1. Australian home prices will fall for an “extended period”, according to Westpac. The bank joins a growing list of analysts forecasting further weakness in prices. It says there’s not one but many factors that are likely to contribute to the decline, including tighter lending standards, and that these headwinds for prices will continue for the foreseeable future as the supply of credit is expected to “tighten markedly”.
2. Italy’s political crisis has calmed somewhat since its rapid escalation at the beginning of the week. The prospect of a coalition government between the Five Star Movement and the Lega Nord is seemingly back on the table. Markets have been calmed by these developments, which are seen as a positive. Here’s the latest.
3. Labor is considering a plan to allow the Turnbull government to legislate its $140 billion income tax cut. According to the SMH, this approach will allow the Opposition to fight the policy at the next election without halting tax relief that is due to start on July 1, which it risks being blamed for denying if it votes against the entire package. The reform starts with a tax offset worth up to $530 a year for 10 million workers. More here.
4. ZTE was established partly as a front for military intelligence, according to court documents filed in the US. The Chinese telecommunications company, which is at the centre of Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing, is currently bidding for major contracts in Australia including Telstra’s 5G mobile phone network and a new communications system for Perth’s rail network. The documents show that the company has also been linked to corruption in 18 countries.
5. One Nation is in turmoil, with leader Pauline Hanson betrayed by her senate party colleague Brian Burston who has gone rogue and apparently offered to join the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP), a conservative rump in NSW politics. In response to the news, Hanson delivered an impassioned speech on Sky News, saying she isn’t going to let Burston or anyone else get in her way of achieving what she set out to do in Australian politics. See it here.
This is not going to end well. pic.twitter.com/r8UKiK0YAV
— Ben Fordham (@BenFordham) May 31, 2018
6. Treasurer Scott Morrison is unapologetic that sweeping changes to the GST charged for online goods had led to Amazon axing Australian deliveries. He says Jeff Bezos shouldn’t get a “leave pass” from paying taxes.
7. A mummified body has been found in a Sydney home. Police are investigating whether the former occupant of the house may have had something to do with the death. Cleaners found the body rolled up in a carpet.
8. Denmark has banned the wearing of face veils in public. It joins France and other parts of Europe in outlawing the burqa and the niqab worn by some Muslim women. The last effort to achieve this in Australia was made by Pauline Hanson last year when she wore a burqa into Question Time in the senate in an effort to get attorney-general George Brandis to ban the head covering. His condemnation of Hanson for her behaviour was praised by both politicians and the public.
9. “The Beach”, Thailand’s famous Maya Bay made famous in the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio movie, is closing after damage by too many tourists. It no longer resembles the one depicted in the film because of crowds, litter, and the noise of boat engines. It will close on Friday and is set to reopen on September 30.
10. Australian tennis champ Ashleigh Barty may have been the favourite to win her French Open clash against Serena Williams, but Williams proved once again why she’s the queen of the game, claiming the match 3-6 6-3 6-4. It was a great victory for Williams who has been rocking a Black Panther-style catsuit at the Open. She says it feels like the suit “represents all the women that have been through a lot mentally, physically, with their body to come back and have confidence and to believe in themselves. I definitely feel like it is an opportunity for me to inspire a whole different group of amazing women and kids.”
BONUS ITEM: Yeah nah. This is enough for us to stay out of the water this weekend.
Have a great day.
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