Squiz Today / 11 July 2017

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 11 July


“There was no place for me. No one wanted to claim me and I didn't want to be owned. I didn't belong to my father and I didn't want to belong to a husband - someone who could tell me what to do.”

Sheila Michaels, the US feminist credited with popularising the use of ‘Ms’, died last week at 78yo. She was annoyed there wasn’t a female version of ‘Mr’ – something that didn’t indicate marital status. She stumbled on the salutation in 1961, and while it took years to take off, it now has the common usage she dreamed of.


With barely enough time for a pinot grigio in Positano, a rosé on the Riviera or even a Pimms at Wimbledon – PM Malcolm Turnbull will soon be making his way back to Oz from his high-level hitchhiking tour of Germany, France and the UK. He's had briefings on counter-terrorism (a hot topic for obvious reasons) and met with UK PM Theresa May to discuss trade and security. They also visited the Borough Market to remember the victims, particularly the two Australian women, of the recent terror attack. There's a meeting with the Queen to go and he'll be on his way home.

The UK has Brexit to deal with before they can do much but the groundwork is being laid for a free trade agreement that will build on our already $18 billion-strong trade relationship. However, today’s headlines focus on a speech Turnbull delivered in London that was actually meant for a very Australian audience. The background is an accusation by former PM Tony Abbott and others that Turnbull has steered the Liberal Party away from its conservative roots. Turnbull said party founder Robert Menzies was deliberate to ensure the Liberals weren’t conservatives; “The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be.” Subtle, huh…

You reckon? Someone helpfully suggested Tony Abbott should leave the country and become our High Commissioner to the UK (not going to happen) and many ooh’d and ahh’d about the Coalition’s poor standings in yesterday’s Newspoll. The lid’s off the same-sex marriage debate (again) and electricity price increases are coming down the pipeline. And that’s just the last few days. A vino in Venice would be looking like a pretty good alternative to coming home…


The ABC reported yesterday that the Federal Police are investigating Australian special forces’ alleged shooting of a child in Afghanistan in 2012. An inquiry by Defence was already underway into broader cultural issues. However, the report says police are now investigating specific alleged incidents and our troops’ conduct, particularly the accusation they tried to cover it up. Some Afghanistan veterans have spoken about a recklessness and indifference to Afghan life. Please note this link goes through to some graphic content.

A little good news from the Grattan Institute – they’ve found that the number of households under mortgage stress (defined as +30% of income going towards repayments) has gone down. The bad news is we’re on a knife-edge. They say a 2% interest rate rise would have an impact greater than what was seen in 1989 (aka the days of 17% interest rates) because many borrowers are so highly leveraged. Many of the most-stressed suburbs are on urban fringes, and more than half are in Victoria. Yikes. On the upside: there is no indication rates will go up anytime soon.

We don’t think they’re suggesting any causality, but this report in the UK’s Telegraph says a cancer diagnosis is more common than getting married or having your first baby. We looked at the Aussie stats and it’s correct for us too. There’s no doubt more cancers are diagnosed with better screening (and patient outcomes have improved too). We also know fewer people are getting married and birth rates are down. What does it all mean? We’re not sure – but an interesting factoid nonetheless.

Beware a tiger mum - especially a tennis one. Mum of British tennis player Marcus Willis made headlines in the UK by jumping to her son’s defence after social media trolls called him fat. Willis earned the nickname ‘Cartman’ (after the South Park character) for his former predilection for soft drinks and chocolate bars during matches. "I expect he finds your ridiculous insults slightly boring, he's got far better things to do than engage with trolls" mum tweeted back. Too right. Willis has trimmed down and had made it through to the third round of the men’s doubles at Wimbledon but bowed out overnight. A shame, we would have liked a fairy tale ending to this one – there could have been a movie in it.

Just a quick tidy up/update on some recent matters:

Amber Harrison didn't appear in court yesterday, but that didn't stop Seven from laying into her, its lawyers telling a judge she had a history of seeking ‘revenge’ against men she believed had wronged her. Seven will pursue her for legal costs and a permanent gag to stop her talking about them (and the affair with CEO Tim Worner). She will give evidence via phone today.

Cardinal George Pell has arrived in Australia to prepare for his court appearance on child sex abuse charges in Melbourne in August.

Some housekeeping from US President Donald Trump himself – he quickly backed down yesterday on the idea of a US and Russia joint cyber security unit. “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn't mean I think it can happen,” he said. 


ABS Data Release - Housing Finance, May

National Australia Bank Monthly Business Survey, June

World Population Day

International Olympic Committee to name 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games cities - hot tip is Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028

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