Squiz Today / 03 April 2019

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 3 April


"I’ve never wanted to fit in with the crowd. The older I get the less I worry about fitting in.”

That's why TV presenter/mental health advocate/Squizer Jessica Rowe doesn't leave her sparkles and prints in the wardrobe for ‘special occasions'. She's also the author of a new book, Diary of a Crap Housewife, and we're thrilled to welcome her to this week's Three Minute Squiz.


‘Back in black’ is the Morrison Government’s economic pitch as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg projected a string of surpluses from the coming financial year while also committing to future tax cuts and record spending on health and education. Since the last time Australia saw a surplus, we’ve seen Treasurers Costello, Swan, Bowen, Hockey and Morrison come and go. Frydenberg, who last night delivered his first Budget speech, will be hoping it’s not his only one.

The key numbers
• For the current financial year, it's expected the deficit will be $4.2 billion. That's an improvement on the December 2018 estimate of $5.2 billion. And next year's surplus is projected to be $7.1 billion.

• Net government debt will peak this financial year at $373 billion with the Coalition aiming to pay it off over the coming decade.

• And looking ahead, the forecast for 2019/20 is business as usual as far as the broader economy goes. That means economic growth at 2.75%, an unemployment rate of 5% and inflation around 2%.

Tax cuts
• The Budget delivers a big bucket of money for 10 million low and middle-income workers to reduce the tax they pay. As an example, if you're earning $90,000 today, you'll receive a tax offset of $1,080 when you lodge your tax return for this financial year. A tax offset is available for people earning up to $126,000.

• Last night’s Budget doubles the rates of the tax offset announced last year, and it will remain in place until previously legislated changes to the tax rates come into play in 2022-23. All that will cost $158 billion over 10 years.

• Tax cut curious? Go to this tax calculator to see how you’ll fare this current financial year and beyond.

Other highlights
• Infrastructure investment grows by $25 billion to $100 billion over the coming decade. They’re talking about tackle urban congestion, funding for roads, fast rail, freight and airports across the country.

• Determined to head off a rerun of Labor’s ‘Mediscare’ campaign from 2016, the Government will match Labor’s promise on boosting Medicare rebates.

• Onto skills and there’s a $525 million package to create 80,000 new apprenticeships and incentivise businesses to hire apprentices.

• There’s $100 million for a new ‘Environment Restoration Fund’ to help threatened plant and animal species, manage erosion and boost recycling programs.

• And the ABC gets funding to keep a ‘news gathering’ program. And SBS also gets a boost.

Straight to an election. But with the Coalition trailing Labor for 50 consecutive Newspolls, it would take a mighty springboard to catapult its fortunes into a winning position. Time (and many more themed social media campaigns) will tell… Labor leader Bill Shorten will have the final word of the 45th Parliament when he delivers his take on Thursday night.



You don't need a specific status update because you know in your waters that it's still a mess… UK MPs continued to vote on measures they think important - and none have been successful. UK PM Theresa May was talking about holding another vote on the deal she negotiated with the European Union, but after a lengthy meeting with her colleagues overnight it's been decided that she will go back to EU negotiators to ask for another time extension, this time until 22 May. That time would be used to try to get UK MPs (including from the Labour Party) to agree on something to prevent a no deal Brexit on 12 April (a deadline that has already been extended from 29 March). Until next time...


NASA is not impressed with India's effort last week when it shot down one of its own satellites because it's sent small pieces of space junk spiralling into the void. The satellite was destroyed at a relatively low altitude, but NASA boss Jim Bridenstine said; "That kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight." Collisions with tiny objects can be catastrophic in space because of the pace spacecraft are moving. Sounds like a job for an intergalactic Ian Kiernan...


There's no possible universe in which the paths of former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and Hollywood comic Jim Carrey could cross, right? Wrong. Mussolini's granddaughter Alessandra (herself a far-right politician and former adult model - the two not being mutually exclusive in Italy) has taken umbrage at a Carrey drawing (warning: graphic) featuring her grandfather. She took to Twitter to call Carrey a ‘b' word that isn't too sweary in the scheme of things but is still too much for some email filters...


As daylight saving continues to draaag on for many Aussies, so did the summer throughout March. In fact, the Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that it was the hottest March on record as well as the hottest ever start to the year on record. And not just by a little bit either - it's nearly a degree hotter than the previous hottest first quarter of the year according to the BOM. The weather forecast for the coming months: warm and the sliver of a chance of rain.


Burger King in the US is trialling a Whopper with a plant-based pattie that is designed to mimic the look and texture of meat when cooked. Boss Chris Finazzo said the fast food chain wants to help that person who "wants to eat a burger every day but doesn't necessarily want to eat beef every day."

Meanwhile, McDonald’s found itself in a pickle over an April Fools’ Day prank… (Side note: if you have a good three hours to waste today, look no further than this consolidated list of pranks.)

And pity Tiger the goanna from the NSW town of Billinudgel. He found himself in a spot of trouble after a feast went wrong


The war widow and mate of Prince Harry's died yesterday just a few days after her 99th birthday. The notorious flirt initially caught Harry's eye and stole a kiss in 2015 when she came out to see him in Sydney, wearing a replica of the Victoria Cross awarded to her first husband. A friendship was formed, and he introduced his new wife Meghan to her last year. Daphne remarked knowingly; "She's just what the Prince needs." She heard from the royal couple once more via a recent birthday message, and reports say they are "deeply saddened" by news of her death. The Dunne family said she was a joy. “In her most recent years, it has been our absolute honour and pleasure to see her bring so much joy to people from all walks of life and from countries of the world.” At least one media outlet got a bit carried away suggesting the couple could name their soon-to-be-born child after her...


12.30pm (AEDT) - Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to deliver a post-Budget address to the National Press Club - Canberra

Trial of former Malaysian PM Najib Razak over the 1MDB scandal scheduled to start

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to address the United States Congress marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance

ABS Data Releases - International Trade in Goods and Services, February; Retail Trade, February

Ben Mendelsohn's birthday (1969)

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