Squiz Today / 12 May 2017
Squiz Today – Friday, 12 May
GOVERNMENT BANKS ON OUR DISCONTENT
Bank executives said yesterday that customers and shareholders will pay for the Coalition government’s budget surprise – a 0.06% bank levy that will raise $6.2 billion over the next four years. The five big banks (ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB, Westpac and Macquarie) were called to a meeting with Treasury officials to discuss how it’s going to work. Australian Banking Association (and former Queensland premier) Anna Bligh said it was a complete shambles with officials unable to answer basic questions. And last night Labor leader Bill Shorten said while they would support the levy, if they were in government there’d be a Royal Commission. Not a lot of love from our pollies for our banks ATM (that’s ‘at the moment’, not ‘automated teller machine’).
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Many are comparing this to Labor’s mining tax. Basically, pick a profitable sector to raise some much-needed revenue. This is traditionally not a very Liberal Party thing to do, as pointed out by former PM John Howard. But Morrison is banking (hehe) on the banks not being able to drum up much community sympathy. In the face of the banks’ assertion that customers will ultimately shoulder some of the cost, Morrison told the Press Club on Wednesday: "Don't do it. They already don't like you very much… Tell them you’ll pony up and you’ll help fix the Budget.” Back in 2010, the mining sector mounted an incredibly effective (and expensive) ad campaign, playing up the benefits of a strong mining sector to our economy. We bet the people who pulled that campaign together are dusting it off and rubbing their hands together in anticipation. You should get ready for some ads to hit your TV screen soon.
WHY SHOULD I PAY FOR THE LEVY?
The banks’ point is that someone has to pay: levies are paid, not absorbed. The government’s point is that Aussie banks are some of the most profitable in the world, meaning the cost should come out of profits (which means shareholders ultimately pay). The person on the frontline arguing the 'customer pays' is the Banking Association’s Anna Bligh. And yesterday many said she looked about as comfortable as a sty on your eye defending her new masters in the national media. But she's had a very tough job this week, and what lies ahead will make being a premier look easy we reckon.
SQUIZ THE REST
MASSIVE FALLOUT FROM THE COMEY TERMINATION
Washington DC was still digesting the shock news that US President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. “Very simple. He wasn’t doing a good job,” Trump told reporters yesterday by way of explanation. But commentators have started to wonder aloud if it's decision that could really blow up in his face. The ‘W’ word has even been bandied about, with some going as far to compare it to Watergate – the scandal that eventually brought down Nixon. For their part, the Nixon Library tweeted that Nixon didn't go
as sacking the FBI Director, but we digress... Insiders say Trump’s issues
with Comey go far beyond the Clinton investigation; for example, he was frustrated that Comey wouldn’t support his ‘Obama wire tapped my office’ claims. And then there’s the Russia probe. Trump wrote in Comey’s termination letter; “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.” Insiders say that characterisation is not true. This one has a way to go.
UK LABOUR MANIFESTO LEAKED … READS LIKE A TIME CAPSULE
They’re in election campaign mode in the UK, and yesterday a key draft Labour campaign document leaked into the public domain, exposing what has been called the most left-wing agenda seen from Labour for 25 years. The leaked Labour manifesto includes nationalising the railways, parts of the energy market, and even the mail service. Some have said the document feels like Corbyn is fighting Margaret Thatcher in 1983, not Theresa May in 2017. The throwback policy platform is likely to further help the Conservatives and Theresa May’s prospects on polling day.
SNAPCHAT EARNINGS AS EPHEMERAL AS THE PRODUCT
Snap (parent of social media app Snapchat) CEO Evan Spiegel (better known as Miranda Kerr’s squeeze) reported the company’s first result since it was floated earlier this year on the New York Stock Exchange – and to say the market was disappointed is an understatement. Its share price fell 25% after reporting a quarterly loss of US$2.2 billion, which included a payment of US$750 million to Spiegel for taking the company public. Some good news: revenue rose 286% for the reported quarter compared to the same quarter of the previous year, and users were up 36%. They said three billion Snaps are taken every day on their platform. That’s a whole lot of selfies.
FREE SMASHED AVO LURES HOME BUYERS
An #innovative #agile real estate agent in Brissie is offering free weekend avo-on-toast for a year as an incentive to buy a yet-to-be-built townhouse in the suburb of Sherwood. It's a reference to demographer Bernard Salt's theory that young people today shouldn't wonder why they can't afford a house deposit while spending $20+ on smashed avocado breakfasts. Young people spat out their $5 turmeric lattes in disgust. Meanwhile, down south this tent in a Sydney backyard was advertised for rent at $130 a week – and the successful applicant has to help clean the house! It’s a tough market out there.
FRIDAY LITES – THREE THINGS WE’VE LIKED THIS WEEK
Just when you had recovered from the unicorn food trend, here’s the hot new thing. Cloud eggs. You’re welcome.
We’ve never really thought much about Agatha Christie, 'the person'. Her works have sold more than 4 billion copies, and there's a bit of revival bringing her works to screen (Kenneth Branagh as Poirot in a remake of Murder on the Orient Express is out later this year). But she had a pretty interesting life too. In fact, she went missing for a while. We enjoyed this profile piece.
The best basic wardrobe pieces for women and men (think white t-shirts, jeans, work bags etc) – expert recommendations all in one spot. If you’re willing to take the tip and a punt via an online order, you might just revolutionise your wardrobe.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm - Dennis Richardson, retiring Secretary of the Defence Department, addresses the National Press Club
PM Malcolm Turnbull hosts a NSW Liberal Party budget lunch, Sydney
5.00am - Eurovision Grand Final, live on SBS from Ukraine
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