Squiz Today / 31 May 2022

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 31 May

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Squiz Today Podcast

Your news icebreaker. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“After 4 years in Wellington, it’s time to be straight with you all, this is the crappiest fountain ever.”

Said Toby Fisher, husband of British commissioner to Kiwiland Laura Clarke, of the Wellington bucket fountain. The kinetic sculpture is known for dumping water everywhere, and for its splash with celebrity… Clarke said her partner’s statement “in no way represent my views, or the position of the British Government.”

Labor gets across the line

Labor has claimed a majority of 76 seats in the House of Representatives with the Melbourne seat of Macnamara being called for the government. Last night, the ABC and Australian Electoral Commission projected Labor incumbent Josh Burns will secure the seat after a tight 3-cornered contest that saw the Labor, Liberal and Greens candidates achieve a similar level of primary votes. Two seats are still too close to call, but the AEC predicts the NSW seat of Gilmore will go towards Labor and Victoria’s seat of Deakin to the Liberals – but they are super tight races, and there are plenty of absentee votes to count.

Tipping over into a majority of the 151-seat lower house will put a pep in PM Anthony Albanese’s step as he confirms his ministry today ahead of a swearing-in ceremony tomorrow. What’s clear from Labor’s result that needs to be translated into frontbench roles – there will be more representation from Western Australia. And after balancing the roles across Labor’s right and left factions, it is expected that there will be more women elevated to the frontbench. So keep your ear out for that today…

They sure do, so let’s go through it…

• Peter Dutton is the new Liberal leader. He represents the outer-Brisbane seat of Dickson – he beat former Democrats-turned-Labor pollie Cheryl Kernot back in 2001, made the Howard ministry in 2004 and has been a Liberal frontbencher ever since. A former copper/businessman, the no holds barred conservative politician yesterday talked about his past mistakes and his vision for the Liberals.

David Littleproud has been elected leader of the Nationals. He’s a Queenslander who entered the parliament in 2016 as the member for Maranoa. The former agribusiness banker had a fast rise – he was appointed to Cabinet 18 months after being elected. As for dumped leader Barnaby Joyce, he said “I suppose you think I am sad. Not really,” as he wished the new team well.

• And the deputies – both are women from regional Oz. The Liberals’ Sussan Ley represents Farrer in NSW, based in Albury – she’s a former commercial pilot/shearers’ cook/farmer who also worked for the Tax Office. And the Nats’ Perin Davey is a senator based in NSW’s Deniliquin – she’s a former journo/hospitality entrepreneur/Army reservist.


Squiz the Rest

Pacific Islands cool on China deal

A 10-nation Pacific trade and security deal with China was shelved yesterday following a meeting with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. He was offering help from China on policing, disaster resilience, and more free trade. Fiji’s PM Frank Bainimarama said his neighbours agreed the regional deal shouldn’t proceed, but bilateral deals with China were still on the table, so one-on-one agreements. Another thing they agree on – Pacific nations would welcome more action on climate change from China. “Geopolitical point-scoring means less than little to anyone whose community is slipping beneath the rising seas,” said Bainimarama. For Wang’s part, he said China “will continue to provide assistance to Pacific Island countries with no political strings attached”.

World News

AGL stands undivided – but not united…

Australia’s biggest energy generator has shelved plans to separate its power-generating and retailing business units following pressure from billionaire majority shareholder Mike Cannon-Brookes. AGL’s board said it still believed the demerger was the “best way forward,” but getting enough shareholder support would be hard. That means CEO Graeme Hunt and chairman Peter Botten are leaving, as will board members Jacqueline Hey and Diane Smith-Gander. AGL’s coal and gas-fired power stations account for circa 8% of Australia’s carbon footprint, and Cannon-Brookes has led calls for the demerger to be dumped. He reckons the best way to get climate action from AGL is to have the coal/gas-fired assets dragging on the company’s profits. The company will now review its “strategic direction”, and Cannon-Brookes wants them to rule out moves to sell the heavy-carbon emitting power plants.

Business & Finance

NSW says bye to the bag

It was March 2020 when the NSW Government announced plans, and tomorrow the state will become the last in Oz to ban plastic bags. Yep, lightweight carriers are out, as are ‘compostable’ and ‘bioplastic’ alternatives because they don’t break down unless treated at a composting facility. Bin liners, nappy/dog poo bags, and produce bags – they stay in. As for enforcement, there will be a crackdown on businesses caught giving them out with fines of $11,000-250,000 in play. Phase 2 comes into effect on 1 November, when single-use utensils and polystyrene containers are banned. NSW is slow to the party after South Australia kicked things off in 2009. The ACT banned single-use plastic bags in 2011, followed by Tassie in 2013, Queensland in 2018, and Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria in 2019.

Australian News Environment & Science

Hello winter

Just in time for the new season, a blast of polar air from Antarctica has collided with much of eastern and southern Oz, with some areas receiving an icy cocktail of rain, hail, wind and snow and the coldest temperatures of the year so far this week. Rain records tumbled in the Pilbara in Western Oz over the weekend after the polar blast brought floods to the region. The weather system then moved to South Oz on Sunday, which shivered through its coldest day of the year so far as it faced torrential rain and a destructive ‘mini tornado’ to Adelaide’s north. Yesterday, the polar blast started to move through Tassie, Victoria and NSW, bringing chilly winds, heavy rain, and snowfall forecast for as low as 700 metres above sea level. And soz Queenslanders – the winter chill is set to hit your neck of the woods today. The countdown to spring begins…

Australian News Weather

Top Gun’s top weekend

If you feel the need, the need to go to the movies, you’ll be joining plenty of Top Gun fans who gave the long-awaited sequel a lot of love on the weekend. Scoring the second best-ever Memorial Day weekend launch in the US (after Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), Top Gun: Maverick has given its star Tom Cruise his biggest box office launch. Globally, the movie took in US$248 million between Friday and Sunday, including US$10.7 million here in Oz. “This film heralds the return of the summer blockbuster and is a catalyst that will accelerate demand for moviegoing like an F-18 breaking the sound barrier,” said IMAX boss Richard Gelfond. And it’s doing well with the critics, scoring 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and a glowing A+ CinemaScore. As for the original 1986 cast, they haven’t changed a bit


Apropos of Nothing

An ‘old woman’/climate activist has jumped out of a wheelchair and smeared cake over the glass protecting the Mona Lisa. It’s safe to say the Louvre’s security guards did not wear a Mona Lisa smile

The world’s largest bottle of whisky has commanded a large price… The 311-litre vessel of 1989 Macallan single malt went for almost $2 million. The most expensive ever sold was a single bottle of 60yo Macallan whisky that went for $2.1 million in 2018.

If you’re the kind of person who cries during a movie, it could mean you have high emotional intelligence – and researchers say it’s also a sign of personal strength, not weakness. Wonder if that extends to Qantas ads

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.30pm (AEST) – Women’s Basketball – Australia v Japan – Newcastle

ABS Data Release – Balance of Payments and International Investment Position, March; Business Indicators, March; Building Approvals, April

World No Tobacco Day

Birthdays for actors Clint Eastwood (1930), Brooke Shields (1965), and Colin Farrell (1976)

Anniversary of:
• explorers Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth marking the end of a route across the Blue Mountains, allowing colonial expansion into Western NSW (1813)
• Dr John Harvey Kellogg patenting “flaked cereal” (1884)
• the world’s oldest bride Minnie Munro (102yo) marrying Dudley Reid (83yo) in Point Clare, NSW (1991)
• Psy’s Gangnam Style becoming the first video to reach 2 billion views on YouTube (2014)

Squiz the Day

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