Squiz Today / 10 May 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 10 May

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Putting the hum in Hump Day.

Today’s listen time: 9.00 minutes

SYD
11 / 20
MEL
10 / 16
BNE
11 / 24
ADL
9 / 18
PER
5 / 19
HBA
9 / 16
DRW
22 / 32
CBR
-2 / 16

Squiz Sayings

“It never struck me as a novelty. It just struck me as a well-engineered, well-thought-through, beautiful pastry.” 

Said writer Hugh Merwin of the cronut, which turns 10yo today. The croissant and donut hybrid remains popular to this day. It also made its creator ​​Dominique Ansel a celebrity because, at the risk of saying it again, he created croissant/donut hybrid…

The Budget’s back in black, baby…

THE SQUIZ
The Albanese Government has announced the thing that’s evaded every administration since John Howard’s last throw of the dice in 2007 – the Federal Budget is in surplus to the tune of $4.2 billion this financial year. That means the government is expected to take in a whopping $635 billion of revenue between July last year and the end of June this year and will spend a smidge less than that. But don’t get used to it – we’ll slip back into deficit from 2023-24 and stay there for at least the next 3 years. That means there are “difficult decisions” to come, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said last night as he outlined how the government had “carefully calibrated” its spending to help Aussies struggling with cost of living pressures (including $14.6 billion for welfare increases, bulk-billing incentives and energy bill discounts) while not adding to inflation that could push interest rates higher. 

GIMME THE NUMBERS…
• Back in March last year, it was predicted we’d have a deficit of $78 billion given all the pandemic spending, the struggles of coming out of it, and then the war in Ukraine. We’ve seen a massive turnaround in our financial fortunes thanks to high commodity prices and high employment.

• Even though we’re expected to go back into deficit next financial year, the improved budget position means our debt will be lower by a whopping $177 billion over coming years – and that means lower interest payments for the Commonwealth too. 

• But it’s not all Champagne and air kisses… Treasurer Chalmers reckons the economy will face its biggest challenge in 20 years outside of the Global Financial Crisis and the COVID response. Economic growth is forecast to halve next financial year to an anaemic 1.5% due to an expected collapse in household consumption (aka what you and I are spending), falling from 5.75% this financial year to 1.5% next year. 

GOOD-O. WAS THERE ANYTHING NEW LAST NIGHT?
Probably the most notable thing was a tripling of the incentive paid to GPs for bulk billing children, pensioners and other healthcare card holders – that will cost $3.5 billion. And there’s a modest increase to JobSeeker ($2.80 a day) and rent assistance (up to $15 a week). And that’s about it because the jazzy announcements were all made over the last couple of weeks. But we did hear more about where the government thinks some other key indicators are going. Unemployment is expected to rise to 4.25% next financial year from 3.5% today. Chalmers also reckons the worst of inflation is behind us, but it will stay higher than he’d like at 3.5% next year (down from 7% currently). And if you’re working, get ready for a pay rise… Wages are forecast to grow by 4% next year, which would mean a modest real increase for the first time in a while. Now for the key part of any Budget – it’s time to find out if you’re a winner or a loser

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

Imran Khan seized by police

The former PM of Pakistan was arrested at the High Court in Islamabad, where he was appearing on corruption charges. It was drama-filled – he was dragged into a van after dozens of paramilitary forces surrounded him, and his current whereabouts is undisclosed. Khan was booted from office a little over a year ago and has campaigned heavily for early elections that he says would see him returned to office despite being banned from running again. And this week, supporters say his arrest comes after he was rebuked by the military for repeatedly accusing a senior officer of trying to engineer his assassination and the former armed forces chief of being behind his removal from power last year. That’s sparked clashes between Khan’s supporters and police – reports say at least one protester has been killed. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party told supporters on Twitter: “It’s your time, people of Pakistan. Khan has always stood for you, now it’s time to stand for him.”

World News

Trump found guilty

The jury in a civil case in New York has agreed with magazine columnist E Jean Carroll over her sexual abuse claim against former US President Donald Trump and awarded her $5 million for battery and defamation. Carroll alleged Trump assaulted her in a department store changeroom and then defamed her when he denied her claim, saying she made the story up to boost sales of her book. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and did not put on a defence in the case. The case wrapped up earlier this week, and the jury came back quickly – it decided that Trump should pay nearly $3 million in damages to Carroll for successfully proving her defamation claim against him and about $2 million in damages for her civil battery claim, bringing the total to $5 million. There are no criminal sanctions as a result of the guilty verdict, and we’ll no doubt hear his response today.

World News

The inquiry into the Lehrmann trial heats up

This is about the inquiry into the trial of former Liberal staffer Bruce Lehrmann who was accused of assaulting his then-colleague Brittany Higgins. The ACT Government called the inquiry after public accusations that the relationship between police and the Director of Public Prosecutions broke down spectacularly. And yesterday, prosecutor Shane Drumgold was quizzed about a key document he kept from Lehrmann’s lawyers. He said he did that because he believed it contained “irrelevant material”. Dubbed the Moller report, police described Higgins as evasive, uncooperative and manipulative, arguing they were concerned about proceeding with the charge because of discrepancies in her story. Lehrmann’s barrister Steve Whybrow’s take on things was also released yesterday – he says a senior police officer took him aside as the jury considered its verdict before the trial broke down to say he would resign if Lerhmann was found guilty. Whybrow will appear before the inquiry later this week.

Australian News

Only the best for you

Ukraine, corruption, and racism have been big news themes of the last year, at least if you take the 2023 Pulitzer Prize as a marker of the times. The awards are a nod to the best of the best in American journalism, and this year Ukraine-based reporting and photographs from the Associated Press and The New York Times were recognised for conveying the suffering of the war’s first year. The Wall Street Journal took out the prize for Investigative Reporting (paywall) for uncovering dodgy US federal officials who traded stocks in the companies they oversee. The Pulitzer peeps also award prizes for books, including a biography of George Floyd (in the non-fiction category) and joint fiction winners Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver and Trust by Hernan Diaz. As if our bedside table pile wasn’t big enough already…

World News

Get your groove on

Aussie Eurovision diehards were up early this morning to tune in to the first semi-final of the enduring song contest. For those who need an explainer or a refresher on what it’s all about, here’s a good one. As for what’s going down this year, Eurovision is being held in Liverpool after the UK took on hosting duties for Ukraine, whose folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra won last year’s competition. Oz is participating for its 9th and possibly final year, with Perth-based metal band Voyager set to bring big energy (and big hair…) to Friday morning’s 2nd semi-final with their track Promise. You can find the SBS guide to the Eurovision viewing times here. As for the favourite, the bookies are pointing to Sweden, but you never know… This interactive deep dive into the science behind a Eurovision winner says the victor has to strike the right balance of emotions, volume, and danceability…

Entertainment

Apropos of nothing

Coldplay is set to ‘tour’ Australia – if a single city counts as a tour… The mega-band will do one show in Perth, which is great news for fans in the west and terrible for everyone else’s travel budget…

John Farnham has kicked a chest infection which laid the singer low in March. “We’re pleased to say that John made a full recovery,” his family say, and they thanked fans for their support following his treatment for mouth cancer.

Is there nothing Bluey and her adorable family and friends can’t do? For a week in early April, the animated kids show was watched for 737 million minutes in the US, making it the country’s most streamed acquired series (aka a show not made by the platform broadcasting it). For real life

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

6.00am (AEST) – US President Joe Biden meets with Speaker Kevin McCarthy on debt ceiling talks – Washington

12.30pm (AEST) – Treasurer Jim Chalmers gives his post-Budget address to the National Press Club – Canberra

An independent ACT inquiry probing misconduct in the prosecution of Bruce Lehrmann is due to hold its first public hearing – Canberra

Are You Safe At Home? Day

World Lupus Day

Birthdays for Bono (1960) and Leigh Sales (1973)

Anniversary of:
• Germany’s invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and the appointment of Winston Churchill as UK’s PM after the resignation of Neville Chamberlain (1940)
• India’s population reaching 1 billion (2000)
• Apple becoming the first company to be worth more than US$800 billion (2017)
• Uber listing on the New York Stock Exchange (2019)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.