Squiz Today / 26 September 2017
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 26 September
"It's pretty refreshing having someone that actually understands where I'm coming from."
That’s Aussie tennis grump Nick Kyrgios on what it’s been like to work with the original super-brat John McEnroe. McEnroe captained the ‘World’ team v ‘Europe’ in the new Laver Cup bringing Kyrgios under his direction for a few days. McEnroe has long said he gets Kyrgios, and Kyrgios has been typically dismissive. But this is encouraging - maybe there's a bromance coming on…
GAS SHORTAGE THREE TIMES WORSE THAN THOUGHT
What we’re short of – gas.
What we’re not short of – reports telling us we’re short of gas.
The Australian Energy Market Operator and the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission yesterday released reports that came to the same conclusion: we’re about 15% short of what Oz needs for domestic use as soon as next year. That means our impending domestic gas shortage is three-times larger than expected. The news came with an added warning that if the shortfall is left unchecked, our gas and electricity bills will (continue to) go through the roof.
HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED?
There are a few reasons, but three of the main ones are:
1. Too much of Australia’s gas (and we have a lot of it) has been committed for export. It’s a problem PM Malcolm Turnbull has talked a lot about recently, and he’s pulled the east coast gas company bosses in for a couple of meetings to get some of it back for domestic use.
2. Since Victoria’s Hazelwood coal-fired electricity generator closed earlier this year, a number of gas electricity generators have come back into operation. That means there is an increase in demand for gas.
3. PM Malcolm Turnbull pointed to the state governments’ lack of gas development approvals to develop their own resources. Queensland, he said, is the only state getting on with it.
HOW’S THIS GOING TO BE FIXED?
Turnbull yesterday channelled Ariana Grande singing “one last time” when he said that he would meet with the gas company bosses (again) this week about averting the shortfall. Turnbull is holding the threat of an export control mechanism over their heads (which means the government can step in to restrict gas exports). It’s regulation the companies are desperate to avoid. But it's a trigger the government can pull if it means avoiding politically unsavoury power price increases. “We will not let the power bills of Australians rise further and further because of a shortfall of gas on the east coast of Australia,” the PM said yesterday.
SQUIZ THE REST
TURNBULL GOVERNMENT SHOOTS FOR THE MOON
Literally. It was yesterday confirmed that we're getting our very own space agency but details will have to wait until after March when the experts report to the PM on what’s involved. Aspiring Mike Dexter’s will be disappointed - there won’t be astronauts or rocket launches with the focus firmly on the tech and IT side. “This is very much a private-sector driven undertaking in so many spaces and that is why we want to make sure Australia is at the forefront of seizing those opportunities and creating jobs and investment here,” said Education Minister Simon Birmingham.
NEW US TRAVEL BAN
The Trump Administration yesterday expanded its travel ban to include Chad, North Korea and Venezuela. The last ban (which expired yesterday) included six Muslim countries (Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan). Those countries are included in the new ban except for Sudan that was dropped from the list. The new restrictions vary by country. “My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation," US President Donald Trump said.
OTHER TROUBLES FOR TRAVELLERS
Thousands of travellers were frustrated yesterday after radar services at Sydney Airport went down at 5am. A total systems failure meant most flights weren’t able to take off or land, leaving dozens of flights cancelled or delayed. The ABC has a fascinating look at how it went down between air traffic control and pilots.
And while we’re talking about trouble, Bali’s Mount Agung is still threatening to erupt. Authorities have evacuated about 50,000 people from the volcano’s danger zone. So far there’s no volcanic ash problem to prevent flights from coming in or out of Denpasar airport.
RETAIL BIG WIG DOWN ON MYER
Solomon Lew knows a bit about retail. The former chairman of Coles Myer and current Premier Investments chairman (think Smiggle and Peter Alexander) wasn’t backwards in coming forwards on his views about the fortunes of Myer (of which Premier owns more than 10%). Saying its clearance stock “belongs in the Salvation Army,” Lew is disappointed with losing $30 million since buying a lot of Myer shares earlier this year. “I spend weekends visiting a lot of stores and travelling interstate and you would be horrified if what you saw what was really going on out there.’’ Premier is expected to demand a seat at Myer’s board table at some point.
CLINTON CREW HAVING THEIR UPS AND DOWNS
Anthony Weiner, former congressman and husband of Hillary Clinton’s top adviser Huma Abedin, has been sentenced to 21 months jail for sending explicit messages to an underage girl. Weiner pleaded guilty to the charge in May. “I was selfish. I have no excuse for what I did to her,” he said. Abedin has filed for divorce.
On the upside, there's been a lot of interest in former President Bill Clinton's novel that he's writing with best-selling airport-fiction author James Patterson. The book is called The President is Missing and reports say CBS-owned cable network Showtime has paid more than $10 million for the rights to turn it into a TV series. Observers haven’t missed that Showtime is the network that produced a show called The Affair…
AFL HOSTS ITS NIGHT OF NIGHTS
Surely Monday is the worst night to have a big formal do. But along they went, all dressed up for the AFL’s Brownlow Medal – the league’s prestigious best and fairest award night. Richmond’s Dustin Martin took out the award with a record-breaking 36 votes after going in as the unbackable favourite. Dusty (as he’s called) has a lot of tatts and his dad was in the news yesterday because he won't be at the MCG on Saturday to see his son play in a grand final. That’s because he’s a bikie who was deported to New Zealand last year.
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