10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning everyone.

Australian officials will not attend the Beijing Winter Olympics, joining the US and now Britain and Canada in a diplomatic boycott. Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed that Australian athletes will still attend because he thinks politics and sport should be separate. It did lead to this, which is funny no matter which way you swing it:

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has tested positive to COVID-19 while in the United States. He’s in Washington DC as part of an international delegation, and said he had experienced mild symptoms. He’ll remain in isolation until further notice, according to his office.

Will Gladys Berejiklian run for the federal seat of Warringah? She’d better hurry up and figure it out either way, people are getting impatient. Scott Morrison said he suspected she would not nominate despite mounting pressure for her to do so, and sources told the Sydney Morning Herald that she was likely to rule herself out soon.

Buy now, pay later giants Afterpay and Zip say they will consult with the government over payment regulation reforms. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Wednesday announced a policy overhaul to accommodate the digital payment revolution. Both firms have welcomed the move, but they’ll need to work to secure comfortable placing under the new rules.

The nature of those reforms goes right to the heart of the BNPL offering. Customers of Afterpay and Zip may be forced to pay buy now, pay later fees currently borne by retailers, which could make the whole thing less appealing than other payment methods. This will include considering the appropriate treatment of services like buy now, pay later and digital wallets, including any new rules around fees and surcharging,” Frydenberg told the AFR on Wednesday.

Treasury will open consultation on new Australian crypto legislation in early 2022. Decentralised autonomous organisations, or “DAOs”, may soon find a home in Australian legislation as well. Experts have welcomed the move, saying the suite of proposed reforms have left investors in other markets feeling “sad” and “jealous”.

The AFL has become a hotbed for crypto sponsorship. This week saw Independent Reserve broker a deal with the Sydney Swans, while Swyftx partnered with the Brisbane Lions. The trend mirrors similar activity seen across the US, where crypto has already become firmly entrenched in the NBA and major league baseball. 

One more on crypto. The Australian Federal Police (AFP) says the pandemic has sparked a surge in cryptocurrency scams. It follows an influx of new retail investors into the space, with 2.5 million Australians investing for the first time during the pandemic. The AFP says it is increasing its resources to track down the perpetrators.

Atlassian says doubling its workforce during lockdowns accelerated its plans to debut a ‘work from anywhere’ policy. Amid a tech skills shortage, it says more companies should adopt the approach to access a wider talent pool locally. The company has been active in working to accelerate growth in the local industry. 

The UK has tightened coronavirus restrictions. From Monday, England’s workers are being told to work from home and wear masks in cinemas and theatres as well as shops and on public transport. Vaccine passports, similar to the ones used down under, will be implemented for certain larger venues. It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson fights a scandal over a secret Christmas party held during the toughest lockdowns last year.

BONUS ITEM

Would you pay over a hundred thousand dollars for this NFT?