Squiz Today / 18 November 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 18 November

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Squiz Today Podcast

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“A once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Is how the real estate agent marketed a home in Melbourne’s Hawthorn that has a tonne of history, but no kitchen or bathroom. Also described as “the ultimate fixer-upper”, comedian/podcaster Andy Lee has snapped it up for $8.5 million. Must be nice…

A pandemic power play in Victoria

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ push for new laws that will change who has the power to declare a pandemic and make public health orders has become ugly. Long story short, the plan is to shift the responsibility from the chief health officer to the premier/health minister. Negotiations with crossbenchers this week have brought about a changes to fines for rule-breakers and reporting timelines, but that’s not been enough to win the broad support of the parliament and some significant stakeholders. As a result, it’s predicted that protests outside Melbourne’s Parliament House could get worse.

Victoria is heading towards 90% of the people aged over 12yo being fully vaxxed, and more restrictions are set to be eased. Note: the current State of Emergency expires on 15 December. And what’s being debated in the parliament sets up a new arrangement for lockdowns, mandatory mask-wearing, and vaccine mandates with elected officials making the call. It’s a super divisive move by Andrews… On one side is the #IStandWithDan crowd (including wife Catherine), who say it will improve accountability because any decision will need to be reported to the parliament. But others, including the state’s peak legal body, business sector, civil rights organisations, state Ombudsman and Coalition MPs, say the proposal lacks adequate checks and balances.

It’s not a certainty with under-a-cloud MP Adem Somyurek popping up last night to say that he will vote against the legislation. That makes it hard for Andrews to get the numbers, and the race is now on to hit that 15 December deadline. It also means protests are set to continue and potentially escalate. And it’s not just those who don’t like lockdowns or changes to executive powers who are demonstrating – reports this morning say neo-Nazi extremists are also involved. Andrews yesterday said that threats have been made against himself and his family – something that’s “not fine, it is awful.” Coalition leader Matthew Guy condemned the attacks on Andrews, but he maintains his staunch opposition to the legislation, saying they are “the most dangerous and controlling laws our state has ever seen.”


Squiz the Rest

A quick update on the William Tyrrell case

The rolling updates on the William Tyrrell case continue… Yesterday’s developments: his foster parents have been charged with the common assault of a child. They will fight the charges and say the child was injured in a fall from a horse, reports this morning say. An apprehended violence order was taken out against them by NSW Police, and William’s 11yo sister was removed from their care this week. Reports also say the children’s foster mother has emerged as the one person of interest in William’s disappearance in 2014. And there was confirmation police have seized a car that used to belong to the foster grandmother, who died last year. Police are said to acknowledge that what they have so far is insufficient to lay charges over William’s disappearance, and collecting more physical evidence is vital.


Craig Thomson charged in fake visa scheme

The former federal Labor MP and union official was charged yesterday over his alleged involvement in a fraudulent migration scheme. Described by Federal Police as the “prime facilitator”, Thomson’s accused of being part of a “cash for visas” rort that generated 130 fraudulent visa applications over 4 years. He’s said to have made $2 million from the scheme that left vulnerable foreign workers in the food services and regional farm work industries with fake documents. Best known for misusing funds from the Health Services Union via his spending on sex workers and his 2007 campaign for the NSW Central Coast seat of Dobell, Thomson was served with an apprehended domestic violence order to protect his wife last week.


Beijing Winter Games trickier than a mogul run…

If you’ve got an Olympic-sized hole in your life after the thrill of the Tokyo Summer Games, you don’t have long to wait… The Beijing Winter Games start on 4 February – but there are calls for a boycott over China’s human rights record. The hot button issue is the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region, where China says work camps are for “reeducation” while critics say they are for “brainwashing/ethnic cleansing”. The naysayers also reckon the Chinese Government will use the Games to “hide their abuses and to imply that the world approves”. That’s something weighing on the Biden administration, and there are reports that it could announce a “diplomatic boycott” that will see athletes compete, but American officials would not attend. Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there are “active conversations” about how to handle it. Watch this space…


Wages growth returning to normal

That’s according to the Bureau of Stats, which released its latest data yesterday. Despite multiple lockdowns in Oz this year, Aussie wages jumped by 2.2% in the year to September. Commentators say skills/staff shortages during the pandemic have seen many employers offer pay bumps to keep people on and attract new talent. Keep in mind that inflation hit the 10-year high of 3% in Oz in September, so wages haven’t risen as much as price hikes. Earlier this week, Reserve Bank Governor Dr Philip Lowe said he doesn’t expect inflation to become an issue as the post-COVID economy normalises, and interest rates are set to be kept at a record low of 0.1% for some time. So don’t hold your breath for a massive pay rise

Need a quick explainer on inflation and what it all means? There’s a Squiz Shortcut for that.

Business & Finance

The science of grandmotherly love

In the first study of its kind, researchers reckon grandmothers may be more emotionally connected to their grandchildren than to their own children. That wouldn’t come as a surprise to many parents… Researchers studied the brain functions of 50 grandmothers as they looked at photos of their family members and strangers. They found that when the women looked at images of their grandchildren, it triggered the areas of the brain associated with emotional empathy, which means they are “geared toward feeling what their grandchildren are feeling when they interact with them”. On the other hand, images of the women’s own children activated brain areas associated with cognitive empathy, which is when one understands rather than feels another person’s emotions. Nana always was a soft touch…

Environment & Science

Apropos of Nothing

Artworks by Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, and Jackson Pollock have sold for a record US$676 million in New York this week. Wealthy socialites Harry and Linda Macklowe were unable to agree on the collection’s value during their divorce proceedings, so under the hammer it went.

One man who does know the value of art is a British landlord who ripped out a wall in his building after graffiti artist Banksy left a mural of a child wielding a crowbar there. Life imitates art…

‘Strollout’ has been named the word of the year by the Australian National Dictionary Centre. Coined by ACTU boss Sally McManus to describe delays in Australia’s slow-starting COVID vaccination roll out, let’s just say it was received with quite a few ‘huh?’ reactions…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

Former Labor MP Craig Thomson appears in court on 30 charges of migration fraud – Gosford

Company Results – Aristocrat Leisure

Company AGM – Sonic Healthcare; BlueScope; Goodman Group; Medibank Private

World Philosophy Day

Birthdays for author Margaret Atwood (1939), Dr Who producer Steven Moffat (1961), actor Owen Wilson (1968), and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton (1970)

Anniversary of:
• the consecration of St. Peter’s Basilica (1626)
• Brooklyn toymaker Morris Michton naming the teddy bear after US President Teddy Roosevelt (1902)
• Mickey Mouse’s birthday – on the anniversary of the release of his first appearance in Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie (1928)
• the Jonestown Massacre when cult leader Jim Jones convinced more than 900 people to drink poison (1978)
• the release of One Direction’s debut album Up All Night and video game Minecraft (2011)

Squiz the Day

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