Squiz Today / 08 May 2019
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 8 May
“There was Clarke, myself and a member of the DPS (the PM’s security)… also a couple of locals from Mahia and a dog which tried to eat the chocolate that Clarke bought me.”
Said Kiwi PM Jacinda Ardern of the intimate setting that inspired her longtime partner Clarke Gayford to pop the question. Asked for more details by a journo who said “the public are hungry for answers”, she responded: “Are they really?”
A BRUISING DAY ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
A feature of this election has been an edge of nastiness that has seen campaign posters defaced, candidates exposed for unsavoury views, and even some unpleasant surprises. And the last 24-hours has shown what a tough slog to electoral glory it is.
• Those of all political stripes condemned the attempted egging of PM Scott Morrison by a 25yo woman who is not onboard with the Coalition's offshore detention policies as he spoke to Country Women's Association conference-goers in Albury. Morrison said he didn’t want to “over-egg” it, but added; "We have got to disagree better about things."
• The splash in today’s Daily Telegraph (paywall) has accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of misleading voters during his Monday night appearance on ABC TV’s Q&A. In an emotional monologue, he said his mother’s ambition to become a lawyer was dashed by her working-class roots. Except, the Tele says, she did become a lawyer. Shorten has already condemned the story as a “new low” for coming after his mother’s memory.
• And former Labor PMs Bob Hawke and Paul Keating have joined together to help wrestle the mantle of economic stewardship from the Liberals.
WHO’S STAYING OUT OF IT?
The Reserve Bank. It yesterday resisted any urge to lower the already record low interest rate of 1.5%. It would have been quite a thing for the election campaign if it had because of what it could say about the Coalition’s narrative of superior economic management. Savvy pundits also point out that a focus on managing the economy in difficult times might not work for Labor either… With our worryingly low inflation rate and concerns about the slowing pace of economic growth, some commentators said by trying not to be political, the RBA has been political. If you know what they mean…
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ANOTHER ELECTION TO NOTE...
Is South Africa’s, and it’s on today. It’s a test for newish President Cyril Ramaphosa who has been the leader for just over a year. Taking the job from the besieged Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa inherited a struggling economy, a divided party, and voters angry about corruption charges levelled at the highest levels of government. The question is whether all that's enough to topple the dominant ANC party and whether Ramaphosa, a favourite of the beloved Nelson Mandela, can be toppled from power.
AND ANOTHER LEADER IN TROUBLE…
That would be Papua New Guinea’s PM Peter O’Neill. The ouster (one of our favourite words…) is on. O'Neill's political rivals are formulating plans to unseat him. He's accused of being selfish and secretive. A count by local newspaper, the Post-Courier, reckons O’Neill is a goner, and now two political camps - one holed up in Port Moresby's Laguna Hotel, the other at the Crown Hotel - are fighting for the numbers. A vote of no confidence against O'Neill can’t happen until next week, and anything can happen between now and then…
ALSO HEADING FOR THE CAREER BENCH IS…
Wallaby Israel Folau. He’s the bloke who’s locked in battle with Rugby Australia over controversial social media posts he says were an expression of his religious beliefs. Last night, and after three days of hearings, Folau was found to have committed a “high-level breach” of the Professional Players' Code of Conduct. His punishment has not been decided, but RA wants to sack him. It’s an issue that has been characterised as a clash between inclusion and religion, and it’s one that’s being watched by sports administrators, and civil rights and free speech advocates around the world.
BUT TWO CAREERS THAT CAN NOW GET BACK ON TRACK ARE…
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the Reuters journos who were jailed in Myanmar. After more than 500 days in prison, held there for reporting on the murder of Rohingya Muslims, they were released yesterday. Democratic nations denounced their imprisonment and pressure was put on former freedom-icon and government leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The men, who both have young families, were released along with thousands of other prisoners as part of Myanmar’s new year celebrations. Last month, the pair won a Pulitzer Prize for their work.
KEEP USING SUNSCREEN, EXPERTS SAY
Even though a new US Government pilot study found some common ingredients in sunscreen can enter the bloodstream at levels high enough to trigger a safety investigation. Four ingredients - avobenzone, oxybenzone, ecamsule and octocrylene - need more of a look. But the jury's out on whether there are health implications. As one expert said; "It's not news that things that you put on your skin are absorbed into the body." And as others pointed out, it's damage from the sun that also has to be kept top of mind.
AND THE MET GALA DOESN’T DISAPPOINT
It was haute... Yesterday's effort was, in the end, as if those preceding it had been building to this moment. The 2019 Met Gala Ball, presided over by Vogue editor Anna Wintour, more than lived up to its ‘camp' theme as a pink carpet outside New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art was trod by the usual gaggle of celebs. Celine Dion was in her high-camp element, Kim Kardashian cling-wrapped herself for the occasion and Lady Gaga went from OTT to barely-there. Don’t believe us? Check out Vogue’s red carpet gallery. And a gallery dedicated to the blokes. Because too much farrshion is never enough, sweetie.
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12.30pm (AEST) - Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Labor Agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon to debate at the National Press Club - Canberra
7.30pm (AEST) - Third Leaders Debate at the National Press Club - Canberra
UN Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War - until 9 May
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