Squiz Today / 07 July 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 7 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

Helping you crack on with your morning.

Today’s listen time: 8.00 minutes

SYD
9 / 18
MEL
9 / 15
BNE
11 / 22
ADL
10 / 16
PER
11 / 19
HBA
5 / 14
DRW
22 / 34
CBR
3 / 11

Squiz Sayings

“He didn’t get cancelled. He’s just a big baby who isn’t very popular.”

Said Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neil in a since-deleted tweet after Donald Trump Jr delayed his Australian speaking tour. Trump’s promoter blamed a visa delay and “cancel culture” – O’Neil told him to find another scapegoat for his “poor ticket sales”…

Robodebt recommendations handed out

THE SQUIZ

The long-awaited findings of the Robodebt Royal Commission will be handed to the Governor-General David Hurley today. The report’s been overseen by Commissioner Catherine Holmes, Queensland’s former Chief Justice, and is based on more than 1 million tendered documents and hundreds of hours of evidence given, including during 9 weeks of public hearings. It’s been described (paywall) as “the most consequential report into top-tier cabinet government in a generation” because those under the microscope are senior Coalition figures and top bureaucrats, and their actions – and inaction – could see them whacked with consequences. 

WHY IS IT A BIG DEAL?

Because we’re going to find out who was responsible for the illegal debt recovery scheme that’s been at the centre of one of the biggest cases of public maladministration in years. To refresh your memory, Robodebt was the automated debt recovery scheme rolled out between 2015-19 that targeted about 380,000 welfare recipients. They were issued debt notices for Centrelink overpayments – many wrongly – through a method of income averaging, which the government later admitted was unlawful. During its run, the scheme recovered $750 million, and it was been linked to several cases of suicide*. As a result, the Morrison Government made a $1.8 billion settlement with victims – more than the $1.7 billion the scheme was intended to recover. Government Services Minister Bill Shorten – who led the push for the Royal Commission in opposition – called it “a freight train of misery”. 

SO WHAT COMES NEXT?

That’s quite a question, and we’ll find out more at 11am (AEST) today… Reports last night said we might not get the full picture today with a “sealed section” kept private to protect any future “civil action and criminal prosecution”. Former portfolio ministers Scott Morrison, Marise Payne and Stuart Robert (who has resigned from parliament and there’a a by-election for his Queensland seat of Fadden next Saturday) will be eagerly awaiting the findings… There’s speculation the pollies/public servants involved in the scandal could be investigated for breaches of the public service code of conduct. And Holmes could also ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission too look over particularly matters too. Stay tuned…

* Need help?

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

On the up and up…

There’s been no reprieve for renters after national rental prices jumped 2.5% in the 3 months to June. New data from real estate group Domain found median rents hit record highs across all capital cities except Canberra, Hobart and Darwin. Sydney led the way with a 6.1% jump in median rental prices hitting $700 a week – that sees the NSW capital overtaking Canberra as the most expensive in the country. Over the past year, national house rents were up by 11.5% while units skyrocketed by 26.1%. Gasp… Domain says surging demand hasn’t kept up with supply – and with record immigration expected to add to the “rental pressure cooker” this financial year, it’s set to be a landlord’s market for a while. Sigh… 

Australian News

Swedes plead to NATO

It’s kinda now or never for Sweden as it tries every diplomatic move it’s got to finally join NATO. Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine – the once-neutral Swedes have felt vulnerable – but they’ve been locked out by Turkey. Its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Sweden’s not doing enough to crack down on Kurdish opposition groups based there, so he’s using Turkey’s membership status to block ‘em. US President Joe Biden is leading efforts to try to persuade Erdogan to change his mind, telling Swedish PM Ulk Kristersson he’s “anxiously looking forward” to the bid being ratified. Finland was accepted into NATO in April – and it’s hoping its Nordic mate will get the thumbs up at next week’s meeting in Lithuania… Western nations wanted Sweden and Finland in because it would expand NATO’s presence in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Circle – and that’s helpful when it comes to keeping Russia in check.

World News

An urgent request to roll up our sleeves

And specifically, health authorities are urging parents/carers to get their children vaccinated for influenza with parts of the country experiencing a shocking season. NSW kids are bearing the brunt of it – the state’s chief health officer Kerry Chant says the under-16yos are making up 40% of all hospital admissions for influenza and 12 kids have ended up in intensive care since May. Flu complications for young people can include serious heart, brain and muscle-related issues, and while flu vaccinations are free for children aged 6 months to 5yo, 22% have had the jab this year. Dr Chant has set an end of school holidays challenge to get the tin lids sorted so there’s coverage in Term 3. And there is some good news for youngsters – while COVID is still lurking, it’s not making kids as sick as the flu. Praise be…

Australian News Health

Third Ashes test hangs in the balance

The third Test batted off at Headingley in Leeds last night, and as expected, the home crowd got a bit heated… Rapport between the Aussies and the Brits is low after English batter Jonny Bairstow’s controversial dismissal in the second Test. A few precautions were taken ahead of this match including extra security for the families of the Aussie men’s team, as well as for our TV commentators. But as for the on-field action, it wasn’t going so well for Oz – until Mitch Marsh scored a century during his first return to Test cricket since 2019, putting Oz back in the running. The Aussies are leading the series 2-0, and a win at Headingley will seal the deal. But British fans are hoping all the drama will fuel an angry Bairstow so their side can snag a win. Between the men’s and women’s Ashes, Wimbledon, and the Tour de France, Aussie sports fans might be pulling a few all-nighters this week, so here are some cheeky late-night snack ideas

Sport

Chocflation is coming

Speaking of late night snacks, it’s World Chocolate Day, which would normally be a cause for celebration for those who consider the velvety goodness a major food group. But in not-so-sweet news, choccy lovers are set to fork out even more for their favourite treats, with the price of cocoa surging to its highest level in 7 years. That’s because of production shortfalls due to extreme weather and crop disease in key growing regions including West Africa, as well as relentless demand. And the squeeze is set to continue with El Niño expected to bring dry conditions later this year. All of that’s not likely to deter any chocoholics we know – despite cost of living pressures, research from Cadbury found 75% of Aussies will make room in the budget for snacks, particularly chocolate. It’s all about priorities…

Business & Finance

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

Coffee table books – they’re the home accessorory that project the art/travel/picture-perfect life we aspire to. If you need to up your aspirations, here’s Vogue Living’s a guide to the titles to add to your collection. For the record, this is our favourite dust collector

If you listened to the Saturday Squiz podcast last week, you would have heard a recommendation to tune into WHAM! – the Netflix doco on the iconic 80s pop group that was released on Wednesday. We weren’t disappointed – the story of the remarkable friendship between George Michael and Andrew Ridgely is bittersweet. 

So now all we can think about is chocolate… This Nigella Lawson recipe for ‘totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies’ is a favourite – for obvious reasons..

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

Last day of Term 2 for public schools in South Oz and Tassie

Solomon Islands National Day

World Chocolate Day

Ringo Starr’s birthday (1940)

Anniversary of:
• Missouri becoming the first place sliced bread is sold (1928)
• the death of Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle (1930)
• the first Three Tenors concert featuring Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti in Rome (1990)
• Nelson Mandela stepping down as President of South Africa (1996)
• the London terrorist attacks that targeted commuters during the morning rush hour killing 56 and injuring 784 people (2005)

Squiz the Day

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