Squiz Today / 08 December 2023

Squiz Today – 8 December 2023

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Ahh McDonald’s, or some say CosMcs…”

Says one Twitter user over McDonald’s new venture – named CosMcs after an alien-shaped US Maccas mascot. It’s said to be the fast food giant’s answer to Starbucks, with a menu featuring some very sweet-looking drinks. Given Aussies’ superior coffee tastes, there’s no word on any stores opening here…

A new blow in the immigration detention brawl

A massive makeover to address a big problem…

The Squiz

A big overhaul is coming for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) after a year-long independent review found too many people are being given access to the scheme. Annual spending on the NDIS has blown out to $42 billion in the last year, with 11% of all boys aged 5-7yo now receiving some type of funding for autism or developmental delay. NDIS Minister Bill Shorten says he’s determined to get things “back on track” and make sure people with more moderate disabilities can get help outside the scheme so it’s “not the only lifeboat in the ocean”.

Back it up a bit…

The NDIS has been in place since 2013, and it was meant to focus on providing a lifeline for people with a permanent and significant disability. There are currently 630,000 Aussies on the scheme – that’s a lot more than anyone predicted, mainly because there’s been that surge in children with autism being included. And because every participant gets their own funded ‘plan’ – which might include the government paying for speech therapy/support workers/specialised equipment – the costs have shot up. And now, it has been widely accepted the scheme isn’t sustainable, with costs heading towards $100 billion within 10 years if nothing changes.

So what’s going to happen?Well, first things first – the states/territories have said they will start taking responsibility for those kids who don’t need a full-blown NDIS package but do need extra support in schools and other places. And given that 4.4 million Australians are living with a disability, the review’s authors say it’s “vital” a bunch of services are available outside the NDIS. Nicole Rogerson from Autism Awareness Australia says she’s worried a large number of people will be “kicked off” the scheme and they’ll be left “floundering”. For Shorten’s part, he says the government won’t respond to all of the review’s 26 recommendations until next year, but he’s told participants that we’re not going back to a time “when people with disability were forced to rely on charity to fundraise for wheelchairs”. So watch this space…


Squiz the Rest

Money talks in the Federal Court…

Geez hasn’t the defamation case that’s playing out in Sydney put Bruce Lehrmann and Brittany Higgins under pressure… New questions were also raised after evidence was heard that the pair kissed in a nightclub on the night in question. And Higgins is facing questions over her $2.45 million settlement from the Commonwealth over alleged duty of care breaches after she accused Lehrmann of sexually assaulting her – something he denies. As for Lehrmann, his exclusive interview with Seven has been scratched from Australia’s top journalism awards – the Walkleys – after court proceedings revealed the network paid his rent for a year to secure the scoop. Channel 10’s Lisa Wilkinson is still to take the stand with the case expected to wrap up next Thursday.

There’s also an update on the claims published against former Sydney shock jock Alan Jones by the Sydney Morning Herald/Age… His lawyer says the allegations that Jones indecently assaulted several men are “demonstrably false” and that Jones has launched legal action against the Nine newspapers.

Australian News

Batten down the hatches…

Attention Queenslanders – now’s when the experts want you to prepare yourselves for Tropical Cyclone Jasper. The Bureau of Meteorology reckons it could ramp up to a Category 5 storm overnight – and that’s as severe as cyclone warnings come. While it’s still 1,000km off the Aussie coast, it’s most likely to hit “anywhere between Mackay and Cooktown” early to mid-next week. Jasper could still change course, but Mackay’s mayor Greg Williamson is urging residents to get ready because “it’s too late to wake up Monday morning and have it on our doorstep”. As for the rest of the country, South Australia and Victoria will be copping the worst of the heatwave today, while NSW and the ACT will reach peak hotness on Saturday. Stay cool and safe, please…

Australian News Weather

Demands for action

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has invoked Article 99 of the United Nations Charter – it’s a rare move to push the Security Council to pass an immediate and binding ceasefire resolution on the Israel-Hamas war. Those in the know say it’s a dramatic step that’s been taken by Guterres, who says what’s unfolding in Gaza is a humanitarian disaster that threatens international peace and security after 2 months of war that has created “appalling human suffering.” If a ceasefire resolution was passed by the Security Council, the UN could send international forces to implement it. But China, Russia, the US, the UK and France hold veto power over those calls, and they are not aligned. Israel is none too pleased about it – officials have hit back, saying Guterres hasn’t done enough to condemn Hamas, and that he’s not fit to lead the UN.

World News

The new Blue Poles

There was a time when going to the National Gallery in Canberra to see Jackson Pollock’s abstract painting Blue Poles was a thing. The institution’s 1973 acquisition of the famously expensive work of art was a crime against taxpayers/a point of national pride, depending on your viewpoint… And now the gallery is set to unveil an animatronic installation by US artist Jordan Wolfson titled Body Sculpture that’s been compared to Blue Poles when it comes to the big bucks. Setting us back a cool $6.7 million, it looks like a robot with moving arms – but for art connoisseurs, Wolfson says its movement “elicits the viewer to become activated in their bodies and therefore present”. Considered not safe for under 15yos due to its “mature themes”, it’s unlikely to bring in bus-loads of kids. Maybe the National Portrait Gallery’s new “psychedelic” portrait of Aussie cook/icon Maggie Beer is more their speed…


Friday Lites – 3 things we liked this week…

This week was 40 years since Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released if you can believe it. So if you want to dust off the cobwebs and give the iconic dance another go, here are some pointers

Here’s a gift idea for you… A friend gifted us this recipe book for our birthday this year, and we’ve used it quite a bit with a couple of recipes set to be lifetime standards. It’s Flour and Stone* with recipes from the bakery of the same name that’s not that far from our office. Yum, both ways… 

You know what we really feel like? A caesar salad. And this one, with its easy-to-assemble homemade dressing, is the winner we need if we’re to have a chance to get some leafy greens down before the pre-Christmas indulgence kicks in. Just sans the eggs, please (gag)… 

*If you buy using this link, The Squiz might get a little commission

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

5.30pm (AEDT) – Human Rights Awards – Sydney

Last day of Term 4 for public schools in Queensland

A birthday for Nicki Minaj (1982)

Anniversary of:

the birthdays of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542), singer/actor Sammy Davis Jr (1925), and rocker Jim Morrison (1943)

John Lennon’s death (1980)

SpaceX becoming the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft, after the second launch of the SpaceX Dragon (2010)

Squiz the Day

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