Squiz Today / 30 May 2024

Squiz Today – 30 May 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

10 / 24
14 / 22
16 / 24
13 / 22
11 / 18
10 / 19
25 / 33
4 / 19

Squiz Sayings

“Is there anyone going to Broome in the next few days and would like a slippery companion?”

Was the question posed in a local Facebook group by a Port Hedland vet caring for an injured green sea turtle. Pilbara local Emily Pledger stepped up to take ‘Squirt’ on the 6-hour drive to a rehab centre in Broome and reckons “he didn’t talk back much but … he was happy”.

Team Albanese’s got Direction 99 problems…

The Squiz 

After a bruising few days, the Albanese Government yesterday said it would update a ‘ministerial direction’ that has resulted in convicted criminals who are not Aussie citizens being allowed to stay here. Immigration Minister Andrew Giles says the changes will “ensure that migration decisions are made that are “in line with the expectations of the government and the community”. It’s the latest front to open up on the government’s handling of our immigration system, and yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese was asked by Coalition Leader Peter Dutton if he has confidence in Giles. “I do,” he responded. 

Umm what’s a ‘ministerial direction’? 

So… The way our immigration laws work means the minister of the day can ‘give written directions to a person or body having functions or powers under this Act’. Enter the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), which reviews officials’ visa decisions – eg cases where someone’s had their visa cancelled or denied… In January last year, Minister Giles signed off Direction 99 on visas being knocked back on character grounds. The background to that is Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern had been lobbying Australia for ages over Kiwis who were convicted of criminal offences here being deported – even if they’d lived here for years. And after he was elected in 2022, PM Albanese told Ardern he’d sort it. That saw the AAT given Direction 99, where they were told to “afford a higher level of tolerance” to letting people stay in Oz – including convicted crims – if they had put down roots/spent a lot of time here. 

So how has that played out? 

Yesterday, Minister Giles said it’s resulted in the AAT making decisions inconsistent with “common sense”. That includes cases of visas being restored to people who were convicted of crimes like dealing drugs, robbery and assault, rapists, and convicted and accused murderers. Apparently there are dozens of cases involving criminals getting their visa reinstated because of Direction 99… And in a twist to the tale this week, the Home Affairs Department boss Stephanie Foster told a Senate Committee hearing that officials were meant to tell Giles when cases like those came before the AAT, but that never happened. The omnishambles has seen the Coalition go hard on Giles and Albanese, despite not having a great track record themselves, and reports say internal pressure is building on the PM to move Giles on. Watch this space…


Squiz the Rest

Phoning in a potential breakthrough

Police in Victoria may have discovered a key piece of evidence in their search for missing Ballarat woman Samantha Murphy, but they’re keeping tight-lipped until they’re certain… Yesterday, detectives launched a new “targeted” search for the 51yo mother-of-3 in Buninyong, south of Ballarat – where Samantha went missing during a run on 4 February. Officers, sniffer dogs, police divers and an excavator were spotted beside a dam, and vision taken at the scene shows officers hugging each other after finding what looks like a muddy smartphone along with “other items of interest”. Police wouldn’t say whether those items belonged to Samantha until they’ve been forensically tested, but said they’ll share more information as soon as they can. Ballarat man Patrick Orren Stephenson was charged over the alleged murder in March – and so far, has refused to help police with their search.

Australian News Crime

Inflation frustration

So let us set the scene… Yesterday’s official inflation update reported a rise in the 12 months to April to 3.6%, up from 3.5% in March. That increase – thanks mostly to high housing and services costs – has economists worried because, despite a slowdown in household spending, it’s heading in the wrong direction… That saw economist Anneke Thompson say “the fight against inflation is still far from over”. As for what it means for interest rates, those in the know say the new data alone won’t decide the Reserve Bank’s next shout that’s due on 18 June – but it’s likely to add fuel to fears of delayed rate cuts or a potential rate hike. That’s not even getting into the debate around whether the Albanese Government’s Federal Budget will add to inflation

Australian News Economy

Redefining the Rainbow Nation

Over 27 million South Africans have voted in the most “pivotal” national and provincial elections since apartheid ended in 1994 as for the first time, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) could lose its majority. Experts say “disillusionment” and high unemployment have led to an explosion of candidates, with 70 parties and 11 independents running 14,889 candidates for a total of 887 seats. The ANC needs at least 50% of votes to retain a majority or it faces having to form a coalition, or losing power altogether. Current President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s main rival is the opposition Democratic Alliance, which has signed a pact with 10 other parties to form a coalition if they can beat the ANC. But with polls showing one third of voters are undecided, it will be a nervous wait until the results are announced on Sunday.

World News

One-way ticket to a nightmare

As many as 2 million Aussies who’ve bought tickets online for gigs, shows, and sporting events could have their personal data exposed in the latest cyber attack as the infamous hacker ShinyHunters claims to have stolen the details of 560 million Ticketmaster users worldwide. It came to light after a post on the dark web – aka sites that can only be found using special browsers – appeared to reveal phone numbers, credit card details, email addresses and more for scores of people. The hacker is trying to sell the information for $752,000, which could give criminals an opportunity to commit identity theft and financial fraud. It’s more bad news for Ticketmaster’s parent company Live Nation which last week was hit with a lawsuit from the US Government over allegations it is running a live event “monopoly”. A Department of Home Affairs spokesperson said they’re working with Ticketmaster “to understand the incident”.

Australian News Crime Technology

Pass me a beret and a paintbrush

If you’ve ever wanted to draw someone like one of Leo’s French girls but don’t know where to begin, visual artist Kim Leutwyler has some tips to get your sketching started… The 7-time Archibald finalist has 5 stages for the perfect portrait. First, select the right “sitter” – aka muse – for your artwork, someone who’s got the time and inclination to share themselves with the world. Stage 2, figure out the composition – how they will sit and what they’ll wear (or not…). Next, paint the background first – revolutionary we know. Stage 4 – sketch your figure elsewhere first, then copy that onto the canvas. And finally, bring your sitter back for a final session to make the tweaks of perfection, et voila! We’d also like to suggest stage 6 – toast yourself with a glass of wine for a job well done. We can’t even draw a straight line so it might be a while before we get to have a drink…


Apropos of Nothing

Billionaire philanthropist Melinda French Gates is donating US$1 billion to women’s causes over the next 2 years to promote gender equity around the world. The former Mrs Bill Gates says about US$200 million will go to protecting reproductive rights in the US, saying she felt “compelled” to help those in her own country.

It seems the last plane out of Sydney hasn’t gone just yet with Aussie rock legends Cold Chisel announcing a 50th anniversary tour. The band will visit cities and towns across the country from October, starting in Armidale in regional NSW where they were based back in 1974…

Millions of people got their camera shutters fluttering in New York City yesterday for the twice-per-year special event known as ‘Manhattanhenge’… Think sunset-meets-cityscape as the centre of our solar system sinks below the horizon framed by skyscrapers – yes, it is as beautiful as it sounds…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.00am (AEST) – Gas Energy Australia National Forum with the theme, Renewable Gas: Changing the Game – Melbourne

9.30am (AEST) – The Mint to release commemorative Paris Olympic/Paralympic coins – Canberra

10.00am (AEST) – Knitting Nanas and Friends to host a Kitchen Table Cabinet discussing climate change with MPs over a cuppa – Canberra

10.00am (AEST) – First District Court sentencing mention for bus driver Brett Button who has pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving occasioning death in relation to the fatal wedding crash in regional NSW – Newcastle

12.00am (ACST) – NT Chief Minister Eva Lawler will give the State of the Territory address – Darwin

From 7.00pm (AEST) – Tennis: French Open – Alex de Minaur v Jaume Munar of Spain – Paris, and watch on 9Gem 

11.15pm (AEST) – Hockey: Women’s FIH Pro League – Australia v Argentina – Belgium

UK Parliament is dissolved – marking the official end of the current parliament

ABS data release – building approvals, April

World MS Day 

International Day of the Potato 

Birthdays for Tom Morello (1964), Idina Menzel (1971), Cee-Lo Green (1974)

Anniversary of:

  • Joan of Arc being burned at the stake in France after being condemned as a heretic (1431)
  • the publication of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967)
  • Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s divorce (1996)
  • Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to jail for 11 years after defrauding investors with her blood-testing company Theranos (2023)

12.30am (AEST) – Hockey: Men’s FIH Pro League – Australia v Argentina – Belgium

Squiz the Day

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