Squiz Today / 30 May 2019

Squiz Today – Thursday, 30 May


"I have been cosmically conscious since my 20s and try to do the right thing by all sentient beings and by the environment. But everyone has a weakness, and a V8 is mine."

Shane Oliver is the Head of Investment Strategy/Chief Economist for AMP Capital, and he’s the man the media go to when the financial world needs explaining. And when the Squizer isn’t crunching the numbers, he’s a rev-head who leans towards vegetarianism. Please welcome Shane to this week’s Three Minute Squiz.


Sixty shipping containers with 3,000 tonnes of trash, including 100 tonnes of plastic waste from Australia, will be shipped back to where it came from after Malaysia determined its importation was in breach of its environmental laws. The move makes Malaysia the latest Asian country to crack down on developed countries shipping their difficult waste issues offshore.

For context, we recycled 37 million tonnes as a nation last year of some 67 million tonnes of total waste generated. And kerbside recycling (what average Joanne’s like us put in the recycling bins) makes up about a third of the recycling industry. When it comes to plastic, about 250,000 tonnes of plastic (half of our plastic waste) was exported for recycling. China, which used to take 600,000 tonnes of waste from Australia each year, stopped accepting most recycling waste at the start of this year. That’s pushed much of it to be stockpiled in warehouses around the country, and also to be sent to countries like Malaysia and the Philippines where illegal processing centres have sprung up. And now those governments have had enough.

It’s a range of things. The Australian Council of Recycling says an investment of $150 million would go a long way to fixing ‘contamination' issues (like getting recyclable waste into the right bins) and getting waste ready for reuse. And there's hope the subject will get more attention with some commitments made in the election campaign and PM Scott Morrison appointing an assistant minister for waste reduction. Others say state governments, which collect $1.5 billion in levies from rubbish sent to landfill, but don’t spend anywhere near that amount on waste reduction initiatives. Whatever it is, people who know about it say Australia needs to gear up to deal with our waste domestically. For some extra reading, a good explainer is here.



The Australian reports this morning that 20 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka were returned home yesterday. Their boat was intercepted last week by the Navy and its occupants taken to Christmas Island where they spent a few days in detention. Their claims for asylum were assessed, and none were deemed eligible to have a legitimate claim, so they were flown back to Sri Lanka. The last time a boat was intercepted and its occupants taken to Christmas Island was five years ago.


American Special Counsel Robert Mueller has given a surprise press conference overnight confirming he is formally closing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and resigning from the Justice Department. He also said he hoped it was the last time he would speak publicly about it - indicating he’s not keen on testifying before congressional committees on his views on US President Donald Trump’s actions. But he also kept a question mark over Trump saying if his investigation "had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so." Trump, however, tweeted “The case is closed! Thank you.”


Look, we’ve blended two stories for that headline. We don’t know who will get Twitter’s big job as its CEO Jack Dorsey hasn’t returned our messages… So first things first, Twitter is looking for that special someone to manage its @twitter account. Essential qualification: you must be "extremely plugged into Twitter culture" minus, we imagine, the anger… And we guess applications need to be 240 characters or fewer. And why won't it be a Gen X candidate? New research from executive recruiter Korn Ferry says those born from 1961 to 1981 are on track to miss out on key leadership roles in the future because they lack agility and digital-savvy, and they don’t take enough risks. That’s pretty brutal...


MACKENZIE BEZOS – The former wife of Amazon gazillionaire Jeff Bezos yesterday announced she planned to give away to charity at least half of her US$36 billion fortune (yes, that’s billion with a ‘b’) – saying she had a "disproportionate amount of money" to share and that she intended to give it away until "the safe was empty".

EGG BOY – Not to be outdone in the charity stakes, Will Connolly (aka the teenager who smashed an egg against the head of Senator Fraser Anning) yesterday announced he had donated almost $100,000 to victims of the Christchurch massacre. The cash was the total amount raised by two GoFundMe pages set up by Connolly’s admirers to cover his legal fees – and to “buy more eggs”.

ZAMIRA HAJIYEVA – At the other end of the spectrum, the London-based wife of a convicted banker from Azerbaijan who spent more than £16 million (A$30 million) at upmarket department store Harrods over 10 years. Designer clothes, jewellery, toys and chocolate all figured in the extravagant decade-long spree. She is the first person to be investigated under the UK’s new Unexplained Wealth Order laws.


If you’re a fan of leather on willow, you’ll be settling in for a month of late nights. If you’ve no idea of what’s meant by leather on willow, you’ll be glad the French Open has started. It’s Cricket World Cup time - that four-yearly event where all the great cricketing nations battle it out. England is the host country, Afghanistan is the wild-card entrant, and the Aussies will be the ones to watch with disgraced former ball-tamperers, David Warner and Steve Smith back on the side after a year in the wilderness. This interactive guide here has all the vital stats. And Australia’s first game is Saturday night our time.


A "little darling... winsome and appealing. She could do no wrong," was how renowned primatologist, Dian Fossey described Poppy, one of the original Gorillas In The Mist who is believed to have died. She was a trail-blazer too. During her 43 years, Poppy impressed and surprised many of the researchers who studied her, transferring freely among groups of gorillas and becoming, at 41yo, the oldest recorded mountain gorilla to give birth. "She was one of Fossey's favourites, and we all felt such privilege to know her and observe her in her final years,” said the Fossey Fund.


ABS Data Releases - Building Approvals, April; Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, March

World MS Day

Anniversary of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s divorce (1996)

Anniversary of Joan of Arc being burned at the stake in France after being condemned as a heretic (1431)

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