Squiz Today / 01 November 2017

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 1 November


“In a political sense, sometimes I wish I could be more ‘transactional’ in my approach to issues. But in my line of work, I believe it’s important to stand up for what you believe in…”

WA Senator Dean Smith isn’t boasting when he talks about the emotional toll the job can take on our pollies. But at least he’s learned not to take the red-eye anymore… Smith - a committed Squiz’er - talks politics and life in this week’s Three Minute Squiz.


Tassie Liberal senator and President of the Senate Stephen Parry yesterday revealed he possibly holds dual British citizenship and may be ineligible to be in the federal Parliament. He is the first Liberal to be caught up in the citizenship saga which last week claimed the jobs of Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Leader of the Nationals Senator Fiona Nash and three others. Parry's father was born in Britain and the Senator could be a British citizen by descent. The British High Commission is now looking into it.

While this might be the first time you've heard of him, he's not a nobody. As President of the Senate, Parry has a higher standing in the order of precedence than a Cabinet minister. Parry was born in Burnie, Tasmania and in his first speech in Parliament he flaunted his Aussie credentials as a descendant of the First Fleet. A fat lot of good that's done him… Before politics, he was a police officer and funeral director. He’s regarded as one of the nice guys in Canberra, but some of his Liberal Party colleagues will be cranky that he's left it so long to come forward.

Good question. Maybe he was busy making plans for his birthday, which was yesterday… Attorney-General George Brandis said Parry had acted honourably by coming forward voluntarily. Others weren’t so kind. While there’s no suggestion anyone in the government was aware of his situation until Monday, one theory is that Parry was waiting on the High Court to rule on similar cases last Friday. And when that didn’t work out, he’s come forward. Until yesterday, the Libs had been citizenship incident-free giving them and Labor bragging rights about their vetting processes. Not anymore. And the question remains: who else? Seems this one has some way to go yet.


Acting PM Julie Bishop has told News Corp that there are currently about 40 terrorists who have returned to Australia after fighting for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Most of those are not in jail and remain “a significant security threat”. The report says about 220 Australians joined the fighting in Syria or Iraq since 2012 and up to 85 were killed. “The government is concerned that foreign fighters who have gained fighting experience in the Middle East will return to pass this knowledge on to violent extremists in our region. Foreign fighters inspire and incite terror, pass on skills and can attract more extremists to terror networks,” Bishop said.

The Papua New Guinean government shut the Manus Island detention centre at 5pm last night despite protests from 600 men who refused to leave. And refugee Behrouz Boochani launched legal action in the PNG courts to keep the centre open saying that he and the other men feared for their safety outside the centre. With the power and water cut off to the centre, the hope is the men will move on to other accommodation. The Turnbull Government is sticking to its guns and refusing to resettle any refugees or move others in detention to Australia.

The focus quickly shifted yesterday to George Papadopoulos, a volunteer foreign affairs adviser to US President Donald Trump’s election campaign, for his efforts to arrange a meeting with Russian officials. Trump and his team moved to distance themselves from him with one senior campaign player calling him a “coffee boy”. But the key point is this: “While not evidence of collusion, this is clear indication that the Russian government was seeking back channels to the Trump campaign - and were finding at least some success.”

Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter and Google will today give evidence to a congressional inquiry about Russian attempts to manipulate the election. Ahead of the hearing, Facebook said it believes about 80,000 posts were made by Russian-based operatives on the social networking platform reaching an audience of 126 million Americans. "We are determined to do everything we can to address this new threat," Facebook said.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is in Belgium. It follows Spain’s intervention late last week and yesterday’s call by its Attorney-General for charges to be brought against the Catalan leaders of the push for separation. Puigdemont says he’s not seeking asylum and will return to Spain when he has assurances he won’t be charged with rebellion (which could land him a jail term of up to 30 years if found guilty). Belgium offered Puigdemont a safe harbour some days ago. Shame it wasn’t Italy – it’s so much nicer this time of year.

The ABS has updated the vote tally – we're at 77% (12.3 million) of votes returned. The Marriage Equality people said the turnout had been "phenomenal". The No campaign seems to be preparing for defeat; "Win or lose the marriage plebiscite, the fight must go on," said spokesman Lyle Shelton. And getting a lot of interweb buzz yesterday - this from US late-night TV host John Oliver (language alert).

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is facing his biggest test yet – a nationwide butter shortage. Sacré bleu! With Europe’s dairy supply down this year, growing international demand (think China) and France’s extreme love of butter (they eat 8kg on average of the golden good stuff a year), there are bare supermarket shelves and worried bakers across the country. Helpful tips on how to make butter are popping up in the media and online auction sites are selling it at exorbitant prices. One funny dairy sent out a mock health warning last week saying “margarine is not the answer” which is interesting because its invention was due to France's Napoleon III. They won’t be laughing if there’s no butter in time for Christmas…


12.30pm (AEDT) - Patrisse Cullors, Rodney Diverlus & Dr Jackie Huggins address the National Press Club on ‘Why Black Lives Matter Everywhere’ - Canberra

Expected court ruling on Cassie Sainsbury's plea deal - Colombia


And a reminder - open the email every day this week you'll go into the draw for a $100 gift card from Woolies. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. But The Squiz isn't a foolish activity. So suck it, Ralph.

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