Squiz Today / 27 November 2019

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 27 November


“With the severe drought, ever-recurring bushfires and increasing water issues, how do we keep our communities healthy, both physically and mentally?”

That’s what gets Squizer Fiona Strang out of bed each day. As CEO of HealthWISE, she’s focused on delivering health and support services in northern NSW and southern Queensland across an area almost twice the size of Tassie. And she swears her salmon cheesecake is a winner… Please welcome Fiona to this week’s Three Minute Squiz.


The two top officeholders of big four bank Westpac are on their way out. With political and shareholder pressure mounting and a wave of condemnation yesterday when critics said it looked like CEO Brian Hartzer was more worried about cancelling the office Christmas party than dealing with the scandal that has engulfed the bank, he will leave next week with a year's pay. Chairman Lindsay Maxsted will bring forward his departure date to early next year. Chief financial officer Peter King will become acting chief executive.

A week ago, regulator Austrac revealed it would pursue Westpac over 23 million alleged breaches of the anti-money laundering and financing terrorism laws. Included in that are claims the bank did not prevent 12 customers from making transactions linked to child exploitation in the Philippines. Added to that, The Australian yesterday revealed Hartzer had addressed his senior troops on Monday and said; “for people in mainstream Australia going about their daily lives, this is not a major issue, so we don't need to overcook this.” When you look at recent Austrac investigations and the impact of the Hayne Royal Commission, it’s just ANZ’s CEO Shayne Elliott who is left standing of the big bank chief execs.

Well, there's no certainty in this world... And it was just a few days ago that the bank's leadership said it would tough it out. But things escalated early this week with senior politicians continuing to express their anger, and shareholders lining up for an angry annual general meeting in mid-December. The list of the bank’s announcements from the last few days shows 'the journey' the bank has been on to come to terms with the scale of the scandal. The question now is whether investors and stakeholders will call for more heads to roll, or whether it’s enough for the bank to be able to move on.



After nearly five years in a Malaysian jail for drug trafficking and 18 months on death row, Sydney grandmother Maria Exposto will be freed this week. A judge yesterday overturned her conviction and ordered her release. The 55yo was arrested at Kuala Lumpur when a backpack she was carrying was found to contain 1kg of crystal meth. She’s always maintained her innocence, saying she was the unwitting victim of an online love scam. Though initially found not guilty, the finding was overturned on appeal, and she was sentenced to death. Arguing for Exposto's release, her lawyer told the court his client was so naive about drugs that when customs officers said they’d found ice in her bag, she said that couldn’t be right because “it would have melted”.


THIRTEEN FRENCH SOLDIERS DIE IN CRASH - It happened on Monday when two helicopters collided during an operation against jihadists in Mali, President Emmanuel Macron announced overnight. It is the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 80s. France has 4,500 troops deployed to West Africa to help local forces fight Islamic State and offshoots of al-Qaeda.

AMERICA AND SYRIAN KURDS PICK UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF - After all the angst of US President Donald Trump ordering America’s complete withdrawal from northern Syria, the gang is back together… The Syrian Kurds and the US have recommenced large-scale counterterrorism missions against the Islamic State in the region. American General Kenneth McKenzie said relations with the ally they abandoned are “pretty good.”

CONAN THE HERO - The Belgian Malinois (aka a handsome dog) took centre stage at the White House yesterday where he was celebrated by President Trump for his role in America’s operation to track down Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The good boy received a plaque and medal, although a tummy scratch probably would have done...

Want some more info on all of that? Squiz Shortcuts has you covered on the whole US-Syrian Kurds thing, and Islamic State and the death of their leader. Ten minutes each and you’re away.


Russia is a step closer to being banned from competing in next year’s Tokyo Olympics after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) investigation found several of their athletes’ positive drug tests were deleted from a database in a Moscow laboratory. WADA will meet on 9 December to decide whether to impose a four-year ban on Russia participating in any major international sporting event, including soccer’s World Cup in Qatar in 2022, and Euro 2020, which it’s meant to be hosting. Russia was banned from last year’s Winter Olympics with its athletes having to undergo individual testing to compete as an ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’.


He inadvertently became the international face of the terrible fires that are ravaging northern NSW after grandmother Toni Doherty was filmed rescuing the injured koala from a fire near Port Macquarie. But sadly, Lewis the koala died from his injuries yesterday. In terms of a legacy, Lewis did his species proud. Thanks in no small part to the plight of the plucky marsupial, more than $1.7 million has been donated to the local Koala Hospital. The news comes as wildlife experts expressed fears initial estimates that 350 koalas had perished in the fires may have been wildly optimistic with the number likely to be in the 1,000s.


Is not something that Sharon (aka Magda Szubanski) could have said to Kim (aka Kardashian) because they didn’t film their Uber Eats ad together. Next thing they’ll tell us the famous American hornbag doesn’t know what netball is…


ABS Data Releases - Marriages and Divorces, 2018; Construction Work Done, September

Annual General Meeting - Harvey Norman

Anniversary of the death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes (2014)

Simon Townsend (of Simon Townsend’s Wonder World!) has a birthday (1945)

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