Squiz Today / 21 June 2017
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 21 June
"Not every day the wonderfully grounded and caring Adele pops into Chelsea fire station for a cup of tea and a cuddle."
After so much bad news, could singer Adele be any more amazing? Dropping in on Rob Petty and his Chelsea firefighting colleagues, Adele was there to say thanks for their effort combatting last week’s Grenfell Tower. No makeup, no entourage, no fuss, just a local chick conveying her gratitude. Love her.
TURNBULL TAKES ACTION ON POWER PRICES… SORT OF
Keep seeing headlines about energy security and wonder what it’s all about? Let’s see if we can break it down. With Coalition government troops struggling to put the ghosts of past climate/energy policies to rest, PM Malcolm Turnbull yesterday announced some measures to help tackle skyrocketing power prices. The announcement included securing a supply of gas for the domestic market and scrapping the process where the Australian Energy Regulator has to fight energy companies on price increases.
WILL THIS STOP OUR GAS AND ELECTRICITY BILLS FROM GOING UP?
The measures won’t stop the price increases you’re about to see in your next gas and power bills. Soz. It will take a bit of time for the things announced yesterday to kick in. But also remember the anticipated electricity price increases of 20% are linked to the recent closure of the Hazelwood coal-generated power station in Victoria. This raises the tricky topic of the role coal plays in our future power generation. The PM yesterday said while it would take years to build, there probably is a role for a clean-coal power generation plant on the east coast, but wouldn’t commit to it being government built or funded.
SO WHAT’S IT GOING TO TAKE TO CRACK THIS NUT?
Enter the Finkel Report. The Chief Scientist’s report is understood to have made 50 recommendations to deliver affordable power into the future. Coalition troops are reported to have agreed to 49 of them and the last one – a Clean Energy Target – is #complicated. That’s the one about how much of our power production should be from renewable sources (sun, wind etc) v coal and gas. All of which makes yesterday's announcement not even close to being a solution so much as Turnbull doing something before parliament rises at the end of this week for the winter recess. Dr Alan Finkel is speaking at the National Press Club today, will be interesting to hear who he thinks it’s all going.
SQUIZ THE REST
BREAKING - SMALL EXPLOSION AT BRUSSELS CENTRAL STATION
Authorities say the situation is under control and there are no casualties after the station was evacuated after a small explosion. A suspect wearing an explosive belt has been “neutralised”. Updates here.
LABOR BLOCKS CITIZENSHIP CHANGES
Labor yesterday blocked the government’s proposed changes to the citizenship test and the introduction of a values test. They don’t support the proposed changes for a tougher English language test and think making permanent residents wait four years before they can apply for citizenship is too long. Your move, Peter Dutton (aka minister for immigration)…
AIR OPERATIONS HALTED OVER SYRIA
Australia has stopped flying air operations over Syria after crankiness between the US and Russia. It follows the US downing a Syrian government plane that had dropped bombs near US fighters – the first time that has happened in the conflict. Russia was none too pleased, saying they could target US and Coalition aircraft. And overnight US officials said they shot down a drone operated by those backing the Syrian government because it was threatening Coalition troops near Tanf, southern Syria. All this friction could bubble over into an ugly encounter so our people have stepped out for a bit.
NEW HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER APPOINTED
Australian Law Reform Commission President Rosalind Croucher has been appointed to take on one of Australia’s most controversial government appointments – Human Rights Commissioner. She takes the seven-year appointment when Professor Gillian Triggs leaves next week. We can imagine the call from the headhunter – “Rosalind, we have an exciting opportunity in an issues rich environment that will require your excellent stakeholder management skills. You interested?” Triggs was famously at odds with the Abbott government and refused to resign on many occasions.
TRAGEDY AS MAN HELD IN NORTH KOREA DIES JUST DAYS AFTER RETURN TO US
Otto Warmbier’s parents Cindy and Fred yesterday said in a statement that their son had died in a Cincinnati hospital following his return to the US in a coma after spending 17 months in captivity in North Korea. "Unfortunately the awful, torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today," they said. The doctors didn't find any evidence of botulism claimed by the North Koreans. However, doctors believe he experienced a severe brain injury as long ago as April 2016. Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years hard labour in North Korea after being accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster.
QUICK BUSINESS NEWS WRAP
The Australian Competition Tribunal (who knew there was such a thing?) yesterday gave the go-ahead for gaming businesses Tabcorp and Tatts to merge. It’s an $11 billion deal complicated by the involvement of the horse racing bodies, ownership of a racing channel, and issues around poker machines, pubs and clubs. The deal has been under review for eight months and was opposed by the ACCC. But Tatts and Tabcorp say it means there will be an Aussie gambling outfit paying tax in Oz and abiding by Oz regulations which can stand up to yuuuge international competitors. And now they’re off and racing.
Hundreds of peeved Dick Smith investors have banded together in a class-action to sue the former directors of Dick Smith Electronics for misleading conduct. Their claim centres on company projections of a $40 million profit shortly before the business went bust in May last year.
Handbag and leather goods retailer Oroton says it’s received interest from numerous parties who could buy the business or help them get their financial mojo back. OrotonGroup shares have fallen by more than 50% this year to a 19-year low and pressure has been building from investors who want the business to get back on track.
BLUES LOOK TO WRAP UP SERIES IN TONIGHT’S STATE OF ORIGIN
State versus state, mate versus mate. Depending on where in Australia you reside and exactly how excited you get at the sight of grown men throwing themselves at one another while chasing an inflatable pigskin around a paddock, tonight's State of Origin clash promises to be a showstopper. After years of being ritually humiliated by their Queensland cousins, the NSW Blues are hoping to wrap up this year's series, doubling down on their 28-4 victory over the Maroons two weeks ago. It's one of those peculiar sporting events which either fires the imagination or bores you witless. We’ve got a hot date with our sock drawer. But you know, if footy’s your thing: fill your boots.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEST) - Dr Alan Finkel, Australia's Chief Scientist, to address the National Press Club, Canberra
8.00pm (AEST) - Rugby League's State of Origin - ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year
World Music Day
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