“All the camping categories performed very strongly. And you don’t just buy a tent, there are a number of other things you have to buy to make that all work,” Mr Heraghty said.
At the company’s sports retailer Rebel, like-for-likes sales jumped 17 per cent in the six months to December, while the number of customers buying their sporting goods online increased by 102 per cent.
Mr Heraghty said the pandemic had shown clearly that “online [retail] is no longer just a side project, it’s the main game”.
JB Hi-Fi chief executive Richard Murray said shoppers appeared to be more “mission focused” in the age of COVID-19, and the ongoing trend towards work-from-home would help sustain the company’s sales.
“I think more people will say ‘I want to basically duplicate my office environment at home,'” he said.
Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, which operates the Smiggle and Peter Alexander brands, hit record share price highs last week when it also revealed an uptick in online sales will push its earnings 85 per cent higher over the past six months.
Paul Zahra, chief executive of the Australian Retailers Association, said strong trading updates were encouraging, but warned coronavirus was set to impact retails for some time.
“Australian households have a lot to be positive about especially when they see images of how COVID-19 has devastated other countries around the world and this is having a positive impact on consumer confidence,” Mr Zahra said.
“Even with a vaccine in place, we are likely to live with the virus for some time – albeit at a reduced level, so some of the existing challenges will remain.”
Then came an unprecedented response from the tech companies to the Capitol riot, fuelled in part by false and misleading social media posts that undermined faith in the US election. Twitter banned Trump’s account, as well as 70,000 accounts associated with the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory. Facebook and Instagram suspended Trump through the end of his term, and removed posts fraudulently claiming that the US election was stolen. Snapchat also banned Trump, and on Wednesday, YouTube suspended his channel for at least a week.
Some conservative users had briefly found refuge on Parler, only to see the conservative alternative to Facebook go dark on Monday when Amazon stopped providing hosting services. Parler sued Amazon over the ban; Amazon responded by arguing the platform’s “unwillingness” to remove posts threatens public safety.
“If we knock all these folks into the dark shadows of the internet, they’re going to continue to communicate, but authorities will have a harder time tracking it.”
Disinformation expert James Ludes
The crackdown prompted many conservative posters to consider more obscure alternative platforms such as Gab, which has marketed itself to Trump supporters. Gab CEO Andrew Torba, who describes himself as a “Christian entrepreneur and American populist,” posted Wednesday that 1.7 million users signed up in the past four days.
“This is where we make our final stand for our sacred birthright bestowed by God and affirmed by our Founding Fathers,” read a comment shared by Torba.
Other platforms attracting Trump supporters include Signal and Telegram, messaging services already used by individuals and groups with different ideologies around the world, as well as a growing list of lesser-known platforms, such as Rumble, MeWe and CloutHub.
Telegram announced on Wednesday that it had more than 500 million users, with more than 25 million signing up since Sunday.
Several Trump social media stars banished from the mainstream platforms have launched their own channels on the service, gaining thousands of followers in just days. A channel that claims to be run by conservative attorney L. Lin Wood Jr, who littered Twitter with false claims about the election and called on Parler for Vice President Mike Pence to be killed, has gained more than 100,000 subscribers since its first message was posted on Monday. QAnon and far-right channels also have seen their membership boosted by thousands this week.
Many of these smaller sites already were havens for extremists and conspiracy theorists who have been kicked off Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, said Jared Holt, a disinformation researcher at the Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council.
“In the worst-case scenario, I could envision there’s a potential here for mass radicalisation if droves of people show up on the platforms that have been the stomping grounds for extremist movements,” Holt said.
These platforms still only have a fraction of the audience that Facebook or Twitter have, meaning it will be harder for conspiracy theorists and extremists to spread their message.
“There are trade-offs,” Starbird said of the platform’s crackdown: Less misinformation spreading in the general public, but also carrying the risk of concentrating misinformation on far smaller sites with few rules and little to no content moderation.
It’s also possible that some on the far right may take greater advantage of more-secure, encrypted messaging services offered by the likes of Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp, making it harder for researchers, journalists and government officials to monitor for signs of threats, according to James Ludes, a former congressional defense analyst and disinformation expert who runs the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University.
“They’re still here,” Ludes said. “If we knock all these folks into the dark shadows of the internet, they’re going to continue to communicate, but authorities will have a harder time tracking it.”
Meanwhile, on fringe websites associated with the anti-government Boogaloo movement, planning continues for armed protests at state capitols. Chatter around such protests is present on some social media, Holt said, and an internal FBI bulletin this week warned of extremist threats at such events.
Organisers “are still intent on going forward,” Holt said. “It remains unclear what we could expect as far as turnout goes for that.”
Parler chief executive John Matze lashed out at Apple, saying the iPhone maker was banning the service until it gives up free speech and institutes “broad and invasive policies like Twitter and Facebook.”
Amazon has suspended Parler from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) unit, for violating AWS’s terms of services by failing to effectively deal with a steady increase in violent content on the social networking service, BuzzFeed News reported late on Saturday.
Amazon’s move effectively takes the site offline unless it can find a new company to host its services.
AWS plans to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, at 11:59 p.m. PST, according to an email by an AWS Trust and Safety team to Parler seen by BuzzFeed.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the letter was authentic.
Matze, in a post on Parler responding to the Apple suspension, said, “They claim it is due to violence on the platform. The community disagrees as we hit number 1 on their store today,” Matze said in a post on Parler.
“More details about our next plans coming soon as we have many options,” Matze said.
In addition to Parler, right-leaning social media users in the United States have flocked to messaging app Telegram and hands-off social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Google, in its announcement Friday that it was suspending Parler, said that Parler must demonstrate “robust” content moderation if it wants to get back in the store.
Measures unleashed in Asia went far beyond anything deployed in the region during the 2007-2009 crisis. Once sacrosanct lines have been crossed with alacrity. Indonesia’s central bank is overtly funding the national deficit, a blurring of institutional independence that once would have sent investors packing for fear of runaway inflation and currency weakness. (After weakening sharply in late March, the rupiah has been fairly stable.) The Philippines made similar moves without being as vocal. Australia and New Zealand embraced QE.
This all happened a lot faster than any fiscal rescue — monetary policy isn’t burdened by the legislative horse-trading bogging things down in places like the US. Yet these quick results have thrust officials squarely into the political arena they try so hard to avoid. A demonstrated ability to get things done tends to beget more “please assist” notes.
New Zealand’s finance minister, for example, wrote to the Reserve Bank, asking it to take home prices into account when setting policy. The ploy was nakedly political, and the RBNZ pushed back, but you can’t blame the guy for trying. Central banks have invited this by showing how accommodative they can be.
In Indonesia and South Korea, legislators are pushing to have labor-market stability added to central banks’ formal charters. Prioritising employment over inflation — for decades, the North Star of monetary policy — is striking, given how hard these countries strived for credibility in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. The tradeoff for bailouts from the International Monetary Fund involved redesigning their economic regimes, in some cases, to be even more orthodox than those in developed economies.
And perhaps that’s where Asia is getting its cues now. At legislative committee hearings in early December, US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell and Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe sounded like employment ministers or union cadres as they spoke about the prospect of long-term scarring in the job market.
This shift to focus on employment is potentially as far-reaching as the one engineered by former Fed boss Paul Volcker in the late 1970s, but back then, the scourge was soaring prices. Now, you need a magnifying glass to find “inflation” in central bank speeches.
It’s not inconceivable that officials adopt formal unemployment ceilings, just as limits on consumer-price increases were in the past quarter-century.
Sucked into politics
Like it or not, monetary authorities are now players in the most political of spheres: getting people back to work. Even ardent defenders of central bank independence acknowledge that by scooping up truckloads of sovereign debt, they influence how much governments can spend.
Andy Haldane, chief economist at the Bank of England, has sounded warnings: “The horns of this dilemma grow sharper, the larger is the stock of QE,” he said in a November 28 speech. “Recent QE has placed central banks in deep and uncharted waters. My view is that these QE actions have been necessary to support the economy and hit the inflation target. But they pose rising challenges to public understanding of the purposes of QE and, ultimately, perceptions of independence.”
The question of central bank overreach started gaining attention in the aftermath of 2008, when the Fed, European Central Bank and Bank of England deployed massive bond-buying to keep interest rates at rock-bottom levels. (The BOJ began its experimentation around the turn of the century.) With QE now so much broader, the dangers of blowback have multiplied. An arduous and uneven recovery is likely to make monetary institutions tempting targets for politicians looking to deflect blame or searching for more cash cows to milk. Operating effectively as third or fourth arms of the government, or as de facto administrative states, leaves monetary practitioners vulnerable.
A good way to restore some backbone would be for central bankers to explain why they acted as they did. Equally important would be clarifying what they won’t do. Bromides like “fiscal policy must do more” won’t cut it — everybody knows that by now. This is about explaining to the public why, at some point, central banks should be doing less. That would signal a robust recovery is with us.
Unwinding stimulus is never easy (witness the bond market “taper tantrum” induced by former Fed chair Ben Bernanke in 2013). Monetary officials would love to have that problem all the same.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Daniel Moss is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Asian economies. Previously he was executive editor of Bloomberg News for global economics, and has led teams in Asia, Europe and North America.
Start the day with major stories, exclusive coverage and expert opinion from our leading business journalists delivered to your inbox. Sign up for the Herald‘s here and The Age‘s here.
Sydney Thunder have moved to the top of the Big Bash League ladder with a seven-run win in a rain-affected New Year’s Day clash against the Melbourne Renegades on the Gold Coast.
The Thunder claimed the victory by being seven runs clear of the par score of 110 when rain halted play at Carrara on Friday night.
Sydney Thunder have scored 2-117 off 12 overs to beat Melbourne Renegades in a rain-shortened match at Carrara
The Thunder’s win has moved them above crosstown rivals Sydney Sixers to the top of the Big Bash table
The Renegades remain on the bottom of the ladder, with just one win for the season so far
With play unable to resume, the Thunder claimed the win over the rock-bottom Renegades under the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.
Former Test batsman Usman Khawaja was unbeaten on 48, a vital innings that helped keep the Thunder ahead of the par score throughout their shortened chase.
Young Renegades debutant Mitch Perry (1-33) had an eventful introduction to Big Bash cricket.
English opener Alex Hales (45 off 19) smashed two sixes and two fours as he took 22 off Perry’s first five deliveries before a stunning catch by Mackenzie Harvey off the final delivery gave the 20-year-old his first wicket.
Perry bowled a wide full toss that appeared to be a front-foot no-ball.
It wasn’t called by the umpires, however, and Hales tried to flay the ball to the boundary or the stands with a savage cut shot, only for Harvey to fling himself to his left and take an incredible flying catch.
Hales’ dismissal was the highlight of the Renegades’ bowling effort, with the defeat keeping them rooted to the bottom of the ladder.
Renegades’ captain Aaron Finch complained on Fox Sports as the teams left the field about the stadium scoreboard showing incorrect par scores.
“Obviously not ideal for Finchy,” coach Michael Klinger said.
“We knew on the boundary that we were behind, obviously we had the running sheet. For the captain on the field it’d be nice if they’d had it right but it was just (at the) last bit it started flashing a bit.
“At the end of the day it didn’t change the result, wouldn’t have changed what we did anyway in terms of who bowled and field placings, so it’s not a big deal.”
The Thunder’s fifth win from six matches takes them above the Sydney Sixers, with their crosstown rivals playing Brisbane on Saturday at the Gabba.
“We weren’t thinking about rain at all,” man-of-the-match Hales said.
“Just trying to get off to a good start is always going to be important and, yeah, tonight luckily it worked.”
Earlier, a brilliant innings by former Test batsman Shaun Marsh lifted the Melbourne Renegades to 6-166 off their 17 overs after they were sent in by the Thunder.
Marsh belted 87 off 48 balls, including five sixes, to become the top run-scorer in the tournament so far with 233 to his name, including three half-centuries.
The victory was the Thunder’s second in a week against the Renegades, after belting them by 129 runs on Boxing Day.
Nathan McAndrew was the pick of the Thunder bowlers with 3-41 off his four overs, including the wickets of Marsh and Mohammad Nabi (33 off 24) in the penultimate over of the innings.
A sensational five-wicket haul from Afghan mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman has been undone by a dramatic last-ball Big Bash League defeat for Brisbane Heat against Hobart Hurricanes.
Brisbane Heat have lost for the fourth time in their first five games of the Big Bash season, with a narrow one-run loss to Hobart Hurricanes
Mark Steketee’s bat bounced off the ground just as the stumps were broken as he dived in for the tying run
The Heat’s only win of the season so far came against the Hurricanes at the Gabba last Sunday
Mujeeb picked up the best figures ever by a Heat bowler — and the fourth best in BBL history — by taking 5-15 off his four overs at the Gabba as Brisbane dismissed Hobart for 150.
But his efforts were in vain as the Heat finished on 8-149 off their 20 overs with Mark Steketee run out off the final ball chasing a tying score which would have forced the game into a super over.
Third umpire Phillip Gillespie decided Steketee’s bat was short of the crease when it was grounded before bouncing up in the air as Colin Ingram’s throw hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
Despite uncertainty over whether Steketee’s bat had actually been short of the line, Heat captain Jimmy Peirson accepted the call after viewing a replay post-match.
“I had a brief look just then… and it looked like the bat did bounce before the line,” Peirson said.
“I’d love to have a real good look at it but we (have to) look within, we can’t blame that or whinge about that.
“We got ourselves in a situation where we should have put that game to bed with the bat, we didn’t do that.”
The first Twenty20 five-wicket haul in 19-year-old Mujeeb’s career eclipsed West Indian Samuel Badree’s 5-22 against the Melbourne Stars in 2016 as the best bowling by a Heat player.
His effort, which included three wickets in four balls in the penultimate over of the Hurricanes’ innings, is the best return in the BBL since Dan Christian’s 5-14 for Hobart against Adelaide in 2017.
Chasing 151 to claim a second win over the Hurricanes in four days, the Heat slumped to 3-8 in a disastrous start.
A 50-run partnership between Max Bryant (32 off 21) and English import Lewis Gregory (29 off 27) steadied the innings.
Second-gamer James Bazley, who scored an unbeaten 31 on debut in Sunday’s four-wicket win over the Hurricanes, brought victory within sight as the Heat needed seven to win off the final over.
Scott Boland (2-18) restricted the Heat to just five off his first five deliveries and when Ingram produced his last-ball heroics, Bazley was left stranded on 49 not out.
Along with Boland, Riley Meredith (3-21) was the other key bowler for the Hurricanes.
“It was really exciting and, obviously, a thrilling finish to a pretty crazy game,” said Singapore international Tim David, who provided some late fireworks in Hobart’s innings with a 17-ball 36.
“I feel like probably most of the batters will be a bit disappointed leaving a few runs out there from both sides but to defend seven in the last over and even the guys that did a really tough job from this end to the short boundary, yeah, it was amazing.”
There was no Chris Lynn but the Brisbane Heat may have a new hero in English all-rounder Lewis Gregory.
The Brisbane Heat had lost their three opening games of the season
Missing injured star Chris Lynn, the Heat survived a mid-order collapse to chase down Hobart’s total of 148
English all-rounder Lewis Gregory, who cleared quarantine on Christmas Day, made an immediate impact taking 3-22
With hamstrung captain Lynn watching from the sidelines, Gregory became the first player to take three wickets on debut for the Heat in Sunday’s four-wicket Big Bash League win over the Hobart Hurricanes at the Gabba.
The victory is the Heat’s first of the summer and takes them off the bottom of the competition ladder.
Prior to the game, Brisbane’s only point of the season had come from a bonus point in getting a higher 10-over score than the Sydney Thunder in Canberra on December 14.
Gregory, whose mandatory quarantine period ended on Christmas Day, took 3-22 off his four overs including the key wickets of D’Arcy Short, Dawid Malan and Peter Handscomb as the Hurricanes were restricted to 7-148 in their innings.
Brisbane chased down their target despite a collapse in the middle of the innings, reaching 6-152 with 16 balls to spare.
Bowling on the Gabba for the first time in his career, Gregory took just three balls to make his impact when he removed Short for 27 in the eighth over of the match.
In his next over the 28-year-old dismissed English international teammate Malan (15) and ex-Test batsman Handscomb (7) with consecutive balls.
At that stage, Gregory had 3-5 off 1.4 overs and was an instant fans’ favourite with the stacked Hurricanes’ batting line-up reduced to 4-66.
“It’s not easy. It’s not nice being away from your family on what is quite a nice time to be with your family.
“Equally, the UK is not the best place to be in at the moment as well so it’s just nice to be out playing some cricket, playing in front of supporters and hopefully coming out and winning a few games.”
An unbeaten 26 to James Faulkner lifted the Hurricanes to set a victory target of 149 but that target always looked under par.
Sam Heazlett, who creamed three consecutive sixes off teenage debutant Wil Parker’s (0-27) first BBL over, top-scored for the Heat with 48 off 27 balls in a quickfire opening stand with Max Bryant.
The pair smashed 73 off 38 balls before Bryant fell for 31 to seemingly put the Heat on a downhill cruise to victory.
Short (3-11), however, sparked a collapse by the home side where they lost 6-29 to send a scare through the Gabba crowd.
Included in that three-for was an amazing reflex caught-and-bowled where the Heat’s Tom Cooper (7) did a full-blooded straight drive only for Short to pluck it, leaving Cooper to walk off shaking his head.
Stand-in captain Jimmy Peirson (16 not out) and debutant James Bazley (31 not out off 19) steadied the ship with an unbeaten 50-run stand to secure the much-needed win for the Heat.
“I think par winning total here batting first is about 179-180, so we knew we were short, but we also knew it was a slightly different wicket,” Hurricanes skipper Handscomb said.
“We were hoping that would be enough if we bowled well.
“Credit to their openers, they came out and played their way, played to their game and hit some nice shots, hit some hard shots and got them off to a flyer and got us behind the game.”
The two teams meet again at the Gabba on Wednesday.
A sensational innings by Sydney Sixers’ batsman Daniel Hughes has guided his team to a thrilling Boxing Day Big Bash win over the Melbourne Stars.
The Sydney Sixers and Melbourne Stars combined for 26 sixes in a high-scoring thriller at Carrara, with the Sixers winning by a single wicket
The Sixers made 20 off the final over to win, capped with four byes off the penultimate ball
In the other game, the Sydney Thunder beat the Melbourne Renegades by 129 runs, with Thunder batsman Oliver Davies smashing five consecutive sixes
Hughes stunned the Stars, smashing 96 off just 51 deliveries as the Sixers chased a victory target of 194 with a ball and a wicket to spare at Carrara.
The Stars would have felt safe after Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran combined to smash 125 runs for the fifth wicket, featuring 13 sixes, as the Stars made 5-193 in their innings.
West Indian left-hander Pooran, batting for the first time this summer for the Stars, smashed 65 off just 26 balls to delight the small crowd on the Gold Coast.
Maxwell finished the innings with his fifth six to end on 71 not out off 47 balls in a typically destructive display from the Australian all-rounder.
That partnership looked a match-winner as the Sixers struggled to keep wickets in hand but Hughes’s knock, which included six fours and seven sixes, delivered them an unlikely win.
The Sixers’ hopes appeared shot when Maxwell caught big-hitting West Indian Carlos Brathwaite (21 off 12) on the boundary in the penultimate over.
That meant Sydney had to score 20 runs off the final over with just two wickets in hand but Hughes made the most of Nathan Coulter-Nile being off the field with a calf injury, leaving Maxwell to bowl the final over.
Hughes belted a six, a four and a six before holing out but four leg-byes off the penultimate ball to Steve O’Keefe then sealed the win for the Sixers.
“I did something like that in a trial game so I actually didn’t know I had that in me until DC [Dan Christian] and there’s a few other guys that have just given me the confidence in the middle order to just go out there and play shots,” the 31-year-old said.
“Swing easy. Be calm when you need to be and it came off today.
“Now that I know that it’s there, it’s just trying to repeat it over and over again.”
All up, there were 26 sixes hit in the match, providing plenty of entertainment for a game that finished at midnight local time.
Stars coach David Hussey said Coulter-Nile had suffered a calf strain and, despite putting his hand up to bowl the final over, was talked out of it for fear he would make his injury worse.
“20 to win, yeah you’d like to think so,” Hussey said when asked if it would have been a different outcome with Coulter-Nile available for the last over.
“He’s one of the world’s best T20 players … but the way Daniel Hughes was hitting them, like anything could have happened.
“I honestly believed we were still going to pinch the game when Cartwright took his catch and I thought, ‘right, yeah, we’re going to win this,’ but it wasn’t to be.”
The Sixers next play the Melbourne Renegades at Carrara on Tuesday while the Stars travel to Canberra on the same day to play the Sydney Thunder.
Davies hits Renegades for six in Canberra
In the earlier game, young gun Oliver Davies hit the headlines with five straight sixes, as the Thunder beat the struggling Renegades by 129 runs in Canberra.
Davies caught the eye in the under-19 championships two years ago when he scored a double hundred for NSW against the Northern Territory, hitting 17 sixes including six off a single over.
He had an impressive Big Bash debut with 36 off 21 balls for the Thunder against the Perth Scorchers, then backed it up with 48 off 23 balls at Manuka Oval on Saturday night.
He was going at a run a ball before facing Afghanistan spinner Mohammad Nabi — Davies smashed four sixes in a row, including three over mid-wicket, then deposited Will Sutherland into the stand square on the leg side from the next ball he faced.
Sutherland bounced back by bowling the 20-year-old off the next delivery, but Davies’ quickfire innings helped the Thunder to 8-209 from 20 overs, before the Renegades were blasted out for just 80 off 12.2 overs.
The Renegades, who are the defending Big Bash champions, had the worst loss in the competition’s history earlier this month when they were thrashed by 145 runs by the Sydney Sixers.
Mitch Marsh has become the latest player to back calls for a review system in the Big Bash after its absence was again exposed in the Sydney Thunder’s win over Perth.
Usman Khawaja survived an appeal for caught behind trying to drive Andrew Tye, with replays showing the batsman had clearly edged the ball.
Umpire Simon Lightbody could be heard telling Tye he believed Khawaja’s bat had hit the ground, despite the bat being nowhere near the turf.
On commentary, Mark Waugh could not believe the decision.
“It was nowhere near the ground. He’s just had a shocker there, unfortunately for the Perth Scorchers,” Waugh said.
Khawaja was on 18 at the time, and made just three more before falling to Aaron Hardie in the Thunder’s seven-wicket win over the Scorchers on Tuesday night.
But the decision reignited calls for a decision review system (DRS), after Khawaja was on the wrong end of another poor call nine days ago in the Thunder’s loss to Melbourne Stars.
Perth skipper Marsh was himself the victim of an LBW howler in the Scorchers’ washed-out clash with the Melbourne Stars last week.
“As a player you like to see stuff introduced, I would be all for it,” Marsh, who expects to be back bowling for the Scorchers on Monday against Adelaide, said.
Money is believed to be the biggest hurdle for Cricket Australia, as AAP understands it would cost about $2 million to have DRS in place at all games.
While broadcasters do show ball-tracking technology, there are suggestions that would need to be improved while Snicko and Hot Spot are also currently absent.
However, the likes of former Australia captain Adam Gilchrist and Thunder skipper Callum Ferguson have argued a system where only replays were used would still be better than the current situation, without increasing costs.
The BBL’s maiden season in 2011-12 allowed third umpires to overrule incorrect decisions off replays, without using added technology.
Australia batsman Glenn Maxwell tweeted on Tuesday night seemingly backing a return to that style of system if need be.
“We get that umpiring isn’t easy!!” he posted.
“But surely with a stump mic, a bunch of different camera angles, and a basic understanding of cricket, the right decision could’ve been made without any of the fancy DRS bells and whistles?
But Marsh believes it has to be a case of all or nothing.
“If you had just on-TV replays you would get rid of the absolute howlers but leave yourself open if there was really close calls,” Marsh said.
“It’s probably a case of [needing] to go all in, or not [at all].”