10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning folks, and welcome to Friday.

1. We awoke this morning to news that the Europeans are HOARDING our precious vaccines. The EU has blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca vaccines bound for Australia. Officials confirmed to Insider that Italy decided to block the export of 250,000 vaccines made in the country. Rome used EU powers introduced last month to limit the export of vaccines amid supply concerns.

2. Health Minister Greg Hunt doesn’t seem too concerned about this – or, at least, he’s pretending to be fine. “This is one shipment from one country. This shipment was not factored into our distribution plan for coming weeks,” he said at a press conference this morning. “Domestic production starts with one million per week of deliveries from late March and is on track.”

3. The latest jobs data charts an ‘impressive’ recovery in the Australian job market, with many industries hiring more strongly than they were prior to the pandemic. Job ads are now up 19.8% on where they were last year, as sectors like construction, cleaning, agriculture and personal care all hire strongly. Not everyone is feeling the love, though – with hospitality and tourism in particular still struggling.

4. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has hinted at further federal support for the aviation industry after the JobKeeper program expires. “We recognise that some sectors and regions are doing it tough,” Frydenberg told the ABC. “We are working through particular initiatives in that respect and with respect to the aviation sector that you just referred to,” Frydenberg told host Lisa Millar.

5. Scott Morrison has rejected calls for an independent investigation
into the Christian Porter rape allegation.
He says such a move would threaten the ‘rule of law’ in Australia. “That would say that our rule of law and our police are not competent to deal with these issues,” Morrison said. “And they are competent to deal with these issues. They have reviewed the materials and they’ve formed their assessment.”

6. The NSW government is set to launch its Dine & Discover voucher scheme this month to promote spending across dining, arts and tourism. Four $25 vouchers will be available for residents aged over 18 via the Service NSW app. The scheme seeks to boost discretionary spending at hotels, cafes and restaurants, which was still down almost 30% nationally in December 2020.

7. News businesses in Australia can now sign up to the news media bargaining code, if they meet the criteria. The major media players have already inked deals with Facebook and Google – or are in the process of doing so – with the announcement opening the door for smaller news businesses and startups. Eligible companies that operate news businesses can now apply via the ACMA website.

8. SpaceX flew a Starship rocket prototype on Wednesday, landing it in one piece for the first time. Not for long, though. About 10 minutes later, the rocket exploded on the landing pad. It was Starship’s third such test flight. The prior prototypes exploded immediately upon landing. Here’s the clip:

9. TikTok owner ByteDance is working on an app similar to the buzzy voice-chatting app Clubhouse, sources told Reuters. Since Clubhouse was banned in China, many more invitation-only audio apps have been developed. Discussions about TikTok on Clubhouse prompted interest from ByteDance executives, one source said.

10. Nintendo will reveal a new version of the wildly popular Nintendo Switch this year, according to Bloomberg. The new Switch will produce higher resolution 4K visuals, and has a larger screen, the report said. Manufacturers are reportedly scheduled to begin production this July, with the console releasing later in the year.


Obviously people are very sick of COVID-related advertising (“We’re all in this together!” “We’ll get through this!”), so it’s possible the new Suitsupply campaign is an indication of the, ah, flavour of advertising to follow.