Squiz Today / 07 December 2023

Squiz Today – 7 December 2023

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Australia Post can’t stand still.”

Said Communictions Minister Michelle Rowland of a decision to allow Australia Post to ditch daily letter services, reducing the delivery schedule to every second day. It’s to help all the parcels we’ve ordered online get to us faster, and we’re totally here for that…

A new blow in the immigration detention brawl

A US connection to the Wieambilla police murders…

The Squiz

Nearly a year on from the murders of Queensland police officers Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold and good samaritan Alan Dare at a rural property at Wieambilla in Queensland, officers from America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have arrested a man linked to the “religiously-motivated terrorist attack”. Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon yesterday said Donald Day from Arizona was indicted by a grand jury for interstate threats under US law, and that he has been remanded in custody.

How is he linked?

Let’s start at the beginning… The trio were shot and killed on 12 December last year – the police officers were ambushed as they visited the property as part of a missing person case. The tragedy was labelled as Australia’s first fundamentalist Christian terrorist attack. Husband and wife Gareth and Stacey Train and Gareth’s brother Nathaniel were killed after a 6-hour standoff with police, and it was later revealed the trio had planned the attack. And yesterday, Assistant Commissioner Scanlon said Gareth Train and Donald Day first connected via YouTube in May 2021. She said Day sent messages about Christian end-of-days ideology to Gareth and Stacey and allegedly made comments “inciting violence in connection to the incident at Wieambilla”.

So what happens now?

The FBI is investigating Day’s motivations, and Scanlon says Aussie authorities have “a long way to go” in identifying “any residual threats” posed to the community. That means they want to know if Day or the Trains were in contact with others here… And there’s another reason to mention the Wieambilla attack with the National Cabinet agreeing to introduce the National Firearms Register. The register was first agreed to 27 years ago after the Port Arthur Massacre but was never implemented. It will take about 4 years to get up and running, but it means the state/territory gun registers will be brought together into a national database. Noting the Wieambilla attack anniversary next week, Albanese says the decision “represents the most significant improvement in Australia’s firearms management systems in almost 30 years and will keep Australia’s first responders and community safer”.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Shocking allegations against a former shock jock

A big investigation is splashed all over the front pages of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age this morning… Former Sydney radio host Alan Jones has been accused of assaulting several men. The accounts come from a former employee of broadcaster 2GB and others, including a waiter, businessman and singer – each say Jones touched them without consent. The accounts published this morning are detailed, and the men talk about their fear of making an official complaint to police because of Jones’s fame and power. One of the men said at the time it happened to him, Jones was “more powerful than the prime minister. He could pick up the phone to John Howard and demand for things to be done.’’ For his part, Jones’s lawyer said he denied the claims and that the suggestion he was involved in any alleged assaults was “scandalous, grossly offensive, and seriously defamatory of him.’’

Australian News

Getting deals done

PM Albanese and the premiers/chief ministers have agreed to try to get the National Disability Insurance Scheme back on track after escalating costs have made it unsustainable. After yesterday’s meeting, Albanese confirmed the states/territories will take back responsibility for kids with mild autism and developmental delays after getting a $25 billion top-up in GST revenue from Canberra, along with an extra $1.2 billion for their hospitals. That’s not where this ends for NDIS reform – Minister Bill Shorten will have more to say when he addresses the National Press Club today.

And while we’re on governmenty things, the federal parliament has passed new laws to allow for the preventative detention of some of those released from immigration detention in recent weeks. Yesterday, things got a bit heated when Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus was asked to apologise to Australians for putting them at risk – he said he would never apologise for upholding Australia’s laws. Reports also say a fourth man from the group has been arrested and charged with a crime after being released.


Neither frank nor fearless

Victoria’s Ombudsman has dropped a scathing report about the state’s public service, saying it’s marked by “creeping politicisation” and a “culture of fear”. Deborah Glass cited a case of a bureaucrat losing their job after providing unwelcome advice and has taken aim at the over-reliance on consultants under former Premier Dan Andrews. She also called out too-cosy relationships between ministerial staffers and ministers. Speaking of staffers, Glass also pointed out Andrews had about the same number of personal staff as the PM and NSW Premier combined… The newish Labor Premier Jacinta Allen has defended the government, saying there’s “not one example of partisan political hiring in the Victorian public sector”. But the Coalition reckons the report is “the most serious and most damning indictment in the last 10 years of the Victorian Government”.


Hot weather set to sizzle

Australia’s first major heatwave of the summer is here, and it’s set to be a scorcher, with temperatures set to top 40C in quite a few spots across the country. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a 3-day heatwave warning, with South Australia and NSW expected to cop the worst of it. But before you start thinking it’s record-breaking stuff, senior meteorologist Dean Narramore says it’s actually not that unusual. Meanwhile, if you’re living on the Queensland coast, it’s time to dust off your cyclone plan with Tropical Cyclone Jasper brewing off the coast of the Solomon Islands. It’s expected to ramp up to a Category 4 tomorrow (which is strong…), and could impact the not-so Sunshine State next week. The Bureau reckons the region “north of Mackay” is most likely to feel the brunt – but it’s still too early to know precisely where Jasper will go.

Australian News Weather

Rockin reaches No 1

Talk about a Christmas miracle… Brenda Lee’s festive classic Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree hit the top spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart 65 years after it first jingled into our hearts. The song has seen a 30% surge in popularity this year – thanks to a big TikTok campaign and a new music video. And if you’re trying to do the maths on Brenda’s age – the child star was just 13yo when she first recorded the tune in 1958… She’s made it to #2 on the charts before, but until now, she had been beaten to the top spot by Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You. Proving Americans are already deep into the holiday spirit, Wham’s Last Christmas also topped Taylor Swift in the charts this week. All hail Brenda, the new Queen of Christmas… 


Apropros of Nothing

Taylor Swift has won Time’s Person of the Year – it called her a “source of light” in a “divided world.” As we outlined in Squiz Shortcuts recently, she’s had a massive year with music releases, a mega tour, and a record-breaking film. In response, she’s had a few things to say about her career ups and downs…

And muso Troye Sivan has won Australian GQ’s Man of the Year gong. He’s had a tremendous year, winning 4 ARIA Awards and 2 Grammy nominations, he’s released his own successful lifestyle brand and infiltrated American pop culture in a big way…

December is rom-com Love Actually’s time to shine – and this year, lovers of the iconic movie have another reason to feel festive… Star Martine McCutcheon has teased a special reunion project is on the way to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary. And no, we couldn’t believe it’s been 20 years, either…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Government Services, Bill Shorten, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

7.15pm (AEDT) – Men’s Cricket – BBL Opener – Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars – Brisbane

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods, October 

Hanukkah begins (until 15 December)

International Civil Aviation Day 

Christmas Jumper Day 

Anniversary of:

the deaths of Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero (43BC) and British naval officer William Bligh (1817)

the attack on the US Naval Base in Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (1941)

the premiere of the first Star Trek movie (1979)

the passing of same-sex marriage legislation through the Australian Parliament (2017)

Squiz the Day

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