Squiz Today / 31 May 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 1 June


“In this increasingly complex geostrategic environment, family is incredibly important.”

Said Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern of the importance of her nation’s relationship with Oz in these turbulent times. It will also be our toast at our next family event...


Eleven more locally acquired coronavirus cases were recorded in Melbourne yesterday, taking the outbreak’s total to 51 cases. What’s concerning officials is the risk to aged care residents with 3 of yesterday's cases (2 staff members and a resident) linked to an Arcare home in the suburb of Maidstone after a worker tested positive on Sunday. Meanwhile, another worker at a nursing home in Sunshine tested positive and other sites are on high alert after it emerged that their workers also did shifts at the Maidstone facility in the past week. “The fact this outbreak has crept into a number of private residential aged care facilities is obviously a very great concern," Health Minister Martin Foley said.

It’s not, and it’s forced some difficult issues to the surface again. One is casual aged care workers doing shifts across multiple facilities to make ends meet. The Victorian Victorian and Federal Governments stepped up to help pay them to work in one facility last year after the practice was found to have contributed to the deaths of 655 people in Victoria’s aged care homes during the state’s deadly 2nd wave last year. But that's lapsed, and Acting Premier James Merlino yesterday took aim at the Commonwealth (which funds and regulates aged care) for not addressing the issue more substantially for the duration of the pandemic. Another issue is making it compulsory for aged care workers to be vaccinated. That’s under consideration by the experts and National Cabinet again this week.

It might be around longer than a week… Merlino says the outbreak "may well get worse before it gets better" with the number of exposure sites yesterday growing to 270 locations. Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it will be assessed "day-by-day", but he didn't rule out reinstating the 'ring of steel' around Melbourne with no cases recorded in regional Victoria. On a more positive note, health authorities received almost 44,000 test results on Sunday, and more than 16,700 doses of vaccine were administered at state-run sites - more than 6 times the number administered at the same time last week.



The defamation case brought by Morrison Government frontbencher Christian Porter against the ABC and journalist Louise Milligan will not go ahead. Porter took legal steps after an online article about a historical rape allegation against a Cabinet minister was published in late February. Porter was not named, but he claimed he was identifiable. So does that mean there’s a winner? According to Porter, the outcome is “a humiliating backdown by the ABC”. As for the national broadcaster, it regrets “some readers misinterpreted the article as an accusation of guilt”. Still, it “stands by the importance of the article, which reported on matters of significant public interest, and the article remains online”. What has been confirmed is there are no damages to be paid, but the ABC will cover Porter’s mediation costs. Milligan thanked her supporters, and Porter vowed to stand at the next election. What it means for those looking for answers on the rape allegation remains to be seen…


It’s like something from a juicy Nordic Noir tv-series… Reports say Denmark’s secret service helped America spy on politicians from Germany, France, Norway and Sweden between 2012-14. And not just any politicians, top dudes and dudettes like German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The US National Security Agency (NSA) is said to have accessed text messages and the phone conversations of prominent individuals by tapping into the interwebs with the help of Danish intelligence. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is… In 2013, similar allegations were made by US whistleblower Edward Snowden who alleged the German chancellor’s phone was being tapped by the NSA. On Sunday, Snowden accused US President Joe Biden - who was Veep at the time of the alleged surveillance - of being “deeply involved in this scandal the first time around”. Officials across Europe have asked for answers.


For decades, Chinese couples were allowed to have just one child - that was scrapped in 2016 when the limit was raised to 2. But recent census data showing a steep decline in births has seen the state up the limit to 3 kids. According to state media, there will also be "supportive measures, which will be conducive to improving our country's population structure, fulfilling the country's strategy of actively coping with an ageing population and maintaining the advantage, endowment of human resources". Economists say the main reason families don't have more tin lids is that living costs in China's cities are too high. And demographers say recent birth rates mean “China will grow old before it grows rich and powerful.”


The Aussie Government is working on getting mega meat processing company JBS Foods back online after a cyberattack targeted its information systems here and across the world. The attack has had massive implications for the company, which operates 47 facilities in Australia, with its nationwide beef and lamb supply chains forced to shut down yesterday. JBS Australia boss Brent Eastwood said it was uncertain when things would be fixed as the meat workers union warned a global "protein deficiency" could be on the way, such is the company's scale. There's speculation that the hackers are not environmentalists/vegans but criminals lining up a big company for a hefty ransom.


Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has quit the French Open after clashing with officials over her refusal to speak to the media during the tournament. In a tweet early this morning, Osaka apologised for the timing and said "my message could have been clearer", but she was feeling "vulnerable and anxious" leading into the comp and thought it was "better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences". She'll now take some time off, but she wants to work with officials to "make things better for the players, press and fans". Last week, the 4-time grand slam winner said that she didn’t want to face the press for mental health reasons and was fined almost $20,000 after her round one win over Patricia Tig. Stay tuned for how officials and other players respond…


It’s speculation at the moment, but Australia could be getting a Kennedy. JFK and Jackie’s daughter Caroline is in line to become US Ambassador. That’ll liven up the diplomatic cocktail party scene…

State of Origin rugby league is a go, despite the COVID lockdown in Victoria. Melbourne was meant to host game one next week, but it's been shifted to Townsville. That sound you can hear is FNQ locals practising their 'Queenslander' chant…

And get on your bike while simultaneously supporting your hip pocket... US fitness craze Peloton is set to launch in Oz. The bikes cost $2,895-3,695, and then there’s $59/month to dial into the class. But you know the rule - the more you pay, the less actual exercise you have to do…


House of Representatives resumes sittings and Senators resume Estimates hearings - Canberra

Independence Day – Samoa

Global Day of Parents

World Milk Day

ABS Data Release - Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, March; Business Indicators, March; Building Approvals, April

Birthdays for Morgan Freeman (1937), Heidi Klum (1973), Alanis Morissette (1974) and Amy Schumer (1981)

Anniversary of:
• Anne Boleyn crowned Queen of England (1533)
• the birthday of Marilyn Monroe (1926)
• the launch of CNN, the world’s first 24-hour news channel (1980)
• the deaths of Helen Keller (1968) and Yves Saint Laurent (2008)

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