Squiz Today / 04 December 2018

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 4 December


"My lady arms are a threat to decency."

Said ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas about being kicked out of Question Time yesterday for showing too much skin. The right to bare arms in Australia is back on the agenda...


Hundreds of convictions – including of some of Victoria’s most notorious criminals - could be overturned after a High Court ruling yesterday described as ‘reprehensible’ the recruitment by Victorian Police of a high-profile criminal defence barrister as an informant. It's being described as one of the largest legal scandals in the state’s history and has prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to announce a royal commission.

The trouble began back in 2005 when police recruited as an informant a criminal defence barrister whose client list was a who’s who of Melbourne’s gangland. She became known as Informer 3838. And while that meant the police had a purple patch locking up the bad guys, it has ultimately rendered those convictions open to appeal and has "debased fundamental premises of the criminal justice system". That’s because a lawyer acting for a client can’t simultaneously be dishing the dirt to the police. Not that she did well out of it - the High Court heard she is at risk after police assurances her informer status would never be revealed proved baseless, and she’s not in witness protection.

A bunch of convicted criminals could go free. Twenty of them have received a letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions saying their convictions could be affected. In total, Informer 3838 has said she’d provided intelligence which led to the arrest and charging of 386 people. Reports say that includes jailed drug lord Tony Mokbel, so watch this space… Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a Royal Commission into police mismanagement. “The Victorian public has a right to know that every part of the justice system acts fairly and lawfully at all times," he said. Police Commissioner Ashton pledged to “fully cooperate”, saying the behaviour of his predecessors was “inappropriate”.


Delegates have arrived in Katowice, Poland for the acronym-heavy COP24 climate change conference. It’s a United Nations' pow-wow that’s been billed as the most important talks on the subject since the 2015 Paris talks. Famed naturalist Sir David Attenborough headlined the opening day and said he believed global warming is the biggest threat to the planet in thousands of years. “If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon," he said. Yikes... Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced US$200 billion in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change. Talks continue until 14 December.

The modern era of revolving-door Prime Ministers may soon be over following a late night meeting in Canberra. PM Scott Morrison called his MPs together to pass new rules that will make it harder for them to knife a sitting PM. From here on in, any Liberal leadership spill must be backed by two-thirds of the party room or it cannot happen. Neither Tony Abbott nor Malcolm Turnbull would have lost their leadership under the new rules. A small disclaimer, it only applies to leaders who successfully contest an election. Former Labor PM Kevin Rudd drove changes to Labor’s leadership process in 2013 making it impossible for an overnight spill to occur again.

West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle was yesterday awarded $300,000 over a series of defamatory articles in Fairfax Media publications alleging he exposed himself to a massage therapist during the 2015 World Cup. A four-person jury found in favour of the sportsman in October last year. Fairfax Media said it would appeal, decrying "the appalling burden of defamation laws in this country." Maybe it can fund the payout with the savings new overlord Nine is about to find with redundancies announced within the newly-merged mega media company?

And while we have you… Three women set to give evidence on actor Craig McLachlan’s alleged misconduct won’t get the opportunity. The court hearing the McLachlan’s defamation case against the ABC, Fairfax and actress Christie Whelan Browne shut that avenue down yesterday.

That sigh you hear? It’s Sydney homeowners. Analysts CoreLogic said home prices fell 0.7% nationally last month with Sydney dropping twice that rate. The city has seen a steep 9.5% fall since July 2017 when home values peaked - almost reaching the previous record fall of 9.6% in 1989-91. Some pundits think the Sydney slump will well and truly eclipse that of the 90s recession. Elsewhere, Melbourne and Perth also struggled in November. And the capitals (down 0.9%) did worse than regional areas (down 0.1%) for the month. But the big trend-bucker is Hobart whose housing market recorded 9.3% annual growth.

After more than 35 years on our shores, the Aussie arm of British-inspired homeware and fashion retailer Laura Ashley has collapsed for the second time in as many years. Administrator KordaMentha says online competition, high costs and a tough retail environment are to blame. Laura Ashley currently has 18 stores and 100 employees in Oz. The company said it is looking to clear as much stock as possible in the pre-Christmas period – something to keep in mind if you’re in the market for some floral wallpaper or a Peter Pan-collared blouse.

Retail is going through some pretty big challenges. Want to know more about retail and its future? Get Squiz’splained via our podcast

LAST FLIGHTS - The body of former US President George HW Bush has been flown from Texas to Washington DC to lie in state at the US Capitol until Wednesday. He will be returned to Texas for the funeral on Thursday. Hearts broke with the image of Sully, Bush’s service dog, keeping watch over his master's casket yesterday.

MICHELLE, UNFILTERED – Seems former First Lady Michelle Obama is cutting loose on her book tour. She’s had her sweary say on the concept of ‘Leaning In’. And then there’s her advice for Meghan Markel

THE REAL DEAL - Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari says he isn’t a body double or a clone. Ok then...


2.30pm (AEDT) - Reserve Bank's interest rate decision announced

International Volunteer Day

Rapper/Entrepreneur Jay Z's birthday (1969)

Anniversary of Elizabeth Taylor's 7th marriage to politician John Warner (1976)

Anniversary of Australian swimmer Murray Rose setting world record to claim the 400m gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics (1956)

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