Squiz Today / 31 March 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 31 March

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Getting you across the line of another week.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

SYD
14 / 25
MEL
13 / 19
BNE
16 / 29
ADL
13 / 22
PER
16 / 24
HBA
12 / 17
DRW
25 / 34
CBR
5 / 21

Squiz Sayings

“The shape of this coronal hole is not particularly special. However, its location makes it very interesting.”

Says space/climate physics professor Daniel Verscharen. He’s talking about a huge hole in the sun that could send 2.9 million km/hour solar winds towards the Earth today. Fear not, the experts say it’s harmless, and the winds could even supercharge the aurora lights

A byelection weekend’s a good weekend…

THE SQUIZ
While our federal politicians have been dealing with some meaty issues in Canberra ahead of the budget in May, eyes are now turning to the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. That’s not because donut fans are making an excursion to a bakery preferred by the former local member Alan Tudge… It’s because tomorrow is the byelection in his seat of Aston, and the focus is on whether the Liberals can hold it. Tudge held the seat with a small margin of 2.8%, and the Liberals are tipping a narrow win. And history’s in their corner – the last time a government took a seat off the opposition in a byelection was in 1920… 

WHY DOES IT MATTER?
It’s a good question, particularly if you don’t live in the electorate. The answer it’s not important in a numbers sense. Team Albanese has 77 seats in the House of Representatives – one more than is required to form a majority government. Meanwhile, the Coalition retaining or losing Aston doesn’t do much for their standing – with 58 seats, they are firmly occupying the opposition benches… But for the pundits, the byelection matters because it could tell us how voters rate the performance of the major party’s leaders. No longer playing the role of the plucky opposition leader that he successfully pulled off last election, PM Anthony Albanese’s now behind the steering wheel and responsible for real outcomes. As for Coalition leader Peter Dutton, it’s the first public vote he’s overseen as head of the party. So expect a lot of commentary about what the result says about and means for those 2 men.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUES?
You mean the little matter of policies and that sort of stuff? Road upgrades and the cost of living are among the issues to feature heavily in the campaigns of Labor’s Mary Doyle and Liberal candidate Roshena Campbell because Aston is classic commuter/mortgage-belt territory. According to the Bureau of Stats, 41% of residents have a mortgage (higher than the national average), and many will be feeling the pinch of interest rate rises. So there’s that… Many voters will also have a view about the issues of the day, like AUKUS/nuclear submarines, the Voice referendum, and Labor’s climate policy that received support from the Greens this week. And there’s another issue that’s on some voters’ radar: the Victorian Libs have been melting down over state MP Moira Deeming’s anti-trans rally, which attracted a very nasty crowd. Insert the popcorn emoji and let the chips fall where they may (but don’t drop your chips, they’re delicious…). 

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

New efforts to reduce booze in the Top End

The Northern Territory Government is offering to buy back the liquor licenses of grocery stores as the crackdown on alcohol-related problems continues. Chief minister Natasha Fyles yesterday says “less liquor licences means less alcohol, and less alcohol-related harm in our community”. About 50 stores in the NT will be offered up to $35,000 “on a case-by-case basis” to give their licenses up. It comes as new data shows emergency hospital presentations in Alice Springs have dropped sharply since the town camp/remote community bans were reinstated. The figures show 390 alcohol-related presentations were recorded in February, down from 731 in December. Domestic violence presentations also dropped – there were fewer than 100 in February compared to 246 in December. But Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price says referrals to “dry-out shelters” have doubled, and those services need more support.

Australian News Crime

Slowing the AI train down

More than 1,000 tech experts, including big names like Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, have signed a petition calling for a 6-month halt on artificial intelligence (AI) development. They acknowledge the potential benefits of AI but say the speed at which AI technology is evolving poses “profound risks to society and humanity” without better regulation from governments. The petition released by the Future of Life Institute (note: a non-profit organisation backed by Musk) calls for the creation of global standards for ethical/safe AI development. It says AI labs are “locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control”. But the push is not without critics – Cornell University’s James Grimmelmann says a pause is “a good idea”, but it’s “deeply hypocritical for Elon Musk to sign on” given Tesla’s widespread AI use.

Technology

Start your engines

The Australian F1 Grand Prix puts the pedal to the metal in Melbourne this weekend with a record 450,000 revheads set to fill up Albert Park. The influx is driven by fans of the popular Netflix series F1: Drive to Survive and Aussies (including former McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo) cheering on Oscar Piastri in his hometown debut. The 21yo and his McLaren teammate Lando Norris have had a tough start to the season after failing to score any points in the first 2 races, leading to a reorganisation of the McLaren support team. Piastri isn’t expected to take out the race – bookies favour Red Bull’s unstoppable world champ Max Verstappen to clinch the race in what organisers say could be the quickest Melbourne F1 race ever. The first practice race will start at 12.30pm today, the qualifiers are tomorrow arvo, and the race starts at 3pm Sunday. Vroom vroom…

Sport

Winding back the clocks

You might hear a collective sigh of relief as daylight saving time (DST) ends in NSW, Victoria, the ACT, Tassie and South Oz in the early hours of Sunday morning. It means residents in those states and territories will enjoy an extra hour of sleep as the clocks go back an hour and earlier sunrises and sunsets as we head towards winter. Since it was implemented nationwide in the 1970s, DST has ended on the first Sunday of April. But some early birds in regional Oz believe that should be brought forward to wrap up at the end of summer, with farmers particularly lamenting how the lingering early morning darkness disrupts their work. And many parents would know the struggles of getting sleepy children out of bed while it’s still dark outside…

If you’re after the backstory to DST and whether it fades the curtains, check out our Squiz Shortcut. We only get to plug it twice a year…

Australian News

Friday Lites – Three things we like this week

To say we enjoyed the season 4 premiere of Succession is an understatement. We also guffawed over the internet’s fun with the appearance of a “ludicrously capacious handbag”. It has no spoilers if you want to look, but it’s best enjoyed after viewing.

Seal’s Kiss from a Rose was never meant to be a hit – it’s unusual for a big song with its waltz rhythm and obscure lyrics. In this article/podcast, the singer breaks it down ahead of the modern classic’s 30th anniversary.

This might be a good recipe to put up your sleeve for the Easter long weekend – it’s an easy roasted beef fillet with spuds. We did it last weekend while this meat cut is a treat, gee it was nice and quick with a simple green salad.

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

5.30pm (AEDT) – Referendum and Voice to Parliament Information Night – Canberra

International Transgender Day of Visibility

World Backup Day

Day of the Taco in Mexico

Birthdays for Christopher Walken (1943), Al Gore (1948), Angus Young (1955), and Ewan McGregor (1971)

Anniversary of:
• the deaths of Isaac Newtown (1727), Charlotte Brontë (1855), JP Morgan (1913) and Jesse Owens (1980)
• Oliver Cromwell being offered the crown by the English Parliament (he declines) (1657)
• the Eiffel Tower officially opening in Paris (1889)
• Donald Trump buying Eastern Air Lines shuttle, which he renamed Trump Shuttle (1989)
• Harry and Meghan officially stepping down from royal duties (2020)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.