Squiz Today / 22 June 2021

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 22 June



Is an unorthodox name for a child, to be sure - but it kinda makes sense when your dad is sprint king Usain Bolt...


“It’s called democracy,” outgoing Deputy PM Michael McCormack said yesterday after his Nationals colleagues voted him out as their leader, reinstalling his predecessor Barnaby Joyce. After a weekend of reports that a challenge was imminent, a spill was called yesterday morning, and Joyce was the victor. The margin of his victory wasn’t publicly disclosed - that’s not how the Nats do things, but reports this morning say it was 12-9 in Joyce's favour… Agriculture Minister and potential future leadership candidate David Littleproud stays on as deputy leader. And McCormack was applauded for a classy exit. After that, there are questions about what happens next…

• What does it mean for the Coalition? His internal critics saw McCormack as too accommodating of the Liberals’ policy agenda, particularly on climate change. On that doozy, Joyce holds views that are nowhere near a target of net zero emissions by 2050. And it’s an issue to watch as PM Scott Morrison prepares for the next big international climate summit in November.

• Will Morrison and Joyce make a good team? It’s an important question as we head into the final stretch of this term of government with an election due in the next year. And Joyce is… let's say... an unconventional politician. Some say that is his strength, particularly in an election campaign, but he hasn't been easy for his own side to wrangle in the past.

• And will the Nats heal their divisions? It’s been a bruising period since revelations about Joyce’s private life saw him leave the top job in 2018. Some hold strong views about his suitability to lead, and in a party room of 21, there aren’t many places to hide…

Joyce will be sworn in today by Governor-General David Hurley, so expect to see him in the big chair during Question Time today as Morrison continues his stint in quarantine after his UK trip. It’s unclear how a ministerial reshuffle will pan out as talks between Joyce and Morrison on how their partnership will work get underway. And after that, strap yourself in for the new and improved Barnaby Joyce. “I've spent 3 years on the backbench and, you know, I hope I come back a better person,” he said yesterday.



After Australia’s vaccination experts threw another curveball at the COVID program last week, our national leaders yesterday recommitted to working together to get Aussies immunised ASAP. The Pfizer vaccine is now preferred for the under 60yos. The lifting of that threshold puts more pressure on the supply of Pfizer vaccine in what the rollout’s coordinator Lieutenant General John Frewen calls “a resource-constrained environment”... He says Aussies will have more access to the Pfizer vaccine from August onwards. And Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly again urged those who have received their first AstraZeneca dose to get their second. Some good news about the program: more than 6.5 million doses have been administered across Australia, meaning 26.7% of the adult population have had at least their first dose.


A brief of evidence on the alleged rape of former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins has been handed to prosecutors by the Federal Police. ACT's Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold said he has been asked to advise on whether to proceed with the case, but it's unknown when that will happen. Higgins claimed in February that she was raped by a colleague in March 2019 in the Parliament House office of her then-employer Linda Reynolds. As for the inquiries that followed, 2 are ongoing. The look into what PM Morrison’s office knew about the alleged assault is set to be finalised by departmental head Phil Gaetjens "within weeks". And Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ inquiry into the workplace culture in Parliament House is due to report in November.


One of the biggest movers and shakers in the Australian music industry, Sony Music Australia boss Denis Handlin headed out yesterday. After a 50-year stint, he was Sony's longest-serving employee worldwide and had been CEO of the Aussie division since 1984. Known for his dedication to the label's artists, the 70yo is partly responsible for the success of Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian, Midnight Oil, John Farnham, Tones and I, and so many more. But all has not been well at Sony... In April, the company revealed it had received staff complaints of bullying and harassment that led to the sacking of a senior executive. And others' heads are said to be on the chopping block with an external investigation launching earlier this month. Note: there’s no suggestion Handlin behaved improperly. Global boss Rob Stringer yesterday thanked Handlin for his “extraordinary contribution to the company and its artists”. But “it is time for a change in leadership,” he said.


That’s according to Mark Simon, an adviser to the jailed owner of Hong Kong’s biggest pro-democracy newspaper Jimmy Lai. The warning comes days after 500 police officers raided Apple Daily’s offices and arrested its editor-in-chief and 4 others, as well as freezing the assets of the parent company. Under siege and now strapped for cash, the publication could be forced to shut its doors this week. "If you don't have money, you can't order services. Most importantly, you can't promise to pay people when you don't have access to the cash to cover those expenses. That's illegal in Hong Kong," Simon said. Apple Daily has been targeted by China and accused of breaching a national security law by publishing articles calling on the world to impose sanctions on President Xi Jinping’s regime for breaching Hong Kong’s autonomy. #SquizShortcuts


But there will be no cheering, thank you very much. Clapping will be allowed, and the crowd will be masked up. The maximum limit is 10,000 with some venues tapping out at a smaller number with a 50% capacity limit. The International Olympic Committee and Japan’s Government note that the arrangement could change during the Games if the COVID situation escalates. "If a state of emergency is necessary, I will be flexible and open to no fans in order to achieve that the Games give top priority to safety and security for the people," PM Yoshihide Suga said. Also in Olympics news: Kiwi Laurel Hubbard will become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Games after she was selected for New Zealand's weightlifting team yesterday. She said she will wear the silver fern “with pride”. The Tokyo Olympics kick off on 23 July.


Last week, there was diamond fever in South Africa after clear stones were found in the KwaZulu-Natal province. Yesterday, they were found to be quartz crystals. Pretty, but not quite as dazzling…

The winter solstice means one thing for those working in Antarctica - a bracing plunge into -2C water. Yikes…

And here’s hoping the blokes were wearing a bit more than the latest trend for men - short shorts. When the warmer weather comes around, don’t say we didn’t warn you…


12.30pm (AEST) - President of the Australian Local Government Association Linda Scott addresses the National Press Club - Canberra

It's Budget Day for NSW

Birthdays for Meryl Streep (1949), Elizabeth Warren (1949), Cyndi Lauper (1953) and Dan Brown (1964)

Anniversary of:
• Galileo Galilei being forced to recant his view that the Earth orbits the Sun by the Pope (1633)
• Anniversary of then Princess Elizabeth meeting future husband Prince Philip of Greece (1939)
• Nazi Germany invading the Soviet Union during WWII (1941)
• the deaths of Judy Garland (1969) and Fred Astaire (1987)

Need to get your handy on? Read the email every day this week and you'll go into the draw to win a $100 gift card from Bunnings. Very handy indeed...

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