Squiz Today / 22 August 2022

Squiz Today – Monday, 22 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

Here you go again…

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“We’ve got to take bold action.”

Said food rescue organisation OzHarvest’s boss Ronni Kahn of the need to remove best-before dates from fresh food in order to prevent 2.5 million tonnes of food waste each year. The trick is getting Aussie governments to approve the ‘sniff test’ – something the pollies should be familiar with…

The lawyers get their say

Advice from the Solicitor-General on former PM Scott Morrison’s multiple ministries will drop into the hands of the Albanese Government today. It will cover the legal or constitutional problems that arose from the secret appointments to 5 portfolios between March 2020 and May 2021. Last week, Morrison defended his actions, saying he needed the “emergency powers” in case of “extreme situations” during the height of the COVID pandemic. That didn’t stop the wave of condemnation over the arrangements – including from Morrison’s former Cabinet colleagues. If the legal advice states that Morrison had acted within the law, PM Anthony Albanese says he will still seek to change the system.

Because there are “separate questions about the functioning of our democracy, about conventions and whether any conventions have been overturned,” Albanese says. So reforms are expected to ensure that ministerial appointments are transparent and that responsibilities are exercised appropriately. The example that underlines why that’s important is what happened in the Resources portfolio, where the Nationals Keith Pitt was the decision maker under the legislation until he wasn’t… Albanese also says that “there’s a need for proper scrutiny of what occurred here – this was an undermining of our parliamentary democracy.” That points to an inquiry that could be launched to look at Morrison’s actions during that time. And a Royal Commission into the national COVID response will be held “as soon as practicable.”

It’ll be a big one today… But yesterday, PM Albanese nominated a tricky trio his government’s dealing with: the economy, China and cost of living pressures. “The economy, of course, is always front and centre,” he said, nominating inflation and global factors as a major headache. As for China, Albanese said it’s “more forward-leaning”, creating problems in our region that must be managed. And on our ever-rising bills, he says “how we take pressure off people” is a big focus, and the policies Labor took to the election to make child care, healthcare, and housing costs will help. Next stop: the Jobs and Skills Summit bringing business, unions and industry together next week. Then it’s onto a new Budget on 25 October…


Squiz the Rest

A big change in Singapore

After inheriting its strict anti-gay sex law from the British and choosing to retain it after independence in 1965, things are about to change in the conservative city-state. Last night, PM Lee Hsien Loong delivered the National Day Rally speech – Singapore’s equivalent of a State of the Union address – and announced that he will repeal a law that bans gay sex, effectively making it legal to be homosexual in Singapore. Known as the 377A law, it has not been enforced in recent years, but last night Lee said repealing it is “the right thing to do and something that most Singaporeans will accept”. When it comes to same-sex marriage, it’s a different story… Lee said the government would strengthen legal protections defining marriage as one between a man and a woman, making it harder for gay marriage to be legalised. LGBTQ activists called the plan to repeal 377A “long overdue” but said the refusal to move on marriage cements their position as “unequal citizens”.

World News

Monkeypox goes local

In the early stages of the public health emergency of international concern, cases reported in Australia were travellers returning from overseas, but now local cases are being reported, particularly in Victoria. Associate Professor Deborah Friedman from Deakin Uni says they “don’t really know why” cases are taking off there and not in other states, with vaccines and information campaigns being rolled out at the same time. There have been about 91 monkeypox cases nationwide since May, including 40 in Victoria, where half have emerged in the last couple of weeks due to local transmission. Yesterday, the first local case was confirmed in NSW, and health officials have urged those at risk to be vigilant for symptoms. Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, but so far, it’s mainly affecting gay men and has spread through intimate contact. #SquizShortcut

Australian News Health

A new Zulu king

Welcome, King Misuzulu ka Zwelithini – the 48-year-old is the son of the previous king, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu. Thousands of people gathered for Saturday’s traditional coronation at KwaKhangelamankengane Palace on the hills of Nongoma – a small town in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The throne has no formal power, but it has a proud history, and a 5th of South Africa’s population is Zulu. Now onto the juicy stuff – Misuzulu is not seen by many as the rightful heir… His father had 6 wives, and in the 18 months since his death, family factions have championed their candidates through the courts. In his disputed will, he named his 3rd wife Queen Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu as regent, but she died soon after. That’s seen their son take power. With 2 other sons staking their claim, things have been messy and, some say, embarrassing. In days gone by, the duelling factions were known to fight it out to the death. Families, eh…

World News

A solar power first

It happened briefly on Friday… For half an hour, solar energy eclipsed coal as the leading source of electricity across the national energy market, which includes all states and territories except Western Oz and the Northern Territory. It’s happened before, and before you think we’ve sold you a dud with the headline, here’s the kicker – it’s the first time it has happened under “normal” conditions. That is, there wasn’t a shortage of coal-fired power, and it wasn’t the sunniest time of the year. Solar enthusiasts say it’s a sign of things to come with most of the power coming from rooftop panels, not large-scale solar farms. Another record was broken in Victoria last week, with wind power delivering 69% of Victoria’s electricity demand on Thursday morning.

Australian News

A community service announcement

If you have an Apple device, do the update if you have one waiting for you… The company has advised iPhone, Mac and iPad users to get on it because a couple of security vulnerabilities need to be patched. Specifically, attackers can get in and take complete control of your device, getting access to your sensitive details and mundane messages with your nearest/dearest about what’s for dinner tonight. Apple has received reports that the vulnerabilities have been exploited, but industry watchers say there’s no evidence to suggest it’s a widespread problem. Some say it’s more of an issue for anyone in big jobs or the public eye and might be the target of sophisticated nation-state spying. On your iPhone/iPad, go to Settings > General > Software Update. On the Mac, it’s System Preferences > Software Update. You’re welcome…


Apropos of Nothing

Two pilots with Ethiopian Airlines had to be woken up to land the plane after they flew over their destination last week. All’s well that ends well, but the snoozy duo have been suspended pending an investigation.

With their COVID-zero policy, we’ve seen plenty of examples of China taking pandemic control very seriously, including ongoing lockdowns of millions of people. Now fish are being swabbed for the virus in the coastal city of Xiamen. Not live ones – the ones heading for the markets…

Remote locations that have become Insta famous = not so much fun to visit anymore. To illustrate, a clever photographer has produced time-lapse collages that show all the people who had visited the area across an hour. How’s the serenity…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Start of National Skills Week (until 28 August)

Company Earnings Results – NIB; Star Entertainment; Altium; Austral; Ampol; Southern Cross Media; Lendlease; oOh! Media

ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly consumer confidence index released

International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief

Birthdays for actors Ty Burrell (1967) and Kristen Wiig (1973), comedian/TV presenter James Corden (1978), and singer Dua Lipa (1995)

Anniversary of:
• James Cook’s expedition landing on the east coast of Australia and declaring it for the British Empire (1770)
• the adoption of the first Geneva Convention by 12 nations, which established the standards of international law for humanitarian treatment in war (1864)

Squiz the Day

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