10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

(Photo Illustration by Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Happy Monday.

1. Airbnb has announced it is banning “party houses” after a shooting at a California house party killed 5 people. It’s already against company policy to throw unauthorised parties in places you book through the platform, but the company says it will tighten those rules even further, and police them more strictly. “We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable,” Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said over the weekend.

2. An interesting one from our friends over at the SMH: the donors to the $1.1 million war chest which booted Tony Abbott out of office have been revealed. Steggall won the seat of Warringah in what was otherwise a very successful night for the Coalition with a 18.3 per cent swing in her favour. Her war chest was made up of small donations in addition to some chunky cash splashes from environmentally-conscious philanthropists and business luminaries.

3. Saudi Arabia approved the initial public offering of oil giant Saudi Aramco, which is expected to be the biggest IPO in history. Saudi Arabia is reportedly targeting a valuation between $AUD2.1 trillion to $US2.8 trillion for Saudi Aramco, which is the most profitable company in the world. Proceeds will go straight into Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.

4. And here come the WeWork cuts. In an employee memo obtained by Business Insider, the beleaguered company confirms it plans to outsource all the cleaning and maintenance of its properties in the United States and Canada. The staffing changes come as the company looks to cut costs in key areas following its bailout by SoftBank.

5. Donald Trump has flagged that Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan would mean the US can’t make a trade deal with the UK. That would obviously be of significant concern to Johnson and the rest of the Conservatives. Also complicating things is the fact Brexit warrior Nigel Farage is offering to form an alliance with Johnson’s party if the current Brexit plan is axed. Johnson is unlikely to do so, though.

6. Clearly facing pressure from Amazon Prime, Target and Kmart are now offering free delivery for their members – but only for orders over $45, making it a less valuable proposition. The program is offered in conjunction with Catch.com.au, which was acquired by Kmart and Target parents company Wesfarmers earlier this year.

7. As a nation, we’ve gotten into Apple Pay and Google Pay pretty enthusiastically. Aussies are increasingly using eWallets to make transactions, with almost a quarter of all retail purchases being made with them. In fact, they’ve overtaken debit cards as the second-most used payment method, trailing only credit cards.

8. One for the expats: you can now watch ABC iview from outside the country. Previously, the app – and the ABC content within – could only be accessed from an Australian IP address. As of the latest update, that’s no longer the case: you can tune in from anywhere in the world.

9. Mortgage rates in Australia have returned to levels not seen since the 1950s, while house prices continue to shoot upwards. So it’s a great time to be in the market – so long as you’re already in it. The boom is still being led by Sydney and Melbourne, with both cities recording growth of 1.7% and 2.3% respectively in October alone. The RBA hopes that this will lead to increased spending, but some economists aren’t quite so sure about that.

10. Vegemite is vegan now, apparently, and it didn’t even need to change its recipe. The only thing that’s actually changed is the spread is now officially certified by Vegan Australia. So if our vegan friends have been quaffing down the salt sludge prior to this, there’s no need to worry. Vegemite is now one of 500 Australian products officially certified as vegan.


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