Squiz Today / 15 January 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 15 January


“As a parent, I want my kids to be curious about the world around them while learning to be critical consumers of media.”

Says Squiz Kids host Bryce Corbett in 2020’s first Three Minute Squiz. Yes, we’re launching Squiz Kids - a weekday kids news podcast... And its host is the journalist, author and father-of-two. With two tin lids in the Squiz Kids target age group of 8-12yo, Bryce knows how hard it is for parents and carers to give their kids a regular serve of news. And we’ll do it with humour and positivity. With the first episode out on 28 January, you can subscribe to the podcast and listen to the trailer at www.squizkids.com.au. Giddy-up...


Tasmania’s Premier Will Hodgman yesterday surprised the state by resigning from his position at the top of the government. He will also leave the parliament. Usually, this sentence is where we would outline the scandal/defeat said politician has suffered. But the 50yo leaves under his own steam. The frontrunners to replace him after a meeting next week are the two next most senior MPs - Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff and Treasurer Peter Gutwein.

Hodgman has been a member of the Tassie Parliament for 17.5 years, leader of the Liberals for the last 14 years, and premier since 2014. He says that leaving is a “personal decision” and he doesn’t have a new job lined up. As the father of four kids, he says his job has impacted his family. "I've given this job everything. But I do believe it's the right time for someone else to do it." The third-generation politician said he was happy with what he and his government has achieved, particularly their work to make the state’s economy “the best-performing across the country”.

You’re right to be cynical with 99 out of 100 pollies leaving the arena via one of the three Ds - defeat, disgrace or death. But Hodgman gets out as a popular leader who is well regarded by his opponents. And with Tassie halfway through its political cycle, there is enough time for a new leader to establish themselves before facing an election, he says. Still, that will be a tough ask. Hodgman's Liberals were elected in 2014, turfing Labor after 16 years in office. Team Hodgman was re-elected in 2018 becoming the second ever Tassie Lib Government to get a second term. But the Liberals have never won a third consecutive term. So it’s not a bad time for a successful premier to skedaddle…



It was Canberra a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday it was Melbourne’s turn to record the worst air quality in the world. Smoke from bushfires in East Gippsland and the state’s north-east has a chokehold on the state forcing health authorities to encourage people to stay inside. Which is particularly difficult if you’re a tennis player looking to get a start in next week’s Australian Open... Our bushfires have been so severe that NASA says the smoke could complete a circuit of Earth, returning to Australia via WA. Meanwhile, there’s hope for east coast fire zones with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting some good drops of rain. Even the Rural Fire Service in NSW got a bit giddy tweeting if it came to fruition “this will be all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one.” Assume the crossed fingers/toes/arms/legs position…


In the spirit of a new decade, we’re turning our vegetable frown upside down. And so veggie-lovers just like us will be concerned to hear the industry’s peak body estimates the price of the good stuff will likely go up by as much as 50%, depending on where it’s coming from. That’s because bushfires have damaged and destroyed crops, and transport networks have been impacted by road closures. It's a particular issue for Queenslanders who have struggled to receive produce from farmers in Victoria and NSW. Affected produce includes cauliflower (yum), broccoli (hmm), green leafy vegetables including rocket and spinach (yep), potatoes (OMG yum), and pumpkins (yum).


Milan Lemic went missing in Far North Queensland’s Daintree Forest on 23 December after his ute got bogged, and authorities feared he’d been taken by a croc. But police yesterday said he had been found safe and sound. The 29yo Victorian survived on fruit and berries, and reports say he is physically well despite having lost weight and suffered insect bites and scratches. Police believe he was hiding from them over the three weeks, and they have concerns for his mental health. On the other side of the world and in slightly cooler conditions, 30yo Tyson Steele survived weeks exposed to the sub-zero Alaskan winter after his remote cabin burned down. He was rescued by state troopers after his family raised the alarm. First ports of call back in civilisation - a hot shower and a feed from Maccas…


Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani addressed the nation overnight announcing arrests over the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane last week. A special court will be set up with a high-ranking judge and tens of experts to oversee the probe. Most of the victims of the downed jet were Iranian and Canadian citizens, and with protests breaking out against the regime in the wake of the crash, Rouhani is keen to settle things down. Also not happy with Iran are France, Britain and Germany. They have formally triggered the dispute mechanism in Iran’s nuclear deal after it declared it would ramp up its capabilities again given tensions with the US. Next stop, more sanctions.


Meghan didn’t join yesterday’s 90-minute-long royal family meeting by phone from Canada. A palace aide said that’s because she and Harry decided he would be able to represent the couple’s views on his own. After the meeting, the Queen released what pundits say was an unprecedented statement saying she would have preferred the Sussexes remain "full-time working members" of the royal family. However, the family supports them, and there would be a "period of transition" as they divide their time between Canada and the UK. Another report says Harry arrived early to speak to the Queen privately before his father Charles and brother William turned up - a move that may have worked given the favourable response.


CHECKING IT OUT - The New York Public Library has released the top 10 books checked out by readers since its establishment more than 100 years ago. Some old friends are there…

LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK - A serious quest for love by a lonely billionaire or an effective PR stunt? You be the judge

LOLZ - And what’s not to like about Aussies playing a prank on an unexpecting Scottish journo? The premise: an encounter with a dangerous drop bear. "At one point, we were going to tell her that you can stop them going for the neck if you put some Vegemite behind your ears. She would have gone with that as well, but I couldn't do it in good conscience," said her bugger of a producer.


US and China set to ink the first phase of a trade deal after months of tit-for-tat tariff hikes

ABS Data Releases - Livestock and Meat, November; Building Approvals, November (Additional Information)

Wikipedia Day

90th birthday for Joy McKean, the grand lady of Australian country music

Anniversary of Henry VIII declaring himself head of the Church in England (1535), and of Elizabeth I becoming Queen of England (1559)

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