Squiz Today / 17 August 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 17 August

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Squiz Today Podcast

Goes with your morning like a wink and a smile. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

9 / 19
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7 / 13
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Squiz Sayings

“Issac and Chole”

Are the 2 most commonly changed baby names in the US in the last 5 years, according to the country’s Social Security Administration. It’s probably no coincidence that the 2 most popular baby names are Isaac and Chloe…

More ministries for Morrison

The plot thickens over former PM Scott Morrison’s accumulation of ministerial appointments during the last term of government. PM Anthony Albanese yesterday confirmed that his predecessor secretly put his name down for Treasury alongside Josh Frydenberg and Home Affairs with Karen Andrews in May last year. That adds to earlier revelations that Morrison had undeclared appointments to the Health, Finance, and Industry, Science, Energy and Resources portfolios. Calling Morrison’s moves “an extraordinary and unprecedented trashing of our democracy”, Albanese said he “told us he was a bulldozer”. Reports say Frydenberg was unaware of his former boss’s appointment, and Andrews said she definitely didn’t know. She went as far as calling for Morrison’s resignation from parliament – a step Coalition leader Peter Dutton did not back. He wants to see what the Solicitor-General makes of it and yesterday called for “cooler heads to prevail”.

He posted a statement on Facebook yesterday. Get yourself a cuppa if you’re going to tackle it – or stick with us… Long story short, he’s defending his actions, saying the risk of ministers becoming “incapacitated, sick, hospitalised, incapable of doing their work” with COVID – or even dying – meant the arrangements were justified. He puts his decision to appoint himself to the Health, Finance, Treasury and Home Affairs portfolios in that bucket – and says he never used his powers over those departments. “In hindsight these arrangements were unnecessary”, but says he “acted in good faith in a crisis.” But his appointment to the Resources portfolio was another matter… That was to rule out the renewal of a licence for oil/gas exploration off the NSW coast over Nationals’ Minister Keith Pitt, who favoured the project. “For any offence to my colleagues I apologise,” he said after some like Andrews expressed their anger. As for why he didn’t clue in Aussie voters, he didn’t say.

There are 3 things to note. The first is that PM Albanese hasn’t addressed the “legality” of Morrison’s actions yet – that will happen when he receives advice from the Solicitor-General next Monday. The second is examining the Governor-General’s role in all of this and whether David Hurley should or could have questioned Morrison’s moves. And finally, the episode has added to the growing calls for a Royal Commission into the handling of the pandemic by governments and bureaucracies across the country. Yesterday, Albanese said it was “inconceivable” that a great big inquiry into the thing that’s dominated our lives for the last couple of years wouldn’t be held.


Squiz the Rest

Ukraine strikes with US weapons

The arms store at a Russian military base in Crimea has been targeted with a series of explosions going off overnight. It’s not been a week since big blasts went off at another Russian base in Crimea, and this time Russia is blaming sabotage. A spokesman for Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky called it “demilitarisation in action”. Ukraine says it’s making progress – that includes a strike against the headquarters of a secretive paramilitary group after a Russian journalist unwittingly shared its address. The Wagner Group – which has long been accused of engaging in war crimes on Russia’s behalf – isn’t publicly acknowledged by the Kremlin. Reports say Ukraine used one of its US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in the attack. Analysts say that the long-range weapons system has given Ukraine an edge over Russia as it attempts to claw back territory in the country’s east.

World News

A high-profile visit to Myanmar

Noeleen Heyzer, the United Nations’ special envoy to Myanmar, is making a rare visit to the strife-torn country. Reports say she will meet with Myanmar’s military leader General Min Aung Hlaing and senior ministers to ” address the deteriorating situation and immediate concerns”. That is likely to include the recent execution of pro-democracy campaigners and the ongoing poor treatment of ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others detained. Another 6 years were added to her 11-year jail sentence yesterday after she was found guilty of further corruption charges in a closed trial despite her denials. Analysts say the military is going hard on her to legitimise their power ahead of an election promised next year. 

Australian News

Canada snags a Tassie salmon giant

Tassal – our largest and last major Aussie-owned salmon producer – is set to end up in Canadian hands after aquaculture company Cooke boosted its takeover bid to $1.1 billion. It’s Cooke’s 4th attempt to buy the Tassie-based company, and Tassal has urged shareholders to accept the deal in November when it goes to a vote. Analysts say the takeover looks “very likely” as Cooke has already secured approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board. CEO Mark Ryan says it’s a good move that will “fast-track our goal to be one of the world’s most transparent and sustainable protein producers”. But with growing concerns around the environmental impacts of salmon farming in Tasmania, critics say the move could do the opposite. Investors seemed to like it – Tassal’s share price was up 5% yesterday.

Australian News Business & Finance

La Niña still lurking

Keep the brolly close to hand because there’s a 70% chance that La Niña will be back this spring/summer… That’s according to the Bureau of Meteorology, which says we should get ready for the return of the soggy señorita – that would be the first three-peat in more than 20 years. The advisory backs America’s National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration views – it released advice yesterday that said the weather system is still “present”. That means more flooding rain is expected in eastern Oz this year, which will be challenging to manage because catchments are topped up, and the ground is sodden in so many parts. Looking across catchments, the Murray-Darling Basin is at 92.2%, and the Menindee Lakes are at 114.9% capacity. And it’s difficult news further afield because as we get ready for rain, devastating droughts across East Africa and the US are set to continue.


A crappy deal

Child care – if you’re at that stage of your life where sourcing it/paying for it/juggling it is a big part of your day, it’s likely to be *the* BBQ stopper in your life. But it could be worse – you could be taking home your young child’s dirty nappies at the end of a day in care… That happens a lot in Japan with new numbers surfacing around the convention that isn’t discussed. We thought that would come down to nurseries not having the facilities to dispose of the nappies. But child carers say it comes down to something you won’t want to ponder if you’re having brekkie as you read… Oh, ok – most said they are giving parents the opportunity to keep an eye on their kids’ health by checking their stools. But one sociologist says it goes waaay beyond that… “The idea that it’s the mother’s responsibility to take care of children and their excrement is deeply rooted,” says Yuiko Fujita from Meiji University. We’re putting that into the ‘so there you go’ file…

Quirky News

Apropos of Nothing

Speaking of child-rearing, a Sydney hospital training centre has employed someone called Victoria to simulate the horrifying scenarios that could happen during childbirth. She’s delivered dozens of babies and endured many emergencies. And importantly, she’s a robot.

Fans are divided over news that the iconic musical The Wizard of Oz is getting a “modern reimagining” that will be written/directed by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. We’re not in the 1930s anymore, Toto…

And if you’ve ever wondered what a snake would look like with legs (and no, it’s not a lizard…), a YouTuber has built a contraption designed to help them to walk. Not cool…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) CEO Andrew McKellar addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

Company Results – Santos; Domain Holdings; CSL; Treasury Wine Estates; Magellan; Super Retail Group; Amcor; Brambles

ABS Data Release – Wage Price Index, June

Independence Day – Indonesia

Birthdays for Robert de Niro (1943), Belinda Carlisle (1958), Sean Penn (1960), Lil Pump (2000)

Anniversary of:
• Korea being divided into North and South Korea along the 38th parallel (1945)
• the Soviet Union’s launch of Venera 7 to Venus, which made history as the first probe to return data after landing on another planet (1970)
• the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain (1980)

Squiz the Day

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