Squiz Today / 12 April 2019

Squiz Today – Friday, 12 April


"That's all he'll be doing, just wandering around as a newly free, teenage brolga, with his black t-shirt listening to heavy metal music, and hanging out in the mall.”

That’s urban ecology expert Darryl Jones talking about the menace that’s taken up residence in Mirani, Queensland. His name is Barry the Brolga (as in the waterbird), and he spends his days wandering along the main street, hassling people. Like all teenage dirtbags, the advice is to ignore him and he'll go away. Now that's a cross-species life lesson…


After almost seven years as a high-profile house guest in Ecuador’s London embassy, Australian Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was last night arrested by the UK’s Met Police after Ecuador’s president withdrew asylum. Appearing before the Westminster Magistrates' Court, he was found guilty of breaching his bail in 2012 when he faced sexual assault allegations in Sweden - charges which have since been dropped. He has been remanded in custody awaiting sentencing. And then there's America's extradition request over his role in the most significant leak of classified information in its history...

He didn’t go willingly, that’s for sure… Assange – sporting a white-beard - was dragged from the embassy by a coterie of police officers. Ecuador’s President Lenín Moreno said he withdrew Assange’s asylum after “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols”. (Note: it’s believed “daily-life protocols” refers to things like Assange not cleaning up after his cat). “It’s not so much Julian Assange being held hostage in the Ecuadorian embassy, it’s actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorian embassy hostage in a situation that was absolutely intolerable for them," said Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who described Ecuador's decision as "courageous".

We’ll see… There’s a hearing on 2 May on that. To be specific, the US has alleged the Assange engaged in a 2010 conspiracy with Chelsea Manning (who served seven years in military prison for leaking classified data) and has charged him with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. That carries a maximum penalty of five years' prison. Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson says what happened overnight sets a precedent that means "any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States." (Note: there is a debate about whether he is a journalist or not to keep in mind.) Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, said Assange would receive consular assistance. There’s no word whether that assistance extends to his cat…



With the nation wrapping up Scott Morrison and this term of government like this chairwoman did to Brad Pitt this week, the PM finally took the hint. Morrison visited the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove bright and early yesterday morning to advise him to call the election for 18 May. The GG agreed, wrote him a letter confirming the end of the 45th Parliament, and they’re away.

• Starting the race from behind, Morrison and the Liberals/Nationals are serving up a main course of the economy with a side of national security.

• The bookies (and polling) favourite, Labor and leader Bill Shorten have a broader pitch covering jobs, health and education, climate change, cost of living pressures and fairness for lower and middle-income earners.

• Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants to make it about climate change. One Nation leader Pauline Hanson says a vote for her team will hold the major parties to account. And Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party said very little yesterday.

Excited? Here are some dates for your diary. And, of course, sign up for our 'pop-up' email, Squiz The Election. It will be your shortcut to all the ups and downs of Election ’19, and the first edition will be out on Sunday at 5.30pm (AEST).


Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush was awarded $850,000 damages in his defamation case against Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper over two articles it published in 2017 alleging he’d behaved inappropriately towards co-star Erin-Jean Norvill during a Sydney Theatre Company stage production of King Lear. The Tele articles were "recklessly irresponsible pieces of sensationalist journalism of the very worst kind," according to Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney. Rush’s damages bill will be upped once an assessment is made of his lost income and costs. "There are no winners in this case. It's been extremely distressing for everyone involved," Rush said.


The European Union is havin' a laff, isn’t it? After five hours of talks, EU leaders have granted the UK a six-month extension to Brexit - it'll now be 31 October. Which of course is Halloween. Trick or treat? UK PM Theresa May will be hoping it's the latter given today was the (already extended) Brexit deadline, and there is no solution in sight to getting UK pollies onboard. "Please do not waste this time," said European Council president Donald Tusk. Political watchers pondered whether May will hang on for the next phase of Brexit wrangling. Status update: still a mess…


Rugby Australia is set to sack Israel Folau, considered by many to be the Wallabies’ best player, over another “unacceptable” Instagram post. The post warns people guilty of the sort of sins your email filter will not like “will end up in Hell unless you repent." A devout Christian, Folau had posted similar sentiments before and avoided sanction from rugby's governing body. But under pressure from sponsors like Qantas, Rugby Australia yesterday condemned the comments. Former captain Sterling Mortlock said administrators had been painted into a corner. “But you’d love to get to the bottom as to why? Why has he done it?” he asked. Why indeed…


Key point: remember to turn on your telly at 3.05pm tomorrow to watch the racehorse many consider to be the greatest ever run her last race. Sure, there’s been some other great gee-gees go round the track. But what makes her so special? She’s the highest earning Aussie horse with more than $24 million to her name. And she hasn't lost a race since April 2015 winning a record 32 races on the trot (or rather, gallop). But legendary race caller Johnny Tapp says Winx is unique because of her winning attitude. "She turns up, switches on, focuses and refuses to be beaten,” he said. She’s anxious to go, so fingers crossed for a fairytale ending tomorrow.


There’s a lot that’s been said recently about the quality of debate, whether that’s in our politics or in everyday life. This guide on ‘how to deal with a jerk without being a jerk’ will help you be the better person. Which you are already, of course…

UK PM Theresa May’s been a prominent international political figure this year, and she can now claim to being a fashion influencer. Big necklaces: Vogue says they’re back.

This weekend we’re whizzing up a batch of a favourite broccoli soup (which we contend is not technically ‘food’...) to freeze and have on hand over the coming weeks. It’s going to be busy at Squiz HQ…


11.30am (AEST) - Release of the Reserve Bank’s Financial Stability Review. It provides the RBA’s assessment of the current condition of the financial system and potential risks Australia’s to financial stability

World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting - Washington DC

International Day of Human Space Flight

Magda Szubanski’s birthday (1961)

3.05pm (AEST) - Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick, Sydney - Supermare Winx’s last race

Songkran – Thai New Year (on until 15 April)

Judy Nunn’s birthday (1945)

100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre - a turning point in India’s push for independence from the British

Palm Sunday - It’s the final Sunday before Easter Sunday, marking the beginning of the Christian Holy Week

Julia Zemiro’s birthday (1967)

20th anniversary of a severe hailstorm over Sydney causing $2.3 billion in damages. At the time it was the most costly natural disaster in Australian history

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