Squiz Today / 20 June 2018
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 20 June
THREE MINUTE SQUIZ
“I still desperately wish I had been in the Young Talent Team. It doesn't seem fair that I didn't get to live my best life.”
In overcoming her childhood disappointment, it’s incredible that relationships expert Kerri Sackville (author, columnist and frustrated rapper) is the functioning, thoughtful and hilarious adult she is today. Please welcome her to this week’s Three Minute Squiz.
PRICES DOWN FOR HOME SWEET HOME
There’s more evidence that residential property prices are falling. The Bureau of Stats yesterday said there'd been a 0.7% price drop across Australia’s major cities in the January-to-March quarter. Leading the pack was Sydney, which recorded its first annual decrease since March 2012. Melbourne was also notable clocking its first quarterly decline since September 2012. The average price of an Aussie dwelling is now $687,700.
Depends what side of the fabled picket fence you sit on. If you own a home, the prospect of its value is falling isn't great news. But if you’re looking to get into the market, it's great. It also depends on what market you’re looking at. Falls this quarter were also recorded in Brisbane, Perth and Darwin. But there were home price increases in Canberra, Adelaide, and particularly in Hobart, which has seen property prices go up by 14.1% in the year to March.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
Unfortunately our crystal ball is in for a service this week. But ANZ and Macquarie banks yesterday said Sydney and Melbourne property prices are expected to fall 10% from their peak of mid-last year to a trough in about 18 months time. Also of note - all markets will be affected by any further tightening in lending by the banks. But the Reserve Bank is not expected to increase interest rates before August next year. And economists said that even with the expected price falls, home values would still be substantially up on what they were four years ago. Smashed avo toast, anyone?
SQUIZ THE REST
ARCHBISHOP TOO UNWELL FOR PRISON, SAYS SILK
The lawyer for Adelaide's Archbishop Philip Wilson, the world's most senior Catholic to be convicted of covering up child abuse, argued at a sentencing hearing yesterday that a prison term could be a threat to his client’s life. The 67yo suffers from diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and possibly Alzheimer’s Disease – a combo of conditions that couldn’t be appropriately managed in prison, his lawyer argued. One victim questioned how Wilson could maintain he was fit enough to remain on his job but was too unwell to serve a custodial sentence. The magistrate will deliver his sentencing decision on 3 July.
LABOR WON’T DANCE THE FULL INCOME TAX TANGO
You know when you’ve met someone and you feel good about the short term, but you can’t see a future in it? That’s the Coalition and Labor on the government’s proposed income tax reforms. Labor’s up for the first phase (which the government hopes to kick off on 1 July). But it’s said no to phase two (slated for 2022) and three (+2024). Will Team Turnbull and chief negotiator Finance Minister Mathias Cormann lose its self-respect and compromise to get a little bit of immediate love from Bill Shorten and Labor? Not yet. The government is looking around to see who else it might partner with (hello, Pauline Hanson?). Haven’t we all been there?
ALL ROADS LEAD TO BEIJING
Three China-centric things to note:
• The Australia-China Business Council was in Canberra yesterday for a networking session to help warm up the strained relationship. China’s ambassador to Oz Cheng Jingye was clear on what he thinks needs to improve; “more interaction… with less bias and bigotry.” Turnbull said it is good to have frank relationships…
• US President Donald Trump yesterday said he’s ready to put tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports if China retaliates against the last round of hikes. China accused the US of “extortionist behaviour".
• North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made his third recent trip to see Chinese President Xi Jinping for a debrief on the Trump summit. Kim seems to be embracing this getting-out-and-about caper.
ABC NOT A “PUNCHING BAG”
The ABC has been under pressure of late. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has made five complaints about journalism standards in the last six months. Its funding has been frozen meaning it will miss out on $84 million. And Liberal Party members voted to sell it (although this isn’t supported by their pollies). So it was no wonder that boss Michelle Guthrie was keen to emphasise its importance to the community. “I think the public regards the ABC as a priceless asset, more valuable now than ever in its history.” Which could make sense when you think how much B1 and B2 would be worth… Her full speech is here.
THE RIGHT TO WEAR PANTS
The escape of 600,000 of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims from what a UN official described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” to camps in Bangladesh remains a serious humanitarian issue. One effect has been the urbanisation of refugees. And with the restrictions on what they wear removed, many men are choosing to wear pants for the first time. This is an interesting read.
DREAMWORLD DEATHS ‘PREVENTABLE’
That’s what Queensland’s lead police investigator Detective Sergeant Nicola Brown confirmed during day one of the coronial inquest into the October 2016 tragedy that left four people dead. The hearing was told that the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park had broken down twice on the day of the fatal incident. And the young ride operator had access to an emergency stop button but didn’t know when to use it.
WHAT CAUSED THE TRAGEDY?
The official investigation found:
• A malfunctioning pump dropped the water level near the unloading point of the ride. That meant the rafts were sitting on rails.
• A raft carrying six people became vertical when it bumped into an empty raft that was stuck on the rails. There was a window of 57 seconds between the empty raft getting stuck and the collision that led to the tragedy. Hitting the emergency button would have stopped the ride in two seconds.
• Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died when they were thrown from the raft into the conveyor belt mechanism. It's believed they died instantly. Two children (Low’s 10yo son and Goodchild’s 12yo daughter) survived.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Police have not recommended criminal charges following their investigation. However, the coronial hearing will focus on the ride and Dreamworld’s broader safety record and procedures. The families and friends of the dead were warned it will likely be a harrowing two weeks as the inquiry hears evidence from tens of witnesses.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Jill Emberson and Nicole Livingstone address the National Press Club on 'the cancer down under killing too many women' (on ovarian cancer) - Canberra
Commonwealth Bank/AUSTRAC settlement hearing over anti-money laundering notification breaches
Telstra Strategy Day - Sydney
ABS Data Releases - Characteristics of Australian Exporters, 2016-17; Government Benefits, Taxes and Household Income, 2015-16
Woolworths goes single-use plastic bag free nationwide
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