Squiz Today / 07 February 2019
Squiz Today – Thursday, 7 February
THREE MINUTE SQUIZ
“Nude (not as creepy as it sounds)... while I’m having a shower.”
Points to Annie O’Rourke for being the first to admit to listening to The Squiz Today Podcast unclad.And we don't think she's the only one… Annie is a former political adviser who traded the Prime Minister's office for life in Byron Bay. With two businesses, two kids and a partner to crack on with, we’re glad we can help her multi-task in the shower. Please welcome Annie to this week’s Three Minute Squiz.
VICTORIAN POLICE INFORMANT SCANDAL GOES WAAAY BACK...
Just when the Victorian Government and the state’s police force didn’t think the ‘Lawyer X’ scandal could get any worse, it did. While preparing for a Royal Commission into what went down, it was discovered the ganglands-barrister-turned-dirt-disher at the centre of things started informing much earlier than 2005 - it was a decade earlier in 1995 in the wake of a drug bust at a student share house where she was living. Police have also fessed up to using other lawyers as informants in criminal cases. That means many more high profile cases could have been compromised. Meanwhile, Malcolm Hyde, a commissioner with the upcoming inquiry, yesterday resigned to avoid any suggestion of a conflict because he served with the Victorian Police during the adjusted timeframe.
BACK IT UP A BIT...
Remember back in December when news of the biggest legal scandal in Victoria's history broke, prompting Premier Daniel Andrews to announce a Royal Commission? At that point, the investigation was focused on the recruitment as an informant of a criminal defence barrister whose client list was a who's who of Melbourne's gangland. Turns out the problem is a lot bigger than that... The problem is the use of a defendant's lawyer as an informant "debased fundamental premises of the criminal justice system", say legal experts. Even the High Court called Victorian Police’s actions “reprehensible”.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Many more convicted criminals in Victoria will likely be sitting in their jail cells rubbing their hands together at the prospect of their sentences being overturned. The state’s attorney-general Jill Hennessy said it might take some time to understand the consequences of the new information, but it was now up to the inquiry to do its work. Meanwhile, the lawyer at the heart of the saga was warned by the High Court yesterday that she risks having her children taken into care if she does not enter witness protection. Her identity could become public when a court order on documents about her is lifted at the end of February. There are concerns she and her family could be targeted by aggrieved and dangerous former clients.
SQUIZ THE REST
STATE OF THE UNION REVIEW
Let’s do US President Donald Trump’s great big address dot point style:
• He called for unity, as anticipated. “We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future,” he said. Wounds and divisions critics say he’s created.
• On the policy front, he called for Congress to agree to the building of the Mexican border wall, but there weren’t the threats of past weeks. Still, “I’ll get it built” he said. And the next summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un is locked and loaded. Cancel what you’re doing on 27-28 February when it’ll be good morning Vietnam…
• And what was with the women in white? Democratic congresswomen, many of them newly-elected, stood out in in the chamber. “Wearing suffragette white is a respectful message of solidarity with women across the country, and a declaration that we will not go back on our hard-earned rights," said Congresswoman Lois Frankel.
TOWNSVILLE FLOOD UPDATE
We don't want to jinx it, but it looks like Townsville has had its last night of significant rain. Efforts are now focused on waiting for the water to recede for the cleanup. The initial tally is about 2,000 homes were inundated by floodwater, and 20,000 more are damaged. So far 6,500 insurance claims have been made accounting for $80 million in damages. Ouch. Concerns now move to the areas downstream of Townsville because the water has to go somewhere…
POPE CHALLENGED TO GO VEGAN
And full-page newspaper ads have been published around the world (including in today's Australian) supporting the push for His Holiness to take up the challenge for Lent. In exchange, the celebrity-backed Million Dollar Vegan campaign will donate US$1 million to a charity of Pope Francis' choosing. It's spokeskid is 12yo Genesis Butler, and she writes that she appreciates his efforts to highlight the threat of climate change. "I agree with all my heart and seek your support in tackling one of the largest underlying causes of the problems we face: animal agriculture." Lent this year is from 6 March to 18 April - no word yet on whether the Pope will take it on.
Are there two more expensive words in the English language? The government’s analysis group, the Productivity Commission, has looked into it and its initial thoughts are that the $20+/hour it costs to park at one of our capital city airports is a-ok. That’s because they say we put a premium on convenience, and there’s limited supply close to the terminals. ‘Phooey’ said Graeme Samuels, the former competition regulator’s chairman. Note: he’s also chairman of the mob lobbying on behalf of the airlines for better airports. "It is a nonsense and frankly their analysis is very, very poor.” He also (maybe jokingly) asked if a Royal Commission into the issue was required.
WEIR'S FOUR-YEAR BAN NOW OFFICIAL
Darren Weir, the leading horse trainer in the country, was handed a four-year ban yesterday. "It is sad it has come to this. You are a 48yo man who has completed a rags-to-riches rise in the racing world… Now you will be remembered for possessing instruments of cruelty and implements associated with a high level of cheating," said Judge John Bowman referring to the discovery of ‘jiggers' at his properties. Weir didn't fight the penalty. Racing Victoria said more sanctions could be forthcoming.
APROPOS OF NOTHING - ENTERTAINMENT EDITION
A Hollywood actress has become engaged to an art dealer. Or to extend them the courtesy of using both their names, Jennifer Lawrence has become engaged to Cooke Maroney.
Modern Family will soon wind up. It's been signed for an 11th and final series. We're going to miss Phil…
BBC TV has been profiling high achievers from different fields of human endeavour and it’s asked viewers to vote on who is the greatest person of the 20th century (although it has been criticised for not featuring a woman…). The winner - Alan Turing. He basically came up with modern computing and helped the Allies win WWII with his code-cracking magic. He died early in tragic circumstances. We’re going to watch The Imitation Game again…
SQUIZ THE DAY
10th anniversary of Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires (2009)
Anniversary of the death of Edmund Barton, Australia's first prime minister of Australia (1920)
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