Squiz Today / 01 March 2021
Squiz Today – Monday, 1 March
Is a winemaker who doesn't own a vineyard but buys grapes to make wine. And Australia has one of the world's best with Melbourne's Jane Eyre named négociant of the year by La Revue du Vin de France - a big deal in plonk circles. She should probably write a book about it …
RAPE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST TWO FEDERAL POLLIES
Pressure on PM Scott Morrison is mounting after allegations were aired on Friday that a current member of the Morrison Government’s Cabinet sexually assaulted a teenager in 1988. And last night Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson said she’d passed on rape claims against a Labor MP to the Federal Police for investigation. Not much more about the new claim is known as this point.
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CLAIM AGAINST THE CABINET MINISTER?
The young woman reported the rape to NSW Police in February last year, but the investigation was suspended 4 months later when she told them she didn’t want to proceed and took her own life the next day. Neither the woman nor the accused minister have been named, but reports say she was 16yo when the alleged rape occured. The claims, which came to light after anonymous letters and information were received by PM Scott Morrison, Labor frontbencher Penny Wong and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young last week, have been referred to the Federal Police. She was living in South Australia when she died, and a report is being prepared for that state’s coroner.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
What NSW/South Oz/Federal authorities will do next in the case is an open question at this point. PM Scott Morrison hasn’t addressed it yet, but Finance Minister Simon Birmingham fronted the media on Saturday saying his unnamed colleague shouldn’t stand aside. Labor leader Anthony Albanese yesterday said Morrison “must confirm to himself” that it’s appropriate for the minister in question to remain in his job. The PM faces a series of serious issues on the treatment of women in politics. They include sexual assault claims by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins and 3 other women against a colleague, and a decision by backbencher Nicole Flint to not contest the next election, reportedly due to the ‘toxic’ political environment for women. With several inquiries and police investigations in place, strap yourself in - it’s going to be a long and painful ride…
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MEANWHILE, IN CORONAVIRUS NEWS
- Australia has doubled its coronavirus vaccine stock after 300,000 AstraZeneca doses landed in Sydney on Sunday morning. The shipment is the first of 3.8 million doses of the vaccine that will come from Europe with another 50 million to be manufactured in Australia by medical giant CSL. They will start being rolled out next week after quality tests are complete. While Australians have been getting vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine from last week, most will receive the AstraZeneca jab in the coming months. The biggest decision: to selfie or not to selfie?
- US regulators have given emergency approval for the single shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine - the 3rd jab to be authorised there. Health officials are excited because one shot is easier to administer across their large population, it’s cheaper to produce than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and can be stored in a refrigerator rather than a freezer.
- Two new cases of COVID have put Auckland back into a week-long lockdown starting yesterday. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has pleaded with locals to “please follow the rules” with the rest of the country moving to level 2 restrictions. That will make the upcoming Aussie men’s T20 cricket and women’s netball internationals against New Zealand crowd-free affairs.
CRACKDOWN ON DEMOCRACY SEEKERS
Riot police in Myanmar have launched their most severe crackdown yet on anti-coup protesters with at least 18 killed yesterday. And on Saturday, security forces arrested hundreds of demonstrators in several cities across the country. It was a tumultuous weekend with Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations fired for betraying military leaders after he urged the international community to use “any means necessary” to remove them from power. And in Hong Kong, authorities have used the controversial security law to charge 47 activists with ‘subversion’. They are part of the group of 55 people who were arrested last month with the largest use of the China-backed law now seeing charges laid. Those charged are some of the territory’s best known pro-democracy supporters who were involved in the selection of candidates for last year’s delayed election. They face a maximum term of life imprisonment.
SAUDI-US RELATIONS TO BE ‘CLARIFIED’
President Joe Biden is due to make a statement today about the country’s difficult relationship with Saudi Arabia. It follows the release of a US intelligence report that found that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - the country’s powerful de facto leader - approved the killing of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in 2018. The Saudi Government maintains the Crown Prince knew nothing of any plan. In the election campaign, Biden pledged to make Saudi Arabia “the pariah that they are” - which is why he’s been heavily criticised for not moving to directly sanction the Crown Prince. Overnight, Biden’s Press Secretary Jen Psaki said there are “more effective ways to make sure this doesn't happen again”. Pundits say it’s tricky because the Middle Eastern state is one of the US’s closest allies in the region.
VALE MICHAEL SOMARE
The man who led Papua New Guinea to independence, Sir Michael Somare, died on Friday after succumbing to pancreatic cancer. Known as the father of the nation, Somare was a key figure in the country’s peaceful transformation from colony to independent nation, and served as its prime minister for 17 years. Tributes poured in for the 84yo over the weekend with PM Morrison taking to Twitter to offer condolences, calling him a “great friend” to Australia. Former ABC correspondent in PNG Sean Dorney, who knew Somare from before independence, told SBS “His greatest legacy, that this long after independence, with so many language groups, with so many different cultures in PNG, that it still is one country.
GOLDEN GLOBES DIAL IT IN
Hollywood stars will swap the red carpet for their living rooms and backyards for the 78th Golden Globe Awards. Pushed back from early January due to coronavirus restrictions, the ceremony is being held virtually. The Aussie nominees are Cate Blanchett (for Mrs America), Nicole Kidman (for The Undoing), and Sia (for Music). Meanwhile Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Father, Nomadland and Promising Young Woman are the most nominated films across acting, directing and writing. Steering the technology-reliant ship are dynamic duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler who will tune in from opposite sides of the US. What could possibly go wrong? The ceremony will be broadcast on FOX Arena live from noon today.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
You were probably up all weekend worried about it - but there’s a happy ending. Lady Gaga’s pooches Gustave and Koji were found tied to a pole in an alley some distance from where they were stolen. One good samaritan = US$500,000 richer… Gaga said dogwalker Ryan Fischer, who is said to be doing well after he was shot in the chest, was “forever a hero.”
And for a triple dose of positivity - check out Aussie cross-country skier Mark Pollock. It’s probably the one time we can call someone ‘hot stuff’ and get away with it...
SQUIZ THE DAY
Labour Day public holiday (WA)
From 12.00pm - 78th Annual Gold Globe Awards - broadcast live on Foxtel Arena
ABS Data Releases - Business Indicators, December; Lending Indicators, January; Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, December
World Compliment Day
Zero Discrimination Day (UN)
Birthdays for Lupita Nyong’o (1983), Kesha (1987) and Justin Bieber (1994)
• the first people being accused of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts (1692)
• Yellowstone becoming the world's first national park (1872)
• Henri Becquerel's discovery of radioactivity (1896)
• the US explosion of Castle Bravo, a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, which accidentally became the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by the US (1954)
• the release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
• colour television transmissions beginning in Australia (1975)
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