Facebook to reinstate Aussie news after government amends code

Facebook will reinstate Australian news on its platform after the Morrison government agreed to further amend its mandatory media bargaining code.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed the last-minute legislative changes this afternoon after days of negotiations with the social media giant.

“These amendments will provide further clarity to digital platforms and news media businesses about the way the code is intended to operate and strengthen the framework for ensuring news media businesses are fairly remunerated,” he said.

“The government has been advised by Facebook that it intends to restore Australian news pages in the coming days.”

The amendments will give parties more time to broker agreements before they are forced to enter binding arbitration.

The changes also clarify the government’s role in considering commercial deals struck between parties, and give digital platforms one month’s notice before they are formally designated under the code.

Facebook said it was pleased to have reached an agreement with the government after discussions with the treasurer and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher.

“After further discussions, we are satisfied that the Australian government has agreed to a number of changes and guarantees that address our core concerns about allowing commercial deals that recognise the value our platform provides to publishers relative to the value we receive from them,” the company said.

“As a result of these changes, we can now work to further our investment in public interest journalism and restore news on Facebook for Australians in the coming days.”

It comes after Facebook removed all news from its Australian pages last Thursday, with some key government agencies – including SA Health and the Bureau of Meteorology – caught up in the news ban.

Facebook has since reinstated the pages that were “inadvertently” impacted, and said the mix up occurred because the “law does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content”. 

Earlier today, key crossbench senator Jacquie Lambie tore strips off Labor and the Greens for supporting the code.

Lambie says the code, which will require digital platforms to pay for linking to Australian news, will make media organisations even more dependent on the success of Google and Facebook.

Lambie argues the money generated will simply shift from one set of corporate titans to another.

“Shareholders of News Corp and Nine will be delighted that their dividend is about to be fattened up on the back of shareholders in Facebook and Google,” she told parliament.

Lambie said businesses wanting to advertise online would end up bearing the cost of tech giants paying for news.

“This is a bipartisan shakedown delivered by a consensus of absolute stupidity.”

And she savaged a Greens proposal to ensure money that flowed from the code was spent on journalism.

She said taxes were the best way of pumping money into journalism but argued the money shouldn’t go to media companies but journalism itself.

“If we want more money for journalism, let’s tax companies making heaps of money and put that money into supporting journalism, put it directly into journalism,” Lambie said.

“If we want Google and Facebook to pay more tax, let’s make them pay more tax.”

The bargaining code is expected to pass the Senate this week with support from Labor and the Greens, who will seek some minor amendments.

Lambie said both parties should be embarrassed about supporting the legislation.

-With AAP

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Aussie bank taken over in $1.3 billion buyout; Fourth woman alleges she was sexually assaulted by person accused of raping Brittany Higgins; Australia coronavirus vaccinations begin

By Carly Waters22 Feb 2021 05:44Former Federal Court Judge Raymond Finkelstein QC will be the commissioner overseeing the inquiry.Ms Horne flagged the government would also consider establishing an independent casino regulator.”I think that’s an appropriate response to what has occurred in NSW and some of the admissions made by Crown, so that we can have the best form of regulation and a casino operator that is working within the law in Victoria,” she said.The minister said the findings of the Bergin report were “so severe” that the Royal Commission into the casino giant was imperative.

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Assorted Costco Snacks (Beef and Pork) • The Aussie Coeliac

I find so many individual products at Costco, but individual reviews are really short. So today’s review is on assorted Costco Snacks that I got last visit. There are two pork snacks and one beef variety. Prices ranged from 7.99 to 12.99 I believe and all of these were found in the pantry/snack area of Costco Epping. We have Local Legends Pork Crackle, Mr Hamfrey’s Bacon Bullets with cheese and Jack Links original beef sticks.

Starting with the Local Legends air popped pork crackle in Himalayan Salt. This has big gluten free letters all across the front. There are no major allergens and ingredients include pork, rice bran oil, dextrose, pink Himalayan salt, and tapioca starch. These are nice and crunchy puffs with a subtle hint of salt. Brody personally, hates crackle puffs as he finds them too oily/fatty and too salty. He admitted to loving these because they were so light they didn’t make him feel sick. So if you like crackle but it makes you feel a little nauseous from all that fat, then maybe check out this brand. These are made in the United States.

This is an absolute favourite and the only one of these three that we have purchased mored than once. The Jack Links beef sticks have a gluten free label on the front. Brody eats their jerky a lot (gluten free by ingredient but not labelled) but these Beef Sticks are all mine. Made in New Zealand, these contain soy as a major allergen. Other ingredients include beef, sugar, salt, yeast extract, corn maltodextrin, dextrose, smoke flavouring, citric acid, acerola powder, and celery powder. You get 24 sealed beef sticks. They have a great beefy flavour with a little bit of a teriyaki vibe.

Finally, we have the Mr HamFrey’s Bacon Bullets with cheese. If the name sounds familiar, it is because I have already reviewed a Mr HamFrey’s product. They do the microwaveable pork crackling. You’ll find the gluten free label on the back, with an extra flavour burst tip. For major allergens, it contains dairy and may contain Soy and Sesame. Other ingredients include pork, dextrose, sugar, salt, yeast extract, and smoke flavour to name a few. These are a bit odd with a bacon jerky type flavour. Additionally, you won’t get a lot of the cheese flavour unless you heat them up. They’re fun and nice if you are having a party. Although I don’t think we will buy them again.

There you have three assorted Costco snack products. I don’t think any of them are worth going in just for that product. Furthermore, Costco does change up the stock every now so I don’t know how long they’ll be around. If you are after more Costco reviews, then please head to the Costco tag.

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Until Next Time;

Ashlee; The Aussie Coeliac.

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Facebook withdrawn from Aussie newsfeeds

Facebook Inc will block news content from being read and shared in its
news feed in Australia, drawing a line in the sand against a proposed
Australian law that would require it and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pay the
country’s news publishers for content.

The move, announced in a blog post on Wednesday, represents a divergence
in responses among the big tech giants to demands by news publishers, which
have blamed the companies for destroying their advertising business.

Australia Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he had a “constructive
discussion” with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday,
adding the talks with the company on the proposed media payment law would

“[Zuckerberg] raised a few remaining issues with the government’s
news media bargaining code and we agreed to continue our conversation to try to
find a pathway forward,” Frydenberg said in a tweet.

The Australian federal government has said it plans to put the
legislation, which effectively force Google and Facebook to strike deals with
media companies or have fees set for them, to a vote in the coming weeks.

Google has also threatened to shut down its search engine in the country
to avoid “unworkable” content laws even as it has secured deals with
publishers in the United Kindgom, Germany, France, Brazil and Argentina for its
Google News Showcase product.

On Wednesday, Google reached a landmark global deal with Rupert
Murdoch’s News Corp, owner of the Wall Street Journal and two-thirds of

Australia’s major city newspapers, to develop a subscription platform and share
advertising revenue.

Facebook said the proposed legislation “fundamentally
misunderstands” the relationship between itself and publishers, arguing
that news outlets voluntarily post their article links on Facebook, which
helped Australian publishers earn about AU$407 million in 2020 through

Emily Bell, director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at
Columbia Journalism School, tweeted on Wednesday that the relationship was not
as voluntary as it seems, and most publishers feel obligated to be on Facebook
due to its dominance.

Facebook, which has long been criticised for allowing misinformation to
flourish on its platforms, now finds itself in a peculiar position of also
blocking the news media that has provided a fact check on false content.

“Nobody benefits from this decision as Facebook will now be a
platform for misinformation to rapidly spread without balance,” a spokesman
for Australian television network Channel Nine said. “This action proves
again their monopoly position and unreasonable behaviour.”

As of this week, Australian users will not be able read or share news
content on Facebook news feeds, and Australian news publishers will be
restricted from posting or sharing content on Facebook pages.

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Amazon clicks with Aussie online buyers

Amazon is back on top as the most visited retail website through the Black Friday sales in November and subsequent Christmas holiday trading, nudging Bunnings into second place, with Australian shoppers also browsing the net for sites offering home furnishings and price promotions.

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Aussie couple’s $1.1m plunge on Bridgerton apartment

Australia has a new Duchess, although she is self-appointed.

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Aussie WHO scientist refutes team finding on virus origins

Welcome to The Australian’s rolling coverage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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Miso Tasty Marinades – Easy Japanese • The Aussie Coeliac

A little while ago, I came across three Miso Tasty Marinades at Woolworths. Regularly retailing for $5, at the time of writing this they are on sale for only $3.50. There are three varieties and you can pick them up in the International aisle. There are three gluten free labelled marinades, Yuzu, Miso and Teriyaki. These are packed in the UK and imported by Tenth Dot Brands. Additionally, they are vegan-friendly labelled gluten free and recyclable. All three of these marinades are perfect for glazing, marinades and drizzling.

Starting with the Sweet & Sticky Teriyaki; they contain soybeans. Other ingredients include spirit vinegar, mirin, sugar, glucose-fructose syrup, corn flour, citric acid, rapeseed oil, and xanthan gum. I went pretty simple for the teriyaki with chicken skewers. I glazed the chicken for 10 minutes before pan frying. Then I glazed them after cooking for extra sheen. It’s got a nice balance of sweetness, with a tangy undernote. It definitely, tastes like a typical teriyaki. I can definitely imagine this as a stir fry too. The tube did 500g of chicken breast easily.

Crispy Pork Belly Bites Miso Tasty Miso Marinade

Onto the Sweet & Savoury Miso – which has so many possibilities. Again it contains soybeans for major allergens. Other ingredients include miso paste, rice, alcohol, mirin, sugar, citric acid, rapeseed oil, and xanthan gum. I opted for Crispy Miso Pork Belly Bites which are so easy to make. I marinated the pork belly before baking it, then gave them a glaze before coating in rice flour. The glaze helps the rice flour stick. The miso has a nice flavour, very typical of miso. It works well with the juicy pork, but if you are vegan, they have the aubergine recipe on the back too. I will be grabbing this again.

Yuzu Scallops Miso Tasty Marinades

Finally, the in my opinion most unique flavour; Rich & Tangy Yuzu. For major allergens, these contain soybeans. Additionally, they include Miso, Rice, Alcohol, Sugar, Rapeseed Oil, Yuzu Juice, Corn flour, Citric Acid and Xanthan Gum. Yuzu isn’t a flavour we see too often in marinades but it is absolutely delicious. It has a lovely citrus note that is often thought to be zestier than lemon or lime. It works beautifully as a glaze for fresh seafood.

A little does go a long way with their marinades. If you like Japanese flavours, then these marinades do make flavourful food easy. The teriyaki is something that Brody loves so that one for sure will be on the buy again list. The miso will be an every now and then option and the yuzu will be perfect for summer. For more ingredient reviews, check out the pantry page.

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Until Next Time;

Ashlee; The Aussie Coeliac.

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Aussie states further ease border restrictions as no locally acquired case

SYDNEY, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) — Australia’s state of West Australia (WA) will reopen its border to the state of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland from Jan. 25 as the latter two continued to record zero locally acquired COVID cases.

Travellers from NSW and Queensland, two of Australia’s most populous states, could enter West Australia but still need to get into self-quarantine for 14 days in a suitable premise and be prepared for possible test at the airport clinic and during the quarantine.

NSW and Queensland were kept out of West Australia’s border after concerning COVID situation recorded in the two states. NSW witnessed reappearance of locally acquired cases and small case clusters shortly before Christmas last year while the mutant strain of virus found in Britain was detected in a local case in Queensland earlier this month.

“WA’s careful and cautious approach has stood us in good stead and our controlled border arrangements have kept us safe allowing for swift action to stop the virus in its tracks,” WA Premier Mark McGowan said.

At the same time, Australia’s biggest city of Sydney, also capital of NSW, were also reviewed as less risky by the neighbouring states of Victoria and Australian Capital Territory, which allowed travellers from Greater Sydney to enter from Friday afternoon except the Cumberland local government area in west Sydney where a local cluster originated.

Queensland and South Australia still keep their borders closed to Greater Sydney while Queensland said it will review the border rule on Jan.28.

All Australian states and territories on Saturday recorded zero locally acquired cases.

However, as for the international border, Australia started to apply stricter rules from Friday which require international travellers into Australia to have a COVID test negative results within 72 hours before boarding a flight and face masks are mandatory on international flights and in airports.

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Online sales of Aussie wine booming

Despite the global pandemic negatively affecting so many sectors of the economy, the Australian wine industry has managed to thrive, thanks to a large degree to a surge in online sales.

The latest data shows that from 2019 to 2020 online sales of Australian wines grew by seven per cent, even as other channels of wine sales fell by three per cent. The first week of December and the week of Black Friday saw record numbers as far as online sales go, with a 42 per cent and 48 per cent respective growth in online sales on the corresponding weeks last year. 

According to Ema Cregeen, founder of Gold Emotion, an online retail business that creates 24k gold infused wine, champagne, cognac and gin, e-commerce sales in the Australian wine industry are only going to continue growing. 

“As Australia, and rightly so, takes its time loosening COVID restrictions and getting back on its feet post-2020, the wine and liquor industries will depend heavier on DTC sales to stay afloat,” Cregeen said.

“While direct-to-consumer sales encompass any means of selling directly to a customer, the ‘non-contact’ channels will continue to have the highest growth rate as people have already become so accustomed to a world of restricted contact and heavy reliance on online shopping.” 

Creegen is one of the businesses that have benefited from the upswing of online wine sales. One product her business launched in the midst of the Melbourne lockdown, the Pure Gold Premium Botanical Gin, sold out twice before the end of 2020.

The latest projections from IBISWorld indicate that the online sales of Australian beer, wine, and liquor is set to exceed $1.5 billion in revenue in 2021, with an expected growth rate of 15.4 per cent. 

“With nationally celebrated holidays coming up quick and in the first half of 2021, like Australia Day, Valentine’s Day, Easter and even Mother’s Day, I wouldn’t be surprised if we reach that $1.5 billion revenue mark earlier rather than later in the year,” Cregeen enthused. 

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