Squiz Today / 24 March 2021

Squiz Today – Wednesday, 24 March


“A wonderful achievement for the people of Melbourne and more broadly for this country.”

Is what AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld said of Thursday night’s Carlton v Collingwood clash at the MCG that will likely see the world’s biggest sports crowd since the pandemic began. The Victorian Government yesterday gave the green light for up to 75,000 spectators to attend, and you’d almost suffer a night out with Blues/Magpies fans just to see it…


PM Scott Morrison yesterday reached for the ‘reset’ button after Monday night’s revelations that Liberal Party staff had shared photographs of themselves performing lewd acts in Parliament House. “I’m shocked and I’m disgusted. It is shameful ... I was completely stumped, as I have been on more than one occasion over the course of this last month,” he said, referring to rape allegations that have rocked his government. But Morrison’s press conference didn’t turn out to be the new-leaf-turner he might have hoped for…

Well, the PM also used the occasion to take aim at the media... Asked by Sky News political editor Andrew Clennell if he’d “lost control”, he responded “let’s not all of us who sit in glass houses here start getting into that." According to News Corp's executive chairman Michael Miller, Morrison described a harassment complaint within the company that's "simply untrue"A prime ministerial apology was forthcoming late last night, but not before Labor accused Morrison of “weaponising" sexual harassment. Before the verbal jab, the PM was emotional as he addressed the criticism he’s received for his ‘father of daughters’ response to the disturbing allegations. “Criticise me, if you like, for speaking about my daughters, but they are the centre of my life. My wife is the centre of my life. My mother, my widowed mother, is the centre of my life. They motivate me every day on this issue,” he said.

One thing that's on the table is the introduction of quotas for female Liberal candidates in winnable seats. If that's pursued, it will be quite a turnaround for Morrison and the party after years of resistance. But for the women of Australia, Morrison's aim yesterday was to let them know that "I have heard them", he said. Over the last month, he says he’s heard stories of women being “marginalised, women being intimidated, women being belittled, women being diminished, and women being objectified. That is not OK.” And he says he will have more to say about taking "further action" on a range of issues in the next month.



The severe weather that has troubled NSW and southeast Queensland for days is lifting, but it will be days before floodwaters peak in some communities. The Weather Bureau’s Victoria Dodds said the flood risk stretches across western parts of NSW as masses of water makes it through the state and into Victoria - a case in point is the evacuation of residents in parts of Moree last night. The Mid North Coast has borne the brunt of the heavy rain, with some areas recording two-thirds of their annual rainfall in the space of a week. Mount Seaview, near Port Macquarie, leads the pack - it recorded 1083mm of rain by yesterday afternoon. As for today, flood warnings remain in place from the Queensland border to Victoria. Heavy rain is expected on the South Coast of NSW before clearing. And good riddance…


And it becomes the 3rd state to give eligible citizens suffering from advanced, incurable and irreversible conditions the right to choose to end their life after Victoria and Western Oz. Like those programs, there are strict criteria people must meet before they can qualify to access the scheme, including that they are expected to die within 6 months from a terminal illness. It was the 4th time Tassie MPs have attempted to legalise a voluntary assisted dying scheme for the state after failed attempts in 2009, 2013 and 2017, and it will be 18 months before the scheme commences. Earlier this month, Premier Peter Gutwein described the bill’s passage through the Legislative Council as "parliament at its best".


After Papua New Guinea’s PM James Marape rang alarm bells last week, the country’s major hospital yesterday reported that 7 out of every 10 symptomatic patients they’re testing have the coronavirus. PNG reported 242 new cases on Saturday following a record of 295 cases on Friday - a steep increase on previous results. It brings PNG's pandemic total to 3,359 cases and 36 deaths. That might not sound like a lot, but there have been low testing rates - like 2,000 tests a week across its population of 9 million people kinda low. And officials are worried that the health system is on the verge of collapse with a wave of new cases expected. Help from Australia arrived yesterday in the form of medical equipment, advisers and 8,000 vaccinations, with health workers the priority. That's a start, Jonathan Pryke from the Lowy Institute says. "We don't want this to be a sense of we’ve announced the response, then we’re done with it,” he said.


Fifteen people have died, 400 are missing, and 45,000 people have fled a fire that engulfed large parts of a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh earlier this week. It was the 3rd blaze in the area in 4 days, and officials say the causes have not been determined. An official from Amnesty said the “frequency of fire in the camps is too coincidental" with pressure being put on refugees to relocate to a remote island in the Bay of Bengal. So far, 13,000 Rohingya have moved to the flood-prone island that critics say is in a cyclone alley. Almost a million people live in 34 squalid camps covering more than 3,000 hectares of the Cox's Bazar district. Most fled from Myanmar after a military crackdown against the Muslim minority in 2017 - a dark chapter the United Nations described as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".


Out of all the things that could harm us in Australia - crocs, snakes, Married at First Sight - furniture doesn’t immediately spring to mind. But it’s on the consumer regulator’s list to make safer with about 50 Aussies a week - or 2,600 per year - receiving hospital treatment for injuries caused by falling furniture, including tumbling tellies. ACCC Chairman Rod Sims yesterday said unsafe cots and button batteries also require "more effective risk controls". As for quad bikes - its “appalling and unacceptable” that there had been a record 23 fatalities linked to the fun machines last year. From October, they will need to be fitted with frames that better protect riders if they roll. The ACCC said it will conduct educational activities and work to ensure riders are complying with the new standards.


Sorry, Victoria, but misery loves company… The mouse plague that’s putting sleep-loving residents of Queensland and NSW on edge is heading your way.

May is shaping up to be a loud one for parts of eastern America. No, it’s not spring parties they’re worried about - it’s the once-in-17-years hatching of some special cicadas. Which is about how long we’d like to wait between social engagements…

Remember their name (fame…) - Pikmin. It’s an augmented reality app that Nintendo is launching later this year with hopes it will be huger than Pokemon Go. And huger is totally a word don’t @ us…


12.30pm (AEDT) - Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles addresses the National Press Club - Canberra

7.07pm - Michael Gudinski’s State Memorial - Melbourne (Note: the time is a nod to his favourite tipple…)

World Tuberculosis Day

International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims

Birthdays for fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger (1951), actor Jim Parsons (1973), footballer and sports commentator Darren Lockyer (1977) and actress Jessica Chastain (1977)

Anniversary of:
• Elvis Presley joining the army (1958)
• the death of former Governor-General Sir John Kerr (1991)
• Federal Parliament overturning the world's first euthanasia law that was passed in the Northern Territory (1997)
• the Aussie Cricket ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town (2018)
• the 'March for Our Lives' rallies held in Washington DC and around the world to protest gun violence (2018)

Could you sleep more stylishly? Read the email every day this week and you'll go into the draw for a $100 gift card to spend with Peter Alexander. Nice.

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