Squiz Today / 01 May 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 1 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Get the news and get going. 

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“You might think I don’t like Rupert Murdoch. That’s simply not true. How could I dislike a guy that makes me look like Harry Styles?”

Quipped US President Joe Biden at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night – the do that brings together the nation’s top politicians and journos for a night of peace and understanding. All Biden was missing was some cool threads and banging tunes

It’s the Budget countdown…

We’re strapping in for another week of pre-Budget jazz hands as the Albanese Government continues rolling out funding announcements ahead of the 9 May Federal Budget on Tuesday next week. [Insert Oprah’s voice: “You get a stadium, Tasmania… You get a restructure, Defence Force…”] And on Friday following a meeting of National Cabinet, PM Anthony Albanese announced $720 million aimed at improving the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as well as a plan to eventually cut down its ballooning cost. Treasurer Jim Chalmers says the scheme is one of the main pressures on the Budget.

When the NDIS was first introduced by the Gillard Government in 2013 to support Australians with disabilities, its cost was expected to rise by 4% annually… but instead it’s growing by about 14%. Part of that growth is down to more Aussies than expected accessing the NDIS – in total about 550,000 by the end of last year. And there are organised fraud issues, according to Government Services Minister Bill Shorten. Around $48 million of the new NDIS funding will be used to crack down on misuse of the scheme, but that’s not the only measure to cut NDIS costs… The Albanese Government has also promised that by 2026 annual growth will be capped at 8% – a move which surprised and upset some. “It’s a target to reduce the spending on the NDIS,” advocate Elly Desmarchelier said, and the government doesn’t disagree… Their figures show that if NDIS spending growth can be capped at 8%, the government will save $50 billion over the next decade.

Yep – especially about the tricky economic conditions that currently prevail. New this morning is the latest CoreLogic data indicating that the price dip in the housing market is over, despite the Reserve Bank’s 10 successive rate rises. Just on housing – last week’s Anglicare report found that 1% of rental listings would be affordable for minimum wage workers, and PM Albanese has promised more funding and progress at this week’s Housing Ministers meeting  – and not just because he was heckled about it on Saturday… Also new today, Labor is looking to trim spending by reviewing hundreds of what they call “press release projects” – infrastructure projects promised by previous Coalition governments that have yet to commence construction. And as many businesses struggle and fail following a tough few years, some analysts (paywall) are now saying we might see a surplus next Tuesday night thanks to a surge in tax revenue from soaring resource prices. Strange days indeed… 

AusPol Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Ukraine set for a counteroffensive

A large oil reservoir in Sevastopol – a port city on the Crimean Peninsula – has been the latest target of increasing drone attacks in the Russian-controlled region. The blaze covered 1,000m2 before it was extinguished on Saturday, destroying oil tanks that reports say were intended for use by the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet. Russia blamed Ukraine, but Ukrainian military official Andriy Yusov refused to claim responsibility – he said the blast was “God’s punishment” after Russian strikes on apartments in central Ukraine killed 23 civilians, including 3 children, on Friday. The strikes unfolded as Ukraine gets ready to launch its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russian forces. Satellite images show new trenches, minefields, and relocated military equipment as both sides prepare. Experts say despite Russia’s heavy personnel losses last year, it has more resources overall. Watch this space… 

World News

Ceasefire breaks down in Sudan

Fighting in Sudan has entered a 3rd week, with reports saying air strikes and shelling have kicked off again in the capital city Khartoum, even as a second 72-hour truce between the 2 Sudanese military groups is meant to begin at 8am Monday AEST. The rocky situation prompted the country’s former PM Abdalla Hamdok to speak out… He says if the fighting continues to amp up, the conflict could become worse than the civil wars in Libya and Syria. To recap what’s going on: the fight for power is between Sudan’s army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. “This is not a war between an army and small rebellion. It is almost like 2 armies – well trained and well armed,” Hamdok says. Yesterday, our Deputy PM Richard Marles said more than 155 Australians have left Sudan since the conflict started, and the government’s working on evacuating other Aussies ASAP.

World News

NT settles with its top cop

The Northern Territory Government has reached a “confidential settlement” with its Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker over an employment dispute. Rewind… Chalker received a letter from Chief Minister Natasha Fyles on 31 March accusing him of making unauthorised requests for federal assistance to help rein in crime in Alice Springs – something reports say was untrue. The letter also asked Chalker to resign from his role, but with 6 months left on his contract he launched legal action. It was due to go to the Supreme Court in June, but yesterday’s settlement means that Chalker will retire from the job immediately.

And while we’re on legal matters… We previewed this on Friday, and the Federal Court granted former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann permission to launch defamation proceedings against news outlets Network Ten/News Corp and journalists Lisa Wilkinson/Samantha Maiden. The trial’s been scheduled for November.

Australian News Crime

Hot flashes burn a hole in women’s careers

A new study from the US has highlighted the true/huge cost of the disturbances menopausal women experience. The Mayo Clinic research has found women dealing with hormonal changes during menopause and the resulting hot flashes, night sweats, and interrupted sleep are losing out. And when we say huge, the study tallied it to total $25 billion in medical costs and $1.8 billion in lost work days annually. About 5,000 women aged 45-60yo were surveyed, and 4,440 of them were employed. Lead author Dr. Stephanie Faubion said they found 13% of participants had “an adverse work outcome related to menopause symptoms”, and 11% missed work days due to the symptoms. “Clinicians need to ask women about menopause symptoms and offer guidance and treatment, and employers need to create and implement workplace strategies and policies to help women navigate this universal life transition,” Faubion said.


The King requests some audience participation

On Saturday night our time, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will be crowned in an elaborate/ancient ceremony at Westminster Abbey, formalising things following the death of Queen Elizabeth in September last year. And over the weekend, more details have come to light, including an opportunity for us commoners to take part by swearing allegiance to him and his heirs. It’s a first for a coronation service… Everyone in attendance and those watching on elsewhere will be invited to deliver what they’re calling a “chorus of millions”. The order of service will read: “All who so desire, in the Abbey, and elsewhere, say together: I swear that I will pay true allegiance to Your Majesty, and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God.” So get practicing… There will be a lot around on the coronation in the lead-up to Saturday, and we’ll have you covered with this week’s Squiz Shortcut which is out on Thursday. You’re welcome…

World News

Apropos of nothing

A sunbathing landlord in his birthday suit is not a reason to have your rent reduced – at least according to a court in Frankfurt. The judges found “the usability of the rented property was not impaired” by the nudey-rudey, who “always wore a bathrobe which he only took off just before the sun lounger”. It’s always good to know where the lines are… 

Supermarket lasagne seems like a cry for help as far as we’re concerned – but plenty of Aussies love ‘em. And now a test for the best has been released, and congrats go to International Cuisine Italian Style Beef Lasagne ($2.49 for 400g at Aldi). We’re not at all alarmed by the words ‘Italian Style’… 

And British entertainer James Corden finished up his US Late Late Show on CBS after an 8-year run. Don’t fret: the best Carpool Karaoke eps are still online…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Labour Day public holiday in Queensland

May Day public holiday in the Top End

Term 2 starts for public schools in South Oz

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 and Priscilla Presley (1967)
• Tony Blair being elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997)
• Tasmania decriminalising homosexuality (1997)

Squiz the Day

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