Squiz Today / 13 August 2018

Squiz Today – Monday, 13 August


“Backbiting ban”

In a move to stop office chit-chat on and off the job, more employers are writing in a ‘no workplace rumours or gossip policy’ to their workers’ contracts. But if you can’t complain about the boss, what are you meant to do at work all day?


After the six-week recess, our federal pollies have returned to Canberra for an issues-rich spring session.

How long have you got? Only a minute? Alrighty then, we’ll keep it short…

• National Energy Guarantee – Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg’s meeting with his state and territory counterparts on Friday resulted in an agreement to keep talking. In the meantime, tomorrow’s Coalition Party Room meeting could be more hectic than a Coles Little Shop event… But Frydenberg and PM Malcolm Turnbull are hoping to circumvent trouble with a plan to back new power plants, including coal and gas-fired assets (paywall).

• Assisted dying legislation – The Senate will debate Senator David Leyonhjelm’s bill that seeks to allow the ACT and Northern Territory to make their own laws on voluntary assisted dying. Some experts have concerns.

• Corporate tax cuts – That old hairy chestnut… Despite angst in the Coalition’s ranks that the policy isn’t a vote winner (think the Super Saturday by-elections), Treasurer Scott Morrison isn't for turning. Reports say the plan will be back before the parliament this week or next.

Only a lot…

• The week’s off to a rough start for Turnbull. Newspoll says his personal ratings are down 4 points. He still leads Labor leader Bill Shorten (who picked up 3 points) as preferred PM 44:32. Labor maintains its 51:49 two-party preferred lead over the Coalition.

• Team Turnbull’s grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation of $444 million with no tender process. The issue ain’t going away

• There’ll be a lot of chatter about Labor’s findings that Western Sydney MP Emma Husar acted unreasonably, but; “there is no basis for Ms Husar to resign from the Australian Parliament”. Too late…


The footage of Richard Russell performing loops and barrel rolls in a stolen plane is terrifying. Russell, a Seattle airport ground crew worker, took the 76-seat turboprop Horizon Air plane and flew it with only video gaming experience to guide him and an air traffic controller to talk to. Sadly, the hour-long flight turned out to be a suicide mission with Russell apologising to the people who cared about him before crashing. Bigger questions are now being asked about what the incident says about safety and risks from terrorists.

Turkey’s detention of US citizen and Presbyterian Pastor Andrew Brunson has seen it slapped with sanctions. Friday's announcement rattled world markets with concerns that future hard economic times for Turkey could have broader implications. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not taking it lying down and penned a piece for the New York Times saying the US needs Turkey onside. A test of how serious it all is will be how Asian markets react today.

Weed killer Roundup is in the spotlight again after dying cancer patient Dewayne Johnson was awarded A$395 million in damages from his lawsuit against manufacturer Monsanto (now Bayer). A court found the company failed to warn users of the health risks. The company will appeal. It follows the World Health Organisation’s 2015 finding that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, is probably carcinogenic. Australia’s pesticide authority says the products “are safe provided they are used as per the label instructions,” but expect a new round of questions to regulators and retailers about whether the stuff should be for sale.

Victoria Cross-winning former soldier/current Seven executive Ben Roberts-Smith says claims made about him in a Fairfax Media investigation are “lies, fabrications and misrepresentations.” The report details accusations of “bullying, intimidation and his involvement in small SAS teams suspected of the abuse of unarmed civilians” while serving in Afghanistan. Also, a woman with whom he was involved while briefly separated from his wife has also accused him of domestic violence. One military expert says the findings of the investigation into his service conduct should be made public. Meanwhile, his lawyers want the leaks investigated.

Matthew Newton has pulled out of directing a movie he wrote after protests over his violent past grew. Eve is to star Jessica Chastain, a supporter of the #MeToo movement, who was criticised for her involvement with Newton. "For the past six years, I have lived a quiet and sober life. All I can do now is try to be a living amends and hopefully contribute to the positive change occurring in our industry," Newton said. He admitted to assaulting actress Brooke Satchwell in 2007. In 2010, actress Rachael Taylor detailed a series of assaults she suffered at his hand.

NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe late yesterday in a quest to get closer to the sun than we’ve ever been before. It will get within six million kilometres of the sun’s surface making 24 close approaches on the seven-year, US$1.5 billion journey. Why are they doing it? To better understand ‘solar winds’ and improve the forecasting of major space weather events so experts can better protect satellites and astronauts in space. And a bunch of other things we don’t quite understand…


Federal Parliament resumes

Hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry resume (on until Friday)

ABS Data Release - Economic Activity of Foreign-Owned Businesses in Australia, 2014-15

Company earnings announcements - Bendigo & Adelaide Bank; BlueScope Steel; Domain; JB Hi-Fi

Lefthanders day

Anniversary of Berlin being divided as East Germany sealed off the border between the city's eastern and western sectors in order to halt the flight of refugees (1961)

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