Squiz Today / 04 October 2018

Squiz Today – Thursday, 4 October


“You will have to excuse me if I cough during the speech – I've been up all night supergluing the backdrop."

Said UK PM Theresa May in her highly anticipated Conservatives conference speech after shimmying on stage to ABBA's Dancing Queen. The quote refers to last year's disastrous speech when nothing went right. Points for maintaining her sense of humour despite pressure from inside her party over Brexit.


How does a ‘digital strip-search’ next time you go to Kiwi land sound? While customs officials have had the power to stop travellers and demand to search their electronic devices (just like at Australia’s border), New Zealand has become the first country to fine those who refuse to hand over the passwords/pin numbers for their phone, laptop and tablet.

Governments say it's about keeping up with the times and society's shift from paper to electronic systems – including organised crime rings and terrorists. And Kiwi officials say they don’t believe they will need to apply the NZ$5,000 (A$5) fine often. But privacy and civil liberty groups say the worst criminals and terrorists won’t carry information relating to their bad deeds on their devices and it’s innocent travellers who will be tripped up. They also worry that customs officials have too much power and not a high enough standard when it comes to having ‘reasonable cause’ to search travellers’ devices.

Speaking of privacy… There’s a bit more information on Facebook’s most recent breach by hackers. If you’ve been caught up in it and have accessed other websites or apps (like Instagram, Spotify, Airbnb and thousands more) by selecting the option to log on with your Facebook account, those accounts could also have been compromised. So the advice is to check those sites and change your login details toot sweet.


With the death toll past 1,400, rescuers are racing against the clock to find any remaining trapped survivors of last Friday’s earthquake and tsunami. Reports say the arrival of aid continues to be slow and some areas have not received any assistance. Yesterday, a volcano erupted on the island - thankfully no casualties were reported, and flights have not been disrupted. PM Scott Morrison yesterday confirmed we are sending 50 medicos as part of a $5 million aid package. He said he's also offered to send Aussie defence forces and equipment to help. Meanwhile, Fairfax journo James Massola did his bit to save a couple of kittens.

The Australian reports this morning (paywall) that Labor leader Bill Shorten will give the first of five ‘headland policy speeches’ in Melbourne today – this one on early childhood education. He’s tipped to promise to extend access to preschool to 3yrs in a $1.75 billion commitment to the sector should Labor form government. That sound you can hear is an election campaign knocking on the door…

It was a foregone conclusion, but the formalities have been dispensed with, and the annual $30 million tax on female sanitary products will be no more from the start of next year. That was the easiest bit of yesterday’s Treasurers meeting… Making sure the GST is carved up to give the states and territories their fair share has always been contentious. But things have stepped up a notch with calls for the Feds to put their promise that “no state will be worse off” into law. “Yeah, nah,” has been PM Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s response to date. Maybe a hot water bottle will ease their pain?

Central to US President Donald Trump’s own story of his success is that his father gave him just $1 million and he turned into a $10 billion empire. “Liar, liar, pants on fire” is the short version of New York Times’ investigation into Trump’s family finances alleging he received at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire. And much of that amount was accumulated through dodging tax, the NYT says. Trump tweeted they’ve got it all wrong.

BRAZILIAN DAM COLLAPSE SETTLEMENT – Mining companies BHP and Vale have made a compensation deal with state prosecutors over the 2015 tragedy that killed 19 people and destroyed homes in Brazil's biggest-ever environmental disaster. The amount agreed is expected to be millions, not billions. The companies still face civil proceedings.

HONK IF YOU GIVE A XXXX - Said a worker’s sign in front of Lion’s historic XXXX brewery in Milton, Brisbane after news that 25 workers will be laid off. The company also announced redundancies in South Oz and said it’s because beer drinkers are moving away from mainstream brands.

AND A PROMOTION – Kevin Roberts is the new boss of Cricket Australia. He’s currently the chief operating officer, and clearly enjoys an issues rich working environment.

Weighing in at 18.36kg, Tassie farmer Roger Bignell can soon lay claim growing the world’s largest turnip. He says that means “turnip is on the menu for a while.” So some suggestions: You can BBQ it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There’s turnip kabobs, turnip creole, turnip gumbo. Pan-fried, deep-fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple turnip, lemon turnip, coconut turnip, pepper turnip. Turnip soup, turnip stew, turnip salad, turnip and potatoes, turnip burger, turnip sandwich. That’s about it.


ABS Data Release - International Trade in Goods and Services, August

World Animal Day

Start of World Space Week

Susan Sarandon's birthday (1946)

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