Squiz Today / 23 February 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 23 February

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

We talk, you walk. 

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

19 / 25
19 / 33
21 / 29
25 / 41
16 / 27
13 / 29
25 / 29
10 / 24

Squiz Sayings


Is a term that’s been coined by one American internet user to describe a distinctly Aussie aesthetic covering fairy bread, pass the parcel, and of course, Steve Irwin’s signature khakis. Harry Styles doing a shoey doesn’t make the cut

A super conversation…

Speculation about the future of Australia’s $3 trillion superannuation system has been intensifying this week – and yesterday, PM Anthony Albanese said that while he doesn’t want to make “major changes”, legislating its purpose is “important”. Speaking at the National Press Club, he outlined his government’s desire to look at potential changes that could save the federal budget tens of billions of dollars down the track… That comes after Treasurer Jim Chalmers raised concerns about the sustainability of superannuation tax concessions.

The tax breaks come in at a cost to the federal budget of $52.6 billion a year – they allow Aussies to make extra contributions using their pre-tax income, reducing their tax bill. On Monday, Chalmers said if things don’t change, more will be spent on it than the age pension by 2050. And the Albanese Government’s interest hasn’t come out of the blue – a Coalition-commissioned review into retirement income from 2020 got the ball rolling. It found the system benefitted wealthier individuals and pointed to people using it to build multi-million-dollar nest eggs that attract little to no tax. Another idea that’s been floated is introducing caps on super balances of $2-5 million. These are things that Chalmers says are “on the table” as he tries to prepare a budget that’s under pressure from the National Disability Insurance Scheme, aged care, defence and health spending requests.

The Coalition is not happy about the potential for changes to super. Their key talking point is that at the election, Team Albanese promised not to touch it. Coalition leader Peter Dutton says the changes floated would amount to dudding older Aussies: “If you have worked hard and you’ve put your own money aside into superannuation, you don’t want the government changing the rules and taxing it effectively retrospectively,” he said. For his part, Chalmers says putting legislation in place to define the underlying purpose of super is appropriate because “beyond a certain level of income, additional government support through tax concessions is not necessary or appropriate”. Yesterday, he refused to rule out implementing changes in the upcoming May budget, so settle in…

AusPol Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

A new partner for patrols

Furthering the security theme that’s settled over this week, Defence Minister Richard Marles yesterday confirmed that Australia and the Philippines are in talks on undertaking joint patrols in the South China Sea. “As countries which are committed to the global rules-based order, it is natural that we should think about ways in which we can cooperate in this respect,” Marles said in a joint press conference with his counterpart Carlito Galvez in Manila. The Philippines is one of the nations in China’s way in the important trade route – and it has expressed concerns about China’s “aggressive activities” in the region. The nation has also deepened ties with the US recently, discussing similar patrols and agreeing to give US troops access to more of their military bases. Much of that is down to new President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who took office last year – he’s taken a more pro-America approach than his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte. You could say he hasn’t been blinded by the lights


Getting savvier about scams

It’s hard to imagine a time when our phones weren’t constantly buzzing with yet another scam text or call, and it’s a problem that’s on the rise, according to the Bureau of Stats. New figures show that more than two-thirds of Aussies aged 15yo and over – that’s 13.2 million of us – were exposed to a scam in the 2021-22 financial year. That’s a 55% increase on the previous year, with the most common scams being over the phone (48%) or via text message (47%). Urban Aussies aged between 45-64yo were most likely to fall victim to a scam. And while more of us were targeted by increasingly sophisticated scammers, we’re becoming savvier, with 2.7% falling for a scam last year – down from 3.6% the previous year. More people are reporting scams to financial institutions or police, although they reckon 40% of the most serious crimes are still unreported. For extra points, here’s a good guide to staying scam safe.

Australian News Crime

Gearing up for more fires

As Sydneysiders would know after receiving another thorough drenching on Tuesday, La Niña is going out with more of a bang than a whimper. The latest from the Bureau of Meteorology is that the wet weather system could finish up by the end of the month, and international modelling shows there’s a good chance Oz will head into an El Niño event next summer, so get ready to welcome La Niña’s hotter/drier brother… That advice comes as a new Climate Council report warns 3 years of rain have primed Oz for an unprecedented grassfire season. Significant blazes have been recorded in nearly every state/territory in recent months, but they warn it could get worse, with satellite images showing huge fuel loads across the country are starting to dry out, creating a potential “powder keg”. And thanks to expected dry/hot weather, the report says there’s a higher risk of bushfires next summer too. Wouldn’t an uneventful summer be nice…

Australian News Weather

That’s what friends are for

As the song goes, they’re there for “good times and bad times”, but a new Aussie study has found that satisfying social connections could help prevent women from developing chronic health conditions in older age. University of Queensland researchers tracked more than 7,600 Australian women aged between 45-50yo between 1996 and 2016. Every 3 years, the women were asked about their relationships with their partners, friends and colleagues and whether they had been diagnosed with any chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and depression. The study found 58.3% of participants developed more than one disease over the 20 years, with those with the lowest relationship satisfaction scores reporting more cases which put the association on par with other risk factors like obesity. More research is needed to find out why that’s the case – but researchers warn the findings aren’t a free pass for socialites to abandon healthy habits…

Australian News Health

A Voyage(r) to the Eurovision stage

If you’ve ever wondered what “the lovechild of The Potbelleez’s 2008 dance anthem Don’t Hold Back and Lordi’s Eurovision 2006 winner Hard Rock Hallelujah” would sound like, neither had we… Now we don’t have to speculate – it’s what music types say Perth-based synth-metal group Voyager will bring as Australia’s entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Featuring “big guitars, keytar solos and driving rhythms”, it’s the first time Oz has sent a band. And for the first time since 2018, host broadcaster SBS has made the selection without holding a national public final. There’s no pressure on the outfit, but they could be Oz’s last entrants with our contract with the organisers of Eurovision running out this year. Put it in your diary: the Eurovision final is on 14 May in Liverpool, England. And you can hear their entry song, Promises, featuring said keytar here. That’s a long way of saying here is our favourite Eurovision song that we still can’t get out of our heads…

Australian News Entertainment

Apropos of nothing

Another item to add to the list of stuff you learned at school that was wrong: the Earth has 5 internal layers, not 4. Like a complex movie character, our planet has a small “inner-inner core” – a fact established by seismologists from the Australian National University.

An unopened iPhone released by Apple in 2007 has sold at auction for more than $90,000 – 105 times its original retail price. The buyer will be lucky to find a case that fits it – and don’t start us on finding a compatible charger…

On-the-road TV reporters look more authentic if they are “sweaty and dirty”, according to the BBC’s digital director Naja Nielsen. Note: her advice to her team does not extend to real life. We know, we’ve tried…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.00pm (AEDT) – Men’s Basketball – World Cup Asian Qualifier – Australia v Bahrain – Melbourne

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency releases its latest national gender pay gap data

Harvey Weinstein due to be sentenced on new sexual assault convictions – Los Angeles

Company Results – Medibank; Qantas; Star Entertainment; Nine Entertainment; Ramsay Health Care; APA Group; St Barbara; Blackmores; Zip Co; Lottery Corporation

Teal Ribbon Day for Ovarian Cancer

Play Tennis Day

Day of Defenders of the Fatherland and the Armed Forces – Belarus

Single Tasking Day

Birthdays for Aziz Ansari (1983), Emily Blunt (1983), and Dakota Fanning (1994)

Anniversary of:
• Johannes Gutenberg printing the first-ever book using a printing press – the Bible (estimated date 1455)
• the deaths of John Keats (1821) and Dame Nellie Melba (1931)
The Times of London publishing the world’s first classified ad (1886)
• the first mass inoculation against polio (1954)
• rapper Eminem releasing his first major record album The Slim Shady LP (1999)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.