Squiz Today / 18 September 2019
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 18 September
THREE MINUTE SQUIZ
"Kindness is so, so, so important.”
Says GP and author Sonia Henry. A couple of years ago, the medico wrote about the extraordinary pressures placed on trainee doctors. It went viral, and the conversations it started inspired her novel Going Under. Please welcome the good mental health advocate and domestic goddess (ahem…) to this week’s Three Minute Squiz.
HONG KONG OFFICIALS TO MEET WITH PROTESTORS
After 100 days of demonstrations that have plunged the Chinese territory into its worst crisis since British rule ended in 1997, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam is set to open talks with her citizens. Lam yesterday said she wants people from "all walks of life" to discuss the "deep-rooted economic, social and even political issues" that are contributing to the unrest. It's taken Lam some time to get here with protestors and international leaders encouraging her to engage with concerned residents for some time.
THAT SOUNDS GOOD?
We’ll see. By all accounts, the meetings, which kick off next week, aren’t large and will be tightly managed, but Lam made a point of saying the process would be open and transparent. That didn’t stop many from saying it’s way too little too late. And while Lam says she’s keen to engage on issues like affordable housing and a lack of diversity and inclusiveness in the economy, the focus of most demonstrator’s anger continues to be what they see as creeping interference by China in Hong Kong’s affairs. But it’s a step down from the official line that dialogue wasn’t possible. If only Lam could find someone to PR it…
(PS there's a Squiz Shortcut on the background to the unrest in Hong Kong for your reading/podcasting pleasure.)
Speaking of step-downs… After ramping up the rhetoric about a possible military strike against Iran, US President Donald Trump yesterday said he is in no rush to respond to the targeted attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry at the weekend. “I don’t want war with anybody… We have a lot of options but we are not looking at options right now,” he said yesterday. Not feeling so zen is Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. While continuing to deny responsibility for the drone attacks, Rouhani nevertheless said they were a “reciprocal response” to the aggression against Yemen.
SQUIZ THE REST
REBELS ABANDON MOVE AGAINST NSW PREMIER
Barely lasting from dinner time to brekkie, the revolt by three NSW Liberal MPs intent on challenging their leader was extinguished, but not before a waft of chaos enveloped the Coalition Government. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her supporters stared down the unhappy campers who are concerned about her handling of abortion reforms currently before the parliament. But the rebels say they’ve been told amendments to the bill could be forthcoming. Adding to Berejiklian's ripping day, NSW Sport, Seniors and Veterans Minister John Sidoti stepped down after the state’s corruption watchdog said it’s looking into his property portfolio and a political donation made by his developer/business partner while he was responsible for parts of the planning portfolio. Sidoti says the claims of wrongdoing are “false and inaccurate”.
PELL APPEALS TO THE HIGH COURT
Not unexpectedly, Cardinal George Pell has appealed to the highest court in the land to overturn his child abuse convictions. Currently serving a maximum six-year prison sentence for the abuse of two former choirboys at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in the 1990s, the 78yo’s first appeal was dismissed in a Victorian court August. There is no guarantee that the High Court will hear his appeal, and if it does go ahead, a hearing might not be required.
CENTRELINK ROBO-DEBT SCHEME HEADS TO COURT
The federal government financially benefited when it took money that legitimately belonged to welfare recipients. That’s the basis of a class action lawsuit against the government by Melbourne firm Gordon Legal. The robo-debt system matches income details from the Tax Office with Centrelink's records, and if a welfare overpayment is detected, an automatic debt notice can be sent. It's then up to the individual to prove the notice wrong. Reports say the scheme has added $2 billion to the federal budget’s bottom line, although errors have been admitted. Services Minister Stuart Roberts has said one-in-five debt recovery notices have been incorrect. He labelled the legal action a “political stunt” while Labor’s Government Services spokesman Bill Shorten said “robo-debt is very likely illegal," and it warranted a challenge in the courts.
LETTING GIRLS BE GIRLS
Indonesia is to up the minimum age for women to marry to 19yo in an effort to stamp out child marriage. The change will match the minimum age for boys, and ups the limit for girls from 16yo. Parents can ask religious courts or local officials to authorise marriages of younger girls, and there's no age limit on that arrangement. Child marriages are a social norm in some parts of Indonesia, with 14% of girls married before the age of 18yo. Rachel Yates, executive director of activist group Girls Not Brides, said it was "a positive step towards recognising that girls are entitled to the same opportunities in life as boys." The change will be implemented in the next three years.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE DROPS NEW CAST MEMBER
The legendary American sketch comedy show yesterday said it will no longer need the services of comedian Shane Gillis, less than a week after his addition had been announced. The decision was reached after since-deleted videos of Gillis making unsavoury remarks about people of Chinese heritage and gay people came to light. An SNL spokesperson said the language Gillis used was “offensive, hurtful and unacceptable” and apologised for the oversight. Gillis tweeted; "I'm a comedian who was funny enough to get SNL. That can't be taken away.” He becomes the latest comedian to pay for the sins of jokes past.
REALITY SHOW LEADS TO SOMETHING GOOD
Who’d have thunk it? Fans have rallied around Survivor competitor Luke Toki after he was knocked out of the race to claim the winner's prize of $500,000 on Monday night. Toki had a clear purpose for spending two months away from his family in Western Australia - he needed to win to help support his children. He has two sons who are on the autism spectrum, and a baby daughter who was recently diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. But after the tribe had spoken and his flame was extinguished earlier this week, fans started a GoFundMe appeal, and as of this morning, more than $435,000 has been raised. Nice. The season's winner was crowned last night - we won't be a spoiler for those delaying their viewing pleasure, but the details are here.
SQUIZ THE DAY
7.30pm (AEST) - Canberra’s Parliament House Midwinter Ball (postponed from winter because of the election). Bidding on the charity items, including drinks with PM Morrison, is still open
ABS Data Release - Waste Account, Experimental Estimates, 2016-17
National Day of Chile
Anniversary of Jimi Hendrix death (1970)
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