Squiz Today / 15 February 2019
Squiz Today – Friday, 15 February
"Once the mould is removed the rest of the jam is ‘perfectly edible'."
Is what UK PM Theresa May is reported to have told her colleagues in a discussion about limiting food waste. "A great metaphor for Brexit" was about the kindest thing the Twittersphere said in response…
CANBERRA BE CRAZY*
It didn't have to be this way. A cup of tea with returned refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi would have been a much nicer way to remember the parliamentary day. But it was a significant policy back down, tactical manoeuvring, and dealing with an ugly incident that all vied for attention as the dominant issue of the daY.
IT'S ALL HAPPENING...
It really is.
• First to the policy back down. The Coalition Government pulled its ‘big stick' legislation (which would break up electricity companies found guilty of price gouging) from being debated in parliament yesterday for fear of the Greens sabotaging it. Instead, the policy will be taken to the election.
• Onto tactical manoeuvring… PM Scott Morrison kept Question Time going for ages to stall a vote on a proposal from Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John to establish a royal commission into abuse in the disability sector. Morrison has not ruled out supporting a royal commission, but he chose to run out the clock yesterday to avoid losing control of the House for the second time in a week.
• The other point to note: while the House returns next week, the Senate is holding committee hearings. So that will make Morrison's life a tiny bit easier.
AND THE HANSON-ASHBY-BURSTON STOUSH?
The nasty clash between One Nation leader Pauline Hanson's chief-of-staff James Ashby and Senator Brian Burston on Wednesday night was taken very seriously by the Parliament's presiding officers.
• Ashby has had his Parliamentary Pass suspended which prevents him from entering the building. His ongoing employment (paid for by taxpayers) is a matter for Hanson, and there's no indication that he's lost his job as a result of the ugly clash.
• Burston has launched legal action against the controversial staffer Ashby and reported the incident to police.
• And the blood that appeared on Hanson's office door? Burston said he didn't remember smearing his post-Ashby-fracas injury there, but "I now have come to the conclusion that it was myself." He apologised.
Remember: there is bad blood between this trio after Burston quit One Nation, blaming Ashby, to join Clive Palmer's United Australia Party.
*With apologies to Canberra residents. ‘Parliament be crazy' lacks the alliterative appeal of the alternative.
SQUIZ THE REST
MINIMAL PROGRESS MADE TO 'CLOSE THE GAP'
"I want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to have the same opportunity as any other child in this country. But it's not true for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children growing up in Australia today, and it's never been true and I don't know when it will be true." That was PM Morrison's sobering assessment on the lack of progress on improving Indigenous health and wellbeing. The annual 'Closing the Gap' report - which measures how Indigenous Australians are doing compared to the rest of the nation - was delivered yesterday. Some say the targets are wrong, but Labor leader Bill Shorten disputed that. "It is not the targets that have failed, it is we who have failed to meet them," he said. Morrison said that while the situation is "unforgivable", some improvement is being made (for example, Indigenous people are living longer, and kids are staying in school for longer).
TEACHER'S PET ACCUSED WANTS MORE TIME
Chris Dawson, the man accused of killing his wife, Lynette in 1982 - and the subject of journalist Hedley Thomas's award-winning podcast The Teacher's Pet - appeared in court yesterday where his lawyers requested more time to digest the mountains of new evidence unveiled by Thomas. The court heard how some 4,500 pages of evidence had already been served, and technical problems were preventing Dawson's lawyer from receiving hundreds of hours worth of audio recordings compiled for the podcast. Dawson's lawyer argued the podcast might have interfered with the police investigation and that the process of interviewing multiple witnesses on multiple occasions for the podcast meant "that the risk of contamination and collusion is a very real one". The case was adjourned until May.
BILL COSBY: JUST CALL ME MANDELA
Convicted sex offender and one-time entertainment giant Bill Cosby has spoken for the first time from behind bars, saying he feels no remorse and that he considers himself a political prisoner. In a statement released through his press agent, Cosby said he had only ever tried "to humanise all races, genders and religions" before likening his cell in the Philadelphia jail where he is serving a 30 year sentence to "the quarters of some of the Greatest Political Prisoners - Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi (and) Nelson Mandela." Cosby's agent added that he had been to visit the former comedian in jail and that he was smiling and ‘developing new projects'. "He's not sad, he's not remorseful because he did nothing wrong," the agent said.
AMP's PROFIT SMASHED
Reeling from the dressing-down it copped at the Banking Royal Commission, AMP took another hit yesterday when it reported its profit for 2018 had plummeted 97% - just $28 million compared to $848 million in the year before. Shareholders are also set to feel the pain with the final dividend slashed to 4 cents, compared to 14.5 cents the year before. The company said clients of the wealth management division (think superannuation and other investments) took some $4 billion of business elsewhere during the year. That's a whole lotta people deciding a wealth manager that admitted charging fees for services it never provided was not, on the whole, the best place for them to invest their hard earned. Who'd a thunk?
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
You know when you're waiting for a coffee, and you don't want to just stand there scrolling through your phone, but you want something to occupy yourself with for five minutes? Give the Washington Post's Retropodpodcasts a go. They are a series of short vignettes - like this week's story about the bible printing error from the 1600s that lists one of the Ten Commandments as "Thou shalt commit adultery".
Martha Stewart, the American lifestyle guru, has a blog that is updated (probably by a mega comms team) in tremendous detail almost every day. The woman is a machine. The recent posts about her donkeys and wardrobe reorganising - well, we were deep into serious procrastination territory…
We need to refresh our approach to salad. This is on the agenda this weekend.
SQUIZ THE DAY
Nigerian Election – there are 71 candidates for president…
Serbian National Day
Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore in WWII (1942)
Cathy Freeman’s birthday (1973)
Anniversary of the Ash Wednesday Bushfires in Victoria and South Australia that killed 75 people (1983)
Independence Day in Kosovo
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s birthday (1981) – which is just an excuse to have a link to this video…
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