Squiz Today / 19 October 2018

Squiz Today – Friday 19 October


“Big Bird helped me find my purpose.”

After 49 years playing the anthropomorphic, oversized canary, Carroll Spinney is leaving his nest on Sesame Street. His replacement, Matt Vogel, was destined for the role – his surname means ‘bird’ in German. Matt, sadly, does not mean ‘big’ in German.


In a year that’s had more by-elections than any other since our parliament became a thing in 1901, this weekend the good burghers of Wentworth in Sydney's eastern suburbs will line up to vote in one of the most hotly contested so far. A federation seat, Wentworth has never been held by Labor and has been held by the Liberals almost continuously since their formation in 1944. But that could change on Saturday.

It’s not that bad. If you like big personalities, this is the by-election for you. Think of it as a political drama set on Bondi Beach – but one where mercifully everyone keeps their clothes on. Here’s the plot:

• A popular local politician, who also happens to be the Prime Minister, (Malcolm Turnbull) is cut down by his colleagues. A millionaire, he retreats to his home in New York while his son (Alex Turnbull), an investment manager based in Singapore, lashes out.

• Enter a field of candidates harbouring ambitions of greatness. The reigning party (the Libs) settle on the son of an Indian migrant/diplomat (Dave Sharma) instead of a female candidate that some thought they needed.

• The other major party (Labor) pick the president of a local surf lifesaving club (Tim Murray) to run. While the locals haven’t voted his party’s way much in the past, he could be influential to the outcome.

• And then we have the independent candidate (Kerryn Phelps) who has a high profile and is threatening to upset the order of things.

• Cue a frantic campaign packed with policy surprises, personal smears, and the government's one-seat majority in the parliament at stake. Add to that an electorate that is still waiting for a clear answer as to why the bloke they voted in last time is no longer there… and you’ve got yourself a gripping Saturday night’s entertainment.

Dunno. There are 16 candidates so there are lots of unpredictable ways the preferences can flow. What we do know is Turnbull won Wentworth with a primary vote of 62% at the last election. Sharma’s primary vote is polling at almost half of that on 33% (although take that with a grain of salt…). On those numbers, it means there's close to 30% of the electorate that said they voted for the Libs last time but won't put them first this time. It also means the result is likely to be tight with the potential for an upset. As you know, we like to select a drink to serve with our elections, and it’s time for a Pimms. Because we reckon Wentworth, which takes in some of Sydney’s most affluent areas, would approve.


She said she was considering it and yesterday confirmed it. Michelle Guthrie, the former boss of the ABC, has launched legal action in the Fair Work Commission following her recent dumping halfway through her five-year contract. The essence of her claim: that the board of the public broadcaster had no reason to terminate her employment. Legal eagles pointed out that former chairman Justin Milne has previously said that Guthrie was asked to change her leadership and management style.

The eyes of the world remain on US President Donald Trump and his handling of the disappearance of Saudi-citizen/US-based writer Jamal Khashoggi. Suspicion hangs over the Saudi government for allegedly orchestrating his death, although no evidence has yet been tendered. Trump, who is in a difficult spot because of America’s ties to Saudi Arabia, yesterday said he wants US authorities to have access to an audio recording of Khashoggi, although there is still conjecture over its existence. Meanwhile, the Washington Post published the last piece Khashoggi wrote. “This column perfectly captures his commitment to and passion for freedom in the Arab world,” it said.

It’s called an illumination satellite, and its purpose would be to light a 10-80km diameter area of the Chinese city of Chengdu saving hundreds of millions of dollars on street lighting. That's what they're hoping to do in a couple of years. The concept has been talked about for some time with applications like illuminating disaster zones at night mooted as one way to use the technology. As Queenslanders say about daylight saving, it'll probably fade the curtains...

Our unemployment rate hit a seven-year low last month getting down to 5% from August’s 5.3%. The Reserve Bank considered 5% unemployment to be ‘full employment’ and we’ve reached it a couple of years earlier than anticipated. Long story short, the result is thanks to the number of people in full-time work increasing; the number of those in part-time work decreasing; and the number of people seeking employment declining more sharply than expected.

MORE HARRY HUGS – The man is a machine

RED SYMONS FAREWELLS SON – Samuel Symons was diagnosed with cancer at 4yo, and he and his family set about defying the odds. Sadly, Samuel died a couple for weeks ago at 27yo. Symons gave a tribute to his boy on Melbourne’s 3AW yesterday.

DOG TALK – Your pup just wants to please you. And they can understand you. Kinda…

Architecturally designed pet homes – a sign of an evolving and sophisticated society, or the end of days? You decide…

Actor Bradley Cooper’s labour of love, A Star is Born, was released in Oz yesterday. Shallow, the first track to be released, was penned by Lady Gaga, super producer Mark Ronson, and a couple of others, and it's already tipped to score them an Oscar. We’ve watched it about 500 times – there’s something mesmerising about the made-under Gaga and Cooper singing together. And who doesn't love a power ballad?

Banana bread hit the headlines this week. This weekend we’re going to give this favourite recipe a Meghan-style twist and add 1tsp of ground ginger and a cup of dark choc chips to see if it's all that.



Harry and Meghan take Bondi and the Harbour Bridge

Start of Children's Week (on until 28 October)

Anniversary of the 1987 Wall Street stock market crash


Wentworth By-election

Start of the Invictus Games (on until 27 October) - Sydney

Afghanistan Election

World Osteoporosis Day

World Statistics Day

Anniversary of the opening of the Sydney Opera House by Queen Elizabeth II (1973)


International Day of the Nacho

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