10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning all.

Australia’s grand border opening has been delayed thanks to concerns over the Omicron variant. About 200,000 workers and students were expected to start arriving from Wednesday, but federal ministers decided to bump that back to  December 15. National cabinet will meet this afternoon to discuss interstate borders.

The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus poses a “very high” global risk, the WHO warned. The United Nations agency also said potential COVID-19 surges could have “severe consequences”. “Given mutations that may confer immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage, the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high,” the WHO said in a technical brief.

It looks like revised timing for booster shots could be announced soon. “So the minister has asked ATAGI, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, to look at whether the timing should be brought forward,” said federal Deputy Chief Health Minister Dr Sonia Bennett on the ABC this morning “We do note that other countries are considering the same things, and the UK has just announced they’ll bring their booster dose forward to three months.”

The corporate regulator has launched six lawsuits against Westpac, alleging widespread wrongdoing. In one lawsuit, ASIC has alleged that Westpac charged $10 million in fees over a 10-year period for financial advice from 11,000 clients who had died. Collectively, they leave the bank facing a $113 million fine.

Experts say they are unconvinced that the Morrison government’s plan to unmask internet trolls will have a marked effect on stopping abuse online for the majority of Australians. Professor David Rolph, a defamation expert at the University of Sydney, told Business Insider Australia that the reforms only sought to affect “online defamation” in a very narrow way. Dr Belinda Barnet, a lecturer in Media and Communications at Swinburne University, said it revealed a lack of understanding of how the internet works.

It comes amid reports a taxpayer-funded community legal centre model could be used by the federal government to back defamation actions under the proposed laws. “There’s a range of different areas in which the Commonwealth provides legal services to Australians, whether that’s in the family law space or whether that’s in the criminal law space, providing Community Legal Centre-style assistance,” said Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General Amanda Stoker.

Jack Dorsey has stepped down from his role as CEO of Twitter, the company said Monday. Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal has replaced Dorsey as CEO of the social media giant. Dorsey, who founded the company, first became Twitter CEO in 2006. Of course, he tweeted his email to staff.

Twitter stock jumped as much as 11% on the news. CNBC noted Twitter stakeholder Elliott Management last year wanted to replace Dorsey as CEO before the investment firm reached a deal with Twitter’s management. Shares wound up erasing all gains after a trading halt.

Australian Black Friday sales volumes were 298% higher in 2021 than in 2020, according to Klarna. The buy now, pay later platform has shared insights from the annual shopping extravaganza. The full scale of the Black Friday sales is yet to be revealed, but retailers and banks estimated Australians would spend around $5.5 billion.

A report from progressive think tank Grattan Institute proposes the federal government create a social housing fund that would take a national approach to the housing supply crisis. Brendan Coates, director of the Grattan Institute’s economic policy program, said the current housing shortfall needed to be addressed with large-scale federal action. It comes as industry advocates call on the government to “address the affordable housing emergency”.

BONUS ITEM

Dozens of people have been trapped in a remote UK pub for three nights with an Oasis tribute band after heavy snow.