. But you do have to wonder if there's something deeper afoot here.

7. There has been a bit of movement on digital platforms taking a more aggressive stance on harassment and hate speech policy. On Monday, YouTube announced the bans of many popular white supremacists, Reddit purged a number of subreddits which it says violated rules relating to "harassment and targeting", and Twitch suspended Trump's account for violating its "hateful conduct" policy.

8. The World Health Organisation said on Monday that “the worst is yet to come” in the fight against the coronavirus and that “the pandemic is actually speeding up.” “Every politician needs to look in the mirror and say, ‘Am I doing enough to stop this virus?'” the executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program said.

9. China has reimposed a strict lockdown for 400,000 people after a spike of coronavirus cases near Beijing The region of Anxin county in Hebei province is in lockdown, meaning only essential workers can leave their homes, apart from one household member who is allowed to go shopping once a day.

10. Pharmaceutical giants have added $51 billion to their market value in 2020 as they scramble to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Gilead Sciences is the frontrunner among six pharma companies, seeing a $US15.7 billion gain in market value, helped by its trials of the antiviral medication Remdesivir. Moderna, one of the companies furthest along in its vaccine development, has seen its market value jump by $US15.5 billion amid the coronavirus outbreak.


Fun one for you. This 1969 Holden Monaro sold for $750,000, the highest ever price for an Australian Holden at auction. Take a look inside.