Squiz Today / 14 March 2018

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 14 March


"The Village People.”

That’s the first group Jason Minty saw in concert. Apart from that indiscretion, the owner of lifestyle concept store Becker Minty is an authority on style and all things gorgeous. And he’s the subject of this week’s Three Minute Squiz.


Labor leader Bill Shorten and Treasurer-in-waiting Chris Bowen yesterday announced a policy to wind back the tax credits attached to company dividends. They say the changes would put about $59 billion back into the budget over 10 years that could be spent “looking after middle and working-class Australians”. Shorten also said the change would not affect 92% of taxpayers, and of those it would, many are high-income earners.

No need to be like that. If you're a retiree on a tight income and you can get a ‘dividend imputation credit’ (ie a cash refund) from the tax office each year, it's a big deal. Bowen confirmed that more than 200,000 pensioners and self-funded retirees would take a hit if the policy is implemented. Cue Treasurer Scott Morrison’s theme for yesterday; “This is about a brutal tax grab by the Labor Party who cannot control their spending.”

Get ready for a great big debate about taxation. With an election due later this year or early next year, the battle lines are being drawn. Labor’s pursuing ‘Robin Hood’ style policies while the Coalition says it’s for lower taxes. Importantly, both are promising income tax cuts. And on the business tax front, Labor also unveiled an ‘Australian Investment Guarantee’ yesterday. It would provide businesses with an immediate 20% write off for new eligible assets worth more than $20,000. It’s a counter to the Coalition’s policy to lower company tax rates from 30% to 25%. So the key point – expect more to-and-fro on the tax front.


US President Donald Trump has fired his Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. In a classic move from the Trump HR playbook, Tillerson found out when an aide showed him a tweet from the President announcing his dismissal. Trump and Tillerson weren’t ever really on the same page. Subject to the congressional confirmation process, Trump will promote Mike Pompeo, currently director of the CIA, to the position of America’s top diplomat. And he plans to make Gina Haspel the first female director of the CIA. Pompeo is said to be more on board with the whole ‘America First’ vision.

UK PM Theresa May yesterday said it was “highly likely” that Russia is responsible for last week’s attack on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. That’s because the nerve agent used in the attack (known as Novichok) was developed by Russia. Russia maintains it has nothing to do with it. The Skripals remain in hospital in a critical but stable condition.

The independent investigation into allegations of misconduct and harassment against former Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle has made adverse findings against him on four of the allegations. Two councillors made complaints against him late last year. Doyle’s wife Emma Page Campbell yesterday said he continues to deny the allegations but that his “cheerful and oftentimes animated personality and manner towards people… may no longer be appropriate by today’s standards.” She said Doyle is unwell and is in hospital. He resigned in February after nine years as mayor.

Gee the South Australian election campaign is gripping. Don’t roll your eyes like this journo…. Former senator and would-be political force Nick Xenophon is not exactly having the campaign he dreamt of. Yesterday a new poll showed he’s going to be lucky to win his own spot in parliament. And his SA Best party has dropped from 31% support late last year to 21% in a recent Newspoll. That still makes it a fascinating three-horse-race with the same poll showing the Liberals leading on 32% and the incumbent Labor on 30%. Gripping, we tells ya.

BANKING ROYAL COMMISSION KICKS OFF – The inquiry kicked off with a bang in Melbourne yesterday. In the gun was the National Australian Bank and revelations that staff were paid bribes (think cash in white envelopes) for fraudulent home loans. The commission is hearing the first round of witness testimony until the end of next week.

ATLASSIAN FOUNDER PREDICTS THE FUTURE - Mike Cannon-Brookes gave evidence at a Senate committee hearing on the future of work. He said he’s reluctant to be Chicken Little but recent changes restricting migrant workers in the tech industry is stifling Aussie innovation. And he says we need to be more nimble because things will change quickly. For example, transport drivers are set to be "the blacksmiths of the future" due to advancements in driverless technology. "I have four kids, I don't believe that any of them will ever learn to drive a car - and my oldest kid has just turned seven," he said.

LIVERIS TO COME HOME – That’s Andrew Liveris, CEO of chemical giant DowDuPont. The US-based exec is one of Oz’s most senior international business-dudes. He says he made the call to quit his high-flying gig at Christmas while BBQ’ing with a glass of shiraz in hand, watching the yachts on Sydney Harbour from his Point Piper home. Not even making that up. He wants to return to Oz and says he will be active on the business/public policy front.

Simon Patmore will bring home Australia’s first Winter Paralympic gold medal for 16 years with his win in the men's snowboard cross SB-UL final in PyeongChang. Patmore was born with Erb's palsy (which has caused nerve damage in his left arm) and is from that great snow state, Queensland. And alpine skier Melissa Perrine has taken out bronze in the vision-impaired super-combine. Legends.


12.30pm (AEDT) - Morry Bailes & Fiona McLeod from the Law Council of Australia to address the National Press Club on 'Justice State of the Nation' - Canberra

ABS Data Releases - Lending Finance, January; Census data on estimating homelessness, 2016

World's Greatest Shave to benefit the Leukemia Foundation

Swallowing Awareness Day

Pi Day

And remember, read the email every day this week and you'll be in the running for a $100 Gourmet Traveller Restaurants gift card. As George Bernard Shaw said; "There is no sincerer love than the love of food." We hear you, George.

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