Squiz Today / 12 June 2019

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 12 June


“Trump and Macron planted a friendship tree. Now it’s dead.”

Is the Washington Post headline on what happened to the tree famously planted by US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron on the grounds of the White House last year. The tree might be gone, but the memes will live forever…


Newly-minted federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese will move to expel John Setka, the Victorian secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU), from the Labor Party. Pressure had been building after Melbourne newspaper The Age published a report saying the controversial union leader told a meeting of the union's national executive that the work of family violence prevention campaigner Rosie Batty had led to men having fewer rights. Setka yesterday said he didn’t say it and that he has “the utmost respect for Rosie Batty”. He is refusing to leave his union job, and is expected to speak to the media today.

• Setka has been involved in many high profile stoushes with industry regulators and businesses since he was elected in 2012. There have been illegal blockades and accusations of blackmail and intimidation. In recent times, Setka has been on leave (receiving full pay) to face criminal charges (to which he’ll plead guilty) for harassing a woman.

• There has long been discomfort with Setka’s ongoing membership of and influence within the Labor Party. But yesterday Albanese said it was time to draw a line. "I don't want him in our party. It's that simple," he said.

• Elected by union members, it will likely be hard to remove him from his leadership position at the CFMMEU. Pundits say there will probably be a lengthy internal process and noted that Labor couldn't force the unions to remove its elected leaders.

Three foods for thought. The first is that Albanese is putting his stamp on the Labor leadership in a way that former leader Bill Shorten (who some said was too close to the unions) did not. Note: the CFMMEU donated almost $1 million to Labor last financial year. Second is Albanese has set a bar for behaviour and standards that will need to be upheld going forward. And third is some have accused Labor of being slow to move against Setka, even in recent times. Specifically, there are questions about why action wasn’t taken after Setka’s decision on 23 May (aka after the federal election) to plead guilty to harassment of a woman. For her part, Rosie Batty has said she was disappointed that Setka's comments distracted from her Queen's Birthday honour.



Mo’ money, mo’ problems… That was PM Scott Morrison’s lot in life yesterday. First was a chat with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton following reports his chief bureaucrat Mike Pezzullo has an angry dialling finger. South Oz crossbench Senator Rex Patrick was reportedly on the receiving end of an “intimidating” call from Pezzullo who quibbled with his character assessment in the Senator's media release on last week’s Federal Police raids. “I advised the Secretary it was inappropriate to contact Senator Patrick even if just to point out the inaccuracies,” said Dutton. Morrison then had a “constructive” and “productive” chat with ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose and boss David Anderson. The meeting had been scheduled before the Federal Police took up one of the ABC’s conference rooms for a day last week, but Buttrose said the PM has “taken on board my comments and we're looking forward to working together and going ahead." Onwards and upwards...


After more than 100 peaceful protestors were killed in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum last week, a national strike has been in place sparking incidents of more violence. Demonstrators have been in a standoff with the governing military council demanding a quick transition to civilian rule following the removal of the country’s president Omar al-Bashir in April. The military had been negotiating with protest leaders over the makeup of a new government, but it became a crisis last week when things turned violent. The US is sending its top diplomat for Africa Tibor Nagy with the job of getting talks back on track.


Kim Jong Nam, the murdered half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was an informer for America’s CIA. That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal quoting a “person knowledgeable about the matter”. The report says Kim was in Malaysia to meet with the CIA before he was killed at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. It’s also been speculated that Kim met with other nations’ intelligence agencies and that he did not have current information to share given he was well and truly on the outer with North Korea's first family.


We sure like to watch things when and how we want to watch them… Professional services firm PwC will today release its latest Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook report that says demand for smart TV compatible platforms like Netflix and the networks’ on-demand apps will see strong growth in the coming five years unlike Foxtel’s traditional offer (which requires a set-top box), which is expected to decline. Video streaming is up 31% in the last 12 months, the report says. Podcasting is also on the move seeing 17% growth in Australia in the last year. If only we knew someone who was into that


That’s the opposite to green thumbs, yes? We should know given our talent for it… And sadly it’s been around since well before our time. In the last 250 years, almost 600 wild plants have become extinct - and there are probably many more that we don’t know about. That’s twice the rate of all bird, mammal and amphibian extinctions, and 500 times faster than what would be expected naturally. Experts say more needs to be known about how, where, and why plants are being lost - important work given the other life plant species can sustain.


Actress and lifestyle guru Gwenyth Paltrow has revealed she doesn’t live with her husband Brad Falchuk full time - “an arrangement approved by her intimacy teacher as a means of keeping the relationship fresh." Wait. Back up. Intimacy teacher?

Keanu Reeves is back in fashion and is everywhere at the moment. And it’s given rise to a whole lotta appreciation

And Justin Bieber wants to fight Tom Cruise. Why? Your guess is as good as the internet’s…


12.30pm (AEST) - Chris Richardson, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics, to address the National Press Club on the future of work

ABS Data Release - Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, April

Westpac Consumer Confidence Survey for June

World Day Against Child Labour

National days for the Russian Federation and the Philippines

90th anniversary of Anne Frank’s birthday (1929)

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.