Squiz Today / 26 February 2018
Squiz Today – Monday, 26 February
“This is the first trophy I’ve ever had.”
Said Shane ‘Shag’ Hanrahan of his victory of the inaugural Mulletfest - a celebration of the iconic hairdo. Hanrahan is a long-time devotee of the “business at the front, party at the back” hairstyle – he hasn’t cut the back bit since 1986. Go you good thing…
NEW NATS LEADER TO BE CONFIRMED THIS MORNING
After an almost three-week soap opera, an ending - and new beginning - is in sight. This morning’s lowdown is:
• Veterans Affairs Minister and Nationals MP for Riverina Michael McCormack will likely be elected unopposed this morning making him Australia’s new Deputy Prime Minister. (For bonus points - the last time there was a contest for the leadership of the Nats was in 1990.)
• Joyce has called for harassment allegations by former West Australian Rural Woman of the Year Catherine Marriott to be referred to the police.
FIRST THINGS FIRST… WHO'S THE NEW GUY?
Michael McCormack is a 53yo former newspaper editor of Wagga’s Daily Advertiser (known as the Daily Agoniser to locals...). He entered parliament in 2010 and is an Elvis Presley tragic. McCormack has promised to unite the team and fight for rural communities and local jobs. The big problem is he’s not that well known - but then again no one in the party other than Joyce has a high profile. McCormack, or whomever the Nats elect this morning, has a big job ahead of them.
AND WHAT’S NEXT FOR JOYCE?
Besides house hunting and getting ready to welcome a new baby boy in April, Joyce will likely be a disruptive presence on the backbench. Joyce’s departure leaves a big vacuum at the top of the Nats and the government, but he’ll continue to fill some of the space because it’s not his style to shoosh-up. And that’s a problem for a new leader trying to establish authority with their colleagues, voters and the media. The next chapter is going to be a thriller.
SQUIZ THE REST
TURNBULL AND TRUMP GET ON LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE
Without the Joyce saga, this probably would have been getting a lot more attention. Which is part of the cost of those diversions. Anyway...
• PM Malcolm Turnbull and US President Donald Trump displayed mutual admiration – Trump likes our immigration system, and Turnbull likes his business tax cuts.
• The US will keep talks open on joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – although Turnbull says it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon.
• Trump announced a new US combat ship would be named the USS Canberra in honour of an Aussie cruiser that was lost while fighting alongside the US Navy during WWII.
• Turnbull said we would back new US sanctions against North Korea. That could include the Australian Navy taking part in operations to prevent the exchange at sea of North Korean goods, particularly oil – one way the Hermit Kingdom is evading sanctions.
Turnbull will be back in Canberra for parliament today where he’s bound to be sparkling after a red-eye flight home.
CHINA GETS SET FOR MORE XI
Like the US, China’s presidents can only stay in office for two terms. But that looks set to change with plans to amend the constitution. The change could see Chinese President Xi Jinping’s term extended beyond its current expiry date of 2023 and would establish his place as the country’s most powerful leader since communist founder Mao Zedong. “It means as long as Xi is alive and the Communist Party is in power, then Xi Jinping will be the most powerful person in China,” said expert Bill Bishop.
UN PASSES SYRIAN CEASEFIRE RESOLUTION
There was a showdown between the US and Russia at the UN Security Council on Saturday over a resolution for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria. Despite the resolution calling for an immediate halt to Syrian military airstrikes on the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, observers said the bombing continued. Syria’s ambassador to the UN said; “…we will continue to fight terrorism wherever it is found on Syrian soil.” Critics said Russia, a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, delayed the resolution.
KIDS WELLBEING GOING BACKWARDS
A new report on the state of Aussie kids has some bad news. The five-year study by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth says science, maths and reading levels have dropped since the last study. And we ranked 35 out of 40 OECD nations for pre-school attendance. The report also said full immunisation rates for two-year-olds fell from 92.7% in 2008 to 90.5% in December 2017. Experts said we must do better.
WINTER OLYMPICS DONE AND SNOW-DUSTED
With the closing ceremony last night, what happened to the athletes we highlighted over the last couple of weeks? Well, the Garlic Girls, South Korea’s crack curling team won silver. They were beaten by Sweden but were so happy. French figure skater Gabriella Papadakis (she of the wardrobe malfunction fame) and partner won silver. And Ester Ledecka, the Czech who won gold on skis, also won gold in the snowboard slalom – she’s the first to have achieved that feat. And how did Tonga’s topless Pita Taufatofua go in his cross-country skiing event? He finished 114th. “We were racing not to come last,” he said. A great sentiment for a Monday.
VALE EMMA CHAMBERS, SRIDEVI KAPOOR AND AINSLEY GOTTO
Emma Chambers, a much-loved actress probably best known for her role as Alice Tinker in the Vicar of Dibley, died last week at 53yo of natural causes. Tributes were led by Dawn French and Hugh Grant.
Sridevi Kapoor, the first female Bollywood superstar, died on the weekend of a heart attack at 54yo. The BBC says she was one of a small number of actresses in India who could achieve box office success without a male hero character also featuring.
And Ainsley Gotto, the former top staffer to PM John Gorton and well-regarded businesswoman, died yesterday at 71yo after a battle with cancer. It was rumoured she’d had an affair with Gorton, but one historian said she was in a relationship with her opposite number in Gough Whitlam’s office during that time. She left a trove of papers with the National Library on her time in politics to be released after her death.
SQUIZ THE DAY
8.00am (AEDT) - Nationals' Partyroom Meeting to elect a new leader - Canberra
ABS Data Release - Characteristics of Employment, August 2017
Anniversary of John Harvey Kellogg's birthday. He and his brother Will invented dry breakfast cereal (1852)
The Squiz Archive
Want to check out Squiz Today from the archive?
Get the Squiz Today newsletter
It's a quick read and doesn't take itself too seriously. Get on it.