Squiz Today / 19 April 2017
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 19 April
HASTA LA VISA, BABY
The government yesterday announced big changes to the foreign worker visa system. The 457 visa system will be scrapped. The do-over creates two new visa classes (two and four years duration) on a reduced list of skills (435 jobs remain on the skills shortage list, down from 651). It will be harder to get a visa – applicants will need police and language checks plus two years’ work experience. Before a visa is granted, a labour market test will ensure there is a genuine skills shortage (ie there’s not an Australian available for the role). The 95,000 people currently working on a 457 visa will be grandfathered (ie they’re cool to stay).
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM - POLITICAL OR PRACTICAL?
Well, PM Malcolm Turnbull's media release is titled ‘Putting Australian Workers First’ so you could say it feels a little Trump-tastic. And the government has been under pressure from all sides on the topic – Labor has been campaigning on Aussie jobs and conservatives/One Nation have wanted a bit of ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ as well. But truth be told, the government commissioned an independent review way back in 2014 – well before the advent of President Trump and the current domestic political push-and-pull – to look into the issue.
WHAT’S THE REACTION BEEN?
Hmm, mixed… Many expressed surprise, which is kinda a compliment given the tendency for things to leak these days. The Australian Chamber of Business and Industry and Australian Industry Group said the changes will bolster public confidence in the system, so that’s good. Hospitality and Healthcare groups expressed concern about securing their workforces, particularly in rural areas. Our favourite tweet was from Business Insider’s Paul Colgan - There should be a special class of visa for skilled migrant dancers: the 5678.
SQUIZ THE REST
MAY CALLS EARLY GENERAL ELECTION
UK PM Theresa May has called an early election for 8 June. May and her Conservative Party are in a strong position in the polls relative to the Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn. The UK has fixed five-year electoral terms, and they are only two years in. That means there needs to be a vote in parliament on Wednesday and a two-thirds majority to bring the election on. May said the reason for the early date is to provide stability and certainty through the Brexit process, essentially making the general election the second vote on the issue in 12 months.
TERROR ARRESTS IN FRANCE
With the first round of their presidential elections starting on Sunday, two men (French citizens said to be known Islamic radicals) have been arrested on suspicion of planning an attack. It follows the search of a flat in Marseille where heavy weapons and explosives were found. Dealing with militant Islam and immigration have been prominent issues in the election campaign.
FACEBOOK KILLER FOUND DEAD
Police say Steve Stephens killed himself after a police chase in Pennsylvania, US. Police rammed his vehicle and as the car was spinning reports say he shot himself. It follows a five state search for Stephens over the killing of a man in Cleveland that was videoed and posted to Facebook on Sunday.
UPDATE ME ON NORTH KOREA
Where is Carl Vinson? One really interesting report from the US overnight suggests the strike force that was said to be steaming towards the Korean Peninsula is, in fact, taking a stroll. Is the US bluffing on its intentions to do something on North Korea? Experts quoted say it's probably to give China some time to step up.
And our bewildering national tendency to make ourselves part of any big international story raised its head when foreign minister Julie Bishop reminded us that if North Korea fulfills their ambition of building nuclear capacity to launch missiles that would hit the USA, they could hit us too. Cheers for that.
UPDATE ON STEPS TO GET MORE GAS
No, we’re not talking about the latest culinary trend for pickled side dishes. Rather, we’re talking about PM Turnbull’s catch up meeting with the east coast gas company bosses today to hear what progress they’ve made on increasing our gas supply. Perversely, Australia is about to become the biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, yet the domestic market is short of supply. One problem that’s been raised is gas producers are selling it cheaper on the international market than can be accessed here. Let's see what comes of it today.
NEW COS FOR TURNBULL
For the political tragics, news this morning that PM Turnbull has appointed Greg Moriarty as his new chief of staff. He will take the key role when Drew Clarke retires on Friday. Moriarty is an international affairs expert and was our ambassador to Iran and Indonesia. Turnbull has taken a different approach to recent PMs by appointing senior public servants to the head of his office rather than a political heavy-hitter.
NETFLIX GROWTH SLOWING
In a letter to shareholders yesterday, Netflix said they expected to hit 100 million subscribers this week. It’s a significant achievement but as in life, business is about momentum and there are signs growth is slowing as the market matures. They predict profit for the next quarter will be down due to content costs, including a new series of House of Cards (out 30 May). We wonder what Frank and Claire would make of the slow down…
SQUIZ THE DAY
PM Malcolm Turnbull to meet with gas company executives (Canberra)
ABS Data Release - New Vehicle Sales
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