Squiz Today / 17 March 2017
Squiz Today – Friday, 17 March
POLITICAL PHOTO OP TURNS INTO AN IRISH PUB BRAWL
It wasn’t quite that bad, but we figured we’d run with the theme. With PM Malcolm Turnbull in the Snowy Mountains to spruik the government’s $2 billion commitment to expand the hydro scheme, Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg (Liberal) and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill (Labor) went at it in a press conference in Adelaide. It was extraordinary, and not just for the spectacle of two grown men slagging off at one another, face to face. It was notable because it is increasingly rare to see unscripted moments in politics, let alone a full-blown press conference showdown.
WHAT THE WHAT?
The cranky duo found themselves in the garage of homeowner Geoff Perkins for a media opportunity to showcase a residential solar/battery ‘virtual power plant' project the federal government helped fund. Initially, the media had been told it would be just Frydenberg and SA Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis. But the Premier showed up and it was on like donkey kong. In front of the cameras. For all to see. You could almost here the journalists chanting “fight, fight, fight!”
SO DID ANY WORK GET DONE?
Well, yesterday was really about PR. Both the federal and SA governments wanted to tell voters via the media what they are going to do to secure a reliable supply of electricity. So mission kinda accomplished - the issue certainly dominated the news all day and lots of people would have heard something about it. Having said that, most probably just heard about the spat, not the substance. A lot more to come on the energy issue we’re afraid.
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UNEMPLOYMENT UP IN FEBRUARY
Yesterday’s labour force figures showed a surprise jump in unemployment, taking the rate from 5.7% to 5.9% - a 13 month high. While the number of full-time jobs increased, the number of part-time jobs fell raising concerns about the rate of underemployment across the country. Youth unemployment (15-24yo) is at 13.3%. Don’t count on a wage increase anytime soon, but on the plus side interest rates are likely to remain steady. Having said that, National Australia Bank raised their rates for owner-occupiers and investors yesterday citing higher lending costs.
TABCORP FINED FOR BREACHING ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND ANTI-TERRORISM FINANCING LAWS
That’s not to say those activities were going down, but the agency set up to combat such unsavoury activities, AUSTRAC, goes after businesses that do not comply with the laws to prevent it from happening. Yesterday Tabcorp (you know, you've seen the TAB down the street) received the biggest ever civil penalty in Australian corporate history - $45 million – for their non-compliance. They admitted they didn't have the right processes in place. Spare a thought for them if you’re heading in for a bet on tomorrow’s Golden Slipper or on Winx’s run in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill. Or don’t, we're not the boss of you.
SHOULD CEOS ADVOCATE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE? DUTTON SAYS NO
Reports yesterday said 20 big business CEOs had signed a letter to PM Turnbull asking him to legislate for marriage equality ASAP. What’s the urgency? There's a small window in the coming fortnight before the parliament is tied up with the budget until about August. How the year gets away! Turnbull responded saying the Coalition’s position was clear – a plebiscite, not a parliamentary vote. Labor won't go for a plebiscite, so the issue is a bit stuck. To reinforce the boss’s message (and take it a wee bit further…), Minister Peter Dutton didn't hold back on radio. He said the CEOs would be better to focus on running their companies and if they wanted to get involved in politics, run for political office. He also dished on a bad Telstra experience, which is like taking a Twitter complaint and projecting it with a huge megaphone. #notsatisfied #nothappy
TRUMP TRAVEL BAN REJECTED IN COURT AGAIN
Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland both ruled in separate hearings to put a freeze on President Donald Trump’s new executive orders to stop issuing visas to travellers from six Muslim countries. The judge in Hawaii ruled that the Prez and his team sought to discriminate against Muslims, and on that basis, there was a likelihood of success for anyone wanting to sue the government for violating the US Constitution. Trump's response? He was livid and told a rally in Nashville as much. The White House and Department of Justice are yet to announce next steps.
STATUS QUO ELECTION RESULT IN NETHERLANDS
After a record turnout in the Dutch election, incumbent PM Mark Rutte will keep his job. Rutte’s Liberal party lost seats, as did others in the governing coalition but the Green/Left party picked up seats. The much-hyped, right-wing Freedom party of Geert Wilders largely failed to fire as many had anticipated. Wilders' party gained seats, but it was not enough to put them in a position to negotiate for government. Rutte’s verdict? "The Netherlands said 'Whoa!" Try saying that with a Dutch accent.
SQUIZ THE DAY
St Patrick's Day (but you know that already)
New Western Australian Government Ministerial Swearing In Ceremony
2.00pm - Memorial Service for cartoonist, Bill Leak, in Sydney. The PM will be in attendance
Saturday - Golden Slipper Horse Race Meeting, Rosehill (Sydney)
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