Squiz Today / 11 February 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 11 February


“Parasite wins despite there being no host.”

Won tweet of the Oscars. Because yesterday’s Academy Awards ceremony didn’t have anyone hosting it. And a film named Parasite made history to win the Oscar for best picture. Now that we’ve completely ruined the joke, let’s move on shall we?


PM Scott Morrison and the Coalition Government suffered another humiliating defeat in the House of Representatives yesterday when their pick for Deputy Speaker lost out to a candidate backed by Labor and some rogue Nationals MPs. Also on to PM’s mind: another potentially destabilising showdown on climate change and energy policy. 

OK, strap yourself in... Queenslander and Liberal-National Party MP Llew O’Brien yesterday morning announced that he would remain a Coalition MP, but would no longer attend Nationals’ meetings. A supporter of former Nats leader Barnaby Joyce, O’Brien’s move was essentially an ‘up yours’ to current leader Michael McCormack. To make matters worse, Labor then rubbed it right in by nominating the aggrieved O’Brien to become Deputy Speaker of the House, gazumping the Coalition’s official pick, Nationals MP Damien Drum. Clear as mud? Yep. The key takeout is it highlights disunity in the government, with differences about climate change policy at the heart of it - again. Specifically, Llew and Joyce are part of a group that champions government investment in coal-fired energy - a policy former PM Malcolm Turnbull yesterday labelled as “nuts”.

Our representatives managed to keep it together in front of Indonesian President Joko Widodo... He gave a rare address to our parliament yesterday urging cooperation between our nations on climate change, supporting Pacific nations and growing closer economic ties. Describing Australia as Indonesia's "closest friend", he also said our countries need to stand up for "democracy, human rights, tolerance and diversity." Morrison said the Avengers: Endgame fan was “a dear, dear friend”. And with Indonesia on track to becoming the world's fourth-largest economy, he's a good friend to have…

Want to know more about our major parties’ leaders? Our latest Squiz Shortcut takes you through the lives and times of Liberal leader Scott Morrison and Labor leader Anthony Albanese. It's a good backgrounder to have up your sleeve…



That’s the hope of the state’s Rural Fire Service. Yee-haw… After a dreadful fire season so far, heavy rain on the weekend helped authorities to extinguish 30 fires since Friday, including the Gospers Mountain ‘mega-blaze’ that was responsible for so much destruction north-west of Sydney. To get a sense of how much rain parts of the state has seen, the weather bureau said the past four days in Sydney had been the wettest since 1990. That was replicated up and down the coast with residents in NSW and southeast Queensland beginning the cleanup before more soggy weather arrives later this week. The Insurance Council has declared the storms an official ‘catastrophe’ (not unlike Sizzler’s continuing demise…).


China’s President Xi Xinping visited a Beijing hospital yesterday - an outing critics say is designed to head off criticism that he hasn't been visible enough during the country's coronavirus crisis. The toll jumped by 97 on Sunday - the largest number of deaths in a single day since the virus was first detected in December. This brings the total number of deaths to 910 (all but two occured in mainland China), with 40,514 confirmed cases worldwide. While the World Health Organisation says the number of new cases in China is “stabilising”, it warned it was too early to tell if the virus had peaked. Health officials remain concerned about the spread of the virus as many in China returned to work yesterday after the government eased some restrictions.


A first count of the votes from Saturday’s Irish election has been completed, and Sinn Féin won the most support at the ballot box. Securing 24.1% of first-preference votes, the republican party with IRA links from a long time back nearly doubled its support since the last election - a result its leader Mary Lou McDonald described as "something of a revolution in the ballot box". The party won't be able to form a government in its own right though because it didn't run enough candidates. And with establishment parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael winning 22.2% and 20.9% respectively, a lot of negotiation is yet to go with Sinn Fein demanding representation in the government. All that means that Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach (PM) and Fine Gael leader, is unlikely to keep his job.


JB, you’ve done it again… The consumer electronics retailer has managed to avoid the woes plaguing others, beating market expectations thanks to a “strong” Christmas quarter. The company’s revenue over the July-December 2019 half rose by 3.9% to $4 billion, with wins online and in the communications, audio, and computer categories. And despite sluggish retail growth and coronavirus concerns coming into the new year, it says it’s doing well so far this year. Why is it bucking the retail trend? We all need tech, chief executive Richard Murray summarised. True dat… The news sent JB Hi-Fi’s share price up 11.5% yesterday..

And while we have you… Celebrity chef George Calombaris’ restaurant group, MADE Establishment, has gone into voluntary receivership with many restaurants closing immediately. The former Masterchef judge said they’d tried to “overcome the many challenges we have recently experienced”. But diners abandoned it after $7.8 million in underpayments to staff were revealed.


Our Aussie women’s basketball team - the Opals - is off to the Tokyo Olympics after an 86-72 win over Brazil yesterday. The most talked-about player was Liz Cambage - she was emotional after the win saying the 2016 Rio Olympics left a scar. "That was meant to be where I got my last medal and retired. I think it was God's plan for me to have such a horrible time and want to come back and have another chance of winning a medal," she explained. And we can’t wait to watch her try. Also sparkling were Ellyse Perry and David Warner who took out Aussie cricket's top awards. It was a big turnaround for Warner who was banned in 2018 over the ball-tampering scandal. For Perry, who was also the ICC's Cricketer of the Year, it caps off an incredible year.


Timothée Chalamet’s tracksuit tux? While it wasn’t exactly full of surprises, the 92nd Academy Awards had some history-making moments. It was widely expected that Joaquin PhoenixRenée ZellwegerBrad Pitt and Laura Dern would sweep the acting awards. Which they did. But South Korean film Parasite’s Best Picture win making it the first foreign-language film to claim the prize wasn't expected. Jojo Rabbit director, Nuu Zeelunder Taika Waititi also became the first indigenous director to win an Oscar after taking out the gong for Best Adapted Screenplay. Keanu Reeves won the Best Son award, for bringing his mum as his Oscars date. Director Spike Lee paid tribute to Kobe Bryant in a custom purple and gold Gucci suit. Natalie Portman embroidered her Dior cape with the names of overlooked female directorsAnd no one was quite sure why Eminem was there… Which means you need a red carpet gallery. And breathe…


New Hampshire primaries

ABS Data Release - Lending Indicators, December

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Birthdays for Jennifer Aniston (1969) and Khalid (1998)

Anniversary of the deaths of Sylvia Plath (1963), Alexander McQueen (2010) and Whitney Houston (2012)

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