Squiz Today / 08 May 2018

Squiz Today – Tuesday, 8 May


“Nothing serious."

Bob Hawke, the beloved former Labor PM, is in hospital. Rumours swirled the 88yo had pneumonia or a stroke. But his spokeswoman said it was just a case of “the wobbles”. Phew…


On this Budget Day, we thought we’d fill you in on some notable elections in Lebanon, Malaysia, Iraq and East Timor – countries that would love a slice of our peace and prosperity.

The key points are:

• They haven't had an election since 2009 with the parliament extended its term citing instability in neighbouring Syria and significant changes to its electoral system. Reports said confusion about those changes saw voter turnout drop to less than 50%.

• Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri fled to Saudi Arabia claiming his life was at risk last year. He’s back and it looks like his party has lost a third of its seats. Even so, he’s expected to form a coalition government.

• While the official results aren’t yet in, Hezbollah (the Iran-backed Shia group considered a terrorist organisation by the US and Israel) says it's extended its power. One Israeli minister said that’s a problem because the world will now see their militant actions as the actions of Lebanon. Watch this space.

Malaysia – Prime Minister Najib Razak will face off against his former mentor Mahathir Mohamad tomorrow. Mahathir is an ex-PM and the bloke Paul Keating once called “recalcitrant”. And he’s now 93yo. If you’re into political campaigns, we recommend his video. Najib is the favourite, but some predict it won't all go his way.

Iraq – PM Haider al-Abadi is seeking a second term on Saturday. He’s had to navigate some tricky neighbours, backers and issues. But he's had some success, most notably the defeat of Islamic State. But experts say he won’t go unchallenged. Even the guy who threw his shoes at former US President George W Bush is running…

East Timor - It will have its second parliamentary elections in a year on Saturday. Mari Alkatiri’s Fretilin-led minority government fell over in January. Xanana Gusmao’s party – the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction - has called on campaigners to keep the violence in check.

So there's a lot going on...


That’s unless you’re going to have an afternoon nap. (Now there’s an idea...) We could go into the $24 billion of new infrastructure projects. Or how the low-income tax cuts might work. But we won’t. We have just one number for you to keep in mind – 23.9%. That’s what Treasurer Scott Morrison says is the “speed limit” - ie the upper-limit of tax the government should take of our gross domestic product (ie the goods and services Australia produces). Put it on your Budget Bingo cards… And for extra points, watch Peter Costello’s interview from ABC’s 7.30 last night – it’s a good one.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has deployed an unusual strategy to lobby US President Donald Trump. He’s gone on Trump’s favourite show Fox & Friends to argue for America to stick with the Iran nuclear deal. Johnson said there's no plan B to deal with an angry and nuclearised Iran, so it's best to stick with what they have. He also knows how to sweet-talk; "If he (Trump) can fix North Korea and if he can fix the Iran nuclear deal then I don't see why he is any less of a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize than Barack Obama, who got it before he even did anything," Johnson said. Smooth... Trump is due to decide if America will stick with the deal by Saturday.

Katie Lahey, one of Australia’s top corporate recruiters, and the chairwoman of the Institute of Company Directors, Elizabeth Proust, say women need more experience running large business units and better financial skills if they are to be promoted to CEO and top board roles. The Financial Review reports (paywall) just 13 of Australia’s top 200 listed companies have a female CEO, and 10 have a female board chair. The comments come in the wake of the AMP’s chairwoman Catherine Brenner's resignation and subsequent commentary that she may not have been experienced enough for the role.

All eyes will be on Aussie basketball sensation Ben Simmons when he takes to the court for the Philadelphia 76’ers in the NBA playoffs this morning. Midway through the best-of-seven series to make it to the finals, the Melbourne boy has not lived up to expectations despite talking a big game. “I expected it to be a lot harder,” Simmons told the Weekend Oz Mag about getting his big break. A pro-basketballer with an attitude – who would have thought… Simmons needs to defy his critics and step it up against the Boston Celtics from 8.00am (AEST) this morning. C’mon Aussie.

If you needed more evidence that everyone is faking it all the time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journo Ronan Farrow told a university commencement ceremony that his career was looking shaky before his giant-killing Harvey Weinstein feature article was published. Recounting how everyone from his bosses to his family was telling him to abandon his dogged pursuit of Weinstein, Farrow said he couldn’t. “I knew I’d never be able to live with myself if I didn’t honour the risks those women had taken to expose this,” he said. The son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen said “trust your inner voice.”


8.30am (AEST) - Met Gala Red Carpet - New York

7.30pm (AEST) - Treasurer's Budget Speech - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Retail Trade, March

UN Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War (8-9 May)

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

Opening of the Cannes Film Festival - on until 19 May

Anniversary of US President Harry Truman announcing that WWII had ended in Europe (1945)

Anniversary of the release of the Beatles final album Let It Be (1970)

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