Squiz Today / 18 September 2020

Squiz Today – Friday, 18 September


“It’s probably the fastest selling flight in Qantas history.”

Said the airline’s spokeswoman of their flight to... nowhere. With tickets starting at $787 going up to $3,787, the 7-hour trip will take travellers over Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Byron Bay and back to Sydney. At least they get to leave the airport...


Some interesting news from the Bureau of Statistics yesterday - our unemployment rate fell from 7.5% in July to 6.8% in August. That was a result of 111,000 jobs being created last month. And it's despite Victoria's coronavirus lockdown - a situation that's impacted heavily on many people’s jobs.

That’s pretty much what Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said yesterday… And the devil’s in the detail. "The effective unemployment rate, which takes into account not just those who are unemployed officially, but those who have left the labour force or seen their hours reduced to zero, has fallen from 9.8% to 9.3%," he said. Other things have analysts worried: the type of jobs that have been created (ie there's a big increase in food delivery riders); and people who have quit looking for a job or are working far fewer hours than they want/need. That 'underemployment rate' is stuck at 11.2% - up from almost 9% before the COVID crisis. And a couple of facts for you: Victoria was the only state not to improve in August (for obvious reasons) - but it doesn’t have Australia’s highest unemployment rate. That distinction belongs to South Oz.

Some analysts say it means we’re unlikely to see unemployment hit the eye-watering rate of 10% that was predicted by the Reserve Bank and the Treasury. And as Frydenberg prepares to deliver the delayed Federal Budget on 6 October, he said they would fire up the Treasury models, plug-in the new numbers, “and we'll work that through." Labor’s employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor welcomed the result but worried it “would convince the government not to do enough to help our economy and to help the almost one million Australian workers still out of work”.



Another National Cabinet meeting, another discussion about the management of our nation's internal borders... The government's expert medical panel has drafted new definitions to help leaders and health officials make decisions about how to deal with residents of a ‘COVID-community transmission zone’ (aka a hotspot) versus a ‘COVID-controlled zone’ and a ‘COVID-free zone’. And the idea is these categories would be applied to smaller areas than an entire state or territory. PM Scott Morrison yesterday said he thinks it’s a “sensible” approach, but he’s "not expecting a lot of progress" today. And with the WA premier unhappy, and those of NSW and Queensland barely talking, he might be right… Also on the agenda: bringing more Aussies home from overseas requiring the states and territories to increase their hotel quarantine programs, and an additional $2 billion for coronavirus health measures.


The Northern Territory coroner has called for an overhaul to the way suicide and sexual assault is investigated in the Top End, as an inquest into the deaths of 3 teenage Indigenous girls in 2016 and 2017 wraps up today. Coroner Greg Cavanagh is looking into the unrelated deaths and assaults of 16yo Keturah Cheralyn Mamarika, 15yo Layla Leering and 17yo Fionica James - who lived in different remote communities – whose deaths were marked as suspected suicides after police were "unable to confidently determine the circumstances of their deaths". All were known to government agencies, and no charges have been laid over their deaths. The girls’ post-mortems revealed evidence of potential crimes being committed against them before they died. Cavanagh yesterday said that bungled police investigations meant he might be unable to provide the girls’ families the truth about what really happened to them.

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Lamine Diack, formerly one of the world’s most influential men in sport, has been sentenced to 4 years’ jail and fined more than $800,000 for corruption during his time as head of athletics’ governing body. The 87yo Senegalese led the International Association of Athletics Federations (now called World Athletics) from 1999 to 2015. And yesterday he was found guilty in a French court for allowing athletes suspected of doping to compete, including Russian athletes participating in the 2012 London Olympics, after soliciting $4.1 million from them. His son Papa Massata Diack, who worked as a consultant to his father, was also fined and given a 5-year jail sentence for participating in the dirty deeds. Diack Snr has denied any wrongdoing, and it’s unclear whether he will actually go to prison. He has been under house arrest in Paris since 2015. World Athletics said it was "disappointed this happened in our sport".


But the details about how this year’s football finals will go down are starting to stick. NSW yesterday announced new rules for Sydney that will mean as many as 40,000 spectators will gather with the major venues allowed to hit a maximum of 50% capacity from next month. Cue excited fans for the Sunday, 25 October NRL grand final… Meanwhile, the AFL's sunny premiership game will see 30,000 fans gather at Brisbane's Gabba on the evening of Saturday, 24 October for the league's first outside-Victoria day of days. Also settled - how ticketing will work… Club members from the grand finalists’ teams will get access to 54% of the tix. What they can’t use (because chances are most of their members will be in Melbourne…) will go on sale to the general public at 2019 prices. Sensing the pressure is about to be released for AFL players in the Sunshine State as the season winds down, they’ve been told to be on their best behaviour


ABC TV Mystery Road actor/Q&A splash-maker Meyne Wyatt is the Archibald Prize’s Packing Room pick for his self-portrait. It marks the first time in Archibald’s 99-year history that an Indigenous artist has won a gong. Wyatt said the work started out as a “COVID project”, but his mum Susan Wyatt - a 2003 finalist herself who taught her son how to paint - encouraged him to submit it. “You do what your mother tells you," Wyatt said yesterday. His work is one of 55 finalists in this year's portrait comp, and you can check some of them out here. The prize will be announced on Friday next week.


Apple iPhone users - changes are afoot, and when you update your system, you'll notice it. Here’s a guide to some choices you'll have. And for the privacy-conscious, this is an interesting feature to know about. Meanwhile, charge away.

Sorry for the swearing, but we haven’t been able to stop watching this. Two dogs in chairs watching the traffic go by - look, it’s funnier than it sounds…

We made this lemon curd and almond dessert cake last weekend, and it's a winner. If you have a NYT Cooking subscription, you’ll find it here. If you don’t, try it because you might get lucky. But if not, check it out here. Don’t be put off by the super thick cake batter - it works.


National Cabinet meeting

Last day of school for students in Queensland and Victoria

Chile’s national day

Birthdays for cyclist Lance Armstong (1971), actor Jada Pinkett-Smith (1971) and Brazilian footballer Ronaldo (1976)

Anniversary of:
• the release of the film A Streetcar Named Desire starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh (1951)
• the birthday of actress Greta Garbo (1905)
• Jimi Hendrix's death (1970)

Talk Like a Pirate Day supporting families affected by childhood cancer

Batman Day

Independence Day for Saint Kitts and Nevis

Birthdays for model Twiggy (1949) and talk show host Jimmy Fallon (1974)

Anniversary of:
• New Zealand becoming the first country to grant all women the right to vote (1893)
• Chubby Checker's The Twist hitting #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (1960)
• the first documented use of emoticons by computer scientist Scott Fahlman (1982) ;)
• the premiere of Goodfellas (1990)
• the death of Slim Dusty (2003)

Birthdays for actor Sophia Loren (1934) and Aussie muso Tim Rogers (1968)

Anniversary of:
• the Battle of the Sexes tennis showdown between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs (1973)
• US President George W. Bush declaring a "war on terror" following the September 11 terrorist attacks (2001)
• the release of Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe single (2011)
• Hurricane Maria that resulted in 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico (2017)
• students from 185 countries stage the world's largest-ever protest on climate change culminating in Manhattan rally led by Greta Thunberg (2019)

Early - Final stage of the Tour de France. C'mon Richie...

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