Squiz Today / 17 December 2018

Squiz Today – Monday, 17 December


“Be careful on the roads and please don't go near the crocodiles.”

Said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk after heavy rains brought the predators out in the state’s far north. It’s not your usual Christmas road safety warning…


General David Hurley, the current Governor of NSW and former Defence Force chief, will become Australia’s next Governor-General. PM Scott Morrison made the announcement yesterday saying Hurley was his first pick. Governor Hurley will take over from Sir Peter Cosgrove, another decorated military man, as the Queen’s representative in Oz in June next year.

General Hurley spent 42 years in uniform having joined the army in 1972. He led troops in Somalia in 1993 where he won the Distinguished Service Cross. The Gillard Labor Government appointed Hurley as Chief of the Defence Force in 2011. During that time he oversaw the end of Aussie operations in Uruzgan (Afghanistan), East Timor and in the Solomon Islands. It’s said that his most used phrase during that time was "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept". Hurley’s nickname from his cadet days was ‘Blind’ after he drove an armoured vehicle into the only tree in an otherwise barren paddock.

There was some “Hurley’s a good bloke but…” kinda sentiment yesterday. The appointment of back-to-back former chief of defence forces/army men doesn't bring a lot of diversity to the role, some commentators say. But it’s always been a small pool of people who get a look in – former judges, governors, defence leaders and politicians. As for Labor, they were critical of the timing. With Hurley not scheduled to start until after the next federal election, Labor had been angling for a delay in making the appointment. Labor leader Bill Shorten said “I hope this is the last time an Australian prime minister has to call Buckingham Palace for permission.” That’s code for ‘bring on an Australian republic’…



The triennial Labor Party national conference didn’t get off to the start Bill Shorten would have wanted… Protestors stormed the stage calling on him to stop the Adani mine in Queensland and close off-shore processing centres. "I’ve waited as Opposition Leader for the next election for five years and two months, and if I've got to wait a couple of more minutes, I just will,” Shorten said as security wrangled the immobile demonstrators. Once he got going, there were three policy items of note. If Labor is elected:

Superannuation would become a workplace right. That gives more protections to employees.

• There will be a new federal Environmental Protection Authority to “preserve our oceans, rivers, coasts and bushland and to protect the native species.”

•  They will fund the construction of 250,000 new homes over 10 years to boost the stock of affordable housing.

Conference goers will have a spring in their step today with Nine’s newspapers (aka the Sydney Morning Herald and Age) putting Labor ahead 54:46 against the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis. The conference wraps up in Adelaide tomorrow.


Meanwhile, PM Scott Morrison announced on Saturday that the Australian Government would recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but we won't be looking to move our embassy from Tel Aviv anytime soon. Morrison also said the government "resolved to acknowledge the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem." The proposal to move our Israeli embassy was floated by Morrison during the Wentworth by-election, a seat with a strong Jewish community, although he denied it was a ploy to win their votes. If it was, it didn’t work with independent Kerryn Phelps winning former PM Malcolm Turnbull's seat from the Libs. Labor said it was a "humiliating back down".


Other people still hard at work were delegates at the COP24 conference – the two-week-long United Nations climate change pow-wow. After a lot of talking, almost 200 countries reached an agreement yesterday on a set of rules to implement the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Long story short, there will be standards for measuring emissions and tracking climate policies. There was also a call for nations to step up on cutting emissions ahead of another round of talks in 2020. Australia was said to have played a “constructive” role in the negotiations.

And while we have you… There have been big protests in Brussels overnight with more than 5,000 right-wing protestors and 1,000 left-wingers clashing over the UN migration pact. Nations met in Marrakesh last week to discuss and sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Australia has not signed the migration agreement, however, we did sign onto the new UN refugee compact last month.


If there’s one person with some frustration to work off… UK PM Theresa May has had a go
at former PM
Tony Blair
for his suggestion that another Brexit referendum might be the way to go. Reports say there is a group of Labour MPs who strongly support another vote. But May and her Conservative Party (or at least the ones toeing the line…) say the country backed Brexit in 2016, and even though the result was a close one (51.9% to leave, 48.1 to remain), they need to get on with it. May said Blair’s comments undermine her negotiations with the European Union. On that point, she was far from ‘nebulous’


When you know a new job isn’t for you, sometimes it’s just best to move on. That’s what Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa did on Saturday after his surprise appointment seven weeks ago. President Maithripala Sirisen sacked former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in October after a falling out between the men. It created a constitutional crisis and violent clashes. Wickremesinghe was reinstated last night, and it's hoped that his return will stabilise the government and the country's economy.


The next update is all about ‘ze’


Mid-morning - PM Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to release the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

ABS Data Release - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, October

Pope Francis' birthday (1936)

Anniversary of The Simpsons premiering on the telly (1989)

Anniversary of PM Harold Holt disappearing while swimming off a beach near Portsea, Victoria (1967)

Read the email everyday this week and you'll go into the running for a $100 voucher to spend at Woolworths. Who wouldn't like a helping hand with their grocery bill right about now?

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