Squiz Today / 24 April 2024

Squiz Today – 24 April 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“You’re the chief now.”

Said Papua New Guinea PM James Marape as he crowned PM Anthony Albanese with a ceremonial headdress in front of a welcoming crowd at Kokoda village yesterday. Thousands greeted the pair ahead of their 15km trek along the Kokoda Track – a place that’s pivotal in our joint history – before they attend tomorrow’s dawn service at the Isurava war memorial.

A costly loss

The Squiz 

Following last Monday’s judgement against Bruce Lehrmann in his defamation case against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson, the media outlet wants him to pay their entire legal bill, arguing he brought the case “on a deliberately wicked and calculated basis”. Justice Michael Lee found on the balance of probabilities Lehrmann had raped Brittany Higgins, his former colleague, in 2019. Ten claims Lehrmann has engaged in an “abuse of process” because he sought substantial damages in court when he knew “that he had raped Ms Higgins”.

So how big is the tab?

Experts estimate Ten’s legal bill is about $8 million, so there are questions about Lehrmann’s capacity to pay, particularly in light of reports that he is unemployed. For his part, Lehrmann asked the court to excuse him from paying Ten’s and Wilkinson’s costs. Justice Lee is considering both parties’ submissions and is expected to make a decision when the case returns for a costs hearing next Wednesday. Also revealed yesterday were court documents showing Lehrmann turned down a “walk away” offer to settle with Ten and Wilkinson before the trial began. The deal would have seen him leave with no apology or admission of liability and no cash settlement, with parties bearing their own costs. Despite having 2 weeks to mull it over, Lehrmann rejected the offer “in less than 2 hours” as it didn’t give him an “opportunity for vindication”.

What about Higgins?

Good question because her former boss Linda Reynolds is suing her and her partner David Sharaz for defamation… Last week, Lee said the idea of a political cover-up of Higgins’ allegations – a key part of her 2022 interview with The Project – had been debunked. That led her to release a statement on Instagram on Saturday apologising to Reynolds and then-chief of staff Fiona Brown for the “hurt” they have endured, regretting they had not “found common ground”. Despite the “olive branch”, Reynolds says she will keep going unless Higgins publicly acknowledges there was no cover-up… Coalition Leader Peter Dutton has backed Reynolds, saying she has “absolutely been vindicated” and she’s “right to pursue” the case. There could be another effort to settle the case through mediation – if not, it will go to trial in July.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Musk takes aim at the PM

Billionaire Elon Musk hasn’t made many friends in Oz this week, with the war of words continuing between him and political leaders over graphic content on X (aka Twitter). On Monday night, Australia’s eSafety Commission won an emergency interim injunction in the Federal Court to remove videos of last week’s terror attack at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney. That’s due to expire at 5pm today, and X will give its response. Musk has already accused PM Albanese of “censorship” saying, “if ANY country is allowed to censor content for ALL countries, which is what the Australian ‘eSafety Commissar’ is demanding, then what is to stop any country from controlling the entire internet”. Albanese disagrees – he said he won’t cop any flak from Musk. And today, all eyes will be on Oz’s federal police chief and our head spy speaking about the role of tech giants in fighting crime and disinformation online.

Australian News Crime

Rishi’s Rwanda roulette

The UK has followed in Australia’s footsteps to legislate a controversial offshore processing policy for asylum seekers. It’s been a drawn-out battle for PM Rishi Sunak, who adopted the ‘Stop the Boats’ slogan used by former Aussie PMs Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison as part of the campaign to get the bill through. It’ll see some asylum seekers who arrive in the UK flown to the East African nation of Rwanda for their claims to be considered. If they’re given refugee status, they’ll be resettled there. Critics of the plan say it’s inhumane and threatens the UK’s rule of law. And reports say despite the new laws, future deportation attempts will still face significant legal challenges, making it “unlikely” that large numbers of people will be sent to Rwanda. Sunak isn’t phased – he said the “innovative” bill “will be a game changer”. The move comes as another five people died attempting to reach the UK by boat overnight.

World News

The Crown’s jewel is back in place

Crown Resorts received the tick of approval yesterday to keep operating its $2.2 billion casino at Barangaroo in Sydney – which you might remember was the focus of an inquiry that found the company guilty of money laundering and other illegal activities… It also found Crown wasn’t “suitable” to hold a gaming licence for the venue, but the company – promising to be on its best behaviour – negotiated a path to reclaim its licence. Yesterday, NSW Independent Casino Commission Chief Commissioner Philip Crawford said Crown (and yes, that’s a lot of Cs…) had held up its end of the deal and proven itself “a vastly different business to the one which was examined in the Bergin inquiry”. Crown’s boss Mark McWhinnie was happy to hear that – he reckons the venue is now “the safest place to gamble” in NSW. 

Australian News Business & Finance

A pioneer claims her prize

A young Aussie Olympic hopeful is on a high ahead of her qualifying competitions… Fourteen-year-old skateboarder Arisa Trew was named action sportsperson of the year at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid on Monday. If that’s not impressive enough, the Gold Coast youngster was the only Australian athlete to leave with a trophy, joining other international stars like Novak Djokovic and Simone Biles on the winners’ list. Like the legend she is, Trew rode up to the red carpet on a colour-coordinated skateboard… The teenager – described as a “prodigy” – made history last year when she became the first female skater to land a trick called the 720 during a competition. It involves 2 rotations in mid-air and it’s pretty spectacular to watch… 

Australian News Sport

Chowing down on tradition

If you’re keen to enjoy some ANZAC bikkies tomorrow, you’ve still got plenty of time to make a batch or 2 – and may we highly recommend Squiz founder Claire’s mother’s recipe. It’s a classic with golden syrup, coconut and oats, and it comes with instructions for crisp and chewy versions… But government research into ANZAC Day traditions has found that today’s version wasn’t always the case… Originally, they were known as a “wafer or tile” and were a “hardtack biscuit or long shelf-life biscuit substitute for bread” which were “not necessarily popular with soldiers at Gallipoli”. Yum… So when you’re enjoying a more palatable iteration with a cuppa, maybe thank the ANZACs for helping to secure our freedom – and to eat good food. And if you’re really keen on an authentic experience, you can also find some of those old-school recipes here

Australian News Culture

Apropos of Nothing

There’s a lot of concern about the future of Artificial Intelligence and deepfakes, but we couldn’t help but smile at Microsoft’s effort to show off its latest AI development by making the Mona Lisa rap using the voice of actor Anne Hathaway. Is it ok to be terrified and amused at the same time?

Clothes owned by legendary designer Vivienne Westwood are up for sale – many items she personally repaired several times. Over 200 lots will go under the hammer from 14-28 June, and we have dibs on the taffeta ball gown “with the span of a light aircraft”…

A Belgian has escaped a drink-driving charge because he has auto-brewery syndrome – an extremely rare condition whereby the body produces alcohol. Eyebrows were raised because he also works in a brewery… 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw and ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess will address the National Press Club – Canberra 

Australia’s e-safety Commissioner returns to the Federal Court of NSW over takedown order of graphic content against social media platform X – Sydney

ABS Data Release – Monthly Consumer Price Index March quarter; Population by Country of Birth, 2023

North Macedonia presidential election

Beginning of World Immunization Week (until 30 April) 

International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace 

International Youth Solidarity Day

Stop Food Waste Day

Denim Day 

International Guide Dog Day

Birthdays for Barbra Streisand (1942) and Ash Barty (1996)

Anniversary of:

  • the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire (1915)
  • the knighting of Winston Churchill by Queen Elizabeth II (1953)
  • the launch of the Hubble space telescope into low Earth orbit (1990) 
  • the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh which killed 1,134 garment workers (2013)
Squiz the Day

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