Squiz Today / 31 July 2019
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 31 July
THREE MINUTE SQUIZ
"I found the third book the most difficult to write and I think a lot of that was to do with how far I could stretch Gemma as a character and how cruel I felt I could be to her."
Said author, advertising exec and Squizer Sarah Bailey of her crime series’ leading lady, Gemma Woodstock. With her new book Where the Dead Go* out next week, we were lucky to get an advance copy and curl up on the couch with it last weekend. We were also lucky Sarah found time to subject herself to this week's Three Minute Squiz.
CROWN CASINO UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Was there a dodgy 15-year-long deal struck by Crown Resorts with government officials to get high-rolling Chinese gamblers’ visas processed quickly? That’s what Attorney-General Christian Porter has asked the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity to look into. With accusations of an inappropriately cosy arrangement flagged by 60 Minutes and the Sydney Morning Herald/Age since Sunday, Porter said it was important there was "public confidence" in our government agencies, and an investigation would get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, Crown denies any wrongdoing but says it will cooperate with the investigation.
BACK IT UP A BIT...
If you’ve heard something about Crown in the last few days but haven’t quite got a handle on it, this is for you.
• Issues with Crown’s marketing practices surfaced in 2016 when 19 of its staff were arrested by Chinese police for breaking a law that bans the promotion of gambling in China.
• On top of questions about their adherence with Chinese law, new questions have been raised about Crown’s casino operations becoming an avenue for money-laundering by Chinese crime syndicates.
• And then there’s the matter of Crown's deal with the government to help get the gamblers to Australia. The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that it had an arrangement to quickly process short-stay visas which kicked off in 2003 and ended in 2016. However, it said vetting standards were maintained.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
It's not an issue that's going away anytime soon, and that's not entirely convenient for Crown right now... Its major shareholder James Packer is in the process of offloading a lot of his holding in Crown to Hong Kong-based Melco Resorts - a casino operator run by his friend, Lawrence Ho. But from Porter’s point of view, it’s time for the Commission, which has the power to hold hearings, seize evidence and compel witnesses, to investigate.
SQUIZ THE REST
FOUR YEAR SUSPENSION ON THE TABLE FOR JACK
Aussie swimmer Shayna Jack will be hit with a four-year competition banunless she can prove she didn’t knowingly take a performance-enhancing drug. It was revealed on Sunday that the 20yo Commonwealth gold-winning freestyler tested positive to the banned muscle-building drug Ligandrol. Jack has denied taking it knowingly, and one theory floated by her camp is that she may have accidentally eaten food or taken a supplement contaminated with the drug. Jack's lawyers will need to prove this is the case to have her suspension reduced - and that process begins on Friday when she meets with the anti-doping authority.
SHORTEN PIPES UP
Fresh from his election-campaign-from-hell, former Labor leader/current spokesman for Government Services Bill Shorten popped up yesterday to take on some “harsh and unfair” cases where welfare agency Centrelink's 'robodebt' program has caused "a trail of human heartache”. And speaking of heartache, how’s he coping with the election loss? "The people have expressed their view, so we've got to move on and be the best possible Opposition,” he told the ABC in his first interview since Labor’s May election loss.
SOY SAUCE CRACKDOWN
Retailers in Alice Springs have been warned they may require a liquor license to sell everyday household cooking items containing alcohol including soy sauce, vanilla essence and mouthwash. According to the ABC, several retailers received a letter last week from the NT Government advising they are violating the NT Liquor Act by selling any product over 50ml containing 1.15% ethanol. Licensing inspectors have already enforced these new rules in Darwin and Alice Springs. The crackdown was seemingly sparked by an incident last year where empty bottles of Listerine and vanilla essence adding up to around 16 standard drinks were found dumped in a park in Palmerston.
MAXED OUT AT TWO
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have capped their baby plans at two rug rats, his interview with Dr Jane Goodall for British Vogue has uncovered. Expressing concern for the earth’s dwindling resources, he says it’s something that’s been highlighted to him since the arrival of baby Archie. "But I've always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation," he said. (Note: don’t call us Shirley…) The September issue of the fashion mag, which is edited by Markle, lands on 2 August.
AND THE WINNER OF THE MILES FRANKLIN PRIZE IS...
Melissa Lucashenko with her novel Too Much Lip*. Tackling the weighty subjects of "physical and substance abuse, violence, marginalisation, displacement and dispossession, racism and incarceration within the experience of one Indigenous family", Lucashenko said her sixth novel is not without humour. "Do you know how hard it is to write a funny book about trauma?" she quipped yesterday. Taking home the $60,000 prize, Lucashenko is the third Indigenous writer to win the prestigious award.
CANBERRA KITTY TURNS UP THE HEAT
A Canberra moggie has added further weight to the theory cats have nothing but contempt for their owners after setting fire to its home while the household was asleep. Firefighters in the nation's capital believe Belle the cat knocked a roll of cling film onto a touch-sensor cooktop, causing a small blaze which forced its owners to evacuate the home. The blaze was quickly extinguished, but the ACT Fire and Rescue Service issued a reminder to ensure all stovetops are turned off when not in use. Unless, of course, you can teach your cat to do something useful like getting the bacon and eggs on…
SQUIZ THE DAY
ABS Data Release - Consumer Price Index, June
And one for the high school history buffs – it’s the anniversary of Germany’s adoption of the Weimar Constitution (1919)
Thursday 3.30am (AEST) - Women’s Ashes T20 Match - Australia v England - Bristol
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