10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Make it so. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. You always knew there was a big streak of bastard in Malcolm Turnbull, and yesterday it was finally on display as he savaged Bill “sycophant of billionaires” Shorten in Parliament. You’ve probably seen it already, but:

Where have you been, Malcolm? There are a couple of ways to look at this. One is that Turnbull knows he needs to start landing punches and making an impact. The other – a related point – is that he might be a little bit worried about his job security. If he can take that energy and direct it into convincing people he has a plan – some sort of plan, anything – he could finally start delivering on his promise. We’ll see.

2. To markets, and the S&P 500 Index recovered from an early selloff and was little changed with energy producers pushing higher after oil rose. Across the ditch, the RBNZ left interest rates unchanged at 1.75% and gave no hint of where they’ll move in the near future. Rio Tinto profits posted a monster turnaround after the ASX bell yesterday, and iron ore could hit a 2.5-year high today, but futures traders still have the SPI200 Index down a point this morning. The dollar is drifting.

3. You might have read yesterday about Australia Post’s CEO Ahmed Fahour and his $5.6 million pay packet. Or how Australia Post was cutting 1900 jobs, or how the price of sending a letter has doubled, or how its postcard app sends postcards five months later. Malcolm Turnbull did. And he noted Fahour might just be the world’s most expensive postie.

4. Your Sonos speakers might come alive. The US company today announced it will be rolling Amazon’s Alexa software out to its range later this year via a software update. Tony Yoo was in Boston for the demo event. Here’s how it will work.

5. It looks like rock legend Angus Young is in town, most likely to visit his ill brother Malcolm. He sent this bunch of flowers to Fernando Lebeis overnight:

I have missed these two, Angus and Ella. AC⚡️DC Family.

A photo posted by Fernando Lebeis (@flebeis) on

Nice. But if you’re a Guns n’ Roses fans, exciting. Fernando Lebeis is the Gunners’ manager. Young has been known to join the band on-stage for its Not In This Lifetime tour. They’re all in Sydney, together, right now.

6. We’re not into VR. Facebook is closing around 200 of its 500 Oculus virtual reality demo stations at retail outlets across the US. Employees say it’s common for the stalls to go “days” without giving a single demo. Welcome to the problem 3D TV has faced in all its many iterations. It’s all about content, content, content, folks, and VR content – games especially – is balls.

7. Even Beyonce isn’t impressed by VR, and she got to try Magic Leap. Which is technically AR, as it overlays CGI onto the real world. Sources say Beyonce tried a Magic Leap demo with a mermaid and she was “bored”, and no deal was struck. And right now, engineers at the $4 billion startup are “scrambling” to actually produce a marketable prototype in time for a big board meeting next week. Yep, there’s a faint smell of disaster around both technologies.

8. Here’s yet another startup that burned through $21 million which could have been invested in something genuinely constructive for the economy. Fling was a London-based social media app which – and hey, stop me if this sounds too familiar – never brought in any revenue, yet startup cash paid for relentless first-class flights and island parties. But whatever – it’s your money, investors.

9. Meanwhile, in other new technology just for the sake of it, Google just debuted one of the best-looking smartwatches we’ve ever seen. And we’re witnessing the slow-motion collapse of the smartwatch.

10. Oprah Winfrey appreciates the timeless, sensible investments. She bought this painting by Gustav Klint in 2006 for $US87.9 million:

KlimtNeue Galerie New YorkPortrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II.

And according to Bloomberg, just sold it for $US150 million.

BONUS ITEM: Squirrel versus Crow. Fight!

Have a great day.

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