It’s the rallying call of Chinese millennials who have had enough of working hard for little reward. Meaning “lying flat”, attainable achievements like endlessly scrolling your socials are the way to go. So there’s your Monday pep talk taken care of…
MAKING GLOBAL COMPANIES PAY THEIR WAY
The G7 leaders summit convenes in the UK at the end of this week, with PM Scott Morrison going along. But the warm-up act of finance ministers came out with a bang yesterday with a landmark deal. The wealthy nations – the US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan, plus the European Union – have agreed on an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) plan to make multinational companies pay more tax in the countries where they do business, rather than wherever they end up declaring their profits. The agreement would see the global minimum corporate tax rate set at 15% in a reform G7 nations hope could be adopted worldwide.
SORRY, YOU JUST PUT ME BACK TO SLEEP…
Well, get excited because it means multinational corporations operating in Oz would not be able to avoid paying more tax here if the deal is implemented. Take, for example, the last company to hit the media over this very issue – Facebook. In its recent 2020 financial year filing with Aussie regulators, the social media giant said it collected $712.7 million in revenue here. Through a complicated web of financial arrangements, it paid tax of $20 million. There’s no suggestion it did anything against Australia’s tax rules, and Facebook is one example of many – but plenty of local businesses and others say it’s not right and the system has to change.
I’M PUMPED. ARE WE DOING THIS?
The critics aren’t convinced. The ones representing big business saying 15% tax is too high weren’t vocal, strangely enough. But those saying it’s too low were out and about. Oxfam said the G7 has set the bar “so low that companies can just step over it.” But the UK’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who hosted the summit, said the agreement would create “a fairer tax system fit for the 21st Century”. And US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that a “global minimum tax would end the race-to-the-bottom in corporate taxation” that sees nations like Switzerland (with its corporate tax rate of 8.5%) and Ireland (12.5%) preferred as corporate headquarters for tax purposes than the US (21%), for example. For comparison: Australia’s corporate tax rate is 30% – the 2nd-highest of OECD nations.
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OK, SO WHERE ARE WE AT WITH MELBOURNE’S COVID OUTBREAK?
Good question… Over the weekend, 7 new cases were reported in Victoria, including 2 from the Arcare Maidstone nursing home, taking the outbreak total to 72 locally acquired cases. Officials have split the outbreak into 3 clusters – Whittlesea, Port Melbourne, and West Melbourne. And it’s the 10 cases in the last cluster that are worrying officials because they are associated with the Indian Delta variant that’s been found to be highly infectious – and the source has not yet been found. Yesterday, Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng said about 5% of Victorians have been tested for COVID over the past week. “If there was a big outbreak going on, we would expect to have picked it up, but there’s always that risk,” he said. Melbourne’s lockdown is set to continue until Thursday night, and there’s some optimism that it will be lifted.
FEDERAL STAFFER CHARGED AS SYSTEM FOUND WANTING
As a review into how federal political staffers report serious workplace incidents of sexual assault and misconduct found issues with the process, a staffer was arrested for indecently assaulting and inappropriately touching his female colleagues between 2014 and 2020. Frank Zumbo runs the office of former-Liberal-turned-independent backbencher Craig Kelly. Out on bail, the 53yo Zumbo will continue to work with 3 women who have made complaints against him. As for former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, she was hospitalised at the end of last week “after months of sustained political pressure”, her partner David Sharaz said. Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw recently told a Senate committee that “a brief of evidence” on her alleged rape “is likely to be provided to the ACT director of public prosecutions in coming weeks”.
ROBERTS-SMITH DEFAMATION CASE KICKS OFF
Still in the courts, and the highly anticipated defamation trial brought by Victoria Cross winner Ben Roberts-Smith against The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times starts in Sydney today. He says a series of reports published in 2018 are defamatory because they claim he committed war crimes, including murder – allegations he denies. Nine Entertainment (which owned the 3 papers at the time) says the claims aren’t defamatory because they are true. Slated to run for at least 8 weeks, more than 70 witnesses are lined up to give evidence. That includes Roberts-Smith’s ex Emma Roberts who is giving evidence against him. He launched legal actions against her last week over leaked confidential documents. Hold onto your hat…
BIG TECH BANS AND FUMBLES
Where to start?
• Facebook is keeping former US President Donald Trump in the freezer for 2 years after he was indefinitely banned in January over posts he made on the US Capitol riots. Trump responded that he won’t be inviting founder Mark Zuckerberg to dinner at the White House when he’s back in office. “It will be all business!” he said.
• Twitter has suspended author/feminist Naomi Wolf over disinformation she shared on the platform about the COVID pandemic, vaccines and lockdowns. The anti-vaxxer’s views were described by one expert “as out-there and delusional as I’ve ever seen.” Supporters say it’s an assault on her right to free speech.
• And Microsoft’s search engine Bing has blamed “accidental human error” for not showing image results for the query “tank man” last week. The iconic images of resistance from China’s Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989 are censored locally. And China is known to step up the pressure around the massacre’s 4 June anniversary.
AND IT'S A GIRL...
Oprah already told us that… But the excitement factor is high for the Sussexes with the safe arrival of their daughter. Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born on Friday morning in Santa Barbara, California. Lili (as she will be called) is not the only royal child to draw on the names of her grandmother and great-grandmother – William and Kate’s daughter Princess Charlotte has Elizabeth and Diana as her middle names. And to further explain, Lilibet refers to Queen Elizabeth’s nickname used by her family stemming from the cute mispronunciation of her own name when she was little. Meghan and Harry thanked well-wishers and said “She is more than we could have ever imagined, and we remain grateful for the love and prayers we’ve felt from across the globe.” Buckingham Palace said “The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been informed and are delighted with the news.” Archie’s sister is the Queen’s 11th great-grandchild and is 8th in line to the throne.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
The US Navy, with the help of Aussie Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos, christened its 2nd ship named the USS Canberra yesterday. Yes, it’s in honour of our country’s close ties. But the story starts in WWII when the HMAS Canberra sank while defending our American allies in the Pacific, taking 193 souls with her.
A “hero rat” named Magawa is retiring. He’s been busy sniffing out explosives in Cambodia for the last 5 years, finding 71 landmines and 38 items of unexploded ordnance. Give that rodent a lifetime supply of cheese…
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Western Australia Day public holiday
9.00am (AEST) – ABC executives appear before a Senate Estimates committee hearing – Canberra
Morning – Ben Roberts-Smith v Fairfax Media Publications defamation trial starts – Federal Court, Sydney
Birthdays for Liam Neeson (1952), Mike Pence (1959), Bear Grylls (1974), Michael Cera (1988) and Emily Ratajkowski (1991)
• the founding of the British Museum (1753)
• the Vatican City becoming a sovereign state (1929)
• the Supreme Court of the United States deciding on Griswold v. Connecticut, legalising the use of contraception by married couples (1965)
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