Squiz Today / 16 April 2024

Squiz Today – 16 April 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“The entire place had to be sprayed with flea-killer. I spent several weeks itching.”

Said former UK PM Liz Truss of what she found when she moved into 10 Downing Street. It’s just a theory but maybe all that time spent scratching is why she lasted just 7 weeks in the top job… 

“Omnishambles” Lehrmann case ends

The Squiz

One of Australia’s most dramatic defamation cases has ended with Justice Michael Lee finding “on the balance of probabilities” former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019. This means Lehrmann has lost the case he brought against Network 10 and Lisa Wilkinson to try to restore his reputation after they aired an interview with Higgins on The Project in 2021. In his summary judgement, which took more than 2 hours to read, Lee said Lehrmann “told deliberate lies” while giving evidence, and it’s likely he was “so intent upon gratification” he was “indifferent” to the question of consent from Higgins.


Yep, given there was an aborted criminal trial – and Lehrmann’s never had a finding against him – it’s significant. Lee’s judgement is 324 pages all up, and he didn’t miss when assessing the evidence from some of the key witnesses in the case. He found Higgins “selectively curated” material on her phone before handing it to police and he criticised Network 10 for not properly interrogating the angle of a “political cover-up”. Lee also found Wilkinson lacked “candour” in the witness box and should have known her Logies speech was “fraught with danger”. Lee reserved rare praise for former Minister Linda Reynolds’ chief of staff Fiona Brown (the woman who used to be the boss of both Lehrmann and Higgins) – he said he “unhesitatingly” preferred her evidence to that of Higgins or Lehrmann.

So is that the end of it?

Ah nope… Justice Lee is still to decide costs and there’s the possibility the decision might be appealed. There’s also a bunch of other court cases related to this that still have to play out… Senator Reynolds is suing Higgins and Higgins’ fiancé David Sharaz in the Western Australian Supreme Court. The new National Anti-Corruption Commission is also investigating if it should get involved. And that’s just a taste of the dozen or so legal cases or inquiries that have sprung out of this. So it’s a classic case of to be continued… 

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Kicking off the search for answers

Following the killing of 6 people in Saturday’s stabbing attack at Bondi Junction’s Westfield shopping centre, NSW Premier Chris Minns has launched an immediate inquiry with an additional $18 million allocated to the Coroner’s office. There are a lot of questions to be answered, including whether 40yo Joel Cauchi targeted women. Cauchi’s father Andrew also spoke yesterday – he said the family is “devastated”. And there was another stabbing incident in Sydney last night which triggered an angry mob to turn on police. Two religious leaders and at least 2 others were stabbed during a service at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley that was being livestreamed. Police arrested a 15-year-old boy over the attack and were forced to lock themselves inside the church as the large crowd outside turned violent. Reports say two police officers were hospitalised after clashes with the crowd – one with a broken jaw. 

Australian News Crime

Iran and Israel trade barbs

Israel’s United Nations rep Gilad Erdan has demanded new sanctions be placed on Iran after its weekend attack. He was addressing an emergency Security Council meeting yesterday, which was called after Iran fired hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel in retaliation for a deadly strike on its embassy in Syria a fortnight ago. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the Islamic Republic’s ideological army, should also be designated a terrorist organisation, Erdan said. Iran’s UN envoy Amir Saeid Iravani hit back – he said the strikes were “Iran’s inherent right to self-defence” and that the country does “not seek escalation or war”. That’s a lot of back and forth, leading UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to warn that nations should be working towards peace. “It’s time to step back from the brink,” he said.

World News

Lowest prices are just the beginning…

The people who grow the plants you buy (and sometimes kill…) on your weekend visit to Bunnings are some of the latest suppliers to the big retail chains to claim they’ve been mistreated. Ahead of the Bunnings execs’ appearance at the Senate inquiry into supermarket prices yesterday, several nursery operators accused them of pushing their businesses “into the dirt” by forcing them to sign unfair contracts. Bunnings boss Michael Schneider says the claims are “not aligned” with the company’s information. If you’re wondering why Bunnings is involved in the supermarket inquiry, it hinges on its plant sales – the industry group that represents growers has been pushing for a mandatory code similar to the one being considered for the likes of Coles and Woolworths… We’ll hear from them today when they get their turn before the inquiry.

AusPol Australian News

Heading north comes at a cost

With international travel bouncing back after the pandemic, the issue of sustainable tourism has come up in Europe, which is the most-visited region in the world. Last year, it reached 94% of its 2019 tourism figures… Although that influx of people is usually a good thing, the arrival of €5,000 (aka $8,200+) private tours of Athens’ ancient Acropolis site has horrified some locals and tourists alike. The local Culture Ministry says the tickets are part of an overhaul to better manage the crowds, but critics say it’s “plain elitist”. On top of that, archaeologists reckon people will “feel entitled, if they’ve spent that sort of money, to do whatever they want at the site”. There might not be many Aussies booking in – tourism operators say they’ve seen a drop-off in European bookings as we opt for cheaper holidays

Australian News Economy

Creating Aussie super-animals

Aussie researchers are getting creative to protect our wildlife from extinction, using a process they’re calling “assisted evolution”. Now, before you start ringing the Frankenstein bell, it’s good to know that nearly half of our birds and about 90% of our mammals/reptiles/frogs are found nowhere else on Earth… Techniques like crossbreeding and gene editing are being used to tweak the genomes of vulnerable animals, giving them the traits they need to survive. As you can imagine, there’s a big debate about it, but Dr Dan Harley from Zoos Victoria says “preventing more extinctions will require human intervention, innovation and effort”. Some animals that could do with some tweaking are migrating birds… Over in Texas, skyscrapers are turning off their lights at night, leading to a 60% decrease in bird mortality. It’s still a lot of birds smashing themselves into buildings, but it’s better than nothing… 

Australian News Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing – Art news edition

In case you missed it, Booker Prize-winning author Sir Salman Rushdie has given his first TV interview since he was attacked on stage in New York in 2022. He says he’s still coming to terms with losing an eye (which he says was left hanging down his face “like a soft-boiled egg”…)  – and he’s used his new book Knife as a way to fight back. 

If you’re in need of some colour, the National Gallery of Victoria’s next “blockbuster artist” exhibit – the works of 95yo artist Yayoi Kusama – will be on show. The kicker? It opens in December – but at least you’ll have plenty of time to plan ahead…

And Aussie Succession star Sarah Snook has added another big gong to her 2024 haul, receiving the award for best actress at the prestigious Olivier Awards in London. This time, it’s for her portrayal of 26 characters in the Sydney Theatre Company’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Bonus: here’s the red carpet gallery

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.00am (AEST) – Public Hearing into Supermarket Prices – Canberra

9.30am (AEST) – Public Hearing into the National Cultural Policy – a 5-year plan to revive Australia’s arts, entertainment and cultural sectors – Canberra

10.00am (AEST) – Independent Inquiry into The Star Casino by the NSW Independent Casino Commission – Sydney

Youth curfew to end in Alice Springs

ABS Data Release – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Feb; How Australians Use Their Time, 2020-21

World Voice Day 

National Librarian Day

Qld Parliament sitting

Birthdays for Queen of Denmark Margrethe II (1940), Akon (1973), Claire Foy (1984), Chance the Rapper (1993), Tayla Harris (1997)

Anniversary of:

  • the birthdays of Charlie Chaplin (1889), Spike Milligan (1918), Henry Mancini (1924), and Dusty Springfield (1939)
  • the Virginia Tech massacre (2007)
Squiz the Day

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