Squiz Today / 11 February 2022

Squiz Today – Friday, 11 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Gets you set for a good weekend.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I’ve tried to shut down wafflers, call out bullsh*t, hold powerful people to account, expose lies, incompetence and exaggeration in all political parties and on all issues, and present facts, even when they’re unpopular or inconvenient.”

Said ABC TV’s 7.30 host Leigh Sales, who will leave the show after the federal election. After 12 years of it, no wonder she’s looking forward to a break…

Christ, it’s been a big week in politics…

And yesterday was particularly eventful as the Coalition Government pulled its Religious Discrimination Bill from being considered in the Senate. That came after yesterday morning’s 5am vote in the House of Reps that passed it along with amendments to the Sexual Discrimination Bill that Labor, 5 Liberals, and South Australian independent MP Rebekha Sharkie said would protect transgender school students.

And fair enough. This all started in 2017 when PM Malcolm Turnbull sought to appease conservative Liberals with a review of religious protections sparked by concerns that dissenting churches could be forced to marry same-sex couples. Also thrown into the mix: Wallaby Israel Folau’s sacking over homophobic tweets that he says were an expression of his faith, and campaigners’ push to remove religious schools’ right to expel gay and trans students. At the last election, PM Scott Morrison promised legislation, and it all came to a head this week as he tried to get the Coalition’s proposed plan through the parliament. Attorney-General Michaelia Cash says the bill was pulled because the changes made in the House could make things worse for students and need a closer look. So where to from here? Well, the Senate is sitting for 2 more days before an election is due on 21 May, so it’s effectively on ice.

That’s a good question… ABC Insiders host David Speers yesterday said he’d spoken to many Liberal MPs this week, and they told him that about 20% of the Coalition partyroom cared deeply about the bill – but in a rush to the election, clearing the legislative decks has been tricky. On the politics of this issue, pundits say it is about the Coalition keeping faith with religious groups and social conservatives, and Morrison being able to go to the upcoming election saying that he tried but was thwarted. And as for Labor, leader Anthony Albanese said discrimination against people of faith is real, but laws to address it can’t increase discrimination against other groups. All in all, it’s a complex one, and the takeout for many observers is it’s been another messy week for Team Morrison


Squiz the Rest

Too much for koalas to bear

Some of the worst images of the 2019-20 bushfires were the many injured koala bears. It was estimated that a third (aka about 10,000) perished in those fires in NSW, but their troubles in eastern Australia started before that. It was in 2012 that they were listed as ‘vulnerable’. And today, Environment Minister Sussan Ley will announce that the species will be listed as ‘endangered‘ in NSW, the ACT and Queensland. That means there will be a greater focus on conservation and more thorough assessments of development projects in areas where koalas live. Land clearing and feral predators are the biggest koala killers. And the severe drought between 2017-19 was very tough on the Aussie icon. The Federal Government has recently put more than $100 million towards projects to protect koalas, but groups like WWF Australia say preventing habitat destruction is the key.

Australian News

You’re not fully vaxxed unless you’re up to date

More and more research is showing that a booster shot is needed to maintain protection against COVID-19, and so Australia’s official immunisation experts have recommended we move away from using the term ‘fully vaccinated’ for 2 doses. In a recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation that was accepted yesterday by National Cabinet, people aged over 16 years will be considered to be ‘up to date’ with their COVID shots if they have had their booster shot in the 3-6 months from the second dose of their primary course. You’ll be considered ‘ overdue’ if you haven’t had a booster after 6 months. It will be up to the states and territories to determine whether they will introduce mandates to make ‘overdue’ people get up to date, but what was agreed yesterday was booster shots would not be mandated nationally, except for aged care workers. ATAGI chairman Nigel Crawford said the language change brings COVID vaccinations into line with other programs where booster shots are needed.

Australian News Health

Who’s up for a Super Saturday of by-elections in NSW?

Our hands are up… Voters in 4 NSW state electorates are cast their ballots tomorrow in what’s being billed as a test for the federal Coalition. And look, voters are perfectly capable of distinguishing between state and federal issues, but with a national election due soon, here we are… They are on for varying reasons: former Premier Gladys Berejiklian resigned last October and her seat of Willoughby on Sydney’s North Shore is up for grabs. Deputy Premier/NSW Nationals leader John Barilaro also called time on politics, and Transport Minister Andrew Constance pulled out for a federal run. And on the Labor side, former leader Jodi McKay had also had enough. Pundits say it will be an insight into how the NSW Coalition’s pandemic management has gone down. If that whets your appetite for a general election in NSW, you’ll have to wait until 25 March 2023.


Positive drug tests and the Winter Olympics

There have been plenty of complaints about the food, but the first major scandals of the Winter Olympics have surfaced. Reports say Russian Olympic figure skater Kamila Valieva has tested positive for a banned substance – something the International Olympic Committee has refused to confirm. The 15yo made history on Monday when she became the first figure skater to execute a quadruple jump. But yesterday, Russian media reported that Valieva tested positive for trimetazidine – a chest pain drug that can be used to boost endurance – before the Games. It’s the same drug that saw Chinese swimmer Sun Yang handed a 4-year ban in 2014. And Iranian flagbearer Hossein Saveh-Shemshaki has been suspended from competition after testing positive for an anabolic steroid. The alpine skier is one of 2 athletes from Iran at the Games.


Loved up and hungry?

Valentine’s Day is on Monday – and the fast-food giants are on board. Dreamed of proposing with pizza? You can request a Domino’s delivery for 14 February with a special ‘will you marry me’ message inside the box, and they say you’ll be set for “a truly supreme engagement!” And if marriage is a step too far, some romantic chicken nuggets might be more your style. Complete with a pop-up heart, the box has adjusted the Maccas slogan ‘I’m lovin’ it’ to ‘I’m lovin’ you’. Whatever direction you’re going, there is one bonus: the bar for future romantic gestures will be set low…

Australian News Quirky News

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

This week, Queen Elizabeth made a request as she marked 70 years on the throne – when it’s Charles’s turn, his wife Camilla should become Queen Consort, she said. The couple has covered a lot of ground since she was outed as his mistress, and it reminded us of this Vanity Fair article from 2018 on how she became a well-liked figure, including in the Queen’s eyes.

If you’re a Line of Duty fan, put Trigger Point on your watch list. Produced by Jed Mercurio and starring Vicky McClure (aka Kate Fleming), she’s an explosives expert, it’s on Stan, and we’re hooked.

And something to cook, eh? We like banana bread. And we like raspberry-coconut cakes. Put ‘em together and this simple recipe is a hit. Eat it warm with some butter.

Friday Lites

Do the Squiz Quiz

Reckon you know what title Queen Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law Camilla will adopt when Prince Charles ascends to the throne? Have a crack at the Squiz Quiz. 

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Winter Olympics Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final – Beijing. Aussie Scotty James goes up against American Shaun White. And watch out for 16yo Valentino Guseli 

7.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s First T20 Cricket Match – Australia v Sri Lanka – Sydney

The 2-day meeting of the Quad foreign ministers begins – Australia

ABS Data Release – People with disability: Household impacts of COVID-19; Business conditions and sentiments

Company Half-year Results – ANZ; IAG

Inventors’ Day

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Birthdays for Jennifer Aniston (1969) and Khalid (1998)

Anniversary of:
• the first first-class game of cricket played in Australia. It was Tasmania v Victoria in Launceston (1851)
• a 20.2kg lobster was caught off Nova Scotia – the heaviest crustacean ever caught (1977)
• Nelson Mandela being released from Victor Verster Prison in South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner (1990)
• the deaths of Sylvia Plath (1963), Alexander McQueen (2010) and Whitney Houston (2012)

Squiz the Day

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