10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Alex McKinnon of the Newcastle Knights on the ground after a tackle that looks like it could have ended his career. Photo: Getty

Good morning, and welcome to Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know.

  1. The last parliamentary sitting week before the Budget in May is not going well for the Coalition. The Future of Financial Advice changes have had to be put on hold. Tony Abbott surprised colleagues with his announcement of the return of Australian knights and dames, something he explicitly ruled out in an interview late last year, and naturally something which has the republican lobby apoplectic. George Brandis has some of his fellow MPs wondering if he’s botched his proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, especially with his insistence in the Senate that people have the right to be bigots. (Warren Mundine described it this morning on ABC Radio as “quite bizarre”).
  2. The astonishing Australian dollar is at another 2014 high, trading at US91.7c at one point this morning. The Aussie tends to drift lower with falls in commodity prices, which helps to rebalance the economy by increasing the competitiveness of the non-mining parts of the economy but it’s not following that pattern at the moment and you have to wonder when it starts to make the RBA uncomfortable again.
  3. Chinese defaults are in the news after hundreds of customers rushed to withdraw their money from a small bank in China yesterday in panic amid rumours it was about to collapse.
  4. The NRL will have to take a look a the legality of certain tackles after it emerged last night that Knights player Alex McKinnon has suffered a devastating injury that has him in an induced coma following a Jordan McLean tackle when playing against the Storm earlier this week. He broke his C4 and C5 vertebrae – little bones at the top of your spine just above your shoulder blades. Doctors say it could take up to two years for McKinnon to recover.
  5. Move over yuppies: meet the “yummy”: a term coined by HSBC for “young, urban, male” – known to you as the well-dressed, free-spending men (including, but not limited to, hipsters) who marry later in life. Great analysis. Horrible name. Details here.
  6. Telstra chairwoman Catherine Livingstone will replace Tony Shepherd as president of the Business Council of Australia, one of the most high-profile roles in the nation’s business community, according to a report in The Australian.
  7. The search for MH370 resumes today with 12 aircraft searching across 80,000 square km – an area about the size of Austria.
  8. There’s big tech acquistion news breaking this morning with Facebook announcing it is buying virtual reality headset company Oculus Rift for $US2 billion. Oculus Rift is a hugely powerful platform that gives immersive 3D virtual reality experiences through its headsets, currently mainly used for gaming.
  9. Australian VC firm OneVentures is looking to raise $100 million for later-stage investments and is specifically targeting wealthy Australians who don’t normally invest in technology. They see an opportunity in backing Australian startups that get to around $6 million to $10 million but struggle to raise funding for further growth.
  10. A challenge for any business leader is how to manage someone you don’t like. Tips for dealing with this include remaining positive with them, and figuring out what it is that bothers you about them. We’ve rounded up more advice from experts here.

Bonus item: There are two basic moves every guy should learn to look decent on the dance floor. You’re welcome.

Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo

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