Squiz Today / 22 September 2023

Squiz Today – Friday, 22 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

Take it along for the ride. 

Today’s listen time: 9.30 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“I believe that numbers are numbers and statistics are statistics” 

Said Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal as he graciously acknowledged Novak Djokovic as the best tennis player in history. Not everyone agrees the Serbian is the GOAT despite his record-levelling 24 Grand Slam titles, but Nadal pointed to the scoreboard…

Probing the COVID inquiry


It wouldn’t be a COVID issue if the government’s moves weren’t heavily scrutinised/criticised, and that is the case for PM Anthony Albanese’s announcement that there will be an inquiry into the official response. Some of the key things the inquiry will review include the management of vaccines/treatments, public health messaging, and financial/mental health supports and the idea is the exercise will help shape Australia’s response to future public health emergencies. But there are criticisms that some of the biggest COVID-19 decisions won’t be examined.


Coalition leader Peter Dutton is one who’s unhappy that individual state and territory decisions on controversial actions – like lockdowns and state border closures – won’t be put under the microscope, calling it a “protection racket” for Labor premiers/chief ministers. “If we don’t learn the lessons of what happened during the course of COVID – good and bad by every level of government – how do we expect to go into the next pandemic not understanding what had happened in the previous one?” Dutton asked. And Australia’s former Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth agrees, saying excluding state and territory governments’ decisions “is a major concern” – and he’s offered up suggestions for what the inquiry should focus on. He says who’s in charge of disease-control policies, public health powers, and our data collection methods should also be considered.


Before we get into that, it’s important to note that Albanese has ruled out a royal commission because of the expertise required and he says it would take more time, saying he’s been advised that “this is the best form of inquiry”. He’s named 3 experts to get it done in the next year: health economist Dr Angela Jackson, epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett and public sector expert Robyn Kruk. What’s not clear is whether they’ll be able to compel witnesses, or if public hearings will be held – and that has many stakeholders questioning what the inquiry can achieve. “We need a better understanding of the impacts on communities and business of some of the longest and most damaging lockdowns in the world,” Australian Industry Group boss Innes Willox says. And right on time, the newest COVID strain has reached our shores…

AusPol Australian News Health

Squiz the Rest

Rupert Murdoch calls time

If you’ve woken up this morning and the theme music to Succession is tinkering away in your ears it’s because Rupert Murdoch has handed over the keys to his media empire overnight. His eldest son Lachlan will take over as chair of News Corp and continues as the boss of Fox Corporation. But the 92yo isn’t entirely out the door – he will become ‘chairman emeritus’ and will remain “engaged daily with news and ideas,” he says. “We thank him for his vision, his pioneering spirit, his steadfast determination, and the enduring legacy he leaves,” said Lachlan. To say that Murdoch is a divisive figure is an understatement… But overnight, the Australian Financial Review (not a News Corp publication…) noted his “‘illustrious” career (paywall) spanning 7 decades that started at a paper in Adelaide and went on to create a global news and entertainment empire. The share prices of both companies rose a smidge in response to the news.

Australian News Business & Finance

A man on a mission

There’s some desperate diplomacy happening with Ukraine right now as it struggles to break the war’s deadlock ahead of the Northern winter. President Volodymr Zelensky has met with President Biden in Washington as he tried to persuade a divided US Congress to approve a big aid package. Zelensky’s frustrated the international community isn’t doing more to stop Russia – this week he told a United Nations Security Council meeting that “humankind no longer pins its hopes on the UN”… And he’s got a long list of probs: Poland has stopped supplying Ukraine with weapons over a grain dispute; his European neighbours have been slow to deliver promised missile systems; and China’s rolling out the red carpet for Russia’s President Vladamir Putin in the coming weeks. If you need some diplomatic light relief after all of that… King Charles has been on a state visit to France where he toasted President Emmanual Macron with “you have the wine but we have the humour”. Oui Oui… 

World News

Introducing your new personal assistant…

Google has been quiet on the artificial intelligence (AI) front since launching its chatbot in March, but Bard is back with some nifty updates… Like its ChatGPT rival, Bard’s first iteration could help users with tasks like writing essay drafts. Now, Google users can opt to give the AI tool access to Google’s suite of products – including Gmail, Google Drive and YouTube – to assist with tasks like locating and summarising specific information in a Google Doc and telling you when you have space in your calendar for a meeting. As one journo discovered when he tried to get Bard to psychoanalyse his emails, it’s not failproof but Google says it will improve over time. Not to be outdone, ChatGPT has a big update of its own: it can now generate images from text prompts after DALL-E was added to the chatbot. We’ll have to see if that means that AI may have finally overcome its hand problem

Business & Finance Technology

A feast of footy

Strap yourself in sports/non-sports lover because this weekend is going to be massive… It’s preliminary final time (aka the semis) in both the AFL and NRL – so by Sunday night we’ll know who’s made it into the grand finals of both codes. In the AFL tonight, we’ve got top dog Collingwood v the upstart Greater Western Sydney, and tomorrow it’s Brisbane v Carlton (note: if Carlton and Collingwood both make the GF, Melbourne will actually lose its mind…). In rugby league, it’s Penrith v the Melbourne Storm tonight, then the Brisbane Broncos v the NZ Warriors tomorrow. And if you’ve got room for more, our Wallabies have got to win against an in-form Wales early on Monday morning to stay in the Rugby World Cup. And if you’d rather play than watch, you should know that Aussie Rules just got more lucrative with the men’s and women’s players signing a joint $2.2 billion salary deal.

Australian News Sport

Happy Kylie Day

That’s what we’re officially dubbing it as Kylie Minogue releases her 16th studio album Tension today. And there’s another reason to celebrate: the pop princess could score an ARIA Award after she received 4 nominations. Minogue hasn’t won a pointy trophy at the Aussie music industry’s night of nights since 2002 when Can’t Get You Out of My Headdominated the charts… This year she’s up for best solo artist and song of the year for her global hit Padam Padam. As for the other nominees, hip-hop artist Genesis Owusu led the pack with 7 nods after he cleaned up at last year’s awards, and Dom Dolla, G Flip and Troye Sivan scored 6 nominations each. Just nod… And mark your calendar: the ARIAs are taking place on 15 November. 

Australian News Entertainment

Friday Lites – Three things we liked this week

Speaking of Rupert Murdoch, we haven’t got through this sneek peak yet, but a new Michael Woolf book will soon be out called The Fall: The End of Fox News and the Murdoch Dynasty. Incredible timing… 

We don’t know whether to cheer or cry – the final season of Netflix’s Sex Education is out. And none of this mucking around with releasing an episode every week – all 8 are ready to binge. Anything with Gillian Anderson and Dan Levy are in, we’re there.

You can’t post a recipe for mashed potatoes with brie and expect us to ignore it… At least we’ve rediscovered Jennifer Aniston’s famous salad (which is actually really tasty…) to balance the ledger a bit… 

Friday Lites

Squiz the Day

1.00pm (AEST) – NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles delivers a State of the Territory address – Darwin

6.00pm (AEST) – Men’s Cricket – 1st ODI – Australia v India

7.50pm (AEST) – AFL Preliminary Final – Collingwood v GWS – Melbourne

7.50pm (AEST) – NRL Preliminary Final – Penrith v Melbourne – Sydney

Last day of Term 3 for public schools in NSW, the ACT, the NT, and Western Oz

Start of Melbourne EV Show (until 24 September)

World Car-Free Day

World Rhino Day

Astronomy Day

Kylie Minogue’s new album, Tension, is released

Start of the inaugural Volume music and arts festival (until 8 October) – Sydney

Hobbit Day, marking the birthdays of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins

It’s 100 days until the end of the year….

Birthdays for Nick Cave (1957), Joan Jett (1958), and Ronaldo (1976)

Anniversary of:
• the last executions of the Salem Witch Trials (1692)
• Robert Walpole becoming the first British PM to live at 10 Downing Street (1735)
• the debut of TV shows Charlie’s Angels (1964), Baywatch (1989), Friends (1994), The West Wing (1999) and Lost (2004)
• the death of author Hilary Mantel (2022)

Squiz the Day

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