Squiz Today / 05 May 2020
Squiz Today – Tuesday, 5 May
“I'm at the point of the pandemic where I can tell what time of day it is by which premier is on TV.”
Tweeted journalist Byron Kaye of the newfound routine of anyone with a TV on during the day. Add to that the briefings by the various chief medical officers, and that's how we know what day it is…
ONE BUBBLE FORMS AS ANOTHER GETS SET TO BURST
With Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern joining PM Scott Morrison and our state and territory leaders on their National Cabinet call today, talk has turned to the creation of a "trans-Tasman travel bubble". It's a concept that's gaining interest given the hard economic times that are upon us.
BUT MORRISON DOESN’T LIKE BUBBLES...
It’s the ‘Canberra bubble’ that he’s not a fan of. This would be an arrangement between Oz and New Zealand to establish an ‘exclusive travel zone’ allowing tourists, workers and business people to move between our countries. And it would be to the economic benefit of both nations as we try to restart economies. It’s an idea that’s likely to have Australian support with Morrison saying last month that if there was a country we'd think about opening our borders to "undoubtedly that's New Zealand." Ardern says our joint-record in managing the COVID-19 threat means it's something to work towards - but it's unlikely that travel bans will be lifted soon. As a side note, Ardern becomes the first Kiwi to join an Aussie Cabinet meeting - if you don’t include former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce…
AND WHAT OF THESE ECONOMIC HARD TIMES?
Coronavirus restrictions are costing the economy $4 billion a week, according to Treasury. And you can mark late September in your diary as a bit of a perfect storm. That's when the Morrison Government's doubling of JobSeeker payments ends. It's when JobKeeper payments end. And it's when a six-month grace period on loan repayments ends. It's expected that some social restrictions and travel bans will still be in place at that point, so many workers and businesses will still be significantly impacted. And that creates a wall that many are expected to hit. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will have something to say about these things when he addresses a virtual National Press Club today.
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AMERICA’S HEAVY TOLL
During a two-hour virtual town hall broadcast on Fox News from Washington DC’s Lincoln Memorial on Sunday night, US President Donald Trump said he believes up to 100,000 Americans may die from COVID-19 - significantly higher than last week’s estimate of 60,000 to 70,000 deaths. The prediction comes as an intelligence document from its Homeland Security was made public accusing China of deliberately concealing the virus’s emergence so it could stock up on the medical items needed to fight it. And in a theory that just won’t quit, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says there is “a significant amount of evidence that [the coronavirus] came from that laboratory in Wuhan.” China says that's rubbish.
PULLING TOGETHER FOR A VACCINE
Countries around the world are moving to ease coronavirus restrictions in the hope of placating restless populations as well as saving economies from a terrible crash. But experts are clear that life will not get back to normal without a vaccine, and it’s going to be hard to develop one quickly. So the leaders of 40 nations have banded together with corporations and celebrities to support efforts to expedite the work. Led by the European Union, an online summit held overnight has raised A$12.45 billion to finance "a truly global endeavour". A representative from Australia spoke at the summit, but it’s unclear how much (if anything) we contributed. The US and Russia did not contribute.
EYEING OFF EDEN-MONARO
We wouldn't usually follow a federal by-election so closely. Well, personally we would - we just wouldn't go on about it to you. But this is an interesting one… The NSW seat of Eden-Monaro is a tight one with a margin of just 0.9%. And it came into play last week when well-regarded Labor MP Mike Kelly retired due to health issues. That's put stars into the eyes of Coalition-types with dreams of extending the Morrison Government's one-seat majority to a whopping two seats. But who should be their candidate? NSW Deputy Premier and leader of the Nationals John Barilaro wanted to give it a go, but he tearfully said yesterday that it wasn’t his time. That means Liberal state minister Andrew Constance is expected to announce today that he’ll put his hand up. He came to national attention during the bushfire emergency on the NSW South Coast in January when his property came under threat, and he became a forceful voice for victims. Meanwhile, Labor has already picked its candidate. It's Bega Valley mayor Kristy McBain who worked closely with Constance during the crisis. A date is yet to be set for the vote.
WESTPAC HIT BY CORONAVIRUS AND COMPLIANCE WOES
We’re used to the big four banks posting profits in rude health. But not lately. Yesterday, Westpac said it would defer its dividend payments to shareholders due to a 62% profit drop in the first half of its financial year. The culprits in the fall are the downturn caused by the coronavirus crisis and an anticipated AUSTRAC money laundering fine. Remember that one? Long story short, Westpac was pinged for allegedly breaching the anti-money laundering and terror financing laws 23 million times, and it was charged with processing transactions linked to child exploitation. So it’s had to put $1 billion aside to cover legal costs and penalties expected to be handed down. Ouch…
A TRIO OF LIFE ADVICE
Coronavirus saint Tom Hanks has delivered a virtual graduation speech to Ohio's Wright State University saying young people going into the changing world are the "chosen ones". "You will not let us down," he said.
Asked what he would tell his younger self, golfer Tiger Woods said “not to run so much”. Which is saying something about how bad running is when you think about what he’s put himself through over his lifetime…
Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent says adversity makes you stronger. “When there are the setbacks, there are gonna be the get-backs.” Word.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Treasurer John Frydenberg to address the virtual National Press Club
NZ PM Jacinda Ardern joins Australia’s national cabinet meeting to discuss COVID-19
Key democracy activists due to appear in a Hong Kong court
Celebration of Cinco de Mayo
Liberation Day in the Netherlands to remember 1945’s end to the Nazi Occupation
Adele’s birthday (1988)
• Carnegie Hall opening in New York with Tchaikovsky as guest conductor (1891)
• Perfume Chanel No 5 released by fashion designer Coco Chanel (1921)
• Birthday of Karl Marx (1818)
• Death of Napoléon Bonaparte (1821)
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