Squiz Today / 07 September 2023

Squiz Today – Thursday, 7 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

News for every morning routine.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“He looked like he was full. He looked very pleased with himself.”

Said nursery owner Humphrey Herington of a koala named Claude who ate his way through $6,000 worth of eucalyptus seedlings. The plants are being propagated to boost koala habitats in northern NSW – cheeky Claude was just getting in early….

(Re)opening the Dialogue

Aussies representing professional services, academia, government and the arts are in Beijing today for talks with their Chinese counterparts. The meeting is the 7th Australia-China High-Level Dialogue, and it returns this year after Oz-China tensions saw a 3-year hiatus. Government ministers won’t be there today – the talks are designed to increase understanding rather than negotiate policy outcomes. To that point, Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong says the event “represents another step towards increasing bilateral engagement and stabilising our relationship with China”.

Leading the 18-member Aussie delegation as co-chair is former Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson, along with Coalition alumni Julie Bishop. Other notable Aussies include DFAT Secretary Jan Adams, Tourism and Transport Forum boss Margy Osmond, and business whisperer Warwick Smith. On the other side of the table, China’s former foreign minister Li Zhaoxing will lead Chinese delegates. As for what they’ll be discussing, the main focus is rebuilding the friendship – something Chinese state media reports its officials feel “cautiously optimistic” about. And there’s a bit of relationship-building going on this week with players across the region. PM Anthony Albanese and Minister Wong were in Jakarta yesterday for ASEAN – that’s the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit.

Albanese announced $95 million at the summit’s Indo-Pacific Forum yesterday to boost economic ties between Oz and Southeast Asian nations. He also dropped the Southeast Asian Economic Strategy penned by our Special Envoy for Southeast Asia, Nicholas Moore. It’s an extensive document, but a few of Moore’s key recommendations to increase trade and investment include increasing flights between Oz and Southeast Asia, fast-tracking visas, and reducing investment barriers. It’s a busy week out and about for Albanese… He’ll be the first Aussie leader to visit the Philippines in 20 years when he stops in for defence talks before travelling to India for the G20 Summit this weekend. It’s all on…

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Boys behind bars

The legal cases against the people who stormed the US Capitol building on 6 January 2021 have been grinding their way through the courts, with more than 1,100 rioters charged so far. And yesterday saw the toughest sentence so far… Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the Proud Boys, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for his role in the unprecedented violence. The Proud Boys are a pro-fascism/pro-Trump militia central to the chaos on the day – and they weren’t the only group… The Oath Keepers were also in the thick of it, with their leader Stewart Rhodes recently sentenced to 18 years behind bars. Tarrio’s longer sentence reflects the Proud Boys’ pivotal role in breaching the barricades, assaulting police, and generally riling up the crowd. His sentence is expected to be the lengthiest of the 6 January prosecutions.

World News

Spain’s coach leaves the pitch

Spain’s Women’s World Cup winning coach Jorge Vilda has been sacked following the unwanted kiss scandal – but a reason for his departure has not been provided. Vilda was a close ally of Luis Rubiales – the football president who kissed star player Jenni Hermosa after Spain’s tournament win last month. The coach initially backed Rubiales despite the players and the rest of his coaching staff condemning him. Note: Vilda was already a divisive figure… Before the World Cup, 15 players signed a letter criticising his coaching methods, and only 3 rejoined the squad. For her part, Hermoso made a legal complaint against Rubiales overnight, and her claim of sexual assault will be considered by prosecutors before a decision on charges. Rubiales is still refusing to resign but has been suspended by FIFA and is facing a misconduct case from Spain’s national sports tribunal.

Sport World News

The Aussie economy beats expectations

Much like Claude the koala, Australia’s economy is a bit sluggish… It grew 0.4% in the April-June quarter, taking it to an annual rate of 2.1%. That’s down from 2.4% in the 3 months to March as interest rate hikes put a break on spending. But the latest figures are still better than the 0.3% quarterly rise economists had expected, thanks to a jump in exports, tourism, and business investment. And things will likely slow even further… The Reserve Bank expects our annual economic growth rate to slow to 0.9% by the end of the year as spending slows and productivity remains at historic lows. And after announcing the appointment of Danielle Wood as the Productivity Commission’s first female boss, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the result shows the economy remained “steady and sturdy” – a phrase we’re nabbing for the title of our autobiography.

Australian News Economy

Footy finals fever…

Even if you’re not the biggest fan, it’s that time of year when footy-lovin’ Aussies might start going a little cray cray… The AFL finals kick off tonight with #1 ranked Collingwood lining up against #4 placed Melbourne before #5 ranked Carlton (who haven’t made it this far in 10 years) play #8 Sydney Swans in an elimination final tomorrow night. It kinda works the same in the AFL and NRL – the top 4 teams all get a second chance if they lose this week, but the bottom 4, not so much… Penrith finished top of the NRL ladder – they face #4 ranked NZ Warriors on Saturday, and it’s #2 Brisbane Broncos v #3 Melbourne Storm tomorrow night. There are 3+ weeks of finals fun/torture ahead – pop 30 September in the diary for the AFL Grand Final and 1 October for the NRL.


So many splendid things…

We flagged this one in April, and now it’s here… The first of several auctions of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury’s ‘splendid things’ began overnight. Since his death in 1991, the singer’s London home has remained intact after he left it to close friend Mary Austin. She has made the difficult decision to sell up, including a collection of private photos, the handwritten lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody, and Mercury’s baby grand piano, which is expected to fetch up to $5.9 million. And if that isn’t enough auction excitement for ya, one of the most valuable collections of Beatles memorabilia is going under the hammer. Items up for grabs include materials from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1969 bed-in peace protest and a strange birthday card from George Harrison. You can find some excellent Thursday procrastination fodder here and here.


Apropos of nothing

Is it fashion or a fashion crime? People are split after a TikToker noticed a shop mannequin dressed in the dress over jeans look made famous in the early noughties. Make it stop…

Australia’s success in competitive ventures continues with Sydney man James Webb (no relation to the telescope…) eating 276 chicken wings in 12 minutes, setting a new world record. He beat iconic gobbleguts Joey Chestnut, which is epic.

Also a champion is Gandali the chimpanzee at Rockhampton Zoo – he’s pulled through after being bitten by a brown snake that the 3yo cutie thought was a toy. Somebody get that monkey something less venomous to play with…

We’ve got a great selection to get us going. This week, we’ll cover:

  • the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ cases on whether a Voice would change outcomes for Indigenous communities,
  • why the risks in changing the constitution has emerged as an issue,
  • and the debate about ticks and crosses…
Australian News Quirky News

Squiz the Day

1.10pm (AEST) – Outgoing RBA governor Philip Lowe is scheduled to deliver some final remarks for the Anika Foundation – Sydney

7.20pm (AEST) – AFL first qualifying final – Collingwood v Melbourne – Richmond

9.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Cricket – First ODI – Australia v South Africa – Bloemfontain, South Africa

The 7th Australia-China High Level Dialogue is held in Beijing

Independence Day in Brazil

ABS Data Release – International Trade in Goods and Services, July

AIHW Release – Australia’s welfare and wellbeing, 2023

Threatened Species Day, on the anniversary of the death of the last Tassie Tiger Benjamin, at the Hobart Zoo (1936)

International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

Start of the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair (until 10 September)

Anniversary of:
• Australia observing a ‘day of humiliation’ and praying for rain during a bad drought. Rain started falling 3 days later… (1902)
• the start of the Blitz when Germany bombed London for 57 nights as the Nazis prepared for an invasion (1940)
• the shooting of rapper Tupac Shakur (1996)
• Tony Abbott becoming PM after the Coalition defeated the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor Government (2013)
• the death of rapper Mac Miller (2018)

Squiz the Day

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