Squiz Today / 22 October 2018

Squiz Today – Monday, 22 October


“Headless chicken monster”

It’s about as attractive as the name suggests, but this sea cucumber is pretty special. Seen for the second time ever, it’s the latest breakthrough by Aussie researchers in Antarctica who are leading the way in deep-sea camera technology. Let’s hope the next discovery is something prettier…


Independent Kerryn Phelps is in the box seat to win the Wentworth by-election, but it’s not over yet. Despite Phelps storming to a handy lead over the Liberals’ Dave Sharma on Saturday night, her advantage was pared back on Sunday with votes cast before election day that trended towards Sharma added to the tally. But one thing is certain - the 19% swing against the Libs is a thumping of historic proportions.

• As of this morning, the Electoral Commission has Phelps ahead 51.1% to Sharma’s 48.9% on a two-party preferred basis. Strong support from those who cast their vote on the day made it look like Phelps had it in the bag on Saturday night.

• But then they started counting the pre-poll (where you can turn up to designated sites and vote early) and postal votes (where you fill out a form and send your vote in). That saw Sharma pull it back with two votes going towards him for every vote going to Phelps.

• With almost 25% of the vote left to count (mostly postal votes that are making their way through the mail system) and Phelps ahead by 1,600 votes, it will be right down to the wire and could take some days to resolve.

ABC’s election expert Antony Green says Phelps is on track to win… But for some food for thought to snack on while we await the final result:

• PM Scott Morrison said he got the message that former PM Malcolm Turnbull's dumping was bad for the party with voters.

• Phelps’ supporters and Labor said the result showed the Libs are out of touch with voters and the action they want to see on things like climate change and shutting down the Nauru detention centre. Those are issues social commentator Jane Caro says she could campaign on against former PM Tony Abbott as she mulls over a run in Warringah.

• Life goes on. With the potential loss of its majority in the House of Representatives, the Independents are expected to ensure the parliament can still work with a Coalition Government in charge, much like happened with Gillard-Rudd hung parliament between 2010-13. As for Dave Sharma, “I’m certainly glad I kept my day job,” he said.


Writer Jamal Khashoggi died in a fistfight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. That’s what the Saudi government have fessed up to, adding five top officials had been fired and 18 people arrested following an investigation into what happened on 2 October. The ‘rogue operators’ explanation clashes with Turkish officials’ view that Khashoggi was interrogated, killed and dismembered by a squad of Saudi agents flown in for the job. There is no word on what happened to Khashoggi’s remains. World leaders, including US President Donald Trump, said the explanation was inadequate. Australia is the latest country to pull out of a big conference taking place in Riyadh this week.

Don't panic, but the treaty that helped keep America and Russia from pulling the trigger on their mutual destruction using short and medium-range weapons, including nuclear missiles, is being torn up by President Trump. Trump says the deal signed in 1987 by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan is a dud because Russia isn't honouring its commitments and is developing a new medium-range missiles. Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said the deal wasn’t in his country’s interests, but yesterday a spokesman said it was a dangerous step for the US to take.

Nearly 200 attacks took the lives of 27 civilians and 11 security forces and injured 100 more as voters turned out across Afghanistan on Saturday. The government extended the time the country’s nine million registered voters had to cast their vote keeping polling stations open yesterday. The result won't be declared for ages with counting taking about three weeks to conclude. Ten candidates were killed in the lead up to the ballot with the Taliban and Islamic State vowing to disrupt the process.

PM Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten will deliver an apology to the survivors of institutional child abuse at 11am (AEDT) today. It was a recommendation of the Royal Commission that wrapped up late last year. Along with a redress scheme, the apology's purpose is to acknowledge survivors' pain and make what happened "an officially verified historical event," said one expert. With mixed feelings and personal stories like this and this, it will be an emotional day for many.

Because you’re an up-to-date kinda news consumer…

AFRICAN BILLIONAIRE RELEASED –Tanzanian moneybags Mohammed Dewji is safe and sound after nine days in the hands of kidnappers after he was seized by gunmen. No details on who/why/what went down have been released, or whether his family’s reward was claimed. Friends said he’s in good nick.

MORE HORRORS FOUND IN DETROIT FUNERAL HOME – “Deeply disturbing” is how the police chief described the discovery of 63 infant bodies. Police were called in to investigate after the new owner found 11 bodies in the ceiling.

KAVANAUGH CURSED – Literally… The newly installed US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has had a hex placed on him by a coven of New York witches. However, there is no guidance on when the spell will take effect; "There's not a firm timeline on these things," said one witch.

What is it with Aussie blokes and budgie smugglers? Prince Harry could not be convinced to break protocol to sign a pair for an Invictus Games competitor yesterday, but he did get a pair on (over his trousers, admittedly) while doing some PR for the event. Meghan skipped a medal ceremony yesterday and will travel to Fraser Island today but will not participate in the events planned there with Harry saying; “Bring pregnant takes its toll.” Lucky we have the Beckhams to keep the glamour quota up in Sydney – Victoria and David are here for the Games. He hit headlines yesterday for daring to say that marriage is “hard work”. Cue tabloid meltdown


11.00am (AEDT) - National apology to the survivors of institutional child abuse - Canberra

Parliament resumes (House of Reps only)

Harry and Meghan take Fraser Island

Actor Geoffrey Rush's defamation case against the Daily Telegraph commences in the Federal Court - Sydney

Start of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count (on until 28 October)

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