Squiz Today / 23 April 2018

Squiz Today – Monday, 23 April


“Christian Li”

Remember that name… He’s a 10yo Australian boy who jointly won the under 16s round of the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists yesterday. C’mon Aussie!


The Banking and Financial Services Royal Commission enters its second week of hearings focused on financial advice after last week finished with a crescendo of noise with:

• The immediate departure of AMP CEO Craig Meller.

• The big banks’ CEOs conceded the inquiry was warranted, despite their initial resistance.

• And overnight, PM Malcolm Turnbull said those criticising his government for not moving faster to establish a Royal Commission are right, but it was important to put together a package of reforms, including those announced last week. It follows criticism levelled at Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer yesterday for refusing to concede the point.

The good news is we only have to go back a week. Wealth managers AMP and banks Westpac and Commonwealth Bank weren't covered in glory when they gave evidence about their financial advice arms last week. In fact, AMP admitted to misleading corporate regulator ASIC, and the banks said they were aware that clients were charged fees (including dead ones) when there was no intention of delivering any services.

This week the Royal Commission will keep looking into the conduct of financial advisers and move on to whether the current regulations can keep the sector in check. (Wonder if they've seen the Wells Fargo case from the US last week?) But there will also be a couple of sideshows to watch:

• Whether AMP’s chairwoman Catherine Brenner can resist calls for her resignation.

• And whether O’Dwyer, Treasurer Scott Morrison and others are today drawn into a new round of apologies/concessions about the establishment of the Commission following on from Turnbull's statement overnight.

In the meantime, we wonder if Commission lawyer Michael Hodge has started writing Financial Advisers: The Musical?


PM Malcolm Turnbull is in Germany and could be forgiven for treating himself to a nice glass of Rhine Valley Riesling after the government achieved its best Newspoll result since September 2016. The Coalition is still behind Bill Shorten’s Labor Party but edged forward to 49:51 on a two-party preferred basis, up from 48:52 a fortnight ago. Turnbull remained on 38 and Shorten dropped a point to 35 when it came to the preferred PM score.

A suicide bomber has killed at least 57 people and +100 were injured in an attack on a voter registration centre in Kabul, Afghanistan overnight. Reports say the victims were queuing outside the centre. There have been a number of attacks on these centres since opening last week to sign up voters for elections in October. Islamic State claimed responsibility. The BBC says IS and the Taliban currently control about 70% of Afghanistan.

The newly agreeable North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country is done with testing its nuclear and missile capabilities. US President Donald Trump said it marked "big progress" for North Korea and the world. But sceptics, like Japan's PM Shinzo Abe, said they’ll feel better when North Korea’s nuclear capacity is irreversibly destroyed.

Prince Charles will become the new head of the Commonwealth after receiving unanimous support from the +50 nations assembled for CHOGM. Which is a bit like becoming school captain when your mum is head of the P&C… NZ PM Jacinda Ardern stole the sartorial/cultural show. And reports yesterday said the UK would look to expand its role in the Pacific alongside other Commonwealth nations. Which is interesting given reports of China’s push into the area.

It’s Monday. Who doesn’t need some reasons to be optimistic?

• Max, a 17yo deaf and partially blind blue heeler was praised as a hero after he stayed with a missing 3yo girl for 17 hours, including overnight, before the pair was found 2km from her grandmother's home near Warwick, Queensland on Saturday. Good boy, Max.

• Renowned musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu’s final album Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) knocked Ed Sheeran from #1 on the ARIA charts on the weekend. It’s the first time an Indigenous language album has held the top spot. The celebrated blind artist died mid last year at just 46yo.

• Antiques Walkabout. That’s what an Aussie version of the UK TV hit Antiques Roadshow will be called if the project is green-lighted. How many sets of those ‘unique’ timber chairs with the native animal motif will the experts have to see do you reckon?

• French nun Agnes-Marie Valois died last week in France. She was known as the ‘Angel of Dieppe’ by Canadian troops in WWII for her bravery in standing up to the Nazis and caring for thousands of injured and dying soldiers. She was 103yo.

• Swedish superstar DJ Tim Bergling, aka Avicii, was found dead in Muscat, Oman on Friday. He was just 28yo. He had stepped away from performing a couple of years ago citing ill health and anxiety. His best-known song is probably Wake Me Up, a catchy country/dance/pop crossover. His family has travelled to Muscat to find out more about how he died.

• Actor Verne Taylor died on Saturday after being on life-support for alcohol poisoning. He was best known for his role as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies. He was 49yo.

• Japanese great-great-great grandmother Nabi Tajima, the world’s oldest person, died on Saturday aged 117. She held the title for seven months.

• And Sebastian Joyce, son of former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce and his former staffer Vikki Campion, was born in Armidale, NSW has arrived. Joyce celebrated by calling for a change to the rules to allow MPs to employ their partners. Each to their own...


ABS Data Release - Childhood Education and Care, June

French President Emmanuel Macron starts a three day state visit to the US

St George's Day - England

English Language Day

World Book and Copyright Day

Anniversary of the doomed release of New Coke (1985)

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