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Thursday, 12 December 2019
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That’s who will replace Santa at a Melbourne childcare centre’s Chrissy party. Wonder if his catch cry is “arr arr arr”? You know, instead of “ho ho ho”… Oh, forget it.
SNAP GOES THE UK ELECTION
You don’t need reminding – 12 December is a date that’s been in your diary for a while now. Yep, it’s Gingerbread House Day. And it’s the day voters brave the cold to participate in the snap UK general election. With polling stations opening at 6pm tonight (AEDT) and closing at 9am tomorrow (AEDT), it’s unlikely there will be a whiff of a result until later on Friday our time. But jump on board and let’s get ahead of it…
WHAT’S THE STATE OF PLAY?
• Out of a 650 seat House of Commons, the governing Conservatives go in with 298 seats, and Labour with 243 seats. It takes 326 seats to win government, or a deal with the minor parties to make up the numbers has to be done.
• After former leader Theresa May and current PM Boris Johnson were unable to get Brexit through the UK Parliament, it’s no surprise that a split from the European Union is the dominant issue. Johnson says he will “get Brexit done”, while Labour is proposing to renegotiate the deal and then call another referendum.
• Other items on voters’ minds include the healthcare system (aka the NHS), climate change, the economy, immigration – and in the light of the terror attacks in London and Manchester – national security and crime. And of course, this election is also a character assessment of the newly-minted PM and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?
Shrug emoji. The polls put Team Johnson ahead, but the polls have got it wrong before… It’s hard to predict what support minor parties like the Liberal Democrats, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, and the Greens will get. There are also a couple of other things at play. The first is the deployment of ‘tactical voting’. And there’s been a surge of young people registering to vote, which analysts think will benefit Labour. But there’s a question mark over how motivated the public is to vote for the third time since 2015 when it’s not compulsory. But if Johnson’s Love Actually moment or Corbyn’s mean tweets don’t get them queueing up with enthusiasm, nothing will. Except maybe a chance to get amongst the #dogsatpollingstations…
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WHITE ISLAND UPDATE
Authorities say conditions remain too dangerous for recovery crews with a second eruption possible today. Eight people are known to still be on the island and are presumed dead. A further eight people are confirmed to be dead including at least four Australians. That includes Brisbane mother and daughter Julie and Jessica Richards, Coffs Harbour man Jason Griffiths, and Adelaide’s Gavin Dallow. Dallow’s 15yo stepdaughter Zoe Hosking is still to be recovered from the island, and his wife/her mum Lisa Dallow is in hospital with severe burns. Among the missing Australians are two families from Sydney. Australian Air Force planes have been sent to New Zealand to bring home the injured Aussies, possibly today.
BOUGAINVILLE VOTES TO BECOME A NATION
The Pacific island of Bougainville has overwhelmingly voted to become independent from Papua New Guinea. A massive 99.7% of locals who voted came down in favour of independence in a referendum that was a long time coming. The promise of a vote on the proposal was part of a peace agreement in 2001 that brought an end to a separatist war which killed 15,000 people. PNG doesn’t have to accept it, but commentators say the strong result will make it hard to ignore. If it does become a nation, Bougainville would be small, with a landmass of less than 10,000 square kilometres. But it’s mineral-rich, which is why Aussie mining interests are keeping a close eye on developments.
IS SANTA’S SLEIGH AN OPTION?
Because nothing says season’s greetings like a pilots strike… About 90 domestic Jetstar flights are expected to be cancelled this weekend as the company anticipates a strike by pilots and baggage handlers demanding a pay rise and better working conditions. About 80% of flights are set to stick to the schedule, and Jetstar CEO Gareth Evans says affected passengers will be moved onto other flights. Qantas is also scheduling extra services. Jetstar passengers with flights booked between December 13 and 20 can also receive a refund (which will make ACCC chairman Rod Sims happy…). The strike comes days after Jetstar faced a widespread IT outage that caused lengthy delays and cancellations.
SHOPPERS HAVE THE CHRISTMAS BLUES
Also feeling Grinch-like are… us. And by ‘us’ we mean anyone who should be in the shops spending up a storm. The silly season doesn’t appear to have encouraged Aussie shoppers to spend as much as retailers were hoping, according to the latest consumer sentiment survey. Despite the Reserve Bank delivering interest rate cuts over the past year, the Coalition Government’s tax cuts and a rejuvenated housing market, consumers are increasingly pessimistic. Or maybe there’s some Christmas trend where we’re all giving our nearest and dearest homemade vouchers for chores and massages? Wouldn’t that be a disappointment…
TOP KNOCKS FOR 2019
GRETA THUNBERG – The teenage climate activist is Time’s Person of the Year.
ASH BARTY – Is the WTA’s Player of the Year.
AND THE TOP AUSSIE GOOGLE SEARCH WAS – Fires Near Me. Which is also the name of NSW’s Rural Fire Service information service. Also in the overall top five, our sports-loving nation wanted to know about the Rugby World Cup and Cricket World Cup. The federal election result was fourth (and those interested probably googled it a few times because the result was a surprise…). And fifth was Cameron Boyce – the American Disney star who died this year aged 20yo. Another notable mention: “Why is Madonna wearing an eye patch at Eurovision?”. Good question…
Pigeons in cowboy hats have been spotted in Las Vegas. This is not a drill…
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4.00pm (AEDT) – Test Cricket – Australia v New Zealand – Perth
Annual General Meetings – Elders; Westpac (which could be interesting…)
ABS Data Releases – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, October; Assets and Liabilities of Australian Securitisers, September; Managed Funds, September; (and with an early Christmas present for stats lovers) Methodological News, December
Gingerbread House Day
Anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birthday (1915)
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