Squiz Today / 24 March 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 24 March
“Okay, whose diabolical idea were the low-cut shirts?”
We’re with you, Jan Fran…
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS MEETS CENTRELINK CRASH
“Across Australia today, many thousands of Australians will lose their jobs. They are lining up at Centrelink offices as we speak - something unimaginable at this scale, only weeks ago,” PM Scott Morrison told parliament yesterday as precisely what he described transpired.
As measures put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak bit workers hard, lines formed outside Centrelink offices around the country. Those affected by the closure of restaurants, bars, clubs and many other ‘non-essential services’ were met with long waits - and many were turned away - as they came to claim income support and other entitlements. It was a situation exacerbated by the crash of the MyGov website. Minister Stuart Robert initially blamed it on an attack similar to the one that crashed the census in 2016. But what actually happened was the flood of people trying to get onto the welfare agency’s site crashed it. Opposition spokesman Bill Shorten said the demand for assistance was "entirely foreseeable" and the government must get it sorted.
Yep. And our political leaders weren't in a cheery mood either. Morrison said for most Australians, “2020 will be the toughest year of our lives.” And the cluster-disaster is “an economic crisis, the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression,” he added. And Labor leader Anthony Albanese said; “Most of our lives have not been directly affected by war, hunger or financial strife. They were stories our parents and grandparents told us. We listened to those stories, and we pictured them in black and white. We thought we were the lucky generations. We now face an enormous threat, and it's in colour." Last night, the government was granted a $40 billion 'advance' to spend on unforeseen events without needing federal parliamentary approval - handy because our federal representatives won't meet again until mid-August.
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IN OTHER AUSSIE UPDATES...
Queensland’s borders will be closed from midnight on Wednesday. Anyone entering the state will need to be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival. Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan is worried about the docking in Fremantle of the MSC Magnifica with its 1,700 potentially compromised passengers from Germany, France and Italy. He’s determined to avoid a rerun of what happened in NSW last week. And contrary to popular belief, blokes in the Northern Territory can get a bit choked up too… Chief Minister Michael Gunner needed a moment yesterday as he described what the public health system meant to him having suffered a heart attack at the start of the year.
...AND ACROSS THE WORLD
• The growth of coronavirus cases is accelerating, boss of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned early this morning. “It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases,” he said. Global cases have passed 360,000 and 15,500 people have died.
• New Zealand is entering a month-long lockdown from tomorrow night. Everyone is ordered to stay home, apart from those in essential services. Even though it has just passed the 100-cases mark, PM Jacinda Ardern reasons “but so did Italy once”.
• “People get intimate when they get drunk.” That’s Hong Kong’s administrator Carrie Lam’s motivation for moving to ban the sale of alcohol in the territory’s bars and restaurants. And foreign tourists won’t be able to enter from tomorrow.
• There are growing concerns about what's happening in New York with the city hosting half of America’s cases.
AUSSIES CALL TIME ON 2020 GAMES
The likelihood of a 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games going ahead is looking very slim as Australia followed Canada in becoming the first two countries to pull the pin. We won’t be sending athletes to the Games this year, the Australian Olympic Committee said, so athletes should get ready for 2021. The Canadian Olympic Committee said holding the Games from late July would risk the health of athletes, their families and the community, so it’s out. The International Olympics Committee is increasingly expected to postpone the sporting spectacle as the coronavirus spreads worldwide. And while we have you… The NRL has suspended competition until at least 1 May with Queensland’s border closure the straw that broke the scrum pack’s resolve. Or another tortured metaphor…
ISRAEL’S GOVERNMENT PROBLEM STAGGERS ON
As Israel battles the double whammy of COVID-19 and another unresolved election process, opponents of PM Benjamin Netanyahu have taken him to the Supreme Court. They have accused him of using the coronavirus crisis to stage a power grab, with the parliament frozen after speaker and Netanyahu ally Yuli Edelstein blocked several key votes. Netanyahu has used emergency regulations to push through strict laws to combat the virus threat, including the granting of new powers to track citizens using cellphone data without any parliamentary oversight. And there are restrictions on court hearings that led to the postponement of Netanyahu's upcoming corruption trial. So, there’s a couple of things going on…
TIGERLILY COLLAPSES INTO A HOLIDAY PRINT HEAP
Swimwear brand Tigerlily has become the first Australian retail victim of the COVID-19 crisis after it went into voluntary administration yesterday. While the retail industry was facing problems before the coronavirus hit, KordaMentha administrator Scott Langdon says COVID-19 was a “core reason” for the company’s collapse. That’s because would-be holidaymakers are staying as far away from stores as they are a departure lounge. While Langdon said the next step is to find a buyer, he confirmed some of the brand's 30 stores will likely close. The brand was founded by Sydney A-lister Jodhi Meares, who sold it to Billabong in 2007.
APROPOS OF NOTHING - VIRAL EDITION
If you're looking for a virtual choir to join, here you go.
SQUIZ THE DAY
Term 1 ends for students in Victoria
World Tuberculosis Day
Birthdays for British business magnate Alan Sugar (1947), fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger (1951), footballer and sports commentator Darren Lockyer (1977), and actress Jessica Chastain (1977)
Anniversary of the death of Elizabeth I (1603), author Jules Verne (1905), former Governor-General Sir John Kerr (1991)
• Elvis Presley joining the army (1958)
• One of America’s worst oil spills with supertanker Exxon Valdez running aground on a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound (1989)
• The Federal Parliament overturning the world's first euthanasia law in NT (1997)
• The Australian Cricket team’s ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town (2018)
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