Good morning! Australia Day has passed, so the big projects can begin now. Here’s what you need to know this morning:
- Links between criminals and union officials to support the awarding of construction contracts are revealed in a range of news reports this morning morning, including a joint Fairfax / ABC investigation. Among the allegations are that criminals paid kickbacks to CFMEU officials. The fallout is already underway; one union official resigned ahead of revelations about renovations on his home, and the CFMEU has launched an investigation into the influence of underworld figure George Alex in its NSW branch – a company he controls is supplying contract workers to the Barangaroo site in Sydney. This story will have some way to run.
- The Australian market is likely in for a rough ride today after a big sell-off in the US on Friday. Asian markets were off around 2% yesterday. Overnight, the US markets have stabilised somewhat after more early volatility in Monday trading. Anxieties over a combination of emerging market factors are driving the move into US Treasuries – BI’s Matthew Boesler has a good summary here, with BNP Paribas strategist Dina Ahmed explaining that a “string of trust-product defaults and a much weaker-than-expected HSBC flash PMI reading have fuelled a resurgence of China-collapse fears”.
- Australia will reportedly sign a free-trade agreement with Japan in July, coinciding with a visit from Shinzo Abe.
- Former defence force chief Peter Cosgrove is expected to be announced as the new Governor-General of Australia today, replacing Quentin Bryce whose term expires in March.
- Heatwave conditions are expected to build in Victoria again over the coming week; schools are shut in South Australia today with another punishing heatwave hitting Adelaide. There’s also a potential cyclone (which will be known as Dylan) building off the Queensland coast. Landfall would be mid-week.
- Newcastle Knights NRL player Willie Mason will appear in court next month for mid-range drink-drivingstemming from his decision to drive yesterday morning after his own version of the big day out on Australia Day – the headline act being 10 beers with some gins-and-tonic as support. The following morning on the way to a weights sessions he was pulled over and blew 0.09.
- More Australia Day antics: Federal MP Andrew Laming was photographed engaging in the traditional Australia Day activity of skolling a beer while doing a handstand. Bonus: he was wearing a tie. He’s been defending himself on radio, saying he was drinking responsibly. Brisbane’s Courier-Mail has chapter and verse on the incident from an eyewitness.
- Apple earnings are out today. We have live coverage here. Watch out for iPhone sales numbers following the 5S and 5C releases last year. We
- L’Oreal’s chief executive says the days of women paying more for cosmetics in Australia than overseas may be coming to an end.
- Here’s a great analogy from the founder of ViralNova, who is looking to sell his spectacularly successful business: Building a startup that relies on Facebook is “like building a McDonald’s on an active volcano”.
Bonus item: Young Kiwi doctor gets bitten by a shark while surfing. Stitches wound on beach, goes to pub. Kiwis are so damn badass.
Have a cracker day.
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