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Is this what the build-up to war feels like? ticker VIEWS



On June 15, 2016, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger stood before a crowd of 3000 celebrities, political leaders and super-fans, to proclaim that Shanghai Disneyland was “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese”.

It’s the capitalists way of saying “we didn’t get everything we wanted, but they didn’t either.”

Six years since then, Shanghai Disneyland Park has been a roaring success. While many Chinese visitors don’t exactly know every Disney character, they know they should enjoy it.

Disney CEO Bob Iger opens Shanghai Disneyland in 2016

Six years later, a trade war later, a three Presidents later, relations between China and the west are at a critical level.

In the decade of negotiations leading up to that June 2016 opening of Disneyland, Bob Iger never could have foreseen the geopolitical shift that has occurred so quickly.

Even Australia is looking to build up a stockpile of missiles, Japan has just released a white paper describing the Taiwan situation as a crisis.

Australia is investigating a strategy to build missiles.

“Stabilising the situation surrounding Taiwan is important for Japan’s security and the stability of the international community,” the white paper said. “Therefore, it is necessary that we pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”


This is an extraordinary shift in tone, as the world is confronted by an aggressive Chinese state.

Australia has been China’s whipping boy since last year, when the Prime Minister called for a WHO investigation into the origins of COVID19.

Five Prime Ministers ago, under Kevin Rudd’s administration, Xi Jinping was a guest in Canberra. He even attended an AFL match. Now the Chinese won’t send us any students or even drink our Shiraz.


Japan’s latest assessment of the China threat to the region will be watched closely in Washington and Canberra. But other countries too. While China knows how to buy friends and influence governments, it’s also very good at creating enemies, on pretty much every territorial border.

Our generation has grown up without the threat of conscription, and despite the yearly services in Australia to mark Anzac Day, the dreadful realities of world wars have drifted into the distance.

Our focus is on wealth creation, not city destruction. War seems irresponsible and difficult to comprehend.

Chinese tourists pose at Shanghai Disneyland Park

Yet the similarities in tone between the west and China, and say, the west and Japan or German in the 1930s feels eerily similar.

When we hear about missile shields, mass missile production and territorial crisis, we are instantly reminded how fragile peace can be.

One can only hope we can ride the current wave. And maybe visit Disneyland Shanghai one day too.

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Global Politics

Biden battles on – Trump Turmoil deepens



As Washington prepares to take its summer break, President Biden continues to battle on the policy and program fronts he has led since Inauguration Day

On his agenda?

  • Ending the pandemic
  • Restoring the economy
  • Pursuing voting rights
  • Social equity
  • Racial justice
  • Gun control
  • Confronting climate change
  • And restoring America’s leadership in the world

In each area, there is progress – and challenges

With 70% of Americans now vaccinated, the Delta strain is hurting, with infections accelerating to significant levels – but the vaccines work. 

This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated

of the 164 million Americans who are inoculated, 99.9% have not tested positive for Covid

Fewer people still are hospitalized or dead.

The renewed push to get as many as possible protected is now being augmented by mandates from governments and businesses that their employees are to get the jabs as a condition of employment.  (This may prove ultimately to be the key for the last mile of protection here in Australia.)

What about the economy?

Employment is up, the economy is growing at over 6%, and wages are increasing, with $15 per hour the new norm in many businesses.

Child poverty is being cut in half, but employment is still not back at pre-Covid levels. Millions who are behind in their rent face possible eviction in the coming weeks.

While Biden has campaigned strongly on protecting voting rights, ending police violence, gun control, greater access to education and tackling global warming, no legislation on those fronts has yet been enacted. 

On a foreign front – under Biden’s leadership, America is absolutely back with US alliances strong across Europe and Asia

U.S President Joe Biden, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, talk during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel/Pool Photo via AP)

However, there is turmoil in Afghanistan, prospects have dimmed for a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia are testy, tensions with China are as intense as ever, and there is no dialogue with North Korea.

In Washington, the toughest tests of Biden’s legislative program are pending right now 

He is applying all the lessons learned from his and President Obama’s first term in working his Democrats and those Republicans who are willing to win his policies on infrastructure, education, climate, and health care. 

Biden knows that his presidency is in the balance.

As Biden battles on, the man he defeated, Donald Trump, continues to spread turmoil and division.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Trump will not countenance any blame or responsibility for the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 – an attack intended to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. 

Trump’s hold over the Republican Party, and especially the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, upended the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to examine the threat to democracy posed by Trump.  

Trump is determined to remain a potent force in the party, and the decider of its future. 

He has raised more money this year than anyone else – over $100 million – and supplicants journey to his homes to pay tribute and seek favour.  

Trump is hardly invincible. There are chinks in his cladding.  His preferred candidate for a House seat in Texas lost to another Republican Trump declined to endorse. 

Damning notes from the Justice Department show Trump’s intense pressure on the Acting Attorney General to declare the election corrupt; he refused.

The Biden Justice Department has ruled that Trump’s tax returns have to be turned over to Congress.  Trump attacked the Republicans supporting the bipartisan infrastructure deal with Biden – but the agreement is holding.

In this Washington summer, Biden is steady at the helm, but the waters are choppy.  And Trump keeps making waves whenever he plunges into the pool.


  • Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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5B : Why this is an answer to the climate crisis



From Australian startup to solar juggernaut, 5B’s technology is reinventing solar energy

5B started as an Australian startup and is reinventing global solar energy from the ground up.

This week on Ticker Climate the co-founder of 5B, Chris McGrath ‘zoomed-in’ from sunny Darwin, Australia. 5B is an innovative solar technology business, with a mission to create abundant, accessible, affordable power from the sun. They’re breaking down barriers by making solar power easy, affordable, and quick.

Aussie startup founded over a bottle of whiskey

Solar engineers Chris McGrath and Eden Tehan founded the business in 2013. They came up with the idea over a bottle of whiskey. With an aim to accelerate the planet’s transition to fast, easy, low-cost clean solar energy. The way solar can, and should be. From a team of 30 employees last year, they now employ 137 people.

The name 5B represents the 5 billion years of sunshine Earth has left, and motivates them to strive for the simplest, most effective ways to leverage this resource.

“As individuals how we can add most to the challenge of climate change in front  of us.” 

Chris McGrath, Co-founder 5B


How it works

5B’s finely tuned ecosystem allows its solution to be produced anywhere in the world, at scale, with a network of channel, assembly, and deployment partners. They use technology to make the process of producing and developing solar easy and low cost.

They classify themselves as the ‘Maverick’s’ (a reference to Top Gun) of our time and the leaders of the renewable revolution.

The Maverick

The iconic technology of the ‘Maverick’ solar solution is the fastest, easiest and simplest way to deploy ground-mounted solar. 5B has redefined the engineering, and construction of solar farms.

They use the ‘Maverick’ to transform to supply and delivering chain of building solar farms to make it easier, faster, and cheaper. Their approach combines modular design, prefabrication, and rapid deployment.

This streamlines engineering & procurement and transferring cost, time & risk from the construction site to the factory. 5B makes the process simpler by using modular prefabricated blocks, pre-wired, minimal site preparation, suitable for most ground and soil types, minimal ground penetration and no trenching needed.

They’re the fastest deployment on the market.


Sun Cable Project

5B has joined forces with the Sun Cable Project. This project will be the world’s largest solar farm in the world on completion. It will be able to power whole cities with renewable energy.

It is in a remote location in the Northern parts of Australia. By conventional means, this process would take thousands of people in a camp in the middle of nowhere to complete.

However, with 5B they will use a highly trained workforce in a factory in Darwin, then a fleet of autonomous vehicles will help to make the rollout efficient and seamless. They will use about 100 people as opposed to thousands. They will be rolling out approximately 180 ‘Maverick’s’ per day, which equates to about one per 5 minutes.

This project will be a lighthouse for 5B to showcase their capabilities and leadership in this industry. And, with predictions the cost of solar will continue to go down, Australia could be on track to become a renewable energy exporting leader.

“The advantage in Australia is the price of solar will keep going down and that will give us an advantage over other countries. “

Energy expert, and Ticker Climate co-host, Scott Hamilton

Breaking global markets

5B is also expanding internationally, breaking into markets in Chile, the United States, and India. They want to drive growth into these markets to build their ecosystem of partners right around the world. They also have a factory in Vietnam ramping up.

Eventually, 5B wants to implement a system so seamless that you can buy a solar farm online and have it delivered the next week.


Bushfire prone locations need solar

Right now disastrous fires are wreaking havoc across the world. The United States and Turkey, are the most recent to fall victim to the frightening blazes.  Some of the challenges local towns and communities in remote locations face are the risk of bushfires & storms that end in extended blackouts.

The solution for these towns, communities, and businesses is solar. In Australia, 5B recently worked on a project named ‘resilient energy’ in partnership with Tesla and the co-founder of software company Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes.

The project aimed at getting power back to bushfire-affected communities. The purpose is to use renewable energy to make the communities and power systems more resilient, relying less on power lines that are likely to be damaged during a fire.

“Power lines cause fires…We want communities and power systems to be more resilient.”

 Chris McGrath, co-founder 5B

Watch this week’s full episode here:


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Ticker Views

Why Tokyo 2020 is changing the way we watch TV | ticker VIEWS



When it comes to how much interest we all had in the Olympics there were two arguments

Some said all the controversy would turn people away, while others believed we needed to the entertainment now more than ever.

Viewership and consumption of the olympics is down from Rio 2016, but in Australia, channel 7 hit a new streaming record.

Olympics TikTok is one of the best parts of the games, and it’s where younger viewers are consuming their olympic content.

Mat Cole from ACT Capital Partners Joined Brittany Coles to discuss why people are watching the olympics differently

Why have our viewing habits changed since Rio 2016?

Rio de Janeiro – Cerimônia de encerramento dos Jogos Olímpicos Rio 2016, no Maracanã (Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

Cole says event based television was one of the last happenings to be supported by ad based television.

“So if you look at the last sort of five years between the last Olympics and this one, consumer behaviour has changed dramatically,” he says.

Cole says that people who are late teens and early 20’s age group, well, they were 13, 14, 15, when the last Olympics were on, so their behaviours are just inherently different.

“They used to have more of an on demand style consumption of media push button and stream a series. So event based television is just a different behaviour to that and that’s played out.”

We’ve seen the change across all major live events

In other words, Superbowl viewership is down, the Grammys viewers were really down.

“So event based television right across the globe is struggling,”

Cole said.

“I think one of the things that we sort of underestimated coming into the Olympics was there was so much news around around the actual happening of the games, how would they happen? What would they look like fans, no fans, all these sorts of things.”

What we miss was the usual path into Olympic Games, we highlight the individuals, and we get to know the athletes and we get to know the backstory of the athletes.

“Well, I think what’s happening now is we’re finding that out as the events happening. So you know, everyone tuned in to watch Jess Fox Win win a gold medal,” Cole says.

“And we knew her backstory, and not just, you know, the athlete she is but the amount of work she’s done for gender equality in her sport, and really been a pioneer of that. Now we know that backstory, and we can really sort of get behind her and the work that she’s doing.”

Olympics tiktok dominating viewership and helping to humanise the athletes

In the virtual world of youtube vlogs, instagram reels and tiktok, showing daily routines online is pretty normal… but this concept is a first for the 125 year old olympic games.

There may be no spectators, but we have a front row view – in fact, it’s better than that – somewhere not even the major broadcasters or IOC officials have access.

That would be the athletes bedrooms…

Athletes are showing posting behind-the-scenes vignettes that showcase the Olympic Village on tik-tok.

This is an entirely new and fascinating experience for the home viewer.

When the athletes are at the Olympics, they’ve got social media guidelines, and challenges from broadcasters.

“As the challenge of the broadcasters, they’ve got to see so many sports, and you’ve got to deliver it seamlessly, and educate people on sports, we only see every four years. So that’s a real challenge in itself.”

Front row view into athletes village broadcasters can’t reach

Social media is allowing us to see into the incredible lives of athletes, which we’ve never had before.

“Tiktok is a perfect vehicle for the athletes themselves to show their personalities.”

“Tiktok is an access point to fans, we now get a really small view into the life of an athlete of an Olympic athlete, which 99 per cent of us will never ever get to be, so we can experience this very authentic view of what the what the Olympic Village is and the the Olympic athletes experiences,” Cole says.

“Without the shiny lights and all the choreograph theatrics that Olympic Games has, this is the real stuff.”

Cole says there was some really great content produced by the US women’s sevens rugby side, where they tested out the cardboard beds, and they would pretend to be WWE athletes, they would pretend to wrestle on all these sorts of things, great content.

“So platforms like TikTok, you walk around and you see what the opening ceremony is like for an athlete from an athlete’s point of view. All of this sort of stuff is fantastic,” Cole says.

Are athletes getting themselves into hot water posting tiktoks?

There are some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to posts on social media to avoid getting slapped with a lawsuit from the IOC or USOP.

“For starters, individuals referring to the Olympics for non-commercial purposes is okay. But as more athletes have become influencers or brand ambassadors on social media, there are nuances to promotion of the Olympics and branding that should be carefully observed,” Tiffany Shimada, partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney said.

For example, under the General Guidelines for the Tokyo Olympic games, use of URL, social media, or hashtags on any items worn during the Olympic games is strictly forbidden

“There are still many creative ways to promote brands during the Olympics, but they must align with the IOC and USOPC’s rules and guidelines,” Shimada says.

How will the athletes maintain popularity and become media properties?

How that translates post Olympics for those who do well and win a medal at the Olympics, will be the next question.

Despite the blow up of athlete life and behind the scene content on social media, people still rely on the games itself via broadcast networks

“New viewing records are being set on a daily basis which is great news for our partners, sponsors and dynamic packages. Marketers have well and truly embraced Tokyo 2020 and now that the Games have started, we’re seeing record results with brands capitalising with short-term broadcast and digital investment,” Seven West Media chief revenue officer and director of Olympics, Kurt Burnette, said.

Channel 7 Olympics audience numbers have exceeded its forecasts on every level, including 2.3 million reach on streaming platform, 7plus alone

“I think one of the things that we have to be mindful of is Sydney being in lockdown Melbourne being in lockdown for the first part of the Olympics,” Cole says.

“It’s really helped. You know a lot of people got the Olympics on in the background where they’re trying to work from home, teach from home and do all the other bits and pieces while in lockdown,

“So I think Channel Seven has done a really good job of producing a product that’s suitable for the viewership and the experience that you’re looking to create. I think there’s some tailwind to the lockdown that are helping those numbers as well.”

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