Squiz Today / 27 September 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 27 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Smoothing over hump day.

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“We call it the P, PI – anyways, doesn’t matter what we call it, but that’s what it is.” 

Was US President Joe Biden’s go at turning his administration’s Pacific Islands Infrastructure Initiative into an acronym during a White House summit yesterday. The PIII doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue…

Filling an Andrews-shaped hole in Victoria

The Squiz

Daniel Andrews – the longest-serving premier in Victoria’s history and Australia’s best-known North Face enthusiast – will leave the job at the end of today. He’s been premier for 9 years and the leader of Victoria’s Labor Party for 13 years, and yesterday he said it was time to move on and put his family first (along with golf and some reading…). “It is not an easy decision because as much as we have achieved together, there’s so much more to do, but when it’s time, it’s time,” he said. 

Was that a surprise? 

Well, he went to last year’s state election telling voters he would stay on until 2026, so he’s broken that commitment. “It was true then, and I’ve changed my mind,” he said yesterday. The news will be clocked more widely than similar state politics moves because the pandemic put Andrews on the national news map due to the harsh restrictions he oversaw, particularly in Melbourne, which had more lockdowns than any other city in the world. But there’s a lot more to his time in office with all the highs and lows… PM Anthony Albanese (who flatted with Andrews when he was a new MP and the Victorian was a staffer in Canberra) said his friend will be remembered as “a man of great conviction, enormous compassion, and a fierce determination to make a difference.” But Victorian Coalition leader John Pesutto wasn’t so flattering… He says Andrews is going “because things have fallen apart … the legacy that Daniel Andrews leaves is a state that is broken.” 

So who’s next?

Dunno, but everyone’s talking about Jacinta Allan. She was made deputy premier mid-last year, which many said was Andrews’ pointing to his successor. At this stage, no candidates have formally put themselves forward, so it’s unclear whether Allan will go through unchallenged. And we don’t have long to wait to find out – the Labor caucus will meet at 12pm today. Note: if it is Allan, she will be the second female premier of Victoria. The late Joan Kirner – Labor icon and Joan Jett fan – held the job from 1990-92.

AusPol Australian News

Squiz the Rest

A day of reckoning in Tassie

The findings of a long-awaited report into the Tassie Government’s response to child abuse in institutional settings were released yesterday. The Commission of Inquiry was established in March 2021, and the final report was handed to the government in August. Across 3,500 pages, the report says while the state’s institutions were generally safe for children, the safeguards aren’t in place to address or respond to allegations of abuse at the Launceston General Hospital, Ashley Youth Detention Centre, out-of-home care and public schools since 2000. In some settings, the risk is “live and current”… As a result of the inquiry, more than 100 people have been referred to the authorities. Premier Jeremy Rockcliff says abuse survivors were “failed by the system”, and, for that, the government is “deeply sorry”. He reiterated his pledge to implement all of the report’s 191 recommendations, including forming a new advisory council representing survivors. 

AusPol Australian News

‘A symbolic declaration of war on modern Australia’

That’s what leading ‘No’ campaigner Warren Mundine says the Uluru Statement from the Heart is… He addressed the National Press Club yesterday, where he described the Voice proposal as “a political ploy to grab power, not just from the Australian nation but also from traditional owners themselves”. He also claimed most Indigenous Australians are “doing fine” and have adequate representation in the Federal Parliament. Mundine is no stranger to controversy in this campaign – a week ago, the Bundjalung man/former Labor Party President dropped out of the race for a Liberal Party Senate spot after splitting with the ‘No’ camp over his support for treaties with First Nations people and changing the date of Australia Day. In response, Professor Megan Davis (one of the architects of the Uluru Statement) condemned Mundine’s “inflammatory” language. And we’ll hear more from the ‘Yes’ side when Noel Pearson addresses the National Press Club today. 

AusPol Australian News

Fleeing a crackdown

There’s been a crisis unfolding in Azerbaijan, with thousands of Armenian refugees fleeing over fears of ethnic cleansing. Let’s set the scene… The contention is over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian region within the borders of Azerbaijan – which, by the way, is between Russia, Turkey, and Iran. For decades, the local population has wanted to become part of the nearby nation of Armenia, a request that’s been forcibly denied by Azerbaijan, with ethnic killings on both sides. In recent times there’s been an uneasy truce maintained by Russian peacekeepers, but since the end of last year, Russia has pulled back and Azerbaijani troops blockaded the region, causing food and medicine shortages. Then, on 19 September, those troops stormed Nagorno-Karabakh, with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev claiming to have restored Azerbaijani sovereignty “with an iron fist”. And now ethnic Armenians are fleeing – and with reports of deadly explosions in the region, it’s a situation the United Nations is keeping a close eye on… 

World News

Slither and sweat

If the threat of bushfires isn’t enough, there’s a snake-pocalypse on the way… According to snake catcher Sean Cade, the snakes of 2023 are “thicker… longer… more robust” and “a little bit more cranky, too”. He’s backed up by Dan Rumsey from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers, who reckons he’s getting more callouts than usual. The general theory is that the mild winter meant more eating for the snake population, and now the coming hot spell is going to mean agitated snakes looking for shady places where humans also like to gather to cool down. Biologist Christina Zdenek said fatalities from snakes are “extremely rare” – but yikes… If you want to be super safe, Rumsey reckons a compression bandage is always good to have around. Speaking of warm weather, get ready for it Perth, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, and Brissie – all 5 capital cities are forecast to have temperatures over 30C later this week. Darwin too, although that’s your regular shtick…

Australian News Environment & Science Weather

Don’t leave a message at the tone

Telecommunications have come a long way since battling the family for the landline was an everyday experience. Now that smartphones are all the rage, phone etiquette has changed, and The Washington Post consulted an expert and people of all ages on their pet phone peeves. At the top of the list were voicemails, which many reckon have become redundant in the text message age. Unless it’s an audio-specific message like a special rendition of ‘happy birthday’, respondents say to keep it to a text. Another grievance many shared was receiving a phone call without warning – they said they’d prefer to be texted first to find a good time to chat. That’s especially true for video calls… Calling/texting again immediately after the recipient doesn’t respond is another bugbear, as are people who use speakerphone in public. Note: the rules don’t apply to your nearest and dearest who get to terrorise you however and whenever they like… 

Culture Quirky News Technology

Apropos of nothing

Have a hot date and need a quick fix for garlic breath? A new study has found that having a spoon of yoghurt as soon as you eat garlic will keep the stank at bay. Non-dairy types can also try munching on some raw apple, mint, or lettuce. Bags not breath-testing you… 

Adding to the list of things we didn’t know existed until now: the World Stone Skimming Championships. They took place in Scotland over the weekend for the first time since 2019, and it’s so very wholesome.

About a year ago, electric vehicle maker Tesla unveiled its prototype humanoid ‘Optimus’ robot that Elon Musk admitted was just “a guy in a suit”. It was a hoot. And in a new update, Optimus can now do yoga

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.00pm (AEST) – Labor caucus to determine Victoria’s next premier – Melbourne

12.30pm (AEST) – Indigenous leader and lawyer Noel Pearson addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

5.30pm (AEST) – Dally M Medal awards night – Sydney

6.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Cricket – 3rd ODI – Australia v India

ABS Data Release – Monthly Consumer Price Index indicator August; Deaths 2022; Causes of death 2022

Start of the inaugural Voluntary Assisted Dying National Conference – Sydney (until 28 September)

World Tourism Day

Birthdays for Ray Hadley (1954), Gwenyth Paltrow (1972), and Lil Wayne (1982)

Anniversary of:
• French scholar Jean-François Champollion announcing he has deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics using the Rosetta Stone (1822)
• the physics journal Annalen der Physik publishing Albert Einstein’s paper which introduces the equation E=mc² (1905)
• WC Handy publishing the first blues song, Memphis Blues (1912)
• the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring about the environmental impacts of pesticide use in the US (1962)
• George and Amal Clooney’s wedding (2014)
• the death of Hugh Hefner (2017)

Squiz the Day

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