Squiz Today / 22 March 2019

Squiz Today – Friday, 22 March


"As far as I know she's the oldest person he's arrested... She was smiling. She had a lovely time."

Anne Brokenbrow, a 104yo nursing home resident from Bristol, was yesterday handcuffed and taken to the police station, sirens blazing. She hadn’t done anything naughty - being arrested was a bucket list wish because, she said, “I have never been on the wrong side of the law." Next on the list - a stint in the clink?


Our biggest state goes to the polls tomorrow with 5.2 million voters lining up to determine what’s billed as a tight race between incumbent Gladys Berejiklian’s Coalition, and the Michael Daley-led Labor Party. And there’s an added layer of interest… No matter what the pollies say, it’s hard not to look at it as an entrée to the upcoming federal election main course.


• The Coalition goes into the election with a six-seat majority in the Legislative Assembly - that is, it holds 52 (Liberals 36, Nationals 16) of the 93 seats. Labor has 34 seats; the Greens have three; there are three Independents; and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party has one seat.

• Two key numbers to keep in mind while you’re glued to the coverage - to form a majority government requires 47 seats. And for the Coalition to lose its majority, there needs to be a uniform swing of 3.2% against it.

• The Coalition won 54 seats at the last election in 2015 but were defeated in two country byelections. Labor didn't take those seats - they went to crossbench MPs.

• It’s the fourth consecutive NSW election featuring a different premier. Berejiklian, the state's second female premier, is hoping to become the first to be elected by the state.

• If the Coalition wins and serves a third four-year term, it will become the longest stretch of ‘conservative' government the state has ever seen.

If you've got a fence, the polls would like to sit on it, please. It's been stuck at 50:50 for a while. And NSW's optional preferential voting system makes it hard to predict when it’s this close. But a general take is:

• The Coalition has a lot of infrastructure projects going on that have been dogged by delays and cost blowouts. And while new rail and roads might be great in the future, it’s not benefiting voters currently.

• Labor dumped leader Luke Foley in November replacing him with the relatively unknown Michael Daley. Until this week, he’s had a good campaign focusing on the negatives of Berejikllian’s plan to rebuild Sydney’s Moore Park stadium precinct. But comments about ‘Asian workers taking our kids’ jobs’ and a stumble at the Sky News Peoples’ Forum over education funding took the wind out of his sails.

• But with a lot of the key seats in regional areas, the final result could come down to some very local, non-Sydney issues.

We’ll be watching this space with a glass of Philip Shaw Sav Blanc from Orange while workshopping our federal election cocktail menu…



ARDERN ANNOUNCES GUNS BAN DEETS - As promised, Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern has banned semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles and high capacity bullet magazines. The law will come into effect on 11 April, and while the legislation is being pulled together, an immediate restriction on the purchase of these weapons will be enforced.

TURKISH PREZ “TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT” - An all-out diplomatic row between Australia and Turkey may have been diffused with the office of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying he was taken out of context. New Zealand has not been mollified by the explanation with Ardern demanding an account from Erdogan himself.

WHEN SCOTT MET WALEED - Ten’s The Project hosted a tense conversation last night, ostensibly to discuss a matter that’s been kicking around all week. In an on-air editorial last Saturday, broadcaster Waleed Aly referenced reports that Morrison had advocated for the stoking of 'community concerns about Muslims' to gain votes. Not true, said the PM. "I was acknowledging that there were these fears in the community and that we had to address them, not exploit them," Morrison said. You can view the interview here.


More details are emerging of the last moments of the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 flight that crashed in Indonesia last year. Leaked reports say the voice recordings from the cockpit revealed the pilots were frantically checking the flight manual to try to find out why the plane kept nosediving. They were calm throughout, with the Indian-born captain silent and the Indonesian first officer praying just before the plane hit the sea. Meanwhile, subpoenas have been issued in the US as part of its investigation into Boeing’s Federal Aviation Administration certification of the planes.


A record-breaking evacuation of thousands of Northern Territorians is underway in anticipation of Cyclone Trevor making landfall tomorrow. Cyclone Trevor is a big’un at category four with winds of 260 km/hour, heavy rainfall and a dangerous storm tide expected as it crosses the coast. As Trevor hit the Queensland side of the Gulf of Carpentaria, one fisherman said his group were “up to our crotch in crocodiles”, adding “I've been at sea 45 years and, mate, I was crapping myself, I tell you." Yikes… The dangerous cyclone season follows a non-existent wet season in some parts. And further west, category four Cyclone Veronica is on track to hit the Pilbara coast in the coming days.


In some good economic news, unemployment fell to an eight-year low in February with the official figures recording a dip to 4.9%, down from 5%. There is a catch, however. Full-time employment dropped by 7,300 jobs while there was an 11,900 increase in part-time workers. As a result, total hours worked in the economy rose by 3.1 million hours to 1.77 billion hours. And we feel like we’ve done half of those…


For the second year in a row, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world. Great food, the Northern Lights and Santa Claus cast out all thoughts of long, dark winters, according to the United Nations. The report ranks countries on six key measures of wellbeing, and while Finland pays high taxes, the report says they trust their government, live in freedom and are generous with each other. Other nations in the top 10 - Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria. Australia dropped out of the top 10, coming in at 11th.


Given the weight of the week, this special episode of Friday Lites is 100% smile guaranteed.

First up, some clean BuzzFeed fun. Our favourite is the alpaca…

These two sure have all the moves...

And finally, we think this six-second beauty perfectly sums up our collective mood.


11.32am (AEDT) - New Zealand to observe two minutes silence for the victims of the Christchurch terror attack during a day of mourning and reflection

10.00pm (AEDT) - Cricket One Day International - Australia v Pakistan - UAE

World Water Day

National Ride2School Day

Reese Witherspoon’s birthday (1976)

3.05pm (AEDT) - Winx is running in the George Ryder Stakes - Sydney

Pakistan’s National Day

World Meteorological Day

Anniversary of the death of Elizabeth Taylor (2011)

10.00pm (AEDT) - Cricket One Day International - Australia v Pakistan - UAE

Election in Thailand

International Day for the Right to the Truth

World Tuberculosis Day

30th anniversary of one of America’s worst oil spills with supertanker Exxon Valdez running aground on a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound (1989)

You have one job to do this weekend and that's to make sure you've read the email from every day this week. Do that and you’ll go into the draw for a pack of books from Allen and Unwin. Easy peasy.

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