Squiz Today / 30 April 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 30 April


“The game has to change.”

Said New Zealand Rugby Chair Brent Impey. And so an offer by an American private equity firm of NZ $387 million for a 12.5% stake in the All Blacks - the venerated national men's team - is being considered. The channel you've landed on is 'nothing is sacred'...


Faster than you can say, "I still don't understand the Hare-Clark voting system", an election has rolled around in Tassie with the state's almost 400,000 electors preparing to vote tomorrow. Having faced the people in 2018 and won a 4-year term, the election is a year earlier than it needs to be, with Premier Peter Gutwein looking to capture some of the COVID-driven success other state premiers have had at the ballot box in the past year. Savour the moment because it's the last major election in Oz this year unless PM Scott Morrison also turns opportunist… sorry… decides to go early.

• Tassie’s lower house has 25 members - and under their voting system, 5 members are elected from each of the 5 divisions: Bass, Braddon, Clark, Franklin, and Lyons.

• In 2018, the Liberal party won 13 seats, giving them a one-seat majority. That was lost when Liberal Speaker/former Hobart Mayor Sue Hickey quit the party last month after being told she would not be re-endorsed by the party.

• The Liberals are led by tattooed/Taekwondo black belt Peter Gutwein (56yo), who became leader following Will Hodgman's shock retirement yearly last year. A win tomorrow would be the first time the Libs have taken out 3 elections in a row.

• Labor goes in with 9 seats and is looking to get to the magic number of 13. Leader Rebecca White has ruled out forming a government with the Greens, and climbing the hill to majority government is hard for any party. White is banking on voters looking past Gutwein’s handling of the pandemic and has been talking up policies on housing and health.

• The Greens hold 2 seats, and independents hold another 2. One thing the major parties can agree on are concerns that minor party and independent candidates block their chances of getting to 13 seats this time around.

There have been no big public polls published in this campaign, but the Liberals went in with a 52% approval rating to Labor's 27% and the Greens' 14%. And the Hare-Clark system makes it difficult to get ahead too far, so consensus is it's going to be a close one… Both the Liberals and Labor party leaders say they will not lead a minority government, which makes it a resolution to watch if it comes to that…



We don’t mean to alarm you, but that’s what ASIO’s Mike Burgess says he expects. Speaking yesterday to a Senate inquiry into extremism in Australia, he said while Sunni Islamic groups remain the main threat, the growth in right-wing extremism is cause for concern. And by growth, it's gone from 16 to 40% of the agency's domestic terror-related workload over the past 3 years. "Given the growth we've seen in nationalist and racist violent extremism, we anticipate there will be a terrorist attack in this country in the next 12 months," he said. The rise of right-wing fanatics is something Burgess flagged in February last year. Time to dust off our ‘be alert, not alarmed’ posture?


In the latest tit-for-tat, China’s Ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, has warned tourism could be the next industry to be hurt by deteriorating relations between the 2 nations. The Australia-China business community has been bracing for more retaliation after the Federal Government last week cancelled Victoria’s Belt and Road agreement with China. Addressing the Australia China Business Council on Thursday, Cheng said Australia had "poisoned the atmosphere", and Chinese students and tourists will question whether to travel to the country after the pandemic, claiming rising racial discrimination. It would be a major economic blow to Australia's Chinese tourism market, which reached a high of $12.4 billion in 2019 - 27% of total spending by foreign tourists. Beijing's retaliatory strikes have been hardest felt by Aussie wine producers who are reeling from a 96% drop in the value of their exports to China after it imposed tariffs late last year.


Universal preschool, free community college, expanded health care and tax breaks for families made up US President Joe Biden’s pitch to Americans in his first Congressional speech as top dog yesterday. Where will he get the money? Higher taxes on the wealthy would raise about $US1.5 trillion over a decade, the White House says. He also renewed calls for immigration changes, gun control, police reform and a push for the $US2 trillion infrastructure plan he unveiled in March. It's all about the pitch: "Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setback into strength." As for the address, in a historic first, Biden was flanked by two women, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi - something he made sure not to overlook. And it was on the lengthy side, clocking almost 65 minutes - the longest first address in recent memory.


We’ve already covered Liberal v Labor when it comes to a political showdown this weekend. Now to the other 2 blocks that dominate our lives: Coles v Woolworths… The numbers on how we’ve shopped in the January-March quarter of this year are in - and the panic-buying adrenaline rush of 2020 for shoppers and the retailers were not a feature. Woolies sales fell 2.1% in the quarter when compared to the same period last year. Coles sales fell 0.8% on the same measure, with Woolies boss Brad Banducci saying the return to offices this year would likely benefit his rival because they have more inner-city and shopping-centre-situated stores. He says he’s not too bothered because “we do want to get back to more normalised, predictable shopping patterns for our customers.” Which presumably means fewer inexplicable buyouts of walls of toot paper… Investors were bothered by Woolies performance compared to Coles, and its share price was down 3.8% yesterday.


After COVID played havoc on the 2020 season, Super Netball is back with a full home and away schedule starting this Saturday. And what better way to kick things off than a re-match between defending champions Melbourne's Vixens and runners up the West Coast Fever in Melbourne at 3pm AEST. The Vixens claimed the title in the final quarter last year, winning 66-64. This Saturday, they face a challenging task ahead of them following the retirements of Tegan Philip and Caitlin Thwaites and with Liz Watson out for the season with a foot injury. As for the West Coast, they'll have the heaviest travel schedule in the comp this year that includes a 17-week fixture with each of the 8 teams hosting 7 home games. With several new rules and a bunch of young talent - this season is gonna be a goody...


This homage to office life is a lean-back read and browse of some beautiful pics. You know the place - where work used to happen (ahem gossip, romance, drama, and maybe some work…). One for a cuppa and a quiet spot - maybe even in your workplace.

Looking for a new series to binge that’s out of the ordinary? Try Elite (aka Los Encinas) on Netflix. Set in a fancy Spanish private school, it is quality trash TV that didn’t make us feel like it was time we should have done something better with. Well, there probably was, but you catch the drift…

Anyone who has tried to keep up in the kitchen with a Yiayia (Greek grandmother) knows it's impossible. So ahead of Greek Easter this Sunday, here’s a traditional recipe for buttery koulourakia (Greek Easter biscuits) that you can take at your own pace and without the ‘constructive’ criticism…


National Cabinet meets

US President Joe Biden marks his first 100 days in office

ABS Data Release - Producer Price Indexes, March

International Jazz Day

Birthdays for Kirsten Dunst (1982), Gal Gadot (1985) and Nikki Webster (1987)

Anniversary of:
• the inauguration of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America (1789)
• Mr Potato Head becoming the first toy to be advertised on television (1952)
• Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson getting hitched (1988)
• the World Wide Web (WWW) being launched in the public domain (1989)

3.00pm (AEST) - First game of the 2021 Super Netball season - Melbourne Vixens v West Coast Fever - Melbourne

Tasmanian state election

Anniversary of:
• ‘Penny Black’, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp issued by Great Britain (1840)
• the Empire State Building opening in New York City (1931)
• the marriage of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu (1967)
• Labour's Tony Blair elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997)
• Tasmania decriminalising homosexuality (1997)

8.30am (AEST) - Horse Racing - Kentucky Derby - Louisville, Kentucky

World Press Freedom Day

World Tuna Day

World Laughter Day

Start of National Heart Week (until 9 May)

Birthdays for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (1972), Lily Allen (1985) and Princess Charlotte (2015)

Anniversary of the deaths of Leonardo da Vinci (1519), J Edgar Hoover (1972), fictional villain Lord Voldemort (1998) and Osama bin Laden (2011)

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