Squiz Today / 04 February 2020

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 4 February


“I look at the exceptional, daring talent nominated in this category and I don’t think I could do what they do. Honestly, I just don’t have the balls.”

Said Rebel Wilson at yesterday's British Academy Film Awards about the all-male directors shortlist. Wilson edged out official awards season jokester Brad Pitt, as read by Margot Robbie, for gag of the night. Which is a category they should establish ASAP…


There’s something in the water in Canberra’s Parliament House… Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce will today challenge Deputy PM Michael McCormack for the party’s top job. It was just the Nats’ deputy leadership that was to be settled today after Bridget McKenzie resigned from the frontbench on Sunday. But Joyce, who has long grumbled about his relegation to the backbench after his private life was laid bare in 2018, said it was time to step up because the party is “under threat from all sides”. And senior Nat Matt Canavan has offered his resignation in solidarity with Joyce, while also declaring a Bridget McKenzie-style conflict-of-interest issue in his portfolio. McCormack said he’s confident he has support from enough of the party’s 21 members. It’s a bumpy start to the new parliamentary year for the Coalition Government after a difficult summer.

He is. It was a surprise to many that after almost five years at the helm, federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale jumped on his sustainable mode of transport (aka a bike) and headed for the hills. It’s a family thing, he said. "My boys are nine and 11yo now, and they've only ever known their dad as a busy and tired, and sometimes grumpy, politician. They are growing up quickly and I want to spend more time by their side." A GP by training, he said once he decided he didn’t want to face the next election, it made sense to go now. His replacement will be settled today with Adam Bandt, the only Green in the House of Reps, putting up his hand.

A lot of things are being handed over. Cory Bernardi (the former South Australian Liberal/leader of the now-disbanded Australian Conservatives) will have his Senate seat handed back to the Liberals after he bowed out of politics last year. Bob Katter says the leadership of the Katter’s Australian Party will go to his son Robbie. And it turns out mining billionaire Clive Palmer handed over $83.6 million to his United Australia Party to fund their election campaign which saw no candidates elected. More details on what corporate Australia donated to our political parties and candidates are here.



It’s been a long 24 hours for 243 Wuhan evacuees - including 89 kids… Reports say two of four flights have arrived on Christmas Island. The group landed back on Aussie soil yesterday afternoon with the special Qantas flight stopping at RAAF Base Learmonth in West Oz on their way from China. The group will spend at least two weeks at the detention centre in quarantine. Reports this morning say a group of Aussies is expected to make their way to New Zealand today with its government helping us get more people out. In China, markets fell nearly 9% (aka $552 billion) when they opened for the first time after the Lunar New Year holiday. That was despite the Chinese government's record $220 billion injection of liquidity into the banking system in an attempt to calm nerves. On the numbers out of China: the death toll from the coronavirus jumped to more than 360 yesterday, with 17,205 cases recorded.


UK PM Boris Johnson said his government will announce "fundamental changes to the system for dealing with those convicted of terrorism offences”. That comes after 20yo Sudesh Amman - who was recently released after serving time in prison on terrorism charges - was shot dead by police after injuring three people in what authorities say was a terror-related knife attack in London on Sunday. Amman, who served half of his three-year prison sentence for possessing and distributing extremist material, was under police surveillance which reports say enabled police to stop the attack early. The incident comes months after a similar attack last year in London, which saw a convicted terrorist fatally stab two people and injure three others.


If that vibe speaks to you, this is your week. First up, the Iowa Democratic Caucuses. Which is a fancy way of saying that the first vote for who will be US President Donald Trump's opponent in the presidential election at the end of the year will be held... How the bloody heck does it work? This cat-themed graphic will help. Which is not something we say every day... Next stop: Trump's State of the Union address, which is on mid-Wednesday our time. With his impeachment trial not over yet, many called for the address to be delayed, but the President is looking forward to delivering a “very, very positive message”, he said. Speaking of the trial, that’s expected to wrap up on Thursday our time with a decision in Trump’s favour. Is it any wonder he’s said to be feeling on top of the world?


Put simply, a vaccine that was being trialled on 5,000 people has not prevented HIV from being contracted, and so the trial has stopped. After some good results in Thailand, the vaccine was adapted to the subtype most commonly found in South Africa, which has one of the highest HIV rates in the world, but it hasn’t worked. Researchers were hopeful the vaccine, if effective, could be adapted to cover other strains. Recent breakthroughs in treatments have significantly improved the lifespan of people with HIV. Still, experts said they were “deeply disappointed", but they will continue their important work towards a vaccine.


If you’re a first home buyer who got into the market last year, well done. Data from January shows prices are well and truly on the way up. Melbourne scored the biggest rise of 1.9%; Sydney recorded 1.1% growth; Hobart was up 0.9%; Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Darwin recorded gains of between 0.1% and 0.5%. Regional Australia delivered an impressive 0.7% for the month, with regional Tasmania posting the biggest gains. In the red: regional Queensland and Western Oz recorded the steepest declines. The Reserve Bank board is meeting today, and consensus is an interest rate cut is as likely as Pamela Anderson finding wedded bliss


There was a big American football game yesterday between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers and the former won. Enough of that… The real competition is between the big brands which shell out as much as $8.3 million for 30 seconds of ad time as they try to win the affections of 100 million viewers. Nostalgia was big with MC Hammer for Cheetos, the Groundhog Day cast for Jeep, and Molly Ringwald in an ad about avocados… Bringing things into this century, Doritos lassoed the star power of Lil Nas X. The verdict seems to be that overlord of us all Google delivered the winner. Lots more links are here. And if you need 15 minutes to yourself today, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira pulling out all the stops in the halftime show is worth a look. Maybe just angle your screen away from people to maintain a facade of looking busy and important…


2.30pm (AEDT) - Announcement in the Reserve Bank board’s review of interest rates

Parliament (both Senate and House) sit for the first time in 2020

World Cancer Day

The Iowa Democratic caucuses - which is the first contest in the Democratic Party’s search for a presidential candidate

Students in NSW (Western Division) and the ACT return to school

Anniversary of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) declaring independence from UK (1948)

A birthday for Facebook (2004)

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