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10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 18/10/2020 James Hennessy
Daniel Andrews in a suit standing in front of a sign

Good morning, team. Hope you had good weekends.

1. A number of significant coronavirus restrictions in Victoria were eased late last night. People will now be able to travel in a 25-kilometre radius from their homes, up from five kilometres. Further restrictions are set to be lifted on November 1, largely relating to retail, hospitality and personal services.

2. As you're no doubt aware by now, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was re-elected to a second term, winning a landslide victory on Saturday's election. Ardern's Labour Party won 49% of the vote, 20% over the opposing National Party, and the highest result since New Zealand adopted the current mixed-member proportional system in 1996. Ardern has been praised for her government's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

3. An ABC-run social media network? That's one idea being peddled as a possible solution amid the ACCC/Facebook/Google brouhaha. The proposal for a platform hosted by the ABC is, the Guardian reports, one made in a report commissioned by the Centre for Responsible Technology, 'Tech-Xit: Can Australia survive without Google and Facebook?'

4. Melbourne and Sydney apartment rents have fallen by 4.8% during the pandemic, according to Domain. Senior analyst Nicola Powell said it marks the deepest fall on the company's records, which run all the way back to 2004. Sydney tenants in the city and eastern suburbs, for example, are saving $125 and $85 respectively per week.

5. Mining magnate Andrew Forrest has purchased iconic Australian boot brand RM Williams for a reported $190 million, bringing it back Down Under. Hugh Jackman gets a cool $10 million out of that deal. The selling price is well below the $400-500 million expected by Louis Vuitton-partnered private equity firm L Catterton, the previous owner.

6. This is how Australia's political parties are using Facebook advertising during the 2020 state elections - and how much they're spending. While use varies across all states, each state’s major parties poured tens of thousands of dollars into Facebook advertising for the three state elections held in 2020.

7. A group associated with conservative politics, C|T Group, has been given access to a database containing millions of unlisted Australian phone numbers. Australia’s communications watchdog authorised access to the database for ‘electoral matter research’. According to a privacy statement obtained under a freedom of information request, the group intends to use it to poll Australians on their perceptions of policies, candidates and parties for the Liberal Party of Australia.

8. Sweden’s health officials are set to unveil new coronavirus rules for local regions to impose. This is significant, as Sweden famously rejected the world's trend towards imposing restrictions early in the pandemic. Growing case numbers in areas like the cities of Stockholm and Uppsala have prompted a rethink. However, unlike in other countries, there will be no fines or legal consequences for people who decide not to follow any new advice.

9. The UK government is hoping to roll out a coronavirus vaccine at the end of this year. England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam reportedly told MPs that the vaccine being developed at Oxford University could be ready by the Christmas period. This would allow vaccination of the elderly, the vulnerable, and key workers to begin in the New Year.

10. Interesting read from our friends in the U.S. about how the QAnon conspiracy theory made its way into the country's Republican Party. The far-right conspiracy theory – which holds that a cabal of Satan-worshiping, child-trafficking Democrats is plotting to oust President Donald Trump – has grown increasingly mainstream in the GOP base. GOP political operatives told Insider that Republicans view QAnon believers and the movement not as a liability or scourge but as a useful band of fired-up supporters.


Quite an amusing interview from the NZ election:

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