Squiz Today / 29 September 2022

Squiz Today – Thursday, 29 September

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

Squiz Today Podcast

Ear to ear, we’ve got you covered.

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

14 / 19
10 / 17
15 / 26
8 / 18
14 / 29
8 / 12
25 / 33
7 / 18

Squiz Sayings

“It’ll make an appearance in the expanded library we are currently constructing, along with many other items we got carried away with and paid too much for.”

Said MONA owner David Walsh after he bought David Bowie’s handwritten lyrics for the 1972 pop classic Starman at auction for a cool $339,000 – 5 times the original estimate. The pricey piece of paper will take its place among the Tassie art museum’s other (space) oddities…

Fuel prices on the up

While we were sleeping, the Albanese Government restored the excise on fuel to its full amount. To take a brief walk down memory lane, it was in the March budget that the Morrison Government cut the excise by 22.1c/litre for 6 months as part of a cost of living package after fuel prices surged at the start of this year. That happened when global crude oil prices hit record highs as the market adjusted to restricted access to Russia’s massive oil production due to the war in Ukraine. And with the new government facing some big economic challenges, PM Anthony Albanese said the decision to collect the full 46c/litre excise from motorists was “based upon what we can afford.” After taking into account indexation and the GST, it means petrol prices will rise by 25.3c/litre in the coming days and weeks.

If you’re a motorist, it will sting – but not for a few days. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says there should be a lag of up to 5 days before the price increase flows through to the pump because many petrol stations get their fuel deliveries on a once or twice-weekly basis. Industry insiders also say some fuel retailers will be holding out on raising prices for as long as they can to be competitive. So it’s no wonder the ACCC will monitor wholesale and retail fuel prices like a hawk – and its advice is to also be aware of the price cycle where you live. Last week, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said fuel prices have fallen recently, and there were 700 million litres secured at a lower price – but when it does go up, it’ll be circa $10 extra a tank for drivers. Still, Chalmers says the $3 billion in lost revenue since the excise was cut in March is unaffordable for the government going forward.

Umm, no… Delivering the final numbers on the 2021-22 federal budget, Chalmers said setting the course for the future was tricky, despite a better than expected result last year. “We still have a $30 billion deficit, we still have around $1 trillion of debt, and the pressures on the budget are intensifying rather than easing,” he said. That will see him hand down what he’s calling a “bread and butter” budget on 25 October that will include cost of living relief. One thing we won’t see is a budget surplus… “I think Australians understand that given the fiscal budget circumstances that we’ve inherited, it will take much more than one budget to turn that around,” Chalmers said. Coalition Finance spokeswoman Jane Hume said “the Coalition left the economy in good shape”, and with fuel excise returning to the full rate, the new government “doesn’t seem to have a plan to address the cost of living crisis facing Australians right now.”

AusPol Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Ian moves like a hurricane

More than 2.5 million people are under evacuation orders as Hurricane Ian is about to make landfall on Florida’s west coast this morning as a powerful Category 4 storm. Ian has strengthened as it crossed the Gulf of Mexico and is approaching the US mainland with windspeeds of 250km/hour after slamming into western Cuba on Tuesday. Two people are confirmed dead, and there are reports of widespread damage, including to Cuba’s power grid. It’s down, leaving the entire island nation without power. Southern Florida has already felt the first effects of the storm with strong wind, heavy rain, and multiple tornadoes. But conditions are set to deteriorate with the US National Hurricane Center warning of “devastating” winds of up to 225km/hour and life-threatening storm surges as high as 4.3m, potentially causing “catastrophic” flash flooding. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Ian’s impacts “will be felt far and wide throughout the state”.

World News

Russia readies for more land grabs in Ukraine

Britain’s Defense Ministry says Russia could illegally seize 4 occupied Ukrainian provinces as soon as tomorrow after Russian officials said the sham referendums saw more than 95% vote in favour of joining Russia. Ukraine and its Western allies say they won’t recognise the results, which are alleged to have involved coercion and violent threats. In response, further economic sanctions against Russia are being considered. Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to address Russia’s parliament tomorrow, where British intelligence officials say he could announce the annexation of the 4 Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the vote has not changed his commitment to recapture all Russian-occupied territories – including Crimea, which was seized by Russia in 2014 – despite Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons if Russia’s sovereign territory is attacked by Ukraine. Watch this space…

Need an explainer on all the recent Ukraine war developments? Let our latest Squiz Shortcut do the talking…

World News

Data hack could prove costly for Optus

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has written to Optus boss Kelly Bayer Rosmarin seeking confirmation that the company pay for new passports for Aussies whose travel document details were accessed in the data breach. PM Anthony Albanese also confirmed there would be data law reform, including bigger penalties for companies that fail to adequately protect information. He says federal authorities are working “around the clock” with Optus to gather crucial evidence for the complex investigation. Treasurer Jim Chalmers also says regulators are working with banks to implement “enhanced monitoring” of the accounts of 9.8 million people affected by the breach following growing concerns about financial crimes linked to the hack with many victims already receiving scam text messages. If all this affects you and you’re a bit grumpy about it, you may be interested that Maurice Blackburn became the 2nd law firm calling on victims to register their interest in a class action against Optus.

Business & Finance

Cane toad outbreak just a short hop from Sydney

Crikey… They’re usually associated with Queensland, but the NSW Department of Primary Industries has warned that cane toads may be breeding on a property an hour north of Sydney, prompting concerns the toxic pest could find its way into city homes. The amphibians were discovered in Mandalong, a suburb of southern Lake Macquarie in the NSW Hunter Region, which is more than 500km south of the Clarence Valley containment zone, making it the most significant outbreak since 2010. Experts are working to establish whether the toads were unintentionally brought in by a delivery truck or bred locally. Or maybe the ringleader drove them in a red Rolls Royce… However they got there, it’s not ideal. Female cane toads can produce up to 35,000 eggs in a single season and are toxic to native animals and pets. Locals have been asked to keep their eyes peeled for ’em.

Australian News Environment & Science

Dally M shines bright

The NRL has recognised its best and fairest overnight by awarding the annual Dally M Medal to Cronulla Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes. He recorded the highest ever total of 38 points. He also won the Provan-Summons Medal for his efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues. “I can’t believe it, to be honest. I just come here tonight extremely grateful to be here, surrounded by great players,” Hynes said. And taking out the women’s Dally M was Raecene McGregor from the Sydney Roosters. She would like to see a name change to the award for women… The NRL/W grand finals are back in Sydney this weekend with the women’s Parramatta Eels and Newcastle Knights playing at 3.55pm and the men’s Penrith Panthers and Paramatta Eels at 7.30pm Eastern time on Sunday. And you know it isn’t a football competition’s night of nights without a red carpet gallery… You’ve been good today, so here you go – and a special shoutout to Rabbitohs’ Keaon Koloamatangi’s bum bag…


Apropos of Nothing

Congrats to Adelaide restaurant Botanic for winning Gourmet Traveller’s restaurant of the year. Led by chef Justin James and located in the city’s botanic gardens, its signature thing is not first-date appropriate… It’s a 20-something-course menu that takes at least 4 hours to chomp through.

And good on you, Sydney and Melbourne – each city has a bar that made the World’s 50 Best Bars List for 2022. Time to make some pour decisions…

A Tassie farmer has grown Australia’s first commercial crop of the highly prized (and expensive) European white asparagus, which is fast becoming a new gourmet trend. While we’re inclined to agree with this scathing review that they’re overrated, we’re still rooting for the farmer…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.30pm (AEST) – Women’s Basketball – FIBA World Cup Quarter Finals – Australia v Belgium – Sydney

Full fuel excise reinstated

ABS Data Release – Job Vacancies, August; Deaths, 2021; National Accounts, June 2022 quarter

National Police Remembrance Day

World Heart Day

International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

World Maritime Day

Anniversary of:
• American oil tycoon John D Rockefeller becoming the world’s first billionaire (1916)
• the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 777.68 points, its largest single-day point loss after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and doubts over the futures other financial institutions, which sparked the Global Financial Crisis (2008)
• the death of iconic Aussie singer Helen Reddy (2020)

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.