Squiz Today / 02 June 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 2 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings


Is the texting Jill and Joe Biden do when they’re fighting and don’t want to have words in front of their Secret Service agents. The downside: the President’s messages are officially logged for the record…

Positioning for interesting economic times

Australia’s economic growth rose to an annual rate of 3.3% in the January-March quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. That’s despite the Omicron wave and flooding on the east coast, and it’s better than economists were expecting. Note: it’s not as strong as the 4.2% growth rate we set in October-December, but that was driven by Sydneysiders and Melburnians shaking off the lockdowns of mid last year. And not taking a glass-half-full attitude to the update – Australia’s new Treasurer Jim Chalmers.

He said he was happy to see the “pleasing” demand in the economy (aka we’re out and about buying stuff) and tight labour market (aka pretty much anyone who wants a job has one). But… he says he’s focused on “skyrocketing” inflation, the “spike” in energy and fuel prices, falling real wages, interest rate hikes and $1 trillion in government debt. So yeah, he’s got a few things on his plate… He also says when you dig into the detail, the data released yesterday shows consumption, investment, and exports are weaker than the Coalition forecast before the election. “These national accounts are a glimpse of the mess that the former government left behind for us to clean up,” Chalmers said.

There’s no need to head for the hills and go off-grid just yet… Pundits say there’s a bit of grandstanding going on because it’s New Government 101 to talk down what your predecessors left you. That way, if things improve, you’re a genius – and if they get worse, well, we told you things were bad and it’s all their fault… But it’s also undeniable that there are several economic challenges that Team Albanese are about to face – none of them is easy to fix, and many are outside the control of the government. Like soaring global energy and food prices thanks to the war in Ukraine. And like soaring inflation thanks to high energy prices, a workforce that’s still navigating a pandemic, and global supply chain issues. And with national home prices falling for the first time in almost a couple of years and ‘repayment shock’ about to set in for many mortgage holders, there are a lot of expectations for the new government to manage…

Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

A verdict in the Depp-Heard trial

The jury found Heard defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed – she didn’t name him but wrote about being “a public figure representing domestic abuse”. That statement was false, malicious, and specifically referenced her relationship with Depp. As for compensation, Depp was looking for $50 million but has been awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The jury also found Depp’s lawyer defamed Heard on one count of 3, and she’s been awarded $2 million in compensatory damages. Heard had countersued Depp for $100 million, and she’s tweeted that she’s “heartbroken” by the decision.

Entertainment World News

Feeling the energy crunch

Sky-high wholesale energy costs are set to increase further next month, leading experts to warn that Australia is on the edge of a crisis that will further squeeze household budgets and kill off many energy retailers. Generating electricity has become a lot more expensive in recent months with the prices of coal and gas spiking (as we’ve just talked about…), along with our own network and supply issues. One of Australia’s biggest energy suppliers Origin was forced to downgrade its earnings forecast yesterday due to a shortage of coal at its massive Eraring plant in NSW – a situation expected to persist into 2023. There are also concerns that a gas shortage could be set to bite industry. And with wholesale energy costs regularly outstripping retail prices, smaller retailers and their customers are feeling the crunch. ReAmped is one that bowed out this week, telling its 80,000 customers to look elsewhere for their electricity.

Business & Finance

What’s happening with the Senate?

We know your group chat has been buzzing with that very question… Based on current trends, the Coalition is set to have 33 senators making it the biggest party in the 76-seat upper house. That’s not a majority, so they can’t obstruct Labour’s legislative agenda unless they can get support from crossbench senators. Labor is likely to have 26 seats, and the Greens are coming in hot with 12. You can’t assume they will always vote together, but when they do, their combined 38 is one vote short of a majority. There’s still a bit to shake out, but the ACT’s David Pocock and Tassie’s Jacqui Lambie and her former staffer Tammy Tyrrell will be highly courted. And we still don’t know if Pauline Hanson is over the line in Queensland. Contrary to popular belief, there’s never a dull moment in the Senate…

AusPol Election 22

15,000 war crimes reported in Ukraine

That’s according to Ukraine’s chief prosecutor Iryna Venediktova. She says 200-300 alleged war crimes have been reported daily since the war began in February, with accusations levelled against Russian forces, including torture and killing civilians. About 600 suspects have been identified – including “top military, politicians and propaganda agents of Russia” – and 80 prosecutions have begun. The first Russian soldier was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a civilian last week, and 2 more were handed lengthy jail sentences this week. The International Criminal Court has sent a record number of investigators into Ukraine to help gather evidence, although authorities have struggled to access Russian-held areas in the east. Russia denies any involvement in war crimes. Meanwhile, US officials say Russia’s efforts to capture eastern Ukraine are losing steam. Not helping the Kremlin’s cause are the new precision rockets that have just been sent to Ukraine by the US.

Crime World News

The UK gets set to Jubilee

Or, as the locals are calling it, the Platty Joobs… The 4-day long weekend celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign kick off in the UK today. There are many events on offer, but the festivities will officially open with the annual Trooping the Colour event to mark the Queen’s official birthday, including a parade, royal gun salute and military flypast before the royal family appears on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The 96yo monarch – the most popular British royal – is expected to attend some events, but it’s a day by day proposition thanks to recent mobility issues. And of course, what’s a royal milestone without a bit of merch, including from Maccas, which has gone all out. Aussies keen to watch the Trooping the Colour live tonight can tune into Seven from 8.30pm. Or, if you’d prefer a walk down memory lane with the Queen, go no further than here.

World News

Apropos of Nothing

The megalodon – the whopping big shark that became extinct 3 million years ago – likely lost a food fight with the great white shark. Both enjoyed feasting on whales, dolphins and porpoises, but you’ve gotta eat a lot more of ‘em when you’re 18m long and weigh 60 tonnes…

Shark Bay, a World Heritage Site in the Gascoyne region of Western Oz, is home to what scientists think is the biggest plant anywhere in the world. The single 4,500-year-old seagrass covers about 200km2, and it has “completely stumped” researchers who surveyed the area.

Speaking of fabulous flora, South Australia’s Ghost Mushroom Lane near Mount Gambier has been lit up with bioluminescent mushies after some recent rain. And as trippy as heading into a pine forest at night to look at glowing fungus is, it gets funkier with experts telling those interested to “watch the moon cycles” to go on the darkest nights in the coming weeks.

Environment & Science Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.30pm (AEST) – the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 4-day long weekend celebrations begin with the Trooping the Colour ceremony – live on Seven

South Australian government releases its 2022-23 Budget

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, April

Foundation of the Republic Day – Italy

A birthday for Steve Smith, former Aussie cricket captain (1989)

Anniversary of:
• Alexander Graham Bell making first sound transmission (1875)
• Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in Westminster Abbey (1953)
• Timothy McVeigh being found guilty of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 (1997)
• the birthdays of explorer William Lawson (1774) and author Thomas Hardy (1840)

Squiz the Day

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