Squiz Today / 06 September 2018

Squiz Today – Thursday, 6 September


"Damned if I did and damned if I didn't.”

NZ PM Jacinda Ardern’s working mum dilemmas are the same as most. It's just that her issues involve juggling breastfeeding with criticism for the cost of using a government jet. And then there's the song written for her by Nauru's president...


Our economy has put in a John Millman-style performance to deliver the best rate of annual growth for almost six years. Official GDP figures out yesterday for the April-June quarter this year showed our economy grew by 0.9% taking the annual growth rate to 3.4%. That’s a lot more than the 2.9% that was expected. And it well and truly puts economic growth in the zone the government needs it to be for its budget figures to add up.

The quarterly increase was driven by activity in the mining and construction sectors, as well as increased government spending. But the real surprise was the increase in household spending. The star states were Victoria and South Oz where growth was above the national figure.

Nope. We heard it and chose to plough on… Here are three quick things to note:

• Our household spending is (in part) being financed by our savings. Want a sobering figure to thrill your friends? Savings as a ratio of income was more than 10% in 2008. That’s now down to 1%.

• Some of that can be explained by the fact that wages growth isn’t getting workers ahead of inflation. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg pointed to the strong jobs market, while Labor’s finance spokesman Jim Chalmers said households are finding it hard to make ends meet.

• Speaking of workers, PM Scott Morrison yesterday said the government would dump former PM Tony Abbott’s plan to raise the pension age to 70yo by 2035. Instead, the pension age will rise to 67yo from 2023 under a plan Labor put in place when it was in government.

And with this set of numbers let’s see what other barnacles are scraped off the leaky Morrison Government boat…


UK PM Theresa May has named the two Russian men believed to be responsible for the nerve agent attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The men are believed to be Russian Military Intelligence Service (GRU) agents Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. May said their identification "almost certainly" proves senior Russian state figures sanctioned the attack. The men are believed to be back in Russia, which does not extradite its citizens. The Novichok attack in March also hospitalised policeman Nick Bailey who attended the Skripals. And Charlie Rowley was hospitalised with Dawn Sturgess, who later died, in a separate poisoning some weeks later.

We’ve been saying it for ages – what Australian politics needs is more Argentinian polo players. Actually, we say that about life in general… And it seems AFL boss Gill McLachlan agrees. Not content to hit up Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to get a French au pair into the country, we learned yesterday that McLachlan sought to help an Argentinian polo player who was a “friend of a friend”. What did this latest revelation teach us? 1. That Tassie Senator Eric Abetz thinks a Senate committee hearing into au-pair-gate is “an absolute waste of time”. And 2. that McLachlan has an interesting social circle. Giddy-up…

STILL EXPLAINING - Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey have fronted a US Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on steps they’re taking to prevent outside influence on America’s politics. Both said they were too slow to respond. Google is under fire for failing to appear.

UBER TO DROP BAD CUSTOMERS – You’ll need a four-star rating or better to be able to access the ride sharing platform. It’s the latest initiative to make the Uber “enjoyable and safe for everyone,” the disruptive behemoth said.

AMAZON HITS A TRILLION – US dollars that is. It's just the second American company to hit the huge valuation (Apple passed the number earlier this year), and CNN said it's "a remarkable statement of how quickly the 24-year-old company has grown, and the boundless confidence investors have in its future.” Maybe Goldman Sachs’ boss will DJ their party?

Exercising enough? The World Health Organisation put out a report yesterday that said more than 25% of the world's adult population was not active enough in 2016. When it comes to Oz, we ranked 97 out of 168 countries with a third of Aussie women and 27% of men not getting enough huffy puffy. Take some heart; we're doing (a little) better than the US…

And we're pleased to say our footy faithful friends Gibbo (covering the NRL) and Aido 2.0 (covering the AFL) will make celebrity guest star appearances to offer their informed insights. This from Aido 2.0 on tonight’s first AFL final:

September has come around quickly and the AFL's final series kicks off tonight at the MCG. Richmond, the minor premiers (their first since 1982) and winners of last year's flag, will take on Hawthorn in a blockbuster first qualifying final. More than 95,000 fans are expected to see Richmond take 22 wins in a row at the G (they're the bookies' favourite at $1.40). Tonight's winner will have a week's break, and the loser will play either Melbourne or Geelong next weekend. Go the Tigers.

A man’s final trip from home to a Gold Coast palliative care unit has turned into a touching story of care and compassion. Cancer patient Ron McCartney had not kept much food down for a couple of days so ambulance officers asked him; “If you could eat anything, what would it be?” He requested a caramel sundae. So off to Maccas they went. “My dad wasn't just a number, he was my dad and he was looked after," said his daughter. Everyday heroes, those ambos.


10.15am (AEST) - US Open Tennis - John Millman v Novak Djokovic (c'mon Aussie)

ABS Data Releases - International Trade in Goods and Services, July; Building Approvals, July; Industrial Disputes, June; Livestock and Meat, July; Corrective Services, Australia, June quarter 2018

Company Earnings Announcement - Tatts Group

National Day of Swaziland

Actor Idris Elba's birthday (1972)

Anniversary of the death of opera singer Luciano Pavarotti (2007)

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