Squiz Today / 08 March 2023

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 8 March

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Squiz Today Podcast

This news was made for walkin’. 

Today’s listen time: 9.40 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“Tina Ley-na Turner”

That’s deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley’s alter-ego after she donned a blonde mullet wig and a little black dress in Parliament yesterday. It was all part of a dare to raise money for cancer – sadly, none of the pollies were keen to show off their Nutbush

On the road again

Even though many of us have become better acquainted with video conferencing and all manner of virtual communication since the start of 2020, nothing beats some facetime when you need to connect. That’s what PM Anthony Albanese is doing in the coming week as he jets off to India today to press the flesh with movers and shakers in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. And reports say he’ll then head to the US on important AUKUS business.

We’re usually a bit suss about transactional relationships, but Albanese has been clear that’s the focus. “Our 2 nations share a rich history bound by our democratic values and enlivened by genuine friendship and fierce sporting rivalry … Yet for all of this, in 2021-22, India was only Australia’s 6th-largest goods and services trading partner. We can elevate that,” Albanese said yesterday. To bolster his case, he’s travelling with a delegation of 25 business leaders, including Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce. With that sort of star power, it’ll be “one of the biggest and most significant” visits to a trading partner, Albanese says. They kick things off at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad for the next Oz v India cricket match on Thursday (where the MCG’s record attendance for a day of Test cricket is under threat…). From there, it’s onto Mumbai and New Delhi, where talks on security and technology are also on the agenda.

Allegedly… Reports say he’s heading to San Diego on Monday for a formal announcement with US President Joe Biden and UK PM Rishi Sunak about the building of our fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. Our procurement of the high-tech vessels was a big part of the new AUKUS agreement that signalled our joint concerns about the rise of China in our region. And what’s expected to be revealed next week is more information about what sub we’re getting and what role Adelaide will play in building the $100 billion project. It’s a lot of money, but some experts say the threat posed by China is real. For China’s part, Foreign Minister Qin Gang yesterday said there “will surely be conflict and confrontation” if the US doesn’t let the nation take its place in the world. Yikes…


Squiz the Rest

Investigating a deadly helicopter crash

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released a preliminary report into what went wrong before a fatal chopper collision earlier this year… To remind you of what happened, 2 helicopters used for joyrides by Gold Coast theme park Sea World crashed in mid-air on 2 January. One of the choppers was destroyed, while the other managed to land, and the tragedy left 4 people dead and 9 with various injuries. And now, the ATSB says the helicopter pilot who was about to land didn’t receive a call over the radio from the pilot who was about to take off. But that’s not where things end – ATSB boss Angus Mitchell says “it’s important to stress that we are yet to make findings”. He says as the investigation progresses, the agency will focus on analysing the pilots’ radio calls and look into any potential problems they had in seeing each other.

Australian News Crime

Surprise… Yet another rate hike

Yep, the Reserve Bank confirmed another 0.25% rate rise after its board meeting yesterday. The 10th consecutive hike brings the official cash rate to an 11-year high of 3.6%. For those on a $604,000 mortgage (to be exact…), that adds an extra $100 to your monthly repayments – up by $1,190 since rates started going up last May. Governor Philip Lowe also flagged there’s more hip pocket pain to come… He says although inflation appears to have peaked, prices for goods and services remain high, and economists have reported a noticeable reduction in consumer spending in recent weeks. Some big companies are feeling the pinch too – Aussie software giant Atlassian is the latest tech company to face the global economic headwinds, shedding 500 employees (including 120 in Oz), amounting to 5% of its workforce. But the company said it isn’t in dire straits – it’s “rebalancing” its priorities.

Australian News Business & Finance

Shining a light on the gender pay gap

It’s International Women’s Day today, and right on time, the Coalition’s agreed to support Albanese Government legislation (paywall) that aims to help close Australia’s gender pay gap. The new law would require companies with over 100 employees to publish their gender pay gap data. That may be embarrassing for some companies with the latest data showing that for every dollar earned by a man working full-time, their female counterpart makes 87c. It’s a measure supported by the Business Council and Chamber of Commerce and Industry. There’s also been some interesting international data released – according to Moody Analytics, closing the gender pay gap in OECD countries would boost the global economy by 7% – in terms of a dollar figure, that amounts to about $7 trillion… That’s trillion with a T.

Australian News Business & Finance

Down at the dairy

It’s not every day that consumer data stops us in our tracks, but these new stats are udderly fascinating… According to Dairy Australia, more of us are ditching skim and lite milk varieties, with full cream accounting for 71% of dairy milk sales in 2021–22, up from 60% in 2011-12. Of course, that doesn’t account for the rising popularity of non-dairy ‘milk’ options, but the industry says it comes down to changing perceptions about what’s healthy. As for other delicious moo-sourced products, butter sales have dropped steadily despite a small jump during the pandemic. But it doesn’t mean we’re on a health kick – cheese consumption has jumped over the past 12 months from 13.4 kilograms to 15 kilograms on average per person. Also rising is flavoured milk sales, with South Oz leading the way by drinking up to 3 times the national average. It’s basically guzzled like water there…

Australian News Business & Finance

Wining and dining their way to jail

How far would you go for a nice drop of plonk? One couple who went way too far has been sentenced to jail time for the theft of millions of dollars of wine from a Spanish hotel. As for how it went down… Court documents say at 2am, the woman – who also happens to be a former Mexican beauty pageant contestant – ordered a salad to distract the night staff while the man swiped a key for the hotel cellar from reception. When he took the wrong one, the woman was forced to order dessert… That gave him time to get the right key, stuff 45 bottles of extremely valuable wine into bags, and muffle the sound with hotel towels. Criminal genius, no? Apparently not – despite their “meticulous planning”, the pair were arrested 9 months later and each sentenced to 4.5 years in jail. They’ll emerge well-aged, with notes of regret…

World News

Apropos of nothing

France could soon stop parents who seek to make money from social media by posting images of their children. New laws being considered would ban ‘sharenting’”, with researchers estimating the average child has its image shared 1,300 times before they’re 13yo.

A pair of Canadian twins have been confirmed by Guinness World Records as the most premature in the world after they were born at 22 weeks – 18 weeks before their due date. They have turned 1yo, and while it was touch and go for a while, their mum says the little boy and girl are “doing great”.

More than 300 Melbourne schoolkids are trialling one-of-a-kind Dyson backpacks that can monitor air quality to help scientists find ways to reduce air pollution. If they don’t leave a banana to rot in it, things will be fine…

Australian News

Squiz the Day

8.55am (AEDT) – RBA Governor Philip Lowe addresses the Australian Financial Review Business Summit – Sydney

12.30pm (AEDT) – British High Commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell addresses the National Press Club – Canberra

6.00pm (AEDT) – Australian Investment Council Gala Dinner – Sydney

PM Anthony Albanese travels to India for the Australia-India Annual Leaders’ Summit

International Women’s Day

The Squiz turns 6

Birthdays for actors Freddie Prinze Jr (1976) and James Van Der Beek (1977)

Anniversary of:
• Henry VIII being recognised as supreme head of Church in England (1531)
• the founding of the New York Stock Exchange (1817)
• the marriage of Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis (1952)
• the disappearance of flight MH370 with 227 passengers and 12 crew onboard (2014)

Squiz the Day

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