Squiz Today / 22 March 2024

Squiz Today – 22 March 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It’s called defensive defecation.”

Said marine biologist Jennah Tucker who witnessed the rare event of some sperm whales defending themselves from an attacking pod of orcas by creating a “cloud of diarrhoea”. It’s not the most glamorous self-defence in nature, but it was an emergency…

The Devils are in the details

Taswegians are headed to the polls tomorrow to elect the 35 people who will represent them in the lower house of the state parliament – 10 more than before. There are a couple of things to note… First, the Liberal-led government is the last one standing on the Aussie political scene – if it’s defeated tomorrow, it will be wall-to-wall Labor from the federal to the state and territory governments. And second, it’s happening super early in Tassie’s electoral cycle with the vote not due until next year. At the heart of it: a huge row over the state’s plan to build a $715 million stadium in Hobart for their newly unveiled AFL team, the Tasmania Devils.

I know The Squiz enjoys an election…

Whatever gave you that idea? They’re only the best – and this one has quite the backstory… Premier Jeremy Rockliff called the election after 2 members of the Liberal Party defected and became independents, leaving him with a minority government. Lara Alexander and John Tucker quit over the expensive new footy ground, saying the money would be better spent on healthcare and housing. Initially, they agreed to support the government, but Rockliff says their “my way or the highway approach” made it too difficult to govern. He’s now under pressure to secure the 18 seats needed to reach a majority… On the other side is Labor leader Rebecca White – she’s all for Tassie getting an AFL team but anti-stadium and says if she wins, she will renegotiate with the AFL. For his part, AFL boss Andrew Dillon insists the stadium must be built, saying “that’s the agreement” and it can’t change.

So how does this play out? 

Dunno… The polls put the Liberals ahead of Labor, but there’s a strong chance neither major party will win a majority thanks to the state’s Hare Clark voting system (which only Antony Green understands…). In that case, they will need to negotiate with the Greens, independents, and the Jacqui Lambie Network. Lambie, who represents Tassie in the Senate, has refused to commit to doing a deal with the Liberals, accusing them of “shenanigans” over a fake website used to attack her. As for what Tasmanians care about, the polls show the top 3 issues are health care, cost of living pressures, and access to healthcare… The stadium ranked way down the list, with 55% of people saying it was “not at all important”. Come Saturday night, it’ll be time for someone to bust out a bottle of Tassie bubbles…

If you want to know more about Tasmania’s election, check out our latest Squiz Shortcut.

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Will I stay or will I go?

After reports that a potential plea deal for Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was being worked through, his lawyers spoke up yesterday – they say they’ve received no official offer from US prosecutors. It all kicked off when US media reported that the US Justice Department was considering allowing Assange to plead guilty to mishandling classified information – which is a misdemeanour – rather than the more serious criminal espionage/hacking charges he’s facing. This is over his publishing of classified US military files about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2010-2011. Reports say the plea deal negotiations “remain in flux and the talks could fizzle” but if his charges are downgraded, Assange could potentially walk free. If not, he’s facing extradition to the US from London – something he’s fighting in the UK High Court – and could be sentenced to up to 175 years in jail. 

Australian News

A drop in the ocean

Aussie taxpayers will foot a $4.7 billion bill to help the UK Government expand production lines for Australia’s first nuclear-powered fleet of submarines under the AUKUS deal. The plan will be announced by Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong today along with visiting British ministers David Cameron and Grant Shapps. Adelaide shipbuilder ASC will work with British firm BAE Systems to design and build the subs in a joint venture set to create 20,000 jobs, but production won’t begin until 2040. Marles says the deal shows AUKUS is steaming ahead and that the partnership between the US, UK and Australia is “intended to last forever.” The funding is in addition to the $3 billion Australia has already pledged to the US. The British are in Australia for annual AUKMIN talks, where reports say they’ll also discuss strengthening our defence relationship to “NATO level” with a new “Status of Forces” agreement.

AusPol Australian News

We come from a land down under

New data from the Bureau of Stats shows that our population ticked up to nearly 27 million people in the September 2023 quarter. In context, it’s a record increase of about 2.5%, equating to the population growing by about 659,800 people in the 12 months to September. Reports say part of it comes down to a “natural” population lift, but the vast majority – 548,000 people – were migrants moving to Australia. The Bureau’s head of demography Beidar Cho says the new arrivals are “predominantly on a temporary visa for work or study”. And speaking of work… The latest employment data was a shock to many yesterday, with 116,500 new jobs added in February, causing the unemployment rate to fall from 4.1% to 3.7%. That’s added to speculation that the Reserve Bank will continue to hold off on cutting interest rates

Australian News

Nothing like a challenge

That booing you could hear yesterday was Matildas’ fans greeting their Paris Olympics draw. They will face FIFA’s 4th and 5th-ranked teams, the US and Germany, in the group stage of the Games matches in July. Depending on which team wins in an African play-off next month, either Zambia or Morocco will round out Group B. As for the men’s side, the Socceroos beat Lebanon 2-0 in their 2026 Men’s World Cup qualifier last night in front of 27,026 fans at Western Sydney Stadium, bringing them a step closer to the finals. And while we’ve got you on the topic of football, photos of a statue of UK star player Harry Kane, which has “sat dormant” for 5 years, have been released. In keeping with the theme of unusual soccer tributes – like Christiano Ronaldo’s bust in 2017 – people aren’t quite sure what to make of it

Australian News Sport

The name’s Johnson, Aaron Taylor-Johnson…?

It’s been 3 years since Daniel Craig sipped his last martini, but there’s a lot of confusion about who will be the next person to step into James Bond’s Aston Martin… Choosing a new Bond is always a big deal, but this time even more so because there have been conflicting reports about whether Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been offered the role. On Monday, Britain’s The Sun newspaper reported the Marvel star had been given the gig, saying “Bond is Aaron’s job, should he wish to accept it.” But then the 33yo has distanced himself from the speculation, and others reported the deal was off and speculated about alternative spies, including Idris Elba, Rége-Jean Page, or cuddly chef James Martin (although we’re pretty sure that one’s a joke…). Here’s hoping the real MI6 is a bit more organised…


Friday Lites – 3 things we liked this week

If you like peeking into other people’s relationships, this recent article from The Cut had our eyes popping out of our heads. Writer Emily Gould unloads on her divorce from her husband – trust us when we say it’s juicy…

With the Australian Grand Prix happening in Melbourne this weekend, we are feeling the need for speed which makes Gran Turismo on Amazon Prime a great movie choice. It stars Ginger Spice, so it’s a bit meta given the drama surrounding her husband over at the F1…

The mercury might have plunged in the southeast of Oz, but we’re still clinging on to warm vibes where we can, and this end-of-summer spaghetti recipe is perfect for those in-between weather days. If you’re an anchovy sceptic, we reckon this is the dish to convert you.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

9.00am (AEDT) – ChangeFest Conference, Treasurer Jim Chalmers to speak – Mildura, VIC

9.00am (AEDT) – Leadership NSW Summit 2024 – Sydney

9.30AM (ACDT) – Australia-UK Ministerial Talks (AUKMIN), Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles will meet with their UK counterparts – Adelaide

9.30am (AEDT) – Closed meeting before the State Parole Authority for Keli Lane, jailed in 2010 for murdering her newborn daughter. Lane kept the pregnancy secret but has always maintained her innocence. She is eligible for parole from 12 May – Sydney

The Royal Easter Show begins (on until 2 April) – Sydney

World Water Day 

International Day of the Seal

National Ride2School Day

Birthdays for James Patterson (1947), Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948), Reese Witherspoon (1976) and Constance Wu (1982)

Anniversary of:

  • the US confirming its troops used chemical warfare against the Vietcong (1965)
  • the Brussels terror attack which killed 35 (2016)
  • And a terror attack on London’s Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament, which killed 4 people (2017)
Squiz the Day

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