10 things you need to know in Australia this morning

(Photo by Nicolas Liponne/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Friday. We made it. We did it together.

1. Bill Gates sat down for a wide-ranging interview at the DealBook Conference in New York on Thursday. He talked about a lot, but the soundbite getting the most airplay today is his commentary on tax. The Microsoft co-founder says he’s not in favour of the wealth tax proposals floating around from some Democratic candidates – like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – but says he’s generally in favour of a more progressive tax system. “I think just by treating capital income the same as labour income, that goes a very long distance, so I’m all for super progressive tax systems.”

2. If Australian housing prices keep rising at the rate they have been over the last three months, we could be looking at broken records come next year. That’s according to CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless, who points to the 2.9% rise over the last quarter. “If housing values continue to rise at the same rate recorded over the past three months, national dwelling values could reach a new record high in six months time,” he said.

3. Obama’s former cybersecurity advisor agrees with some US lawmakers that TikTok, the Chinese-owned app wildly popular with American teens, could be a threat to national security. And not just because boomers can’t comprehend the memes on it. “China has documented that it is collecting lots of data, and when you look at those apps, I think there are definitely legitimate security concerns,” said Kiersten Todt. For what it’s worth, TikTok says it protects user data and has not provided it to the Chinese government, while parent company ByteDance has appointed a special counsel to audit its data practices.

4. Both Coles and Woolworths now offer delivery subscriptions, so we did the extremely important work of comparing them. My verdict? Neither of them are particularly spectacular, must-have value – but if you regularly get a lot of groceries delivered, you’ll likely find some decent savings there. There’s no doubt the big supermarket chains are feeling pressure from Amazon, which will continue to make moves into Australian pantries.

5. Also on the Amazon Australia front: it has announced its first buy now, pay later partner. That honour goes to Zip, in a significant win for the company. ““The agreement with Amazon Australia demonstrates that Zip is no longer an alternative, but a mainstream payment option,” the company said in a statement.

6. Labor has released the review into its election loss in May. It found that Bill Shorten’s unpopularity hurt the party, but says its tax policy didn’t. But, it clarifies, its large and complex spending promises “fuelled anxieties among insecure, low-income couples in outer-urban and regional Australia”. You can read the whole report here, if you’re so inclined.

7. The Australian government has released its ethics framework for artificial intelligence, providing some voluntary principles for those planning to implement AI solutions. Don’t expect to read anything about murderous androids à la The Terminator, but enterprising readers will no doubt find evidence between the lines.

8. It’s been a rough period for e-cigarette outfit Juul. After the company spent the last couple of months haemorrhaging executives and staff because of possible action from the US federal government, it has now announced it will no longer produce its most popular flavoured vape cartridge: mint. Why? Teens like it too much. And getting teens hooked on nicotine simply isn’t a good look these days. The optics, they’re not great.

9. A lot of people are looking at this on our site, so I can only assume a lot of you want to know: here’s where you can see Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” on the big screen in Australia. The three-and-a-half hour film is a Netflix production, and the streaming giant’s demands for a narrow theatrical release window has caused dramas with local cinema chains like Hoyts and Event Cinemas. As a result, only a handful of independent cinemas are showing the film.

10. This was probably inevitable: Australia, which has a relationship with the property market casino best described as psychosexual, now has a Tinder for real estate. A new feature on property app Soho allows you to swipe left and right on properties as you would on the dating app, and CEO and Airtasker co-founder Jonathan Lui reckons its significantly boosted engagement. “It turns out Tinder-style swiping is actually the best way to look at property,” he said. I’ll have to take his word on that one.

BONUS ITEM
We all saw this week that SoftBank has taken a massive $6.5 billion hit thanks to its investments in WeWork and Uber. But you’ve gotta appreciate the raw optimism in CEO Masayoshi Son’s slide deck announcing the loss. Look at that hockey stick going up!

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