Squiz Today / 30 October 2017

Squiz Today – Monday, 30 October



Said Governor-General Peter Cosgrove to PM Malcolm Turnbull on his swearing in as Agriculture and Water Minister (Barnaby Joyce’s portfolios) on Friday. Who knew the GG was such a funny bloke?


In case you’ve been trapped under a heavy object since Friday morning and haven’t heard, the High Court ruled five of the ‘citizenship seven’ ineligible to be in Parliament. That included:

• The Nationals’ leadership team of Barnaby Joyce and Senator Fiona Nash - out.

• Greens’ deputy leaders Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam, and One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts - also out.

• Senators Matt Canavan (the Nationals’ third Cabinet minister under scrutiny) and Nick Xenophon (who is leaving to switch to South Australian politics) - cleared.

You mean besides the spike in headache medication sales in Canberra?

• Now a dinky-di Aussie, Joyce will stand in the New England by-election on 2 December. His arch-nemesis Tony Windsor will not.

• The Libs and Nats are having a cranky moment. That played out with the PM unable to instantly name who would act as PM when he goes OS this morning. Despite their leadership team being wiped out, reports said some Nats still insisted one of theirs do the honours. And in NSW there’s angst about Hollie Hughes, a Lib, replacing Fiona Nash, a Nat, in the Senate.

• The court’s ruling was clear – dot your t’s and cross your i’s if you want to be an MP. But maybe it’s time to change the rules, Turnbull said. A committee’s going to look at it but any change would require a referendum, and we’re generally not good at supporting those.

• Labor says there might be legal challenges to the decisions made by Joyce and Nash while they were ministers. Mega-messy.

• There’ll likely be shenanigans in Parliament for at least a week (27-30 November). The government has the support of two independent MPs (Cathy McGowan and Rebekha Sharkie) for confidence and supply. That doesn’t mean they’ll vote with the government to stop things like a Royal Commission into banking and other things in Labor’s agenda. Mega-mega-messy.

The Turnbull government won’t fall over it (which until recent years wasn’t considered much of a benchmark of success). But let’s face it, things aren’t great and another bad Newspoll today won’t help. On top of last week’s Michaelia Cash crash, it was a week the government hopes voters will forget. That’s unlikely. In terms of lasting damage, observations about the judgement of those at the top will hurt. But for the coming week, with Turnbull spending some quality time with Labor leader Bill Shorten commemorating the Battle of Beersheba, the team will have to work overtime to get things back on track, or at least not go any further backwards. In the meantime, get ready for the reign of J-Bish


The general rule about elections is you don’t hold them in the hot or cold months because people get annoyed about being forced to vote in yucky weather. So it’s brave of Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to announce (despite protestors storming the stage) the Sunshine State will go to the polls on 25 November. Labor has presided over a minority government, so the ill-health of one MP and the defection/sacking of another is behind the early election. The last Newspoll had Labor ahead 52:48 of the Liberal National Party on a two-party preferred basis. One Nation is expected to make a big splash with some predicting support of as much as 30% in some regional electorates. On the plus side, at least it will be a short campaign…

The Mueller investigation into links between US President Donald Trump’s election campaign and the Russian government is expected to make its first arrests today. It's significant because this investigation is just six-months-old and shows former FBI Director Robert Mueller will prosecute as he goes rather than complete the investigation and then indict. The special investigation was instigated following Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey which was followed by allegations that Trump had asked him to drop his investigation into White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s Russian links. Got it? Good.

Since we last spoke, Catalonia declared its independence from Spain which in turn stripped it of its autonomy and ordered new elections for its regional government. After weeks of argy-bargy with Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, his participation in the upcoming elections has been welcomed. Just a few weeks ago, 43% of Catalans voted in an illegal referendum with the vast majority preferring to break from in Spain. But other polls are much tighter, and a rally of 300,000 pro-Spain supporters overnight suggests there is support for staying put. The election will take place in December and leaders are encouraging peaceful demonstrations.

Australia’s biggest milk processor will be Canadian after it was announced on Friday that Lino Saputo (that’s a company, not a person…) will buy Murray Goulburn for $1.3 billion. Saputo has picked up the former farmers co-op (which also has the Devondale brand) on the cheap. Unit holders will get $1.10 per share compared to its float price of $2.10 just over two years ago. Murray Goulburn has a number of lawsuits and regulatory investigations on the go at the moment dating from the Gary Helou era, its former CEO. The deal is subject to the usual government approvals.

This is getting interesting. England beat the Aussies yesterday at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium. It was the third and final one-day Ashes match. The format moves on to a test match starting late next week, then some Twenty20 games. England had to reach a record batting total against us to take the win. But don’t panic, we’re 4-2 points ahead.

And while we have you, we won our first Rugby League World Cup match against England 18-4.

Sir Ninian Stephen, our Governor-General from 1982 to 1989, has died aged 94yo. Also a former Justice of the High Court, peacemaker and WWII veteran, Stephen was well regarded across the political divide. When then PM Malcolm Fraser appointed him, it's said that Gough Whitlam congratulated Fraser for picking a better GG than he did. And Hazel Hawke wrote that Stephen told her he left his glittering legal career to become GG because he never much liked the law. His service to Australia, wisdom and grace was remembered by many. His family have accepted a state funeral.

You remember Paul Newman's Rolex watch from Friday Lites? It was expected to go for $1 million at auction on Friday. It went for... drumroll... A$23 million. For that sort of dosh you'd want a working time machine!


ABS Data Release - Supplementary Disability Survey, 2016

Indonesian Banknote Day (seriously, there's nothing on the agenda today...)

And a reminder - open the email every day this week you'll go into the draw for a $100 gift card from Woolies. Oscar Wilde said consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative but this week it could be quite rewarding.

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