Squiz Today / 18 March 2019

Squiz Today – Monday, 18 March


“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here. They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.“

That's Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern on Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch. Well said.


The shock from Friday’s attack on two Christchurch mosques by Australian Brenton Tarrant continues to reverberate around the world. After emailing his manifesto of hate to PM Jacinda Ardern and other politicians/media outlets, Tarrant turned on his camera to live stream via social media the horror that was about to unfold. In a thoroughly-planned attack, Tarrant killed 50 people at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques during busy Friday prayers. It was New Zealand’s worst-ever mass killing in peacetime, the worst mass murder perpetrated by an Australian, and the world’s most deadly act of right-wing extremist terrorism of recent years.


• The attacker - Self-proclaimed racist/fascist Brenton Harrison Tarrant is a 28yo from Grafton, NSW who has lived on-and-off in New Zealand for the last few years. The personal trainer left his home town in 2011 to travel to places like North Korea, Pakistan, Eastern Europe and France. His grandmother Marie Fitzgerald told Nine News last night that his time overseas changed him. He had no criminal history and was not on any terror watchlists. Tarrant appeared in court on Saturday (flashing a white-power hand gesture), and will reappear on 5 April.

• The victims - “They are refugees, immigrants and New-Zealand born. They are Kiwis.” Many of the victims had fled persecution and violence, and it was New Zealand where they thought they’d found safety. It’s believed the youngest of the 50 victims was just 3yo. There were a further 50 injured - of those, 32 remain in hospital, including two in intensive care. Lucky to miss the attack - members of the Bangladesh cricket team.

• The others who were arrested - Authorities said they believe Tarrant was a lone gunman. Of the others who were arrested on Friday, two remain in custody and their role in the attack, if any, remains unclear. A third person was an armed bystander who wanted to help the police.

Some immediate things to point to:

• Many victims' families have an agonising wait - PM Ardern said the process of identifying the victims was ongoing and acknowledged that the delay was causing distress to the families. Burying a person as soon as possible after death is a fundamental principle of Islam, and families usually want to wait no longer than 24 hours. Ardern yesterday said it's expected all bodies would be released by Wednesday.

• Gun reform in New Zealand - Tarrant had a gun licence, had legally obtained the weapons he used in the attack (before illegally modifying them), and was known to a local gun club. New Zealand has significantly more lenient gun laws than Australia and many other Western nations. Ardern says the government will change that, starting with a Cabinet meeting tomorrow. That promise has already caused panic buying, reports say…

• A look at the role of social media and the internet in spreading extremism - There has been a lot of criticism about the time it took to identify and start removing Tarrant’s materials from mainstream sites and platforms. Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos (1.2 million of those at upload) of the attack from its platform globally within 24 hours of Friday's shooting. There's also unease over the ‘dark corners’ of the internet where the sort of group Tarrant belonged to fester and grow.



Three things to note:

• PM Scott Morrison said Australia stood in solidarity with New Zealand and the Muslim community. "It was an attack on all peace-loving peoples, on all innocent peoples. And that's why we can all stand together in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters who were the specific targets of this attack," he said during a visit to Sydney’s Lakemba Mosque on Saturday.

• The Coalition and Labor will move to censure Queensland Senator Fraser Anning (he of 19 first-preference votes fame…) for comments he made in the wake of the attack blaming Muslim immigration to New Zealand as a catalyst for the attack. And yesterday, the rights and wrongs of a 17yo’s ‘egging’ of Anning were hotly debated.

• And after moving to override the bureaucracy’s view that right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos might not meet Australia’s character test, Immigration Minister David Coleman has banned him from coming to Oz for a speaking tour later this year. The move came after Yiannopoulos said events like the Christchurch massacre happen because the establishment "mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric, alien religious cultures".


From one tragedy to another… The families of the 157 victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash have been offered a bag of soil from the site to bury in the absence of their loved one's remains. They have been told it will take up to six months for the remains of the victims to be identified. Meanwhile, pressure hasn't eased up on plane manufacturer Boeing. A report in the New York Times says the company may not have provided specific trainingfor the new 737 Max 8 model telling airlines that pilots who had flown an earlier model didn’t need it. Neither the company nor regulators changed that advice after the Lion Air crash in October.


Barrie Cassidy, host of ABC TV’s Insiders, will vacate the role in June. Fans should not despair too much - he’s steering the public broadcaster through the federal election and will be staying with the ABC after taking a bit of a break. If you want to know a bit more about the former-Hawke-staffer-made-good, you can’t go past this episode of Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery.

And while we have you... Former Coalition frontbencher Craig Laundy will not recontest his Sydney seat of Reid in the coming election. Don’t worry about him too much, he has his family’s pub empire and commentating on his brother's love life to fall back on…


Gee, that 12 months went quickly. For us, but probably not for former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith and deputy David Warner… They’re almost back in the fold having just about completed their 12 months suspension periods after the infamous ball tampering incident in South Africa. They’re not back on the team… yet. They sat in on a team meeting in Dubai while on their way to play Big Bash cricket in India where they are guns for hire. There was “big hugs and cuddles” and discussion of the team’s “values” which presumably these days excludes sandpaper…


Need something a bit fun today? Us too...

• Remember April the Giraffe from New York? She gave birth to a calf last year in one of the internet’s most anticipated (and watched) live-cam events. Well, she’s gone and done it again.

• Choupette, the beloved cat of designer Karl Lagerfeld, has released a line of mourning merch, sorry, a capsule collection

• Australia, it seems you’ll do anything to get out of the vacuuming…


10.00am (ACDT) - Hearings restart for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (on until 22 March) - Adelaide

Start of A Taste of Harmony - a week where workplaces celebrate the diversity in their workforce through food (on until 29 March)

Fifth anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula - a move still unrecognised by most countries

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