Squiz Today / 03 April 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 3 April

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Squiz Today Podcast

For Squizers on the go.

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings


They’re people who work Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the office and the other weekdays at home. We’re not mudslinging – it’s a term the experts use while discussing the impact on things like our public transport networks. But if the cap fits…

Aston voters give the Libs the ole heave-ho

Voters in Melbourne’s east made history on Saturday, turfing out the Liberals’ candidate Roshena Campbell in the Aston byelection with Labor’s Mary Doyle taking the seat with a 6.4% swing. The last time the government won a seat held by the opposition in a byelection was 1920 – and that was brought on by Labor MP Hugh Mahon being expelled from the House of Reps after he made “seditious and disloyal utterances at a public meeting”. So you could say he was a bit on the nose… It means PM Anthony Albanese’s government now has 78 seats in the lower house – that’s a 2-seat majority – as the Coalition slips back to 57 in the 151-seat chamber.

A lot of finger-pointing… Yesterday, Nationals leader David Littleproud said Labor’s campaign “stooped to a level that Australian politics shouldn’t” with its “personal character assassination” of Coalition leader Peter Dutton. He also pointed out that the Liberal candidate wasn’t from the electorate and accused the Victorian branch of the party of doing everything they could “to trash their own brand” with some nasty infighting in the final fortnight of the campaign. That theory was rejected yesterday by state party leader John Pesutto. Albanese has his own theory – he says Dutton’s approach is bringing himself and the party down. “He’s just saying no to everything and not being a part of any solution. He’s become an observer of Australian politics rather than a participant,” the PM said. For his part, Dutton says he takes responsibility for the defeat, but the “fundamentals” of the party would not change.

Cue renewed discussion about what the Liberals stand for and how they will shore up support because they are struggling in what has been their home grounds. These days, the Liberals hold 14 urban electorates – 8 if you exclude those that don’t contain semi-rural areas. That’s down to the changing face and attitudes of Aussie voters, including more young people turning their backs on both major parties – and particularly the Liberals. That’s led to speculation Dutton could find himself the victim of a leadership spill if he doesn’t moderate the party’s approach on what he calls “trendy” issues. But he brushed that off yesterday, saying the result in Aston “makes me more determined to rebuild this party and be in a winning position by 2025.” That’s a tough ask – this morning’s Newspoll says support for the Coalition has dipped to a 6-month low, and Albanese has expended his lead over Dutton as preferred PM.


Squiz the Rest

Deadly tornadoes hit the US

At least 29 people have died after more than 50 tornadoes swept over the midwestern/southern US on Friday and Saturday. The Arkansas capital of Little Rock was hit hard and remains under an emergency warning, and at least 6 other states were also struck. Maps show the scale of the storms, while photos and videos show the devastation left behind in towns/cities, with buildings ripped apart, trees toppled and cars thrown down streets. Residents left homeless have gathered in local facilities and shared survival stories. One woman says her young family huddled in a bathroom, “praying and saying goodbye to each other because we thought we were dead”. The clean-up has begun in some areas, but in others, emergency crews are still digging survivors out of their basements, where they sought shelter. There’s also a push to get power lines back up and running – at least 590,000 people were left without over the weekend.

World News

Russia takes up a UN hot seat

Russia’s begun its scheduled month-long UN Security Council presidency, despite calls to bar it from the position while it continues its war in Ukraine. The Council – which is tasked with ensuring international peace and stability – has 15 members, including Russia, that rotate through the role. Russia last held it in February 2022, the month it invaded Ukraine. Officials have described the move as a “symbolic blow” and “the world’s worst April Fool’s joke”. And it’s again raised questions about whether Russia can be kicked out of the Council, with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba saying the current set-up is a “stark reminder that something is wrong with the way international security architecture is functioning”. That’s because, although the Council presidency is mostly procedural, it still has influence. Moscow’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzia says in the role, he’ll oversee a debate on arms control and discuss a “new world order”.

World News

Trump gets set to face court

Donald Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina says they are “ready for this fight” following the former US president’s indictment on Friday – but they don’t know what to expect. The exact charges haven’t been revealed yet, but reports say prosecutors in New York have accused Trump of falsifying business records over hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels. The process is set to begin in the Manhattan criminal court on Tuesday (early Wednesday morning our time) after Trump hands himself in. “What I hope is that we get in and out of there as quickly as possible,” Tacopina said overnight as Trump confirmed he will front a press conference in Florida following the events in New York. And it turns out legal misadventures can be good for business – both Trump and Daniels say orders have been “pouring in” for their merch

World News

And the winner is… F1 fans

Was it a Formula 1 Grand Prix or a demolition derby? It was hard to tell from the big race in Melbourne yesterday with its drama-packed final stages. Four drivers had dropped out ahead of the last 2 laps of the 58-lap race, and then things got crazy with a safety restart sending drivers jostling for points into each other and the wall, and that saw another 4 consigned to the DNF pile (‘did not finish’ for the uninitiated…). Ultimately, the safety car led Max Verstappen, the 2-times world champion, to victory for Red Bull ahead of longtime rival Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. Fans cheering for hometown hero Oscar Piastri and McLaren were rewarded with his first championship points – he came in 8th after starting in 16th place, supported by some chocolatey goodness from his granny


Photosympathising with sad plants

If you’ve ever looked at the wilting peace lily in the corner of your loungeroom and felt a bit bad, prepare to feel worse. A new study from the Tel-Aviv University in Israel suggests thirsty/stressed/recently trimmed plants make high-pitched “airborne sounds” that are like cries for help. Scientists “eavesdropped” on tobacco and tomato plants by placing them in small boxes with microphones to pick up the ultrasonic noises at frequencies the humble human ear can’t hear. They found distressed plants make about 35 sounds an hour, while well-hydrated/uncut plants make only one… And while we can’t hear them, the research says some animals probably can. If you’re wondering what the plants sound like, researcher Lilach Hadany says it’s “a bit like popcorn – very short clicks,” she said. No appropriate Adele-style power ballads, then…

Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

In what they’ve called “an act of public service” on “the day of lies”, The Washington Post took it upon themselves to debunk every US brand/celebrity April Fool’s joke they could find. And The Guardian’s done a good wrap of efforts in the UK.

Taking out the low blow award is Oscar winner Sarah Polley’s 11yo daughter. She forged a detailed letter from the Academy, saying Polley’s Women Talking screenplay was incorrectly crowned at last month’s awards, and she’d have to send the trophy to the writers behind All Quiet on the Western Front. That’s cold…

And for some Aussie content, our pick is Victorian Police’s new Roller Squad. “We want offenders to know that the Roller Squad will catch them wherever they are, unless of course they’re on slightly thick grass or roads with small stones on them.” Tassie Police called it a “wheely good idea”…

Australian News Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – 2023 Country Music Awards – Nashville, Tennesee

12.30pm (AEDT) – Shadow Attorney-General Julian Leeser to deliver an address to the National Press Club of Australia on the Voice to Parliament – Canberra

ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, February; Lending Indicators, February

World Party Day

Birthdays for Jane Goodall (1934), Alec Baldwin (1958), Eddie Murphy (1961), and Ben Mendelsohn (1969)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of actors Doris Day (1922) and Marlon Brando (1924)
• the first mobile phone call made in New York by a Motorola employee (1973)
• the publication of the Panama Papers (2016)

Squiz the Day

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