Squiz Today / 28 September 2017
Squiz Today – Thursday, 28 September
"Today, the last country on Earth to allow women to drive … we did it”
Said Saudi women’s rights activist Manal al-Sherif. She was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2011 for driving a car. Now living in Sydney, she was part of the movement that led to King Salman yesterday issuing a decree that gives women the right to drive for the first time from next year.
GAS SHORTAGE AVERTED, BUT POWER PROBLEMS PERSIST
In the end, PM Malcolm Turnbull got the gas companies to agree to supply Australia with enough gas for at least the next two years without having to pull the trigger. The trigger to restrict gas exports, that is. His meeting yesterday with the bosses of Origin, Santos and Shell came after two reports released on Monday showed we could have a significant gas shortage as soon as next year. They’ll meet again next week to nail down the details.
GREAT. SO WILL MY GAS BILL COME DOWN?
It depends on where you live. Turnbull and team are pointing fingers at the NSW and Victorian state governments for their refusal to allow new gas projects in recent years. By his reckoning, even with the guarantee of enough supply, gas prices will be about 11% higher in those states because gas has to be brought down from Queensland. But one thing the PM thinks will be helpful is the gas companies’ agreement yesterday to report to the Competition and Consumer regulator on the mechanics of the gas market so the government and consumers can get a better view of prices.
AND WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH ELECTRICITY?
For Team Turnbull, it was a case of ‘win some, lose some’. AGL held their AGM yesterday and told shareholders they would close the Liddell coal-fired power generator as planned in 2021. They plan on replacing Liddell’s output with a mix of renewable and gas power generation and will host Australia’s biggest battery for storage (it will be more than twice the size of the one being built by Tesla in South Oz). AGL boss Andy Vesey says this would provide the electricity grid with the 1000MW of dispatchable power it needs following Liddell’s closure. Treasurer Scott Morrison was disappointed; “not always does AGL's commercial interest act in the national interest.” So there’s still some way to go on the discussion of securing our electricity supply. We’re as thrilled about this as you are.
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MAJOR FAMILY LAW REVIEW ANNOUNCED
“Necessary and long overdue” was how Attorney-General George Brandis described the first major inquiry into our family law system since its commencement in 1976. It’s a big brief – they will focus on “ensuring the family law system prioritises the best interests of children, best addresses family violence and child abuse, and supports families, including those with complex needs to resolve their family law disputes quickly and safely while minimising the financial burden.” Huge. The Australian Law Reform Commission has until 31 March 2019 to get through all that and report back.
QUICK WORLD NEWS WRAP
PRESSURE ON PUERTO RICO - Questions are being asked about the US government’s response to the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Maria that has floored Puerto Rico. The US territory is mostly without electricity (and is likely to be for some time) and there are concerns about the food and water supply. US President Donald Trump will visit next week.
FORMER THAI PM SENTENCED TO JAIL – Problem is she’s fled the country. Yingluck Shinawatra was sentenced to five years’ jail in absentia for negligence over a rice subsidy scheme. It was her government that the military toppled in 2014, and there are concerns the decision might stir up trouble that could derail plans for an election next year. The rice scheme sounds like a doozy.
IRELAND ANNOUNCES REFERENDUM ON ABORTION – Currently only available if the life of the mother is in danger, Irish citizens will vote mid-next year to decide if terminations should be allowed in other circumstances. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the long lead-time was the right approach saying citizens "should be given ample time to consider the issues and to take part in well-informed public debate," he said.
RUSSIAN CANNIBAL COUPLE ARRESTED – They are thought to be responsible for 30 deaths. Just awful.
FEELING HOT HOT HOT
It's been a while since we chit-chatted about the weather. The NSW state record was broken yesterday for the hottest September day with Bourke hitting 40.7C. Wilcannia beat the record on Saturday with a 40.5C day, and before that Wanaaring that had the record with a 39.6C September day in 2004. Brissie and south-east Queensland recorded temperatures in the high 30s yesterday, and Birdsville hit the 40s – and more heat is on the way today for the Sunshine State. Not surprisingly, our fire services are preparing for a bad season and it's already started in some areas.
DYSON ELECTRIC CAR SUCKS ATTENTION
When we heard that Dyson is going to launch a car, we immediately thought about how clean the streets are going to be. Sadly, a mega-road-vacuum-cleaner isn't what the team has in mind. Founder James Dyson wrote to staff this week to let them know that a team of 400 had been assembled to build a new electric car to be launched by 2020. Dyson is an innovative bunch and apparently work has been happening for some years. “It is our obligation to offer a solution to the world’s largest single environmental risk,” Dyson said.
TWITTER TRIALS LONGER FORMAT
Revelations that Twitter is trailing a 240 character format (which is a doubling of its current limit) split user opinion. Many said it would make Twitter more ranty (as if that was even possible…). But our favourite comment was from Abby Russell who tweeted; “I, for one, appreciate Twitter increasing the character limit in Tweets to 240. I'll finally be free of limitations and able to clearly expr”. Lols.
DALLY M MEDAL – NRL’S NIGHT OF NIGHTS
Another day, another red carpet. Sorry, we meant another footy awards night/knees up. Cameron Smith, hooker for the Melbourne Storm (which we’re reliably informed we won’t be sued for saying), capitalised on his red-hot favourite status and won the medal for the second time in his NRL career. Jillaroos lock Simaima Taufa was named female Dally M player of the year. Despite injuries during the season, Taufa won for her consistency and tenacity. At just 22yo, she wrote her name in the ‘legend’ book when she played in a Nines tournament in NZ in February and broke her arm but did not let on that she was in pain until the team had returned home from New Zealand. Ouch!
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ABS Data Releases - Job Vacancies, August; Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth, June
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