Squiz Today / 03 April 2020

Squiz Today – Friday, 3 April


“People provide a great real-life stimulation for the animals.”

Nathan Hawke from the Orana wildlife park near Christchurch in New Zealand says the keepers are having to work overtime to keep the bored animals entertained with the crowds not allowed in. If the animals had pop music there'd be a recent hit called Dance People...


Another day, another big stopgap to keep our communities and vital services working in this coronavirus-hit world... From Monday next week, formal child care will be available free of cost to parents and carers. By ‘child care’, we’re talking about services that currently attract a subsidy from the government (aka approved long, family, outside school hours care, vacation and occasional care). And why? So parents can continue to work, said PM Scott Morrison yesterday while announcing the extraordinary $1.6 billion, three-month measure. But it’s also a bid to save the sector from collapse.

Completely free. How it will work is: 

• The government will pay our 13,000 child care and early learning centres a subsidy to cover their operating costs based on the number of kids who attended the service at the end of February. The other half is made up of access to the new JobKeeper payment, which will help services cover workers’ wages. 

• That’s great for most child care operators, except the biggest in the sector - Goodstart Early Learning. Its revenue is more than $1 billion, which means it has to demonstrate a 50% downturn in business to qualify for the JobKeeper payment, which it can’t. So it’s still talking to the government. 

• As for who’s eligible for free child care: everyone. But priority would be given to those already enrolled, working parents, and vulnerable kids in particular need of early education. 

The child care sector has been smashed since the coronavirus started to strangle our economy a few weeks ago. Parents and carers have taken their kids out of child care because they have lost their jobs, they’re working from home, or they’re worried about their kids catching the virus. Operators say plummeting attendance rates meant they were facing an existential threat, and many centres have already closed. But Morrison has talked a lot about ensuring we have the structures in place so the economy can recover once the virus has passed. And having a functioning child care system is crucial to that. 



• Two more deaths were recorded yesterday taking our national death toll to 24. Both were passengers on the Ruby Princess cruise ship. It’s also emerged that a woman in her 60s who died at The Alfred hospital was one of several patients and staff from a cancer ward who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The number of cases nationwide is at 5,136. 

Western Oz will close its border on Sunday night turning it into “an island within an island,” Premier Mark McGowan said yesterday over concerns for those who live in the Kimberley. He encouraged all sandgropers to get home before the deadline because they will not be permitted afterwards.

• NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller put a timeline of sorts on the current restrictions that ban gatherings of more than two people, apart from your house group, and all non-essential activities - and that’s 90 days. That’s when we’ll be talking about “coming out of this," he says. Get countin’...

• Looking internationally, the World Health Organisation yesterday lamented the global spread of the virus as the number of cases heads towards a million. In the US, 6.6 million people registered new unemployment claims in March - a record 3,000% increase. And deaths have tipped over the 10,000 mark in Spain

• The total number of cases globally is more than 980,000, and there have been 50,000 deaths. Almost 200,000 people have recovered.


The High Court of Australia will hand down its decision on Cardinal George Pell’s final appeal against his child sexual abuse conviction next Tuesday, it said yesterday. Pell was sentenced last year to a maximum of six years’ jail after he was found guilty of molesting two choirboys in 1996. He maintains his innocence. The announcement comes as two new accusers have come forward on ABC TV’s Revelation alleging that Pell sexually abused them in the 1970s. Both men were contacted by Victoria Police in 2016 during their investigation into Pell, and they refused to take their accusations further at the time.


Video conferencing app Zoom was launched in 2011, and is now valued at US$35 billion (AU$57 billion), with its share price nearly doubling in the last two months alone. At the end of December, it was hosting a maximum of 10 million daily meetings - currently, it's hosting 200 million. Despite its massive recent success, the company is now facing accusations of flaws in its data security and privacy settings. Users, security researchers and US authorities are worried about the app’s lack of end-to-end encryption which allows the company to view users’ sessions. And the FBI is worried about ‘zoombombing’ - the phenomenon where randoms can enter your meeting uninvited. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Uber are among those who have banned the use of the app in light of these issues. Zoom apologised and said it’s looking into it.


Parts of Australia’s east have seen the wettest start to the year in nearly a decade with machinery sales increasing as farmers celebrate the rain. While a national view of the wet stuff shows average rainfalls so far this year, NSW and Victoria are following the ‘coronavirus work-from-home diet’ (aka they’re coming in heavier than average). In fact, some parts of NSW have seen more rain in March than they have in 20 years. That’s boosted farmers’ confidence, even though officials warn the drought is far from over.


Many Aussies (except those in Queensland, WA and the NT) will enjoy an extra hour of shut-eye this Sunday morning as daylight saving ends after kicking off in October last year. While opinions over the benefits of observing Daylight Saving Time vary widely, one international sleep expert is advocating for the delay of a return to regular time during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to minimise further disruptions to people’s schedules. We’ll take the extra hour of sleep, thanks…

We don’t get to plug our Squiz Shortcut on daylight saving much. Actually this is just the second time. Maybe use part of your extra hour on Sunday for a listen? Yep, we’re here to help…


Our approach to language is straightforward. There’s not a lot of flourishes. But that doesn’t mean we don’t wonder at the beauty of words, and this Twitter thread is right down our alley. 

You couldn’t dial up the interwebs this week without running into something about the new Netflix series Tiger King. So we watched an episode and it was… weird. And awful. But so are the times, so we’re going back for more. The best description we saw was that it’s “a bit like unscrewing the top of your skull and pouring tequila directly on to your brain.” 

If you’re working from home and struggling with the new lunchtime routine, this Nigella Lawson pea soup is a push in the right direction. And with the kitchen right there all the time (hello fridge, again…), it’s something you can make quickly and easily and feel good about. Note: don’t worry about the fuss with the Thermos because let’s face it, you’re not going anywhere… Just put the water in a pot and go for it.


ABS Data Release - Retail Trade, February

World Party Day

Birthdays for Jane Goodall (1934), Alec Baldwin (1958), Eddie Murphy (1961), Nigel Farage (1964), Ben Mendelsohn (1969) and Israel Folau (1989)

Anniversaries of:
• the marriage of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (1920)
• Joseph Stalin's appointment to General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party by Vladimir Lenin (1922)
• the first mobile phone call made in NYC by a Motorola employee (1973)
• the publication of the Panama Papers (2016)
• the birthdays of Doris Day (1922) and Marlon Brando (1924)

From 12.10pm (AEDT) - Horse Racing - Day 1 of The Championships - Randwick, Sydney (this is a no spectators meet)

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's replacement to be announced

International Mine Awareness Day

Birthdays for Hugo Weaving (1960), Graham Norton (1963) and Robert Downey Jr (1965)

Anniversaries of:
• the signing of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) treaty in Washington DC (1949)
• the founding of Microsoft (1975)
• the founding of Alibaba (1999)
• the marriage of Beyonce and Jay-Z (2008)
• Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos' record-breaking $35 billion divorce settlement (2019)
• the birthdays of Maya Angelou (1928) Anthony Perkins (1932) and Heath Ledger (1979) and Grumpy Cat (2012)

3.00am - Daylight saving time ends in NSW, ACT, SA, Victoria, Tasmania (clocks go back an hour)

Birthdays for ABBA’s Agnetha Fältskog (1950) and Pharrell Williams (1973)

Anniversaries of:
• the marriage of American Indian princess Pocahontas and English colonist John Rolfe (1614)
• the premiere of Steve Irwin's The Crocodile Hunter (1997)
• the deaths of Kurt Cobain (1994), Allan Ginsberg (1997) and Charlton Heston (2008)

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