Squiz Today / 26 February 2021

Squiz Today – Friday, 26 February



Is the name of a rather woolly sheep found near Lancefield, Victoria. Carrying a 35kg fleece and the expectations that come with having a presidential namesake, it’s a lot of weight for one even-toed ungulate to carry…


The Royal Commission into the aged care sector's quality and safety will hand its final report to the Governor-General today. Sparked by a string of horror stories of inadequate care, neglect and abuse in aged care homes, a newly minted PM Scott Morrison announced the inquiry in October 2018. Two-and-a-half years later, the 1.3 million Australians using aged care services and their families eagerly await answers about how the system will be made better.

The interim report put out by the Royal Commission at the end of 2019 already told us a lot. “This cruel and harmful system must be changed,” the report said as it highlighted widespread deficiencies for older people and younger people with disabilities who rely on the system for their care. Shockingly, it pointed to an “over-reliance” on chemical restraints, and last year the Commission said an estimated 50 sexual assaults occur each week in aged care homes. In total, the inquiry received 10,570 submissions and heard testimony from 641 witnesses. It also received 6,800 telephone calls from those using or working in the system. So this final report is expected to air some more harsh realities - like those exposed by ABC TV's 7.30 last night.

We’re not going to get a look at the report today. Health Minister Greg Hunt says the report will be more than 1,000 pages with more than 100 recommendations. "We'll review it carefully over the weekend. We will release the report and provide an interim response by the middle of next week," he said yesterday. PM Scott Morrison added that the government was “determined and committed to address the serious issues in our aged care sector” and said aged care funding has risen under the Coalition from $13.3 billion in 2013 to $24.3 billion this year. Labor leader Anthony Albanese sees it another way, saying the Coalition has cut funding. Meanwhile, all those connected to the system will want is action…



• Facebook has restored Australia's news media providers' pages following the mandatory media bargaining code legislation's clearance by the Federal Parliament yesterday. The code will make Facebook and Google pay for news on their platforms - if they don’t do deals with the news companies themselves. #SquizShortcuts

• A letter from Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw to PM Morrison has warned of the risks of delaying reports of criminal conduct in the wake of the alleged rape of Brittany Higgins. The advice was requested by Morrison for passing on to MPs seeking guidance on what to do if a staff member reports alleged wrongdoing, as Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins did in 2019. She opted out at the time saying she felt her job was at risk, but filed an official complaint with police this week.

• And in Western Oz, Liberal leader Zak Kirkup has already conceded the 13 March state election, saying he expects to lose… by a lot. "I have to be real with the people of Western Australia,” he said. Labor Premier Mark McGowan has super high approval ratings amid the COVID crisis. Like, people have even stood in their driveways to give him a round of applause…


A German court has sentenced a former member of Syria’s intelligence service to 4.5 years in prison for facilitating the torture of prisoners. Eyal Al-Gharib, who’d received asylum in Germany, was accused of being part of the inhumane regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad that has carried out torture at “almost industrial scale”, critics say. It is the first time that a court outside of Syria has ruled in a case alleging an official from Bashar al-Assad’s regime committed crimes against humanity. Human rights activists hope it will set a precedent for other cases as they seek justice for the hundreds of thousands of people who have succumbed to Assad’s torture machine.


Lady Gaga's dog walker has been shot and 2 of her 3 French bulldogs stolen while out strolling in Hollywood. The walker’s name is Ryan Fischer, and reports say he’s in hospital in a stable condition. Witnesses saw the gunman use a semi-automatic handgun and say he fled the scene with squishy-faced crew members Koji and Gustav. The third pack member, Miss Asia, ran away and was later found by police. Gaga, who is in Rome for work, is offering a US$500,000 reward to anyone who can return the dogs. Authorities say it’s too early to tell if the walker and dogs were specifically targeted because of the connection to the superstar as thefts of the expensive pupages are not uncommon. In the meantime, enjoy Miss Asia's Insta account featuring her missing brothers.


The good news: Qantas is planning to resume services to New Zealand in July. The not so good news: it has pushed back other international flights until late October, when the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is set to wrap up. The even worse news: the airline announced a $1.08 billion half-year loss yesterday after an almost $7 billion drop in revenue thanks to continuing travel restrictions. Qantas boss Alan Joyce said the figures are "stark, but not surprising", with virtually all of the airline's international flights and 70% of domestic business grounded. Joyce is a firm advocate of open state borders, saying he hopes the vaccine will help Aussies book without the fear that borders will snap shut. He's also a big fan of the government’s JobKeeper payment... Qantas banked $459 million in the wage subsidy between July and December - and he’s flagged another round of job cuts when the payment ends in March.


Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt is set to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame - a rare honour that celebrates the sport's great champions. Hewitt holds the record for being the youngest male to be ranked world #1 when he made it to the top in 2001 at just 20yo. And in this year's intake, Hewitt is the only one of five nominees from the player category be voted in. He said it was "just the ultimate recognition for a player" to be inducted alongside his heroes Tony Roche (Rochey), Rod Laver (Rocket), and John Newcombe (Newk). Billie Jean King and the other Original Nine members who laid the groundwork for the women's professional tour will also become the first group to be inducted. The ceremony is set for 17 July, and here’s hoping Bec Hewitt pens a poem for the occasion…


A couple of docos for your weekend sofa schedule. Episode one of Allen v Farrow was out on Monday - it’s a look at Dylan Farrow’s 30yo abuse allegations against her adoptive father, New York filmmaker Woody Allen. The other is Tiger, in light of the week’s events. We watched it a few weeks ago, and it is well worth it to revisit his stratospheric highs and dumpster fire lows. Both on Binge/Foxtel.

So apparently dramatic black eyeliner is a thing again, and while these fancy Vogue ladies are expertly applying it for effect, the result is what we usually end up with - messy… If you have better success, you're probably the smart Aussie who’s got a big new job in China.

Stuff this stupid health kick, we’re going for a trusty sausage, potato and cherry tomato traybake tomorrow night. Maybe we’ll chuck some broccolini in there for the last 5 mins of cooking for some balance…


The final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety to be handed to the Governor-General

Adelaide Festival starts (on until 14 March)

Enlighten Festival begins in Canberra (on until 14 March)

Birthdays for former Kiwi PM Helen Clark (1950) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (1954)

Anniversary of:
• the birthdays of Victor Hugo (1802), Levi Strauss (1829), John Harvey Kellogg (1852), Fats Domino (1928) and Johnny Cash (1932)
• the first known European landing in Australia by Dutch navigator Willem Jansz at Cape York (1606)
• P&O’s SS Ceylon beginning the world’s first round-the-world pleasure cruise from Liverpool (1881)
• the infamous Oscars mixup with La La Land mistakenly awarded best film instead of Moonlight (2017)
• Cardinal George Pell being convicted of child sexual abuse in Melbourne, Australia - his conviction was overturned on appeal (2019)

International Polar Bear Day

World NGO Day

Anniversary of:
• the world's first women's magazine Ladies' Mercury published in London (1693)
• the discovery of carbon-14 (radiocarbon dating) at the University of California Radiation Laboratory (1940)
• General Hafez al-Assad becoming head of Syria via military coup starting the family's rule over the country (1969)

Rare Disease Day

Anniversary of:
• Francis Crick and James Watson discovering the chemical structure of DNA-molecule (1953)
• the end of the Gulf War after Iraq accepts a ceasefire following their retreat from Kuwait (1991)

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