Squiz Today / 01 August 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 1 August


“I‘m trying to live the mantra of ‘done is better than perfect’.”

Former perfectionist Siobhan Quinn is a new mum to gorgeous and happy bub Mason. And she's heading back to her big corporate job this week after being on maternity leave. Smart, funny, ambitious and about to hit the work/family situation head-on, we caught up with her for this week's Three Minute Squiz.


HILDA swung by yesterday for her regular visit yesterday. Not your distant Nordic/German relative – but the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey, carried out by the Melbourne Institute. Since 2001, researchers have tracked 17,000 Aussies each year to give us a read on our economic/work/family wellbeing. And we now have a snapshot of life in 2016.

• The number of Australians living in poverty is falling. And child poverty was at the lowest level in 2016 since the survey started.

• Households haven’t seen their real incomes rise since 2009. On top of that, rising costs (think electricity and child care) have resulted in high levels of financial stress. Underlining the point, another report out yesterday showed bankruptcy numbers were up in 2017-18.

• We’re more educated, particularly women. The percentage of men aged 25-64yo with university degrees rose from 22.6% in 2001 to 31.1% in 2016. For women, it rose from 22.6% to 35.7% in the same period.

• But men have better financial literacy than women. Participants were asked five financial questions - 49.9% of men answered correctly compared to 35.4% of women.

• Compared to 2002, men are doing more household chores, and women are doing less. In 2016 men spent 13.3 hours a week doing chores, up from 12.4 hours in 2002. And women were doing 22.8 hours a week in 2002, down to 20.4 hours in 2016.

Economists, public policy makers, businesses and data-lovers will get all over these stats like the NSW government on a greyhound race. Our politicians and their party machines will also soak up the insights as they hone their policies and messages in readiness for next year’s federal election. And blokes will be shamed into doing significantly more chores around the home. That’s how it works, right?


After burning more political capital than it would take to raze fake Uluru, Health Minister Greg Hunt changed course last night. The legislation overseeing the operation of the government’s great big patient database, My Health Record, will be amended to ensure police and other agencies can’t get their hands on individual records without a court order. And reports say the government is also considering giving us an additional month to decide if we don’t want to participate in the service. The move follows a wave of concern about privacy since the period to opt-out of the online service opened a couple of weeks ago.

In the international relations version of “money talks”, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop yesterday announced a new agreement with the US and Japan to fund big projects across our region. The partnership wants to “drive economic growth, create opportunities, and foster a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.” Beijing need not apply… Pundits say it’s a rival vision to China’s Belt and Road Initiative that is bringing investment to projects across Asia and the Pacific.

You’ve got to give him points for keenness… Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa tweeted he believes his party is “winning convincingly” and that he is ready to form a government. Cool your jets, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also optimistic about his party’s performance. Monday’s poll was the troubled country's first monitored election in 16 years and drew a high number of voters with 70% turnout. A result is expected late this week/early next week, and the opposition remains concerned about vote rigging.

“A stronger commitment to ethical behaviour” is how the Australian Banking Association describes a new code of conduct that was yesterday approved by the corporate regulator. Covering relationships with retail customers (ie everyday punters) to small businesses that borrow up to $3 million, the code includes financial protections, lending, transparency and the banks' behaviour. Commentators say it’s the first industry code to the approved by ASIC and is a win for the sector. Critics want to see the sector walk the talk.

As we learned last year, TripAdvisor can be manipulated. But this time it’s about what didn’t make it onto the travel review website. The competition regulator took serviced apartment giant Meriton to court after it withheld from TripAdvisor the email addresses of guests who had bad experiences. The court agreed the practice constituted misleading and deceptive conduct, and fined Meriton $3 million. Ouch… “Businesses can expect ACCC enforcement action if they’re caught manipulating feedback on third party review websites,” said the regulator. Service-focused businesses shuddered…

No one knows who he belongs to, but a stray dog called Stormy won hearts on the weekend when he ran with competitors to complete a half-marathon near Kalgoorlie. Making a point of meeting those manning the check-in points around the course, Stormy clocked a good time, according to race organiser Grant Wholey. “I suppose he would be middle to back of the pack, but he wasn't necessarily running in a straight line either." So it was only fair that he scored a medal for finishing, and possibly a new home if his owners don’t claim him this week. Who said exercise doesn’t pay?


12.30pm (AEST) - Senator Bridget McKenzie, Deputy Leader of the Nationals, addresses the National Press Club on 'Shooting for Success' - Canberra

4.15pm (AEST) - Rio Tinto half-year results

ABS Data Release - Selected Living Cost Indexes, June

CoreLogic home price index for July

Start of the MSReadathon one-month challenge

Anniversary of the birthday of Yves Saint Laurent (1936)

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