Squiz Today / 08 March 2017
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 8 March
JUST A QUIET DAY IN JAKARTA
PM Malcolm Turnbull was in Jakarta for the day to attend the 21-nation Indian Ocean Rim Association (yes, it's really called that) meeting to discuss those perennial favourites – trade, counter-terrorism and regional co-operation. Sounds like a full day, yes? Actually, throw in another sensitive international issue (the South China Sea) and a brush fire burning at home (Pauline Hanson’s "You line up a number of Muslims, who's the good one?" moment), and then you’ve got a full day.
STEADY ON THERE... WHAT THE WHAT?
Let’s start with the South China Sea. China is sensitive on this ATM after President Trump didn’t immediately give Beijing recognition of their position regarding the watery region. So there was cause for concern with reports Indonesian President Joko Widodo was open to joint patrols of the area with Australia. Turnbull shut down the speculation, acknowledging the move would likely add to tension over this issue. All a bit awkes when you’re in another country talking about what their President said. And Hanson’s comments? Turnbull knocked that over too, but not an ideal issue to address when you’re in a majority Muslim nation that's also a trade deal target.
SO WHAT'S NEXT?
Australia's super keen to strike a free trade deal with Indonesia, possibly as soon as the end of this year. Indonesia's population is more than 250 million people, and they are our #11 ranked trade partner, so lots of room for improvement. With President Widodo in Australia just a few days ago, expect more talks and many more ‘Indonesian Official with koala’ and ‘Australian Official in batik shirt’ photo opportunities.
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BRITISH BACKPACKER SAVED FROM HORROR OUTBACK ORDEAL
A 22yo British woman was rescued yesterday after allegedly being held captive for eight weeks by a 22yo man. Reports say she met the man at a party in Cairns in early January. Since then, it’s alleged she was held against her will, raped, bashed and strangled at various locations across Queensland. In an extraordinary chain of events, it’s believed she went inside a petrol station in Mitchell (600km west of Brissie) in a pretty desperate state, failed to pay for the fuel she had put in her 4WD, triggering the police contact. The man was arrested and remanded in custody.
BANK EXECS MAKE ANOTHER TRIP TO CANBERRA
It was the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ’s turn to give evidence at the House of Representatives Economics Committee bank inquiry yesterday. Think lots of men in suits; some trying to get on the TV news (the politicians) and others trying to stay off it (the bankers). While Labor has called for a Royal Commission following complaints about the banks' conduct, financial advisers and insurance, the government is so far favouring parliamentary inquiries as enough oversight. While we’re on issues financial; interest rates were held at 1.5% yesterday with the RBA citing low inflation, low wages growth and high levels of household debt as the reason to keep settings as they are.
ABC TO CUT MANAGEMENT JOBS TO INVEST IN CONTENT
ABC MD Michelle Guthrie yesterday announced a plan to cut 200 management jobs to make funding available for a new content fund. Complete with the promise of 'transformational change' (be still your management consultant's heart…) Guthrie said Aunty needed to be, well, less like your old aunt, and more responsive to audience demand. The ABC (and all Australian broadcasters) can see the impact of Netflix, YouTube and Facebook streaming and know change is needed. Bring on the brave new world!
MALAYSIA/NORTH KOREA ESCALATE DIPLOMATIC CRISIS
Remember the poisoning death of Kim Jong-nam, brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at a Kuala Lumpur airport a few weeks ago? Since then, a diplomatic crisis has erupted with neither country letting citizens of the other leave their respective shores. The Malaysian government also believes three suspects are holed up in the North Korean Embassy so they have roped it off, preventing anyone from entering or leaving. Hope they have some snacks. As Julian Assange would be only too happy to attest, they could be waiting outside the Embassy a while.
WIKILEAKS PUBLISHES CIA HACKING TOOLS
Speaking of Julian, WikiLeaks has just started publishing CIA hacking files it says exceeds the significance and scale of National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The CIA won't comment on whether the published material is authentic, but experts have told US media this morning it is the real deal. The information relates to 9,000 CIA files of computer hacking tools developed to steal data and make mobile phones, computers and TVs surveillance tools. This is just breaking so no doubt more will come to light today.
THE CRICKET - NOT GREAT NEWS
All you need to know is Australia lost the second test v India (we could/should have won), and we didn't cheat.
EDITH COWAN - MORE THAN JUST THE PINEAPPLE LADY
To mark International Women's Day, we’re not going to dwell on lady pedestrian lights, Emma Watson’s boobs or an all-female news presenter line-up. Instead, we tips our lid to Edith Cowan, not just the lady on the pineapple (that’s the $50 note for the uninitiated), but also the first woman elected to an Australian parliament. Overcoming immense early personal tragedy (when she was seven her mother died and at 15yo her father was hanged for murdering her step-mother), Cowan was intellectually precocious and a big campaigner for the rights of women and children. She won a seat in the WA Parliament in 1921, tipping out the incumbent attorney-general – which would be a pretty big deal even today. So, here’s to trailblazers like Edith and to all women making a difference in their own way.
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International Women's Day
9.15am - Westpac executives to appear before the House of Representatives Economics Committee Review of the Four Major Banks, Canberra
The Americans (Season 5) airs in the US - no date for Australian audiences as yet (sorry to be a tease)
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