With new restrictions being announced every day and public gatherings in Australia now limited to two people, the COVID-19 emergency continues to dominate headlines globally. So, here are the insights we have collected over the past 24 hours to share with you.

International news

  • The ways political leaders communicate their COVID19 strategies are being compared and analysed, with the Financial Times using New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a prime example of those who have “rocketed into the ranks of laudable… men and women… Each has shown the no-frills virtues of speaking clearly and honestly in a crisis. Put another way, the coronavirus age is no time for bull****”. Read more in the Financial Times. (Subscriber access)
  • The European Central Bank on the weekend ordered Euro zone banks to skip dividend payments and share buybacks until October, signalling a step up in rhetoric from two weeks ago when the ECB urged banks to use extra capital relief “to support the economy and not to increase dividend distributions or variable remuneration”. Read the Financial Times article here. (Subscriber access)

Australian company news 

  • Microscope on communicating during a crisis
    • The AFR’s European correspondent is reporting that COVID-19 is separating leading British figures into Manichean categories: hero or villain, saint or dinner, offering a lesson for Australian chieftains. (Subscriber access). While on the topic, Cannings’ Senior Director Luis M Garcia offers five tips on engaging with media remotely in this blog post.
    • While much attention has been paid to company announcements during the crisis, the media are also scrutinising those companies that are yet to inform shareholders of their plans, such as the country’s largest manufacturer of gambling machines, Aristocrat Leisure. Read the AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
  • COVID-19 impacting media companies in different ways
    • While demand for news has rocketed during the COVID 19 emergency, advertising revenue is not covering the costs of some Australian regional publications, forcing at least eight mastheads to announce closures or ending print runs. These include the 100-year old Sunraysia Daily, the 140-year old Yarram Standard and the 122-year old Barrier Truth Daily, according to The Australian. Regional broadcasters are urging the Federal Government to provide emergency assistance as the impact of the collapse in the advertising market is felt across the industry. Read the AFR article here. (Subscriber access)
    • While some print publications are closing, business broadcast ausbiz launched its first episode this morning on Twitter.

Australian markets 

  • Lobby groups oppose early super drawdown
    • Superannuation lobby groups are ramping up lobbying efforts, opposing the Federal Government’s moves to allow people to draw down on their super, saying it will force “a fire sale of assets to cover payouts, which would harm the investments of remaining members’ assets.” Read The Australian. (Subscriber access)
  • Regulators discussing an increase to equity raising limits
    • As more companies assess their options to raise capital, Australia’s regulators are working on a plan to increase the amount of equity that companies can raise via placements from 15 per cent to 25 per cent of shares on issues with an announcement expected as early as today. Read the AFR article here.  (Subscriber access)
  • Restrictions on foreign investment bids to stop takeovers
    • The Federal Government has placed restrictions on all foreign investment bids, changing the threshold to zero. It means all foreign bids will have to be weighed against national interest. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the measures are necessary to safeguard the national interest, and to protect distressed Australian businesses and assets from fire sale takeovers. Read the AFR article here. (Subscriber access)

Our daily briefing is not meant to be a summary of media coverage but rather, insights that may be helpful in understanding how organisations are communicating with stakeholders in a time of crisis – and what comes next. Sign up via email