Squiz Today / 03 July 2020
Squiz Today – Friday, 3 July
“Scarlett, I think it looks best on the lower shelf. And it’s a lovely unicorn.”
Said BBC TV presenter Christian Fraser to the daughter of global health policy expert Dr Clare Wenham after the youngster crashed an interview to show off her masterpiece. There haven't been enough of these toddler TV interventions in recent times for our liking...
GET SET FOR A BONZA BY-ELECTION
Hold tight - there’s just one more sleep until the Eden-Monaro by-election… It's one of the most-watched seats in any federal election, but tomorrow will bring an even greater focus to the off-season vote that has political thrill-seekers frothing with excitement. It's come about after the resignation of popular Labor MP Mike Kelly due to health issues. And it promises to be a rip-snorting three-cornered contest with both the Liberal and National parties fielding candidates in the hope that they'll make electoral history while extending their one-seat majority in the House of Reps. Meanwhile, Labor’s looking for the hold to show it’s in the game, despite ‘these unprecedented times’ (ugh that phrase…).
WHAT’S WHAT/WHO’S WHO IN THE BY-ELECTION ZOO?
Eden-Monaro (pronounced e-din mon-air-oh in your best Aussie drawl…) is a rural seat in NSW covering more than 40,000km2. It surrounds the ACT in the north, takes in the Snowy Mountains, and reaches east to the South Coast going down to the Victorian border. As for the who, there are 14 candidates… That includes Labor’s Kristy McBain, the Liberals’ Fiona Kotvojs, and Trevor Hicks for the Nationals. Last election, Kelly’s winning margin was reduced, but he held onto the seat for Labor with a margin of 0.9%, which equates to 1,685 votes. So it’s tight, and it promises to be a tight one again, with the betting markets favouring a Labor win.
UMM, SO WHY IS THIS A BIG DEAL?
We’ll give you five reasons (well, you did ask…):
• The Coalition is hoping to make electoral history. Parties in government haven’t won a seat that was held by an opposition MP in a by-election in 100 years. And given ‘these unprecedented times’ (geez…), some believe they have a shot at it.
• Up until the 2016 election, Eden-Monaro was THE ‘bellweather seat’. That is, the electorate was good at picking a member whose side ended up winning government. That run was broken in 2016 when Labor’s Kelly was re-elected after a term's spell despite the Malcolm Turnbull-led Coalition winning that election.
• The electorate has been thumped by the big three disasters: drought, fire and coronavirus. So that’s all on voters' minds. Meanwhile, Labor’s Anthony Albanese is pitching it as a test of PM Scott Morrison’s leadership. And for Morrison, it’s the inverse.
• There’s a lot of early and postal votes to count. That usually comes with a lot of theorising about what it means for the incumbent and the challengers. But with the coronavirus crisis keeping many people away from polling stations tomorrow, it will be hard to make those inferences this time around.
• And less a reason, more a talking point… From the Electoral Commission website: "The name 'Monaro' is variously believed to be derived from the Aboriginal word 'Maneroo', meaning plain, or an Aboriginal word meaning 'the navel' or 'a woman's breasts'.” The things you learn…
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MEANWHILE, IN CORONAVIRUS NEWS…
• Victoria yesterday recorded another 77 people testing positive for COVID-19 making it the biggest daily increase of new cases in the state since March. And there's speculation this morning that more Melbourne suburbs will be put into lockdown.
• To Sydney, and a Woolworths' team member in Balmain testing positive. The man returned from Bangladesh to Melbourne in mid-June, tested positive for the virus while in mandatory quarantine, was let out on day 14, flew to Sydney, and returned to work where his manager asked him to have another test. That came back positive. Fifty of his coworkers have been directed to self-isolate, and shoppers have been warned.
• Looking overseas and Kiwi Health Minister David Clark resigned yesterday over some lockdown blunders. He breached the stay-at-home orders early in the piece and has come under pressure in the last fortnight over the handling of some returning travellers. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump welcomed the creation of a record 4.8 million jobs in June. He also thinks he looks like the Lone Ranger in a mask - and he digs it…
OZ CONSIDERS SAFE HAVEN PLAN FOR HONGKONGERS
The Australian Government is “prepared to step up and provide support” to Hongkongers by offering safe haven visas to residents, PM Morrison said yesterday. The details are TBC with the Cabinet yet to consider a plan after China imposed a new security law on the territory that significantly limits residents’ freedoms this week. Meanwhile, the US Congress has passed Hong Kong-related sanctions as more nations expressed their concerns about China’s move on Hong Kong. Defence Minister Linda Reynolds says Australia isn’t the only one that’s worried about China’s aggressive posturing. "Some of China's actions have deeply unsettled the region. They have not positively contributed to Australia's or the region's security and stability. Australia is far from alone in being troubled by this," she said yesterday.
EPSTEIN’S SOCIETY QUEEN ARRESTED
Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite ex of Jeffrey Epstein and friend of Prince Andrew, has been arrested by the FBI in the US. She’s facing six charges for her role in identifying, befriending and grooming victims as young as 14yo for Epstein to abuse during the mid-90s. Victims have claimed she would build trust with them by taking them shopping or to the movies, and she would later coax them into giving Epstein massages during which they were sexually abused. The daughter of late British media mogul Robert Maxwell, she had deep connections into the top tier of British and American society, and she is credited with introducing Epstein into that circle. She denies the accusations.
SHOCK WIN FOR PUTIN
Surprise… More than 75% of Russians who voted have supported changes to the nation’s constitution which allow President Vladimir Putin to hold power until 2036. The amendments allow Putin - the nation’s longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin - to run for two more six-year terms. The referendum also delivered support for a ban on same-sex marriage and placing Russian laws above international ones. Putin says he is still yet to decide whether he will run again in 2024. Critics say Putin’s propaganda campaign, little opposition, reports of voter coercion, and voting anomalies put the results in doubt.
RUSH TO KEEP DEFAMATION DOLLARS
Oscar-winning actor Geoffrey Rush is set to receive $2.9 million in damages after the publisher of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph lost its appeal against last year’s defamation ruling. To recap: Rush took the publisher to court over a series of articles from 2017 alleging he’d acted inappropriately towards co-star Eryn Jean Norvill during a Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear. Rush won the case last year. Nationwide News appealed saying the damages awarded were excessive, and that several legal decisions by the original judge were erroneous. Yesterday, it lost. In a statement, the publisher said it was disappointed by the outcome, and that it “exposes the inadequacies of Australia's defamation laws".
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
Had it not been for the coronavirus, we’d be in the middle of Wimbledon right now. This picture gallery of some fancy spectators from years gone by is the only people watching we’re gonna get this year...
If your week’s been as hectic as ours and the idea of someone singing you into a peaceful sleep sounds nice, it worked wonders for My Donker Donks.
What alignment of the stars is this? Tomorrow is Independence Day in the US, and it's the Eden-Monaro by-election. We’ll be marking the joyous day with some buffalo wings. Yeehaw…
SQUIZ THE DAY
End of term 2 for students in the ACT, NSW, SA, Tasmania and WA
Alice Springs Show Day (NT)
Hamilton the musical premieres on Disney+
ABS Data Release - Retail Trade, May
Birthdays for Tom Cruise (1962) and Julian Assange (1971)
• the Battle of Gettysburg (1863)
• Karl Benz driving the first automobile (1886)
• the premiere of Back to the Future (1985)
Did we mention there’s a federal by-election in Eden-Monaro?
Independence Day in the US
Post Malone’s birthday (1995)
• Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) creating the story of Alice in Wonderland for Alice Liddell on a family boat trip in Oxford (1862)
• the launch of hotmail.com, the first free web-based email service (1996)
• North Korea testing first successful intercontinental ballistic missile into Sea of Japan (2017)
• wedding anniversaries for Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne (1982), David and Victoria Beckham (1999) and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis (2015)
• the deaths of Thomas Jefferson (1826), Marie Curie (1934) and Barry White (2003)
Start of NAIDOC Week (on until 12 July)
Venezuela’s National Day
• the launch of famous luncheon meat Spam (1937)
• the premiere of Seinfield (originally titled The Seinfeld Chronicles) (1989)
• the founding of Amazon by Jeff Bezos (1994)
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