Squiz Today / 20 February 2024

Squiz Today – 20 February 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I’m done.”

Said Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci as he walked out of (and then returned to) an interview with ABC TV’s Four Corners. The retailer and the supermarket sector are under scrutiny over claims of price gouging – and if that’s your jam, the show is definitely one to checkout.

A tipple too far…

The Squiz

After rejecting calls last week to introduce alcohol and drug testing in Parliament House, PM Anthony Albanese yesterday said he favours a “common sense” approach – and that he doesn’t keep alcohol in his own office. This conversation about the political class and their booze consumption has flared up after Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce came a cropper on the streets of Canberra almost 2 weeks ago. And it had another push yesterday after it was noted that Nationals deputy leader Perin Davey (who appeared to be alcohol-impaired during a Senate Committee hearing last week) is on the committee tasked with devising a new parliamentary policy on alcohol and drug use.

Back it up a bit…

This issue was examined in an independent review of the workplace culture following Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins’ assault allegations. What’s now called the Jenkins Report – after its author, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins – was handed down in November 2021. She found that (along with instances of bullying and harassment…) “significant alcohol use and a drinking culture, especially for parliamentarians” was rampant… Jenkins made 28 recommendations to improve workplace standards – including implementing “comprehensive alcohol policies” to restrict alcohol in Parliament and their workplaces outside Canberra and establishing a bipartisan task force to work through those policies. That’s the group Davey has been part of…

So things aren’t really on track then…

Well, the alcohol policy isn’t in place yet, but a draft version is being finalised. Reports say if it had already been implemented, Davey’s behaviour last week would have breached a new rule that “alcohol or legal drug consumption should not adversely affect an individual’s work performance or official conduct”. It also says rule-breakers could face disciplinary action – including “referral to rehabilitation or counselling”. In the meantime, Albanese says MPs should “act appropriately out of respect for the people who vote to put us here”. For his part, Joyce believes the recent incidents have been politically exploited. Regardless, he might be following the lead of students at O-Week who are turning away from alcohol – he says he’s given up drinking for Lent…


Squiz the Rest

In mourning over a massacre

There has been a terrible escalation of tribal violence in Papua New Guinea, with at least 49 people shot dead in an ambush in the country’s Highlands. While the remote region has been plagued by killings between rival tribes, police say this is one of the largest massacres in recent history. Acting Superintendent George Kakas noted, “we’re all devastated, we’re all mentally stressed out” after seeing the terrible scenes. Enga Province was put into lockdown last year so police could try to stop the flow of guns and ammunition to the warring factions, and Australia has already boosted support to local police under a big security pact signed last year – but the PM says he’s willing to offer more help. It’s been a tough start to the year for our nearest neighbour, with the latest violence coming after 16 people were killed in the capital, Port Moresby, in January after rioting sparked by a public service pay dispute.

World News

The final countdown for Assange

A hearing to determine whether Julian Assange can appeal his extradition to the US kicks off today, but his wife Stella says she does “not have hope” it will succeed. The WikiLeaks founder will face London’s High Court in a last-ditch effort to stop him from facing espionage and hacking charges in the US, which could see him sentenced to 175 years in prison. It comes 14 years after the Aussie published shocking videos and sensitive documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Assange wins this round, his appeal will be heard (meaning he will stay in jail in the UK). If not, there’s always the European Court of Human Rights, but his team says he could be sent to the US before that is arranged. PM Albanese says he hopes the situation is “resolved amicably” after federal MPs passed a motion urging the US/UK to send him back to Australia ASAP.

World News

Thunderbolts and lightning

Four people are lucky to be alive after being knocked unconscious by lightning near the Sydney Opera House as a huge storm swept through the city yesterday. The group was taking shelter under a tree in the Botanic Gardens when they were hit just before 1pm with paramedics treating them for burns and cardiac issues – all are now in stable condition. Intense storms and heavy rain smacked big parts of NSW – with up to 20,000 homes losing power in northern Sydney and the Hunter region – and there was flash flooding in the Gosford/Wyong area. And it isn’t just NSW… West Australians are prepping for the fallout of Ex-Cyclone Lincoln as it drifts toward the northwest coast, and heavy rain has already been hammering the Northern Territory, with Tennant Creek copping more than 138mm over 24 hours. With more wild weather predicted, maybe we’ll WFH today…

Australian News Weather

Going GPS free…

If you’re someone who can head off on a road trip or wander through a new city without pulling up a map app on your phone, well, aren’t you amazing… For everyone else, UK orienteers have shed some light on what goes into having a good sense of direction. The appropriately-named Ralph Street says he was taken orienteering by his parents a week after he was born, and although that brings new meaning to ‘starting them early’, researchers reckon kids’ exposure to varied environments can help them find their way as adults. Humans also develop better navigation skills depending on where we grow up – particularly those raised in regional areas or in more complex cities. Sorry to Adelaideans and Melburnians, where grid planning rules…

Environment & Science

So many parties, so little time…

Celebrities were spoiled for choice yesterday with awards ceremonies on both sides of the Atlantic… In London, the red carpet for the British Academy Film Awards – aka the BAFTAs – was epic. Oppenheimer scooped up 7 awards, including Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, but it was Michael J Fox – who’s had Parkinson’s disease for over 30 years – who received a standing ovation after he got up from his wheelchair to award it Best Film. And Cate Blanchett was repping for Oz by keeping Prince William company… At the People’s Choice Awards in LA, Margot Robbie snagged one of Barbie’s 5 gongs. Taylor Swift might have missed the teal carpet, but still scored 4 trophies, including The Concert Tour award for her record-breaking Eras show that heads to Sydney this week – just ICYMI…


Apropos of Nothing

The French Riviera town of Menton is getting into the Olympic spirit by using 140 tonnes of citrus fruit to create sculptures of athletes. More than 200,000 people are expected to check out the giant floats made from over 500,000 lemons. That’s a lot of lemonade…

The odds of winning the US Powerball are 292.2 million to one, but the odds of being mistakenly told you’ve won US$340 million are even lower… No wonder Washington DC man John Cheeks is suing the lottery after its website showed his numbers as the winning combination by mistake… 

Beatles fans from around the world have Come Together to pull off the seemingly impossible task of helping Paul McCartney Get Back his bass guitar that was stolen over 50 years ago… Given the instrument is worth over $19 million – no wonder he was grateful for their Help!

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

About 9.00pm (AEDT) – Julian Assange’s final appeal starts at the Royal Courts of Justice  – London

Company Results – BHP

World Day of Social Justice 

National Love Your Pet Day

Birthdays for Cindy Crawford (1966) and Rihanna (1988) 

Anniversary of:

  • British naval officer John Moresby discovering the site of what would become Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and claiming it for Great Britain (1873)
  • Kurt Cobain’s birthday (1967)
  • the Southern Hemisphere’s most powerful storm on record (296km/hour), Cyclone Winston, hitting Fiji (2016)
  • Venezuela becoming the first country to launch a virtual currency, the petro, to counteract their financial crisis (2018)
Squiz the Day

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