Squiz Today / 04 March 2024

Squiz Today – 4 March 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 7 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Sir I’m going to need to see your licenses for those guns thank you.”
Posted one fan of Queensland Premier Steven Miles’ excessive biceps as he was hard at work at a school working bee in his electorate. It’s a Monday, and images of politicians looking remotely attractive can be discombobulating, so this comes with a warning… 

A big regional get together

The Squiz

PM Anthony Albanese is in Melbourne today, launching a 3-day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australia special summit. It will mark 50 years of the strategic partnership, which Albanese says will ensure our “shared future prosperity and security”. Eleven foreign leaders will be in hand to discuss speeding up the clean energy transition, increasing maritime cooperation, and supporting emerging leaders in the region. Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, which aims to increase trade and investment within the region, was launched last year and will also be a hot topic.

Is it a big deal?

While we’re not an ASEAN member (a dialogue partner…), the 10 member states represent 685 million people and about $178 billion in 2-way trade with Oz. They’re important partners, and PM Albanese has promised to bolster regional security and economic opportunities. It’s also notable because it’s the most significant gathering of Southeast Asian leaders in Oz for 6 years and the biggest international meeting Australia has hosted since the first ASEAN-Australia special summit in 2018. And there will be a bit of ‘getting-to-know-you’ with the leaders of Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam all taking office over the past 2 years, and it will be their first official visits to Australia. Also showing up – aspiring ASEAN member Timor-Leste is sending PM Xanana Gusmão and Kiwi PM Christopher Luxon is flying in from over the ditch. 

Anything to look out for?

There’s heaps going on in our region, so yes… Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr is expected to raise the territorial argument with China in the South China Sea, as he did when he addressed our federal parliament last week… The ongoing political instability in Myanmar after the military coup in 2021 will also come up as the member state faces criticism and sanctions. On a more positive note, Australia wants to help ASEAN nations achieve their renewable energy goals, which would also benefit Aussie businesses. And the 2040 strategy, which saw Oz commit $100 million over 4 years to strengthen our economic ties with the region, will also be part of the conversation. Last week, the Lowy Institute said the summit would be a success if Albanese “can build relationships, articulate a clear narrative, and avoid controversy.” Simples…   

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

A Gaza ceasefire deal is imminent…

That’s according to US officials, who say Israel has “more or less accepted” a deal that would see a 6-week ceasefire in Gaza. Hamas and mediators have met in Cairo, but reports this morning say Israel wants the names of hostages still alive before it agrees to talks. You can read about it in detail here, but the deal put together by Qatari, Egyptian and US authorities would see the fighting stop for an initial period and allow for the release of “vulnerable” hostages taken from Israel on 7 October. It would also allow critical aid to get to Palestinian civilians. Just on that, the US made its first aid airdrop on Saturday, delivering more than 38,000 meals along Gaza’s coastline with help from Jordan’s Air Force. No water or medical supplies were included, and aid agencies have criticised the move. While the US says supplies are getting through, the UN said airdrops are “a lousy way to deliver aid”. 

World News

Labor retains Dunkley

Labor’s Jodie Belyea came out on top in the Dunkley by-election in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on Saturday, securing the seat with 52.7% of the vote. There was a 2-party preferred swing of about 4% to the Liberal Party, with Senator Jane Hume saying they “have their tails up” after putting what was considered a ‘safe’ Labor into the ‘marginal’ column… It was tipped to be a preview of how Aussies are feeling about cost-of-living issues ahead of the next federal election. Labor frontbencher Jason Clare told the Libs to hold their horses, pointing to his party’s primary vote rising by almost 1%. That makes it hard for the Coalition to claim voters aren’t happy with the Albanese Government… But looking at the result, the Liberals have also done a better job gathering first votes with a 6.5% improvement on the 2022 election. But you know politics – spinners gonna spin… 

AusPol Australian News

Media companies tussle with Meta

Aussie media companies are gearing up for a fight with Facebook/Instagram’s owner Meta after the US tech giant announced it’ll ditch a deal worth $70 million/year that was inked 3 years ago. Remember when Facebook instigated a news blackout in 2021 after a stand-off over Australia’s media bargaining code? This is the next chapter in this story… The Code is in place to ensure Facebook and Google pay for news content hosted on their sites, and last time they coughed up hundreds of millions for the big publishers (but not independent publishers like The Squiz, which is a whole story we’ll tell you about some other time…). But on Friday, Meta said it won’t renew the deal so a plan to force Meta back to the negotiating tableis being worked on. Not that Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg seems worried – he spent the weekend wining and dining with India’s elite

Australian News

The NRL takes Vegas

The NRL’s 2024 season started off with a bang, drawing 40,746 fans to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The Manly Sea Eagles beat the South Sydney Rabbitohs 36-24, while the Sydney Roosters beat the Brisbane Broncos 20-10. And despite NRL boss Peter V’Landys spruiking the financial benefits of taking the game to the US – which he says could run up into the millions – things weren’t all smooth sailing… Broncos player Ezra Mam was in tears and made a formal complaint against the Roosters’ Spencer Lenui for allegedly calling him a “monkey”. There was also a desert storm, and the start of the first game was pushed to a secondary broadcast channel after a US college basketball game went into overtime. Hollywood star and diehard Manly fan, Hugh Jackman also didn’t show. Regardless, V’Landys has called the international jaunt a success and “the greatest achievement of my career.”

Australian News Sport

Missing cues from our feline overlords…

If you’ve been working off the assumption that a cat’s purring hints at feelings of contentment, think again… A French study reckons humans aren’t good at reading the signs from our furry friends, with nearly a third of people missing communication cues from a cat that’s not feline fine… Don’t despair – Monique Udell, a human-animal interaction researcher, says it comes from a good place of people wanting to see their pets happy, and that “our positive emotional state in response to the animals gives us these rose-coloured glasses”. The study says cat owners should observe both vocal cues – aka meowing, purring, growling or hissing – and visual cues – like tail swishing, rubbing around our legs, flattening ears or widening eyes – to better understand their pet’s mood. And bonus – you might avoid a few scratches in the process…


Apropos of Nothing – Hot dog edition

Sled dogs, old dogs and hot dogs…

The world’s most famous sled-dog race took off running on Saturday, with 38 mushers – aka the people in the sled – and their teams of snow-bootie-wearing dogs taking part in the 52nd Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska. It’ll take 8 or 9 days – and the dogs will hopefully get some juicy bones for their efforts…

The Guinness World Records has re-awarded the title of ‘World’s Oldest Dog’ to an Aussie cattle dog from Rochester in Victoria, nearly 90 years after he died… Bluey who lived for 29 years and 5 months is a legend once again after a Portuguese pup was found to be a phony… 

And baseball fans in the US can no longer chow down on US$1 hot dogs at Phillies games as organisers say too many of the meat tubes were being used as missiles by disgruntled spectators. Food fights are the Würst…

And a bonus this morning… Our friends at Future Women are hosting an International Women’s Day 2024 First Nations Breakfast and Panel in Sydney this Friday, and they’re offering Squizers a 25% discount on tickets with the code SQUIZ25OFF. We’ll be there, so get along. 

Australian News Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.30am (AEDT) – The 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit (on until 6 March) – Melbourne

8.30am (AEDT) – The Future Women Leadership Summit begins (on until 5 March) – Sydney/Virtually 

Liberal Party preselection for the electorate of Cook following Scott Morrison’s retirement

The final Public Heading for the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide begins (on until 28 March) – Sydney  

ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, January; Business Indicators, December 2023

Stella Prize 2024 longlist announced 

World Obesity Day 

Anniversary of:

  • the 2nd Battle of Vinegar Hill (aka Castle Hill rebellion) in NSW, when Irish convicts led the colony’s only significant convict uprising (1804)
  • the publication of the song Happy Birthday To You by Claydon Sunny (1924)
  • former Zimbabwe PM Robert Mugabe rising to power (1980)
  • the deaths of actor Luke Perry (2019) and cricket legends Rod Marsh and Shane Warne (2022)
Squiz the Day

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