Squiz Today / 20 April 2017

Squiz Today – Thursday, 20 April


There will be an announcement today on the tightening of Australia’s citizenship test after PM Malcolm Turnbull flagged changes in a speech yesterday. Turnbull spoke about the importance of safeguarding the integrity of our migration process to ensure it has good ongoing public support. “Citizenship must be valued and we’re making changes so the practices and principles of those obtaining citizenship are consistent with our cultural values,” he said.

Well, currently someone wanting to become an Australian citizen has to sit a test and get 15 out of 20 questions correct. But there’s no limit on how many times you get to sit the tests, in fact, there’s apparently a bloke who was successful on his 48th attempt. Legend! Some say we should reward persistence, not penalise it with restrictions. Others say we need migrants to demonstrate their commitment to join our community. The government has also previously talked about tougher English language tests, and ensuring prospective citizens are committed to adopting ‘Australian values’ and abiding by our laws.

Today’s announcement appears to be the second prong of a three-pronged “Australia First” fork (elegant metaphor, huh!).

Prong one – Tuesday’s announcement about clamping down on 457 visas for foreign workers.

Prong two – tightening the citizenship test.

Prong three? There are suggestions it will be something around tightening eligibility for permanent and temporary residency visas.

So why is this on the agenda? Aside from addressing long-held concerns about our visa and migrations system, it’s good politics for Turnbull and the Coalition with their constituency. It also seeks to neutralise Labor, One Nation and independent senators like Jacqui Lambie on the issues they have been raising about securing Australian jobs and ensuring migrants settle in with Team Australia.


No, not yet. The PM met with east coast gas company bosses yesterday and there doesn’t seem to be much progress on securing our domestic gas supply. So he’s asked the competition watchdog, the ACCC, to look into pricing, availability and competition in the domestic gas market. There was an interesting quote from the PM following the meeting: "The government has asked the exporters to provide further information, in the context of possible regulatory options, to address the short-term market issues." Which the gas companies will get right onto – after all it’s far better to draft your own rules than having the government impose them on you.

Door closed: the Palmer United Party will be disbanded and its registration cancelled. Leader and patron Clive Palmer confirmed yesterday he is finished with politics and that this particular PUP has had its day. It’s been quite a ride since Palmer launched the party in 2013. But the national living treasure (a real thing) has embraced life after politics, losing a heap of weight, engaging in a gargantuan Federal Court battle over his failed nickel mine and expressing his unique form of poetry via Twitter. In the meantime, you can still relive the glory days via the PUP website. The last media release is a testimonial from Palmer’s chief of staff rejecting claims his boss bullied him. Ah, how we’ll miss him.

Window opens – our newest senator Lucy Gichuhi will be sure to feel the love from Labor when she takes her place in the chamber next month. As a Family First candidate in last year's election, she was next in line to take the vacancy created by Bob Day when his candidacy was ruled invalid by the High Court. Labor challenged Gichuhi’s eligibility, questioning whether she held dual citizenship with Kenya at the time of the election – which is a no-no. But a court yesterday said she can take her place in parliament.

When we saw the news about ‘F8' pop up yesterday, we thought there must be a new international body talking trade or something. But no – it’s the annual Facebook conference for developers and entrepreneurs. The things you learn! Many were expecting founder Mark Zuckerberg to talk about the challenges the company faces with ‘fake news’ and distributing content like the Cleveland murder last weekend. However, attendees were said to be relieved he referred to his open letter from earlier in the year and quickly moved on to talk about how they can all make money together. The hot new thing? Augmented reality: where digital images can be placed into real photos or videos. What does that mean? Facebook is coming after Snapchat.

Its arrival has been talked about and talked about and finally there’s some movement at the station. Businesses are being called on to register their interest in joining the soon to be launched Amazon Australia Marketplace. Amazon already accounts for $1 billion in annual Australian retail spending, but we spend about $300 billion a year, so there’s a lot more share Amazon could claim. The disruption they could bring to the Australian retail market has been widely canvassed, particularly for book, electronics and general merchandise retailers, and eventually in the grocery market.

The NT News says it received a letter with details of the location of Peter Falconio’s remains. Falconio and girlfriend Joanne Lees were stopped on the Stuart Highway near Barrow Creek, NT by Bradley Murdoch in 2001. Lees got away but Falconio has never been found despite Murdoch being convicted of killing him. The writer says someone known to him was asked by Murdoch to dispose of Falconio’s body, which was done near Geraldton, WA. Note: dozens of letters claiming knowledge about Falconio’s whereabouts are received every year, but this one is understood to have been of particular interest to police.

We like hanging out with friends as much as the next person, but keeping the conversation flowing can sometimes be a drag. So what great #innovation #agility shown by the Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority in providing employees with talking points for use at their Easter weekend BBQs. The Authority comes under the purview of Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, and they’re slated to up stumps from Canberra to move to Armidale, located in his electorate. The talking points were crafted to help employees answer questions from friends and family about the contentious move. Heavy with the phrase “I’m getting on with the job”, we’re sure the fact they were leaked to the media shows has nothing to do with how warmly they were received by staff...


10.45am - Senate Environment Committee hearing on shark mitigation (Perth)

ABS Data Releases - Census of Population and Housing; Disability Ageing and Carers; Labour Force for March

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