Squiz Today / 03 February 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 3 February

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Squiz Today Podcast

Good prep for some 5-star news chat. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

22 / 31
12 / 17
24 / 36
13 / 18
18 / 36
9 / 18
25 / 32
9 / 17

Squiz Sayings

“I find it really touching…”

Said researcher Tessi Löffelmann of new evidence to support the theory that Vikings sailing from Scandinavia to England in the 9th Century brought horses and dogs with them as companion animals. Who knew the raiders often likened to pirates had a sweet side… 

Searching for a healthy approach

As National Cabinet comes together for the first time in 2023, managing our health system is top of the agenda covering prescription powers for pharmacists, Medicare rebates, and hospital funding. To help progress things, the Productivity Commission yesterday released a report which found Aussies are delaying or avoiding healthcare because of the cost as GPs increasingly ditch bulk-billing (aka charging consultations at the same price as the Federal Government’s Medicare rebate, making it ‘free’ for the patient). In response, the Albanese Government set up the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce last July, promising the “biggest revamp” to Medicare in history and an extra $750 million in funding. PM Anthony Albanese and his state/territory colleagues will tackle the task force’s report and recommendations today.

So the deal is that the Feds have full responsibility for Medicare (aka the rebates GPs and others get), and the states/territories run/mainly fund the public hospital system. During COVID, the Feds delivered more hospital funding via a 50:50 funding model that ended on 1 January. NSW and Victoria want that arrangement back, saying the current rate of 55% funding for hospitals is too much to bear – particularly given the pressure hospitals are under given the fall in bulk-billing to see a GP. And then there are the professionals to wrangle… The doctors want Medicare rebates to rise. Pharmacists have put their hands up to do more, irritating doctors. Allied health professionals like physiotherapists want Medicare rebates for seeing patients without a referral – again, annoying doctors. And nurses reckon they can do more without supervision, especially in rural areas. We’re generalising, but as you can see, there are a few issues to iron out…

Look at you using the lingo… There is – the crime crisis in Alice Springs will be discussed after the report by Dorrelle Anderson was digested by NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles and Albanese yesterday. Fyles said she wouldn’t discuss the NT Government’s response until after the report is made public – Albanese says that will happen after “cabinet consideration confirming next steps”. Still, parts of the report were revealed yesterday, like recommendations for urgent legislation for alcohol restrictions and increased financial support for frontline services. Fyles said she wants “sustainable” changes and not “Band-Aid solutions”, while Albanese promised action. “We are not giving up on Alice Springs,” he said.

AusPol Australian News Health

Squiz the Rest

Crime time shut down

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) yesterday said it had carried out its “largest restraint of assets” ever when it raided a Chinese-Australian crime ring in Sydney this week. The group allegedly ran a massive money laundering scheme, operating as an “underground bank” by allowing organised crime gangs to shift proceeds between accounts and bypass international financial systems. And when we say massive, reports say it’s moved an estimated $10 billion offshore, with the AFP claiming the group used the profits to “live large”, including high-end watches that “cost more than what an individual would earn in a lifetime,” said Assistant Commissioner Kirsty Schofield. Nine people were arrested, and $150 million of assets were seized on Wednesday, and the AFP says the investigation’s still ongoing, with more assets set to be taken.

Australian News Crime

Russia on the rise in Ukraine

Ukrainian officials believe Russia is planning a new offensive that could begin on 24 February, marking the first anniversary of the invasion. Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov says there’s intel on Russia’s preparation of 500,000 troops “for something” following President Vladimir Putin’s push to conscript 300,000 in September. President Volodymyr Zelensky reckons the offensive may already be underway, with Russia gaining momentum on the battlefield in parts of eastern Ukraine. The warning comes after at least 3 people were killed in a missile strike on a residential building in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region, and the casualties are set to rise as they search through the rubble. After the attack, Zelensky said, “the only way to stop Russian terrorism is to defeat it”, reiterating calls for fighter jets from Western allies to bolster Ukraine’s air defence.

World News

Facebook is not done yet…

As the tech giants continue to announce massive layoffs, Meta has surprised analysts with its better-than-expected quarterly earnings report. The world’s biggest social media company encompassing Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp had revenue at US$32.5 billion in the October-December quarter, marking a 4% drop year-on-year – but that’s above forecasts, thanks to a bump in ad revenue from its Reels video feature, and new AI-powered recommended content algorithm. And it reported a 5% growth in daily users across its apps, including Facebook, which hit 2 billion daily users for the first time as newbies signed up and infrequent users logged back on. The platform reported 2.96 billion monthly active users by the year’s end – more than a quarter of the world’s population. But tricky times are still ahead, the company says, and there was barely a whisper from boss Mark Zuckerberg about his metaverse…

Business & Finance Technology

The price of a portrait

The Reserve Bank’s been in the news a lot recently thanks to recent interest rate rises, and while officials have a lot on their plates, they’ve risked offending our new sovereign… A portrait of King Charles III will not replace that of his mother on the redesigned Aussie $5 note. The RBA says the note will feature a yet-to-be-decided design that “honours the culture and history of the First Australians”. It’s been welcomed by prominent Indigenous Australians, but Coalition leader Peter Dutton called it an “attack on our systems, our society and institutions”. Treasurer Jim Chalmers noted, “the monarch will continue to be on our coins”. We’re not likely to see the new design in circulation for several years, though, and the Queen’s portrait will remain on the current banknote. We’ve taken about $20 out at the ATM in the last 3 years, so who knows how widely cash will be used by the time the new note lands. 

Australian News

Dejá vu for music fans

Superstar Beyoncé has announced her first world tour in nearly 7 years off the back of her chart-topping 7th album Renaissance – and a week after a very profitable performance in Dubai. Don’t get too excited if you’re a Queen Bey fan – in a move that’s all too familiar for us Southern Hemisphere dwellers, the ‘world’ tour – set to kick off in May – only includes dates in North America and Europe. Oz isn’t part of the world, according to tour organisers, but there are some unconfirmed buzzes in the Beyhive indicating there’s a chance more tour dates could be announced later in the year. It kicks off a big week for Beyoncé, who’s on track to break the record for the most Grammys won by any artist in Monday morning’s ceremony. Too bad she missed out on a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame nomination… Note: we’re Team George Michael all the way…


Friday Lites – Three things we like this week

We talked about Chrissy Teigen’s chiselled cheeks easier this week, but it’s her eyes that might have needed some bolstering after this video had her stumped – and us, truth be told…

Emily Blunt’s cinematic TV series The English is well-deserving of the hype… It’s not often women/First Nations people are the protagonists in a Western, and we haven’t stopped thinking about its never-ending sunsets since binging all 6 episodes in a single weekend…

Spoon salads – they’re a thing. To help you grapple with the technical details, they’re salads you eat with a spoon… This one was an excellent accompaniment to a grilled pork chop for dinner, and we doubled down the next day for lunch on its own. Top tip: we added some quinoa for the lunch option. Oh, and cilantro = coriander. Bon ap.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

The first National Cabinet meeting of 2023

ABS Data Release – Lending Indicators, December

Golden Retriever Day

Doggy Date Night

Birthdays for Isla Fisher (1976), Amal Clooney (1978), and Elizabeth Holmes (1984)

Anniversary of:

  • the establishment of the world’s first commercial cheese factory in Switzerland (1815)
  • New Zealand’s worst natural disaster, the Hawke’s Bay earthquake, which killed 256 people (1931)
  • The day the music died. Rock n’ roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson were killed in a plane crash in Iowa (1959)
  • YMCA by Village People peaking at #2 on pop singles chart
Squiz the Day

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