Squiz Today / 05 March 2021
Squiz Today – Friday, 5 March
Is a new word to describe a self-conscious or uncomfortable feeling about showing off our homes on video calls. And it’s one of the reasons there’s been a spike in small renovation projects. Like, one corner of your home kinda small…
CALLS FOR INQUIRY INTO PORTER CLAIMS INTENSIFY
Pressure on PM Scott Morrison to facilitate an inquiry into claims Attorney-General Christian Porter raped an unnamed woman when they were teenagers in 1988 is ramping up. Porter denied the accusations in the strongest terms on Wednesday and said he shouldn't be required to "disprove something that didn't happen 33 years ago" when the pair were at a debating competition in Sydney. That position was backed yesterday by Morrison, who said there's "not some other process" outside the legal system that can take it forward.
WHO WANTS AN INQUIRY?
The woman’s parents. She died last year, and a statement from their lawyers said they “continue to experience considerable grief arising from their loss. They are supportive of any inquiry which would potentially shed light on the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s passing.” That endorsement was seen as a turning point for advocates of an inquiry. A group of the woman’s friends have been calling for one since the story broke last Friday. Former PM Malcolm Turnbull says it’s what should happen. And Labor, independent MPs and the Greens have all called for one this week. But Morrison says he has "no alternative" but to follow the rule of law.
SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Morrison says the only judgment he could form about an accusation of sexual assault against one of his ministers would be “based on the report of the police”. The NSW Police, who spoke to the woman on at least 5 occasions over 3 months before she died, say there is “insufficient admissible evidence” to continue an investigation. And there’s the rub… Launching an inquiry into criminal claims is “not how we run the rule of law in Australia,” Morrison says. But those in support, like independent MP/barrister Zali Steggall, say it’s essential because “the police investigation was hamstrung by the unfortunate circumstances… So the reality is this hasn’t really been investigated. And I think the public deserve to know.” Watch this space…
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VACCINE SHIPMENT BLOCKED
Making international news this morning is the blocking of a shipment of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine destined for Australia by Italian officials. Made in a factory near Rome, the denial of an export licence is over frustration with manufacturers for delays in fulfilling supply contracts in Europe. The move was supported by the European Union, which recently agreed to a new policy allowing restrictions to be put on the export of the vaccine. All of the vaccine doses we have received in Australia to date have been made by AstraZeneca and Pfizer in Europe and are being used in the early rollout to frontline workers and older Aussies. The first AstraZeneca jabs will start in South Oz this morning. We're a few weeks off having our own homegrown supply of 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine - they're brewing in CSL's Broadmeadows plant as we speak…
EXPERTS PLEA FOR FOLBIGG RELEASE
Academy of Science president John Shine, Nobel laureates Professor Peter Doherty and Professor Elizabeth Blackburn, and former Aussie of the Year/epidemiologist Professor Fiona Stanley. They’re 3 of the 90 doctors and scientists who have put their names to a petition calling for the release of convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg. The 53yo has maintained her innocence after being convicted in 2003 over the death of her 4 infant children between 1989 and 1999. Folbigg's conviction was largely based on diary entries expressing her anxieties about motherhood she says were taken out of context. The top docs say evidence that at least 2 of the children carried a mutant gene creates a “strong presumption’’ that they died from natural causes. NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said yesterday the petition would "be given appropriate consideration".
BEIJING TO REACH FURTHER INTO HONG KONG
That’s the expected outcome from China’s annual National People’s Congress in Beijing today. Last year’s session saw the adoption of the controversial national security law that essentially ended Hong Kong's freedom-loving ways. This year, it's tighter rules on who can run for office in Hong Kong that are set to be agreed upon. Hints have appeared in recent weeks with Xia Baolong, Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong, saying only “patriots” should govern the former British colony. Earlier this week, 47 prominent pro-democracy campaigners were charged with subversion under the security law and face life in prison if convicted. Also on the agenda of the great big rubber-stamping session - the state of the economy, China's technology ambitions, and the country's birth policy.
PHILIP RECOVERING AFTER SURGERY
All is well, and the wannabe centenarian will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for days to come having already spent 16 nights in hospitals in London. The procedure comes after he was treated for an infection which reports say impacted a pre-existing heart condition. Philip had a stent fitted in 2011 for a blocked coronary artery in an episode that saw him airlifted by helicopter from Sandringham after suffering chest pains in the lead up to Christmas. Daughter-in-law Camilla showed some good old fashioned stiff upper lip yesterday saying "we keep our fingers crossed" for his recovery. And in case you’ve been living under a rock or need reminding - it comes days before Oprah Winfrey's interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex airs on Monday our time.
MYER GETS BY WITH A LITTLE HELP
The department store has returned a half-year profit - with some help… The $67 million in JobKeeper payments from the government and rent waivers - as well as strong online sales - saw its profit increase 8.4% to $42.9 million, offsetting the impact of the pandemic. Myer boss John King defended the company’s reliance on government support, saying it would have found other ways to cut costs and stay afloat had JobKeeper not existed. “The gross profit came from selling products, not necessarily from government aid," he said. Myer's major shareholder Solomon Lew continues to pressure the company over its poor performance and has renewed calls for King and the board to go. King yesterday said he has no intention of resigning.
FRIDAY LITES - THREE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK
The doco we’ve been waiting for - Framing Britney Spears by the New York Times - was broadcast on Nine this week, and it’s available to stream on the 9Now app. It’s as disturbing and compelling as advertised.
If you have dreams of becoming a viral home cook (which sounds sinister…), this article breaks down why the recent baked feta/cherry tomato pasta trend went off. You know, the one Adam Liaw is so done with. PS, it’s real good…
And a double shot of food suggestions. If you’ve never put zucchini on the barbie or a chargrill pan, you’re missing out. This recipe is our favourite new thing, and we'll couple it with some grilled fish or maybe a lamb chop.
SQUIZ THE DAY
5.00pm (AEDT) - T20 Cricket - Australia vs New Zealand - Wellington
The UN Security Council meets to discuss the violent crackdown in Myanmar
Stacey Maloney, the new boss of the NSW Police Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad, speaks to hundreds of private school heads from across NSW
Womadelaide begins (on until 8 March) - Adelaide
Sculpture by the Sea begins (on until 22 March) - Cottesloe, WA
Birthdays for Matt Lucas (1974) and Eva Mendes (1974)
• birthdays for instant noodle inventor Momofuku Ando (1910) and Andy Gibb (1958)
• the deaths of Joseph Stalin (1953), Patsy Cline (1963)
• British PM Winston Churchill's famous 'Iron Curtain' speech (1946)
• the ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (1970)
• Bob Hawke becoming PM (1983)
2.00pm (AEDT) - Constellation Cup Netball - Australia v New Zealand - on Nine & Netball Live app
7.30pm (AEDT) - Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade - Sydney Cricket Ground, and broadcast on SBS
Birthdays for the first woman in space Valentina Tereshkova (1937), Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour (1946), and rapper Tyler, the Creator (1991)
• the first modern trampoline being patented (1945)
• the death of former First Lady Nancy Reagan (2016)
10.00am (AEDT) - T20 Cricket - Australia vs New Zealand - Wellington
1.00pm (AEDT) - Constellation Cup Netball - Australia v New Zealand - Nine & Netball Live app
Clean Up Australia Day
International Children's Day of Broadcasting
World Glaucoma Week begins (on until 13 March)
Birthdays for Aussie media personality Rex Hunt (1949), and actors Bryan Cranston (1956) and Rachel Weisz (1970)
• Alexander Graham Bell receiving a patent for the telephone (1876)
• the invention of Monopoly (1933)
• Hitler breaking the Treaty of Versailles by sending troops to the Rhineland (1936)
• death of director Stanley Kubrick (1999)
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