10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Hello, hello. Let’s kick off the day with some fairly promising coronavirus figures from both Victoria and New South Wales.

1. Victoria recorded 73 daily cases on Monday, its lowest total since July 3. 41 deaths were reported – largely attributable to delayed reporting of at least 22 aged care deaths. Premier Daniel Andrews says he will release a roadmap out of lockdown on Sunday.

2. New South Wales reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Six of those were in hotel quarantine, while four cases were linked to the CBD cluster. There’s some cautious hope that the cluster is contained, with low case numbers and no evidence it is spreading to other suburbs. The government is resisting calls to make masks compulsory on public transport.

3. The federal government has ramped up its attacks on the Victorian premier and the ongoing lockdown in the state. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called Victoria’s response “the biggest public policy failure by a state government in living memory” as Treasury numbers showed Victorians could soon make up 60% of all JobKeeper recipients. Despite the criticism, the Andrews government could extend the lockdown further, with the state’s deputy chief medical officer saying the case numbers weren’t low enough to lift restrictions.

4. Australians could face rising interest rates in the coming months as banks feel the heat. A majority of the economists surveyed by Finder expected variable rates to rise before 2021 without any move by the Reserve Bank of Australia. It would place homeowners and investors under more pressure, with one in nine already unable to make their repayments.

5. The PM is upping the pressure on states and territories to reopen their borders by Christmas. Now that the Victorian outbreak seems to be heading towards some semblance of control, Scott Morrison plans to steer Friday’s meeting of the national cabinet towards a coordinated agreement to reopen Australia’s internal borders.

6. China’s Ministry of Commerce has launched a second inquiry into Australia’s wine exports in as many weeks. The latest will examine Australian subsidies which the Chinese government alleges enables winemakers to flood the market with cheap plonk. It marks the latest deterioration in relations between Australia and its largest trade partner.

7. Australian creators are building large audiences streaming themselves playing casino games like slots, blackjack and roulette. The creators say they’re gambling with real money, and can earn money from paid subscriptions or endorsements and sponsorships. Yep, people actually watch other people playing online pokies. Truly a brave new world.

8. Melbourne based company The Heat Group was hacked in 2019, which cost the business an estimated $2 million in losses. Founder and Managing Director Gillian Franklin described how it happened. She also provided tips to businesses to prevent similar attacks.

9. A recently hired pandemic adviser, Scott Atlas, is urging the White House to consider a “herd immunity” approach to combating the coronavirus, according to a new report. The strategy is controversial because it would allow the disease to spread to most of the population in order to build resistance while also attempting to protect vulnerable groups such as older Americans. Frankly, I’m not seeing how this is radically different to how the US has dealt with the virus anyway, but maybe that’s not the point.

10. McDonald’s slammed ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook’s motion to dismiss the fast-food giant’s lawsuit against him in a filing on Monday. “When McDonald’s investigated, Steve Easterbrook lied,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “He violated the Company’s policies, disrespected its values, and abused the trust of his co-workers, the Board, our franchisees, and our shareholders.” McDonald’s is suing Easterbrook, alleging that the former CEO attempted to destroy evidence of sexual relationships with three employees when he was leading the company.

BONUS ITEM

Check out this rotating house in New South Wales.

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