Squiz Today / 31 October 2019

Squiz Today – Thursday, 31 October


"OK Boomer”

Is "Generation Z's endlessly repeated retort to the problem of older people who just don't get it, a rallying cry for millions of fed-up kids," says the New York Times. And you know it’s a thing when there’s merchandise


Australia’s biggest retailer Woolworths Group yesterday 'fessed up to underpaying its senior supermarkets and smaller format Metro store workers in the range of $200-$300 million over the last nine years or so. The underpayment of 5,700 'salaried staff' was discovered when the implementation of a new enterprise agreement highlighted issues with the old agreement for some workers.

The case is believed to be the biggest on record, and it could get bigger. The company is in the midst of an ongoing internal review to identify wage payment issues across the company's other brands, including BIG W, Dan Murphy's and BWS. CEO Brad Banducci apologised and committed to ensuring affected team members were paid what they're owed by Christmas. But the Fair Work Ombudsman said "admission was not absolution", and it's considering legal action.

It sure has. Woolies joins the ABCWesfarmersQantasCommonwealth BankSuper Retail Group7-Eleven, and restaurant chains connected to chefs Neil Perry and George Calombaris as some that have recently fallen foul of their obligation to pay staff correctly. Some pro-business advocates say employment agreements have become increasingly difficult to implement. But the Council of Trade Unions has called for prison sentences and whopping big fines when employers leave their workers’ pay packets short.



That’s what the latest official inflation figures show. Over the July-to-September quarter, price rises of drought-sensitive products outstripped those of other sectors. We’re talking meat and seafood (up 1.7%), dairy-related products (up 2.2%) and cereal products (up 1.3%). Overall food and drink prices rose by 0.4% with a seasonal fall in the prices of some popular fruit and veg (like berries, citrus and broccoli - if you can call broccoli popular…). Note: if you're a meat-eating lamb-lover, you'll know the price of your chops is as high as these funeral-goers. Lamb prices have increased 14.3% over the last 12 months with the drought forcing farmers to reduce their flock size. Overall, inflation was up 0.5% for the quarter, taking our annual rate to 1.7% - well below the Reserve Bank's target of 2-3%.

Have you heard a bit about the drought but you’re not quite sure what’s going on? Check out our latest Squiz Shortcut, hot (and dry) off the press…


As the clock counted down to the day that UK PM Boris Johnson 31 October Brexit dreams were dashed, another wish was granted - the green light for an early election. Mark 12 December down in your diary (if you haven’t already…) - that’s when Johnson will give the classic Christmas carol Oh Come All Ye Faithful a political spin as he seeks a mandate from voters to Brexit and for his broader agenda. Johnson said it will be "tough" to win, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity for voters to transform the country.

And while we have you… One country that's in a different sort of turmoil is Chile. It has pulled out of hosting two big international conferences in the next couple of months. Organisers of the APEC leaders summit and the COP25 Climate summit are now scrambling to find new venues. Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera said his government needed "to prioritise re-establishing public order" after anti-government protests gripped Santiago and other major centres.


TOURISM AUSTRALIA DISCOVERS EVERYONE’S A CRITIC - Pity the ad agency that takes on the Tourism Australia account. Always a magnet for scrutiny, the latest iteration is no exception. Featuring something called 'PhilAUSophy', celeb chef Adam Liaw tweeted “For $38 million dollars I could've told you that wordplay doesn't work very well with non-native English speakers.”

JOE GOES ROGUE - And while they’re in sales mode, Tourism Australia may want to have a word to our outgoing US Ambassador Joe Hockey, who seems to be employing something of a scorched earth policy in his last days in office... He's told a room full of influential Americans what he thinks is wrong with their country. (And who knew Human Nature was his favourite musical ensemble?)

TAKING A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO WELCOME VISITORS - Is Kiribati. It will deport a team from Nine's 60 Minutes including reporter Liam Bartlett. The Aussies have been detained since Tuesday because officials say the information supplied about the reason for their visit was "false and misleading”. Reports say they were there for a story about the rise of China in the region.


Which has to be the tag to be applied to Game of Thrones prequel, yes? Dragon and White Walker fans were given a thrill yesterday with news that HBO had commissioned a 10-episode intro to the all-conquering TV series. Early reports suggest the show will be set 300 years before the original series and dive into the history and origins of the House of Daenerys. It has the working title “House Of The Dragon” - which will make perfect sense to fans of the show. Sadly, HBO is believed to have axed another GOT prequel concept that was to feature Aussie actress Naomi Watts. To those for whom none of that makes sense, there’s nothing to see here, move along...


If you’re of the opinion that Halloween in Australia has gotten out of control (and what on earth would make you think that…), then pause for a second and consider this: Americans are set to spend $12.8 billion on Halloween candy (their term…), costumes and decorations this year. And $500 million will be spent on costumes for their pets. Because who doesn’t want their moggy to look like a pirate on All Hallows Eve? Meanwhile, stores in San Francisco have sold out of black turtlenecks in what reports say has been a rush of people planning to dress as disgraced Silicon Valley 'blood-preneur" Elizabeth Holmes. The zeitgeist can be haunting…


ABS Data Releases - International Trade Price Indexes, September; Building Approvals, September

Annual General Meetings - Blackmores; Challenger

Jean-Claude Juncker’s term as President of the European Commission ends. He will be replaced by Ursula von der Leyen

Vanilla Ice’s birthday (1967)

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