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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy

Good morning, everyone.

1. Protests continue to unfold around the United States. American police have maced, shot, and driven into crowds of protesters as they rally against the police killing of George Floyd. The police killing of black men, and police violence against protesters, has prompted renewed and intensified questions about American policing – and, indeed, policing globally.

2. To that point, the Black Lives Matter protests have spread around the world. Rallies and memorials have been held in Australia and New Zealand, as well as across Europe, and in Mexico, Canada and Brazil. In Australia, protests also centre around Aboriginal man David Dungay, who died while being restrained by five prison guards in NSW in 2015. Over 400 Indigenous people have died in police custody since 1991, and no officer has ben been prosecuted for any of them.

3. Instagram was flooded with posts of black squares on Tuesday as social media users around the world – including numerous brands and companies – participated in the 'Blackout Tuesday' protest. The idea of Blackout Tuesday, which was conceived by executives in the music industry, is to pause business for the day to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests. There are currently 26 million posts on the #blackouttuesday hashtag on Instagram.

4. What's Trump up to while this all goes on? Law enforcement in Washington, DC, fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse peaceful protesters near the White House on Monday, entirely so Trump could do a photo op in front of a nearby church. Reports indicate he wanted the photo op because he was "enraged by coverage of him sheltering in a bunker during protests around the White House".

5. There's trouble afoot at Facebook about Trump and the ongoing protests. Dozens of Facebook employees held a virtual walkout on Monday to protest the company’s decision not to take down one of President Donald Trump’s messages that Twitter said was “glorifying violence.” Some fellow tech workers are encouraging Facebook employees that are unhappy with the company’s handling of President Trump’s controversial post to step down from the company. One employee, an engineer, publicly did.

6. However, Facebook itself isn't budging, for now. At a heated meeting on Tuesday, Facebook employees challenged CEO Mark Zuckerberg as he stuck by his decision. “I think there’s a moral imperative to start wading into the admittedly muddy waters of impact and intent ... I understand why they have acted the way they have,” one employee said at the virtual town hall. “But I question whether it is ultimately sustainable.”

7. There are just two bidders remaining in the fight to acquire Virgin Australia. Virgin Australia’s administrators have determined Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners will be the two to lodge biding offers for the collapsed airline on June 12.

8. The RBA, thoroughly out of moves, left interest rates on hold at 0.25% yesterday — but says the economy could be faring better than first thought. Having basically ruled out cutting into negative territory and with a large economic contraction still coming, it had little choice but to encourage fiscal stimulus instead. But there was a minor note of positivity: "Notwithstanding these developments, it is possible that the depth of the downturn will be less than earlier expected," RBA governor Philip Lowe said. "The rate of new infections has declined significantly and some restrictions have been eased earlier than was previously thought likely.

9. Yesterday, Uber announced it will trial a car rental feature in Australia, named – creatively – Uber Rent. Basically, it's a partnership with car rental platform CarTrawler, allowing users to pick and book rentals straight through the Uber app. The feature will first launch in Brisbane, but only for 50% of regular Uber users.

10. Buy now pay later company Zip's shares soared after it announced the acquisition of US company QuadPay, which is one of the leading buy now pay later offerings in the US. Having already increased its stake to 15% of Quad last year, Zip has now bought it outright. Like its local competitor Afterpay, Zip is looking to make a bigger play into the US. Something to keep an eye on.


You might well wonder what people with essential business have been doing for air travel in Australia. Well, Australian private jet startup Airly has reported an 80% rise of usage through the pandemic.