Squiz Today / 06 September 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 6 September

%%=Format(@localdatetime, “dddd, d MMMM yyyy”)=%%

Squiz Today Podcast

Wherever you’re going, we’ll get you there. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

SYD
9 / 21
MEL
7 / 19
BNE
16 / 27
ADL
9 / 23
PER
11 / 19
HBA
6 / 18
DRW
20 / 33
CBR
-2 / 18

Squiz Sayings

“We are a little bit dirty and muddy, but spirits are high. The party is still going.”

Said one Burning Man punter who stayed on at the bogged “large-scale desert campout” to witness the 23m effigy go up in flames yesterday. Many of the other 64,000 attendees joined the queue to leave, which looked marginally better than wallowing in the mud…

Joyce hits the departure lounge

THE SQUIZ

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce will hand over to his successor Vanessa Hudson today, 2 months earlier than planned. He’s one of Australia’s most recognisable business executives, and yesterday, he said he’s heading out so the company can “move ahead with its renewal as a priority”. That’s a reference to the heavy criticism and scrutiny Joyce and Qantas have attracted in recent weeks, with chairman Richard Goyder saying there was an understanding “that a circuit breaker might not be a bad thing and give us clear air.” One guy who’s not a member of the Joyce Fan Club is Transport Workers Union boss Michael Kaine – he said it’s “the first good decision the Qantas board has made for a very long time”.

WHAT IS HE LEAVING BEHIND?

Plenty of things have earned Qantas the ‘besieged’ label… Last week, the ACCC launched legal action claiming Qantas sold tickets for more than 8,000 cancelled flights – something the company apologised for on Monday. The travel credits issue came to a head last week – that’s about the airline’s make-good program for customers who had flights cancelled during the pandemic. Add to that the Albanese Government’s decision to refuse Qatar Airways’ request to operate more flights to Oz, a decision now being looked into by a parliamentary inquiry. And as Joyce spruiked a record $2.47 billion profit, travellers have continuing concerns about service levels, and the union is maintaining the rage over “years of decimated jobs and standards, illegal outsourcing, and outrageous bonuses”. 

IT’S A LOT…

It is, and the team have a job ahead of them… Just on Hudson, she’s a 28-year Qantas veteran and was most recently the chief financial officer. Goyder says Joyce and the board believe that “Vanessa is ready”. Yesterday she said “post-COVID we haven’t always delivered to what our customers expect but we are listening and we hear what they are saying. As a company, our job is to get the balance right between looking after our customers, our people and the business itself.” As for the chairman, there are calls for his resignation, but he told The Australian he’s staying put to “do what we need to do. And I think my role in that is pretty important.” Short on patience are shareholders who want immediate action to recoup the 12% share price dip inflicted on the company over the last month. On Monday, the Shareholders Association called for millions of dollars of executives’ bonuses to be withheld as a sign that they get it. Buckle up…

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Going steady as Lowe signs off

The Reserve Bank has held the official cash rate at 4.1%, as widely tipped by economists, especially after a lower-than-forecast monthly inflation figure last week. Yesterday, the central bank noted that it had already raised rates by 4% since May last year, and it also included the standard language that further rate rises “may be required” to keep forcing inflation down. The board meeting was Governor Philip Lowe’s last as his Deputy Governor Michele Bullock prepares to take over on 18 September. And while we’re on matters economic, troubled Chinese property developer Country Garden successfully scraped together $35 million yesterday to pay the interest on some of its bonds, which means it’ll avoid catastrophe for now. The developer has been in trouble due to China’s sluggish market conditions, which, in turn, has eroded consumer confidence across the world’s second-largest economy. 

Australian News Economy

Big boys and their big toys

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is planning a rare trip out of the Hermit Kingdom to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss selling weapons to Russia, according to new intelligence out of the US. The backstory here is that Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu travelled to Pyongyang in July to try to buy artillery, and since then, reports say Putin and Kim have exchanged diplomatic letters. Shoigu has also recently said North Korea could be invited into Russia-China war games. As for the when/where of a meeting between Kim and Putin: this month in Vladivostok. Reports say Putin is looking for shells and anti-tank missiles, and North Korea is in the market for technology for satellites and submarines, as well as aid for the nation following a chronic food shortage brought on by a drought and tight border controls. The US says North Korea will “pay a price” for supplying weapons to Russia.

World News

An alien invasion of the environmental kind

Invasive species are bad news for biodiversity – and a major new report has found they are a leading cause of species loss and extinction in Australia. The report by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (get that on your business card…) identified 37,000 alien species that were introduced to new areas through human activities. Of those, 3,500 species are considered invasive, and we’ve got 3,000 of ’em costing us $25 billion every year… Feral cats, European carp, and rabbits pose the biggest problems, researchers said. Last year, a new national biosecurity strategy was launched with the aim of ‘no new extinctions’. But in light of the latest findings, experts are calling for more funding and an independent body to wrangle the states and territories. Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek didn’t commit to that but said it’s a big issue on her radar. 

Australian News Environment & Science

De Minaur’s done

Maybe we spoke too soon – neither of the Aussie men in the US Open’s final 16 won their matches, with 13th seed Alex de Minaur losing yesterday to Russian Daniil Medvedev. De Minaur had won his previous 2 games against Medvedev, and things were looking good when the Aussie crushed the first set 6-2… But it wasn’t to be, with Medvedev taking out the next 3 sets. And earlier in the week, Rinky Hijikata lost his match to US star Frances Tiafoe. The only Aussie left in the tournament is Matthew Ebden – he’s got a spot in the men’s doubles quarter-finals as we speak. From the rest of the field, Germany’s Alexander Zverev was not too happy with a crowd member during his 5-set win against the Italian Jannik Sinner. We’re also keeping an eye on US’s Coco Gauff, the 19yo who eliminated Latvia’s Jeļena Ostapenko while only dropping 2 games across the match…

Australian News Sport

Opposites don’t attract

Hollywood rom-coms might have convinced us otherwise, but a new study debunked the old adage that opposites attract and endorsed another one: birds of a feather flock together. Researchers analysed 133 traits across nearly 80,000 opposite-sex couples enrolled in the UK Biobank project, including political and religious views, education levels, and drinking habits. Up to 89% of those traits were shared in most partnerships, with couples who appeared to be opposites only differing in minor ways, like whether they were a morning person or a night owl. Just 3% of analysed traits were found to vary significantly among partners – including height, weight, and personality traits, with extroverts found no more likely to couple up with an introvert than another extrovert. Researchers say that’s a good thing because a tendency to pair off along height lines could lead to a strange-looking society down the track… 

Culture

Apropos of nothing

A pair of workers have been detained after allegedly excavating a hole in the Great Wall of China… all because they were looking for a shortcut home.

Parisian cinemagoers have been hit by a plague of bed bugs in the city’s movie theatres. They weren’t even there to see The Seven Year Itch…

And soz to Canberrans who have known about this for ages, but we just discovered there’s a new Big Thing in Australia: Big Swoop. The magpie and its hot chip are set to be recognised in a new coin series released by the Royal Australian Mint, which, thankfully for collectors, is regular-sized…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

12.30pm (AEST) – Professor Marcia Langton addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

Early Childhood Educators’ Day

Indigenous Literacy Day

National Fight Procrastination Day

A birthday for actor Idris Elba (1972)

Anniversary of:
• Ferdinand Magellan’s Spanish expedition aboard the Vitoria returning to Spain becoming the first to circumnavigate the earth (1522)
• the Mayflower departing Plymouth, England for the New World (1620)
• the first supermarket, the Piggly Wiggly, opened in Memphis, Tennessee (1916)
• the premiere of TV sitcom The Brady Bunch (1969)
• the funeral of Princess Diana (1997)
• the deaths of Luciano Pavarotti (2007), Burt Reynolds (2018) and Robert Mugabe (2019)

Squiz the Day

The Squiz Archive

Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?

Get the Squiz Today newsletter

It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.