Squiz Today / 20 March 2019

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 20 March


"McLeod's will always hold a place in my heart because it was a show focusing on six women who weren't related and weren't in competition with each other. Who is making shows like that now?

We came across Jane Allen when we got in touch to find out why her email had bounced - and got an out of office message with a difference. That is, she was OOO and could we send our email to her ‘shipboard’ address while she travelled to and from Antartica. And lo and behold, she’s also one of Australia’s leading TV screenwriters/producers. What a find! Please welcome Jane to this week’s Three Minute Squiz.


Confirming the worst of many homeowners' fears, official numbers out yesterday showed capital city housing prices had fallen faster than at any time in the past 15 years. On average, home prices fell by 5.1% in 2018. That's notable because it's bigger than the price drop of 4.6% when things got real during the Global Financial Crisis of 2009.

Great question, because you’re right, the trick is in the word ‘average’. Looking across the capital cities, Sydney (-3.7% in the December quarter, -7.8% for 2018) and Melbourne (-2.4% for the quarter, -6.4% for 2018) homeowners are the ones with the worst case of FONGO (fear of not getting out). Smaller price falls were recorded in Brisbane (-1.1% for the quarter, -0.3% for 2018 ), Perth (-1% for the quarter, -2.5% for 2018), Darwin (-0.6% for the quarter, -3.5% for 2018) and Canberra (-0.2% for the quarter, but up 1.8% over the year). Adelaide recorded a 0.1% quarterly price increase, and 1.5% for 2018. And shining star Hobart was up 0.7% in the quarter, and up 9.6% for the year. And breathe…

Home prices have further to fall, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, according to analysts. Now enter the Reserve Bank... It’s thinking on the decision to keep interest rates at 1.5% a couple of weeks ago was released yesterday. Long story short, it's hoping there will be more jobs, higher inflation and stronger wages growth ASAP. However, an important piece of information it didn’t have at that meeting was news that our economic growth has slowed to a crawl. That all means there’s speculation we could see an official interest rate cut as soon as April. And don’t forget this all feeds into the upcoming Federal Budget (on 2 April) and the election. Exciting times…



Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern yesterday paid tribute to the victims in her address to parliament in Wellington. "We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage," she said to the victims' families and friends. Ardern also said she would never say the Australian gunman's name. "He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless,” she said. And further afield, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on New Zealand to take the Christchurch mosque attacks "seriously" unlike other Western countries which, he says, treat such events "lightly". Referencing Turkey's victories during the WWI Gallipoli campaign (including against the ANZACs), Erdogan said his country would "write history" again if anyone stands against "Turks, Muslims and all the oppressed."


And now in our continuing series of Brexit Blues, the Speaker of the House of Commons in the UK Parliament, John Bercow, has dug into the history books and pulled out a 400-year-old convention to throw UK PM Theresa May's last-ditch Brexit plans into disarray. He's ruled a defeated motion that's ‘substantially the same' cannot be brought back a third time during a parliamentary session. The second attempt to pass May's Brexit plan was defeated last week. With just 11 days to go before the UK is due to leave the European Union, ministers have warned of a looming "constitutional crisis". Next stop: reports say May will ask the EU for a time extension until 30 June.


BYE BYE TO THE BOSS OF WARNER BROS – aka Kevin Tsujihara. Remember the casting couch scandal in which James Packer was inadvertently embroiled the other week? The studio head involved got the flick yesterday. Tsujihara says he has decided to step down after reflecting "on how the attention on my past actions might impact the company's future."

CU LATER TO CANADA’S TOP BUREAUCRAT - aka Michael Wernick. He’s leaving his post because there is "no path" for him to have a "relationship of mutual trust and respect" across political lines. Wernick hit the spotlight recently over allegations PM Justin Trudeau and his senior team tried to make former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould go easy in criminal proceedings against Quebec engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. Wernick has denied any wrongdoing.

AU REVOIR TO PARIS’ POLICE CHIEF – aka Michel Delpuech. He’s the latest political victim of the ongoing Yellow Vest protests in France. Frustrated by the ongoing unrest - and sad about the damage inflicted on the famous Fouquet's restaurant - the government has moved towards a ban on Yellow Vest protests in places like the Champs Elysées.


Coles and Aldi have followed Woolworths' lead and increased the price of their two and three-litre own brand milk varieties by 10 cents a litre from today. Coles called it an “interim measure” in response to the struggle dairy farmers in Victoria, NSW and Queensland are experiencing due to the drought. Aldi said ‘ditto’. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, who’d called on shoppers to boycott the retailers over the issue, said; "I welcome this news and I encourage supermarkets and processors to spread this right across the dairy range."


Back on the less-savoury side of town, reports say the National Enquirerpaid $200,000 to the brother of Jeff Bezos’ lady friend for lots of saucy text messages that eventually led to the collapse of the Amazon founder’s marriage. (Note: it’s the Wall Street Journal (paywall) that broke this yesterday…) To recap: after the publication of the material, things got nasty with Bezos starting his own investigation into the Enquirer’s source, prompting the Enquirer to hit back by threatening to post a choice selection of Bezos’ duck pics. Because as you recall, he's a self-confessed purveyor of that type of photography…


Mega popstar Sam Smith has ‘come out’ as non-binary. Speaking to actress Jameela Jamil’s Instagram show (think The Good Place), Smith said listening to conversations about being non-binary - ie gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍ - was a revelation. “You are just you, you are a mixture of all different things. You are your own special creation. That’s how I see it. I’m not male or female, I think I float somewhere in between.” Smith told The Times in 2017: "I don't know what the title would be, but I feel just as much woman as I am man."


PM Scott Morrison to outline further details of the Coalition Government's population and immigration policy

12.30pm (AEDT) - Senator Bridget McKenzie, Deputy Leader of the Nationals, to address the National Press Club on 'Connecting the regions; It’s in the National Interest' - Wodonga, Victoria

8.00pm (AEDT) - Sky News NSW Election People’s Forum with Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Labor leader Michael Daley - on the telly

ABS Data Releases - Microdata on Preschool Education, 2018, and Motor Vehicle Use, 2018

International Day of Happiness

World Oral Health Day

Aussie music legend Ian Moss’ birthday (1955)

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