Squiz Today / 08 June 2017
Squiz Today – Thursday, 8 June
"This time I got a kiss on the opposite side so it wouldn't be lopsided.”
It's when 'When Harry Met Daphne - Part 2'! Daphne Dunne, the 97yo WWII widow who scored a kiss from Prince Harry in 2015, braved the wet and cold Sydney day to see him again. She waited with an Esky of beer (because last time Harry said he'd have a drink with her next trip) and her husband’s Victoria Cross medal, won posthumously after he died in Papua New Guinea in 1945. What a champion. And what a flirt!
OZ TAKES ECONOMIC GROWTH RECORD
Australia yesterday became an international economic champion by recording the longest stretch of uninterrupted growth. We’ve just ticked over 103 quarters – that’s almost 26 years - without a recession (defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth). Yay us! Now for the not-so-great news – our economy’s growth from January to March was the slowest it’s been since 2009. Our gross domestic product grew just 0.3 per cent compared to last quarter and a lazy 1.7% comparing year on year figures. Treasurer Scott Morrison said; "A generation of Australians have grown up without ever having known a recession. That's a tremendous national achievement, but it's not one we can take for granted."
WHAT HAVE WE DONE WELL?
In the past, our politicians have been pretty good at making the changes needed to help our economy grow. That included deregulating the banks and markets, growing exports and reducing tariffs, making the labour market more flexible, floating the dollar, and tax reform. These are seen as legacies of the Hawke, Keating and Howard eras of government. And we’ve generally had a well run and growing businesses (including the banks which are now in government’s sights for a levy).
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO IMPROVE?
Well, over the last ten years, governments have had problems getting difficult policies through hostile parliaments (eg the hung parliament of 2010 to 2013). And leaders have had a hard time holding onto their jobs (we’ve had five prime ministers in 10 years) making it difficult to get things done. The main economic challenges right now are low wages growth (we're not getting salary increases so we’re cautious about spending), low inflation and an expected downturn in commodity prices. A fall in house prices is also a risk to growth, the upside being improved affordability for buyers. The government is betting on growth returning to 3% in the coming year, so there’s some improvement to made. If you’re old enough to remember the 'recession we had to have’ you’ll agree it’s important we stay in positive territory.
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ISLAMIC STATE STORM IRAN’S PARLIAMENT
Twelve people are dead after Islamic State carried out attacks on the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini mausoleum. Reports say it is the first IS attack in Iran. Heavy gunfire was reported in the parliament attack, and a female suicide bomber was used at the mausoleum. Iran has been involved in fighting IS in Iraq and Syria.
SECOND AUSTRALIAN DEAD IN LONDON TERROR ATTACK
It was confirmed yesterday that Brisbane woman Sara Zelenak was the second Australian to die in the weekend’s terror attack in London. She was 21yo and was working in London as a nanny. Reports overnight say the number of deaths rose to eight with the body of a French man discovered in the Thames River.
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON TRUMP INTERFERENCE
It’s his first public outing since being told “you’re fired” by US President Donald Trump – and it's expected to be yuuuge. James Comey, the former Director of the FBI, is today giving evidence to the US Senate Intelligence Committee – the key question is whether the President asked him to back off in his investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia. The official reason Comey was fired was his mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. A preview of his written testimony says Trump asked for loyalty – and Comey promised honesty. Game on! And Trump has announced his nomination to replace Comey – former assistant attorney general Christopher Wray. Comey will be giving evidence at midnight our time – we’ve got popcorn and everything. Sad, aren’t we…
UK GETS READY TO VOTE
And what a campaign it’s been. Two terror attacks in two weeks and predictions of a landslide victory to the Conservatives downgraded to a ‘maybe’ win. You’ll remember (won’t you…) that UK PM Theresa May called the election just two years into a five-year term. Her reason? She said the country needed certainty and stability in the wake of Brexit (the UK’s decision to exit the European Union) so the government could go forth and negotiate terms with a mandate from the people. May and the Conservatives have advocated for a ‘hard Brexit’ (ie leaving the EU single market and controlling their borders) whereas Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn wants a ‘soft’ approach (ie maintaining some involvement in the EU market somehow). Who’s going to win? The polls say it’s close. By our watches, voting begins tonight (7am UK) and remains open for 15 hours, so there won’t be a result until Friday.
UBER MOVES TO CLEAN UP ITS ACT
After high profile accusations of sexual harassment and claims of a toxic culture, Uber have fired 20 people, including senior executives. Investigations commenced after former engineer Susan Fowler posted a blog about her experience with the company, including sexual harassment and mismanagement of her claims by HR and senior managers. On top of that, a string of senior people left and there’ve been PR disasters with underpayments to drivers and the #deleteuber campaign. Two new senior execs – Apple’s Bozoma Saint John (chief brand officer) and Harvard Business School Professor Frances Frei (senior vice president for leadership and strategy) - have been hired to help reset the business. As anyone who’s been through management training will tell you, ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ and while they say more changes will be made it might take some time to get real change.
CECIL GETS A HAIR CUT
The ‘before’ pictures remind us of ourselves the morning after a big night – woolly, tired and cranky. Cecil the sheep was found stuck on ledge of a quarry in Heybridge, Tassie. He’d wandered 200km over two years before he was rescued by the RSPCA and taken to Launceston for some TLC and a shear. They took off 38kg of fleece, just shy of the record of 41.1 kg recorded by a sheep known as Chris of Canberra. We reckon he’ll be a bit chilly for a while.
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4.00pm (AEST) - Polls open for voting in the UK Election
8.00pm (AEST) - Socceroos v Saudi Arabia - Adelaide
12.00am Friday (AEST) - Former FBI Director James Comey to give evidence to US Congress
ABS Data Releases - International Trade, April
Google AGM - Mountain View, California
Bonnie Tyler's birthday (love the Total Eclipse of the Heart, but we LOVE this spoof)
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