Squiz Today / 30 March 2022

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 30 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

Helping you get on top of things. 

Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

19 / 22
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12 / 16
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13/ 19

Squiz Sayings

“It will be open to the public if anyone wants it, because they’re getting married … and they want to bring their friends and family … or coming of age parties, birthdays.”

Said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the fate of his presidential jet. He refuses to use it, he’s tried to sell it, and renting it out is the next best option to recover some costs, he says. Now, there’s a creative idea for cost-conscious governments…

A Squiz at the Budget


If you tuned into last night’s address by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and you could see his lips moving but all you could hear was “re-elect the Coalition, re-elect the Coalition” over and over again, your ears weren’t playing tricks on you… He started his address by reminding us of how uncertain things are – war in Ukraine, the pandemic, floods. “But Australia remains resilient. Australians remain strong” – and we’ve “overcome the biggest economic shock since the Great Depression,” he said. Frydenberg sounded positive about the turnaround – there’s no watching underwear prices for him… And with that, he started spraying the moolah around in the hope of improving his side’s chances in the upcoming election. 


The topline numbers: The Budget deficit is expected to be $78 billion in 2022/23 – that’s down from an expected $99 billion. And net debt is set to rise to $714.9 billion, down from an expected $835 billion. Our federal finances have improved. A lot. So the Coalition is taking the windfall to spend up on pre-election sweeteners like:

  • “Responsible and temporary” cost of living measures. The Coalition will halve the petrol excise tax (aka by 22.1c) for the next 6 months, which should save someone who drives a medium-sized vehicle $10 a week. And there are cash payments and tax offsets for pensioners, welfare recipients and low/middle-income earners. 
  • Some other favourite themes got some love. There’s almost $9 billion for cyber security and intelligence. New infrastructure projects get $17.9 billion as part of a $120 billion 10-year pipeline. And the health budget is a whopper – $132 billion next financial year. 
  • And remember how The Nationals backed the commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050 in time for PM Scott Morrison to head to the climate change summit in Glasgow last year? It’s payback time… There are billions “to boost regional communities and industries”. 


To an election campaign – maybe as soon as this weekend. But before we get there, expect a lot of talk about how the Coalition’s plan will land, economically speaking. Some are warning that pumping up the economy with all that spending risks higher inflation, and that would lead to interest rate increases coming sooner and faster than expected. The Commonwealth Bank suggests that interest rates could soon be 1.25%, compared to 0.1% today. And there’s a lot of talk about the projections for wages growth and inflation – the question is whether workers will actually be able to get ahead anytime soon. For Labor’s part, Treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers says the Morrison Government has delivered “a pretty desperate political ploy when the country needed a plan for the future.” Labor leader Anthony Albanese will deliver his response tomorrow night. 


Squiz the Rest

More flood warnings as the rain moves south

The body of a 2nd Queensland man was pulled from floodwaters at North Branch, south of Toowoomba, yesterday. Severe conditions eased yesterday in the state’s southeast after it was hit by heavy rain. That low-pressure system is now heading into NSW, where residents in Lismore and Girards Hill were told by emergency services to evacuate. The flood peak in Lismore is now lower than initially predicted with the town’s levee expected to protect it from a second catastrophe within weeks. Further south, the weather bureau issued a severe weather warning for the NSW’s Mid North Coast, and those living on the coast in and around Sydney have been urged to prepare for heavy rainfall and likely flooding in the coming days. Officials have also warned Sydneysiders to stay away from most beaches due to contamination issues. Not that it’s prime conditions to get your togs on and go for a dip…

Australian News Weather

Russia says it will back off in Kyiv

On the weekend, Russian military officials said they would refocus its campaign in Ukraine on “liberating” the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. That was quickly discounted when it upped the ante and its air raids on cities in the west of the country. And overnight, Russia has announced it will “drastically reduce” military combat operations in two key areas – the capital Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv. It’s come about via peace talks that are currently underway in the Turkish city of Istanbul. Western intelligence shows Russian forces are drawing away from Kyiv, but they are still pounding the city, so there are questions about whether it’s a meaningful retreat. UK PM Boris Johnson is one sceptic – he said “we must judge Putin’s regime by their actions not their words”. The talks are ongoing… Meanwhile, the Australian Parliament is set for some Volodymyr Zelensky action – he will beam in for a live address tomorrow afternoon.

World News

Back off, says the Solomons’ PM

In a speech to the Solomon Island’s Parliament yesterday, PM Manasseh Sogavare accused Australia and its allies of interfering in its affairs as he prepares to sign a controversial security deal with China. The deal would allow China’s military forces to be stationed there, which puts them less than 2,000km from Australia, and we are joined by New Zealand and the US in urging Sogavare not to sign it. But he says the claims that China plans to build a military base there are “misinformation”, and that Chinese forces would be there to guard key Chinese infrastructure projects in the region. And he wasn’t pleased about the West’s backlash to the agreement, saying he found it “very insulting to be branded as unfit to manage our sovereign affairs”. He’s spoken to PM Scott Morrison about it and maintains we’re still important partners, but the Solomons needs to diversify its partners to “achieve our security needs”.

AusPol World News

Smith says sorry

The organisation behind the Academy Awards will meet later this week to discuss the slap unleashed by Best Actor-winner Will Smith on comedian Chris Rock on Monday. Yesterday, the Board of Governors – which includes some Hollywood bigwigs – said it has “officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.” Industry insiders say there will likely be some punishment for Smith like a temporary loss of his membership to the Academy (note: you need to be a member to win an award), but he will likely get to keep his Oscar. Smith yesterday took to Instagram to apologise again, this time including Rock. “I am a work in progress,” he said. The incident is thought to be behind a recovery in viewership of the ceremony. Someone who’s going to need a bit more recovery time – Will Smith, the state senator from Maryland


Night owls rejoice

They say the early bird catches the worm, but science says the key to good health is sticking to your own body clock. One study found each person has an internal timer made up of 351 genes called a ‘chronotype’ which controls when you fall asleep naturally and when you’re most alert. According to the research, half of us are night owls and half are early birds – but that’s due to genetics, not choice. And for the majority of adults, America’s National Institutes of Health says their natural bedtime is after midnight. Yikes… It’s long been held that the established 9-to-5 workday has benefitted early birds while punishing night owls. But with 76% of global companies now allowing hybrid work arrangements, more night owls are able to start living by their own body clock, which has positive outcomes for their wellbeing. Good news for some – we’ll be sticking with our 3.47am alarm…


Apropos of Nothing

Spot the wonder/robot dog has turned up in the ruins of ancient Pompeii. It’s wandering the site collecting data to help authorities’ conservation efforts. Spot has had a busy recent past – from reminding Singaporeans to socially distance to joining the New York Fire Department

And if you’re feeling like lawn maintenance is beyond you, here’s a brilliant excuse to keep your mower in the shed come spring. The bees need a break – and one town in Wisconsin is leading the way with No Mow May

Former US President Donald Trump doesn’t like to boast, but yesterday he released a statement confirming he’d shot a hole-in-one on his golf course in Florida. There’s been “a lot of chatter about it,” he said. Former opponent Hillary Clinton had a statement of her own – she’s got a theatre role

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

8.00am (AEDT) – Cricket – Women’s World Cup Semi-Final – Australia v West Indies – Wellington

12.30pm (AEDT) – Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gives his post-Budget Address – Canberra

7.00pm (AEDT) – A state funeral for cricket legend Shane Warne at the MCG – Melbourne

World Bipolar Day

Birthdays for musicians Eric Clapton (1945), M.C. Hammer (1962), Celine Dion (1968) and Norah Jones (1979), and tennis champ Sam Stosur (1984)

Anniversary of:
• the US buying Alaska from Russia (1867)
• the birthday of IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad (1926)
• US President Ronald Reagan being shot and wounded in an assassination attempt (1981)
• the death of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (2002)
• the Morrison Government announcing the introduction of the JobKeeper payment (2020)

Squiz the Day

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