Squiz Today / 16 March 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 16 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

Great with a morning trot outside.

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“A potential new eating occasion”

Is what food trend expert Nicholas Fereday says one US cereal brand is trying to create with a new range of ‘bedtime cereals’ that claim to give consumers a better night’s sleep. It’s the industry’s latest attempt to establish a 4th meal of the day – they must have missed the memo about dessert…

Vintage Keating goes nuclear

Paul Keating – the former prime minister considered by Labor as one of its giants – has unleashed a withering take-down of his side of politics’ handling of the new AUKUS submarine deal, calling it the “worst international decision by an Australian Labor government” since military conscription in WWI. He’s outlined his detailed argument on why he thinks the subs deal is a bad move in a 9-page public statement. But yesterday’s televised address was one for the ages…

Keating delivered so many zingers that it’d almost be easier to list what/who wasn’t criticised, but to the big themes:

• He said Australia has got it badly wrong in judging China’s intentions. “China is a lonely state. That’s the truth of it,” he said. “We have a continent of our own. A border with no one. No border disputes with them. Perfect! No, no, we’ve manufactured a problem.”

• Asked why he’s sure that China isn’t a military threat to Australia, he responded “because I’ve got a brain”, and labelled the question “so dumb it’s hardly worth an answer”.

• The former PM is not a fan of our AUKUS partners… US President Joe Biden can “hardly keep 3 coherent sentences together”, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is “deeply pathetic”. He says our participation in the alliance is shortsighted because it shuns Asia for “security in and within the Anglosphere”.

• He singled out Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s performance, saying the duo have allowed the military to dictate our foreign policy. “Running around the Pacific Islands with a lei around your neck handing out money, which is what Penny does, is not foreign policy,” he said.

• And asked about China’s poor human rights record, he cited the plight of Indigenous Australians, saying we don’t have much of a leg to stand on when it comes to “reaching down to the social entrails of these states”.

Keating’s outlined the main arguments against AUKUS – that it’s misguided and an epic waste of money – or, as he put it, “the worst deal in all history”. As for the strategic reasoning behind the deal, Keating blasted “provocative” media reports that have talked up the risk of war with China – a threat he says is non-existent. This morning, Nine’s newspapers defended their recent series. And while we haven’t had a response from PM Anthony Albanese or Penny Wong, Richard Marles fronted up on ABC TV’s 7.30 last night where he defended the deal but refused to take Keating on, saying “you won’t hear a bad word from us about him”. As for Coalition leader Peter Dutton, he wants Albanese to rebuke Keating’s “unhinged comments”. Himself a former Defence minister, he offered support, saying the government “should be taking the advice of the military and intelligence chiefs”.

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Save up for your next power bill…

The electricity bills of hundreds of thousands of households in Australia’s biggest energy market are set to surge by up to 30% this year, according to the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) draft decision on benchmark energy prices. Every new financial year, the regulator updates its ‘default market offer’ (DMO) – a cap on the price energy retailers can charge existing customers. It was a big thing last year when the regulator lifted the DMO by 18.3% thanks to soaring coal and gas prices. And from this July, Aussies are set for more bill shock, with prices set to rise by up to 22% in NSW, South Oz and Queensland, and up to 30% in Victoria. Regulator Clare Savage says things could have been a lot worse – the DMO was set to rise between 40-50% if the federal government hadn’t intervened in the market last year. The AER will announce its final decision in May, but maybe start putting some funds aside now…

Australian News Business & Finance

Sobering new violence data

At least 8 million Aussies aged over 18yo – that’s 2 in 5 people – have experienced physical or sexual violence since turning 15yo, the Bureau of Statistics’ latest personal safety data has revealed. Between 2021-22, 12,000 men and women were surveyed about their experiences of violence. One in 5 women (22%) reported experiencing sexual violence, and 16% reported economic abuse from a partner they lived with. And 42% of men reported experiencing physical violence, while 6.1% reported experiencing sexual violence. One unexpected survey finding was a drop in sexual assault rates over the 12 months for women (12.6%, down from 17.3% in 2016) and men (4.5%, down from 9.3%). Experts were expecting a rise during the pandemic but say it’s too early to tell what caused the decline and whether it will become a trend.  

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Australian News Crime

A new intelligence on the block

Four months after ChatGPT blew our minds and started a tech industry scramble for AI superiority, there’s an update. OpenAI, the San Francisco tech start-up behind the famous chatbot, has released the much-anticipated GPT-4, and the new model is said to be more precise, better at reasoning, and less prone to “hallucinations” (aka when AI bots spew up random/incorrect information). GPT-4 can also make sense of images: for example, when shown a photo of the inside of a fridge, it can suggest meal options based on the ingredients inside. Or it can explain memes if you’re struggling to understand why Andrew Garfield is trending following the Oscars… Oh, and they say GPT-4 can write better jokes, so if the robot apocalypse comes, at least we’ll get a laugh. The update is already being used by some of OpenAI’s commercial partners and is available to users of ChatGPT Plus, the paid-for version of the ChatGPT chatbot.


A noggin safety upgrade for the NRL

Not to be outdone in the eternal ‘which code is superior?’ argument, the NRL announced new rules around player concussions a day after the AFL updated its medical guidelines. NRL players will also have to wait 11 days after a concussion before being allowed back on the field. “There is no greater priority for us than player safety,” said league chairman Peter V’landys. The new rule – in effect from today – will mean that concussed players will miss at least one game. And for the AFL inclined, you probably already know that the season kicks off tonight, with Richmond playing Carlton their traditional season opener at the MCG. Punters are tipping a Melbourne, Brisbane or Geelong premiership, and there’s pretty consistent agreement that Hawthorn is in for a stinker of a season with its young/inexperienced lineup and continuing fallout from last year’s racism row. May the best team win…

Health Sport

Nerds cash out

Are we all stamp geeks now? A new survey from eBay found that 28% of roughly 3,700 consumers see themselves as collectors – and they’re going after pop culture items like Lego, handbags, and playing cards… which might just be making them some cash. An almost-mint 1999 Pokémon card was going for roughly $300 a few years ago – but last year, the average price was (ahem…) $2,400. The price of an Hermès Kelly handbag has apparently jumped by 285% over a similar 3-year period. eBay Australia boss David Ramadge said that collectors are bucking the penny-pinching trends being picked up on the rest of eBay, where cost-of-living pressures have meant buyers are slowing up on everyday purchases. Maybe we could afford that new TV if we could just dig out our old Lego sets…

Culture Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

A new survey has found 54% of working adults reckon they won’t ever be in their dream job, while 46% say their dream job doesn’t exist. We asked the Squiz team what they thought, and they said the dream job does exist, so all those people are absolutely wrong…

Hospital food isn’t usually synonymous with an enjoyable meal, but a hospital in Belgium has become the first to be recognised by French restaurant guide Gault & Millau for the quality of its food. They might have to start taking reservations….

And speaking of prestigious accolades, a $26 bottle of cardonnay from South Oz winery Taylor’s has been named the best Aussie drop at the Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards in Germany. And that’s not a typo – the ‘h’ is silent

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

1.00pm (AEDT) – Treasurer Jim Chalmers to deliver a major address to the Queensland business community at a CEDA event – Brisbane

7.20pm (AEDT) – AFL Season Opener – Richmond v Carlton – Melbourne

7.30pm (AEDT) – Women’s Basketball – WNBL Semi-Final Game 3 – Townsville Fire v Perth Lynx – Townsville

Final meeting of the Indigenous voice referendum working group before legislation is introduced to federal parliament

National Close The Gap Day

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, February

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr gives his State of the Territory address – Canberra

Anniversary of:
• the My Lai massacre, which saw US soldiers kill unarmed Vietnamese citizens during the Vietnam War (1968)
• American figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice over a plot to seriously injure her rival Nancy Kerrigan (1994)
• the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council (2005)
• the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling by 2,997.10, the single largest point drop in history (2020)

Squiz the Day

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