Squiz Today / 22 February 2019

Squiz Today – Friday, 22 February


“Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence.”

Said Empire star Jussie Smollett’s lawyers after he was charged by Chicago Police with falsely reporting a nasty attack by two masked men in January. Problem is the men were his friends... Police say Smollett believed he should be paid more, so "took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career". Sounds like a plot from an epic TV drama. Oh wait…


Ending months of speculation, Western Australian MP Julie Bishop yesterday confirmed she will not contest the next election. Bishop said the timing was fine as she was confident of a Coalition win in this year’s election. “I will leave this place positive about the future, proud of the service that I have been able to give to my electorate of Curtin, my beloved Liberal Party, the state of Western Australia, and my country,” she said. PM Scott Morrison said; “her successor will have big shoes to fill, and we know that Julie has the best shoes.”

Her decision didn’t come as a surprise to many political-watchers after she failed to convert her popularity with the electorate into support from her colleagues in last August’s leadership spill. She received just 11 votes and was knocked out in the vote’s first round. Critics say she is sniffing the political breeze and, with the polls consistently pointing to a Labor win, she’s decided to bail rather than be stuck on the opposition benches. Others say after more than 20 years of travel as a Perth-based MP to Canberra and around the world as Foreign Minister, she’s entitled to call it a day. Her departure does nothing to counter Morrison’s contention that his party doesn’t have a ‘woman problem’, an issue Bishop has recently started talking about.

A lot.

• Yes, there’s the jewelsshoesfitness regime, groundbreaking use of emojis and fancy friends.

• But on the serious side, she was Australia’s first female foreign minister. Labor leader Bill Shorten yesterday noted her deft handling of the MH17 disaster that killed 38 Australians when a Malaysian Airlines flight was downed over Ukraine.

• And she was also the first female deputy of the parliamentary Liberal Party. She held that position from the end of 2007 until August last year working alongside Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, and then Malcolm Turnbull again.

What’s next for her? Dunno. But Ambassador Bishop has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? Her famous diplomatic skillz could come in handy if we're going to be dealing with things like China’s ban on Aussie coal coming through its Dalian port on an ongoing basis...



A former Helloworld executive has provided info to the Senate committee currently asking questions about the company’s links to former Treasurer/current US Ambassador Joe Hockey. Russell Carstensen said Helloworld boss Andrew Burnes set up a meeting with embassy staff through Hockey to discuss their travel requirements ahead of bidding for a contract. Burnes was able to do that because, Carstensen recalled, “Hockey owes me”. Remember, Hockey is a major shareholder in Helloworld… Both Helloworld and PM Morrison say Hockey had no involvement in making the meeting happen, and the men had no discussions afterwards about any commercial arrangement.


It took authorities more than five hours to get a fast-moving fire under control in a residential area of Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka. Reports say it has killed at least 78 people. It’s thought that the fire started close to midnight yesterday in the bottom of one of the buildings that was storing chemicals, a dangerous situation not uncommon in that part of the city. Several members of a bridal party are said to be among the victims.


On the plus side, Russian President Vladimir Putin made the entirety of his annual state of the nation speech yesterday with his shirt on. The not so good bit: he dedicated a large portion of it to issue a bunch of not-so-veiled threats against the US, reminding his compatriots of the size of Russia's impressive collection of missiles. Analysts interpreted Putin's speech as a reaction to US President Donald Trump's recent decision to pull his country out of a long-standing nuclear weapons treaty with Russia. Observers suggest the speech was as much about Putin shoring up flagging popularity on the home front as it was about showing off the size of his arsenal. Behave...


If those sleepless nights you’ve spent bingeing box sets wasn’t proof enough, the announcement yesterday of Nine’s half-year earnings results confirmed the age of streaming is well and truly here. According to the newly-enlarged company's CEO Hugh Marks, the 1.5 million Aussies signed up to the Nine-owned streaming service Stan watched 1 million hours of telly every single day. Gulp... Which must surely mean we’re a nation of insomniacs (because we're not lazing about at home through the day if yesterday’s strong jobs numbers are anything to go by). Investors (or at least those of them not glued to Bloom) liked what they heard yesterday with the company’s stock finishing the day 7.2% higher.


That’s our (reasonably unsuccessful) attempt at a cyclonic twist on avagoodweekend… Tropical cyclone Oma continued to gather pace and hover threateningly off the Queensland coast yesterday. Winds in excess of 90km/hour and more than 50mm of rainfall have been forecast for a swathe of the coastline stretching from Bundaberg to Ballina. While meteorologists suggest Oma may not make landfall, beaches have closed along the coast as seas surge. Did you know 1954 was the last time the Gold Coast was smashed by a cyclone? The Great Gold Coast cyclone devastated the region and left up to 30 people dead.


National Geographic, the publication that has covered science, geography and world culture since 1888, hit 100 million Instagram followers this week. That puts them into Kardashian/Jenner territory… To mark the occasion they’ve pulled together a gallery of some of their most liked pics.

Two notable Squizers had their fabulously renovated homes profiled this week - behold design guru Neale Whitaker’s NSW South Coast home and media-allrounder Deborah Hutton’s seaside Sydney pad. So nice. (Note: if you want to know a bit more about them, Neale’s Three Minute Squiz is here, and Deborah’s is here.)

We’ve ordered Wall Street Journal Pulitzer Prize-award winning author John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood after so many recommendations from well-read friends. It’s about young Silicon Valley CEO Elizabeth Holmes and the rise and spectacular fall of her blood-testing company Theranos. In the meantime, this Vanity Fair profile will have to do…


9.30am (AEDT) - Philip Lowe, Reserve Bank Governor, to appear before the House of Representatives' Standing Committee on Economics - Sydney

10.20am (WA time) - Women’s One Day Cricket - Australia v New Zealand - Perth

ABS Data Release - Energy Account, 2016-17

Company Earnings Announcements - Ardent Leisure; Mayne Pharma Group; Village Roadshow

Anniversary of Steve Irwin’s birthday (1962) - Goggle’s even doodled about it

Anniversary of the death of Dame Nellie Melba (1931)

10.20am (Adelaide time) - Women’s One Day Cricket - Australia v New Zealand - Adelaide

Lleyton Hewitt’s birthday (1981)

Anniversary of engagement of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer

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