Squiz Today / 07 June 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 7 June

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Squiz Today Podcast

Cross ‘check the news’ off your to-do list…

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Dare you to post this in a gardening group.”

Said one internet wag to a British woman who went viral after sharing her ‘genius’ hack for bringing dead plants ‘back to life’ by spray painting them green. Green thumbs might want to avert their eyes…

Oops, they did it again…

The Reserve Bank has lifted the official cash rate by another 0.25% to 4.1%. It was a bit of a surprise to the experts – two-thirds of economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted no movement this month. It’s the 12th rise since April last year, and the last time Australia saw interest rates this high was April 2012 when Carly Rae Jepsen was top of the pops with Call Me Maybe… More confident about calling things out was our central bank, which flagged further rate rises as new modelling points to borrowers facing the highest housing costs relative to income since the mid-90s.

According to the Reserve Bank, rates had to go up because inflation remains too high as wages growth accelerates and productivity stalls. They’re 3 big factors, so let’s pick them apart… Yesterday, Governor Philip Lowe said inflation needs to come down “within a reasonable timeframe.” The target rate for inflation is 2-3% – and last week, we learned it was at 6.8% over the year to April… Meanwhile, wages growth has picked up. Note: our lowest-paid workers found out last week that they’ll get a 5.75% lift to their pay, which will benefit more than one in 5 Australian workers. And on top of that, productivity growth is down from where it was in years gone by, and there are no signs of it revving up anytime soon. In a nutshell: prices keep going up at a rate that would undermine our future prosperity if allowed to continue. And efforts to get the situation under control have been made harder by wages going up without us producing more to show for it.

Good question… The goal is to bring inflation back to within the target range by mid-2025, but there are questions about whether that’s possible given the efforts to date haven’t had the effect policymakers wanted. Cue questions about the government’s role in solving this riddle… Yesterday, the Coalition’s Treasury spokesman Angus Taylor said the recent Federal Budget “did nothing to fight inflation.” But Treasurer Jim Chalmers was quick to defend the government’s actions, saying “our Budget is taking the pressure off inflation, rather than adding to it.” And while he knows there will be “a lot of Australians who find this decision difficult to understand”, he says the Reserve Bank’s got a job to do. To put on your watch list for today: Lowe is giving a speech in Sydney this morning. At 11.30am, we’ll see the latest stats on our economic growth. And you can look at how the latest rate hike affects your mortgage

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

Folbigg speaks out after prison release

Kathleen Folbigg has made her first public statement since her release from the Clarence Correctional Centre on Monday after being pardoned over the deaths of her 4 children. In a video, she says she is “extremely humbled and extremely grateful for being pardoned and released”. She called it “a victory for science, and especially truth”, and thanked her friends and family for their support. “I have forever, and will always, think of my children, grieve for my children, and have missed them and love them terribly”. Close friend Tracy Chapman told a press conference “there’s no hate in her heart” after being jailed for 20 years. And Folbigg’s lawyer Rhanee Rego also took the chance to push for legal reform in Oz. “There’s a lot of things that could have been done better with this case,” she said.

Australian News Crime

Dam collapse endangers thousands

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of blowing up the massive Nova Kakhovka dam in the Kherson region that supplies water to Crimea and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. That’s forcing about 40,000 people to evacuate with 80 towns and villages at risk of flooding, creating an ecological disaster, Ukrainian officials say. While neither side has accepted responsibility, one theory is that Russia may have decided to destroy the dam to hold up Ukraine’s counteroffensive. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agrees, calling it “an outrageous act, which demonstrates once again the brutality of Russia’s war against Ukraine.” US officials reckon Ukraine has stepped up the fighting in the east and southern parts – and some new equipment could help with that… Reports say that Australia is set to heed Ukraine’s calls to provide some of our Hawkei armoured vehicles.

World News

More Republicans in the mix

It’s definitely not just former US President Donald Trump fighting for the nomination to run as the Republicans’ 2024 candidate for president… The next to step up is ex-Veep Mike Pence. Reports say Trump’s former deputy filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Monday and is due to announce his campaign today on his 64th birthday. Although Pence had a reputation for being unwaveringly loyal to Trump, it’s not the first time he’s gone up against his former boss after a big blowup about efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Trump’s now vying for the Republican nomination against Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Senator Tim Scott, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Watch this space…

World News

Apple’s four-eyed future

Even though we knew it was coming, gadget fans were still head over heels when Apple announced its augmented reality headset yesterday. Called the Vision Pro – and selling for a whopping US$3,499 – the headset allows you to immerse yourself in virtual reality and project apps onto the world around you. One influential tech writer called Apple’s fancy ski goggles “the best headset demo ever” and “wildly superior” to other headsets in the market (like Meta’s Quest models). But Apple’s entry into the headset space comes at an awkward time, with Meta scaling back its so-called metaverse (aka virtual reality) project and global headset sales dropping 54% last year. Tech watchers point out that we don’t yet know what these headsets are for and that Apple needs outside developers to make a “killer app” to bring the Vision Pro to life. Also announced by Apple: better autocorrect. Thank duck…


Ange Postecoglou cracks the big time

And by the ‘big time’ we mean the English Premier League after the former Socceroos coach agreed to sign on as the Tottenham Hotspurs’ new manager, becoming the first Aussie to make the grade. Postecoglou – who coached our national men’s team between 2013 and 2017 and led them to victory in the 2015 Asian Cup – has been in high demand overseas in recent years. Most recently, he helped Celtic claim the Scottish premiership title 2 years in a row. As for Tottenham, it’s needed a new manager since Antonio Conte left in March, and reports say the Aussie has signed on to a 4-year deal starting on 1 July. Fans hope that the Spurs – who finished 8th in this year’s Premier League and haven’t won a trophy since 2008 – will find their mojo under Postecoglou’s characteristically ruthless tutelage.

Australian News Sport

Apropos of nothing

Finnish man Anders Wiklöf has copped a rather hefty fine after police caught him driving at 82km/h in a 50 zone – and when we say hefty, we’re talking $195,796… In Finland, fines are calculated on the driver’s daily income – and Wiklöf owns a company worth more than $10 million.

If you’re craving a bit of golden pastry-wrapped, gravy-loaded, tomato sauce-topped goodness, may we point you toward the Country Cob Bakery stores in Melbourne and Kyneton? They’ve been rated #1 in the Baking Association of Australia’s Best Pie and Pastry competition, so you know they’ll be good.

And if you’d prefer to eat that pie while lazing in bed, you’re not the only one… The art of ‘bed rotting’, or relaxing under your quilt with no purpose whatsoever, is gaining momentum on TikTok. Finally, a Gen Z trend we were ahead of…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.25am (AEST) – RBA Governor Philip Lowe delivers a speech at the Morgan Stanley Australia Summit – Sydney

10.30am (AEST) – The National Security Council to give a briefing on Oz-US cooperation following President Joe Biden and PM Anthony Albanese’s meeting in Japan

12.30pm (AEST) – Minister for Aged Care and Sport Anika Wells addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

7.30pm (AEST) – Men’s Cricket – ICC World Test Championship Final – Australia v India – London

ABS Data Release – Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, March

Australian Banking Association conference begins (until 8 June) – Sydney

Fraser Island will have its name officially restored to K’gari

Global Running Day

World Food Safety Day

Sydney Film Festival begins (until 18 June)

Birthdays for Liam Neeson (1952), Mike Pence (1959), Bear Grylls (1974), Michael Cera (1988), and Emily Ratajkowski (1991)

Anniversary of:
• the founding of the British Museum (1753)
• the Vatican City becoming a sovereign state (1929)

Squiz the Day

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