Squiz Today / 15 December 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 15 December

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Squiz Today Podcast

Coffee queue appropriate. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

14 / 24
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Squiz Sayings


Is how some foreigners think Aussies pronounce the word ‘no’. It’s become a huge meme on TikTok, with Americans in particular ‘enjoying’ the way we say it. Apparently some of us stretch the ‘o’ vowel into 3 distinct sounds. Talented bunch, aren’t we…

Energy bill to light up

Federal Parliament meets today to turn the plan to ease the sting of power price increases in 2023 into law. Yesterday, the Albanese Government secured the support it needs from the Greens to pass the bill. But it didn’t come easy… At the start of the week, the Greens weren’t on board over concerns that coal mining/gas extraction companies will receive compensation. But to sweeten the deal, the government’s agreed to provide financial support to people with gas appliances to switch to electric in their homes in next year’s budget. But today, the legislation being considered will see the federal government cap wholesale gas prices at $12/gigajoule (note: prices are currently about $13-$22) – and in a quirk of our gloriously complex Commonwealth-state relations, NSW and Queensland’s parliaments will need to cap coal prices at $125/tonne. It’s all designed to take $230 off household electricity bills next year. 

Yeah, naur… Independent Senator David Pocock says he’ll support the bill, although he’s still not pleased that companies like Shell and BHP will receive compensation. But Energy Minister Chris Bowen says “difficult times” need “decisive action”, and the government has worked “across the aisle with people of good faith and goodwill for a good outcome”. That aisle doesn’t reach the Coalition, though… Leader Peter Dutton says wholesale price caps will drive up power prices because gas companies will restrict their supply to the Aussie market, preferring to get better prices elsewhere. “If you’re going to take more gas out of the market at a time of increasing demand, you’re going to see an increase in prices” – something he says is “entirely predictable”.

Glad you asked. The industry made comments in line with Dutton’s, warning today’s legislation will undermine investment, reduce supply and drive up power prices. There are reports that Shell’s put the brakes on taking part in a major gas deal to prevent shortfalls along the east coast next year as it waits to see what the legislation does to the industry, and that could spell trouble for those who like to keep their lights on/businesses working. For his part, PM Anthony Albanese seems a bit meh… He reckons gas companies are “jumping at shadows” and that there won’t be “a negative impact on investment.” As they say in the classics, there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip, so let’s see what plays out in Canberra today. 


Squiz the Rest

Morrison in the hotseat

Former PM Scott Morrison has been scrutinised at the Robodebt Royal Commission over the scheme to recover excessive welfare payments. Morrison has a front-row seat in the scandal because he was Social Services Minister when it was introduced in 2015, and PM when it was scrapped in 2019 when it was found to be unlawful. The issue for Morrison is whether he knew the legality of the scheme was in doubt, which he denies. But on Tuesday, former Human Services Minister Marise Payne said she knew the legislation needed to be changed for it to operate legally but wasn’t sure why Morrison didn’t know. The automated system wrongly recovered over $1.73 billion from 400,000 people, some of whom have harrowing stories of being hounded for debts. It ultimately cost the government $1.8 billion in written-off debts and compensation paid to victims. The hearings will continue until March, with Royal Commissioner Catherine Holmes due to produce a final report by 18 April 2023.


A twist in the Train family

As the nation comes to terms with what happened in Wieambilla on Monday, Queensland detectives are investigating whether a missing persons report on Nathanial Train was used to lure police to the property. Constables Rachel McCrow and Matthew Arnold were shot dead, along with neighbour Alan Dare, allegedly by Nathaniel, his brother Gareth, and his wife, Stacey. And more information about the trio has emerged, including that Stacey was previously married to Nathaniel. Constable Randall Kirk, the 28yo officer who had surgery after being shot in the leg, says he and his pregnant fiancée have been “overwhelmed by the messages of support”. Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says it’s a “miracle” he and 28yo Constable Keely Brough survived the ambush. Brough had only been on the force for 8 weeks, and Carroll says she may never “quite get over” the killings. 

Australian News Crime

Young Kiwis can’t get lit

New Zealand’s Government has passed some of the strictest smoking laws in the world that ban future generations from taking up the habit. The legislation forbids the sale of tobacco to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009, punishable by fines up to $95,910. It also reduces the amount of nicotine allowed and will slash the number of tobacco retailers from 6,000 to 600 by the end of 2023. Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall says, “people will live longer, healthier lives”, and the health system will save billions. And the move will particularly help ​​Māori people, who are nearly 3 times as likely to smoke. It’s part of a push to make the country “smoke-free” by 2025, but critics say it will encourage a black market. The restrictions will not apply to vape products, which are as popular there as they are around the world, especially with young people.

Health World News

Second ain’t so bad

Elon Musk is officially the world’s 2nd-richest person after he was overtaken by Bernard Arnault, the boss of French luxury giant LVMH. According to Forbes, Arnault and his family – who own almost half of the conglomerate that houses brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Moët & Chandon – knocked the Twitter boss off his perch with his net worth clocking in at US$186.6 billion compared to Musk’s US$176.8 billion. Musk had been sitting in the top spot since overtaking Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in September 2021, but his net worth – which was once valued as high as US$340 billion – dropped by US$100 billion this year and fell below US$200 billion last month when Tesla investors got nervous about the many-hatted CEO’s preoccupation with Twitter. And look, they’re not exactly wrong

Business & Finance

Language puritans, look away now…

The latest edition of The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary has arrived, featuring 500 new words that are already causing divisions between orthodox wordsmiths and those keen to win the game at any cost. The last official Scrabble dictionary was published in 2018, and a few terms have become popular since then… Many are derived from slang of the yoof, including ‘adorbs’ (adorable), ‘bae’ (baby), ‘inspo’ (inspiration), ‘amirite’ (am I right?), and ‘vibing’ (feeling good). Other additions from the cultural lexicon include ‘hangry’, ‘guac’ and ‘zoodle’, as well as the internet-inspired ‘deepfake’, ‘unfollow’, and ‘autofill’. Word aficionado David Astle says the new list “signals how omnivorous our language has become”, with English constantly evolving thanks to influences ranging from text talk to foreign languages and cultures. While that may be true, we’re still not sure 2006’s addition of ‘za’ – short for pizza – was ever a thing people said or a conspiracy to get an easy 11 points… 


Apropos of Nothing

A population of epaulette sharks have been discovered off the Queensland coast – and they can walk on the ocean floor and on land. Scientists say they’re “genetically unique”, which is fin-tastic… 

The world’s only nonuplets – 9 babies born at the same time – have finally returned home to Mali after receiving treatment in Morocco. The mum of the 1yo bubs holds the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered in a single birth to survive. Deserved… 

And Harry & Meghan has broken the record for Netflix’s biggest documentary debut after its first 3 episodes clocked 81.55 million viewing hours worldwide in its first week. The final 3 episodes drop tonight, and you can watch the much-discussed trailer here.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.00am (AEDT) – Soccer – FIFA World Cup Semi-Finals – France v Morocco – Qatar

4.30pm (AEDT) – A state memorial service is held for Uncle Archie Roach – Melbourne

7.00pm (AEDT) – Final 3 episodes of Harry & Meghan premiere on Netflix

Federal MPs return to Canberra to deal with the energy plan for one final sitting day for 2022

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, November

Company AGM – ANZ

HSC results released

AFL – Essendon AGM

Avatar: The Way of Water premieres in Aussie cinemas

Anniversary of:
• the premiere of Gone with the Wind (1939)
• the Soviet Union’s Venera 7 becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet (Venus) (1970)
• the deaths of musician and composer Glenn Miller (1944), animator and producer Walt Disney (1966) and actress Joan Fontaine (2013)

And it’s 10 days until Christmas…

Squiz the Day

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