Squiz Today / 22 February 2024

Squiz Today – 22 February 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Never trust Google Maps on your own.”

Said German backpacker Marcel Schoene, who was lost with his mate for days in a remote area of Cape York after they were sent down a dirt track where their car became bogged. Michael and Dwight from The Office also learned that lesson the hard way

Shaking up our ships

The Squiz

As the fallout from Monday night’s ABC’s Four Corners exposé on Australia’s 2 biggest supermarkets and their alleged price gouging tactics continues, Woolworths Group boss Brad Banducci will retire early. The clip of him walking out of the interview is quite a thing, but the retail giant is “emphatic” that the program had nothing to do with his departure, with his replacement, Amanda Bardwell, also announced yesterday after an extensive international search. As Woolies announced its half-year profit yesterday, he said it’s his intention to “retire, not resign” in September after 8 years there.

So what did the results show?

The company posted a $781 million loss for the July-December half, mainly due to its struggling Kiwi supermarket chain Countdown. However, the company reported a 2.5% rise in underlying profits following a 5% increase in food sales and a 0.24% rise in its profit margin, which added $60 million to the bottom line. That didn’t impress investors, and Woolies’ share price fell 6.6% in response – about $3 billion wipes from its value. When Banducci does step down, reports say he’ll leave with $24 million in Woolies shares (which generated some less than sympathetic reactions…), and Bardwell will start on a base salary of $2.15 million plus bonuses. That’s a lotta lettuce…

Nice work if you can get it…

True, but for those of us not earning squillions, there was some good news yesterday as the Bureau of Stats revealed that wages rose by 4.2% – 0.1% more than the annual inflation rate. It’s the first time in nearly 3 years that’s happened… This first real wage increase since 2021 was also the highest annual salary jump in almost 14 years. The ABS attributed the increase to “organisation-wide annual wage and salary reviews” and a “higher contribution from jobs covered by enterprise agreements” in the December quarter. Public servants did well with a 1.5% jump from September following new pay deals for essential workers like nurses, which might help to dodge those supermarket checkout blues

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Albanese aids Assange

The second day of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s appeal in a London court has concluded, with lawyers for the US outlining why they think he should face charges over WikiLeaks’ release of sensitive government information. They say there were “individuals who have subsequently disappeared since the publication of the cables”, and that many “lived in war zones or under oppressive regimes.” Before that hearing overnight, PM Anthony Albanese said he was working with Assange’s legal team to figure out a way to free him and that it was time he was brought home. Yesterday, his wife Stella Assange drew a comparison with Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny, saying Assange “is a political prisoner and his life is at risk”. The hearing has ended, and the judges’ ruling is not expected before mid-March.

Australian News World News

A Royal intervention

Prince William has broken Royal protocol in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying “too many have been killed” and there’s a “desperate need for increased humanitarian support” for Palestinians. The Prince of Wales released the statement on Tuesday before visiting British Red Cross HQ in London and attending video calls with staff working in Gaza. He was told by the organisation’s CEO, Beatrice Butsana-Sita, that “it is civilians who pay the price as the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate”. Kensington Palace briefed the UK Government on the statement before it was released. A spokeswoman for PM Rishi Sunak later said it was “consistent with the government position”, and they also “want to see an end to the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible”. The UK abstained from voting on a new ceasefire resolution at the UN on Tuesday – it was ultimately vetoed by the US.

World News

Calm the (election) farm

PM Albanese reckons everyone needs to cool their jets after a bit of early election speculation swept through Canberra late on Tuesday. A leaked text message from his chief of staff Tim Gartrell revealed the PM’s office was getting a new senior hire “as we enter the election year”.  But Albanese says he intends to serve a full term – through to May next year – and the story is just a bit of a beat up”. And to prove he’s serious about ticking over into 2025, the PM flagged bringing forward next year’s Budget to March – so it doesn’t get in the way of a late-autumn poll. And just for a bit of recent context –  federal governments have gone close to serving a full 3 years over the past couple of decades. And if you wanna know more about the big fish joining Albanese’s office, here’s a sneaky look at David Epstein’s bio…


Cocaine claim rocks footy

One of the AFL’s biggest clubs – the Melbourne Demons – has denied it has a drug culture after one of its players was accused of trafficking cocaine. Sport Integrity Australia began a probe into Joel Smith last year after he failed a drug test – and has now revealed the more serious allegations after finding text messages he sent to other players. Melbourne captain Max Gawn says while he’s confident there’s no broader drug problem at the club, “I’m not hiding, there are issues, and we have to make sure we get that right”. And while that news is gripping AFL states, the NRL is boasting it’s finally overtaken its footy rival as the #1 code in Australia. Rugby League Chief Peter V’landys reckons the League’s record revenue announcement of $700 million and total viewership of 171.8 million in 2023 gives it the edge over its southern-based cousin. Heh, we’re not here to umpire…

Australian News Sport

No rice, rice baby

If the first thing you do after someone drops a pricey piece of tech in water is to pull out a bag of rice, Apple says ‘no bueno’… The age-old solution of burying your waterlogged phone, watch or camera in dry rice grains – which is said to draw out the moisture – has been debunked. A memo from Apple’s support team says if you see a liquid-detection notification pop up, don’t put your phone in rice. “Doing so could allow small particles of rice to damage your iPhone,” it says. So what do you do? Apple suggests gently shaking your phone so that water drops out of the charging point, then leaving it for at least 30 minutes to dry out. If that doesn’t work, the next step sounds suspiciously like a rebranded rice plan – dry it with a towel before putting it in a container packed with silica packets. Better stock up on those…


Apropos of Nothing

Kookaburra sits in the old oak tree – that might be the new lyrics to the Aussie classic as the iconic bird showed up for a second time in 9 years in a small English town. Locals were surprised to see the fluffy fella but say “it seems to have made itself quite at home”…

Speaking of the UK, that kookaburra could use some of the looks on offer at London Fashion Week to keep warm. Our fave is the doona cape (our words), which leans towards pandemic Goblin Mode/I just rolled out of bed…

And it isn’t just Taylor Swift being showered with affection this week, although male pop sensation Harry Styles wishes he wasn’t after one over-enthusiastic fan/stalker sent him 8,000 cards – including from their wedding… It’s a fine line between fan and fanatic…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.25am (AEDT) – CEDA Economic and Policy Outlook Forum – Melbourne 

8.00am (AEDT) – Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth will launch the Virtual Work Experience Program – Blacktown 

11.00pm (AEDT) – Women’s Men’s FIH Pro League – Australia v Ireland – India 

Company results – Fortescue; Medibank Private; Nine; Nvidia; Super Retail Group; Qantas 

ABS Data Release – Average Weekly Earnings, November 2023

World Thinking Day 

World Yoga Day

Cat Day – Japan 

Birthdays for James Blunt (1974) and Drew Barrymore (1975)

Anniversary of:

  • the British House of Lords ruling that authors do not have perpetual copyright (1774)
  • Wildlife Warrior Steve Irwin’s birthday (1962)
  • Scottish scientists announcing they have cloned an adult mammal, producing a lamb named “Dolly” (1997)
  • the Christchurch earthquake (2011)
Squiz the Day

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