Squiz Today / 09 August 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 9 August

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Good days start here. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

9 / 20
6 / 19
11 / 23
8 / 20
8 / 18
4 / 16
22 / 33
-1 / 16

Squiz Sayings

“It was a heck of a way to launch National Science Week.” 

Said astronomer Professor Alan Duffy of the “huge fireball” that crossed Victoria and Tassie’s sky on Monday night. Taxpayers need not be concerned about the government going big to mark the notable week – experts say it was likely to be a bit of space junk…

Blasting away the West’s new cultural heritage laws


Yesterday’s announcement from Western Australia’s (newish) Labor Premier Roger Cook has been felt from Perth to Canberra… He’s scrapping the state’s 39-day-old Aboriginal cultural heritage laws after farmers, property developers, and miners complained they put too many burdens on landowners. And reports say Labor in Canberra was concerned that the issue was getting in the way of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum. The legislation was meant to stop a repeat of Rio Tinto’s destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan Gorge sacred site in 2020, but Cook says the “stress, confusion and division” means he’s going to repeal it ASAP.


Rio Tinto had permission from the state government to blast the rock shelters in the Pilbara region, even though the traditional owners – the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) – had taken formal steps to stop it. The public furore that followed saw the mining giant’s boss Jean-Sebastien Jacques and chairman Simon Thompson leave the company, along with others. At the time, PKKP representatives said Rio gave them misleading information, and traditional owner Burchell Hayes said the destruction of the sacred site “left a gaping hole in our ability to pass on our heritage to our children and grandchildren.” The federal government vowed it could never be allowed to happen again, and former Premier Mark McGowan changed the laws in 2021. But that’s now come unstuck… 


It’s a good question because, after all that, the new regime has only been in place for 5 weeks… The problem was the laws required landowners to undertake detailed heritage assessments and apply for expensive permits, even for minor works, on any piece of land larger than 1,100 square metres (think an average house block times 3…). Yes23 campaign director Dean Parkin said on the weekend that he would welcome the backflip because the impending Voice referendum would be a debate about cultural heritage for voters in the state – and that wasn’t helpful. But PKKP land and heritage manager Jordan Ralph said the decision to overturn the new laws was “nothing short of a cluster and again, First Nations people are being treated as second class citizens in their own Country.” As for protecting the state’s cultural heritage, the state will revert to the original 50-year-old legislation – with amendments the government says will prevent a Juukan Gorge-style disaster again.

Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Oz has a wallet, too

China’s money moves in the Indo-Pacific region (like courting island nations like the Solomons) have been a regular source of discussion, but Australia’s also splashing around some cash… Announcing a new foreign aid strategy (but no new funds to the $4.8 billion budget…), Foreign Minister Penny Wong emphasised Oz’s focus on transparency and working with local workforces – a contrast to the fly-in-fly-out workers China has been criticised for. Our aid will also be no-strings-attached, which experts see as a dig at the huge debts China’s leaving Pacific countries with. And all new Aussie spending in the Pacific will come with climate and gender equality objectives built in. PM Anthony Albanese and China’s leader Xi Jinping can chat it over during an expected meeting on the sidelines of the Delhi G20 summit next month. And there’s speculation of a China trip for Albanese in October, which would be the first leader’s visit since 2016… 

AusPol Australian News

The spy in the shop

Ukraine’s spy agency revealed that a local woman has been arrested for allegedly gathering information for a Russian assassination attempt on President Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelensky makes frequent trips to the war’s frontlines but doesn’t announce his plans in advance due to safety concerns, and this woman, a former shop assistant, was tasked with learning Zelensky’s movements when he visited the southern Mykolaiv region. That’s according to Ukraine’s State Security Service… If convicted of working for Russia, the woman could be imprisoned for 12 years. Meanwhile, world leaders have had their heads down in Saudi Arabia on a peace plan to end Russia’s invasion. Russian reps weren’t invited, but Kremlin allies from China did attend the talks, which all sides (except Russia) are touting as a major diplomatic victory

World News

A Zimmermann sale of a different kind…

It’s a fashion label beloved by A-listers, including Margot Robbie and Kate Middleton, and now Zimmermann has cemented its place among the world’s top fashion labels after a 70% stake in the company was sold to private equity firm Advent International for an undisclosed amount. The deal is believed to value the luxury brand at $1.5-1.75 billion, making it Australia’s most valuable fashion brand (which is a long way from Sydney’s Paddington Market…). Co-founders/sisters Nicky and Simone Zimmermann will retain a 30% stake, bringing their joint net wealth to $615 million – up from $340 million in March. Since 2020, the brand has rapidly expanded throughout the US and Europe, and there’s speculation that a China-Middle East launch is on the cards. And Advent’s other investments include cosmetics and fragrances, so keep your nose out for Eau de Zimmermann

Australian News Business & Finance

Obesity reshapes the brain

That’s the landmark finding from researchers at Cambridge University, who found that the brains of people who are overweight or obese are shaped differently from those of non-obese people. The study used an AI algorithm to analyse the MRI brain scans of 1,351 young people of different weights. It found that the hypothalamus – the key area of the brain that acts as the “appetite control centre” – was significantly larger in obese participants. That means hormones are “dysregulated”, mucking up the triggers that communicate fullness or hunger, making it harder for obese people to stick to a diet. Researchers say they aren’t sure whether the hypothalamus is inflamed by obesity or whether people with a larger hypothalamus are predisposed to carry more weight. So that’s a delight…


Matildas winning streak continues off the field

The Matildas have won the minds and hearts of the nation, and they’re also winning the TV ratings game after Monday night’s World Cup knockout match against Denmark set a new viewing record. Ratings agency OzTam says the game drew a metro audience of 2.294 million viewers on Seven, making it the most-viewed broadcast event of the year ahead of the first State of Origin match (1.98 million) and the final of ratings darling Married at First Sight (1.06 million). The game also eclipsed the 2022 AFL grand final’s TV audience of 2.179 million, which in this nation of footy lovers is really saying something – and analysts say another record could be set as the Matildas head into their quarter-final match against France on Saturday night… Their run of success has breathed new/premature life into discussions on a national public holiday if we win the World Cup – if the states can get on board… 

Australian News Entertainment Sport

Apropos of nothing

Relocating 37,000 participants of the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea has involved 1,014 buses to shift the happy campers to accommodation sites scattered around the country. After a heatwave and with a typhoon looming, their motto of ‘be prepared’ came in handy…  

Also on the move is serial snack thief Hank the Tank – a 230kg black bear. She’s been “safely immobilized” after a series of home break-ins around California’s Lake Tahoe and moved to a dedicated bear facility “in hopes they can discontinue the negative behaviours”.

There’s a new trend among American men – Brotox. While men getting facial tweaks is a long-term trend, some outlets have pointed a plastic finger at Barbie and the shiny good looks of the film’s Kens. 

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Universities Australia Chair Professor David Lloyd addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

Singapore’s National Day

ABS Data Release – Monthly Business Turnover Indicator, June

Company Results – Commonwealth Bank; Suncorp Group

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

National Indigenous Fashion Awards – Darwin

Book Lovers Day

Archibald people’s choice 2023 winner announced

Birthdays for Rod Laver (1938), Michael Kors (1959), John Key (1961), Gillian Anderson (1968), Eric Bana (1968), and Anna Kendrick (1985)

Anniversary of:
• the opening of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican (1483)
•the publication of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854)
• the US dropping a 2nd atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan (1945)
• the Manson family committing the Tate-LaBianca murders (1969)
• the resignation of US President Richard Nixon (1974)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.