Squiz Today / 16 June 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 16 June
“The jury's still out. It could be space debris, or it could be a grazing fireball encounter."
Or aliens. Aliens could have visited Western Australia’s Pilbara region yesterday morning. The truth is out there…
LABOR IN POWER BOILOVER
LET’S DO THIS…
That’s the spirit.
• At the centre of the claims is Adem Somyurek, who until yesterday morning was the Minister for Local Government and Small Business. And as moves were being made to kick him out of the Labor Party, he jumped.
• Somyurek was sacked by Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday morning following claims of "industrial-scale" branch stacking. He was also taped slagging off a colleague and young party members using offensive language.
• Andrews has asked Victoria Police and the state's Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission to investigate the claims. And an internal inquiry is expected to be led by former premier Steve Bracks and federal deputy leader Jenny Macklin.
• Somyurek, who remains in the Victorian Parliament, denies any wrongdoing and says he will ask police to investigate the recording of many conversations without his consent.
• He was followed out the door last night by Veterans’ Minister Robin Scott. It's claimed he allowed Somyurek to use one of his taxpayer-funded staff members to support his branch stacking activities. Scott says he looks forward to clearing his name. And the Liberals have also called for Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz to go for the same reason.
UMM… SO WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT?
Power. A ‘faceless’ political powerbroker from central casting, those secret recordings have Somyurek casting himself in the role of the person in charge of Victoria. As the leader of the Right faction of the party, he is accused of using his own cash, or that of his supporters, to create fake branch members. Control over those 'members' led him to claim he had control over almost two-thirds of the Labor Party in the state. That position of influence also gave him a spot on the party’s national executive with a say on federal policies and candidate selection processes. Which is why federal leader Anthony Albanese called for Somyurek’s removal - and then he distanced himself from the saga. Next up: how to tidy up the mess...
SQUIZ THE REST
GILESPIE FAMILY ASK FOR A BIT OF SHOOSH
The family of Karm Gilespie have asked his friends who found out about his imprisonment in China on the weekend to stop publicly speculating about the circumstances of his conviction. The 55yo Australian man was sentenced to death last week on drug trafficking charges following his arrest in China in 2013. His family say they won’t comment beyond saying they are “very saddened by the situation.” And of the chatter about him, they say “we do not believe [it] assists his case." PM Scott Morrison yesterday said he was “very sad and concerned” that he had been sentenced to death, and that the government is doing what it can to help him.
FILIPINO EDITOR SENTENCED TO PRISON TERM
The editor of one of the Philippines' biggest news websites, Rappler, could be jailed for up to seven years after she was found guilty of ‘cyber libel’ yesterday. High-profile journo Maria Ressa is a former CNN reporter/Time Person of the Year who now runs the news site that's frequently critical of strongman President Rodrigo Duterte. And in a case that her supporters say is politically motivated, she and Rappler writer were found guilty of libel over an article about a businessman's alleged ties to the nation's top court. International agencies say it's another worrying attack on press freedoms in the country and follows last month’s forced closure of the nation’s biggest broadcaster ABS-CBN. Duterte denies that Ressa or other critics are being targeted by the government.
FACEBOOK CHANNELS ITS INNER ONLY CHILD
It doesn’t want to share. At least when it comes to the call from Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission to share its advertising revenue with Australian media companies. In a submission to an ACCC inquiry, Facebook says the idea would not be "healthy or sustainable", and that there is already a "healthy, competitive rivalry" for advertising revenue. And the mega tech company says it would pull locally-generated news content from the platform if necessary. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has tasked the consumer watchdog with developing a mandatory code of conduct dealing with how Google and Facebook should pay for content created by our news companies that’s then shared on their platforms. The draft code is expected to be out next month.
NOT GOING ANYWHERE
International travel to Australia - it’s another record collapse in the numbers as the coronavirus crisis saw us #stayathome in April. Overseas visitor arrival numbers plunged 99.7% in the month, the largest fall on record. We’re talking just 21,170 arrivals made it here, down from 921,000 in March and 1.67 million in April last year. There was also a 98% drop in departures from Australia, down from 834,000 in March and 1.82 million in April 2019. In 2018-2019, more than 10 million Aussies took overseas trips, spending $65 billion, but international travel is off the cards for a while as many nations struggle with new outbreaks of infection. Restrictions are lifting at home, however, and our local tourism industry is super keen for us to spend our holiday money on domestic trips. And they promise they won’t make you go to a big event if that makes you feel more comfortable…
CRICKET BOSS FINDS IT HARD TO DUCK THE BOUNCERS
Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts is expected to become the latest Aussie sports boss to face the chop, reports say. His anticipated departure tomorrow comes amid difficult times for the organisation during COVID-19, with Roberts to step down just 20 months after taking the top job from longstanding chief executive James Sutherland. Roberts has faced widespread criticism from the Australian Players' Association and state associations in April following his decision to stand down staff on 20% pay. But things came to a head last week following the downgrading of the organisation’s revenue for 2020/21 by more than $200 million. Reports say an interim CEO will be appointed as the search for a replacement is launched. Watch this space...
KEEPING IT REAL ONLINE
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - Residential Property Price Indexes: Eight Capital Cities, March
• the formation of the Salvation Army in London (1880)
• the opening of the first rollercoaster, in Coney Island New York (1884)
• the marriage of poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath (1956)
• the premiere of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)
• Russia's Valentina Tereshkova becoming the first woman in space (1963)
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