Squiz Today / 27 September 2018
Squiz Today – Thursday, 27 September
They’re back in fashion. Hang on, were they ever in style?
AS TRICKY AS ABC
It's fast and furious on the frontline of the fight for the ABC:
• Yesterday started with reports chairman Justin Milne – a friend and former business partner of former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s - emailed sacked managing director Michelle Guthrie calling for the dismissal of economics editor Emma Alberici. This has to do with complaints the Coalition Government made about errors in her articles.
• Then an ABC staff meeting resolved to call for Milne’s resignation.
• Another story appeared saying Milne had pressured youth radio broadcaster Triple J to keep its Hottest 100 countdown on Australia Day because he believed then PM Turnbull would react badly.
• The Greens and Labor said they were looking into hauling Milne and the board before a Senate committee ASAP to answer questions about political interference. And Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced the head of his department would "undertake an inquiry to establish the facts in relation to today's media reports surrounding the ABC."
• And to kick off today, more details have come to light via News Corp (paywall) on allegations Milne ordered to Guthrie to sack political editor Andrew Probyn after talking with Turnbull. Turnbull says he’s never asked for any journalists’ head. And Fairfax Media reports Milne has been accused of being a bit over-familiar when talking to the ladies.
WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
It seems Milne has been a ‘hands-on’ kinda chairman. Having said that, the commentary is less concerned with his style of corporate governance (and a shout out to anyone who's done the company directors course) and more focused on the political interference angle. All that means there is now a question mark over whether Guthrie was sacked because she didn’t capitulate to the demands of her board.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Our crystal ball is still in for a service. But at a guess, it’s fair to expect more leaks about Guthrie and Milne. Will Milne be sacked? Who knows. What we do know is it’s complicated. The chair of the ABC has protections from being sacked by the government (ironically enough to protect the organisation from political interference), and only the Governor-General can hit the eject button. And for now, Milne says he's going nowhere. Hold on tight - this is gonna get bumpy…
SQUIZ THE REST
NO ‘INDIGENOUS VOICE’ UNDER MORRISON
PM Scott Morrison yesterday said he is not a supporter of a constitutionally-enshrined representative body for indigenous Australians. The proposal came from a meeting of Indigenous leaders last year and their Uluru Statement from the Heart. Morrison says the body would be ‘a third chamber’ that he doesn’t believe is workable. He is keen on “a chat” about finding a day in our national calendar that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
AUSSIE UNI SLIDE
The Times' global university rankings are out, and while there are nine Aussie unis ranked in the world’s top 200, many ranked lower than they have previously. Australia’s top rank goes to The University of Melbourne at equal 32nd, then the Australian National University, which dropped a spot to 49th. Then came Sydney (59th), Queensland (69th), Monash (84th) and NSW (96th). WA Uni (134), Adelaide (equal 135) and UTS Sydney (196) finish off the list.
Warning: crankiness ahead…
• China has labelled Sweden racist after Chinese tourists were removed from a hotel by Swedish police for checking in too early, and a satirical Swedish TV show joked about Chinese people eating dog meat.
• The US and China are involved in a goat swap (ie they’ve got each other’s goat). China has blocked a US Navy ship from docking in Hong Kong. And US President Donald Trump says China is interfering in the midterm elections. Like all good fights, pundits say the lashing out is about something else entirely – the escalating tariff war.
• And the US and Iran are at it again. Trump said in his address to the United Nations that Iran was sowing “chaos, death and destruction” in the Middle East. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said America is a bully.
CEO DEPARTURE “A NATURAL PROCESS”
If you've come to love the ins-and-outs of energy policy as we have (what’s not to love?), you’ll remember Andy Vesey, the former boss of electricity and gas company AGL, left suddenly a few weeks ago. AGL had its annual general meeting yesterday, and chairman Graeme Hunt did his best rendition of “nothing to see here, move along”. Vesey’s departure was expected, and it’s no biggie that the business has no permanent CEO, Hunt said. As they say in the classics, moving right along…
DALLY M HAKA STEALS THE SHOW
History was made last night at rugby league’s night of nights. And not because the red carpet action was classier than the AFL’s Brownlow's. NZ Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck became the first player from his team to take out the prestigious Dally M award. Go you good thing! His teammates agreed with an emotional haka. Big ups also to Brisbane Broncos’ Brittany Breayley who was awarded the female Dally M player of the year award.
THE LONG WAY HOME
Perth Zoo has had quite a week. First, a meerkitten was lost, and then found. Now a Madagascan radiated tortoise that went missing from the zoo in 2011 was found by police at a property they were searching as part of another investigation. The endangered breed requires high levels of attention, so there was surprise all-round that it had survived for seven years without expert care. Slow and steady wins the race.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.00am (AEST) - Christine Blasey Ford to testify before the US Senate Judiciary Committee about accusations she was assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the early 80s - Washington DC
ABS Data Release - Job Vacancies, August; Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth, June
First anniversary of the death Hugh Hefner
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