Squiz Today / 08 May 2023

Squiz Today – Monday, 8 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Made for on-the-ball Mondays. 

Today’s listen time: 9.20 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I’m still to this day trying to figure out what the rules are and what to do.”

Said 22yo Valynce Te Whare after his extraordinary NRL debut for the Queensland-based Dolphins on Saturday, scoring 2-tries. Despite his inexperience, his approach was “run hard, tackle hard and just laugh and have fun.” Words to live by…

Spreadsheet season is upon us


The pre-Budget announcements keep rolling in with Treasurer Jim Chalmers announcing electricity bill assistance of up to $500 each household for more than 5.5 million households. The electricity bill support is part of a four-year, $14.6 billion cost-of-living package that Chalmers announced on Monday morning, with further details to come on Tuesday night. Also new is the announcement that tweaks to the petroleum resource rent tax will see the government collect an additional $2.4 billion over the next 4 years from the booming gas industry. It’s complicated and has to do with how much income the gas companies can claim tax deductions on (see, we told you…), but the peak industry body supports the change, saying it “will provide greater certainty for our industry”. And it was a busy Sunday for Chalmers who was on the media rounds when a slip of the tongue indicated that Tuesday might see the announcement of Australia’s first surplus since 2007…


We mentioned this last week, and speculation has only continued to grow. It’s feasible that the government has collected more revenue than it spends in this current financial year, at least according to rumours and Chalmers’ tiny slip yesterday. If it is the case, analysts say it’s partly because of strong coal and iron ore prices, but mainly due to historically high employment and growth in wages. That all adds up to a tax collection bonanza for the federal government. As for the politics, the Coalition’s Treasury spokesman Angus Taylor is shaping up to claim that the surplus is due to factors outside of Labor’s control, while our sky-high inflation rates are “homegrown” and not “coming from Vladimir Putin” (which is a reference to the pressure the Ukraine war has put on the global economy). Whatever does happen in Tuesday’s budget, Chalmers is expected to forecast a slowing economy – and he’s not the only one with a mixed forecast…

WHO ELSE IS WARY?Over in Omaha, legendary investor Warren Buffett is hosting the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting where the investment genius’s every word is treated as gospel. Like Chalmers, Buffett also expects a slowdown in the economy, and he warned about risks from tensions between the US and China, the struggling commercial property sector (thanks to empty office buildings), and the recent instability in the banking system. Asked about the looming debt ceiling crisis in the US (where the government is about to run out of money if lawmakers don’t agree to raise the borrowing limit), Buffett said he couldn’t imagine US politicians would allow the country to default on its debt. Biden will meet with top lawmakers – including his main antagonist Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy – in Washington mid this week.


Squiz the Rest

Texas not for turning

We’re 128 days into 2023, and the US has recorded at least 199 mass shootings. The latest scene of horror was a crowded outlet mall near Dallas, Texas where 9 people were killed and at least 7 people injured when a man opened fire using an AR-15 style weapon (a lightweight semi-automatic rifle considered to be the “weapon of choice” for mass shooters). Local police chief Brian Harvey said an officer was at the scene on another matter – he heard the shots, rushed towards them, and killed the gunman. Republican Governor Greg Abbott called the attack an “unspeakable tragedy”. Last week, he was under pressure over the state’s loose gun laws after 5 people were shot and killed in their home by a neighbour. Taking a different approach is Serbia after 2 separate mass shootings last week killed 17 people. President Aleksandar Vučić has vowed to implement Australian-style gun laws to disarm the country, which has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world.

World News

Trump’s latest legal case winds up

The civil case between former US President Donald Trump and magazine columnist E Jean Carroll will see the jury retire to consider its decision this week – but not before a couple of questions are settled. Trump hasn’t testified yet, and he has until early this morning (our time) to decide if he will. After that, both sides will deliver their closing arguments on Monday local time and then it’s over to the jury…  It’s a battery and defamation case – Carroll says Trump assaulted her in a department store change room in the mid-1990s and then defamed her when he denied her claim by calling her a “whack job” and “mentally sick”. Last week, Trump told reporters in Ireland that he would “probably attend” the trial because Carroll had “made a false accusation about me, and I have a judge who is extremely hostile.” Despite all that, a new poll shows Trump leading incumbent Joe Biden as next year’s presidential race gets out of the starting blocks.

World News

A COVID sigh of relief

The words ‘COVID’ and ‘positive development’ don’t usually go in the same sentence, but over the weekend the World Health Organization (WHO) ended the disease’s emergency declaration status. But WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quick to point out that the end of the emergency doesn’t mean the end of COVID… “The worst thing any country can do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about,” Dr. Tedros said. The ending of the emergency declaration was also a moment to reflect on the toll of COVID, which official records show has claimed more than 6.9 million lives. The WHO says the true figure is likely closer to 20 million dead. Australia has had over 11 million confirmed cases since the start of 2020, with 20,119 deaths.


A high-pressure recipe for success

Jock Zonfrillo’s TV family at Network Ten paid tribute to the celebrity chef on air last night following his sudden death at 46yo last week. A one-hour special preceded the debut of the latest season of Masterchef Australia featuring Zonfrillo as one of the 3 judges. His friend and fellow judge, Andy Allen, remembered Zonfrillo as “such a vulnerable person, and he really does just open up his emotions and there is no conversation too big or too small.” On the business side, industry insiders say Ten is hurting after delaying the start of the latest season of Masterchef. Due to start last Monday night, the decision was taken to pull it as a mark of respect. It’s an expensive show that costs the network about $40 million to put on each year, and it’s up against Nine’s LEGO Masters and Seven’s Farmer Wants a Wife, which are ratings success stories. And with Ten’s owner Paramount hosing down speculation it will dump the Aussie broadcaster, local executives want the cooking show to deliver good results this year. No pressure…

Australian News

Debriefing on the big coronation

Whether you weren’t ever onboard, turned up and bolted quicker than Prince Harry, or settled in for the full royal show, Prince Charles and Queen Camilla’s coronation was a lot… Unsurprisingly, one of the key talking points was how 3 key women performed on the day – that’s Camilla (who paid tribute to her 2 pooches on her gown), Princess Kate (who became an even more iconic fashion icon), and Penny Mordaunt (the politician who can sure hold a sword in style). An honourable mention goes to Princess Anne’s hat… Some fab photos that the BBC has put together into a gallery are here. The lengthy church service wasn’t the only event to mark the crowning – pop stars including Katy Perry and Lionel Ritchie headlined a coronation concert at Windsor overnight. Organisers say 20,000 attendees and 100 nations will get a look at it. For us antipodeans, Channel 7 will air a replay of the concert from 7.30pm AEST tonight.

World News

Apropos of nothing

New Zealand’s Maateiwarangi ‘The Beast’ Heta-Morris was beaten by Oz’s Lachlan ‘The Anvil’ Adair for the Oceanic Arm Wrestling Title on Saturday. But it’s not the hyper-masculine pursuit you might think – Adair says it’s a way to “unload of life’s stresses and troubles” and support each other as mates. Aww… 

Spoiler alert for 5 billion years from now: scientists have made the first observation of a planet being swallowed by a star, the likely fate of Earth. Star ZTF SLRN-2020’s degustation of a gas planet​ took 6-12 years and was followed by an outburst of light and a lingering stream of space dust. Sounds brutal… 

Why were hundreds of kilos of soggy pasta dumped along a riverbank in New Jersey? According to locals, the mystery pasta mounds came from a cleanout of a huge pandemic stockpile of pasta leaving some to ask if the perp would be going to penne-tentiary…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

10.00am (AEST) – 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards – broadcast on MTV

ABS Data Release – Building Approvals, March

Company Results – Westpac

Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War

World Ovarian Cancer Day

World Red Cross Day

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show starts – New York

A birthday for David Attenborough (1926)

Anniversary of:
• the first Westminster Dog Show (1877)
• Coca-Cola sold publicly for the first time at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia – cocaine and all… (1886)
• VE Day: World War II ends in Europe after Nazi Germany formally surrenders (1945)
• The Beatles releasing their final album Let It Be (1970)
• the World Health Organization announcing the eradication of smallpox (1980)

Squiz the Day

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