Squiz Today / 01 March 2024

Squiz Today – 1 March 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 6 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Sawdust and hazelnut, together at last”
Said one journo of Gaeity biscuits, which came dead last in their review of the best and worst Arnott’s offerings, while Chocolate Scotch Fingers came out on top. Regardless, you can’t offend us with a baked good, so we’re happy to eat them for him next time…

Eye spy a political storm…

The Squiz

The pressure is on for Australia’s national security agency to name the former politician accused of being recruited to and sharing secrets with a foreign spy network. ASIO boss Mike Burgess is facing mounting calls to expose the ex-MP after revealing they betrayed Australia by working with a spy unit called the ‘A team’ during his annual threat assessment address on Wednesday night – but he hasn’t gone into detail about who is involved. Despite chaos erupting in Canberra yesterday, Burgess defended that stance, saying ASIO had “severed the links” between the person and the spy unit. “Personally, I don’t think they will be stupid enough to repeat what they have done in the past. So problem neutralised,” he said.

So it’s taken care of?

Not according to some senior political figures… Coalition leader Peter Dutton wants the person “outed and shamed”, saying it’s unfair to besmirch “a lot of former MPs who are patriotic, as 99.9% on both sides are”. Former Treasurer Joe Hockey agreed – he said it’s “inconceivable” that a former politician who engaged with spies would be “allowed to walk off into the sunset without having their name or their reputation revealed”. Deputy PM/Defence Minister Richard Marles said “there’s a whole range of reasons why individuals would not be named” and that ASIO’s decision should be trusted. He said “we’ve got among the best agencies in the world dealing with this” and there’s “good reason” why “specific facts” are not in the public domain.

Sounds like we’re not likely to find out…

Perhaps, but when has that ever stopped people from speculating? Dutton yesterday said he’d “put money” on a former NSW state Labor MP being involved, and the Coalition’s Home Affairs spokesman James Paterson offered up the name of the country he believes the spy ring is linked to… He said “China is the number one source of our espionage, foreign interference, state-backed cyber attacks, and… intellectual property theft”. That’s in line with comments from former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s son Alex, who believes he was the PM’s family member who ASIO said was contacted by foreign agents – although that hasn’t been confirmed. As for the ex-MP involved, Burgess says “they should be grateful” Australia’s foreign interference laws – passed in 2018 – weren’t retrospective. Coincidentally, the first person found guilty under those same laws was sentenced over an unrelated case yesterday…

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Big ballot box test

The Dunkley by-election that’s come about due to the death of Labor’s Peta Murphy will be held tomorrow on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula – and the result is tipped to be close. Labor hopes their candidate Jodie Belyea – who was hand-picked by Murphy – can retain the seat, while the Liberals are betting on Nathan Conroy to wrestle it away. And as we’re not a year from the next federal election, the birthday boy/PM Anthony Albanese and Coalition leader Peter Dutton are looking for a good result. Cost of living is the big issue, and commentators say it will be a good read on how the Stage 3 tax cut changes have gone down. There was a blow-up in federal parliament yesterday when a former immigration detainee was charged and then had sex offence charges dropped after being wrongly identified. So it’s possible the Coalition will put community safety on the agenda when talking to Dunkley voters today. 

If you’re wondering why we have by-elections and how they work in Oz, as well as more about the Dunkley by-election, check out the latest Squiz Shortcut, which discusses everything you need to know.

AusPol Australian News

Trump appeals to the top court

The US Supreme Court will decide whether former President Donald Trump can claim immunity against prosecution over his alleged role in the riots on the Capitol. You can read about those charges here, but they’re considered some of the most serious criminal charges he’s facing. A federal trial for that case was due to kick off this month, but it’s been delayed twice. Trump welcomed the Supreme Court’s intervention yesterday, saying without immunity, presidents will always be “paralysed by the prospect of wrongful prosecution”. The court will hear arguments the week starting 22 April – but there are questions over whether it’ll be wrapped up before this year’s presidential election. Whatever happens, reports say it’ll play a big part in what happens in November. And with immigration a big issue, both Trump and President Joe Biden will visit the Mexico border today.

World News

Putin warns the west

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Western countries could provoke a nuclear war if they send troops to help in the war against Ukraine. In his annual State of the Nation address, he said Russia has nuclear weapons and “the results could be tragic” if Western countries send in ground forces. Earlier this week, we mentioned that French President Emmanuel Macron had suggested troops could be sent into Ukraine to stop Russia – an idea the US, Britain and Germany rejected. He is vying for another 6-year term when Russia goes to the polls mid-March – although vying might be too strong a term for what that election is shaping up to be… Putin also addressed domestic issues, and one pressing problem is health. He urged Russians to “stop drinking and start skiing!” Words to live by… 

World News

NRL goes global

The NFL has turned into the NRL in Las Vegas where the Superbowl venue is preparing to “unleash” a double-header showcase this Sunday, as the code tries to crack the US market. Aussie actors Russell Crowe – who co-owns South Sydney – and Manly mega fan Hugh Jackman are fronting the Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles clash before Brisbane Broncos take on Sydney Roosters. Crowe told Americans it’s “football … but maybe not as you know it”, while Souths’ centre Campbell Graham promised to “get out there and bash” his opponents. ARLC boss Peter V’landys and CEO Andrew Abdo hope to attract lucrative deals from US broadcasters and sponsors, and tap into the annual $180 billion American gambling market. PM Anthony Albanese is also backing the NRL’s 5-year plan to make inroads in the US, saying “Las Vegas can be a great success”. The first match will be on Foxtel while the second will be on Channel 9.

Australian News Sport

A shonky Willy Wonka

If you’re frustrated by the expense/quality of local events, spare a thought for the people of Glasgow who felt so ripped off by a Willy Wonka-inspired experience, that the police were called and it was shut down… Locals shelled out $70 a ticket for “optical marvels” and “extraordinary props” but entered a warehouse that was “pretty much empty, except for a few plastic mushrooms”. An actor hired for the event said he knew something was off when he got a nonsense “AI generated script”. And if you’re wondering why the chocolate didn’t make up for it, it’s because there was none… Kids were given only “one or 2 jelly beans” which adults were told “not to touch”. Reports say many children left crying after being told about a masked man who “lived in the walls”. Perhaps that’s why conspiracy theorists think Princess Kate is lost inside… You might think it could never happen here, but the people of Noarlunga in SA know better… 

Entertainment World News

Friday Lites

Push, jump or fall is the central question in French courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall after a husband/father is found in the snow outside his alpine chalet. It kept us second-guessing all the way through, so it’s no wonder it’s generating some Oscars buzz

If you’re keen on a bit of high-end handbag shopping this weekend after watching all the red carpets lately, this handy guide tells you how to spot a fake – in great detail… Who knew someone out there is actually counting the stitches…

With the weather all over the place at the moment, we’re keen for dishes that work hot or cold and Rick Stein’s red rice recipe is the perfect option… It’s super easy to throw together and works as a side to pretty much any dish… We had it with pulled pork which was a winner…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

ABS Data Release – Consumer Price Index, January; National Accounts, December quarter

Enlighten Festival begins (on until 17 March) – Canberra 

Sculpture by the Sea begins (on until 18 March) – Perth 

World Indoor Athletics Championships (on until 3 March) – Glasgow, Scotland

St David’s Day

World Compliment Day

Zero Discrimination Day 

World Horse Day 

Birthdays for actor Lupita Nyong’o (1983) and singers Kesha (1987) and Justin Bieber (1994)

Anniversary of: 

  • the birthdays of Chopin (1810), Glenn Miller (1904), Ralph Waldo Ellison (1914)
  • the start of the infamous Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts (1692)
  • Yellowstone becoming the world’s 1st national park (1872)
  • Henri Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity (1896)
  • the first publication of Captain America (1941)
  • the release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
  • colour television transmissions begining in Australia (1975)
Squiz the Day

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