Squiz Today / 19 April 2018

Squiz Today – Thursday, 19 April


"She wanted to be the envy of others. I doubt she is now.”

Said Judge Kate Traill while sentencing Canadian Instagram fanatic/drug mule Melina Roberge to eight years in jail for attempting to smuggle 30kg of cocaine into Australia. Roberge blamed her actions on a desire to take selfies in exotic locations. Hashtag Judge Traill was not impressed…


The aged care sector will get a new safety watchdog and roving response units following a number of recent cases of elder abuse and negligence. Federal Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the reforms would ensure the 1.3 million Aussies in aged care homes receive a better standard of care by establishing:

• A new national independent Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to provide a one-stop shop for complaints, regulation and compliance checks.

• And a new ratings website where aged care homes will be transparently benchmarked by their quality of care and complaint rates.

There were three prominent recent failures that forced these changes:

• A couple of months ago, the government disbanded the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency after it failed to detect and act on the systemic abuse occurring in Adelaide’s Oakden aged care facility. Cases of neglect, abuse, and the potential contribution to the death of a patient occurred at the South Australian government-run facility, which has closed.

• Incidents of abuse also occurred in Melbourne’s Allambee Nursing Home last year with reports likening the facility to Guantanamo Bay.

• And a facility in Victoria’s Wangaratta was criticised for not better managing and reporting a high number of flu-related deaths last year.

Sunshine is the greatest disinfectant and increased transparency is the government’s promise with these reforms. The Council on the Ageing welcomed the "better monitoring and enforcement" of aged care regulations. But Labor leader Bill Shorten wasn’t as enthusiastic. "It is too little too late," he said. The reforms come into force on 1 January next year.


It's now believed that Australian man Ahmed Merhi was arrested in Iraq with his relative/Islamic State commander Tarek Khayat at the start of the year. The men are thought to be involved in last year’s plot to bring down a flight leaving Sydney with a bomb disguised in a meat grinder. It’s also believed they were in contact with an IS cell in Oz that was involved in the murder of Sydney police accountant Curtis Cheng in 2015. Defence Minister Marise Payne yesterday confirmed that an Australian had been arrested but would not confirm the details.


CIA DIRECTOR MEETS KIM – In fact, Mike Pompeo (the man US President Donald Trump has tapped to be his Secretary of State) spent his Easter in North Korea as an envoy before the leaders’ meeting in June to discuss denuclearisation. Pompeo said last week that he was confident that a diplomatic solution would be found.

PEACE IN OUR TIME? – In another sign that the thaw is on, South Korea yesterday said it would consider a peace treaty with its neighbour after the nukes are taken out of the equation. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in will meet Kim Jong Un next week, which is a huge step. The countries have technically been at war since the 1950s.

KIM’S WIFE GETS A PROMOTION – ‘Comrade’ has been the term used for the wife of North Korea’s leader for the last 40 years. So it was a promotion for Ri Sol Ju, Kim’s wife when she was referred to as ‘respected First Lady’ by North Korean media this week. Pundits say Ri’s elevation is improving the first family's image.

Treasurer Scott Morrison yesterday drove home the potential consequences of AMP’s admissions of misleading corporate regulator ASIC about the ‘fee-for-no-service’ scandal. "This type of behaviour can attract penalties which include jail time. That's how serious these things are,” he said. The Commonwealth Bank was in the Commission’s sights yesterday. Counsel assisting the hearing called our biggest bank a "gold medal winner" for charging clients fees for no services. An award it would probably prefer to miss out on. The hearings continue…

But let’s not get carried away just yet. The International Monetary Fund’s latest report says our rate of economic growth will improve from 2.3% last year to 3% in 2018, improving to 3.1% in 2019. The government’s target is at least 3% for the budget’s future estimates to add up. But we’d never look a gift bird in the hand so we’ll take it.

First lady, first mom. Known for her grey hair, pearls, warm-heartedness and a cracking good sense of humour, Barbara Bush died yesterday aged 92yo. She was the matriarch of the political dynasty she and husband George HW Bush (former US Vice President and President from 1989-1993) built. And, of course, eldest son George W Bush was President from 2001-09. The couple had six children, but tragedy struck the family early with the death of their eldest daughter Robin from leukaemia at 3yo. Our favourite story about her has to do with broccoli. Read this first, then watch this. By all accounts, she was a terrific lady.

And while we have you… Sad news for the Queen this week. Her beloved corgi Willow has died at almost 15yo. Willow was the last of a long line of descendants of Susan, the corgi HRH was given on her 18th birthday by her parents in 1944. The Queen still has two dorgis (a dachshund/corgi mix) named Vulcan and Candy (who sound like Gladiator characters, but each to their own…).


12.30pm (AEST) - Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister, will address the National Press Club - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Labour Force, March

Cuban President Raul Castro steps down. It will mark the first time since 1961 that the country is without a Castro at the helm

Anniversary of British explorer Captain James Cook first sighting Australia (1770)

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