Squiz Today / 19 July 2017

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 19 July


“Sorta feels like I'm giving birth out of my foot right now!”

Eleven-time world surfing champ Kelly Slater was in a world of hurt yesterday. He was hanging ten (that’s the extent of our surf slang, and we’re sure we’re not even using that phrase correctly) before a competition in South Africa when his foot was slammed backwards by his board. Result = a broken foot and a lot of shrill man-pain.


The Greens have lost their second senator in a week over unconstitutional holdings of dual citizenships. Larissa Waters, a senator from Queensland of six years standing, resigned yesterday after finding out she is a Canadian citizen. Waters was born in Canada to Australian parents and left the country before she was 12-months-old. She says she only became aware there was a problem when she moved to check her status following WA Senator Scott Ludlam’s resignation last week. "I have no allegiance to Canada, I left as a baby and I've never been back. This is no one else's fault but my own,” she said.

It’s weird, right? How could a candidate turn their life upside down and put themselves up for election without checking they are eligible to be a parliamentarian? Section 44 of our Constitution is clear – you cannot be a dual citizen and have a seat in the federal Parliament. So far this term four senators have fallen foul of the Constitution and had their elections invalidated. Family First’s Bob Day was disqualified over his ownership of the building that accommodated his office; One Nation’s Rod Culleton was declared bankrupt; and now Waters and Ludlam are gone over citizenship issues. That's not great.

You mean aside from every politician born overseas triple-checking that they’ve renounced their foreign citizenship? When a candidate’s election is invalidated, the spot goes to the person (not currently in Parliament) who had the next most votes. In Waters’ case, that’s likely to be Andrew Bartlett, a former senator and leader of the Democrats. He ran at the last election as a Green and is well-known to the Canberra set. Unfortunately, Jonathan Sri (who was lending his support to Waters yesterday) won't get a look in – he looks like fun. And over in the West, Jordan Steele-John (not, apparently, the name of a Bold & The Beautiful star) looks likely to replace Ludlam. He’s a 22yo uni student, is a disability advocate (he has cerebral palsy) and says he’s renounced his British citizenship. Phew! Steele-John would be the current Parliament’s youngest pollie if he takes the seat.


It’s been confirmed that a new Home Affairs ministry will be created. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull moved quickly yesterday to announce the changes and the appointment of Peter Dutton to lead the new super-ministry. The PM stressed the new portfolio will be a ‘federation of agencies’ (including ASIO, Federal Police, Border Force, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC and the Office of Transport Security) which means they won’t be dismantled. Minister Michael Keenan and Attorney-General George Brandis lose some responsibilities, but all were singing the new arrangement’s praises yesterday, as you would expect. Critics worry that the ‘competition of ideas’ between these critical agencies is at risk. As one smart tweeter said yesterday - surely their first job is to check the citizenship status of our pollies…

It was heartbreaking to watch Don Damond, fiancé of Justine Damond, front the media yesterday. "We've lost the dearest of people and we're desperate for information,” he said. Officials in Minneapolis named policeman Mohamed Noor as the shooter - he has just two years experience and is under investigation on other matters. Details about the incident have not been released, but local medical officials said Damond died from gunshot wounds to her abdomen and have ruled her death a homicide.

Stick with this one and you’ll have some excellent Trump talking points you’ll be able impress your contemporaries with… In recent times, Republicans have defined themselves by their seven-year opposition to Obamacare (it’s like the Libs v the carbon tax, or Labor v WorkChoices). Former US President Barack Obama (a Democrat) championed the policy which was designed to improve American’s access to health insurance. Donald Trump campaigned heavily on the promise to get rid of it. Fast forward to this week and a Republican’s plan to ‘repeal and replace’, and then just ‘repeal’ Obamacare has gone off the rails. A number of Republican senators decided they couldn’t vote for either proposal saying they don’t want to leave millions of Americans in the healthcare lurch. No matter which way you slice it, this would be a yuuuge mess for the Republicans at a time when they should be in control. And all eyes were on Trump (who wasn't willing to own the defeat) – “We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.” See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?

If our social media feed is anything to go by there were a lot of disappointed Game of Thrones fans yesterday. We get it, you’re a devoted fan who has been devoid of a purpose in life since the last season ended. And then it’s here – a new episode and a reason to go on. Except for Throners who planned on watching it on Monday night on Foxtel Now, Play and the Foxtel App – those services went down. "We are devastated that some customers experienced technical issues tonight," Foxtel spokesman Bruce Meagher said. Not as devastated as they were, Bruce. Apparently, the system just didn’t cope with the thousands of people trying to get to it all at once. Foxtel assured customers they will be able to view it this week on demand or via a scheduled screening. If you're a fan, hopefully you got your John Snow fix last night. Breathe, people…

Apple yesterday previewed the new emojis that will be available later this year. There are new animals and creatures, additional smiley faces, a breastfeeding mum, and more diversity – except if you’re a redhead. Despite mumblings from our carrot-topped friends that they have no emoji likeness, it seems they haven’t lobbied for it, well not in time for this release anyway. So don’t take any stick from any ranga mates about their exclusion - tell them to get organised. 


9.00PM - ABC TV's Utopia returns to screens

And that's it. If it were up to us you could have today off. So two things for fun:

Anniversary of artist Edgar Degas' birthday

Anniversary of the beginning of the 1980 Moscow Olympics (check out the tracksuits in the gallery)

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