Squiz Today / 25 March 2021
Squiz Today – Thursday, 25 March
"Arrived very quickly. Didn't make it to hospital. On the bathroom floor."
MORRISON WEIGHS UP A RESHUFFLE
Speculation mounted yesterday that PM Scott Morrison will reshuffle his ministry to shift Attorney-General Christian Porter and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds to other frontbench roles. Porter is on leave to look after his mental health after historical rape claims were levelled against him. And Reynolds is on medical leave on her cardiologist's advice after her former staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was raped in her office. Both are due back at work next week.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Look, we’ll need to wait and see. But what is becoming clear is that Morrison’s attempts to move forward after revelations of a toxic workplace culture and claims of sexual assault aren’t working. In that context, Morrison will need to make a call by Sunday about whether he can wear the ongoing costs of defending Porter and Reynolds. And there are also issues beyond the political calculations to consider. The first is that Morrison's received legal advice from the Solicitor-General about Porter continuing as the Attorney-General when he’s seeking to use the court system for which he's responsible to sue the ABC. We don't know what that advice is. And reports say there are concerns about Reynolds’ health that shouldn’t be brushed over.
‘COS THESE ISSUES AIN’T GOING AWAY…
Nope. That's because since the Higgins allegations first came to light in mid-February, there has been a steady drip-feed of ugly allegations - including yesterday's claims that longtime Tassie Senator Eric Abetz had some choice words to say about the former staffer. He’s stridently denied the accusations. And it’s also a big thing because of Morrison’s own handling of the issues. He yesterday tried to explain Tuesday’s runaway press conference as an example of good intentions gone wrong. "Blokes don't get it right all the time. We all know that, but what matters is that we're desperately trying to," he said during an interview with Nine Radio’s Ray Hadley. "I'm just glad the footy's back on. It helps everybody," he said. All of which is garnering international attention… After today, Parliament does not resume until the Budget is handed down on 11 May.
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FLOODS CLAIM TWO LIVES
A 25yo man died yesterday after his car became stuck in floodwaters in Glenorie in Sydney’s northwest. The Pakistani national was on his way to his first day at a new job, and authorities said he may not have been familiar with the road. And in Queensland, authorities yesterday recovered the body and ute of 38yo David Hornman from the flooded Canungra Creek near the Gold Coast. He'd been missing since Monday morning. And while much of Australia's east coast enjoyed the sunshine yesterday, flooded river systems in NSW and Queensland wreaked havoc for residents across the affected area who had to evacuate their homes. Even the Red Centre copped a drenching… Parts of Victoria and Tassie are now facing severe weather warnings as the troublesome weather system continued south.
LOCAL VACCINES HELP OZ TO PICK UP THE BEAT
If it wasn’t for CSL’s manufacturing capabilities and the government’s agreement with AstraZeneca to produce 50 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine in Melbourne, Oz would find it difficult to launch a comprehensive vaccination program. That’s the assessment of the Federal Health Department boss Brendan Murphy who yesterday said issues getting vaccines delivered from their European plants has meant it’s not been possible to have “certainty in planning”. The European Union is taking drastic steps to keep the vaccines made in their backyards, with drug companies Pfizer and AstraZeneca falling behind on their supply contracts. And with cases on the rise again, there's local pressure to vaccinate their citizens first. Nevermind, the tap on homegrown supply is officially turned on. Also switched to go - unrestricted dancing in NSW. It’s part of a major relaxation of COVID regulations in the state that will help it get its groove back.
FOLBIGG APPEAL DENIED
Convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg’s bid to overturn the judicial inquiry findings that upheld her convictions in 2019 was denied yesterday. The 53yo has maintained her innocence despite her conviction in 2003 over her 4 infant children's deaths between 1989 and 1999. Folbigg's conviction was largely based on diary entries expressing her anxieties about motherhood - she says they were taken out of context. New scientific evidence revealed at least 2 of the children carried a mutant gene that may have contributed to their deaths. That new evidence led 90 top doctors and scientists to sign a petition calling for Folbigg’s release earlier this month. Yesterday, the NSW Court of Appeal found there was “no error of law” during the inquiry and that its conclusion that there was no natural explanation for the children's deaths was not at odds with the scientific evidence. The scientists' responded saying the court has got it wrong.
BIDEN CALLS FOR ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
With the passing of a US$1.9 trillion COVID recovery plan, a massive $3 trillion jobs and infrastructure proposal in the works and worsening relations with Russia, US President Joe Biden has a lot on his plate... But America’s latest mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado left 10 people dead - and now Biden has his sights set on gun control. He yesterday urged the Senate to pass two bills on background checks and an assault weapons ban. Under former President Bill Clinton, a 10-year ban on assault weapons was passed by Congress in 1994, but efforts to renew it have been unsuccessful. "I don't need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future,” he said. But like his predecessors, pundits say it’s unlikely Biden will be able to make any meaningful change given his Democratic Party’s numbers in Congress.
A VERY BAD DAY AT THE OFFICE…
Hump day didn’t treat you well? You’ve got nothing on the captain of the 220,000-tonne, 400 metre-long mega-ship named Ever Given that became stuck in the Suez Canal, causing a traffic jam in the vital shipping channel. Reports this morning say it could take some days to move, which is bad news for the 50+ ships a day that will either have to wait or add more than 2 weeks to their journey by going around Africa. For now, witnesses describe a scene where "a bunch of tugs" are trying to pull it and push it, and there is "a little excavator trying to dig out the bow.” In the meantime, Twitter’s having fun with it… The Egyptian canal is 190km long and links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, and is an important link for freight, oil and a whole lot more.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
Confession time: we’re savoury people. Sweet breakfast cereals are not our thing. But the addition of prawns - albeit accidental - to an American favourite could be more to our liking than to a superfan…
And when we say we’re savoury people, it’s a polite way of saying we're carbohydrate mad. This is why there's nothing but respect for Dan Pashman - a podcaster who's created a new pasta shape that maximises sauceability, forkability, and toothsinkability. Give that man a Nobel Prize for awesomeness…
And it’s not the leadup to Easter without a Hot Cross Buns review of those on offer from the supermarkets and chain bakeries. And the winner is [insert drumroll…] - Bakers Delight. According to Good Food, it's got good dough and a nice balance of fruit and spice. Which, coincidently, is a new life goal.
SQUIZ THE DAY
7.20pm (AEDT) - AFL - Carlton v Collingwood - notable because it could host the world’s largest sporting event since the pandemic began if the 75,000 crowd limit is reached
Olympic torch relay starts - Japan's Fukushima prefecture
2021 Stella Prize shortlist announced
International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (UN)
International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members (UN)
200th anniversary of the independence of Greece
Birthdays for Gloria Steinem (1934), Elton John (1947) and Sarah Jessica Parker (1965)
Anniversary of the:
• first Easter, according to calendar maker Dionysius Exiguus (31)
• British Parliament abolishing the slave trade throughout the British Empire (1807)
• birthday of Aretha Franklin (1942)
• debut of The Bachelor in the US (2002)
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