Squiz Today / 01 May 2019
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 1 May
“Good on everyone for being so supportive.”
Said Aussie cricketer James Faulkner after his social media post celebrating five years with his “boyfriend” was lauded, but “misinterpreted”. Falkner wasn’t coming out. His mate is “just a great friend”, he said. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
HANSON FIGHTS FOR HER BASE
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson was teary and white-hot with anger yesterday, mostly at Nine's A Current Affair, for its broadcast of footage of Queensland Senate candidate Steve Dickson misbehaving at a strip club in America. In an interview with the program’s host Tracy Grimshaw (which included Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party ads in the break…), Hanson said she believes someone or something is behind the discrediting of One Nation. “I just feel like I keep getting kicked in the guts time and time again and all it all happens right before an election,” she said.
BACK IT UP A LITTLE BIT…
Dickson resigned yesterday after the footage, filmed as part of the Al Jazeera investigation into the party's connection to US gun lobbyists, the National Rifle Association, was leaked and aired by Nine. It raised further questions, says the ABC’s Annabel Crabb, about One Nation’s leadership - including where Hanson draws the line on behaviour. That’s because she stood by Dickson (and chief-of-staff James Ashby) over the NRA adventure but saw this episode as a sackable offence. But Hanson again questioned the motives of the Qatari Government-funded media organisation. And she said she was concerned for Dickson’s mental health given the humiliation he has suffered.
WHERE IS THIS GOING?
These have been damaging episodes for Hanson’s One Nation. And who knows, there could be more examples of candidates embarrassing themselves... Recent polling shows One Nation has lost ground to Palmer’s UAP which could see its influence significantly diminished. And with Palmer coughing up millions more in political advertising in the coming two-and-a-half weeks on top of Dickson’s woes, it’s possible One Nation’s vote will continue to fall. But last night Hanson made her pitch to her people - that there were those who were trying to take her down while she fights for the battlers. It’s a card she’s played before to great effect. We’ll know on 18 May if she can pull it off again.
SQUIZ THE REST
AUSSIE CRICKETER JAILED
Australian cricketer Alex Hepburn has been jailed for five years after a UK court found him guilty of rape. The 23yo, who was engaged in a WhatsApp-enabled conquest contest with friends, was described by a UK judge overnight as “immature” for engaging in “a pathetic sexist game”. Hepburn raped his victim after finding her asleep in a teammate’s bed. The court heard how he had been “fired up” by the contest to bed as many women as possible. “It demeaned women and trivialised rape,” Judge Jim Tindal said. “Only now do you realise how serious rape is.”
PUSH TO OUST MADURO IN VENEZUELA
Opposition leader/self-appointed president Juan Guaidó says he is in the “final phase” of ending President Nicolás Maduro's rule of Venezuela. The bitter standoff has been going on since January when Guaidó declared Maduro's government illegitimate and was recognised by the US and others (including Australia) as the country's leader. With Maduro refusing to budge (and blocking food and medical aid, overseeing widespread electricity outages etc), Guaidó has been unable to prise him from office. What's changed is Guaidó now says he has the support of the military. Maduro’s ministers say that’s not true and the latest uprising is just a small coup attempt. Analysts say the move will likely result in bloodshed, but Guaidó’s supporters are hoping this push can change things. Some photos from a dramatic day are here.
TRUMP UNDER PRESSURE
Which you'd think is probably every day of the week, every week… But there are a few things that stood out for US President Donald Trump yesterday:
• Trump and his kids are suing financial institutions Deutsche Bank and Capital One to prevent them from giving their financial records to congressional committees looking into the First Family’s financial affairs. It follows Trump’s resistance to turning over his tax returns to congress.
• Trump’s refusal to comply with congressional committee requests for information about him/his 2016 presidential campaign/his administration has only become more strident since the release of the Mueller report into Russian interference in the US election. And it’s forcing Democrats to consider their next steps.
• Speaking of Mueller, the Justice Department official who oversaw the process has resigned. Rod Rosenstein’s two-year stint as Deputy Attorney-General was a rocky ride.
Oh, and the Washington Post says Trump has told the 10,000th whopper of his presidency. That’s an average of 12 misleading or false claims a day.
TAXING TIMES FOR FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE
Financial information from the two tech mega-giants about their Aussie operations is hard to come by. But they are required to lodge documents with the corporate regulator ASIC about the state of their books, so this is what we now know about last year. Facebook's revenue was almost $600 million, up by $134 million from 2017, and it paid $11.8 million in tax. Google's sales totalled $4.3 billion in 2018, and its tax bill was $49 million after it paid $3.3 billion in "service fees" to itself. Politicians and media organisations are concerned about the two companies alleged practice of profit shifting.
THE CAT SLINKS BACK
One-hundred-and-seventy newspapers have a new owner. A consortium led by former Domain boss Antony Catalano bought the papers from Nine. For a cool $125 million, the Cat has snapped up the Australian Community Media newspapers arm of what was Fairfax Media. Think the Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, The Examiner in Tassie, Albury/Wodonga's Border Mail, the Ballarat Courier and the Illawarra Mercury. And there are farming titles The Land, Queensland Country Life and Stock & Land. What a bargain! What's Catalano's end game? Rumours are he will also go after a regional TV station to create a supercharged regional advertising machine.
HOW NOW WHITE WHALE
It’s not every day that a beluga whale in a Russian harness turns up… But that's what happened to some fishermen off the Norweigan coast last week. The harness had clips for a GoPro camera and a label sourcing it to Russia's St Petersburg. Reports say it's possible the Russian Navy had trained the whale. Russian military types said they have never made a secret of their dolphin program (wait, what?), but belugas aren't used for those purposes. Dolphins are used by the US and Russia for "analysing the seabed, protecting a stretch of water, killing foreign divers [and] attaching mines to the hulls of foreign ships”. Yikes… And while the Russians deny using the whales, experts say it’s likely because they can be trained much like a dog. Just when you thought you’d seen it all…
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm - Leader of the Greens Richard Di Natale to address the National Press Club - Canberra
Crown Prince Naruhito becomes the Emperor of Japan
ABS Data Release - Selected Living Cost Indexes, March
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