Squiz Today / 12 May 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 12 May


“I was just like, 'OK, I landed it. Now I am going to celebrate'."

Said 11yo Brazilian skateboarder Gui Khury of becoming the first person to land a 1080-degree turn on a vertical ramp. How’d he celebrate? With “mac and cheese at home”. Respect.


On the day that was meant to be a triumph for the Morrison Government, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today update the Federal Parliament with a very different set of economic numbers than he’d hoped to just a few months ago. The federal budget won’t be ‘back in black’, as the Liberals’ coffee mug bullishly predicted. Instead, the books will tell the story of a raging red hangover created by the coronavirus crisis that will hang around for years to come.

PM Scott Morrison and Frydenberg campaigned heavily in last year's federal election on the promise that they would deliver the government's first budget surplus since John Howard was Prime Minister. That's the golden financial position when the government's spending less than it's collecting in taxes etc in a financial year. And we were on track for a $5 billion surplus when the updated numbers were reported in mid-December last year. Then the bushfires happened, taking a couple of billion dollars to fund communities' recovery efforts. And then the coronavirus happened, sucking up more than $200 billion in government spending (and counting), and stripping it of taxes that it would typically take when the economy and its markets are working correctly. So bye-bye surplus; hello massive, stinking deficit...

We’ll find out today when Frydenberg updates the nation on the numbers. But the prediction by Deloitte Access Economics is there will be budget deficits of $143 billion this financial year, $132 billion next financial year, $52 billion in 2021-22 and $33 billion in 2022-23. Ouch... And there’s concern that parts of the economy - like the arts, retail trade, air travel, accommodation and cafes - will take years to recover. And that’s just a view of where things are up to right now without the benefit of a crystal ball to factor in more twists in the road. Buckle up…



• The last state to announce its plans to ease coronavirus restrictions, Victoria will allow five visitors at home, and groups of 10 people can meet outside from Wednesday. Cafes and restaurants will need to stick with takeaway service for now with plans to reopen to be reviewed in June. Premier Daniel Andrews called the steps “safe, cautious and appropriate”.

• Meanwhile, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern will lift more restrictions from Thursday to open restaurants, cinemas, shopping malls and gyms. Schools will open next week, and bars the week after. Kiwiland has just 90 active COVID-19 cases ATM.

• UK PM Boris Johnson has copped some heat for a plan to ease restrictions with critics calling the advice confusing. Comedian Matt Lucas had a field day with it… France and other European countries are also lifting measures, as is Russia despite overtaking Italy and the UK to have the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world.

• In sport, the Victorian Government has also lifted some restrictions on professional sports training, including for AFL clubs. Rumours that the Melbourne Storm NRL side couldn’t be seen for dust as they hightailed it out of NSW border city Albury could not be confirmed… And Rugby Australia is said to be planning an interim domestic men's competition that would include the abandoned Perth-based Western Force.

• To the numbers: there are almost 4.15 million cases globally, and nearly 285,000 people have died. Australia has 6,948 cases (up by eight yesterday) and 97 deaths.


Melbourne Porsche owner 41yo Richard Pusey, who is accused of speeding and filming dying police officers after a fatal truck crash before fleeing the scene, was hit with new charges yesterday. He adds charges of perverting the course of justice to his rap sheet of reckless conduct endangering life, destruction of evidence and failing to render assistance after a crash. While his lawyers say he is traumatised by the incident and questioned what assistance he could have provided, prosecutors say his background as a nurse put him in an excellent position to help. A decision on his bail application will be made later this week. Meanwhile, former AFL player/coach Dean Laidley was granted bail by a Melbourne magistrates court yesterday as he faces stalking charges. The 52yo is now receiving treatment for longstanding gender dysphoria and substance abuse issues.


A 25yo Italian aid worker who was abducted by gunmen in Kenya in 2018 has returned home. Silvia Romano, who works for Italian charity Africa Milele Onlus, was freed by Islamist militants al-Shabab near Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday following joint efforts by Italy’s secret service, Somalia and Turkey, reports say. While no group has claimed responsibility for Romano's disappearance, al-Shabab (which was behind a fatal attack on a hotel and office complex in Kenya's capital Nairobi last year) is thought to be responsible for her abduction. "I am well, luckily, both physically and mentally. I now want to spend time with my family. I am so happy to be back after all this time," she said yesterday.


Actor and comedian Jerry Stiller has died of natural causes, his famous son Ben Stiller announced on social media yesterday. Jerry was best known for his role as Geoge Costanza's dad on Seinfeld where he played a short-tempered former army cook-turned inventor of the 'bro' - a bra for men. He said working on the show "were the best years of my life as an actor." Throughout his professional life, he's appeared in so many of America's popular TV shows, and he took to the big screen with Ben in male-model-exposé Zoolander. But it was his 62-year marriage to actress Anne Meara that underpinned his success. She died in 2015. Onscreen son Jason Alexander said Jerry was "perhaps the kindest man I ever had the honour to work beside". Some of his best moments on the show are here.


And to mark the occasion of his 60th bday, the U2 frontman has compiled a list of "60 Songs That Saved My Life." They are the tracks “I couldn't have lived without... the ones that got me from there to here, zero to 60... through all the scrapes, all manner of nuisance, from the serious to the silly... and the joy, mostly joy." To top off the treasure trove, Bono will write a "fan letter to accompany each song to try and explain my fascination." The note to Billie Eilish for her song everything i wanted is spot on. Enjoy


Federal Parliament resumes for three days - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Lending Indicators, March

International Nurses Day

Birthdays for Rami Malek (1981), Bill Shorten (1967), and Homer Simpson (1956)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Florence Nightingale (1820) (200th anniversary), Katharine Hepburn (1907)
• the wedding of Mick and Bianca Jagger (1971)
• Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction premiering at the Cannes Film Festival (1994)

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