Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today announce a mandatory code of conduct that requires Facebook and Google share online advertising revenue with Australian media companies struggling with the COVID-19 downturn. In response to a report of the digital platforms inquiry last year, Frydenberg has ordered the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to abandon development of a voluntary code and prepare mandatory rules for release in July. “It’s only fair that those that generate content get paid for it,” he said. The code will also include stronger enforcement powers and the ability to impose “binding dispute resolution” on the industry. Although online advertising spend more than doubled to $9.5 billion over the five years to 2019, a survey found 78 per cent of companies had cut advertising budgets during the COVID-19 crisis, putting enormous pressure on media companies.
A new report from the Grattan Institute warns that between 14 and 26 per cent of Australian workers could be out of work due to the COVID-19 shutdown. The working paper forecasts that half of all workers in the hospitality industry could lose their livelihoods, and even industries such as construction and manufacturing could see a 20 per cent drop in job numbers. Lower-income workers, younger Australians, and women are expected to be disproportionately affected. The analysis comes as The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 35 of the nation's pre-eminent economists warn the Morrison government not to wind back social distancing laws too early as doing so would deliver an even bigger economic and medical hit.
A bipartisan push has begun for a global inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. In comments backed by Labor, Foreign Minister Marise Payne told ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday that China ought to allow transparency into the process and that the World Health Organisation should not run the investigation. In a statement Payne also joined the US and Britain in condemning the arrest of prominent Hong Kong democracy activists.
The United States and Russia are blocking efforts to win United Nations security council backing for a global ceasefire to help countries grapple with COVID-19. The French president Emmanuel Macron has proposed a draft security council resolution that attempts to overcome the objections by effectively making it impossible to enforce. The resolution comes as tensions rise between Iran and the United States after clashes between ships in the Gulf. The global COVID-19 pandemic has now killed more than 164,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins University.