Squiz Today / 16 May 2019
Squiz Today – Thursday, 16 May
"You stay together, buddies."
Said the policeman with the job of getting a mumma duck and her six ducklings over Brisbane’s Gateway Motorway during peak hour yesterday morning. Determined to waddle the journey, they weren’t at risk of a speeding fine.
DROUGHT SET TO PLAY A PART IN THE ELECTION
Severe drought conditions in Victoria, New South Wales and parts of South Australia and Queensland have brought about the first shipment of wheat to Australia since the millennium drought 12 years ago. It's another sign of the extreme hardship our farmers are facing - conditions that could dent the Coalition's chances in this weekend's election.
WHEN IS IT GOING TO RAIN?
If we knew the answer to that, we’d tell you because it’s the multi-billion-dollar question. The Bureau of Meteorology is like a broken record with its repeated predictions of “lower than average chance of exceeding median rainfall” and “warmer than average temperatures”. We’ve been hearing that for more than two years now… And with that comes reduced food and fibre production, and reduced incomes for farmers.
HOW WILL THIS PLAY OUT IN THE CAMPAIGN?
That’s another good question - and we only have two more sleeps until we find out. The Coalition says it’s extended millions of dollars in assistance to help farmers get through the drought. Labor’s Agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon yesterday said that the importation of wheat “should be a wake-up call to a government that has been in complete denial on climate change." But with the crisis over the management of the Murray Darling Basin and the whacking the Nationals took in those seats in the recent NSW election, anything could happen. That’s why all eyes are on the NSW seat of Farrer where Liberal Sussan Ley (who is on a fat 20.5% margin) is facing a challenge by an independent, Albury Mayor Kevin Mack, who has put water management at the heart of his campaign. If you’re watching the votes come in on Saturday night, keep an eye out for it.
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AUSTRALIAN KILLED IN ALASKA JOYRIDE CRASH
A holiday joy flight went horribly wrong with Sydney man Simon Bodie one of the six people killed when two seaplanes collided in Alaska. The 56yo father of two and his wife had been on a cruise when he undertook the sightseeing flight. His devastated family described him as “a devoted father and successful businessman” who “wouldn’t hurt a fly". He was also a qualified pilot, and his family described him as a stickler for safety. Ten people survived the crash and were taken to hospital. Precisely what caused the collision and who or what was to blame is yet to be determined. It is the second seaplane crash in the area in the last four years.
MILAT GRAVELY ILL
Reports say serial killer Ivan Milat is unlikely to return to Goulburn prison after being admitted to a secure wing of a Sydney hospital this week with advanced stage cancer. Relatives said they were shocked to learn his health had declined to such an extent, including the loss 20kg in the last couple of months. It’s possible he will be transferred to the hospital in Long Bay Jail in the coming days. Milat was sentenced to seven life sentences in 1996 for the murders of seven backpackers.
UN CHIEF CALLS FOR ENERGY AND CLIMATE RETHINK
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has used a speech to the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji to call for a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants and the introduction of a price on carbon emissions as a means to address climate change. To a room full of Pacific Island leaders (whose islands are subject to sea level rises “four times greater than the global average”), Guterres also called for a halt to fossil fuel subsidies. Careful not to comment on Australia’s policy struggles on energy and climate change, he said "foreigners should not get involved in elections". Guterres’ visit to our region comes ahead of a week-long climate summit in New York in September.
FACEBOOK CHANGES LIVESTREAM RULES
Two months after the massacre of 51 people in the Christchurch mosque attacks was carried live on Facebook, the social media giant has revised its rules for live streaming video content. From today, the company will introduce a ‘one strike and you’re out’ policy banning users who contravene the social media site's ‘most serious policies' from accessing Facebook Live for a period of time (maybe 30 days…). Facebook and other tech companies have been under pressure from political and community leaders to work together to prevent violent content sharing, something they've agreed to do. The announcements come as PM Jacinda Ardern from New Zealand and President Emmanuel Macron from France pushed for a so-called “Christchurch Call” – an agreement to limit the spread of extremist content online - at a meeting overnight.
SIMMONS STEPS UP
The Aussie team for the upcoming basketball World Cup in China just got a whole lot more awesome with the announcement yesterday that NBA All-Star and former Melbournite Ben Simmons will be a Boomer. Currently signed to the Philadelphia 76ers, Simmons inclusion in a team already brimming with homegrown talent is said to increase our chances in the upcoming championships. The Boomers have never won a medal at the World Cup, and the players are excited about our prospects. Simmons is kinda a big deal in the US - and not just because he's dating a Jenner. He was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year last season, and while he had a tough season this year, people who know about this stuff say he has oodles of potential.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
One of Claude Monet’s paintings from the Meules (Haystacks) series sold for A$160 million yesterday. It’s the first time an Impressionist painting has sold for more than US$100 million.
This story has gone global… A Canberra Uni library was evacuated last Friday for a fruity reason. Gag.
A decorum check in aisle three, please… Our defence is this story is legit, related to the US military, and hilarious. It’s the transcript of two junior Navy officers working out how to execute some rude sky artistry - and their regret when it went a bit too well…
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12.30pm (AEST) - Prime Minister Scott Morrison to address the National Press Club - Canberra
1.45pm (AEST) - Labor leader Bill Shorten to deliver a speech at Blacktown's Bowman Hall in Sydney - the venue of former PM Gough Whitlam's famous 'It's Time' speech in 1972
7.30pm - Both Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten are interviewed by ABC TV's 7.30
ABS Data Release - Labour Force, April
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