Squiz Today / 25 July 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 25 July

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Squiz Today Podcast

News to get up and go.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

6 / 19
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Squiz Sayings

“Something’s in the water here.”

Said swimming champ Emma McKeon of Australia’s best-ever start to the World Championships, winning 4 gold medals from 5 finals. Paris 2024, here we come – and coach Dean Boxall is excited

More cash to hide under Oz’s mattress

Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers gave an updated estimate on the government’s 2022-23 Budget outcome and reckons the surplus will be “just likely north” of $20 billion. Whatever the final figure, it’s quite a bit higher than the $4.2 billion surplus projected during the May Budget. Chalmers pointed to our high employment rate (aka high-income tax receipts) as a factor behind the extra $16 billion, but more will be revealed in September. In the meantime, Chalmers also used the same press conference to announce that the Productivity Commission would be getting a new chief…

First, let’s talk about what the Productivity Commission does. It’s a government research and advice body that helps our politicians set economic policy. See, that wasn’t too painful… The Commission will soon be led by Chris Barrett, a long-time public servant/former Labor economics policy adviser. Chalmers says he hopes Barrett will help with policies focused on “getting decent wages growth and lifting living standards over time as well”. Speaking of wages, we also heard Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke has a plan to help casual workers doing full-time hours transition into permanent roles, complete with guaranteed hours and sick/annual leave. Burke’s proposed workplace laws are a key Labor policy, and we’re expecting to see more before the end of the year.

You didn’t think that was it, did you? New inflation figures are out tomorrow morning… Cue analysts’ recalibrating their forecasts to see if we’re on track for further interest rate rises. There’s no expectation that inflation will be near the 2-3% target set by the Reserve Bank, but cross your fingers that it’s continued to come down from May’s 5.6%. Chalmers was circumspect when asked about it yesterday: “It will be higher than we’d like for longer than we’d like”. Watching keenly will be the Reserve Bank – and consider this your one-week warning that we’re heading towards another first Tuesday of the month (aka interest rate decision day)…

AusPol Australian News Economy

Squiz the Rest

An inconclusive result in Spain…

Spain has a hung parliament after the country’s election on Sunday failed to produce an outright winner. The conservative opposition party – dubbed the People’s Party (PP) – was tipped for victory, but the incumbent Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) did better than many anticipated. To secure a majority, one of the parties needed at least 176 seats, but that will be tough to secure… Even with the far-right Vox party and far-left Sumar party’s votes going to PP and PSOE, neither has enough to claim government. Pencil in another vote towards the end of the year… And in Cambodia, 45yo Hun Manet – son of Cambodia’s current PM Hun Sen – is set to succeed his father in the coming weeks. The nation’s one-horse election on the weekend has been labelled a sham by democracy watchers.

World News

Israel lurches to the right

Yesterday we previewed the judicial overhaul that Israel’s government is planning, and last night the first of the votes passed the parliament. The country’s Supreme Court will no longer be able to overrule government decisions that don’t pass the legal standard of “reasonableness”, which has long served as a check-and-balance on government power. It might sound like a wonky legal clause, but both sides have been treating the reforms as a fight over Israel’s identity… Secular Israelis see the reforms as an attack on democracy, while religious Israelis think the court stands in the way of the right-wing parliament’s power (paywall). Emerging from the hospital just in time for the vote – with a new pacemaker to boot – was Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will need all the fortitude he can get, with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog warning that the division in the country has turned into “a national emergency”.

World News

Fires force thousands of tourists to flee

Greek authorities are racing to contain wildfires that have broken out nationwide as temperatures exceed 40C. Reports say 64 fires started on Sunday thanks to atrocious conditions brought on by the hottest day of their record-breaking summer. The total number of fires burning is past 80, with new blazes breaking out on the popular holiday islands of Corfu and Evia. Boats – including private vessels – were sent to pick up evacuees fleeing their hotels and homes, and airports have been packed with holidaymakers trying to leave. Wind gusts of 49km/h have made things even more challenging for firefighters on the island of Rhodes, where at least 19,000 people have fled in the nation’s largest-ever fire evacuation. And reports say the extreme heat being recorded across much of the Northern Hemisphere isn’t set to cool off for a few more days…

Environment & Science World News

Goodbye to the blue bird…

Tech billionaire Elon Musk has unveiled the latest change to Twitter after his US$44 billion takeover of the social media company last October. The app’s iconic bird logo has flown the coop, with Musk replacing it with an ‘X’ to bring it in line with his other company and child names. “Not sure what subtle clues gave it away, but I like the letter X,” Musk says of the rebrand. It comes after he admitted that advertising dollars have been slow on Twitter since he took control of the company. And if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic for the blue bird, one of its designers has broken down exactly how it came to be. “This little blue bird did so much over the last 11 years,” Martin Grasser says. And now it’s time to fly away and be free…

Business & Finance Technology

Fuelling the Matildas

Vini Capovilla might be the most important person in Oz right now… As the head chef for the Matildas, he plays a crucial role for the team during the month-long World Cup and strives to deliver maximum nutrition and well-being. To do that requires dedication to mirror the team’s rhythm and vibe, cater to nerves and excitement, and fuel the high performance needed on the pitch. And if you have a few people in your home, and it feels like it’s a constant stream of preparing meals and cleaning up – Capovilla is working 16-hour days feeding 50 mouths several meals a day… So what’s sizzlin’ on the menu? Avos, berries, coffee and Mexican food. “We make some nachos bowls, a beautiful chilli con carne, some quesadillas, some fajitas. I know they enjoy,” Capovilla says. Umm, same…


Apropos of nothing

Singer Lana Del Ray and TV host David Letterman have been spotted doing normie jobs far from LA and NYC… And while Letterman did a shift at a grocery store in Iowa for promotional purposes, it’s unclear what Del Ray’s Waffle House stint in Alabama’s about.

Missing in rural southern Texas: Willy the rodeo goat, and the community has come together to offer a reward to the person who finds him. Let’s hope he wasn’t kid-napped…

And it wouldn’t be July 2023 without some Barbie-related content… Ever wondered what pop anthem Barbie Girl would sound like if legend Johnny Cash sang it? Us neither… But thanks to AI, we’ll never have to wonder again

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – CFMEU National Secretary Zach Smith addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

Term 3 begins for public schools in Tassie

Constitution Day in Puerto Rico

Republic Day in Tunisia

Company Results – Newcrest Mining

Start of 2023 Australia Wind Energy Conference (until 26 July) – Melbourne

World Drowning Prevention Day

Miles Franklin Literary Award winner announced

Anniversary of:
• scientists announcing the first human stem cells to be cultured in a laboratory (1997)
• Lance Armstrong winning the first of 7 consecutive Tour de France titles (but is later disqualified for drug cheating) (1999)
• WikiLeaks publishing classified documents about the war in Afghanistan, one of the largest leaks in US military history (2010)

And Merry Christmas in July

Squiz the Day

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