Squiz Today / 12 May 2021
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 12 May
"Other kids have a strong bond with a teddy bear … it's just ours happens to be a five-foot skeleton, which is a bit odd I guess."
Said mum Alex Talauta about her daughter Amelie’s 108-year-old skeleton friend Hugo Sebastian Wellington III. Together they visit famous landmarks, cuddle wildlife and eat hamburgers. Now that sounds like bone-ticklin’ fun...
FEDERAL BUDGET v THE PANDEMIC
A comeback story for the ages is at the centre of the Morrison Government’s economic plan for Australia after the once-in-100-years pandemic put their plans of a surplus in the bin last year. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last night said the budget deficit is set to come in at $161 billion this financial year. And Australia's debt should peak at $980.6 billion at the end of the 2024-25 financial year. Things could have been worse, Frydenberg said, and the resilience of the Aussie economy puts us ahead of developed nations across Europe and Asia. "Team Australia at its best - a nation to be proud of," he said.
ENOUGH OF THE BACKSLAPPING… WHAT’S NOTABLE?
Topline: there’s more than $29 billion in temporary business and personal income tax cuts, $33 billion in extra funding for services, and an additional $4 billion for training programs. There’s always winners and losers, but 3 call-outs:
• The scene-stealer is $17.7 billion for aged care in the wake of the Royal Commission that uncovered shocking levels of neglect. That includes $6.5 billion for an extra 80,000 home care packages to help more people stay in their homes. And there are subsidies for aged care providers to improve the quality of care and improved training for workers, amongst other things.
• That sounds big, but the whopper of the night is $20.7 billion to extend tax breaks to businesses to allow them to deduct the full cost of eligible capital assets until the end of 2022-23.
• And pointing to politics, there's a tax cut for 10.2 million people through a $7.8 billion extension of the low and middle-income tax offset (aka LMITO), a rebate worth up to $1,080 for an individual. And as for women’s security, there’s $3.4 billion for domestic violence services, tackling sexual harassment at work, and making it more attractive for mothers to return to work.
SO WHERE ARE WE HEADING?
Recovery, and an even more resilient economy, the government says. Add a dash of 'we're heading to an election in the next year', and you get the gist of the scale of it… But analysts were quick to point out that it will only work if some 'brave' assumptions come off. Like international travel returning by mid-2022 and vaccinations being completed by the end of this year. We also need to hit economic growth of 4.25% next financial year - a rate we haven't seen since the late 90s. And unemployment needs to hit 4.5% by 2023-24 by creating 250,000 new jobs to push wages up - a rate we haven't seen for more than a decade. As Jimmy Barnes belted out, there are many rivers to cross…
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A TRAGEDY IN PORT LINCOLN
The South Australian community was left in shock yesterday after a 13yo Indigenous boy was killed when the industrial rubbish bin he and 2 other boys aged 11yo and 12yo were sleeping in was emptied by a collector. Police said the 12yo was able to escape the bin and run to the cabin to alert the operator, but he didn't get their attention in time. The 11yo escaped injury, but the unnamed 13yo sustained fatal injuries. Superintendent Paul Bahr said the boys were not homeless, and it would take some time before the uninjured pair would be able to speak about what happened. “Just one of the levels of tragedy of this is why these 3 children thought they needed to be sleeping in the bin on what was a pretty cold and wet night,” said Bahr. Child protection authorities in South Oz have confirmed the dead boy was not in state care.
INDIA STRAIN UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
A fast-spreading strain of COVID-19 first identified in India has been declared a "variant of global concern" by the World Health Organization. India has become the pandemic's epicentre reporting more than 300,000 new virus infections for the past 9 days straight. The crisis has been overwhelming for health officials and those seeking to hold funerals. Yesterday, the bodies of at least 100 people washed up on the banks of the Ganges river in northern India - reports say they were people who were unable to be cremated because of a wood shortage and the rising funeral costs. There’s growing concern over rising cases across India’s borders - that includes Nepal where more than 40% of all COVID tests are showing a positive result, according to the Red Cross.
CHINA’S POPULATION GROWTH SLOWS
It’s not the decline the Financial Times suggested last month - and China refuted - but it is China’s slowest rate of population growth since 1953. In the once-a-decade census conducted in November and December last year and released yesterday, the National Bureau of Statistics said there were 1.4 billion people in China last year. And, for the 4th year in a row, the birth rate fell with 12 million babies born in 2020 - the lowest level since 1961. The census also showed that the population is ageing rapidly, and that will see China join many developed nations with not enough young workers to support them. The government has already flagged raising the retirement age to ease pressure on the pension system. The count raises questions about the push for traditional family values and puts pressure on Beijing to abandon its family planning policies limiting them to having 2 kids.
NO LIKES FOR KIDS INSTAGRAM PROPOSAL
Officials from 44 US states have written jointly to Facebook urging it to abandon plans to launch a kids version of Instagram, raising concerns about privacy, bullying and mental health problems linked to social media. “There are myriad other - and safer - ways for young children to connect with family and friends,” the letter says. Facebook has faced pressure over its plans to build a version of the popular photo-sharing app for primary-schoolers since it revealed the plan in March. Kids under 13yo are currently prohibited from signing up, but many do it anyway by lying about their age. A Facebook spokesperson said the company wants to "give parents visibility and control over what their kids are doing", as it has with its Messenger app for kids. The tech giant said it will work with regulators and lawmakers on the Instagram plan but hasn't said when it will launch the service.
DIVERSITY CONCERNS FRONT AND CENTRE
Aussie basketball star Liz Cambage yesterday confirmed “I’m in baby” for the July Tokyo Olympics, following speculation she would boycott the Games. Last week the 29yo called out Olympic officials for what she believed was a ‘whitewashed’ promotional shoot. Her comments last week drew criticism, but officials admitted it could have "better reflected the rich diversity of athletes". Also being hit with the diversity stick are the organisers behind the Golden Globes with US broadcaster NBC announcing it will not air the awards ceremony next year following diversity and corruption concerns. This year's ceremony also saw a drop in viewership to a 13-year low of 6.9 million viewers tuning in after 18.4 million people watched in 2019. Several A-listers have expressed their concerns, including actor Tom Cruise who said he feels the need, the need to hand back his 3 Golden Globe awards in light of the investigation’s findings.
APROPOS OF NOTHING
The world’s richest man Jeff Bezos has bought a boat - which is one way to describe the 127-metre superyacht that’s so big it has its own “support yacht” and a price tag of around US$500 million…
Need a haircut? How about one using blowtorches, meat cleavers and broken glass? Yeah, you're right. We're growing ours out too...
If you thought your dog was laughing at you when you spilt that cup of coffee all over yourself, Fido probably was.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg delivers his post-Budget address at the National Press Club - Canberra
ABS Data Release - Building Approvals, March
Birthdays for Rami Malek (1981), Bill Shorten (1967) and Homer Simpson (1956)
• the birthdays of Florence Nightingale (1820) (200th anniversary) and Katharine Hepburn (1907)
• the wedding of Mick and Bianca Jagger (1971)
• Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction premiering at the Cannes Film Festival (1994)
Read the email every day this week and you'll go into the draw for a $100 gift card to spend at JB Hi-Fi. It's time to get your cord situation sorted...
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