Squiz Today / 14 September 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 14 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Your rundown for on-the-run mornings. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

SYD
10 / 23
MEL
12 / 24
BNE
13 / 24
ADL
16 / 28
PER
11 / 20
HBA
10 / 22
DRW
22 / 34
CBR
3 / 25

Squiz Sayings

“You would go from being terrified to relieved as they kept going from one obstacle to another.”

Is how Melbourne man Eli Landes described his chaotic 3km trek across the city escorting a family of ducks to a creek. It was a nail-biting journey as the motley crew waddled across major roads, train lines, a drive-thru, and an off-lead dog park…

A High Court tailspin for Qantas…

THE SQUIZ
A difficult time worsened for Qantas yesterday when the High Court backed a Federal Court ruling that the airline illegally outsourced nearly 1,700 jobs – mostly baggage handlers – at 10 airports during the pandemic. Qantas had already lost the case twice in the Federal Court and launched a last-ditch attempt in May 2022 to appeal the finding, but the 7 High Court justices unanimously rejected the attempt yesterday. That forced the airline to apologise to its workers, who now have a clear path to seek what some reports say could add up to more than $200 million in compensation.

BACK IT UP A BIT…
Gladly. The backstory is that Qantas dismissed the baggage handlers, cleaners and other ground staff in November 2020 after a 90% plummet in business thanks to COVID restrictions. At the time, the national carrier said the lay-offs were required to keep the company afloat – something it repeated in its statement yesterday – and contracted several multinational companies to carry out the work. But the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) accused the airline of removing those staff to head off industrial action in upcoming wage negotiations – and the union said that was a breach of the Fair Work Act. The courts agreed, and the case is now the biggest example of unfair dismissal in Australia’s history. And we probably don’t have to remind you, customers have been pretty grumpy with Qantas – think missing bags and cancelled/delayed flights… Those are linked to the airline’s contracted workforce.

SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
It adds to the growing list of problems new Qantas boss Vanessa Hudson has to deal with… Yesterday, TWU national secretary Michael Kaine urged her to expedite compensation for workers “so that they can get some justice and solace for themselves and their families”. Aside from that payout (which will likely have to be worked out in court), Qantas is also facing a class action over its failure to offer customer refunds during the pandemic, and there’s legal action launched by the ACCC over selling tickets for cancelled flights. Yesterday’s development hasn’t done anything to ease calls for Qantas chairman Richard Goyder and other board members to follow former boss Alan Joyce out the door…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

A referendum brawl

Today makes a month until Australians have their say on the Voice – and it’s fair to say the campaign is getting pretty fraught… Prominent ‘Yes’ campaigner Professor Marcia Langton is seeking legal advice over a social media post from Coalition leader Peter Dutton, which she says misquotes her. Langton was at an event in Western Australia over the weekend and talked about the arguments of the ‘No’ cases coming down to “base racism” or “sheer stupidity”. She insists she wasn’t talking about voters themselves but the ‘No’ campaign tactics. The episode dominated Question Time in Federal Parliament yesterday with Dutton calling the Voice “a disaster dividing families and our nation” while Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said “no claim is too outlandish, no claim is too sinister” for Dutton. The ‘Yes’ campaign will be hoping for better headlines today with the Long Walk arriving at Parliament House in Canberra today…

Want a calmer/gentler place to learn about the Voice to Parliament referendum? Our Ask the Squiz series is answering your burning questions.

Australian News

When Kim met Vlad

Two of the world’s most controversial leaders had their face-to-face meeting yesterday – and reclusive North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is already back on his train heading for home. Almost 2 hours of talks happened yesterday at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s far east where Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his visitor a tour of his rocket launch site. Going straight for the big guns, Kim asked questions about the size and power of the “largest rocket”. Putin said they discussed “possibilities” for military cooperation and that Russia will help North Korea develop satellites after a couple of failed launches this year. But both sides denied American officials’ claims that the talks were about Russia buying ammunition for its war on Ukraine, but Kim said he would “always support the decisions of President Putin and the Russian leadership”. And after the talks came the food

World News

Iran sweeps it under the rug

This week is the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by Iran’s morality police, which led to massive protests across the Islamic country before violent security crackdowns. Human rights groups within Iran estimate that at least 500 protesters were killed in that crackdown. With the actual anniversary just days away – 16 September is the official date – Iran’s religious authorities have been trying to head off any resurgence of protests. More police are on the streets of Tehran, there have been rolling internet outages, and pro-demonstration university professors have been fired. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently blamed Western countries for the uprising and said that any future instability would have a “big cost”. Speaking of the costs, the Aussie Government yesterday announced new sanctions on senior Iranian police and state media.

If you need a refresher on what happened to Mahsa Amini and how it sparked a massive protest movement in Iran, our Squiz Shortcut has you sorted.

World News

Serena wants her Wimbledon

Given it’s a civilised sport that attracts a well-heeled crowd, it’s fair to say a doping scandal has rocked the world of tennis. Serena Williams claims she was robbed of an eighth Wimbledon title after her former rival Simona Halep was found guilty of blood doping and banned for 4 years. Williams was beaten by Halep back in 2019 – but if she’d won that match, she would have drawn level with Aussie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles. That’s a record men’s player Novak Djokovic just equalled with his win at the US Open on Monday… There’s no evidence Halep was doping that long ago – her positive test was at the US Open last year. But Williams ain’t shy in letting the world know what she thinks of the whole thing… For her part, Halep is appealing the ban – but the International Tennis Integrity Agency says the results aren’t a mistake.

Sport

That’s a lot of Moon Men…

Perhaps it’s unsurprising that one US media outlet is hiring a ‘Taylor Swift reporter’ because the woman generates endless headlines… And if there was a reporter in place right now, they would have been rushed off their feet after Swift made history again, taking home 9 Moon Men trophies (one of them presented by a briefly reunited NSYNC) at yesterday’s MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). That equalled the record for the most gongs in one year, with the nods including Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for Midnights, and Video of the Year/Song of the Year for Anti-Hero. It takes Swift’s VMA awards total to 23, putting her just behind Beyoncé’s 26. As for the other winners, pop star Shakira overcame lip-syncing whispers to become the first South American to win the coveted Video Vanguard Award. And oh ok, here’s the red carpet gallery

Entertainment

Apropos of nothing

Speaking of musical prodigies, a new Aussie study has found that the palm cockatoo designs their own ‘drumsticks’. It’s a rare/funny-lookin’ bird from Far North Queensland that has been compared to Beatles drummer Ringo Starr for its drumming abilities. Rock on…

Music streamer Spotify has denied claims that users can listen to their own uploaded tracks on repeat to generate monthly royalties. “If that were true, my own playlist would just be ‘Daniel’s 30-second Jam’ on repeat!” CEO Daniel Ek said.

Carry-on travel enthusiasts will be thrilled to hear that Japan Airlines is trialling a new clothes rental initiative to save its passengers from lugging a suitcase around. After pre-booking the items they want, customers receive them upon arrival and return them on their departure. Farewell, post-holiday laundry…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, August; National, state and territory population March

Start of the 2023 Australian Strategic Policy Institute conference (until 15 September) – Canberra

Start of the Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit – Sydney (until 15 September)

R U OK? Day

A Haunting in Venice premieres in Aussie cinemas

Anniversary of:
• Amy Winehouse’s birthday (1983)
• Francis Scott Key penning the poem that would later become known as The Star-Spangled Banner, the US national anthem (1814)
• the debut of The Golden Girls (1985)
• the deaths of Princess Grace of Monaco (1982) and actor Patrick Swayze (2009)
• Malcolm Turnbull ousting Tony Abbott as PM and leader of the Liberal Party (2015)

Friday
5.00am (AEST) Vogue World event begins – London

Squiz the Day

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