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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

James Hennessy

Good morning, team.

1. Facebook told the ACCC it could kick Australian news off the platform and it wouldn't have a significant effect on its business. It comes as the competition regular tries to work out a regime of compensation for local publishers who have their content displayed on platforms like Facebook and Google. Facebook said neither it nor Google should be expected to prop up Australian news media.

2. The banks suspect that up to one in five people who deferred their home loans through the coronavirus are in financial strife. This suggests that some 96,000 borrowers, with mortgages worth almost $35 billion, could require more assistance – with some bankers offering extensions of one, three and six months.

3. One of the bidders for Virgin Australia has outlined what it plans to do with the airline. Richard Branson-linked investment firm Cyrus Capital believes Virgin Australia could be profitable within three years after relaunching under its ownership as a smaller, simpler, mid-market airline operating a domestic and international network. In Cyrus' vision, Virgin would occupy a middle space, with a competitively-priced business class product alongside affordable leisure travel fares.

4. International travel may have shut down in April, but that doesn't mean we didn't have a few arrivals. 2,250 international travellers still arrived throughout the month, according to the ABS – with the largest contingents from New Zealand, the US, Britain and Germany.

5. The government has confirmed it will soon trial a program to fly international students into the country. Students will be required to undergo 14 days quarantine on arrival, paid for by the universities themselves. South Australia and the ACT are set to be the first state and territory to participate in the trial.

6. Following the controversy over Rio Tinto blasting an Aboriginal heritage site, focus has turned to another miner. China Shenhua Energy, the world's largest thermal coalminer, is planning to construct an open-cut mine next to the Liverpool plains near Gunnedah, which has been opposed by the Gomeroi people, who say it will destroy cultural heritage.

7. More news from the Labor branch stacking scandal in Victoria. Robin Scott became the second MP to resign, though he denies any wrongdoing, and further recordings have also tied fellow cabinet member Marlene Kairouz to the scandal.

8. Huge news out of the Supreme Court in the US. The court decided in a landmark ruling on Monday that existing anti-discrimination employment protections apply to individuals who are gay, lesbian, and transgender. In a 6-3 decision, conservative Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch sided with the court’s four liberal voices. The decision is a blow to the Trump administration, which argued that existing protections did not apply to people based on their identification in the LGBTQ community.

9. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is reportedly willing to testify before Congress about antitrust concerns. The House Judiciary Committee has been conducting an inquiry into major tech companies, probing whether they have acted anti-competitively. Up until now, Amazon has resisted making Bezos available to testify. Lawmakers have threatened to subpoena Bezos, forcing him to appear before the committee. Unlike most of his peers – including Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg – Bezos has not yet appeared.

10. Germany will borrow a total of 218 billion euros to help fund its coronavirus fiscal stimulus packages. Some of the plan’s measures include slashing VAT taxes, child-benefit schemes and a car bonus scheme. It shows just how huge the hit to government budgets this has been around the world.


Oh, good to know.