Squiz Today / 20 March 2024

Squiz Today – 20 March 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

20 / 27
14 / 18
21 / 30
13 / 22
15 / 30
10 / 17
28 / 33
16 / 24

Squiz Sayings

“The journalistic equivalent of a bowl of vomit.”

Was the Ukraine Ambassador to Australia’s take on a Four Corners documentary titled Ukraine’s War: The Other Side, which aired on Monday night. Vasyl Myroshnychenko said the doco pushed “blatant lies”, promoted Russian propaganda and “minimised the deaths” of thousands of Ukrainians. The ABC says audiences should “make up their own minds”.

Steady as she goes

The Squiz

The Australian Energy Regulator says many Aussies – but not all – could be in for slightly lower power bills in the 2024-25 financial year, saying “the majority of residential customers could have price reductions of between 0.4% to 7.1%”. In dollar terms, that could equate to $57 a year. The regulator released its draft default market offer yesterday, showing benchmark electricity prices (aka the ones retailers advertise to the public) in Sydney and South Oz are on the way down as prices ease from the “extreme peaks of 2022”. There was good news for business owners too – the regulator says “the majority of small business customers could see reductions between 0.3% and 9.7%”.

That sounds positive…

Yes, but not for everyone… Prices are going in the opposite direction for households in regional NSW and southeast Queensland, with the regulator flagging increases of up to 2.7% – equating to about $53 a year. Tasmania, the ACT and Western Oz set their own default market offers, and while Victoria is yet to share what it’s thinking, reports say it’s looking at a reduction of about 6.4%. If you’re wondering why the prices are a bit topsy-turvy, regulator Clare Savage says the wholesale energy market (where retailers buy energy to sell to consumers) has stabilised, but they’re still experiencing increasing prices in other parts of the system thanks to high interest rates and crawl towards clean energy. The other thing to know is that the regulator’s proposed changes are still subject to consultation, and it’ll release its final decision in May.

Is there anything else to know?

Yep – energy prices have been one of the major drivers of inflation in Oz in recent years, and reports say these falls could help the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates in the future. And while we’re on the topic, the Reserve Bank shared its latest rate decision yesterday, holding the cash rate steady at 4.35%. It’s on hold because “inflation continues to moderate but remains high” – meaning it wants to see more evidence of inflation moving closer to the 2-3% target rate rather than the current 4.1% before it cuts rates. That’s expected to happen next year… Economist Cherelle Murphy says all eyes will be on the next big official data drop on 24 April. “If [inflation] comes down faster than expected, that may open the door to rate cuts sooner than the last part of this year,” Murphy says.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Some difficult diplomacy

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in Canberra today to attend a series of meetings with our top political and business leaders. It’s the first time we’ve hosted China’s top diplomat since 2017… The visit was announced just hours after Beijing indicated it would lift tariffs on Aussie wine, which were imposed at the height of the troubles between our government in 2020. Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong will lead the Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Dialogue talks – she says she looks forward to a “frank exchange of views” on things like human rights, conflict prevention and regional security. Wang will also meet with former PM Paul Keating in Sydney tomorrow – he’s an outspoken opponent of AUKUS and has criticised Wong and PM Anthony Albanese over their handling of China. Cue reports saying the meeting has frustrated the government

AusPol Australian News

No Trump Card

Lawyers for former US President Donald Trump say his company – the Trump Organisation – has been unable to find the $700 million it’s required to stump up after losing a New York civil fraud case. Last month, Trump, his 2 eldest sons and other execs were found guilty of fraud after lying about the value of the company’s property portfolio. They’ve been ordered to pay up in cash or post a bond to continue their appeal, but so far they have been rejected by 30 insurance companies. The 77yo says it’s “practically impossible” to proceed and could result in some of his real estate assets being seized and liquidated to cover it… And, as the first of his former advisors is jailed over the Capitol Riot, Trump has failed to block the testimonies of his former lawyer Michael Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels at his upcoming hush money trial

World News

An Enhanced warning

Top Aussie sports administrator/former swim great Kieren Perkins is the latest to speak out against the Enhanced Games, warning that “someone will die” if it goes ahead. The tournament is the brainchild of Aussie entrepreneur Aron D’Souza – he says it will test the limits of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. Last month, Aussie triple Olympic medallist James Magnussen became the first to pledge to compete at the 2025 event, saying he would “juice to the gills” after organisers indicated anyone who breaks a world record would win US$1 million. Many other sporting experts have criticised the proposal – Australian Olympic Committee chief Matt Carroll described it as “dangerous and irresponsible”, and World Athletics president ­Sebastian Coe warned anyone who competes will be excluded from official sport “for a long time”.

Australian News Sport

A case for sorting out your inbox…

There’s a gold star for you if you ignored a bunch of emails in your inbox and came straight to our newsletter today… But new research from the University of New England reckons those of us who turn a blind eye to the unread email notifications blinking up from our phones are – no surprise – likely to lose track of the important ones. That’s things like bills, insurance renewals, and tax receipts – and it could cost you, with data showing many are paying hundreds of dollars in late fees each year. If you’re panicking over the thought of a complex digital record management system, there are some simple workarounds… The easiest thing is to move important docs from your inbox into separate folders so it’s easier to keep tabs on things. Or delete everything and just keep The Squiz… 


Out and about

Here we go again… A new video of Princess Kate out shopping has done little to quell speculation surrounding her wellbeing as it was noted there were no apparent bodyguards. And overnight, another photograph taken by Kate – this one of the late Queen with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren – was flagged as having been doctored. The fact that other photos/videos from the princess’s recent outing didn’t surface has raised questions over its legitimacy. The clip shows Kate with Prince William near Windsor Castle on the weekend, where she was said to look “happy, relaxed and healthy”. If legit, it would be the first time the 42yo has been filmed since Christmas Day as she remains on leave while recovering from abdominal surgery. And speaking of Royal rumours… Russian media has been criticised for falsely reporting that King Charles had died

World News

Apropos of Nothing

The journalists once labelled “communists” by Italy’s former PM Silvio Berlusconi will soon be working from his old residence/home to the infamous “Bunga Bunga” parties. The Italian Foreign Press Association is moving into the bulletproofed Palazzo Grazioli in Rome.

If you’ve dreamt of being on an exotic island with Idris Elba, your fantasy could come true as the actor has revealed his “dream” to build an ‘eco-city’ off the coast of Sierra Leone. He’s been granted permission for the project which will include the country’s first windfarm.

We’re guilty of sometimes keeping our make-up for a bit too long, but we’d draw the line at 4,000 years… Archaeologists say that’s how long ago the world’s oldest known lipstick was made, after digging it up in southeastern Iran.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Professor Sharath Sriram will address the National Press Club on Science Meets Parliament

4.00pm (AEDT) – Tasmanian Liberal and Labor leaders election debate; live on Sky News Australia and streaming on Sky News website

Climate Integrity Summit – Canberra

Melbourne Flower Show (on until 24 march)

Nowruz New Year

International Day of Happiness

UN French Language Day

World Oral Health Day 

World Storytelling Day 

Birthdays for Aussie author David Malouf (1934), film director Spike Lee (1957), actor Holly Hunter (1958), Aussie model/actor Ruby Rose (1986)

Anniversary of:

  • the founding of restaurant chain KFC (1930)
  • the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1969), and David and Angie Bowie (1970)
  • Oz closing the international border amid the COVID-19 pandemic (2020)
  • the deaths of Malcolm Fraser (2015) and Kenny Rogers (2020)
Squiz the Day

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