10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

(AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Happy hump day.

1. The RBA kept the cash rate on hold at 0.75%, surprising basically nobody. This is despite the fact its clear the Australian economy is in fairly dire shape, with retail spending at recessionary conditions. Most experts think the Reserve Bank will likely slash the cash rate down to 0.5% in February, though. Here’s a bonus: 13 economists were asked what needs to be done to get the economy roaring again – and all of them said the RBA can’t do it through monetary policy alone. The government is going to need to start spending.

2. The winner of the 2019 Melbourne Cup was Australian racehorse Vow and Declare. It’s entirely possible I’m telling this to the wrong crowd here – if you’ve gotten to 9 am this morning without knowing who won, you either don’t care or got far, far too sauced at office drinks yesterday. But there it is.

3. 7 Aussie companies made H2 Ventures and KPMG’s annual Fintech 100 list this year, showing that the space is going strong here. Airwallex, Judo Bank and Afterpay Touch were counted among the established firms, and four emerging Aussie firms also got a nod. Read more here.

4. Apple and TikTok dodged a Senate hearing over in the US about the uneasy relationship between Big Tech and China. The hearing, provocatively named “How Corporations and Big Tech Leave Our Data Exposed to Criminals, China, and Other Bad Actors”, is intended to air concerns tech companies are too close to the Chinese government. A Microsoft rep did manage to make an appearance.

5. Ladies and gentlemen: a rat has squealed. Well, the latest in a growing line of rats, at least. US ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland became the latest witness to testify against Trump in the impeachment inquiry, alleging there was indeed a quid pro quo between the president and Ukraine. When asked whether he thought the pressure Trump put on during the now infamous phone call was illegal, he said, “I’m not a lawyer, but I assume so.”

6. On the ridesharing front, the “Uber of China” Didi is continuing to push into the Aussie market, this time setting its sights on Perth. It also available in Melbourne, Geelong, Newcastle, Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. But no Sydney – the company says Australia’s largest city isn’t in its short-term strategy. Maybe it’s getting a little too crowded by the harbour.

7. A group of wealthy Australians, including Atlassian boss Mike Cannon-Brookes, want to assemble a $1 million war chest to back independent political candidates next election. Their goal? Climate action. You may recall Tony Abbott lost his seat at this year’s election thanks to a similar push – so climate deniers in vulnerable seats likely have reason to be concerned.

8. We asked two employment experts why there has been such a spate of wage theft cases recently, and we got two very different answers. One pointed to the labyrinthine complexity of the Australian IR system, with its overlapping awards and enterprise agreements. The other said companies have gotten complacent because of a lack of prosecution efforts, and that complexity is simply no excuse for not paying people properly.

9. An anchor for US network ABC was caught on a hot mic complaining about how her story on hedge fund manager and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was spiked. Amy Robach is seen discussing how upset she was that the network killed her 2015 exposé, and also saying she believes Epstein was “100% murdered”. Well then.

10. Boeing’s CEO will forgo most of his pay for 2020, following a grilling from US lawmakers over his healthy compensation. Dennis Muilenburg copped scrutiny over his $15 million pay package in 2018, which starts to look a little too large when you consider the company’s absolute horror year. The 737 Max has now been grounded for nearly a year following two deadly crashes which killed a combined 346 people.

BONUS ITEM
In honour of Facebook’s very drab and flat new corporate logo, here’s our look back at 4 tech rebrands in recent memory which had people scratching their heads.

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