Squiz Today / 21 November 2019
Squiz Today – Thursday, 21 November
"Congratulations to Blue Ivy and her backup singer."
Said one Twitter wag of the song-writing award the 7yo shared with a complete nobody (aka her mother Beyoncé).
WESTPAC MONEY LAUNDERING BREACH A WHOPPER
A new legal case has been launched against a big bank for falling foul of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finance laws. This time it’s Westpac, which has been accused by regulator Austrac of 23 million breaches involving $11 billion in transactions. Austrac said the bank’s non-compliance with the laws were "serious and systemic”, and have links to child exploitation. Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer said; “These issues should never have occurred and should have been identified and rectified sooner.”
GIVE ME THE DEETS?
• Westpac is accused of failing to report more than 19.5 million international funds transfer instructions (aka the movement of money in and out of Australia) between 2013 and 2018.
• It's also accused of allowing banks from "high-risk countries" including Iraq, Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo to transfer money in and out of Australia, which potentially gave criminals and terrorists an avenue for finance here.
• But it’s accusations Westpac failed to identify the activities of 12 customers that were “indicative child exploitation" until thousands of payments were made that floored the regulator.
HAVEN’T WE BEEN HERE BEFORE?
Yep. Last year, the Commonwealth Bank settled a similar action against it in which the regulator alleged more than 53,000 breaches of the same laws - a fraction compared to Westpac’s 23 million breaches. Keep in mind the Commonwealth Bank coughed up $700 million to settle its case. And now ponder the potential maximum fine for Westpac is $391 trillion… It's unlikely to come to that. But if it does end in a settlement, there could be a significant sting coming to the bank's way.
SQUIZ THE REST
FLAMING BAD DAY IN SOUTH OZ, AND DANGER AHEAD FOR VICTORIA
Yesterday was as dangerous as they’d predicted in South Australia as catastrophic fire conditions helped 45 fires take off. There were emergency warnings for the Yorke Peninsula which have been downgraded last night, but authorities remain concerned. Dangerous fires in the Barossa Valley and near Port Wakefield also caused problems for firefighters. It's believed homes have been lost yesterday, but the extent of damage is yet to be assessed. Meanwhile, Victorian authorities have issued a ‘Code Red’ warning for the Mallee and Northern Country regions today. Residents have been advised to get to safer areas, such as the city centres of Swan Hill, Mildura, Bendigo and Shepparton. The last time a Code Red warning was issued was in January 2010. And dangerous conditions continue to prevail in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.
PRINCE ANDREW EXITS THE STAGE
Stung by the bad reaction to the weekend's BBC interview where he tried to explain his connection to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, Prince Andrew has announced his withdrawal from public life for the "foreseeable future". Epstein died by suicide in August after he was charged with assaulting and trafficking dozens of girls in the early 2000s. A friend of the billionaire hedge fund manager, Prince Andrew tanked the interview with his denials of any connection to Epstein's dark activities. But with corporate sponsors pulling their support from initiatives connected to the Duke, he's pulled the pin. Meanwhile, two prison guards responsible for checking on Epstein were charged with doctoring prison records to cover up their online shopping and snooze-time during the shift when he died.
IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS HEAT UP
The impeachment inquiry into accusations US President Donald Trump abused his power heated up overnight. Headline-grabbing testimony was given overnight by Trump-appointed ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. He says there was a ‘quid pro quo’ in Trump’s dealings with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. The star witness so far, Sondland said he and others carried out a plan to pressure Ukraine officials to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden “at the express direction of the President of the United States” - but via Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Sondland is a longtime donor to the Republican Party, and Trump has previously said he's "a really good man and great American." But overnight he said he hardly knows him...
BECAUSE YOU’VE GOTTA HAVE FAITH
Have you been wondering what’s happened to the Morrison Government’s promise to tackle religious discrimination laws? Us neither. But its return as a headline issue isn’t far away… The challenge is that the legislation has to protect people from being excluded because of their religion. Simples(ish). But it also has to allow religious bodies to “maintain a chosen level of exclusivity to their premises or composition or services.” We can expect to hear more about this when the final bill is released on 5 December. Also raised by Attorney-General Christian Porter during an address to the National Press Club yesterday - defamation laws. He says “online platforms, so far as reasonably possible, should be held to essentially the same standards as other publishers”. Good luck with that…
WALLABIES TO WELCOME KIWI DAVE
After a disappointing Rugby World Cup, the resignation of the coach, a departing chairman, and the continuing Israel Folau saga, Wallabies fans are due to hear some good news. And Rugby Australia reckons Dave Rennie's appointment as our new national coach will be a welcome salvo. Rennie is a Neu Zeelunder who was also in the running for the top job with the All Blacks. But as many Kiwis do, he's chosen our golden shores. And in surprising news for rugby fans, Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said of the “six or seven” candidates who were in the running for the job, none of them were Aussies. And yes, they did try to talk with Eddie Jones...
WHAT WERE THEY SMOKING?
South Dakota’s newly launched drug awareness campaign is being panned by marketing experts and social media alike. The ‘Meth. We’re On It' campaign is aimed at raising awareness of the state's methamphetamine problem. The number of 12-17yos using meth in South Dakota is double the national average. Despite the wave of “what were they thinking?”, Governor Kristi Noem said the campaign has already worked given the noise it has made. “There’s another trope that goes, ‘When they’re running you out of town, pick up a baton and pretend you’re leading the parade’. That’s what this feels like,” said marketing expert Bill Pearce.
SQUIZ THE DAY
11.00am (AEDT) - Cricket - First Test Match between Australia v Pakistan - Brisbane
ABS Data Release - Use of Hospitals and Emergency Departments, 2015-16
Happy birthday to Goldie Hawn (1945), Bjork (1965) and Carly Rae Jepsen (1985)
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