Squiz Today / 01 May 2024

Squiz Today – 1 May 2024

Squiz Today Podcast

Today’s listen time: 10 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“It just adds to the ambience of Penguin being a town about penguins.”

Said resident Ross Hartley, one of many locals (led by the Penguin Makeover Committee group) who successfully campaigned for the small Tassie town to keep its famous themed bins. And not to worry – the Big Penguin is also safe…

Bonza gets grounded

The Squiz 

The shock call from budget airline Bonza to suspend all flights across its 36 routes left hundreds of passengers in the lurch at airports across Australia yesterday morning. By yesterday afternoon – after its planes were repossessed by investor AIP Capital and anonymous staff said they’d been told “Bonza has finished” – the airline had officially entered voluntary administration. While that was shaking out, Virgin, Qantas, and Jetstar stepped in with complimentary seats for Bonza customers on planes with space – but many were left thousands of dollars out of pocket paying for replacement flights.

So what happened?

The news filtered through just after 8am, with Bonza’s CEO Tim Jordan saying all services were “temporarily suspended” as the viability of the business was assessed. That came as a shock to the 150 staff, but it’s not completely out of the blue… You might remember Bonza launched just over a year ago, in January 2023 – but the build-up for a budget airline offering new regional routes in the tight Australian market didn’t live up to expectations. An order of new planes was delayed, preventing Bonza from reaching full service and causing a growing number of delayed flights. That left the company in a tight financial position… And the speculation around that intensified this month when Bonza canned some of its routes, and reports said consultancy firm KordaMentha had been called in for financial advice – something the airline denied.

So it’s all over?

It’s certainly not looking good… Bonza’s board of directors held an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss their options shortly before the company appointed accountancy firm Hall Chadwick to oversee the administration process. The Transport Workers’ Union has also spoken up, with national secretary Michael Kaine urging the company to “ensure staff are prioritised and informed as this process plays out”. Bonza’s grounding until at least tomorrow but possibly longer also means less competition within Australia’s aviation industry – something that’s been a hot topic in recent times. Kaine said aviation is an industry “on its knees” that’s “dominated by aggressive competition and unchecked corporate greed that will squeeze out any new entrant”. North West Queensland MP Robbie Katter agrees – he says the lack of competition in Oz will continue to cause problems for customers and other airlines alike.

Australian News Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

DV in the spotlight

PM Anthony Albanese is facing pressure on a couple of fronts today – with growing calls for today’s National Cabinet to take strong action to stem domestic violence. State and territory leaders will be joining the meeting virtually after a wave of community outrage after the Bondi stabbings and the murder of Molly Ticehurst. Some of the big items on today’s agenda include electronic monitoring of offenders and a national registry of DV perpetrators. The PM says he’s “committed to making progress” and also wants to crack down on violent and misogynistic online content. Meanwhile, Albanese’s also grappling with another community safety issue – Coalition leader Peter Dutton wants answers after a released immigration detainee allegedly bashed a Perth grandmother. Dutton says Immigration Minister Andrew Giles must resign after failing to explain why Kuwaiti-born Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan was out on bail after a previous offence. 

AusPol Australian News

Trump gagged

US presidential candidate Donald Trump has been fined by a New York court for breaching a gag order in his “hush-money” trial. Judge Juan Merchan fined Trump US$9000 (A$13,842) for 9 online breaches of the order and threatened him with jail if he continued to flout the law. Under the order, Trump isn’t allowed to make public statements about the jury, witnesses or anyone else involved with the case. As his trial enters its 2nd week, he’s been ordered to take down the posts from his campaign page and his Truth Social platform. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records related to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with him – which he denies. Overnight, the trial heard from Daniels’ former lawyer Keith Davidson who allegedly brokered the payment deal with Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen. 

World News

End of an era for the Solomons

The Solomon Islands will have a new Prime Minister tomorrow, after the current PM Manasseh Sogavare stood down following big losses for his party in the recent election. The nationwide vote was the first since Sogavare signed a controversial security agreement with China in 2022, and the outcome was being closely watched by many in the international community, including Australia. While he won his own seat, Sogavare’s party only hung onto 15 electorates in a 50-seat Parliament – and the biggest opposition group says it’s got a coalition of 20 MPs. “Soga”, as he’s known locally, blamed the backlash on the media, saying he has been “increasingly vilified” and his family had copped “unprecedented abuse”. He’ll be replaced by Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele as party leader – but it’s still not clear which MP will emerge in the top job after tomorrow’s vote.

World News

A quantum leap…

Australia is betting big on a quantum computer – with the federal and Queensland governments investing nearly a billion dollars to get a commercial-scale machine. Experts believe (probs don’t take our word for it) quantum computers can solve problems faster than ordinary computers – and will lead to breakthroughs in pharmaceuticals, EV car batteries and artificial intelligence. The computer will be built by US-based company PsiQuantum – which is setting up a new Asia-Pacific HQ at Brisbane airport. And while there’s been some criticism, the money’s going to a US firm – Industry Minister Ed Husic says the company was “set up by Australians” and the investment, which will create 400 jobs, is about “bringing Australians home”. The move comes ahead of a major shake-up of Australia’s foreign investment laws that Treasurer Jim Chalmers is expected to announce today. 

Australian News Technology

Straight to the pool room

A teenager in the Top End has won a million dollars after reeling in a prize fish as part of a lucrative NT fishing competition. Nineteen-year-old Keegan Payne was out in his tinny on the Katherine River when his 11yo sister Addyson spotted the specially tagged barramundi. “He thought it was a catfish, but it was a barra… he was jumping around, screaming”. Keegan is the first person to win the Territory’s Million Dollar Fish competition, set up to lure tourists to the NT in the quieter wet season. He’s now working out how to share the money with his parents and 7 siblings, saying, “it’s pretty hard going for us at the moment with money, but now with a million dollars, don’t have to complain about it”.  Keegan says the family’s planning a trip to America – and he might just shout himself a new boat… 

Australian News

Apropos of Nothing – Celebrity edition

King Charles has visited a cancer hospital in London in his first official engagement since receiving his own diagnosis in February. And while his return to work will be gradual, palace insiders say he’s still “quite busy” and may not have time to see Prince Harry when he’s in the UK for the Invictus Games due to a diary clash. 

Blue Ivy Carter – that’s the daughter of Beyonce and Jay-Z, FYI – is set to make her feature film debut… She’s been cast in the next Lion King movie where she’ll voice the daughter of Simba and Nala (who’s played by her real-life mum). 

Taylor Swift might have recently hit billionaire status, but her boyfriend Travis Kelce isn’t doing too badly either… US reports say he’s just become the “highest-paid tight end” in the NFL after signing a contract extension worth more than AUD$52 million. Not bad at all…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

9.00am (AEST) – Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen to address the Energy Users of Australia annual conference – Melbourne

12.30pm (AEST) – Dr Angela Jackson, Besa Deda & Dr Aruna Sathanapally will give the Women in Economics Network Pre Budget Address

12.15pm (AEST) – Treasurer Jim Chalmers to address the Lowy Institute on aligning our economic and security interests – Sydney

2.15pm (AEST) – Costs hearing in Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case against Network Ten and Lisa Wilkinson – Sydney 

Publication Day for former PM Scott Morrison’s book, Plans For Your Good: A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness

May Day, otherwise known as International Workers Day

Global Love Day

Anniversary of:

  • ‘Penny Black’, the world’s first adhesive postage stamp issued by Great Britain (1840)
  • the Empire State Building opening in New York City (1931)
  • the marriage of Elvis and Priscilla Presley (1967)
  • Tony Blair being elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997)
  • Tasmania decriminalising homosexuality (1997)
  • Geoffrey Hinton the ‘godfather’ of artificial intelligence stepping down as Google CEO so he could speak freely about the risks AI poses (2023)
Squiz the Day

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