Squiz Today / 27 May 2020

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 27 May


“It is critical that caregivers let go of their need for a child to taste something and instead focus on accumulating pleasant experiences."

Said the authors of a new US study into picky eaters. We assume they’re now hiding under a table somewhere to avoid a barrage of sarcastic comebacks from parents…


After our "tangible success" in tackling the health emergency posed by the outbreak of COVID-19, minds have turned to the economy. Getting things going will be no mean feat with PM Scott Morrison yesterday saying we are in the "most challenging domestic and global economic environment we have faced outside of wartime." And it will require the release of megalitres of muddy water between the Coalition and the unions to go under the bridge to "make the boat go faster”.

Fair enough. Addressing the National Press Club yesterday, Morrison told a story about Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup challenge in 2000. They were so focused on winning that everything they did - from office decor down - was about whether it would make their boat go faster. And he says Australia needs that sort of focus to “win the battle for jobs” in the aftermath of this once-in-a-century economic downturn. So, Morrison’s invited the unions to be partners in the process of reforming industrial relations. Changing the system that underpins workers’ pay and conditions is hard, but it's important work because it's currently "not fit for purpose," Morrison says. He also says the vocational education system is confusing and requires work with the states and territories to sort it out.

Not quite, but it’s not lacking the warm and fuzzy department either. As a goodwill gesture, the Morrison Government will shelve its union-busting bill that aimed to make it easier to deregister law-breaking unions and officials. But Labor's deputy leader Richard Marles isn’t so sure about the government’s intentions. "The idea that a Liberal government is about to engage in industrial relations reform will send a chill down the spine of every Australian worker," he said. Nevertheless, Industrial Relations Minister/Attorney-General Christian Porter will bring together employers, industry groups, and unions to forge a path forward. That’s the same Christian Porter who said Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus was his “new BFF” with the pair talking a lot during this weird coronavirus era. She says "Australian unions want to see a better, stronger and fairer Australia,” so she’ll join the talks. And it only took a global pandemic to deliver the breakthrough…



• Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy yesterday said that Australia's success in flattening the curve has avoided 14,000 deaths. And all those restrictions have put us in a strong position to now "relax distancing measures, with a fair amount of caution". Yay us…

• But don’t relax quite yet… There’s still an issue with people arriving on ships with the virus. That’s happened in Western Oz with six crew on a livestock carrier yesterday confirmed to have the virus, and more cases are expected. Premier Mark McGowan is cranky the ship was allowed to dock.

• And forget worrying about a second wave of infections - our focus should be on preventing a second peak during this first wave, the World Health Organisation said yesterday. “Even countries that have seen a decline in cases must remain ready,” said WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove.

• Attracting international interest yesterday was the first human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine to kick off in Australia. Overseen by American biotech Novavax, 131 healthy adults from Melbourne and Brisbane are participating. What’s not going ahead anywhere: tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine after the WHO said it has safety concerns.

• To the numbers, and globally we’ve seen 5.55 million cases (2.27 million have recovered), and there have been almost 350,000 deaths. Here in Oz, there’s been 7,133 cases (470 are currently active), and 102 people have died.


In her first public comments on the matter, Hong Kong’s administrative head Carrie Lam defended Beijing’s proposed national security laws yesterday, saying it would not affect most Hongkongers' rights and freedoms. China's proposal has attracted international criticism and prompted thousands of protestors to return to the city’s streets. Attempting to quell fears about the bill, Lam said it would only target "a handful of people" involved in terrorism or subversion. While avoiding details, she said that Hong Kong's rights, freedoms and values "will continue to be there", but warned they “are not absolute". China’s National People’s Congress is expected to agree on the proposal tomorrow.


LEIFER TO BE EXTRADITED FROM ISRAEL - That's the long-anticipated determination of an Israeli court overnight with the judge finding Malka Leifer fit to stand trial in Melbourne. Accused of abusing three sisters while she was principal of an ultra-Orthodox school, she fled to Israel in 2008 where she claimed mental illness and said she was unable to return.

INQUIRY INTO A TERRIBLE DEATH - An independent federal inquiry will look into last month’s death of cerebral palsy sufferer Ann Marie Smith. It’s alleged that the 54yo died after she had been left in a chair for a year by her NDIS-appointed carer.

JOURNOS OFF TO TRIAL - More than 20 Aussie publications and 19 journalists accused of breaking a Victorian court’s suppression orders will go to trial in November. The suppression orders related to the 2018 trial of Cardinal George Pell. The defendants include some of Oz’s biggest publishers and broadcasters.


Stanley Ho died yesterday in Hong Kong at 98yo, his family confirmed. A multi-billionaire, he was synonymous with turning the semi-autonomous Chinese city into gambling central. Ho’s company operates 21 casinos in Macau where he had a monopoly on the industry until 2002. He also owned and had interests in several others in Asia, but he was banned from having a role in the Crown Resorts development in Sydney due to NSW regulator’s concerns about accusations that he was linked to organised crime. Ho reluctantly stepped away from his business in 2018 at 96yo. Also known as a philanthropist and keen ballroom dancer, Ho was the father to 17 children. Yikes…


Pop superstar Taylor Swift + a cover of her song Look What You Made Me Do + the latest season of TV thriller Killing Eve + an alleged act of defiance. Interest piqued? Look, #itscomplicated. But it covers about five pop culture moments rolled into one, so it’s an efficient use of your tolerance for such things…


12.30pm - Professor Tanya Monro, Australia's Chief Defence Scientist to address the National Press Club - Canberra

ABS Data Release - Construction Work Done, March

Birthdays for Henry Kissinger (1923), Pauline Hanson (1954), Neil Finn (1958), Joseph Fiennes (1970) and Jamie Oliver (1975)

Anniversary of:
• the Habeaus Corpus Act (strengthening a person's right to challenge unlawful arrest and imprisonment) passes in England (1679)
• Australians voting in favour of a constitutional referendum granting the government the power to make laws to benefit Indigenous Australians and count them in the national census (1967)
• The International Criminal Tribunal indicting four people, including President Slobodan Milošević, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo (1999)
• BTS becoming the first K-pop group to top the US Billboard 200 with their album "Love Yourself: Tear" (2018)

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