Squiz Today / 30 January 2018
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 30 January
“1,206 taxpayer-funded massages”
That’s how many rubdowns a former security guard of Old Parliament House received over 19 years after injuring his back on the job in 1984. But the treatments are officially over after the government insurer and an appeals tribunal ruled the injury is now “resolved”. It was probably the lucky 1,200th massage that did the trick…
DEFENCE THE BEST FORM OF OFFENCE
Signalling a start to the political year, PM Malcolm Turnbull called in the cavalry yesterday to spruik a plan to make us a top exporter of military equipment and technology. The effort will be backed by a $3.8 billion fund that will provide finance to companies looking to export. But there was also some tidying up that needed to be done. Clarification was sought from the PM on whether Australia, like the US, is realigning its national security priorities to fend off an emerging China and resurgent Russia, or whether our government still sees terrorism as the #1 threat.
OOH, DEFENCE POLICY… PLEASE TELL ME MORE!
Message received, we’ll keep it short. Put to one side criticisms about aiming to export more instruments of war, and the argument that our remote island nation needs a strong defence industry. Team Turnbull told anyone who was listening it’s all about jobs. You know, the better-known half of the ‘jobs and growth’ mantra from the Coalition's 2016 election campaign.
SO WE’RE NOT TOO WORRIED ABOUT CHINA AND RUSSIA?
The PM and Ministers Julie Bishop, Marise Payne and Christopher Pyne did some tap dancing on that question yesterday. Turnbull pointed to our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as a sign of our commitment to continue the fight against terrorism. And aside from North Korea, Turnbull said; “there is no country in the region that shows any hostile intent towards Australia.” Translation: China is not our current top defence priority. That doesn’t mean our intelligence agencies aren’t keeping an eye on their spies…
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FITNESS TRACKER LIGHTS UP SECRET SPOTS
Online fitness tracker Strava’s recently published ‘heatmap’ showing where users run, ride and generally get sweaty has had unfortunate consequences. It's shown the whole world where soldiers exercise, including at top-secret military locations. Strava said people in secure locations should make sure they switch their setting to private. The US military is investigating. And it was an Aussie uni student who found it while doing some online browsing. We always knew exercise was dangerous and surfing the web was a good use of time.
A COUPLE OF THOUGHT BUBBLES
What’s better than a political balloon where ideas are floated to test the wind? And then usually spectacularly shot down. We have two excellent examples:
1. When Tony Abbott was PM, a proposal was discussed with his Cabinet to deny under-30s access to income support. The absence of riots in the streets and skyrocketing crime rates is evidence that the idea wasn’t pursued (in case you needed that confirmation…). But the interesting question is why this titbit was leaked to the ABC now? Curious.
2. Labor’s Anthony Albanese proposal for a referendum, to be held on a future Australia Day, on the questions of a republic and Indigenous constitutional recognition has been the talk of the ‘Berra. It's notable because some say yes - that might be a leadership baton you can see in his knapsack… Journalists will have the opportunity to ask leader Bill Shorten what he thinks when he addresses the National Press Club today.
NEW KID ON BLOCK AT COMMONWEALTH BANK
He’s new to the top job but not new to the bank. Matt Comyn has been leading the Commonwealth's retail bank (which is its largest division) and before that he headed up Commsec. Did we mention he’s just 42yo? Chairman Catherine Livingstone said Comyn would continue the bank’s track record of good returns to shareholders while maintaining the momentum of their change programs. Whatever that means. While noting Comyn is well respected, many commentators and analysts expressed disappointment that an external candidate wasn’t appointed to cast fresh eyes over our third biggest business/wave a magic wand/blow the joint up (depending on their view of how much change is needed). Next stop: Royal Commission hearings kick off on 12 February.
FUME TESTS A MISTAKE
There’s a growing corporate scandal in Europe over diesel exhaust data. No, it’s not that Volkswagon and others sought to cheat emissions tests – that’s so early 2000s. It’s that a research body funded by VW, BMW and Daimler used monkeys and people to test the effects of diesel fumes. The claim is the experiments were conducted to help the manufacturers counter a decision made in 2012 by the World Health Organisation to classify diesel exhaust fumes as a carcinogen. Yikes… All concerned now say it was the wrong thing to do.
TORTURE SURVIVOR’S SYMPATHY FOR TURPIN KIDS
Natascha Kampusch is one of a handful of people in the world who can say she has some idea what the Turpin children are going through. The Austrian survived eight years locked in her captor’s basement before she escaped in 2006. “The children will need closure in order to move forward. So yes, they need the opportunity to see their parents, even if it is just to say ‘I hate you, you are a monster’.” Kampusch never had a chance to confront her captor – he killed himself when she escaped. But some things are beyond understanding, even to someone like her. “I can imagine what the children have been through, but I can’t imagine why people do things like this,” she said.
GRAMMYS BIG FOR BRUNO
The night belonged to our favourite Hawaiian – Bruno Mars. He took out six awards at American music’s night of nights, including the three big ones for his album 24K Magic and the song of the year That’s What I Like. And rap artist Kendrick Lamar is on a roll after taking top spot in the weekend’s Triple J Hottest 100 - he took home three Grammys. The 'Time's Up' message reached the Grammys via white roses and Kesha’s emotional performance of her song Praying. All the ups and downs are captured here. And, as you would expect, there’s a red carpet gallery and a Beyonce moment to enjoy.
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12.30pm (AEDT) - Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten to address the National Press Club - Canberra
ABS Data Release - Additional information on the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey
70th anniversary of the assassination of Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi (1948)
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