Squiz Today / 24 May 2018

Squiz Today – Thursday, 24 May


“More than 48% of men in NSW born in 1984 have had action taken against them by police.”

Remarkably high,” said the researchers. Remarkably low are the chances of New South Welshpeople finding a local man without a police record in that age range. As if dating wasn’t hard enough already…


Aussie exporters are cock-a-hoop that the green light has been given for the start of formal negotiations for a free trade agreement between Australia and the European Union. Talks will start next month on a deal that could be worth up to $15 billion to each economy. If completed, it would be one of Australia’s biggest free trade agreements with the EU coming in as our second largest trading partner, third largest export destination and second biggest market for services.

It is. Our farmers would particularly benefit because of the trade barriers they encounter in getting their commodities into the EU. Last financial year we imported more agricultural goods from the EU than we exported (a good part of that would be the De Affinois Brie consumption of Squiz HQ…). However, agriculture will also likely be one of the hardest parts of the agreement to negotiate, with European nations traditionally very protective of their farmers.

Only that the international trade scene is in flux at the moment. That’s been driven by US President Donald Trump’s campaign to dump “bad deals” and shake things up by imposing new tariffs. That’s playing out at the moment with the US in negotiations with China. Which is why Australia’s trade representatives are working hard on making deals with trading blocs (like the EU) and other nations (with a number currently under negotiation, including with India). And with China indicating it could be gearing up to play silly buggers with Australia, our exporters need all the help they can get.


Despite President Trump raising doubts about the North Korean Summit happening on 12 June, reports say the Hermit Kingdom is poised to go ahead with the dismantling of a nuclear testing facility this week. Two dozen handpicked foreign journalists have arrived in North Korea to witness the event. However, experts are keen to warn the world that the closure of the Punggye-ri testing ground is not necessarily the end of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities if leader Kim Jong Un was keen to get it going again.

The ABC was in the Estimates firing line last night – that's the process where top government department and agency officials come to Parliament House to have a group of senators grill them on their operations. Boss Michelle Guthrie wasn't there making it the occasion a bit less razzle-dazzle that it might have been. Top of senators’ minds was how the broadcaster will deal with the budget freeze that would see it $84 million worse off over three years. And heading into the session, it was revealed that PM Malcolm Turnbull’s office had made another complaint about economics editor Emma Alberici, this time over a report on innovation. The ABC said it stood behind the report.

Some updates for you on some recent stories:

PHILIP WILSON STANDS ASIDE – But Adelaide’s Archbishop has not resigned. It follows his conviction on Tuesday of covering up child abuse while he was an assistant Catholic priest in Maitland, NSW.

TURNBULL KNEW NOTHING…  about WA MP Andrew Hastie’s plan to use parliamentary privilege to disclose Chinese-Australian property developer Chau Chak Wing was being investigated by the FBI for allegedly conspiring to bribe a UN official. The PM also noted the allegations were not new. And reports this morning say the American's aren't thrilled about Hastie's move.

ACT HAS A NEW SENATOR – We know you've been sweating on this. Union organiser David Smith replaces Katy Gallagher who was ousted in the latest round of the citizenship cluster-disaster.

Hobart has been named as Australia’s most unaffordable city to rent. The gap between incomes and rental prices have recently widened to see the southern capital take out the unenviable title. The latest Rental Affordability Index report says tenants in Hobart are shelling out 29% of their wages on rent. Sydney is next with 27%, then comes Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth. Sorry, Darwin, you don't get a mention. Hobart has been defying recent housing price trends and is no longer a ‘budget’ alternative to the other capital cities. No doubt there’s a few of these guys hanging around…

Social media is a mystery to us. Like Snapchat. What’s that about? But some pollies are struggling with Twitter:

• Health Minister Greg Hunt was in the headlines at the end of last year for ‘liking’ a post with, let’s say, ‘adult themes’. The Federal Police confirmed yesterday that he wasn’t hacked, but that many people had access to his password. That’s a difficult conversation with his staff right there…

• Labor senator Kimberley Kitching has piqued the interest of the government's cybersecurity agency with her 7,000 Russian-based followers.

• And king of the tweets President Trump has been banned from blocking followers. A court found it unconstitutional for him to restrict Americans' right to see their leader’s communications.

Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk has won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for Flights. It charts multiple journeys in time, space and human anatomy and is described as “witty and playful”. The International Prize is for books in any language that have been translated into English. If you’d like to buy it, use this link and Booktopia will give us a little commission on the sale.


12.30pm (AEST) - Tim Kelsey, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Digital Health Agency, to address the National Press Club - Canberra

Solo: A Star Wars Story, directed by Ron Howard, released in Australian cinemas

Bob Dylan's birthday (1941)

Anniversary of the Queen Victoria's birthday (1819)

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