10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Black days. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. So it turns out all those tech workers waiting for the ATO to clear Plutus Payroll for their pay packets weren’t waiting in vain. Yesterday, Australian Federal Police allege the startup siphoned off $165 million in tax dollars which ended up in the pockets of a criminal syndicate. Plutus was bought by private equity firm SYNEP last year. And the co chair and managing director of SYNEP is Adam Cranston — the son of Michael Cranston, a deputy commissioner at the ATO. The young “racing enthusiast” was arrested and charged as part of Australia’s biggest tax fraud case. One barrister is now worried “the stain may be far wider within the ATO”.

2. Among the items seized under proceeds of crime were two aircraft and 25 luxury and racing cars. And there’s no doubt Adam is an enthusiast. The Ford GT40 seized bears the same number and decals as the one driven in several endurance events by F1 driver and 1968 Le Mans winner Lucien Bianchi:

Picture: racingsportscars.com

Steve McQueen owned one of the 105 produced, and it sold recently for $US11 million. Cranston Jnr knows his racing chops.

(UPDATE: It’s a replica, if the URL on the windscreen is anything to go by. Boo.)

3. To markets, and currency traders had a wild night, with the US dollar bouncing all around but finishing up on surprisingly good jobless claims and retail sales in the US. That sent the AUD back down to $0.7419 this morning. Buyers also came back to US stocks but ASX200 SPI futures traders are unconvinced and have marked local stocks down 3 points and iron ore markets remain choppy. Oh, and Brazil markets are losing the plot, and a bunch of big US banks are hurting.

4. Today in commencement speeches, we get The Terminator, who told the kids at University of Houston to never call him a “self-made man”. Next week, Harvard gets Mark Zuckerberg. He’s also picking up the degree he failed to get 12 years ago. To celebrate, the world’s fifth-richest person just rolled the tape of the moment he got accepted while wearing some smart checked PJs in classic brown, white and green:


5. PowerPoint got an upgrade and it feels like PowerPoint never gets an upgrade. Which makes it all the more amazing when you learn this upgrade is something straight out of Star Trek – a Universal Translator.

6. The world lost a couple of huge voices overnight. Roger Ailes may have ended his days fighting accusations of sexual harassment, but he also built Fox News from scratch in 1966. And Gen Xers are flooding Facebook with tributes for Chris Cornell, whose extraordinary four-octave range put Soundgarden head and shoulders above the alternative music pack for a decade and beyond. Cornell committed suicide in a hotel room, aged 52.

7. Australia’s immigration policy had an impact. With the UK’s far-right party UKIP, whose leader Paul Nuttall just gave a big shout-out to his country to adopt “an Australian-style points system” to curb immigration to net zero. Yes, you read that right – net zero. And here’s the great moments from Nuttall in the Opposition Leaders’ debate where he kept calling everyone “Natalie”.

8. The Queen has a hospital. Of course she does. But while it looks like an ordinary hospital, King Edward VII’s Hospital occupies a special place in the hearts of Britain’s monarchy. Take a tour inside.

9. If you still don’t know what a fidget spinner looks like, here’s an x-ray:

Yes, they come apart. The cheap ones, easily. Fortunately, 10-year-old Kelly Rose Joniec survived her choking attack, but this probably isn’t the “ban all fidget spinners” warning you were desperately looking for, annoyed parents.

10. Despite his off-the-scale dreams, you can’t say Elon Musk isn’t grounded in reality. He just told The Guardian Tesla’s markets cap is “higher than we have any right to deserve” and it’s “just a question of how much money we lose”.

BONUS ITEM: I’m not crying you’re crying. Actually, no. I’m crying.

* If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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