Squiz Today / 06 November 2017
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 6 November
That’s how Claire Underwood aka Robyn Wright ended last season of House of Cards. And so it will be. Yesterday Netflix announced the final season would go ahead without Kevin Spacey. The King is dead, long live the Queen.
FOREIGN POLITICAL DONATIONS TO BE BANNED
The Turnbull Government yesterday announced new foreign interference laws that will:
• Ban political donations from foreign individuals or companies.
• Ban foreign donations to ‘political campaigners’ like GetUp!
• Introduce a ‘transparency scheme’ requiring people to declare if they are working for a foreign power.
• See changes to our espionage laws to make it a crime to possess sensitive information.
• Make foreign interference in Australia’s political system illegal.
Legislation will be introduced in the Senate this week.
WHAT’S THAT ALL ABOUT?
Our national security agencies took the unprecedented step this year to voice concerns about attempts by predominantly Chinese but also other agents to influence our national life. By the way, the agencies reckon the meddling extends well beyond politics and into Aussie businesses and universities. So the extended espionage laws will cover those sectors too.
AND WHERE’S THE RUB?
It creates some problems for both major parties. PM Malcolm Turnbull was quick to reference Labor leader Bill Shorten and Senator Sam Dastyari’s ties to Chinese bazillionaire Huang Xiangmo. Labor returned serve and pointed to the job former Liberal Trade minister Andrew Robb took with Chinese-owned company Landbridge Group as well as a recent donation by another Chinese company to the Queensland Liberal National Party. But when ASIO tells you foreign agents are trying to influence our system of government you’ve got little choice but to act.
CLOSING THE GENDER PAY GAP
PRESENTED BY WOOLWORTHS
Women make up 55% of Woolworths’ total workforce. Half the board is female, and so are 29% of its senior managers and executives. As part of Woolworths' commitments, the aim is to have at least 40% of their executive and senior management positions held by women by 2020.
Woolworths also recognises that equal pay for equal work is essential to achieving gender equity. Last year, 17,600 salaries were reviewed and the pay gap between male and female team members carrying out comparable roles was reduced to 0.5%. And the work continues for senior managers and execs.
SQUIZ THE REST
FESTIVAL OF CITIZENSHIP FUN ROLLS ON...
The estimate is 18 House of Reps MPs are under a cloud, and at least five will most likely be referred to the High Court this week. On the Labor side, David Feeney’s probably British or Irish because no one can find his renunciation forms. And it looks like Josh Wilson, Justine Keay and Susan Lamb also had an opportunity to join the fast queue at Heathrow with a British passport after they’d nominated as candidates at the last election. Nick Xenophon Team’s Rebekha Sharkie also held British citizenship past the nomination date. There are plenty of others who still have questions to answer. Our favourite is Liberal Nola Marino who has Italian, Swedish and US heritage + a former husband who’s Italian. #itscomplicated
MILO STIRRED BUT NOT SHAKEN
Milo Yiannopoulos – not heard of him? Good for you. Let us explain. To say he’s a British political commentator understates it. He’s more of a right-wing protagonist based in the US. Yiannopoulos’ “Australian Troll Academy” tour saw right and left wing protestors clash violently in Melbourne on Tuesday night and there was a bit of argy-bargy in Sydney last night. But it was his appearance in Canberra’s Parliament House yesterday that caused a stir. He was said to be wearing Gucci so clearly ‘free speech’ advocacy pays well… Liberal Senator Jane Hume said; "You know, young man swaggers into Canberra, attention seeking, saying outrageous things and appeasing the far right, and getting some media coverage. Sounds like the Coalition party room." Yes, that was a dig at her own side…
AUSSIE READING STANDARDS IMPROVING
Bravo to Australia’s Year 4 students – they’ve reversed a decade of declining reading standards in Oz by pulling us up the international rankings. We’ve gone up from 27th in 2011 to be 21st in this year’s Progress in International Reading Study. That puts us in the middle band with the US, but ahead of New Zealand and France. Singaporean and Russian kids are the top bookworms. We have some work to do – 57% of Indigenous Year 4 students met the benchmark compared to 83% of non-Indigenous students.
RETAIL SALES UP, AMAZON REVIEWS NOT SO MUCH
Yesterday was huge for retail happenings. Shopkeepers and people who sell us stuff were emboldened by figures that showed a bigger than expected bounce in sales in October. It bodes well for a healthy Christmas retail season. Which is more than can be said of Amazon’s much-hyped Aussie debut. The all-conquering online merchant threw open its Australian doors (virtually speaking) yesterday to mixed reviews.
WEDDING CAKE CASE IN US SUPREME COURT
Have you been wondering why our political debate on the consequences of legalising same-sex marriage has zeroed in on wedding cakes? Wonder no more! It comes from a case in the US where a gay couple was denied service by a baker because of his religious belief about marriage. The couple says that's discrimination. The case kicked off in the US Supreme Court overnight. Get backgrounded here.
TOP DIRECTOR SACKED FROM FREDDIE MERCURY BIOPIC
Is this the real life? Or is this just fantasy? They're questions top Hollywood director Bryan Singer will be asking this morning after reports surfaced he had been sacked from the set of an upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Hollywood Reporter cited irreconcilable differences with his actors as the reason for the X-Men director’s departure. But entertainment website Radar quoted a source suggesting harassment allegations were about to surface, prompting Singer’s exit stage left. How very rock and roll. Mr Robot’s Rami Malek stars as Mercury – check out the likeness.
SQUIZ THE DAY
12.30pm (AEDT) - Elizabeth Proust, Jane Halton & Peggy O’Neal address the National Press Club on 'Kicking Goals: Three successful Australian leaders discuss the opportunities and challenges in levelling the playing field for women in corporate Australia, the public service and sport' - Canberra
ABS Data Releases - Australian National Accounts, September; Livestock and Meat, October
Read the email every day this week and you'll be in the running for a $100 gift card to Peter Alexander. You should sleep in style because as Ernest Hemingway said: "I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"
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