Squiz Today / 05 February 2019
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 5 February
“The China story is irresistible for a journalist. It has become the story of our time - and one with immense implications for Australia.”
Said ABC journo Sarah Ferguson about chucking in her Four Corners presenting/reporting role to become the public broadcaster’s new bureau chief in China. Reports say she won’t start until October. Her Q&A-hosting husband Tony Jones has more than taken it as a comment - he’s said to be joining her in Beijing next year.
COMMISSION TAKES ON ‘PROFITS BEFORE PEOPLE’ CULTURE
If you were looking for thunderbolts and lightning from the Financial Services Royal Commission, you were probably left disappointed. The release of the highly anticipated final report yesterday made no direct recommendations for criminal prosecutions against any entity or individual. But the banking, financial services and superannuation industry wasn't let off scot-free either with 76 recommendations aimed at preventing misconduct in the future.
GIVE ME THREE THINGS TO NOTE
• Commissioner Kenneth Hayne zeroed in on the sales culture driven by incentives, bonuses and commissions that drove profits as well as poor or potentially illegal conduct across the sector. A restructure of the way insurance and superannuation is sold has been recommended, and there are changes afoot for mortgage brokers and financial advisers. And a compensation fund for the victims of misconduct will be established.
• Twenty-four cases of misconduct will be referred to the regulators. Many of these cases deal with the ‘fee-for-no-service’ cases that shocked the country last year.
• National Australia Bank’s chairman Dr Ken Henry and CEO Andrew Thorburn copped a stinging rebuke from Hayne. "Having heard from both the CEO Mr Thorburn, and the chair Dr Henry, I am not as confident as I would wish to be that the lessons of the past have been learned," he said.
WHAT DID PEOPLE SAY?
Commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC - “The financial services industry is too important to the economy of the nation to allow what has happened in the past to continue or to happen again.”
Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer - "From today, the banking sector must change and change forever.”
Chris Bowen, Labor’s Treasury spokesman - This is a dark day for Australia’s banks and financial institutions. [They] should be strong, they should be profitable… and they should be above all, ethical.”
Anna Bligh, Australian Bankers' Association - "Banks are determined to learn the lessons, to fix the problems, and to make it right… Judge them by their actions in the coming weeks, the coming months, as they implement this report."
SQUIZ THE REST
TOWNSVILLE'S BIG WET CONTINUES
Geez, you've got to feel for those living in and around Townsville. It's received even more rain taking the total from this disaster to 1700mm - that's more than a year's worth in just over a week. And there have been reports of crocodiles and snakes coming to town. Yikes... The dam regulating the Ross River was at 244% capacity early yesterday, and by 6pm it was down to 217% - it's that water that has significantly upped the flooding and damage to potentially thousands of homes. Official numbers aren't available as authorities focus on evacuations and rescue efforts. The forecast: more rain. The good news is the airport has reopened which will help to get some much-needed supplies through.
HAKEEM REMAINS IN THAI PRISON
For at least 60 more days. That’s what 25yo Hakeem Al-Araibi is facing. He is the refugee footballer who is fighting an extradition request from Bahrain, the country he represented on the international soccer pitch and subsequently fled. Araibi's bail application was knocked back yesterday, and he now has two months to mount a legal case against being returned to Bahrain. He is recognised as a refugee by the Aussie government and, until his arrest in November on an erroneous Interpol alert, was playing semi-professional football for Pascoe Vale FC in Melbourne. Former Socceroo and SBS commentator Craig Foster told Araibi that Australia is with him as he was led into court yesterday.
TOP TRAINER STARES DOWN FOUR-YEAR BAN
It was a marathon 12-hour hearing, and early this morning, Racing Victoria officials emerged to say that Australia’s top horse racing trainer is looking at a four-year ban. Darren Weir was charged with integrity and animal cruelty charges last week following the discovery of banned electrical devices known as ‘jiggers' (that deliver a shock to the horse to get it to run faster and harder) at his properties. Weir is not contesting the charges which will be officially heard in an upcoming hearing. Assistant trainer Jarrod McLean will fight the charges levelled at him.
BRING ON THE ‘EXECUTIVE TIME’
We could give you a preview of US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address (diary note: that's mid-tomorrow). But we won’t. Instead, you can check out his private schedule for the last three months. It was leaked to US media outlet Axios, and it features a lot of ‘executive time’. Insiders say it’s the ‘unstructured’ time Trump needs to watch TV, read the papers and phone aides/contacts about what’s on his mind. Who wouldn’t like some of that? It also means he rarely starts meetings before 11.00am. Extraordinary reading.
EYES ON THE SUPER BOWL PRIZE
The New England Patriots prevailed against the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. The win was the Pats' sixth title which is a league record-equaling effort. Thank you, next… Don't feel bad. Even fans found the low-scoring game hard work. So how about some killer ads? Brands spent US$5 million for a 30-second spot during one of the most watched events of the year, so you'd want to get it right. Critics were, well, critical of the Pepsi ad for its focus on Coke. Burger King also copped it for lack of sizzle even with its star Andy Warhol. We liked the Amazon ad (or maybe we have a thing for grumpy Harrison Ford...), but you can browse a good selection here. And the half-time show featuring Maroon 5 was meh – or at least that was the critical consensus.
THE EGG HAS A MESSAGE AFTER ALL
Have you lost sleep wondering about who/what is behind the World Record Egg that recently broke Instagram? Us neither. But more has been revealed. With many fearing they’d been duped by an ad for streaming service Hulu, the Egg put its fame to good use yesterday featuring in a public service announcement during the Super Bowl to promote mental health awareness. Nice one.
SQUIZ THE DAY
2.30pm (AEDT) - Reserve Bank announces its decision on official interest rates
ABS Data Releases - International Trade in Goods and Services, December; Retail Trade, December
Anniversary of the death of Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson (1941)
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