Squiz Today / 24 November 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 24 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Look at what the boneheads have done.”

Said ousted Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan after Harvey Norman pulled its multi-million dollar sponsorship of the embattled code. The retail giant denied it had anything to do with McLennan, but at least it posed a good opportunity to use the word ‘bonehead’…

Hey big spenders…

The Squiz

You’ve probably scrolled through a few Black Friday sale emails to get to us this morning, and despite the gloomy economic conditions, retailers are predicting record sales today and over the weekend heading into Cyber Monday. The Australian Retailers Association and market research firm Roy Morgan reckon Aussies will likely shell out $6.36 billion over the next 4 days, accounting for a quarter of all the forecast holiday shopping this year. That’s $188 million more than last year…

Who doesn’t love a shopping splurge?

The Reserve Bank… On Wednesday, Governor Michele Bullock said further interest rate hikes are likely if we can’t get a handle on inflation – which is currently at 5.4%. And following headlines last week that UK and US inflation has dropped sharply, Bullock said Australia’s sticky inflation situation is “homegrown and demand-driven”. She pointed to persistent demand for services that have seen strong price rises over the past year, including dentistry, haircuts, and eating out – the theory is those on high incomes are continuing to spend. To back that up, data from the Bureau of Stats shows many people – 1.2 million, in fact – have put off medical appointments in the past 12 months as cost-of-living pressures bite. Bullock said she’s regularly contacted by low-income Aussies and knows they’re struggling the most as they cut out essentials.

And don’t even start me on the cost of housing… 

Totes… Bullock says the rising cost of housing is also playing a role in our persistent inflation problem. Supporting that is data from CoreLogic’s Home Value Index showing we hit new house price records across the country yesterday. CoreLogic director Tim Lawless says it’s down to the age-old supply and demand issue – and Australia’s real estate market has a chronic supply shortage with listings down 16.6% on the previous 5-year average nationally. That has only bolstered calls for reforms to ensure we get more housing in the mix. And if you’re wondering what to expect from the RBA’s final meeting this year (put 5 December in your diary…), reports say the board will be focused on October’s inflation figures following their release next week. Experts reckon we’re unlikely to see another rate rise this year – but stay tuned for 2024…

Business & Finance Economy

Squiz the Rest

A trifecta of terrible conditions

It’s been a shocking couple of days in Perth, with a big bushfire destroying at least 10 homes and injuring several firefighters in the city’s northern suburbs. Hundreds of properties are still without power, and residents have been on alert to evacuate – one Wanneroo resident said the embers were coming at him like “red bullets”, so you can understand why officials want people out. The state’s Fire Commissioner Darren Klemm reckons it will take several days to bring that fire under control – and on top of that, 65 other fires are burning across the state. Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti says the forecast for temps pushing 40C over the next few days is “unforgiving” and that the government is considering asking firies from other states to come to help. They are also opening up a COVID quarantine facility that was never used to help with emergency accommodation.

Australian News Weather

D-day in the Middle East

The first of the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists when they attacked Israel on 7 October are set to be released today, with Hamas confirming 13 people will be released around 4pm local time. The hope was that would happen yesterday after the pause in the fighting kicked in, but things were pushed back due to logistical hiccups, like the route out of Gaza for each chosen hostage. It’s part of the deal negotiated between Israel and Hamas, with 50 Israeli women and children expected to be released in total. Israel believes 236 hostages are being held in Gaza, and negotiators are continuing to work on getting the rest of them home. What’s also not clear yet is how Israel will organise the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners it’s agreed to return in exchange for the 50 hostages…

World News

It’s all double Dutch to the political pundits…

In a result sending shockwaves through Europe, veteran anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is in the box seat to become the Netherlands’ next prime minister. Wilders is known for his controversial views, including calls for a ban on mosques and Islamic schools along with an exit from the European Union. Wilders’ Freedom Party is on track to win 35 seats – more than any other party – but he’ll still need to form a coalition to govern in the 150-seat Parliament. And that certainly isn’t an easy ask – 3 other big parties have previously said they won’t join a Wilders-led government. One of the big issues that shaped this election campaign was immigration, with the number of migrants to the Netherlands doubling in a year to 220,000. Wilders says the country is “sick of it, and we are going to ensure that the Dutchman comes first again”.

World News

One step closer to world domination

This week, we’ve talked a lot about Sam Altman, the boss of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI who was fired by his board last week and then reinstated mid-week. And we’re bringing it up again because more has come to light about why he was pushed out in the first place… Reports say that ahead of Altman’s sacking last Friday, some OpenAI researchers contacted the board to warn them of a new breakthrough the company was approaching – and they were worried it could threaten humanity. Altman and his team have been working on a project called Q* (pronounced Q-Star) to develop artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI would be a step up from AI and could theoretically perform intellectual tasks that human beings can do. Reports say it added to the board’s concern that Altman was pushing to commercialise AI advances before understanding the consequences. That board’s mostly been dismantled now… 

Wondering why this story has been everywhere this week? Our latest Squiz Shortcut has you covered…

Business & Finance Technology

Happy Friyay, here are some annoying words…

If hearing the word ‘amazeballs’ makes you want to punch the 2000s in the face, you’re not alone… In a new British poll, 34% of respondents said it was the most annoying word in the English language, followed by the distinctly British ‘holibobs’ (29%, meaning ‘holidays’) and ‘awesomeness’ (28%). ‘Totes’ is up there – as is ‘lolz’, ‘wifey’, ‘Friyay’ and ‘wine-o-clock’… And a fifth (17%) of those polled said that their opinion of a person is affected if they use cringey words. Regardless of what everyone thinks, we’re looking forward to having a totes amazeballs hot girl summer filled with bants and drinkies with our baes. Sorry, not sorry…

Quirky News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

Who doesn’t need a laugh? You can get that via Perth photographer Jason Moore, who has taken out this year’s Comedy Wildlife Photography Award with his pic titled ‘Air Guitar Roo’. He beat 5,300 entries from 85 countries for the prize… 

If you’re trawling all the sites to top up on some basics on sale, The Strategist’s top 100 list is a good place to start if you need some recommendations. Think white tees and jeans…

We were cruising around chef Matt Moran’s website last weekend and have 2 recommendations for you. These zucchini and feta fritters are fab. And if you’re getting your summer entertaining on, this watermelon and pomegranate salad with whipped feta is great – it’s fancy, so tell your friends you’ve always made it… 

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – Taylor Swift resale tickets become available to buy through Ticketek Marketplace

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek releases a world-first research report detailing the harmful effects of paper receipts on the environment and human health

Company shareholder meeting – WiseTech Global

Black Friday

Unique Talent Day

Fairy Bread Day

Birthdays for Arundhati Roy (1961) and Katherine Heigl (1978)

Anniversary of:
• Dutch explorer Abel Tasman ‘discovering’ Van Diemen’s Land (1642)
• the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which explained his theory of evolution by means of natural selection (1859)
• Kevin Rudd’s Labor beating John Howard’s Coalition to claim government (2007)
• the deaths of Queen’s Freddie Mercury (1991) and Aussie wit Clive James (2019)

Squiz the Day

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