Squiz Today / 04 July 2019
Squiz Today – Thursday, 4 July
“He said ‘how are you love?’ and I said ‘oh you know, it’s pretty hard being in opposition’. He said ‘oh well, I wouldn’t know’. Not much more to say really.”
Labor Senator Penny Wong recounted a conversation she had with former Labor PM Bob Hawke after the party’s 2013 election loss. Of the almost 12 years Hawke was an MP, just two-and-a-half were spent in opposition such was his record of leading Labor to electoral success. Federal pollies recorded their condolences in parliament yesterday.
WOOLIES TO KICK ITS BOOZE AND POKIES HABIT
Ding ding ding… The bell has rung for last drinks at Woolworths Group’s liquor and pubs businesses. Australia’s biggest retailer yesterday announced plans to combine those assets into one company to be called Endeavour Group by the end of this year. And if everybody’s happy - including shareholders and regulators - Endeavour Group would then be sold or demerged through the listing of a new company on the stock exchange next year.
POUR ME A GLASS OF DETAILS, WON’T YOU?
• Woolworths is one of our largest companies. It’s currently valued at more than $40 billion, and it’s one of the country’s largest employers.
• It’s also more than just an Aussie supermarket chain - it owns BIG W discount department stores and Countdown supermarkets in New Zealand.
• It’s also in a joint venture business - ALH Group - which operates 327 pubs. And then there’s 1,500 Dan Murphy’s and BWS liquor stores as well as online wine seller Cellarmasters, Langton's fine wine auction house, and it has a significant wine production business, Pinnacle.
• It's the pubs and liquor businesses (which are said to be worth about $11 billion) they’re talking about grouping together and casting off.
• Woolies yesterday said the move would allow it to focus on its core business - food retailing - which it says would be better for shareholders. Pundits said the move also gets rid of a significant reputational problem - the ‘fresh food people’ were also one of the country’s biggest operators of poker machines via its pubs.
SO IF POKIES ARE A PROBLEM WHY NOT JUST SELL THE PUBS?
Great question. It’s Queensland’s fault that’s not an option. That’s because you must hold commercial hotel licences to operate retail liquor stores in the Sunshine State. And the pub licence owner can operate up to three bottleshops within a 10-kilometre radius of a pub. It’s the reason Woolies and Coles ever entered the pub game. And when you run great big national businesses as they do, it only makes sense to do things at scale. In for a middy, in for a schooner (note: insert your state’s corresponding beer size to make that line work for you)…
SQUIZ THE REST
MORE AUSSIE WASTE TO BE RETURNED
In May, Malaysia became the first country to declare it would send back to Australia non-recyclable plastic waste that had been shipped to illegal processing facilities. Indonesia has now followed suit after rejecting a 13-tonne container of plastic waste officials say is contaminated with toxic materials. What those materials are is yet to be revealed. Reporters from Nine’s newspapers found the shipment came from Visy in Melbourne. And there are another eight containers of what was meant to be paper that is actually mixed waste that will also be returned to Oz. It’s another example of Asian countries pushing back against becoming a dumping ground for developed country’s waste problems.
QUICK MISSING PEOPLE NEWS WRAP
Officials have confirmed missing climber Ruth McNance was one of the seven bodies recovered from a remote mountain in the Indian Himalayas last week. Family and friends farewelled her at a memorial service in Sydney earlier this week. To warmer climes and police have officially called off the search for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez in the Byron Bay area of NSW. Police will continue to investigate with the evidence they have. And there is still no word on the whereabouts of Alek Sigley, the only Aussie living in North Korea who stopped making contact with his wife and friends a week and a half ago. Word is the Swedish are making enquiries.
14 RUSSIAN SUBMARINERS PERISH
It was a fire on a small navy nuclear-powered submarine that caused toxic fumes to poison crew members. The fire was put out, some survived and are in hospital after the sub returned to Russia's Northern Fleet base. Russian officials are not particularly forthcoming on the details - some saythat's because it's the same mini-sub that the US claimed was capable of damaging undersea cables, leading to accusations Russia was seeking to intercept or disrupt communications.
TRUMPING THE FOURTH OF JULY
In a break with tradition – or looked at another way, the forging of a new one – Washington DC will mark America’s Independence Day today with a parade of the super power’s military might. It’s an idea that some say took seed in the presidential brain of Donald Trump after he visited France and witnessed its Bastille Day military parade down the Champs Elysees. But Trump had been talking about it before then. Fast forward a couple of years, and there's disquiet about Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ featuring tanks and fighter jets. Trump will also make a speech from the Lincoln Memorial, and there’ll be a lot of fireworks. At least it’s bound to be more fun that Imelda Marcos’ 90th birthday party…
QUICK SPORTS NEWS WRAP
BARTY BACK ON COURT - But we'll need to wait and see if she's back on our screens… Facing a backlash from keen Barty bandwagoners, Seven didn’t back away yesterday from its decision to stay with the Kyrgios match on Tuesday night. Both have their second-round matches at different times today - Barty against Alison Van Uytvanck, Kyrgios against the “super salty” Rafael Nadal.
ASHES OFF TO A GOOD START - The Aussie women won the first One Day match in a canter. They back up tonight for game two. No rest for the talented…
A$240 MILLION-DOLLAR MAN - That’s what rising Aussie basketball star Ben Simmons has reportedly been offered to stay with the Philadelphia 76’ers for another five years. The NBA club has had him on a four-year rookie deal where he’ll make about A$11.5 million this year. If reports are on the money and he accepts it, it will be the richest deal ever for an Australian athlete.
HEARING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE
There was a big solar eclipse in Chile and Argentina (or ‘Argentinia’ as we sometimes call it on the podcast…) on Monday. Good luck to them. But it is a sound-making device called Lightsound that was developed by a Puerto Rican astrophysicist to allow blind people to hear it that makes it special. Lightsound works by turning greater amounts of light into high-pitched sounds and greater darkness into bass sounds. “I feel like a bridge to the unknown, something that makes it possible to translate into the world of sounds what would be a mystery to us,” said Octavio Oyarzún, a blind music professor who travelled to experience it. Pretty cool, huh?
SQUIZ THE DAY
8.00pm (AEST) - Wimbledon - Ash Barty v Alison Van Uytvanck
11.00pm (AEST) - Women’s Ashes Cricket One Day Match – Australia v England
1.15am Friday (AEST) - Wimbledon - Nick Kyrgios v Rafael Nadal
ABS Data Release - Retail Trade, May; Job Vacancies, May
Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet Pope Francis at the Vatican
America’s Independence Day
Post Malone’s birthday (1995)
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