Squiz Today / 20 June 2017

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 20 June


“If it is a crime to love your wife and children to spend time with them then I am guilty.”

Where was Clive Palmer’s sick bag and pillow? That was the question being asked as pictures emerged of the former mining magnate boarding a $10,000-a-head Mediterranean cruise with 20 of his closest friends and family. No sign of the pancreatitis which appeared to afflict him during a recent Federal Court appearance over the collapse of his company, Queensland Nickel. Unsurprisingly, few of the 800 workers sacked from the refinery were sympathetic to Palmer's desire to spend more quality time with the kids.


A man died and nine people were taken to hospital after a van was driven into a crowd of worshippers leaving a mosque just after midnight on Monday in Finsbury Park, north of London. The dead man had collapsed before the van was driven at the crowd and it’s unclear if he died as a result of the attack or from other factors. The van was driven by Darren Osborne (47yo) from Cardiff - he was arrested for attempted murder and terror offences after being tackled to the ground by the crowd. Eyewitnesses said Osborne yelled that he wanted to “kill more Muslims” but was saved from any serious harm after one of the mosque's imams kept the crowd calm. Osborne was not known to authorities.

Authorities say yes. Finsbury Park was considered to be a hotbed of extremism, but the area and its mosque had changed a lot in recent times. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said; "While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge, it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect." Prominent Muslim leaders yesterday said they wanted security to be stepped up outside mosques. 

Impossible to say. Experts say the incident will be used in Islamic State’s propaganda as evidence Muslims and non-Muslims can’t live together. What’s clear is the use of cars and other low-tech weapons is a disturbing approach that threatens to become more frequent. In fact, there was another example in Paris overnight when a car driven by a known Islamic extremist exploded after being driven into a police car. As one expert said; “The intelligence services are doing a lot, but they cannot stop everyone.”


Tough going for the government as they try to negotiate their schools funding deal through the Senate. We reckon they could do with the deal-making skills of the policy’s namesake, businessman David Gonski (don’t you love gratuitous advice from the peanut gallery?). Education Minister Simon Birmingham was close to getting enough support but in an own goal, Liberal Senator Chris Back is making a heroic last stand (it's his last week in the job) threatening to cross the floor over concerns for Catholic schools funding. With friends like that… The government is considering its options but wants to pass the legislation this week. Oh, but there was plenty of support for the Bank Levy, it was passed through parliament last night.

Remember Kathy Jackson? The former head of the Health Services Union? She was before the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday when prosecutors withdrew the 70 counts of fraud and theft she was facing and replaced them with 164 charges over the misappropriation of $500,000 from the union. She has been accused of using the money for personal expenses including luxury holidays, gym equipment and jewellery. For a refresher, we heartily recommend a look at the ABC's Four Corners report on Jackson and her partner, former Fair Work Commission deputy president, Michael Lawler. It’s jaw-droppingly good.

Perth man Shaun Davidson has escaped from Bali’s Kerobokan jail with three other inmates. Davidson was locked up for using another man’s passport and had just two-and-a-half months of his year-long sentence to serve. There’s a bit of a backstory – he’d fled drugs charges in WA in 2015 and had been having a nice time in Bali when he was arrested. It’s believed Davidson and the men tunnelled under the wall of the jail and made their escape. Hashtag: old skool; hashtag: Shawshank; hashtag: minimum security.

The result is in and it’s a yuuuge triomphe for French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche and its ally MoDem. They’ve won 351 out of 577 seats in the National Assembly. Like a sticky label that’s impossible to get off a glass jar, Front National adversary Marine Le Pen also won a seat. Turnout was low at 42%, experts say that’s because of politics fatigue and the disenchantment in some quarters with Macron’s ascendency. So the easy part is done – now Macron has to deliver. Hear that noise? It’s the French unions setting up les barricades. 

No one likes a PDA. But that’s what Pamela Anderson and Julian Assange put on for us yesterday. Luckily it wasn’t the yucky pashy type, rather an open letter from Anderson titled ‘Why My Heart Stands With Julian’. In summary, she outlines Assange’s sexiness and appeals for his freedom, plugs her new vegan restaurant, invites herself to China, and bags UK PM Theresa May. As Assange said – it’s quite something. The letter marked the 5th anniversary of his ‘residency’ at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. 

The Miles Franklin Literary Award for Australian’s best novel of the year gives the winner acclaim and a $60,000 grant to support their writing careers. Five first-time nominees were named yesterday as finalists: Emily Maguire, An Isolated Incident; Mark O'Flynn, The Last Days of Ava Langdon; Ryan O'Neill, Their Brilliant Careers; Philip Salom, Waiting; Josephine Wilson, Extinctions. The winner will be announced on 7 September so plenty of time to read all five and bore your friends silly with your views on the ultimate winner. What a hit you’ll be at parties!

Big night for foodies last night - the Australian Financial Review's Australia's Top Restaurants were announced. The top ten are Brae (Vic) Attica (Vic), Ester (NSW), Sixpenny (NSW), Sepia (NSW), Franklin (Tas), Tipo 00 (Vic), Embla (Vic), Automata (NSW) and Hubert (NSW). Top chef was Dan Hunter, he's the co-owner and chef at Brae. Nom nom nom...

To shift things down a cultural notch, we’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news but better we tell you than you be caught unaware. The telemovie about former Australian cricketer/beer-cig-lady connoisseur Shane Warne is in jeopardy after Seven walked away. Nervous after their failed biopic of Paul Hogan’s life, Seven decided not to green light a bio-drama which we can only imagine would be awash with adult themes. All of which raises two questions: 1) What’s Eddie Perfect meant to do with the rest of the year? And 2) What is Seven wardrobe people going to do with all those men’s Playboy bunny g-strings they’d been accumulating in anticipation?

Crunch time for the Australian Rugby Union with an extraordinary general meeting called for today. CEO Bill Pulver’s job hangs in the balance following a string of poor performances – underscored by the Wallabies embarrassing loss to Scotland at the weekend. To give you a sense of the frustration, one of the most-read stories online yesterday was the beer-fuelled Facebook rant of rugby union lover Jack Quigley who offered his services: "For 15 minutes. That's all I'll need. Because I feel like you've lost touch with the common man.” It’s a sentiment that resonated, and we’ll find out later today if the ARU is listening.


ABS Data Release - Capital City Residential Property Price Indexes, March

New South Wales budget handed down

World Refugee Day

Nicole Kidman's 50th birthday

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