Squiz Today / 08 September 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 8 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Take a walk on the audio side. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“You bloody beaudy.”

Said Team Squiz as the Squiz Today newsletter – hello you’re reading it now – was crowned Australia’s best newsletter at last night’s Mumbrella Publish awards. We couldn’t have done it without you [insert winky face emoji]… 

A political scandal takes flight


The growing criticism of Federal Transport Minister Catherine King’s rejection of additional Qatar Airways flights into Australia reached boiling point yesterday. At a press conference, King said the “context” behind her decision was the invasive strip searches that were carried out on 13 Aussie women who were flying Qatar Airways from Doha to Sydney in 2020. But she said “no one factor” swayed her, and she rejected the airline’s request “in the national interest, not commercial interest”. This is a thing because the Albanese Government has been accused of protecting Qantas from competition at a time when it’s making record profits. And King’s comments contradict what she said 6 weeks ago when she denied the decision was linked to the strip searches. All that played out as King launched a report on the future of the aviation sector in Australia… 


In October 2020, international headlines resulted from Qatari authorities’ search for the mother of a newborn baby found at Hamad International Airport. Officials removed women from their planes at gunpoint – including a Qatar Airways flight about to leave for Sydney – and performed forced medical examinations to check if they’d recently given birth. The incident was met with strong condemnation from the federal government, and 5 Aussie women launched legal action. This week, it came out that King wrote to those women on 10 July to tell them she “was not considering additional bilateral air rights with Qatar”. 


It means that these 3 strings – the experience those women had in Qatar in 2020, the request from Qatar Airways to add more Aussie flights, and Qantas’ woes – have collided spectacularly to create a mess for the Albanese Government. For political watchers, it’s interesting because King has been inconsistent in her account of how she’s exercised her duties as the Transport minister – and you know what happens when there’s a whiff of a scandal. And others are wondering why Qantas has a rails run with the government given the legal, customer and shareholder plates the airline is spinning. So you can bet this week isn’t the last we’ve heard about it – the Coalition will likely pick it up again in Question Time when parliament resumes next week. And we’ll hear from former Qantas boss Alan Joyce and his replacement Vanessa Hudson when they face a Senate inquiry into these issues later this month. 

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Getting back in the groove

The Australia-China relationship is officially out of the freezer with PM Anthony Albanese confirming he’s heading to Beijing this year. The trip will be the first for an Aussie PM since 2016 – and it will also mark 50 years since Gough Whitlam’s historic visit to establish diplomatic ties. It’s been a turbulent few years in the relationship – but there’s been a turning of the page since the change of government. The PM was issued an official invite in his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Indonesia yesterday and confirmed they’d canvassed tricky issues like the detention of journalist Cheng Lei and writer Yang Hengjun. Albanese is now in the Philippines before moving on to the G20 summit in India over the weekend. President Xi won’t attend that leaders get-together in what some diplomats say is a snub to India and the West.

And if you want to know more about who’s who in the G20 + all the diplomatic moves to expect, we’ve got you covered with our Squiz Shortcut.

Australian News World News

Farewell Phil

Outgoing Reserve Bank boss Philip Lowe has marked the end of his 43-year career by reflecting on the day he nearly died. Governor Lowe found himself in intensive care with a blood clot in 2016 – just hours after being appointed to the top job. But he promised he’s finished the gig “reasonably fit and healthy” as he handed over a symbolic “half-full” mug to his successor Michele Bullock. Lowe had quite a few nuggets in his last speech… He called for less “vitriol and clickbait” in public debate; he reckons the government provided “too much” support during the pandemic; and wants our pollies to do more to help the Reserve Bank tackle inflation. Lowe also reflected on his “term-defining” remark that interest rates wouldn’t rise until 2024, saying “hindsight is a wonderful thing”. He officially turns on the OOO message on 17 September. 

Australian News Economy

Hollywood-worthy prison breaks

Look out, Andy Dufresne, there are 2 new jailbreakers in town… UK police have launched a nationwide search to track down Daniel Khalife, an ex-soldier who escaped from a London prison. The 21yo was awaiting trial on charges of leaving fake bombs at a military base, and it’s believed he escaped through the prison’s kitchen by strapping himself to the underside of a food delivery van. Police say Khalife poses a “low risk” to the public, and extra security measures have been put in place at airports nationwide. And in America’s Pennsylvania, convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante made his own prison break by crab-walking up the walls. Another inmate from the prison recently escaped the same way – razor wire was later put on the roof, but that didn’t deter Cavalcante. And if you ever need to flee across a body of water, this guy’s got, well, an idea

World News

Paying a premium on paradise

ABS residents (that’s ‘anywhere but Sydney’…) can roll out their ‘told you so’ dance after a new study found that the Harbour City has the 6th least affordable housing in the world. The study for the Committee of Sydney found that the city’s housing crisis is costing its economy more than $10 billion annually. A lot of that is due to lost productivity due to commuter travel times and businesses struggling to attract/retain talent. Sydney’s median property price has surged to 13.3 times the median income, and a third of renters are in housing stress as the limited supply of rentals keeps prices high. As for the hot spots that are even less affordable than Sydney, that’s Hong Kong, San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver and Tel Aviv. 

Australian News

I wanna be a Wallaby

The Rugby World Cup kicks off in France tomorrow morning our time – and it’s fair to say our Wallabies are not exactly favourites… The team has had a difficult trot in 2023 (note: they are currently on a 5-game losing streak…), and coach Eddie Jones summed it up neatly when he said that “no one thinks we can win.” In Australia’s favour – we’re in a pretty cruisy group stage – and we should get past Georgia, Fiji, Wales, and Portugal to at least make it through to the quarter-finals. Most of the bookies’ money has been on New Zealand’s All Blacks – but South Africa smashed them a couple of weeks ago, so put the Springboks, France and Ireland on your serious contenders’ watchlist. If you wanna get up early tomorrow, the Kiwis v France kicks off at 5.15am Eastern time – while our lads face Georgia on Sunday at 2am. Oui Oui Wallabies… 


Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

The Sydney Morning Herald/Age has ranked every Kylie Minogue song because why wouldn’t you… All we’ll say is Better the Devil You Know was robbed… 

If you’re looking for something easy to watch, Not Dead Yet on Disney+ scratched our itch for a short/fun series. It stars Gina Rodriguez (from Jane the Virgin), Hannah Simone (from New Girl) and Lauren Ash (from Superstore).

And you know our preference for the 27-minute/ep format… We went to a mate’s place this week and he made these prawn and avo tacos. Geez they were excellent – and fresh flavours go down so well at this time of year. Bon appetite…

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

7.50pm (AEST) – NRL – Qualifying Final – Brisbane v Melbourne – Brisbane

7.50pm (AEST) – AFL – First Elimination Final – Carlton v Sydney – Richmond

Start of 2023 Women in Media National Conference – Sydney (until 9 September)

International Literacy Day

World Physical Therapy Day

World EV Day

Rugby World Cup begins – France

Birthdays for Bernie Sanders (1941), James Packer (1967), Martin Freeman (1971) and Pink (1979)

Anniversary of:
• the unveiling of Michelangelo’s David statue in Florence (1504)
• 3M selling its first roll of Scotch tape (1930)
• the start of the Siege of Leningrad by German troops during WWII (1941)
• the premiere of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and Star Trek (1966)
• the first national broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show in the US (1986)
• the release of Kylie Minogue’s biggest hit Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (2001)
• the death of Queen Elizabeth II (2022)

Australian News

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