Squiz Today / 31 May 2024

Squiz Today – 31 May 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It’s not just rain that’s been associated with this feature. It’s also brought some really gusty winds.”

Said Senior BOM meteorologist Sarah Scully as she dashed our hopes for a fine weekend… Instead, up to 90% of Oz is bracing for a wet one as a vast rain band stretches over 2,000 kilometres across the country. Time to break out the gum boots…

Some serious beef with China

The Squiz 

Fourteen of the pro-democracy activists known as the ‘Hong Kong 47’ have been convicted of “conspiracy to commit subversion” under China’s controversial National Security Law (NSL), 3 years after they were arrested. They were part of a group of 16 defendants who pleaded not guilty – the others have pleaded guilty and are set to be sentenced, and 2 have been acquitted. The 8 women and 39 men were accused of attempting to overthrow the Beijing-controlled Hong Kong Government by running unofficial primary elections to pick opposition candidates for a vote in 2020. Yesterday, the 3 judges agreed with the prosecution that their actions could have caused a “constitutional crisis”. It’s notable because these people are Hong Kong’s best-known democracy activists and leaders, and they now face prison sentences – in some cases for life. 

How did it come to this?

It came after China’s crackdown on dissent in the territory that kicked off in 2019 and the introduction of the NSL, which has stripped Hong Kongers of their democratic rights. As part of that, Beijing mandated that only “patriotic” figures would be able to run for election to its Legislative Committee. It was a whole thing – we talked a lot about it at the time because it was big in the news (and you can refresh your memory with this Squiz Shortcut…). A big part of the conversation is about China’s increasingly authoritarian rule, which has put it at odds with several other countries… UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron called the NSL “a clear breach” of the agreement the UK Government struck with China when it handed over the former British colony that has “significantly eroded” rights and freedoms. 

How’s Australia’s beef with China going?

We like what you did there… Our relationship was impacted by things like China’s moves in Hong Kong, but the thaw continues… Another step was taken yesterday with the announcement that China will lift its export bans on 5 big Aussie meat exporters. Agriculture Minister Murray Watt called it “fantastic news” for our beef industry that will provide an $11.5 billion shot in the arm for our producers. One thing to note is that one of those convicted yesterday is Australian-Hong Kong dual citizen Gordon Ng, and his supporters have urged the government to keep him in mind. “We can’t even forget about people like Gordon or [jailed Australian writer] Yang Hengjun just because we’re getting our meat back”, said Melbourne lawyer Kevin Yam. 

World News

Squiz the Rest

Weighing in from across the ditch

New Zealand’s Deputy PM/Foreign Minister Winston Peters has urged our Immigration Minister Andrew Giles “to take a ‘common sense’ approach to the deportation of people to New Zealand” who’ve spent most of their lives in Oz. The warning was prompted by Giles’ announcement yesterday that he would overhaul ministerial direction 99, which was established last year to prevent exactly what Peters is concerned about. It’s drawn attention – and criticism from the Coalition – because in practice it’s allowed those convicted of serious crimes to have their visa cancellations overturned, allowing them to stay in Oz. Giles – who’s facing calls to resign over the issue – hasn’t responded to Peters’ statement but said he’s working “day and night” to get a new directive ready to roll. 


Some seriously dud durries

The so-called ‘tobacco wars’ in and around Melbourne are back in the news… This has to do with the growing market for counterfeit cigarettes in Australia, which is costing taxpayers billions of dollars in forgone tax revenue. But, unlike the dark street corner/alleyway deals you might expect for black market purchases, reports say counterfeit cigarettes are being peddled in plain sight. Dud brands like ‘Manchester Classic Gold’ are taking over, being sold for half, or even a third, of the price of their pricey authentic counterparts. The hefty tax for above-board tobacco sales also isn’t being applied – and that’s luring organised crime gangs who want to exploit the market. Meanwhile, e-cigarettes – aka vapes – also haven’t had the best week, PR-wise… The US Food and Drug Administration says the nicotine alternatives used in vapes might be more addictive than nicotine itself. Yikes…

Australian News Crime

Rebels without a cause

It wasn’t a great day at the office for the staff and players of the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union club yesterday… They’ve been told that the club will be disbanded after 14 years – meaning they won’t be part of the 2025 Super Rugby Pacific season. The decision to call time on the Rebels – which has been in administration since January with debts of more than $23 million – was made by Rugby Australia. Competition officials vetoed a plan for a consortium of investors to rescue the Rebels, saying “the application did not demonstrate sufficient financial viability” – and the leader of the consortium is now threatening legal action. But despite the off-field drama, the team is currently sitting seventh on the ladder out of 12 teams with one regular season game to play. That means the Rebels are due to play in its first finals campaign next month, and the team’s pledged to “fight to the very end”.

Australian News Sport

Bringing home the bacon

Mining magnate/portrait critic Gina Rinehart has come in at #1 on the Financial Review’s Rich List (paywall) for the fifth year after amassing more than $40 billion. Together, the top 10 rich listers are worth $222.6 billion – up nearly $7 billion from 2023. As for who else made the cut, property developer Harry Triguboff trails Rinehart by $14 billion – he’s worth $26.5 billion. Mike Cannon-Brookes, who co-founded tech company Atlassian, is worth a combined $24.38 billion with his wife, Annie – although the pair have recently separated. Packaging/recycling billionaire Anthony Pratt and his family came in at number 4, along with other rich list names that might ring a bell… Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar, Clive Palmer, and the now-divorced mining power couple Nicola Forrest and Andrew Forrest – who just so happened to be caught in a bit of PDA this week… 

Australian News

Eyeing-off the Archibald

If you’re feeling like a true artiste after our story yesterday about how to produce the perfect portrait, why not check out some professional efforts as the finalists for the Archibald Prize – one of Australia’s longest-running and democratic painting prizes – have been announced. There are a staggering 57 entries in the running for the $100,000 main award of the competition which is now in its 103rd year, and for the second year running, there are more female than male contenders. Some of the subjects are easier to recognise than others – we had to squint to make out Saltburn’s Jacob Elordi… But already celebrating is Melbourne street artist Matt Adnate, who won the Packing Room Prize (the gong awarded by the team that handles the portraits at the Art Gallery of NSW) for his portrait of Yolngu rapper Baker Boy yesterday. The big prizes will be announced on 7 June.

Australian News Culture

Friday Lites – 3 things we liked this week

A comedy-drama about the loss of a significant other might not sound like much of a riot for an evening watch but Good Grief written/directed by/starring Schitt’s Creek’s Dan Levy is an uncommonly sweet look at how we deal with death, especially when secrets are exposed after a person dies… If nothing else, its London/Paris scenery is stunning. Check it out on Netflix.

The fashions from Cannes really floated our boat, and the social account Fashion Critical also has some sassy takes… We’ve recommended it before, but we’re doing it again because we’re still trying to fill the Joan Rivers-shaped hole in our favourite ensemble…

Making dinner can be an effort, but with these 4 pasta sauce recipes that can be whipped up in a jiff using 6 ingredients, our excuses not to cook are running out… Our pick – the pasta with shallot, chorizo and tinned tomato sauce, which is on high rotation…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

10.30am (AEST) – The National Australian Museum’s new exhibition, Riding the Olympic Wave, opens today in Canberra

12.00pm (AEST) – Tickets for Cold Chisel’s 50th Anniversary Tour go on pre-sale 

7.40pm (ACST) – Get your green n’ gold out for the Matildas v China friendly match in Adelaide, and broadcast live on 10 Play. Go Tillies!

9.00pm (ASWT) – And follow it up if you like with Italian Football’s AC Milan v AS Roma in Perth, and available on 7Plus 

AFR Rich List released 

ABS Data Release – Data by region, 2011-23; Australian Industry, 2022-23, Employment for June

CoreLogic Dwelling Prices, May 

World No Tobacco Day 

Birthdays for Clint Eastwood (1930), Brooke Shields (1965) and Colin Farrell (1976)

Anniversary of:

  • explorers Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains, allowing colonial expansion into Western NSW (1813)
  • Dr John Harvey Kellogg patenting “flaked cereal” (1884)
  • the world’s oldest bride Minnie Munro (102yo) marrying Dudley Reid (83yo) in Point Clare, NSW (1991)
  • Psy’s Gangnam Style becoming the first video to reach 2 billion views on YouTube (2014)
  • the Aus and UK Free Trade Agreement commencing (2023)
Squiz the Day

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