Squiz Today / 31 March 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 31 March


“Television. Reality”

Tweeted ABC TV journo Dan Ziffer as he pulled aside the veil of mystery on working-from-home live-crosses. Like many things in life, it’s all about working your best angle…


Unprecedented and chillingly breathtaking in size, the federal government will spend $130 billion over six months to give six million Aussies access to a fortnightly wage subsidy of $1,500 as the coronavirus crisis chews up jobs and spits out our economy. The ‘JobKeeper Payment' is a historic move to prop up our national wages bill. It's the government's way of encouraging businesses to hang in there and wait out the virus part of this COVID-19 cluster-disaster. “When the economy comes back, these businesses will be able to start again and their workforce will be ready to go,” PM Scott Morrison said yesterday.

Just quickly:

• Aimed at helping businesses that have suffered a 30% plus hit to their revenue over a month (or a 50% hit for businesses turning over more than $1 billion a year), the $1,500 subsidy will be paid to employers. They, in turn, will be expected to pass it on to full and part-time workers they have stood down, as well as casuals with at least one year in their job.

• Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the payment is the equivalent of around 70% of the national median wage. And for workers in the accommodation, hospitality and retail sectors, it’s a full median replacement wage.

• The money will start flowing in May, and it will be backdated to cover anyone who has been stood down as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

And there are three big numbers to stare into as we process what's happening. The first is that it takes total crisis support for the economy (government and Reserve Bank) to $320 billion - which is 16.4% of our annual economic activity. Which is incredible when you think it’s all come about within a month. Another is the government expects six million people to access the payment - or about half our workforce - which is particularly scary. Finally, it lines up with the OECD’s predictions that our economy will experience a 22% downturn from the sharp shock wreaked by the virus, and that brings a sad end to almost 30 years of continuous economic growth. Whoever said it’s better to burn out than to fade away was wrong…



• The deaths of two more Australians were confirmed yesterday - one in Tassie and one from the ACT, the first for both areas - taking our national toll to 18 people. There was some good news from deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly who said the rise in new cases has slowed - but experts warn there is a long way to go.

• Yesterday, arrangements to enforce the new two-person gathering rule were announced. And the NT put new restrictions in place that would see interstate arrivals forced into quarantine for 14 days at their own expense from tomorrow night.

• Heading overseas, and the US President Donald Trump has changed his tune about getting back to normal by Easter. Quite the contrary, Trump announced extended social restrictions and said America would be doing well if it can keep deaths “down to 100,000.” Yikes…

• Meanwhile, some UK engineers who usually keep F1 racing cars on the track have come together to design and build a ventilator that can be mass manufactured. Apparently, they are the people for it because they have special "rapid prototyping manufacturing reverse-engineering" skills. Say that three times quickly…

• The number of global cases has risen to 755,000 people. More than 36,000 people have died, and almost 160,000 people have recovered.


When it rains, it pours. And it’s a scene not uncommon to many of us. Just as you’re about to change jobs, you also have to wrangle a house move and news your dad is sick. All while the world’s paparazzi is breathing down your neck and your personal security arrangements are a bit tricky. Ok, except maybe that last bit… Today is the day the Sussexes’ officially step down from royal duties and get ready to step into their private lives. And with a move to the US already under their belt (making Canada feel like a “rebound fling”...), President Trump has ruled out footing the bill for the pair’s security. Harry and Meghan’s response: they had “no plans to ask the government for security resources”. So there… Onwards and upwards.


With the vote scheduled to happen in November, there’s a long way still to go, and the Democrats still need to finalise their candidate. But for those wondering: a President Trump v Joe Biden face-off would be a tight race, according to a poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News. Trump was behind a few weeks ago, but commentators say his handling of the coronavirus crisis, particularly the delivery of a record US$2 trillion stimulus package, has pulled him up to be slightly ahead of Biden. Meanwhile, another challenger, Bernie Sanders, keeps on keeping on despite running a distant second as the Democrats’ choice to take on Trump.


With authorities considering the tragic bushfire season over as of today, there’s a sigh of relief from many exhausted officials. And you would have thought the rain forecast for many areas devastated by the fires would have been welcomed, but it’s a bit tricky… That’s because the bulk of any hazard-reduction burning would be done from mid-March until the end of May, but the conditions are too wet in some critical places. Add to the coronavirus restrictions on gathering people together, and the ability to conduct such burns is fraught, a spokesman for the NSW Rural Fire Service said.


No, we’re not talking about the continually-crashing website in Kiwiland where citizens get online to dob in their neighbours for not abiding by the coronavirus restrictions… We’re more interested in the Aussie bloke who got four magnets stuck up his nose as he tried to make a device to stop people touching their faces. His day job: astrophysicist. Which would have held him in good stead as the hospital staff made fun of him…


Harry and Meghan officially step down from royal duties

International Transgender Day of Visibility

Birthdays for Christopher Walken (1943), Al Gore (1948), Angus Young (1955), Ewan McGregor (1971)

Anniversaries of:
• Oliver Cromwell being offered the crown from the English Parliament - which he declined (1657)
• the Eiffel Tower officially opening in Paris (1889)
• the awarding of the Pulitzer Prize to Toni Morrison for her novel Beloved (1988)
• US President Donald Trump purchasing Eastern Air Shuttle, which he renamed Trump Shuttle (1989)
• the deaths of Isaac Newtown (1727), Charlotte Brontë (1855), JP Morgan (1913) and Jesse Owens (1980)

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