Squiz Today / 29 March 2021
Squiz Today – Monday, 29 March
“I didn’t realise how big Australia was.”
Said skateboarder Tom Drury (aka Gordy) who’s 9 weeks into his fundraising trip from Melbourne to Cairns. He’s nearly there, but says the epic trip's length was a surprise because it didn’t look that far on a map…
A NUMBERS GAME FOR THE COALITION - AND JOB SEEKERS
Brissie MP Dr Andrew Laming will not contest the next election. Complaints were made last week by 2 women who said he had trolled them on Facebook - but that’s not where it ends… After apologising in Parliament on Thursday, he returned to Facebook to say he didn’t know what he was apologising for. That saw PM Scott Morrison order him to get empathy training - and then Nine News aired claims that in 2018 he’d taken an inappropriate photo of a woman as she worked. Yesterday, Liberals Sarah Henderson and Katie Allen told ABC TV’s Insiders that he should go. Not long after that, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Laming would not stand for re-election. In a statement, Laming asked for privacy and he gets the help he says he needs.
WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME SO MUCH ABOUT A BLOKE I’VE NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE?
Because while it’s part of a discussion about culture that pundits say is hurting Morrison’s standing with voters, Laming’s situation is also about the Coalition’s numbers in the Parliament. If he goes now, the government would not have a majority in the House of Reps at least until a by-election was held. Craig Kelly quit the Liberals last month leaving the Coalition with a one-seat buffer. So if Laming was to go, Morrison would have to rely on crossbench support to hold onto government - and that's messy. Not surprisingly, Labor leader Anthony Albanese is pressing the case that Laming should leave ASAP because he “brings disrepute and disgrace to our nation’s Parliament.”
ANY OTHER TROUBLES ON THE HORIZON FOR THE COALITION?
Expect to hear a bit about the end of the JobKeeper wage supplement after the $90 billion COVID emergency measure was turned off yesterday. Treasury boss Steven Kennedy says he expects up to 150,000 jobs will be lost and thinks more than 100,000 small businesses are at risk of closing. Yesterday, Treasurer Frydenberg said the government will "continue to support the economy through targeted support measures as well as tax cuts, business incentives and a record investment in skills and training and infrastructure.” But the hope is last month’s strong employment numbers shows our economy is up to creating enough jobs to absorb those who find themselves without one in the coming months. Unions boss Sally McManus yesterday said that “the pandemic is still with us, withdrawing it now is too soon.”
SQUIZ THE REST
CYBER ATTACKERS HIT HIGH PROFILE TARGETS
And they don’t come much bigger than our biggest commercial news company and the Federal Parliament… Last night, Nine said news production systems around the country had been taken down in an “unprecedented” and targeted ambush. Yesterday’s Weekend Today show could not go to air, and news teams had to improvise to get their 6pm news bulletins on the telly. An investigation into who is responsible has commenced. Meanwhile, officials aren’t calling the disruption to Parliament’s IT system an “attack”, but a hacker’s presence saw staffers lose access to email over the weekend. "The issue relates to an external provider, and once the issue was detected, the connection to government systems was cut immediately as a precaution," Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie said last night.
NERVES JANGLE OVER BRISSIE COVID CLUSTER
Queensland yesterday reported one locally-acquired case of COVID-19 bringing the number of new cases since Thursday to 3. The 20yo man (who officials wrongly accused of partying as he awaited his test results…) has already recovered from the virus. He is believed to have passed it onto his brother - the 26yo man from the Brisbane suburb of Stafford who tested positive for the infectious UK strain on Thursday. Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said the new case seemed to be the “missing link” between a doctor who tested positive a couple of weeks ago and last week's case. Another close contact was also confirmed to have the virus on Saturday. Authorities yesterday said a lockdown isn't required ATM, but the sporting codes aren’t risking it, including the AFL and NRL. And there’s a question mark over what it could mean for Easter travel…
‘MURDER’ IN MYANMAR AS VIOLENCE ESCALATES
About 100 Myanmar pro-democracy protesters, including children, were killed by security forces in clashes across the country on Saturday. It was the worst bloodshed since February's military coup and brought the total number of deaths to more than 400. State media issued a warning ahead of Saturday’s Armed Forces Day saying that peaceful protesters risked being shot “in the head and back”, but crowds took to the streets in Yangon, Mandalay and other cities where the military turned against them. Making things worse, reports say the military tried to intervene in the funerals that were held yesterday, opening fire at one. The violence has sparked global condemnation with the US saying security forces were “murdering unarmed civilians”. Oz’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the “latest events are a deeply concerning escalation in violence."
CHINA QUAFFS SANCTIONS
Australia has threatened to take China to the World Trade Organisation after Beijing whacked steep levies on Aussie wine imports for up to 5 years as an anti-dumping measure. Trade Minister Dan Tehan said it meant it was "basically impossible" for our bonza plonk to compete in China. It follows claims last year that our wine was being sold in China below the production cost. Australian vignerons weren't the only ones copping China's wrath - sanctions against US and Canadian officials were also imposed by Beijing in a tit for the tat issued last week by the US, European Union, Canada and the UK over China's human rights violations against the Uyghurs and other minorities. China's push for influence remains a concern for US President Joe Biden - and so an American-led plan to rival China's Belt and Road Initiative will be unveiled this week, reports say.
NOT JUST A STICK O’ BREAD...
When we think of France, we go green with envy over the thought of effortlessly glamorous French people walking around with a baguette tucked under their arms. So it’s no wonder the country has submitted its famous bread as a candidate for UNESCO's cultural heritage status. The baguette fought off stiff competition, including Paris' iconic rooftops and the Biou d'Arbois wine festival, with officials saying the delicious carb wand is integral to daily life. Some 10 billion baguettes are eaten every year in France - around 320 every second. Which goes up to 321/sec when we're there… UNESCO will announce its decision in late 2022.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Still stuck - the Ever Given in the Suez Canal. At least there’s a proper traffic report to advise those in the area…
When it comes to good lookin’ roosters who are follically challenged, Patrick Stewart and Shemar Moore are two who usually get a mention. But Google has spoken - the king of the shiny tops is Prince William…
We love an iPhone hack, and this involves a favourite app - the calculator. We also make many mistakes typing numbers in, so the left swipe tip is tres helpful…
SQUIZ THE DAY
Start of the trial of the police officer accused of killing George Floyd - Minneapolis
Hugely speculative, but reports say watch out for a Federal Cabinet reshuffle today…
One of our favourite days on the statistical calendar, the ABS releases its Methodological News…
Birthdays for composer Vangelis (1943), model Elle Macpherson (1964) and actress Lucy Lawless (1968)
• the official opening of Royal Albert Hall by Queen Victoria (1871)
• Australia’s first federal election leading to Edmund Barton being elected Prime Minister (1901)
• Nelson Mandela being acquitted of treason after a 4.5-year trial (1961)
• the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, China (1974)
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