Squiz Today / 28 November 2023

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 28 November

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

19 / 24
14 / 25
21 / 24
13 / 21
18 / 25
10 / 16
27 / 34
13 / 20

Squiz Sayings

“Obviously, everyone is really happy about the end result.” 

Said Italian tennis gun Jannik Sinner after his country’s 2-0 win of the Davis Cup against Australia yesterday morning. Everyone except everyone in the land Down Under, of course…

Dropped like a hot potato

The Squiz

In a big shake-up in Canberra, Mike Pezzullo, the Secretary of the Home Affairs Department, has been given the boot after an investigation into his attempts to influence former Coalition governments through backdoor lobbying. The investigation found that Pezzullo had crossed the line of the public service code of conduct at least 14 times. “That inquiry found breaches of the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct by Mr Pezzullo. Mr Pezzullo fully cooperated with the inquiry,” PM Anthony Albanese said yesterday as he confirmed the fate of one of Australia’s most senior and experienced bureaucrats.

Back it up a bit…

Pezzullo has been a public servant/adviser to politicians since 1987, and in his role as the head of the Home Affairs Department, he had one of the biggest jobs in the government – looking after domestic security, immigration, and border-related policy and enforcement. Last financial year, he was paid a cool $931,893 for his work. But not in his JD were secret dealings with a Coalition-linked powerbroker… In September, messages between himself and lobbyist Scott Briggs surfaced, pointing to covert efforts to gain and exert political influence with the Turnbull and Morrison governments. An independent inquiry was convened, and it found he breached the code, and now he’s gawn… 

What happens now?

Stephanie Foster will continue to act as department secretary until a permanent appointment is made. As for Pezzullo, he’s not getting as sweet a deal as he could have been eligible for on the way out… Regulatory changes were made last week that slashed compensation obligations owed to department secretaries found to have breached the public service code of conduct. As for these sorts of incidents in the future, the government is keen to close a loophole that allows public servants to dodge sanctions from possible code of conduct breaches by resigning.

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Signing off on a new plan

As day 4 of a truce between Israel and Hamas comes to a close, a 2-day extension has been agreed to. The negotiations led to a delay in the fourth group of hostages being released by Hamas, but Mark Regev, a senior advisor to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, said the extension kicks in once they and a group of Palestinian prisoners are exchanged. And Regev says as per the deal inked last week, Hamas will release 20 extra hostages – mostly women and children. US President Joe Biden – who wants more US hostages released – has been credited for helping to broker the extension, with Regev thanking him “for putting his effort and his office behind these arrangements”. Despite that, Netanyahu said yesterday that the moment the truce falls apart, his army will “return with full force to achieve our goals: the elimination of Hamas”.

World News

Going to water

The Albanese Government and the Greens have come up with a deal for the next iteration of the Murray Darling Basin Plan. To start at the top, it was legislated in 2012 and put $13 billion towards improving the health of the country’s multi-state river system by mid-2024. In July, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said the targets on shoring up environmental flows would be missed – so this new deal is about what’s next up to the end of 2027. The biggest change is allowing for more water buybacks to take place – that’s when the government purchases a farmer’s licence, so they can’t use it to irrigate crops. The Coalition isn’t happy about that – they say buybacks will be costly to communities relying on that water for their livelihoods. The new plan has got to get parliamentary support, so pull up a lilo…

AusPol Australian News Environment & Science

Kiwiland has sworn in a government

After a lot of negotiation, New Zealand has done it. The National Party, led by PM Christopher Luxon, has taken the reins, forming a coalition with the libertarian ACT New Zealand and the populist New Zealand First, ending a 6-year run with Labour in charge. The election was on 14 October, and the big sticking point in the negotiations was who would fill the role of deputy PM. In the end, the leaders of the minor parties will get half a term each…  Luxon’s lot has some controversial policies on the cards, including lifting a ban on oil and gas exploration and rolling back the use of the Maori language. And the government’s ditching the country’s pioneering law to ban smoking, which has public health experts up in arms. “We’ve got the team, we’ve got the ideas, we’ve got a clear policy program for the next 3 years,” Luxon said yesterday.

Health World News

Helping dads dad

New research has found that quality time with a newborn can help new dads get their parenting groove on – and paternity leave can be crucial to “building the fathering brain”. The benefits can go beyond father-baby bonding and the baby’s development – it can also strengthen the relationship between parents. And in recent times, more has been said about what it can do to promote gender equality… As the Harvard researchers said, “we need to not just focus on women’s participation in the professional world – we need to encourage more men to participate in the caregiving world.” Here in Australia, partners (including same-sex partners) can take up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave and up to 2 weeks of paid leave.


Christmas chocolate craziness…

Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson is shaking up the festive season by suggesting a chocolatey twist to the traditional Christmas cake. Lawson argues that if no one in the family enjoys dried fruit, there’s no point in having a traditional Christmas cake that ends up “gathering dust”. And she’s putting her chocolate cake where her mouth is – she says it’s now a tradition in her household. “Much as I love a slice of dense, damp Christmas cake … if chocolate cake appeals more, go for it.” A 2022 consumer survey found that under-35s consider fruit cake the “most boring” type of cake, with a third of this age group believe it needs a makeover. And according to one British retailer, one in 5 people who buy or bake a Christmas cake admit they do not enjoy it. So, if chocolate cake floats your boat, remember ’tis the season to be jolly…

Culture Quirky News

Apropos of nothing

Federal MP Bob Katter shook up the debate on who should be on our coins yesterday, unveiling a mock-up featuring Indigenous warrior Tubba Tre. “What Australian would even want a foreigner on their money?” he asked. Or the question on many lips – what Australian even carries coins these days

In a work world where the dress code is trackie dacks, and the commute is from the bedroom to the home office/dining table, some companies are pulling out all the stops to get employees back to the office. And in New York, they’re turning workspaces into ‘Instagrammable’ wonderlands… 

Irish author Paul Lynch has nabbed the prestigious Man Booker Prize and a cool £50,000 for his dystopian novel Prophet Song*. Set in a near-future Ireland, the book explores political repression and social disintegration through the eyes of a mother of 4. Sounds like a relaxing beach read… 

*Buy using this link, and The Squiz may earn a little commission.

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEDT) – Minister for Defence Industry and International Development & The Pacific, Pat Conroy, addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

7.40pm (AEDT) – Women’s Cricket – WBBL Eliminator – Brisbane Heat v Sydney Thunder – Perth

NSW becomes the final state in Australia to allow voluntary assisted dying (VAD)

The report from the Senate Community Affairs References Commitee’s inquiry into the worsening rental crisis is due

The Australian National University (ANU) will release findings from the nation’s largest and most comprehensive study of the Voice referendum

International Association of Privacy Professionals summit – Sydney (until 29 November)

ABS Data Release – Retail Trade, October; Mental health and social and emotional wellbeing data sources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2023

Company shareholder meeting – Ramsay Health Care

Independence Day in Albania, Panama and Mauritania

Anniversary of:
• women voting in a national election for the first time, in New Zealand’s general election (1893)
• Margaret Thatcher stepping down as PM of the UK (1990)
• the deaths of author Enid Blyton (1968) and artist Sidney Nolan (1992)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.